BROKERS BEWARE: Do You Use Drones for Your Listing Photography?

BROKERS BEWARE: Do You Use Drones for Your Listing Photography? 

When we were at our homeschool convention in Orlando we took Tristan to his first “rock concert”. It was a Christian rock band playing for the attendees of the convention. I noticed a photographer at the front side of the stage controlling a drone with his remote. FAA rules on drones for commercial use

I was amazed at this technology as I watched the drone flying above the crowd taking video. I thought about how many agents use this same technology for taking images of their listings. The fly over drones take very good photos and you get a great in depth perception of the lay out of the land. I also of course, being me, thought about how everything that is invented can be used for good or evil. I thought about the intrusions in our personal lives and privacy by governments using drones. There is ying and yang. 

Now, the FAA ( Federal Aviation Administration) has issues subpoenas to real estate brokers for using drones to take images of their listings. The FAA just went after several New York City brokers. The FAA is issuing fines for unlawfully using drones as drones are considered flightcraft NOT model airplanes. 

The FAA does not allow the use of drones for commercial uses. Federal law outlaws this. As with most government rules, they fall behind the times and technology advances so the best thing to do for now is to stop using your drones until the FAA creates the rules for commercial uses of drones. 

They do allow hobby drones and have also given police and first responders some rights in using drones. 

The National Association of REALTORS® has warned real estate brokers and agents to NOT use drones for getting pictures of their listings until the FAA releases rules about using the drones. The FAA is expected to release their rules in the later part of 2015. 

If you use drones in your real estate business you take the risk of getting fined by the FAA if they find out. How can they find out? Of course, your listing’s neighbors can call them:). Be careful out there! 

Photo credit:  By Clément Bucco-Lechat (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons with permission to alter photo. 

 

NAR’s Lawsuit Against the Big Z Update

NAR’s Lawsuit Against the Big Z Update- 

A superior court judge granted a preliminary injunction against Z over the hiring of Errol Samuelson. 

Errol Samuelson was President of REALTOR®.com and the chief strategy officer of Move, Inc. 

The National Association of REALTORS® filed a lawsuit for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and violating trade secrets against z and Samuelson. NAR's Lawsuit against the Big z update

There were some other companies that joined in the lawsuit against z: Move and Top Producer. 

The injunction keeps Samuelson from selling leads to real estate agents, brokers and real estate franchises. The injunction also includes not selling websites to real estate agents for 6 months. He is also prevented from trying to get any direct feeds or listing data from MLS systems. 

NAR is very happy about the injunction and says that they will protect member services and protect the interests of of REALTORS®. 

Interesting developments are happening in the real estate industry. We will see how this lawsuit plays out. 

It is important that real estate agents and brokers stay informed in industry related issues especially those that may impact your business. 

Yahoo Shuts Down Yahoo Voices – Get Your Content Removed

Yahoo Shuts Down Yahoo Voices- Get Your Content Removed

I remember how excited I was to be approved as a Yahoo Voices writer about 8 years ago.

Yahoo Shuts Down Yahoo Voices Contributors

It really helped with our SEO over the years and especially on the Yahoo results pages. Yahoo Voices started 9 years ago. For some of us that does not seem like a long time to evaluate the use of a product and for others it is too long. Yahoo has decided to shut Yahoo Voices down on July 31, 2014. 

Yahoo is no longer accepting content for Yahoo Voices even in the month of July so if you have tried to add content, it is not going to be added to the network. This includes both Yahoo Voices and Contributor.Yahoo. 

All your content will be removed from the internet. So now is a good time to go and get any content you have on Yahoo Voices and Contributor and get it on your websites or saved in a file for now. If you don’t remove it and you don’t have a back up, it will be gone. 

The last payments will go out in mid August for July views. Any payments not confirmed by August 14, 2014 at midnight will be forfeited and Yahoo will not make the payment. 

What does Yahoo suggest you do with your content? 

Of course, post it to Tumblr. 

Yahoo bought Tumblr in May 2013 for $ 1.1 Billion Dollars. However, there is no numeration policy for posting to Tumblr. Yahoo has no plans of installing one either. 

 

Google Announces They Dropped Rich Snippet Author Images From SERPS

Google Announces They Dropped Rich Snippet Author Images from SERPS 

If you go to the Google Structured Data Testing Tool and add your sites, you will still see a preview of your profile photo but in the search pages we will no longer see our photos pop up. 

Google also dropped our circle counts. This is not just for real estate agents but for every search except we have seen some news media sources still having their logo showing up. 

Google authorship images no longer appear

John Mueller from Google said they did some “experimenting” and “discovered” there was no difference in CTR. Hmmm, that is not what they said before:). Even in the webmasters tools section Google was promoting everyone to do their authorships stating that you would get better CTR. 

Well, of course, you are going to get more clicks on search results with visual images than just text entries. Google is saying that this is being done to make the mobile search experience appear smoother. But then they have said things before that were not really true, so who knows! 

The chatter in the SEO forums and Google + communities is that all of our author images were distracting people from clicking on the ads, the pay per click ads. Some say big brands are complaining their CTR is dropping because searchers are clicking on images of people in organic listings. That does make a lot of sense although it is speculation. 

Whatever their real reasoning is, it is what it is. 

One more reason to understand that internet marketing is constantly changing and we should not ever rely on any one source for all your traffic, clicks or contacts. 

Guess What Country in the World is the Best To Invest in Real Estate and Business?

Guess What Country in the World is the Best To Invest in Real Estate and Business? You May Just Be Surprised. 

Please place your guess in the comment section below. 

This country has made gigantic reforms economically recently and is aggressively embracing free market principles. 

Magical forest in Rostuse, Macedonia

Here are a few clues to help you guess which country this is: 

1. 10% flat tax for businesses and investors making this a very appealing country to invest in. 

2. 10% flat tax for personal income. 

3. Tax holiday for up to 10 years if you buy property to build commercially on in the TIDZ’s. 

4. Listed as the 3rd best reformer in the world.

5. It only takes 4 hours to register your company!!!! 

6. Totally WiFi country-wide and very technologically advanced.

7. English is the main language being taught in the schools now. 

8. Great ally to the U.S.A and people there love Americans. 

9. U.S. citizens do NOT need a visa for entry. 

10. Huge Commercial Real Estate investment opportunities. 

11. Duty Free access to a market of over 650 million customers through trade agreements. 

12. Geo- Strategically located. 

13. High quality of life. 

14. It is absolutely beautiful there. 

Guess What Country in the World is the Best To Invest in Real Estate and Business?

Guess What Country in the World is the Best To Invest in Real Estate and Business? You May Just Be Surprised. 

Please place your guess in the comment section below. 

This country has made gigantic reforms economically recently and is aggressively embracing free market principles. 

Here are a few clues to help you guess which country this is: 

1. 10% flat tax for businesses and investors making this a very appealing country to invest in. 

2. 10% flat tax for personal income. 

3. Tax holiday for up to 10 years if you buy property to build commercially on in the TIDZ’s. 

4. Listed as the 3rd best reformer in the world.

5. It only takes 4 hours to register your company!!!! 

6. Totally WiFi country-wide and very technologically advanced.

7. English is the main language being taught in the schools now. 

8. Great ally to the U.S.A and people there love Americans. 

9. U.S. citizens do NOT need a visa for entry. 

10. Huge Commercial Real Estate investment opportunities. 

11. Duty Free access to a market of over 650 million customers through trade agreements. 

12. Geo- Strategically located. 

13. High quality of life. 

14. It is absolutely beautiful there. 

Easter Egg Tidbits You May Not Know

Easter egg hunts, Easter egg baskets, Easter egg decorating… many children and parents around the world celebrate the risen Lord with Easter egg events and decorating. Easter Egg Facts

The Easter egg itself is a Christian tradition although decorated eggs have been found in Africa from thousands of years ago and in Persia around 3000 B.C. people dyed eggs red to be given as gifts to celebrate the first day of spring. 

This tradition of given dyed red eggs is one the Christians took on to symbolize the blood of Christ and the hatching of the egg is to symbolize the resurrection. This is a by-product of Lent because families who celebrate Lent give up eating eggs during the days before Easter. 

Easter eggs were decorated by dyes made from onion peels, tree bark, flower pedals and juices extracted from fruit and veggies. My mother and her family brought their Latvian tradition of dying the eggs with onion peels with them to America. Our family has kept that tradition. The eggs are so pretty when colored with the different onion skins. 

Simply boil onion skins in water and then allow the eggs to soak in the dye until you get the desired result. The longer you leave them in the dye the darker the color. 

The world’s largest Easter egg in the Guinness World of Records was made out of chocolate in no where else but Belgium in 2005. This egg weighed more than 2,600 pounds. Now that is some chocolate!! 

The most valuable Easter eggs were crafted in the 1800′s and made for the Russian czar families for Easter gifts. They are worth millions of dollars are are embellished with jewels. It is said that only 65 of these were ever made. 

The White House Easter Egg Roll is the only time in which you are allowed on the White House lawn if you are a tourist. Every Monday after Easter the White House allows about 4,000 children to take part in this event. This tradition was started by Dolly Madison at the Capital lawn in 1878. 

The PAAS Dye Co. started selling Easter egg dyes in the 1880′s. They sold a packet of 5 colors for 5 cents. PAAS now says that they sell over 10 million kits every year which also now includes stickers, decorations and more. They state that consumers decorate over 180 million eggs every year. 

The most beautiful Easter eggs are the Ukranian eggs that have very intricate patterns that are put on the eggs with wax before dying. Each egg takes 2 to 3 hours to complete. 

And what to do with all those hard boiled Easter eggs after they have been gathered? Well, make deviled eggs of course:)! 

On Page SEO Basics for Real Estate Agents

On Page SEO Basics for Real Estate Agents 

Search engine optimization for your blog articles and your pages on your website is not difficult. It sounds scary and complicated to many real estate agents. When you break it down into smaller bite size pieces, it becomes manageable. 

Here is a graphic that I created to show you visually the basic concepts on the items that need to get done when you write a blog post or create a page on your real estate website. This includes your listing pages. Don’t just allow syndicators to take the SEO value from your listings. With a few simple steps you can optimize your listings. 

Content that people like to link to is the most important factor. You also need to have content that people can link to. For instance, if you send all your traffic to your idx search page- that page most likely does not have great content to link to. Send the traffic instead to your individual listing pages where you have created some additional interesting content about your listing. This entices someone to link to your listing. 

on page seo for real estate agents infograph

Enjoying Spring in Wellington Florida

Enjoying Spring in Wellington Florida 

I love spring. It is the sign of new birth, rebirth and wonderful weather before we get into the heat of summer. spring in wellington

I am currently sitting out on our patio listening to the birds chirping away as I write this post. Of course here in Wellington we get to hear the birds chirping all year round. The birds from up north fly here in the winter and congregate in large masses on telephone poles, in the trees and atop buildings. 

We have a much more subtle changing of the seasons. The spring here brings a renewed freshness in the air and less rain. Our rainy season is in the summer. Our hurricane season starts in late spring and goes until the end of fall. 

Spring is a great time to go to the beach but the water is still a bit chilly for our toes here. The snowbirds don’t mind however for compared to the beaches up north- this is warm. It is all relative. 

But still, the word, “spring” itself conjures up wonderful feelings and fills my mind with thoughts and visuals of new life being born and springing up around the world in the spaces where spring happens at this time of the year. 

Spring abounds on the internet as you are welcomed with wonderful pastel colors in design and objects to feast your eyes upon. 

My collard greens are fully mature and ready to harvest and I hope my cabbage is ready before it gets too hot:). 

spring in wellington

So wherever you are, whatever your climate is like, I hope that you are enjoying the season of spring whether it manifests for you in boldness or very subtly like it is here in Wellington Florida.