Greeting Cards

Hope everyone had a wonderful and safe 4th, and you’re going “Easy on the 5th”. 😉

 

I also hope that no one has been living in a closet to not know that the most prolific spam and virus monster to travel the Internet in quite some time is making it’s rounds disguised as a “Greeting Card from a Friend”…etc.

 

Here is a MODIFIED example of one of these email’s that LOOKS real… but careful analysis would tell you otherwise!  DO NOT click on the link in this example… just MOUSE OVER IT!
==========================================

 

Hi. School mate has sent you a postcard.

 

See your card as often as you wish during the next 15 days.

 

SEEING YOUR CARD
If your email software creates links to Web pages, click on your card’s direct www address below while you are connected to the Internet:

http://75.66.76.94/?c3a9ebeed435601e5ee71

Or copy and paste it into your browser’s “Location” box (where Internet addresses go).
  

PRIVACY
BlueMountain.Com honors your privacy. Our home page and Card Pick Up have links to our Privacy Policy.

 

TERMS OF USE
By accessing your card you agree we have no liability. If you don’t know the person sending the card or don’t wish to see the card, please disregard this Announcement.
We hope you enjoy your awesome card.

 

Wishing you the best,

 

Postmaster,

BlueMountain.Com

 

=============================================

Looks pretty legitimate, huh?  When you see only an IP address, this is a DEAD GIVEAWAY that a site is fake!  The legit BlueMountain.com website would NEVER do this.  NEVER!

 

This is exactly why I do NOT open even legitimate online Greeting Cards.  Those things are dangerous.. and now.. my long time preaching about why NOT to send electronic greeting cards to anyone is coming true!!

 

If you have opened even ONE online greeting card in the past month… I STRONGLY suggest you do a COMPLETE virus scan of your system and files.  One client called me this morning in complete distress over opening a greeting card he thought his daughter had sent him, only to find out it was a virus laden spoofed greeting card, and he just about lost his entire system!!

 

Folks…  be smart.  Stay the heck away from those things.. and DO NOT OPEN (or SEND anyone) an online greeting card, or a link from anyone saying they had sent you an online greeting card.

 

You have been warned!

 

Have a great Thursday!
Ed

 

 

Great News Today!

You all know what an advocate I am against SPAM!

 

Please join me today as we celebrate the capture of what authorities believe is the “Spam King”. 🙂

 

Robert Soloway, a 27-year-old Seattle resident dubbed the “Spam King” by federal authorities and exasperated Web users (myself included!), allegedly ran his business from his apartment.

 

Soloway is accused of violating the federal CAN-SPAM Act, which criminalizes large, commercial e-mail messages sent using an unauthorized computer or with the intent to hide the e-mail’s original source. The allegations could put Soloway in prison for decades.

 

Federal prosecutors are also seeking $772,998 from Soloway, which represents the proceeds of his activity.

 

Authorities said Soloway, in an apparent effort to hide his true identity online, constantly shifted domains, including registering with Chinese Internet service providers.

 

Additionally, he used slave computers, called “botnets,” to send spam that advertised his corporate Web sites, which contained false headers to obscure their true origins.

 

I’d love to think I had something to do with Soloway’s demise… but no way to be sure.  I have taken a VERY active stance against spammers in the past six months, forwarding  hundreds of identifiable spam messages to federal authorities.  The FBI would neither confirm nor deny that any of my tips led to his arrest.  Oh well… at least they caught the sucker!!!!

 

Here’s the complete story from CNN if you care to read it:

http://money.cnn.com/2007/05/31/technology/spam_king/index.htm?section=money_topstories

 

Have a great week!

 

Ed

 

Few Ideas

Well.. either most everyone is far too busy working with clients (not the reason I suspect), OR, most everyone is stumped by the question.

 

My question was:

What is your USP? What makes you different from your competitors — in ten words or less — and gives your customers a powerful, compelling reason to use your service?

 

Some of the responses were:

  • I have the key to your new home at the price you want to pay.
  • 100% HomeBuyer Representation 100% of the Time!
  • Protecting your bottom line is our business.
  • Exclusive Buyer Agent – Don’t invest in real estate without one!
  • Three important words in real estate: exclusive, buyer, agent.
  • Real estate “no spin zone” – an Exclusive Buyer Agent.
  • Where HomeBuyers Make and $ave Money.
  • Sellers NEVER, Buyers ONLY!
  • The Home Buyer’s team, always on your side.
  • I have a ‘Heart’ to be an Advocate** for HomeBuyers. 
    (** Advocate-to zealously work on your behalf always.

 

Let’s be brutally honest here for a moment, can we?

 

If you were an un-educated home buyer just beginning to think about buying a home, and just beginning to research real estate agents online (or off-line for that matter) Do ANY of those above USP’s cause you to say, “Hmmm… now that sounds like an agent (or company) I need to check out..” ?  Do they?

 

I’m not here to condemn, criticize or complain, just trying to stir some thought process here folks. 

 

I think, ALL TOO OFTEN, we all get very complacent and stuck in our ruts of thinking that just because we offer a unique and top notch service to home buyers, they are all going to automatically know it, just because I call myself an EBA.

 

It’s no fluke that EBA’s EVERYWHERE are having bad years.  The terrible press, the constant news about how bad the real estate industry is, the constant bad publicity with the sub-prime mortgage markets, all of these things are lending themselves to everyone (in most markets) seeing their lead flow decrease dramatically over the past few weeks and months.

 

Add to that, the fact that we (and I say we in general terms) are not exactly screaming our USP’s to the buying public and causing them to come running to see us or sign up at our websites for more information… and it’s no wonder that traffic is down.

 

Yet, at the same time, some brokers are having their best year ever… and recent news proves that record numbers of people are buying real estate right now in spite of all the bad news about how the home buying sector sucks.

 

One of the things that continues to amaze me after all these years is the number of brokers who don’t even promote their own blog or website on every single thing they do or send out… including, business cards, email signature lines (a big missed opportunity) letterhead, all print ads, phone on hold messages, and the list goes on and on and on.

 

I see it everyday… people who put up a website, and think the world will come flocking to their doorstep (their home page)…. and it just doesn’t happen.
“What’s wrong with my site?”  “What am I doing wrong?”  “Why am I not getting any leads?”

 

All very legitimate questions, but also questions that should be causing you to re-examine how you’re treating your business.

 

Over the next few weeks, I am going to continue this thread here, trying to instill in everyone a different mindset.  One that will cause you to look at what you’re doing (or not doing) in your business, and make you begin to think more about how you can compete better with today’s Internet, and what you need to be doing next to stay on the cutting edge, and how you need to be marketing today in order to stay competitive.

 

As EBA’s… we all too often get caught up in the fact that, yes, we know that what we do is best for the consumer, but how can we get that word out there, so the consumer knows?  That’s a question EBA’s have been asking since day one.  And although I don’t claim to all of a sudden have the magical answer… I do believe I have some ideas that, if put to use, will help you turn the rest of 2007 into one of the best years you’ve ever had.

 

You see, I am a firm believer that when real estate (in general) slows down or hits bottom, THAT is is the time to ramp up, not pull back.

 

Conventional thinking among most brokers is just the opposite.  Most start pulling back and cutting back when sales or leads are down, and that is the quickest way to sure death in your business you could go!

 

Keep reading here, and please.. continue to post your ideas and thoughts.  I don’t want this blog to be a one-way conversation of just me.  I appreciate your input, and appreciate your thoughts.   I know we have a lot of very smart individuals as clients, and I appreciate you being out there on a day-to-day basis… battling the battle and struggling to survive in a down market.   Let’s all share that wisdom, and make this blog a very active forum for idea exchange.

 

I’m also going to be changing this blog in the very near future so that you will be able to subscribe to comments, giving you the ability to receive an email anytime anyone comments on one of your comments.  Stay tuned for that.

 

In the meantime, as you prepare for this upcoming Memorial Day Holiday weekend… I’d like to personally thank you for your continued support and loyalty… and beg you to put your thinking caps on and be ready to expand your thinking over the coming weeks and months as I share some new stuff with you here. 🙂

 

Have a great holiday weekend!  Take some time to relax and enjoy!!

 

Ed

 

Guard Your Wallet!

As we get closer and closer to the end of another year, I come to you today NOT to try and sell you anything (you guys know I very rarely ever do that anyway)… but to warn you to “GUARD YOUR WALLET!”

 

There are several things circulating around the Internet right now that you may or may not have received notice of.  This post is in case you HAVE received one or more email’s from marketers promoting these things, as well as for those of you who may NOT have gotten word of these promotions making their rounds right now. 

 

First of all… Web 2.0

 

Most everyone who is on any major marketer’s email list has been hit with the latest and greatest thing called “Web 2.0”  You need to pay CLOSE attention here.  Are you ready?

 

The phrase “Web 2.0” was most likely invented by some marketing guru in an attempt to get you to buy something!.. and from what I am seeing… it was a job pretty well done… I have to give him (or her) that.  Regardless.. I am here to tell you… (in my humble opinion)… “Web 2.0” is pretty much a bunch of marketing hype right now.  There may be SOME validity to some of the hype, but it’s mostly fluff.

 

Why?  Because nobody really knows what it is they are talking about, at least not in the circles I hang with.  Enough on “Web 2.0”  For the time being, suffice it to say, “Ed recommends YOU SHOULD KEEP YOUR MONEY IN YOUR WALLET!”

 

The second warning pertains to another big new idea that is being pushed around the net right now.  I’ve gotten at least 15 email’s over the past few days from every major Internet Marketer out there… amazingly ALL using the same canned pre-written email, telling everyone about the new “Pipeline Profits” program.

 

First of all… What is it?  Bottom line:  It’s about using co-registration leads to build massive lists and to market your products or services to those leads in a systematic approach.

 

Co-Registration is a very common technique used by marketers and even major corporations.  When you sign up for something online, and there’s a bunch of boxes you can check for more information on this or that — THAT’S Co-Registration.  A good example is seen when you go and sign up for a HOTMAIL email account (which everyone knows I would NEVER recommend you do!).. but you get the idea.

 

Does it work?  Yes and no.  If you have seen the Pipeline Profits video, you’ll see that these guys grossed over $1 million dollars in 90 days… so obviously it works.  On the other hand.. it has some serious problems.  In my opinion, most emails that get sent to co-registration leads are spam, or at least LOOK spammy… and even if you’re not sending spam, you WILL be accused of it.

 

I think there is tremendous risk in using co-registration.  Consider how it works.  You get a bunch of names and email addresses (and IP addresses which supposedly makes it legal).  You’ve never met these people, and they’ve never heard of you.  You load them into an email program (like ARP) and blast off your message.   The guys from the Pipeline Profits video say they are getting 10,000-100,000 new leads a day.  Hmmm… do you suppose any of those people will click the “report as spam” button when they receive the first message? You better believe they will… you can almost take it to the bank!

 

I am NOT saying that it doesn’t work… but this is a technique that I personally would not use, and therefore I am not going to recommend that you use it either.  

 

So, if you have NOT gotten anything in your email boxes about these two “latest and greatest marketing ploys”…  consider yourself sheltered and safe.  If you HAVE received mail pertaining to either of these, I strongly recommend you “GUARD YOUR WALLET” and steer clear of both of them.  Especially the Co-Registration scheme!

 

I know that everyone is looking for ways to get more leads, but folks, this is NOT the way to do it!   Okay??  I’ve studied these things… and want to save you the time and money of falling for either of these marketing gimmicks for your business.

 

I am in the back pockets of a lot of major marketers, and if and when I find something that I think will TRULY help you with your business, rest assured, I will tell you about it.  Until then, “Guard Your Wallet” and keep doing what you’re doing.  🙂

 

Ed