False advertising..who's the criminal?

By Darin Wood
April 14, 2011

I just got an email from a real estate agent that was interested in my services. I sent her all the info. She then proceeded to tell me that she only pays $95 for a video tour and photography services from someone else. Naturally, I was shocked and of course skeptical. So, when I looked up her listings, of course we all know what I found. Her “video tours” are just photos. Not even the Ken Burns junk. Just a high res photo viewer. The kind we all offer in our photography. Nice photos, but just photos. I called her on the phone and when I extremely politely tried to explain that she could just order my photography services and pay less, she insisted that gets “video” with her orders.  I tap danced a while and I finally had no choice. I had to ask her:  “a videographer walks through your listings with a camera in one continuous shot?” She replied quietly, ‘no.’   When she finally realized that she was wrong, she said: “Well, I don’t even want that!” Got mad and hung up on me. She was just a nasty mean person from the beginning and I’ve moved on. However, it got me thinking. Who is the real criminal? The agent out there telling sellers that they use “VIDEO!” to sell their listings, or…the photographer that is advertising to real estate agents that he uses “VIDEO.” How do we educate agents without pissing them off?  Is it possible? Here in St. Louis, it’s almost necessary. There aren’t enough agents who “get it.”  I am amazed that people still don’t understand what video is? Video? Really? Our business aside, in 2011 you can’t understand the difference between video and photography?  I meet sellers all the time who “get it” and probably laugh behind their agents back when the agent shows them a “video tour” of moving photos, but just don’t care enough to speak up.  If it was just this agent I would shrug but I run into this all the time.  It’s very frustrating and I’m thinking it’s the photographers out there that are lying that cause the problem.  I am sure most professional real estate photographers would never advertise that they use video.  Maybe this guy doesn’t and she’s the criminal? But if not, sometimes I wish I could file a complaint for false advertising.

It’s like a car dealer advertising a Cadillac, but selling a Pinto instead. Then, the customer drives around town smiling and thinking: “Man, I look good in my new Caddy!” I’m the dealer across the street selling real Cadillac’s, pulling my hair out wondering what the heck is going on!  It seems like we should be past this by now. Any thoughts?
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