Browse Tag: Facebook

Can Having The Wrong Facebook Friends Interfere With Your Financing?

In commercial real estate, as with most commercial financing, a borrower’s personal credit rating looms large in the eyes of “A” list lenders offering the most attractive interest rates.

A recent patent filed by Facebook has raised eyebrows, suggesting that the credit ratings of your Facebook friends could possibly affect decisions made by lenders about you — or by extension, about any entity doing any borrowing where your personal liability is a factor.

As reported in The Atlantic by Robinson Meyer, the online giant Facebook recently made a patent filing totaling many pages, saving the best for last. Nestled toward the tail of Facebook’s US Patent And Trademark Office filing, under a heading “Summary Of The Invention,” (a list containing technologies they seek to patent) Facebook included the following paragraph:

When an individual applies for a loan, the lender examines the credit ratings of members of the individual’s social network who are connected to the individual […]. If the average credit rating of these members is at least a minimum credit score, the lender continues to process the loan application. Otherwise, the loan application is rejected.

The suggestion is that Facebook seeks a patent on the ability to speak to your creditworthiness by allowing analysis of the creditworthiness of your Facebook friends.  Conspicuously missing from the above wording: any mention of a fair analysis of your own hard-earned credit rating.

A Return Of Redlining?

Critics of the practice of amassing Big Data from every corner of the lives of consumers, tenants, or users of a social media platform like Facebook have warned for years about future unintended consequences. It doesn’t take much imagination to see Facebook’s proposal as one such problem. What’s more, the future isn’t the only place where data about borrower’s surroundings have been unethically treated as conclusions about a borrower’s creditworthiness. In the context of the real estate industry, the notion of making credit decisions based upon one’s “neighborhood” has a specific and sad social-legal history, called redlining.

Decades-Old Legal Framing

The recent shifting picture of technology innovation having its way with the credit scoring industry — itself worth its own post — runs up against the legal barriers set down in 1970 under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and, in the case of any loans issued on the basis of such reporting, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974.  Any classification of Facebook as a credit reporting agency akin to TransUnion or Experian would be a application of laws written decades before social media information began to voluntarily flow from all of us, a troublesome and awkward legal situation to say the least.

While this patent application is preliminary and comes with no evidence Facebook is actually using or marketing credit data on its users, at least one overseas company is claiming to aggregate Facebook and other social media data to provide lending decision support.  From the Atlantic piece:

Which isn’t to say that social-network-based credit is an irreparably bad idea. In countries that do not have America’s financial system, friend scores can help extend credit to those who need it. In Mexico, Columbia, and the Philippines, a company called Lenddo already analyzes someone’s Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to gauge their creditworthiness.

Newest Warning From The East

As if on cue, we find a very recent announcement by China’s government, saying that it will be holding certain online actions of its citizens and their social media friends in bad light credit rating-wise. This news, taken seriously by the ACLU  serves as yet another warning among many:

These days, it’s worth keeping in mind that online, we’re all a small part of Big Data.

Reach: What CRE Pros Should Know About Recent Facebook Changes

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Fr...

Many thousands of agents, managers and brokers use Facebook to great benefit  in their commercial real estate careers.  As with other social networking platforms, Facebook helps maintain the year-round business networking that professionals need.  The cost in dollars is zero to set up a presence such as a page dedicated to your business, and millions of professionals have taken to the site to take advantage of the free networking.

As the site closes in on its tenth birthday, having passed major business milestones such as its 2012 initial public offering, subtle changes in how Facebook works are underway, all aimed at bolstering the company’s bottom line.  Facebook makes its money not as a social networking platform, but as a delivery vehicle for highly targeted online advertising. Increasingly, that revenue is going to come from Facebook users — wether they know it or not.

Reducing The (Free) Reach, Accentuating The Paid

Facebook’s business plan includes directly monetizing the value it provides.  For a commercial real estate professional, that value is in the reach the professional enjoys.  When a property broker (just to take one example of a CRE pro) creates a page dedicated to her practice and posts material on that page, the basic expectation is that everybody who has “liked” that page, e.g. her followers, will see that content in their own newsfeed.  She reaches her followers with her sharing of content.

That was the basic expectation with Facebook for years, but much evidence has come in that the company has radically changed the reach it allows.  The unpaid reach (the industry calls it “organic” reach) is, according to many analysts on the sharp decline:

So far, it looks like brands are suffering pretty hard from the update. Ignite Social Media has put out a report after analyzing 689 posts across 21 brand pages of a variety of sizes and industries, finding that since December 1st, organic reach and organic reach percentage have each declined by 44% on average. Some, it says, have seen declines of up to 88%. One page out of the bunch saw an increase (5.6%).

“As reach declined, the raw number of engaged users plunged as well, falling on average by 35%,” writes Jim Tobin on the Ignite blog. “Some pages saw engaged users fall as much as 76%. Only one page in the data set had an increase in the number of engaged users, coming in at 0.7%.”

“Facebook once said that brand posts reach approximately 16% of their fans,” he writes. “That number is no longer achievable for many brands, and our analysis shows that roughly 2.5% is now more likely for standard posts on large pages. So, a year ago a brand could expect to reach 16 out of 100 fans and now that brand is lucky if they get 3 out of 100. Chilling news for brand pages who have invested resources to ‘build’ a large following of fans.”

Owners of business and brand pages on Facebook now face an altered playing field.  In order to keep up the levels of reach that make involvement with Facebook worthwhile, Facebook offers paid promotion as a means of extending that reach.  The ins and outs of paying for reach on Facebook is a topic for another post – but for now, because users aren’t told about the decline in reach, it’s important to understand that Facebook is increasingly switching to a pay-to-play networking model.

It’s All About.me

It was likely an accident but I may have learned a thing or two on my most recent trip to Las Vegas.  Strolling along from the roulette table to the virtual roulette table, then the ATM, I stumbled upon the 2013 Prudential HIT PLAY Convention being held at Caesar’s Palace. Realizing this is why NAR sent me here it was time to get to work and maybe attend a session or two.

Fidgeting through the program I noticed Terry Watson was holding his session called: Avoiding Road kill – Top 10 Stupid Things That Really Smart REALTORS® Do To Mess Up Their Lives™.  An active speaker on the NAR circuit, Terry is also an instructor for many NAR courses so I made a point to check it out.

A few subjects came up which should not be overlooked by our members, so I decided to share them below.

As a REALTOR® you need to:

1)      Look at yourself as a BRAND-   License your name. Yup, license then protect it. REALTORS® need to realize that their name is a brand. Protect the brand – look up every single photo of yourself on Facebook, including those in which you have been “tagged”. Look into getting reputation management and start a Yelp account in your name before someone else does.

2)      Get some Klout – Many of you may know about Klout, but did you know they have recently partnered with Bing and will now show your Klout score next to your name?  Klout has been touted as an online credit report on how much influence you have in the social media world. As unfair as this may seem to some there are fairly easy ways to raise your score. Getting interactions on twitter and Facebook and posting things that will get forwarded are two of the tips offered to raise your score.  Think grumpy cat.

 

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vitameatavegamin (Photo credit: Sara_Coffey)

3)      Take care of yourself- Are you sick, stressed or tired? No, I am not selling you on a cure all pill or the latest in exercise equipment with assembly required, but I did want to share some of Terry’s suggestions- look at what you take in and do not allowing food sensitivities to control how you feel day to day. If affected, look into the food sensitivity test Alcat, watch documentaries on food production such as fork over knives, and read books such as Wheat Belly.

4)      Create an About.me account – What is About.me? About.me provides free personalized pages on the web where you link all of your social media and contact information in one clean platform- an online business card.  Terry seems to have found out about this site the same way I did –from Nobu Hata, NAR’s Director of Digital Engagement, and checking out his page here.

If you want to learn more about Terry Watson’s programs check out his website at www.terrywatson.com .

 

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CIB: How to Obtain Successful Negotiation Skills

President of Strategic Negotiations International

Many speakers try and give you tips and know-how of negotiations but few have the first-hand, global experiences, that Signature Series speaker Barry Elms can provide. From the Middle East to Midwest from the federal government to General Motors, Barry Elms discusses what his real life negotiations have taught him and will share some of those lessons learned to our Commercial Intelligence Briefing (CIB) listeners.

More on our speaker- Barry Elms, President of Strategic Negotiations International, is acclaimed by many as “America’s business coach in negotiation skills.” In the last 20 years, Barry has given more than 2,000 presentations to corporations and associations worldwide, including the National Association of REALTORS®. Click on the link to listen to this edition of the CIB as well as past recordings.

http://www.realtor.org/podcasts/commercial-intelligence-briefings

Even The Cloud Needs A Roof: Some Numbers On Datacenters

(Above: A peek inside Facebook’s Prineville, OR server room.)

A great piece in Chicago Real Estate Daily focuses on the issue of datacenters; how they’re leased, bought, valued and provisioned.  Jim Kerighan, who spent three years with Grubb & Ellis as head of datacenters befiore moving to Avison Young this week, says the market for datacenter space is unique and growing.

Why would a tenant want to be in Elk Grove Village versus North Carolina? What would be the factors that would make one better than the other? 

It depends on the client. They will look at their power needs, the cost per kilowatt hour, they’ll look at the various tax incentives that are provided by a municipality whether it be by the state or locally. The larger companies, the Googles, the Yahoos, what is driving their decisions is vastly different than what might be driving a smaller user. 

The bigger companies often have multiple data center sites so they are less sensitive to anything that might be a natural disaster or other type of disaster because they are backed up by other properties around the country. But they are driven by things like the cost of power. Illinois doesn’t charge personal property tax on servers, so that’s a pretty big, important key factor, while other states may provide a discount on the tax on the electrical power and then there are other states that are going to charge less money for power. 

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Your Next Sales Meeting

One of the most important components of the Member Services position in NAR Commercial is finding effective ways of communicating all of the benefits of REALTOR® membership to its 75,000+ commercial real estate professionals.  It requires creativity and I will admit, it is one of my favorite responsibilities.  What is even more fun is when a REALTOR® finds new and creative ways to use their benefits making them more productive and hopefully saving them some time.

Dan Sight, CCIM and Vice President of Reece Commercial in Kansas City (also 2011 Chair of the NAR Commercial Committee) recently mentioned to me that he uses the Commercial Intelligence Podcasts and the On-Demand Webinars produced by NAR Commercial for his weekly sales meetings.  Used as tools for teaching, updating on the latest trends, advising on threats to the commercial real estate business and promoting leadership skills, these free tools for REALTORS® are being used by Dan and his team in a way that we did not originally intend.  No matter, it’s brilliant and we wanted to pass this tip on to you in the hopes that you will find your next sales meeting easier to plan and highly productive.

How are you using these benefits and others in your business?  Have you found unique ways to implement benefits that have made your life easier or your business more successful?  Let us know!  Send us and email or post a comment – we’d love to feature your ideas here on the blog.

Access the latest podcast, “The 3 Keys to Building Relationships” featuring Ravit Lichtenberg of UStrategy who speaks to the hows of integrating marketing and communications with online activities to enhance your role as an industry leader.

There are many archived podcasts and on-demand webinars produced by NAR Commercial for your use – your sales and staff meetings just got a bit easier for the year!  NAR Commercial publishes new podcasts and webinars every month so we’ll always keep you up to date.

Ustrategy website: www.ustrategy.com

Blog www.ravitlichtenberg.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/ravit_ustrategy

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/ravitlichtenberg

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