Tag Archives: rea

SCAM ALERT: Agent & Agency pages are being targeted

It seems that in recent times, scammers have become more and more prolific and there’s no question that the digital age has allowed them to cast wider nets to ensnare unsuspecting individuals and companies.

One of the more recent scams to rear its ugly head on Facebook seems to be targeting real estate agent’s and agency’s pages more than any other.

It’s essentially a phishing scam, designed to send you to a page that looks like a legit Facebook page, get you to login/provide vital information and then take over your account for their own nefarious purposes.

As an admin on dozens of real estate agent and agency Facebook pages, I see this scam popping up on a regular basis – on further investigation, I’ve found these pages are specifically targeting real estate agent’s and agency pages.

The initial contact is made from a page that to the unsuspecting, looks relatively legit – after all it’s complete with Facebook logos and us usually named “Ads Support” “Advertising department” “Page Security” etc. Added to the Facebook logo, it could, at a glance be convincing that it’s in fact a legitimate Facebook page.

This page will then share your page in a post claiming that it’s breached some vital terms and conditions or is about to be disabled. In order to prevent this from happening or fix the situation, you must visit a web address – this address is of course a site designed to collect your login and personal details.

The biggest tell tale sign that this is a scam is that they have to “share” your page in order to get your attention. Facebook send you specialised notifications to alert you to problems and will never share your page or content in order to try and notify you of an issue. See the example images below:



You can see in the left hand image, that while the Facebook logo is used to make it look legit, “Ads Support Notification” had to share your page in order to get a notification to pop up on your Facebook. Where as in the right hand image Facebook simply sent a notification directly to you and that notification carries the entire message.

Even if Facebook need to send you to another location on Facebook due to an issue, the notification will take you directly to that location, it won’t take you to a page and then require you to click on another link.

If you do get a notification that looks suspicious, don’t click any links in it – instead click the “quick help” icon at the top right of your screen when on Facebook (desktop) or the help center icon from the menu on mobile device and ask Facebook direct if it’s a legitimate notification.

If you do come across a scam, report the page directly to Facebook and then block that page and then hide all content from that page.

A portal won’t save you

A few times a year, the big real estate portals make a significant change to how you, as agents, are allowed to use their service.

The latest of these changes has been to disallow agency branding (including sign boards), in property photos on some listings on the portal.

Agents have responded to this change, much like every other change made over the last few years, in a disgruntled fashion – taking to Facebook groups to vent their frustration.

This has become the standard process for anything that the portals change that agents disagree with. Agents complain that the portals are doing their hardest to systematically take agents out of the home selling equation – they may just be right, we all remember a certain share prospectus doing the rounds a few years ago stating the goal was to “dis-intermediate the agent” – i.e cut the agent out.

As this process plays out in social media forums, it follows a familiar path and invariably someone suggests, “we’re a huge industry body, why can’t we band together and make our own portal?”

It’s been done and it failed miserably to break the dominance of the main players, for a number of reasons. The main reason though is a lack of understanding of what it takes to make a portal successful.

Anyone with a bit of money and access to developers can “make a portal” – but to make it successful and to break the strangle hold on the industry that the main two portals have, you need traffic.

Traffic is the lifeblood of any website and Realestate.com.au and Domain.com have it in droves. They’ve become household names, they own the traffic.

To counter their stranglehold by competing for traffic with the portals (which is what ever portal has tried to do to date), it would take a few dump trucks full of gold bullion, spent on marketing budgets to have a chance.

What will save you is the ability to market property without the need to use the portals.

While getting a hair cut the other week, I had a very interesting conversation with my barber (bare with me here, I have a point to this tangent). She was telling me that she doesn’t use the Realestate.com.au or domain.com apps anymore, because agents are putting properties in her Facebook feed.

Now does one person noticing that and changing their behavior make for a revolution? No of course not. What it does, is make you sit up and take notice and start paying a bit more attention to whats happening around you. How many people are like my barber? Is she a pioneer, or part of a trend that is building momentum.

The benefits that Facebook ad targeting provides, allows agents to target property listings directly to the people most likely to buy it. They can break things down by income, family status, relationship status, interests and much more to pick out the person most likely to purchase the property and then get the property listing in front of them.

In comparison, the portals work much like a billboard on a highway, they show a property to the millions of people driving past. Except now, they have a billboard every 5 feet and they’re just hoping an interested person drives past. It’s essentially hit and hope, but so far it’s been the only option for agents and it’s more or less worked – but many agents I speak with are reporting significant drop-offs in the number of genuine inquiries coming through the portals.

The other big issue is that it’s impossible to market a property in isolation on a portal. The portal’s job is to show the potential buyer as many properties as possible, that’s yours, your competitions and any other property that might even be remotely applicable. You are essentially in massive competition with every other property listed.

Where as correct targeting on Facebook allows an agent to target the people most likely to be a match for the property and market it in their feed, without another property in sight.

Now if you follow my page or have read any of my previous posts, you’d know I’m a certified Facebook marketer and you could be forgiven for thinking I’m heavily bias towards Facebook marketing.

I am. Unashamedly so.

The reason is simple, it works. I’ve used it to generate over $510,000,000 worth of leads for Check My House Price member agents in the last 2 years alone. I’ve run campaigns that have sold properties, corporate tenancies, recruited agents and generated appraisal inquiries all through Facebook marketing and that’s just the tip of the ice berg – I know what it can do and I’m determined to pass these skills on to any agent will to learn them. Having been an agent myself, I understand the day-to-day pressure and threats agents face. Having spent 20 years in the technology space as a published tech editorialist, I also know whats coming and knowing how to market on Facebook successfully is how agents will not just survive, but thrive moving forward.

The agent’s I’ve taught, have experienced similar results, having sold properties, generated leads and experienced a massive boost in profile in their area for significantly less spend than any other marketing channel.

But regardless of whether it’s Facebook or you’ve found another method of selling properties without using the portals, make sure you have those skills. Because being able to market and sell properties without the need for the portals is the greatest insurance you have against the portals or any other change in the industry, phasing agents out.


This disruption BS in the real estate industry


Right now there is one word that can induce a Harley Quinn, baseball bat swinging, homicidal rage in me like no other……”Disruptor”

It’s not that real estate isn’t “ripe for disruption,” it is. In fact a blind, deaf, mute hedgehog can see that real estate is ripe for disruption.

It’s that every time we see the word “disruptor” or one of it’s variants in use in the media, it’s attached to a new portal or real estate brand launch that is supposedly going to do things “differently.”

Then comes the (now compulsory) mentions of Uber and AirBnB…….but EVERY. SINGLE. TIME both the media and the “new disruptor” completely ignores what Uber and AirBnB did…..they took the two sides of a transaction (supply and demand) and made it easy for the common individual with supply, to meet the demand of another common individual.

They essentially became a facilitator, a hands off middle man, who got paid for making the introductions (and paid well).

So it should go without saying that a new “cut price” real estate brand is NOT a disruptor and nor is a new portal.



With this in mind, it’s only reasonable that the next question would be “what would a disruptor in real estate look like?”

Well it depends on which side of the real estate transaction you’re standing on.

If you’re a homeowner, then a disruptor will be something that will allow you to buy and sell your house, completely online with everything from offers through to legals through to settlement being handled in a completely digital manner and most likely from your mobile phone.

(Now if you’re an agent reading this, there’s a good chance you’re rolling your eyes and chuckling to yourself, maybe even muttering “like that will ever happen” – fair call, real estate is a messy transaction business – but checkout https://www.marketbuy.com.au/ – they’ve got the online buying and selling part down pat, how long before they expand that to cover every aspect of the transaction?)

If you’re a real estate agent, then a disruptor takes on a very different look. In fact for sometime, there has been ground swell in the industry from agents, pushing for the type of disruption that would see the two big portals fade into oblivion. Consistent price hikes, oppressive contract clauses and a general lack of “win-win” offerings being the main drivers of such feeling.

It’s fair to say then, a disruptor for agents would be something that unseats the portals from their respective thrones – essentially cutting out the middle man. Currently, the portals are the main conduit to buyers in the market and therefore a service that would remove the need for agents to depend on the portals would certainly cause disruption.

Does such a service exist?

Actually it does and here’s the delicious irony of it. MOST AGENTS are using it every single day, they just don’t realise the power it has.


It’s Facebook.

(Now before you light torches and gather up the internet trolls, hear me out, yes I’m a Facebook marketer, but that doesn’t change the fact that Facebook can get you directly in front of your buyers and sellers without the need for a portal).

Let me be clear from the outset though, I’m not talking about marketing to your “Friends list” and, “boosting” your listings only forms a VERY small part of the equation. In fact boosting without understanding what a boost is designed to do, is one of the biggest mistakes agents make on Facebook, but more on that another day.

Allow me to demonstrate just one small facet of this monolithic marketing behemoth.

Look at the URL (web address) of this post, up the top of your browser – you should see the word “hogswash” in the web address of this post. Based on that word alone, you’re now going to get re-marketed to by me. In fact, because you’ve visited this page and read this blog, I’ll be able to re-market to you for the next 6 months even if you don’t engage with any other content I produce in that time.  Everytime you do engage with new content though, that 6 months restarts. So long as I keep putting out content you engage with, I’ll be able to continue marketing to you.

Now, that all sounds a little bit scary, so lets apply it to your business and a listing.

You put up a new listing, with a video and a link to the property listing on YOUR website (make sure it’s your website and not one of the portals). Any buyer or seller who watches that video or clicks through to the link, now becomes part of your digital farm area and you can re-market to that person again and again and again until they stop watching your videos or clicking your links.

Just let that sink in for a moment: a buyer watches the video or goes to the site but that listing isn’t for them, instead of losing them to the ether, you can now make sure that every other similar property you have listed gets in front of that buyer and every other buyer who engages with the video or listing.

And there is not a portal in sight.

Here’s the kicker, that’s just one small part of the Facebook marketing engine.

I’m not going to claim it’s the Uber of real estate, but what I will tell you, is that it’s just the basics of Facebook FOR real estate and if you’re an agent, don’t you think it’s about time you learned how to use it?