Mom, Dad, Look What I Found on Craigslist

Ahhhh… the joys of a Saturday morning. Pour some strong coffee, fire up the ol’ laptop and get on Craigslist. Look at a few cheap used cars, maybe buy some used furniture for the bathroom, check out a few ladies offering the latest in massage therapy, and oh, see if you can’t find a house to move into and get outta the dumps!

Craigslist is fast turning into the red light district of the Internet. As the New York Times reports today:

“Craigslist has become the high-tech 42nd Street, where much of the solicitation takes place now,” said Richard McGuire, Nassau’s assistant chief of detectives. “Technology has worked its way into every profession, including the oldest.”

In July raids, the sheriff of Cook County, Ill., rounded up 43 women working on the streets — and 60 who advertised on Craigslist. In Seattle, a covert police ad on Craigslist in November resulted in the arrests of 71 men, including a bank officer, a construction worker and a surgeon.

And while prostitutes also advertise on other sites, the police here and across the country say Craigslist is by far the favorite. On one recent day, for example, some 9,000 listings were added to the site’s “Erotic Services” category in the New York region alone: Most offered massage and escorts, often hinting at more.

That in essence sums up Craigslist. A microcosm of the Internet. Anything, anywhere, anytime and in anyplace. Click, click, click and you’re there.

So, is there anything wrong with this picture when it comes to Real Estate? Not really. Many agents advertise their listings on Craigslist. It’s great exposure and heck you’ve got to show your clients you’re doing some on-line marketing right?

Depends.

You don’t need a Harvard degree to know that in marketing perception is reality. In most cases the medium used to convey the message defines the messenger. In Real Estate the product is the agent. The house is a by-product. An agent attracts the type of buyer he or she seeks. So, this begs the question: What kind of product are you? Do you want to work with Shrek or Lord Farquaad?

Lani raises the exact same issue on her blog, and I agree with her:

The only problem is that most of us don’t venture past the “housing” section of Craigslist to know that one of the most popular draws of Craigslist is the “personals” section. It is common knowledge that Craigslist’s success began with the “personals” and “for sale” sections. Some of the personals range from questionable to pornographic. Looking to buy a ball-gag wearing bedroom slave? Look no further than the famed Craigslist.

That’s great for those in the market for a slave, but did you even know that the same venue you post clients’ homes on is used for this purpose?

However, she goes a step furtherand wants Craigslist to remove their personals listing or make it somewhat hidden. She even asks why MySpace and other social networking sites get a bad rap on the same issue but Craigslist hasn’t felt the heat.

The main reason why sites like MySpace get pressure is bacause it was a kids hideout until the adults jumped in on it. In late 2004 no one above the age of 35 knew about this underground phenomenon and all of a sudden today we have entire real estate listings on MySpace.

What I’m saying is that a teenage hangout got raided by everyone and anyone trying to cash in on a hip new trend. Craigslist was never a teenage wasteland. From day one it has always been the classified section of the Internet.Young urbanites, more comfortable with a laptop than a newspaper in cities like San Francisco and Seattle used it to find stuff and sell stuff – all for free. You got on, found your stuff and got out. You’re not there trying to make friendships with the guy selling the old BBQ grill.

As you can see MySpace and Craigslist are two different animals. In MySpace you build a community, on Craigslist you try to get a sale out of the community. Kids talk about MySpace in school and everyone wants to be your friend, I’m not sure Craigslist has the same effect. That is why MySpace needs to make sure kids are protected and Craigslist doesn’t. 

Despite the differences authorities are still asking why Craigslist doesn’t self-police or stop allowing such advertisements. Again from the New York Times:

Law enforcement officials ask why Craigslist even includes Erotic Services among its 191 categories. Mr. Buckmaster, the company president, said the site created that category “at the request of our users” for legitimate massage, escorts and exotic dancers.

The bottom line is you use Craigslist at your own risk. In other words Craigslist has no obligation to remove any section of its classifieds. Responsible adults need to teach their kids and neighbors need to warn neighbors. Besides its like getting on the Internet. Once on, you’re really only one typo away from porn.

As far as listing Real Estate, it’s a business decision. More specifically it’s a market positioning decision.Whether you want your face on a sale sign next to the local De Ja Vu Club or not is up to you and maybe based on the house you have to sell. This may get you some additional traffic, but when was the last time traffic paid the bills? Even the massage ladies know that!

Doing business while driving? Here’s a tool you MUST know about!

Guest Writer Jennifer FurrierI recently worked with a busy commercial Realtor who was losing sleep at night because she was stressing about trying to recall the details of her conversations on the road. She was concerned, with all of the different conversations she was having in a day, whether or not she was following-up on the actionable pieces to her conversations. Well from a professional organizer’s perspective, this isn’t the easiest problem to solve, but fear not, I found a successful solution.

For those of you busy realtors and professionals on the road, this frustration brings up so many different points, but for today, I want to share with you one incredible tool, that takes less than five minutes to begin using, and is FREE!

Can I get a drumroll please…………………………………………..

www.jott.com

Basically, how it works is you call up their phone number and leave a message for yourself or someone else, and that message gets transcribed into an email, and sent to you, or whoever you “jotted” in less than 15 minutes. Now don’t ask me how this works, because that is not my expertise, however, this tool is a fantastic time saver, and stress reliever.

Instead of trying to keep information in our heads to remember for later, (because our brain is for thinking and creating new ideas, and not for storage), leave a message with Jott and then receive an email record of whatever it is you said. And yes, you can “Jott” others. It takes a few minutes at the most to upload your database and then it will ask you, “who do you want to Jott?” and you just say the person’s name, and begin leaving your message.

This is great if you want to confirm a meeting with someone, or have something quick to say, but don’t want to get stuck talking on the phone, but are away from a computer. Also, you get a copy of the email that was sent to someone else. Isn’t that great?

Oh, and the commercial Realtor is getting plenty of sleep! Yep, just another great tool to help us cope with our insanely busy lives. Of course I have many tools for helping people to operate more efficiently, helping their well-being and their bottom line. You can check out my website for more info.

Number One Tip for Overcoming a Messy Office

Are you one of those people who keep papers on your desktop because you’re scared you’ll forget about them if you file them away??

Fear of paperWe typically think of filing as what goes into a filing cabinet, but there is a subset of these files that we don’t want to file away for fear of out of sight, out of mind. So instead, we leave a piece of paper on our desktop to remind us to do something, or because we know we need it in the near future… but after we do this a couple of times a day, we end up covering that piece of paper with MORE paper and before we know it, we’re looking at numerous piles.

The reality is- we’re wasting over forty-five minutes EVERY day just looking for things… so what is the alternative? Here comes the light bulb…

We have reference files, (those that go into our filing cabinets because we have to keep them), and we have action files, (those files that require us to do something).

There are several ways to file action items, but here are three ways that can be very effective. These three ways can even be used in combination with one another, depending on your needs and workflow.

1. By Date
Folders for each day of the month and each month of the year, (tickler filing system), is one way to place items that need to trigger you to take action. For example, an invitation with directions on it can go in the folder corresponding to the day of the event. Another example could be a lead who wants you to call them back in one week. Simply put the name and number in the folder dated one week from now, and on that day, when you check your daily folder, there will be the name and number, triggering you to action. Check out if you’re interested in purchasing a fantastic tickler file system.

2. By Action
Any habitual activities can become an action folder. For example, a file for data entry, take home or calls to make. Throughout the week, empty all the items in these folders to keep you on top of those smaller but necessary tasks.

Organized Files3. By Priority
Folders based on priority can be a simple way to efficiently manage the current load of work that requires your attention. This can be broken down using different words that work for you… Maybe you have three folders labeled, Hot, Warm, Cold or Now, Soon, Later or Today, This Week, This Month. File away papererwork based on their priority, and make sure you focus your time and attention on the Hot, Today or Now folders, while checking in with the items in the lower priority folders, and moving them as needed.

I think we all agree that time is flying by, and it is only getting faster. If you want to have more control of your time, including becoming more productive at work and less stressed out in your daily operations, stop making excuses and take some time this week, to implement what you’ve just learned!!

This site is for informational purposes only. It is not sponsored or in any way affiliated with the government. If you are in need of a mortgage loan, consult with a licensed mortgage professional. All fair housing and equal housing opportunity laws apply when applying for a mortgage or buying a home. Copyright 2012.