Selling your personal information
Have you ever searched for a locksmith or for a mover? It is interesting to me that the "search sphere" on the world wide web has tons of "lead generation" sites that cater to the Locksmith and Moving businesses.
Watch your step
There must be good money on trapping and capturing clients. In fact, I was caught recently with regard to needing a locksmith for an out of area REO listing the bank gave us to handle. Thinking that they were a local shop, I was surprised when the vehicle that pulled up had no markings(advertisements) what so ever. No "LockSmith", or "We Open Doors", just a compact sedan with no markings. Don't get me wrong, it is not a problem if a locksmith company does not have vehicles that are marked up with their business name, I'm just not used to it.
So I asked the man driving the silver colored car, "Which company are you with", and he said, "I'm independent". The bulb went on and I had him complete the job. He has to pay the referral company, after I pay him. The issue came in when I wanted to be invoiced.
All of our local locksmith companies, that work with my Paris911 Team, don't expect or receive payment until the bank owned home has closed escrow and funds are disseminated. This is the normal operational procedure.(NOP)
When I called up the lead generation company and was led to believe I was dealing with a brick and mortar locksmith company, I explained the situation. It's was a bank owned property, payment will be rendered in the future, I need to be invoiced. The lady on the other end, said she understood and that would not be a problem.
After the locksmith finished changing 12 locks and three locking mechanisms, it was a problem. I explained what the "lady" had told me - he informed he just gets leads and does not know the lady(I spoke with) or where their office is located. And I got Voice Mail each of the dozen times I called - one right after another! :-)
It was a mess, but he was paid, in cash, on the day of the lock change. I was able to call back the company and they were apparently too big to care about what I was told etc.
Real Estate Lead Generation Websites
Which brings me to the title of this post. I know there are "lead generation" companies that have literally hundreds of real estate websites that capture your data to sell to other real estate agents.
My Statement and Testimony, is that those types of websites don't help you they hurt you. They squeeze you into giving up your personal information with some really crafty logo and verbiage. They offer you the "deal of a lifetime" without ever making good on their promise.
Separating the wheat from the chaff
If you want to steer clear of those types of sites - look for the phone number. Then call the phone number. Most will not have a phone number in the first place - if they do, they will not answer it :-) and if they answer it and you ask them their physical address - it's not local!!!
BE Safe when searching, when you find a local agent or team that you are comfortable with, have them provide to you the URL location of their search resources. By utilizing their real estate search systems, you can be assured that you will not be taken advantage of by the Real Estate lead generation websites.