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Cheaters NEVER Win

The term REALTOR® has come to connote competency, fairness, and high integrity resulting from adherence to a lofty ideal of moral conduct in business relations. No inducement of profit and no instruction from clients ever can justify departure from this ideal. - Realtor Code of Ethics

Lofty Ideals

There is no more immediate example of a departure from "lofty ideals" than the last 5 years in the real estate industry and the economic mess it's gotten us into.  It seems that the real estate industry is the epicenter of the largest economic shift in a generation.

As a result of this financial crises everyone has been forced to make budget cuts.  From the Government's massive, multi-billion dollar bail out of AIG (and several other well known financial institutions) to the "Big 3" U.S. automakers recent plea for a government "bridge loan" - there's no shortage of hand outs, bailouts and freebies to help these companies weather this economic storm.

Moral Conduct

"Moral conduct in business relations"* is no easy task -- especially when the bottom falls out.  Those of us that earn our daily bread from the real estate business, no doubt, feel the pressure of the current market.  "Dog-Eat-Dog".   

Citi Group.  AIG.  Bear Sterns.  Morgan Stanley.  Wachovia.  Washington Mutual.  The list of troubled companies being propped up by hard earned, tax-payer dollars goes on...and on.  And why should it stop there?  What about all those poor Realtors who are suffering as a result of this horrible housing market?  Who's going to lend them a helping hand?

That's the question we're asking ourselves at RealSourceBrokers.com and it looks as if we're doing our part - whether we've agreed to the terms or not.

Short on cash?  No problem.

Or maybe your simply short on original ideas?  We've got you covered.  In fact, you can take the shirt off our backs (or, more specifically, the content off our website) - you don't even have to ask.

Right click. Copy. And paste.  It's that simple. 

Competency, Fairness & High Integrity 

Below are three Three Case Studies I've compiled to demonstrate how our competitors are stepping up their game in this down market. 

Riding our coat-tails, cutting corners and saving time and money by stealing our content and making it their own.

Case Study #1: www.gordonstreetrealty.com

The "Gordon Street" Realty Bail Out

We've all heard about the Wall Street bail out.  And everyone agrees that Main Street needs help too.  But did you know that Gordon Street was also suffering?  Check out http://www.GordonStreetRealty.com and you'll notice how we've helped in their time of need. 

Go on...take a look...site design, images, content, service model...it's all there...we've even helped put words into Keith Gordon's mouth (see exhibit "b").

Exhibit "A" - STOLEN DESIGN/CONCEPT

**screen shot 11/28/2008** 

Look at Gordon Street Realty's useful Atlanta Zip Code flash map.  Oh, wait...that's actually our map as you can see throughout our website here: http://www.realsourcebrokers.com

gordon_street__copied_map_501

Exhibit "B"- STOLEN QUOTE

**screen shot 11/28/2008** 

Exhibit "B" is a quote from Keith Gordon's BIO page and it brings a new definition to the term unoriginal.  It seems I'm literally putting words in Keith Gordon's mouth - take a look at my about page and cross reference it with the Gordon Street screen shot below.

gordon_street__copied_7_504

Exhibit "C"- STOLEN CONTENT/SERVICE MODEL

**screen shot 11/24/2008**

Take a look at these two screen shots and then go to my site and look at our home page and our relocation services page.  Can anyone say "shameless"?

gordon_street__copied_content_1_505

Case Study #2: www.rkihomes.jasonbenesch.com

The Real Estate Tomato "Gets Squeezed"

Everyone is feeling the "squeeze" of the economic downturn and the famed http://www.RealEstateTomato.com is no different.  In developing a site for one our local, Atlanta competitors they took a page (or two) directly from our playbook.

Exhibit "A" - STOLEN CONTENT

**screen shot 11/21/2008** 

Jason Benesch, Director of Techonology for RealEstateTomato.com, was short on words (and common sense) as he developed the, now terminated, website for RKI Homes here in Atlanta.  A local Keller Williams agent, Brenda and her team hired Real Estate Tomato to build a website that was never completed.  It was, however, live on the internet for long enough to get indexed by google when searching our office phone number (see google search for 404-270-9374 for evidence).  That's right - he was so "right click" happy that he forgot to change the phone number on the content he stole for our site and posted on his client's site.

rki_homes__googled_phone__609

rki_homes__copied_content_605

Exhibit "B"- COPIED CONCEPT/SERVICE MODEL

**screen shot 11/21/2008*

They didn't stop of direct theft of content in exhibit "a".  No sir.  They extended it right into their footer where it would appear they were going to copy our service model too.

rki_homes__footer_374

Exhibit "C"- COPIED DESIGN/CONCEPT/CONTENT

**screen shot 11/21/2008**

We're not staking claim to the idea of displaying "Market Stats" on our website.  But who are you trying to kid?  That's our content you've stolen and put into that box.  Making Sense Of The Market?  Let's not get ahead of ourselves here...I'm still trying to make sense of how you call yourself a web "designer"?

rki_homes__making_sense_331

Case Study #3: www.gregregan.com

Greg Regan"onomics"

Many of the most influential economists in the world looked to "Reaganomics" to explain this distrastrous economic situation. Over at http://www.GregRegan.com a Pinehurst, NC Realtor has put to work his own form of de-regulated policies when it comes to his website.

Exhibit "A" - COPIED DESIGN/CONTENT

**screen shot 11/18/2008**

greg_regan__copied_4_292

Exhibit "B" - STOLEN DESIGN/CONTENT

**screen shot 11/18/2008**

Again with the "Market Watch"?  Popular feature.  I don't blame you for stealing it from my site - it's definitely one of my favorites too.

greg_regan__market_watch_463

Exhibit "C" -  STOLEN CONTENT

**screen shot 11/18/2008**

I'm not sure this even needs an explanation.  Let's see...right click...copy...paste...find/replace.  That just about does it.  Greg, I hope you didn't pay too much for those guys over at http://www.goodboyweb.com/ to design your site...

greg_regan__copied_1_469

greg_regan__copied_2_467

Discussion

#1 By Gulf Shores Condos at 12/23/2015 7:01 AM

Hey Josh,
Hate that you had this happen. I had the same thing happen to me and the perpetrator even put up copywrite notice and made his site safe from right click bandits by rendering right clicks unusable on his site. A note cc:ed to his broker rapidly solved the problem within a matter of hours.

I hate to see that The Real Estate Tomato made such an error in judgement. I would think they owe you an public appology on their blog and a permanant position in their blogroll as a gesture of good will.

Hope you get things worked out quickly before more harm comes.

#2 By Carolyn Gjerde-Tu at 12/23/2015 7:01 AM

Josh, I'm sorry I've had it happen to me as well. Sorry it has happened so many times and SO blatant. Just shows you how great your site is. Too bad no one was hotlinking you could have a little fun with that. Especially with the custom design work I'm sure once Morgan gets wind of it they are going to be sorry.

#3 By Eddy Kicker at 12/23/2015 7:01 AM

Josh, it is a tribute to your site that multiple lazy agents would want to copy your content. It has happened to me numerous times and normally they act shocked and blame a web designer. If it is your site, the buck stops with you. You have invested a lot of time and money with your site and no one but you should benefit from it. Hope these guys get penalized for their actions.

#4 By Nicholas May at 12/23/2015 7:01 AM

That's pretty ridiculous, Josh. It's weird to me that so many people think this is an okay thing to do. It's a heck of a compliment though. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.. or in this case, straight up thievery.

#5 By Wayne Long at 12/23/2015 7:01 AM

Josh - That looks like some pretty blatant theft of intellectual property. That custom designed map is really obvious theft.

I know I wouldn't want to deal with a Realtor who is a thief!!

It seems to me they need some kind of legal action - not to mention an ethics hearing before your board. Theft of any kind should certainly be an actionable ethics violation. IMO

#6 By Mike at 12/23/2015 7:01 AM

It's obvious that you're at the top of the food chain! It's a shame that these others could not find spend the time and effort to actually put some care and original thought into things. These shameless webmasters will not succeed.

#7 By Dena Davis at 12/23/2015 7:01 AM

Have you heard from any of these agents in response to your post. Its too bad. We all look to other sites for inspiration but it does seem like these people were a little overzealous.... to say the least.

#8 By Jon Karlen at 12/23/2015 7:01 AM

Really a shame that people have to just rip others off like that. Its a mugging plain and simple. You would think that by you calling them out in this type of format/setting, that you'd embarass them into at least not being so blatant about it. As Wayne said though: they are creating their own reptuation as being a dishonest thief. And you can take solace in the fact that the internet has a way of lasting a REALLY long time - and the record of thievery will likely outlive their career as a real estate agent.

#9 By Jason at 12/23/2015 7:01 AM

I hope that you pursue these agents with a cease and desist letter at the least.

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