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Truth in Advertising – The Most Powerful Search in Hawaii?

One of the many reasons that I am honored and proud to lead the Big Island team for Hawaii Life is that we are committed to telling the truth about ourselves and our technology, in our advertising and to our clients and customers. In doing a bit of market research, I stumbled across some interesting information about another brokerage that really made me giggle—and then more seriously consider the importance of “Truth in Advertising.”

What made me laugh is that someone is advertising that they run “the most powerful search in Hawaii” (referring to searching for listings on their website). It’s no secret that real estate agents can use cryptic marketing messages…“Top Producer,” “Unbelievable Value,” and now… “Most Powerful.”

“Powerful” is a relative adjective. So, I turned to facts and figures by logging into my account at compete.com and checking out the analytics. After finding 10 other real estate websites in Hawaii with higher traffic numbers and lower worldwide rankings (lower is better in website rankings), I stopped looking. It was clear to me that this particular brokerage is seriously deluding not just the general public, but themselves, their agents, clients, and customers about the actual “power” of their website.

The National Association of Realtors is a unique organization in that we “police” our own members and have a comprehensive Code of Ethics by which we are to practice our business. Standard of Practice 12-10 specifically states that “REALTORS obligation to present a true picture in their advertising and representations to the public includes the URLs and domain names they use, and prohibits REALTORS from…deceptively using metatags, keywords, or other devices/methods to direct, drive, or divert Internet traffic, or to otherwise mislead consumers.”

The reality is that it doesn’t matter how “powerful” your website search is, what matters is how many people are looking at your website. This is sales 101—the more eyeballs you have looking at your product, the quicker it will sell, and for a higher price.

Let me put this another way: you can spend a lot of money on a killer TV advertisement, but if you run it at 2a.m. instead of during the Superbowl, how “powerful” is the ad, really? What are the real-world results for the sellers who hire you to market and sell their property? Any Broker can list a property for sale on the MLS. Very few of them have the “power” to sell those properties. Hawaii Life does. That’s our “Truth in Advertising.” And our sellers are giggling—all the way to the escrow closing table.

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Justin Britt

January 3, 2012

Well put Katie. The development team at Hawaii Life has done a lot of testing, and we’ve found that the majority of people actually prefer “simplicity” to “power.” That’s why we have the more “eyeballs” than anyone else in Hawaii real estate.

Matt Beall R(B), Owner, Principal Broker

January 3, 2012

Sort of like the difference between wearing a suit vs. casual aloha attire. The suit looks powerful, but the person wearing it doesn’t necessarily appeal to the most people, or do the most business.

Justin Britt

January 3, 2012

Well put Katie. The development team at Hawaii Life has done a lot of testing, and we’ve found that the majority of people actually prefer “simplicity” to “power.” That’s why we have the more “eyeballs” than anyone else in Hawaii real estate.

Matt Beall R(B), Owner, Principal Broker

January 3, 2012

Sort of like the difference between wearing a suit vs. casual aloha attire. The suit looks powerful, but the person wearing it doesn’t necessarily appeal to the most people, or do the most business.

Katie Minkus, R(BIC)

January 3, 2012

LOL. You know exactly what I’m wearing, Mr. Beall – It’s the Puako Beach version of a suit – bikini and pareo. I didn’t move to Hawaii from the Silicon Valley to dress more formally!! 😉

Katie Minkus, R(BIC)

January 3, 2012

LOL. You know exactly what I’m wearing, Mr. Beall – It’s the Puako Beach version of a suit – bikini and pareo. I didn’t move to Hawaii from the Silicon Valley to dress more formally!! 😉

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