iPhone Crowd to Pass Phoenix By: Due to Mediocrity

Continuing the series of digital real estate companies visible via the web, today we focus on Phoenix, Arizona. In the past, evaluations of cities like Chicago and Pittsburgh have revealed a virtual technology gap where real estate professionals engage for their clients and constituents online. Let’s take a brief look at what home buyers and sellers can expect if looking in Phoenix.

Welcome to Phoenix, or Mediocrity?

For the reader, our methodology here is no nonsense and simplified. Just like any home buyer or seller looking for info on the web, the most logical place will always be Google. Searching for keywords or phrases such as “homes in Phoenix” or “Phoenix real estate” mimics what your everyday buyer or seller might do. These searches, modified to exclude huge aggregator sites like Trulia and others, can really show what the local professionals are up to, at least online. So, without further explanation, let’s look at Phoenix’s top real estate gurus.

Phoenix Real Estate (by Phoenixhomes.com)

Just under the paid positioning of Trulia, Phoenix Real Estate sits at the top position for the search “Phoenix homes for sale.” About the best that can be said for Matt Pellerin’s website is that it is “adequate” for finding some houses in the area. As before, we tend to put some emphasis on social media engagement, site design and navigation, and whether or not the key Realtor shows an effort toward interacting and informing people. As you can see by the screen shot below, even searching for a home results in the visitor being asked to “opt in” for the lead.

For those unfamiliar, opting in means you give permission to be SPAMMED to pieces generally, even called via phone. So far, so bad, for Phoenix home search. (Note: no SM buttons of any kind, let along a prevalent pic of the Broker) RBiz rating of Phoenix Real Estate: 3 on a scale of 10.

Dorathey Duffield

Wow. If Phoenix Real Estate up there is woefully Web 1.0, this Realtor’s big move to take over the Internet for clients and is tantamount to Stone Age marketing madness. In cases like this, I hate to say my I am torn asunder between feeling bad for the agent, and wanting to get glossy photos up of the inconsistency.

This top ten Google SERP wanna be offers not only hard sales techniques like opt in cues, but less than admirable functionality. One thing is clear to this writer, Dorathey Duffield wants you to email or call her, it’s prompted at every turn. The image below of a property search says it all for me. Excuse the lack of SM presence, a one way conversation, even hard sell tactics, the hazy images of a house worth nearly a third of a million dollars? Rating: 2 of 10.

Stone House Realty

Justin A. Lombard should not have chosen a domain name like trust-in-justin.com, but other than this he has his two competitors up there beat hands down where online credibility is concerned. His website is nothing to write to Time Magazine over, it won’t make any web covers, but the Realtor has done some SEO, SM, and marketing classes somewhere. Or else is smart enough (not so cheap as to) to hire somebody who does have a clue. Sorry Justin, I can’t give a glowing review here, but you honestly did what was necessary.

Okay, Stone House does not have a massive engagement quotient, but what is displayed openly is the Broker’s email, picture, phone, and a little tiny “g +” at page top, indicating someone there understands SEO and the social trend. Stone House does venture into the “opt in” space where it seems appropriate, such as the testimonial pages as the company’s competitors do. The difference in this case being there are actual reviews of the services offered next to one call to action to get mail from the Realtor. No Twitter and Facbook, no valid link to the g + profile, an ugly site, and some other missing elements take Stone House’s ratings down tho. Rating: 5 of 10.

Historic Phoenix Dot Com?

If ever there were a smart move (I think) calling your real estate entity by a dual purpose name might be (or might have been) one of the slickest I’ve seen. The owners of Historic Phoenix, Don Mertes and Maureen Rooney, got themselves into the top ten search listings with a lot of content, and what looks like some SEO and linking juice. The site seems very new, Alexa only shows a brief history dating back to three months.

The nicest of the Phoenix real estate sites we visited today, and replete with pics of the principals, some decent tools, and a ton of resources. However, beyond a snappy and effective internal and external linking build (study link building and SEO), and some cool facts and figures about the surrounding Arizona architecture etc, “slick” is about what the online home searcher gets via this portal. Bottom line is, are the agents doing their best to sell and show? No social engagement for their clients, some info loosely scattered about the site, and a Yelp connection of little relevance (save some visibility), none of this spells “BROKER” for me. Of course, the agents are free to argue. Rating: 5 of 10.

Is this enough to sell? Or to make you want to buy or call?

The Drummond Group

Interestingly, or sadly perhaps, Phoenix’s real estate presence online is so poor as to have driven this writer to Zillow to find our next entry. The Drummond Group appears not in our Google SERPs, but at the top of the list of Phoenix Realtors on the Zillow Real Estate Agent Reviews & REALTORS®. Okay, after spitting and coughing like Daffy Duck over this dispicable happenstance, it matters not. Evaluating Ed Drummond’s digital presence for his constituents will do. Oh, but wait? Ed Drummond is all about commercial offerings. Or is he? The Zillow listing shows homes and review about buying homes, yet the company site offers industrial, land, office, and so on?

Wait, Ed has his Drummond Group at Capstone Realty identity on Facebook! But somehow all these presences rebuke the Google search, even the Zillow one? Confused? So am I. There’s a Capstone Realty site, an Ed Drummond one that is exactly the same with Ed’s domain, and at least one domain that no longer exits. While Ed Drummond does sure seem to get around, and his agency(s) show the earmarks of being successful (lots of employees) Ed himself is a bit hard to track down. I did manage to find one pic of him on the company Facebook, with Santa Claus no less. (Evidently he only shows up for Christmas?). Anyhow, Ed and his team will have to excuse me for A – having to hunt them down, and B – being very confused about their offerings for web searching real estate peeps. Rating (just cuz Ed is so tall) 4 of 10.

Summary Judgement: Pitiful

No doubt the reader (and some Phoenix Realtors) are suffering at this point. In all honesty it is no fun revealing such mediocrity, particularly for an area of the US one would think might recover sooner, rather than later. One thing is cemented with this latest review of digital Realty, not many agents spend even a thought considering how people on the web might engage with them.

Maybe all you iPhone toting people out there, you Facebook fans, had better get in your cars and drive to Arizona? Just look for the big ass sign that says; “Home For Sale” by the lazy agent too busy and important to do more than take your money.

Sorry, but this search is getting ridiculous. Next up Dallas.

Photo credit: Mediocrity image courtesy Andy Dean – Fotolia.com

Phil Butler

Phil Butler is a former engineer, contractor, and telecommunications professional who is editor of several influential online media outlets. Phil began his digital ramblings via several of the world’s most noted tech blogs, at the advent of blogging as a form of journalistic license. A graduate of The College of Charleston, Phil also served in the United States Navy, and has worked for any number of Fortune 500 companies. Together with his wife and partner Mihaela Lica Butler, Phil also helped forge Pamil Visions PR into one of the most successful online PR companies in the world. His greatest accomplishments however involves being the best husband, father, and friend he can be.

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