Real Estate Password Security

If I went out and asked 10 Illinois real estate agents, “What is the #1 threat to your online security right now?” I would likely get 10 different answers. Honestly, most real estate agents don’t take online security seriously unless some hacker is using their stolen credit card numbers to buy a new laptop. Without a doubt, the number one threat to our online security is this: re-using passwords.

I know it doesn’t sound like that big of a deal and I know 99% of us do it. What I’m talking about is using the same password for our e-mail accounts, online banking, MLS, Amazon, Paypal, our favorite chat forums and 20 other websites. Honestly, how many of us use a unique password for every online site that requires a password? Anyone? I highly doubt it. Here’s another question: for those of us that use multiple passwords, how many keep these all written down somewhere like in a text file on their desktop or in a wallet? There are obviously several concerns here but I want to tackle the biggest one today – that being the re-use of passwords.

Here’s a not-so-farfetched real world example: Susan is a well-respected real estate agent in California. She has a savings account, a checking account and 2 high-limit credit cards. Susan also is a big fan of a football team. Susan hears of a new website that, after signing up, will allow her to track player stats on a game-by-game basis for every member of her team. Susan checks out the website but finds out that it’s a disappointment. 3 months later, Susan starts to see fradulent charges appear on both of her credit cards and a check of her bank accounts reveals several unauthorized wire transfers out of the country. Sounds pretty realistic, doesn’t it? The sad fact is, this sort of thing is happening every day online. It’s a thief’s playground out there – no, this isn’t paranoia, it’s reality. The good news is, most of this can be prevented with some careful and detailed security measures.

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Ipad for Real Estate

It’s just been one short year since the Ipad tablet PC was released in April of 2010. Millions of apps later we’re already on the second version – the Ipad 2 and there is no question that this mobile PC has hit the market running. Sales figures indicate that in 2010, over 14.5 million units were sold and it’s sleek look, easy-to-use interface and high-tech moxie have made it the hottest tablet PC. Just as the Iphone revolutionized the smartphone industry, the Ipad is doing the same with tablet PCs. I recently had a chance to play around with an Ipad and I have to say, the potential of this device for use in real estate is huge.

First off, if you are at all familiar with the Iphone, think of the Ipad as a large version of it and you’ll be right at home. The base model comes with wifi capability but AT&T and now Verizon sell data plans that give allow true mobile access of the internet. The first thing to understand is: the Ipad is not a phone. So you won’t be able to replace your smart phone with one (I don’t think anyone really would want to as you’d look pretty silly holding one up to your ear and it’s a little large to slip into a pocket). However, the Ipad 2 has been enhanced with a forward-facing camera to enhance it’s VoIP capabilities – particularly for Skype video conferencing.

Another advantage of the Ipad is the huge viewable screen. If you’ve ever tried to look up a home on your Iphone you know the difficulties of trying to show photos to your clients on that tiny screen. The Ipad changes all of this and it’s crystal clear back-lit display is perfect for internet browsing. I can already see a great use of the Iphone for showings – there’s nothing that’s going to wow your buyers like handing them an Ipad with a showing card for the property all loaded up and on-screen.

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Yahoo Directory – Worth It?

Last year around this time, I took the plunge for the Yahoo Directory – paying my $299 review fee. I was reviewed and added.

Since then, I can honestly say, the amount of traffic I have received from being listed has been minor – likely in the single digits. For many webmasters, the dilema of the Yahoo directory is obvious. $300 is somewhat expensive – one of the highest review fees out there and it’s annual too. Many webmasters measure the benefit of a directory by direct traffic – it’s farily well-known that the SEO aspect of many of them have been reduced over the years. However, there are a few that still generate some benefit – including the Yahoo Directory. However, when it comes down to it, is the benefit worth the cost?

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Link Building With Articles

Another popular way of building links for your website is through writing and submitting articles. This has become popular for several reasons. First, articles tend to be long so pages that include your article have a higher chance of being picked up and indexed by the search engines. Also, it’s a great way to include a link to your site by placing it into the “context” of the article. This is often seen as a higher value way of building a link than other forms such as directory submissions or text links.

There are a couple drawbacks to link building through articles. First, due to the fact that you generally are going to be submitting the same article to hundreds of sites, it will be duplicated hundreds of times all over the internet. This is sure to present some duplicate content issues with the search engines and you might find diminishing returns as the numbers grow. Second, writing an article takes time. Some have gone the route of hiring professional writers to generate topical articles for link building.

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Directory Submission – Free Versus Paid

I’ve gone back and forth several times about the value of submitting to directories. Right now, I feel that directories are a good option for site submission for several reasons. First, you might get some traffic because of your listing. Second, it gives your site good search engine exposure and means that your page should get crawled more often. Third, the one way link always helps. And finally, because there are lots of options out there for both free and paid submits.

I do understand that directories are not considered as authoratative as websites in your niche with the same them. It’s hard to relate a general web directory with a subject such as Real Estate when there is probably only a single category and perhaps a handful of subcategories related to the subject. Also, many of the free-submit directories tend to go defunct or never rise above the crowd, meaning that your listing will probably never count for much.

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