Inman News reported today that companies like AgentConnect have been buying keywords like "Prudential," "Century 21" and "Coldwell Banker" (and perhaps even other keywords like "RE/MAX" and "Realty Executives," but none of them came up in the recent search by Inman News) in order to lure real estate buyers and sellers into their web so they can take their names, contact information and alleged real estate need, then redistribute that information to a Realtor in exchange for money. Must be nice to get away with scamming the real estate industry and prospective buyers and sellers, huh?
Services such as these do not work. I tried one of these services one time, only the company I used was Service Magic. The lead said the person wanted to buy and sell. For a $60 investment, the return I would have received in two closed sales would have been worth it, however, after calling the person who filled out Service Magic's form, he informed me that he didn't want to buy or sell, he just wanted to see if a real estate agent would call him. Well, it worked for him, but he paid nothing. I, on the other hand, was out $60.
Companies such as Service Magic and AgentConnect should be required by law to screen the potential clients that they are selling to Realtors, prior to a Realtor paying for that information, thinking it's an actual lead. A lead that is purchased for say, $60, should be guaranteed to lead to an actual prospect, because if it doesn't, these companies are wasting Realtors' time and money, and since Realtors are their customers, if they don't become more professional, don't look for them to be around for too much longer. Remember, cold calling and warm calling are both cheaper and easier to guarantee leads that become prospects, then buyers or sellers. Realtors should be getting their leads by farming, not buying them from companies that can't even guarantee the information, and are even using unethical methods to market, such as using the brand names of other companies, without their permission.