3 Linkedin “Recommendation” Strategies For Realtors: Are You Doing It Right?

Linkedin Add Connections button

FoxBusiness.com published this deansguide article 5-29-09

Like entrepreneurs, small businesses, and large corporations, Realtors are beginning to leverage the power of Linkedin.com for their business. The growth of the site’s traffic and user base coupled with opportunities to join Groups, engage in Q&A’s, and broadcast information makes Linkedin an absolute necessity to any business of any size. The following are three strategies for Realtors in their quest to leverage the power of Linkedin Recommendations.


  1. Don’t Blatantly Ask: The worst approach to receiving  a recommendation is to ask for one. This approach puts undue pressure on your friend, leaves them with a decision, and it can make for awkward communications and weaken your connection to that person
  2. Write Recommendations: With a top down approach to clients and collaborators (start with the most relevant or important), begin writing recommendations for people. The benefits are goodwill with your network, top of mind reminder of your work, and status updates with your name attached
  3. Request: Write a well thought out and powerful recommendation. Before sending it, attach a message asking:
  • Does the recommendation meet their expectations and is it accurate?
  • Ask them for their feedback on the recommendation
  • Close by asking them if they would consider writing a recommendation for you if they feel they have benefited from your relationship together

Former Vesta Strategies Employee Speaks Out: Victim Investors and Employees?


Foxbusiness.com published this deansguide article 5-23-09

Vesta Strategies, a short lived 1031 scam in the vein of Ed Okun, had many investors fooled into believing their monies were safe. We first wrote about Vesta “Has a New Ed Okun Arrived On The Scene: Vesta Strategies LLC Staggers from Wall St Journal Story” and “Vesta Strategies “Sales Pitch” Marketing Information They Forgot to Pull?”

As in the Okun case, Vesta Strategies investors were bilked out of their money and a number of these victims and former employees have voiced their pain or opinions. And just like the Okun case, some Vesta employees maintain they were unaware of what was going on. The following comment was made by former Vesta Strategies employee Joe Barrett.

Joe wrote copy for his Vesta office but we are unclear which quote he penned. Was it the now very comical analogy of Vesta as “McDonalds” in their approach to business, I bet McDonalds loves that company, or the innocuous “Final Pitch” referring to their “expert information” ?

Joe Barrett:

“It’s funny to read the above as I am the former Vesta employee who wrote it. Obviously, at the time I wrote it, it was true. Prior to the abrupt closure of the company, we employees were unaware of the coming firestorm. It’s so unfortunate because some investors lost money, we employees lost jobs and our individual reputations in the industry are tarnished. Thanks Mr. Estupinian!”

Dell’s Great Idea: Ideastorm.com Crowdsourcing Engagement

Crowdsourcing is according to the crowdsourcing wikipedia: “the act of taking a task traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people, in the form of an open call.”

Dell Ideastorm

Crowdsourcing is becoming a method of measuring audience participation, company engagement within their niche, identifying opportunity, and how to recognize their audience and consumers for their great ideas.

Architecture of Participation

According to Tim O’Reilly, the man behind the definition of Web 2.0, Web 2.0 is built on an “architecture of participation.” Consequently, crowdsourcing is a fantastic method to tap into the vast resource that is human capital on the Internet, discover new ideas for products or services, and measure your message. This concept hinges on one idea: harnessing collective intelligence.

Harnessing Collective Intelligence

Tim ‘OReilly posited in 2005 that “The central principle behind the success of the giants that lead the Web 2.0 era appears to be. . . that they have embraced the power of the web to harness collective intelligence.”

Crowdsourcing: Dell’s Ideastorm.com

A great example of mining for ideas on products, services, best practices, policy, and a number of other business concepts is Dell Computers’ crowdsourcing site ideastorm.com. Dell’s tagline for ideastorm “Where Your Ideas Reign.”

Dell’s Ideastorm.com is responsible for the following:


Any entrepreneur, small business, large corporation, or job seeker can utilize “crowdsourcing” for their own purposes. One added benefit of crowdsourcing is the fact that it is an entry point for any job seeker or entrepreneur looking for opportunities. If an individual showcases their expertise and talents they have a solid chance of being noticed and opening the lines of communication with their intended targeted audience(s).

Twitter Strategies For Realtors: Twitter Grader’s City Networks

Twitter Grader

Courtesy of Twittergrader.com

ComputerShopper.com published this deansguide article 5-13-09

Twitter Grader is one of the new tools that helps Realtors, entrpreneurs and companies measure their social media presence on the social network, micro-blogging sensation, Twitter.com. Twittergrader.com  is just one in dozens of open source measurement tools available to Twitter users.  What stands out about this new tool is it’s special feature: CityGrader.

What is CityGrader?

City Grader is a listing of the top 10 Cities, calculated by number of Twitter users, with dedicated Twitter users. These users are consumers, companies, entrepreneurs, and public utilities. The list of participants is endless.

Top 10 Cities

1. London
2. Los Angeles
3. Chicago
4. New York
5. San Francisco
6. Toronto, Canada
7. Seattle
8. Atlanta
9. Boston
10. Austin

Twitter Strategies: City Networks

Here are some tips on how to utilize the information provided for each city network of twitter users:

  • Networking: mine city lists within your niche. Example: Los Angeles #12  prominent Twitterer is Jeff Turner Founder of Realestateshows.com
  • Jeff Turner Twitter Grader
  • Leads: mine city lists for prominent entrepreneurs, small businesses, or firms that could use your services. Build a list from these leads for each city and trade with partners who are located in those markets
  • Research: Compile a list of the most prominent consumers, competitors, and possible networking partners in each city and research the information they “tweet” on their markets. Gain a direct understanding of each city’s conditions by reading about the experiences of those professionals in each city network

VistaPrint Complaints: 5 Viral Strategies to Challenge a Bully

3 Stooges pic

Courtesy of threestooges.com

VistaPrint’s No Customer Service: Consumeraffairs.com Documents Complaints” outlined my poor experience with VistaPrint and my decision to never use their products or services again. This article, as of May 8, 2009, is indexed in the #6 position page 1 of a Google search for the phrase “VistaPrint complaints.”

My Promise to VistaPrint:

As I promised in my intial article, I have become “a consumer affairs advocate fighting hard to highlight the no customer service” treatment I received. My plan was simple: write a blog post about what happened and tell all of my friends in my assorted social networks of my experience.

My Blog:

  1. Article: I wrote the article describing my experience
  2. Google Search: I performed a due diligence search on VistaPrint utilizing the keywords “VistaPrint complaints”
  3. Links: I provided a list of 5 respected media sites, consumer advocacy sites with information on a variety of complaints lodged against VistaPrint. WordPress provided me my own category


Activerain is an important social network, with 145,000 registered users, where I have many real estate friends. I wrote a second article detailing my experience and that article now sits on page 2 of a Google search for “VistaPrint complaints” “VistaPrint: How Not to Run Your Company a Cautionary Tale


This is one of my favorite social networks with an estimated 8-9 million registered users. I have over 1,300 followers on Twitter and counting

  1. Tweet: I tweeted my experience with a link to my deansguide article
  2. @VistaPrint: In my tweet I used the @VistaPrint to notify them of my article


Because I utilize the Typepad application on my Linkedin profile, my social network content from Twitter ends up streamed to my Linkedin profile. In addition my WordPress.com application streamed my article on VistaPrint making it accessible to my 398 1st level connections and their networks as well


Friendfeed.com aggregates all of your content that you place online. Recently it has become the hot new mover with many Twitter advocates moving to ramp up their networks on Friendfeed. My article, my tweets, and my conversations about my VistaPrint experience has streamed on my Friendfeed account

Vista Print’s No Customer Service: Consumeraffairs.com Documents Complaints

Consumeraffairs logo

Courtesy of Consumeraffairs.com

According to Consumeraffairs.com VistaPrint has many dissatisfied and angry ex-customers with complaints aka nightmares ranging from customer service to billing. VistaPrint is a low budget, high promise printer. Vistaprint.com makes it’s living, not on the quality of it’s products, on the shipping fees it charges for it’s orders. With the knowledge VistaPrint was all about the “delivery”, I assumed that they would be able to print and deliver my cards to my home before my deadline: WRONG.

Three (3) Business Days?

We placed our rush 3 business day ship order on Monday April 27 with the idea that Vista Print would deliver our cards in 3 business days ie. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday with the product arriving either Thursday April 30 or the morning of May 1, 2009.

My Mistake

When we ordered the cards, we did not read the fine print which states that orders placed after 5pm PST would be placed as orders for the following day. Consequently, Vistaprint’s promise of a 3 day ship would give up to 5pm Friday May 1 to deliver our cards.

My Problem

We needed business cards for a conference that we were speaking at in San Francisco. We had to have the cards no later than 12:30pm Friday May 1. When we had to leave for the conference, our cards were no where to be found.

Complaint Button

Vistaprint’s Solution to My Problem: No Customer Service

I called asking for a refund on my shipping fees of $30.80 (3 business day rush shipping). I was told by a customer service rep that they could not help me and they fulfilled their end of the “contract.”

I pointed out that 3 days is not a rush in my opinion, that $31 for shipping is not cheap, and that the cards never arrived in time for me to use them. The answer to my plea was simple and stern: NO REFUND.

Final Offer: Remain a Customer or Leave

My final offer was simple and one that I have made in the past when I felt I was getting the raw end of a deal. I offered to remain a Vistaprint customer if they provided a refund on my shipping fees. I promised to be a consumer affairs advocate fighting hard to highlight the no customer service I was receiving if they denied my request. Guess what happened?

Top 10 Page 1 Google Search: “Vistaprint complaints”

Here is a library, and it is so much longer, list of the complaints detailed and often lodged against Vistaprint:

  1. Consumeraffairs.com: “Consumer complaints about VistaPrint.com
  2. Smartmoney.com: “VistaPrint Faces Complaints Over Third-Party Bills
  3. thestreet.com: “VistaPrint Can’t Hear the Knockin
  4. Complaintsboard.com: “List of VistaPrint Complaints
  5. PlanetMike.com: “VistaPrint Sucks!