Archive for November, 2008
Name This is an online company that allows someone to ask for help in naming their new business enterprise or product and then allows others to suggest the best name. The suggested names are ordered and prioritized and the winners can get paid.
Several real estate-related firms are looking for new names, including this guy looking for a name for his Redfin-style online real estate brokerage for tech savvy internet users located in California. (Caveat: Must not have the word “discount” in the name.) You got about 30 hours left to come up with your suggestions.
Others who have looked for a new name is a broker in Tampa, Florida and this company who is trying to establish single property websites to agents. Commercial brokerages are also looking for a new name, as are green builders.
Those businesses searching for a new name for their business is fascinating, a glimpse in to the mind of some very clever (and a few deluded) entrepreneurs.
It’s too late to vote for the name of Sarah Palin’s next baby, but you can read the results of the last poll here.
Every year on November 22nd, I like to pause and reflect about the body of work from writer and rabble-rouser Jack London. Jack London, who died today in 1916, was most famous for writing “The Call of the Wild”, but he was also a brilliant union organizer and author of “The Scab”.
What is a scab? Simply, a person who purports to do the same amount of work as another person, but for less money. According to Jack London, anyone who undercuts another person, as far as wages or compensation for labor, may be considered a “scab”.
In the real world, a scab would be someone who either crosses a picket line to work or someone who agrees to do the same work for less money. “Scab” is also used to refer to workers who cave too easily to concessions or someone who offers their services for less money specifically to undercut a competitor. (In labor terms, what is a scab?)
It’s a good old-fashioned term with a rich history and those who choose to go through life participating in scabby behavoir should embrace the term and own it.
In a competitive society, where men struggle with one another for food and shelter, what is more natural than that generosity, when it diminishes the food and shelter of men other than he who is generous, should be held an accursed thing? Wise old saws to the contrary, he who takes from a man’s purse takes from his existence. To strike at a man’s food and shelter is to strike at his life; and in a society organized on a tooth-and-nail basis, such an act, performed though it may be under the guise of generosity, is none the less menacing and terrible.
It is for this reason that a laborer is so fiercely hostile to another laborer who offers to work for less pay or longer hours. To hold his place, (which is to live), he must offset this offer by another equally liberal, which is equivalent to giving away somewhat from the food and shelter he enjoys. To sell his day’s work for $2, instead of $2.50, means that he, his wife, and his children will not have so good a roof over their heads, so warm clothes on their backs, so substantial food in their stomachs. Meat will be bought less frequently and it will be tougher and less nutritious, stout new shoes will go less often on the children’s feet, and disease and death will be more imminent in a cheaper house and neighborhood.
Thus the generous laborer, giving more of a day’s work for less return (measured in terms of food and shelter), threatens the life of his less generous brother laborer, and at the best, if he does not destroy that life, he diminishes it. Whereupon the less generous laborer looks upon him as an enemy, and, as men are inclined to do in a tooth-and-nail society, he tries to kill the man who is trying to kill him.
Before someone writes in complaining that this definition of a “Scab” is defamatory, consider the following:
After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, and the vampire, he had some awful substance left with which he made a scab. A scab is a two-legged animal with a corkscrew soul, a water brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue.
This passage figured in a 1974 Supreme Court case, in which justice Thurgood Marshall quoted the passage in full and referred to it as “a well-known piece of trade union literature, generally attributed to author Jack London.” A union newsletter had published a “list of scabs,” which was granted to be factual and therefore not libellous, but then went on to quote the passage as the “definition of a scab.” The case turned on the question of whether the “definition” was defamatory. The court ruled that “Jack London’s… ‘definition of a scab’ is merely rhetorical hyperbole, a lusty and imaginative expression of the contempt felt by union members towards those who refuse to join,” and as such was not libellous and was protected under the First Amendment.
Jack London wrote The Scab in 1903 and died in 1916 at the age of 40…..
“Real estate, like car insurance, is usually a zero-sum game. You aren’t convincing people who otherwise would not buy a home to buy. You are stealing share from another broker who otherwise might get that client. Why should they choose you instead of them?”
Seattle marketing stategist Joe Hage discusses why marketing strategies for real estate agents is so hard.
I can’t say it was one of my favorites, but it did offer a few moments of amusement over the last few years. Who could forget the battle and flame war with Greg at Bloodhound Blog. What a hoot. Mr. Swann won that one and it was awesome to watch. And I’m still flattered by my “Real Estate Poodle” title Keith bestowed.
HousingPANIC remains online as “A time capsule of the greatest financial mania in the history of mankind, told in real-time by regular folks and patriots. May future generations better understand the madness of crowds, and how power and money corrupt.”
Keith has since turned his attention to a new blog, Soot and Ashes “A politically incorrect pamphlet for the common man hitting on all the good stuff: Politics. Economics. Fiscal Policy. Foreign Policy. Moral Issues. Culture. Investments. Religion. Humor. Life.” His brain is just too big to only discuss housing issues, I guess. At least he’s an Obama supporter.
I had decided on a moratorium on Redfin news for awhile, but with their blogging, interviewing, press-releasing and general stirring up of the real estate dust last week, they’re hard to ignore.
With their venture capital dwindling and real estate commissions drying up, they’ve taken to a late-night-TV hawker mentality (But, wait, there’s more!) by offering special deals and twofers in hopes of attracting the last few home buyers before the holiday lull really sets in.
In a play borrowed from cereal manufacturer and candy bar makers who routinely make the packaging smaller while raising their prices, Redfin has begun to increase their services to where they should have been all along, while lowering the amount of their rebate.
Tim and his fellow minions have killed several years now in writing Seattle Bubble, a blog devoted to documenting the rise and fall of real estate in Seattle and around the country. The blog is equal parts post and comment and the many threads boil down to
1. Real estate is overpriced
2. Only an idiot would buy or own a house.
So, it’s a curious and puzzling partnership. Why would a real estate business hire a writer/representative who doesn’t believe in owning real estate? If Redfin cross-links with Seattle Bubble, which they have and will, what kind of “buyers” are they hoping to attract? You can waste a lot of time spinning wheels writing low-ball offers from cheap bottom-feeders who are only testing the market. And readers of these bubble blogs tend to be frightened of home ownership anyway, so I imagine they’re not highly motivated home buyers.
And on the coat-tails of Redfin’s announcement, I get a press release from findwell, another discount broker, challenging Redfin and offering defecting Redfin clients an additional $500 rebate if they use findwell’s services instead.
And now another Redfin pretender out of Boston, House Savvy is here. They’re offering zero-cost listings to sellers in the Boston area and plan to make money just in sales. Didn’t Foxton’s try that? And Iggy’s House?
I’d add a link, but they’ve both since gone out of business.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. The Gaunt family in Buckeye wants to downsize and sell its home but they’re having trouble selling it.
So they’re taking a gamble and put an ad on Craigslist in order to raffle the 3,600 square foot home.
The homeowner wants to sell tickets at 100 dollars.
In Arizona, though, gambling regulations say you must partner with a non-profit group to raffle a home or land. And, you can not make more than the assessed value of your home.
So, the search is on for a charity.
For the Craigslist ad click here
I wish I could say that Dan Savage was looking at my other real estate blog on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s website to read relevant and edifying real estate information, but alas, I think he was just looking for fodder for his Savage Love sex column.
How embarrassing! The owner of the site must have let his domain name lapse and it was snatched up by, uh, another type of businessman. But not just my mistake, as links to the site remain live on other real estate websites too.
Makes me giggle like a school girl.
This is a great day for America, on so many levels and in so many ways.
My husband and I are Obama supporters and we created the “OBAMA” Room at Cafe Racer. That is the acronym for the Official Bad Art Museum of Art. So of course we chose to spend election night there, in the OBAMA room, with our friends and other supporters.
Kurt, the owner and chef, read that an analysis was done to see how much each vote costs and with over one billion dollars spent during the campaign season, the cost for each vote totaled eight dollars. So, in honor of this, Cafe Racer had an election party and for the Obama supporters served Obama’s most favorite food, chili, using his own recipe, for $8 and for the McPalin supporters, they served prune juice and caribou jerky.
After McCain conceded and Obama made his acceptance speech, there was a spontaneous dancing in the streets. My husband posted the video on Seattle Twist.
I am so proud of America right now.