Week of September 11, 2000
  Editor's Choice Web Pick
   of the Week

Industrial-Strength Caveat, Emptor,
but . . . Congratulations, You've Been Accepted!

Alas, poor Yorick, something is rotten in someplace other than Denmark. Someplace like, say, cyberspace. Our offal suspicions started when two of our cohorts here at work - both sales team members - received unsolicited e-mails from realestatepros.org. Here, in part, is what those e-mails said:

"Dear Real Estate Professional: Currently we have you on record as having been accepted for our marketing and referral programs. You recently provided us with information that we reviewed, and therefore accepted for membership in the Real Estate Pro's online directory."

Hmm. We know a lot of good folks in the real estate industry, and this clearly didn't seem on the up and up. Fact is, our sales folks never provided realestatepros.org with any information. And the only deals our guys have ever been involved in have been buying and selling their own homes.

Needless to say, we were intrigued. Something smelled . . . well, not like Teen Spirit.

'The Internet's Most Exclusive Search Engine'?

So intrigued, in fact, that we typed in the Web address specified in the e-mail our cohorts here at work received: realestatepros.org/members.

Lo and behold, imagine our surprise when up popped this message: "Congratulations, You've Been Accepted!"

Gosh. Seeing as how we'd been accepted, we decided to see just what had accepted us. Realestatepros.org, the site explains, "is the Internet's most exclusive search engine for finding an experienced and competent real estate professional. We feature only real estate agents and real estate-related companies that have an established business record, good moral and ethical values, and are in good standing with their community and professional associations."

We were, needless to say, flushed with excitement . . . or something. We read on: "In order to become a member and be listed on the Real Estate Pro's web site, a prospective applicant must agree to several client and professional reference checks," the site said. "This service is provided to consumers that may not have the time, or the resources to check for references themselves. Our standards of business are second to none."

We Find Our Real Estate Niche:
Foreclosures, Home Warranties and Pest Control

Bursting with pride, or something, we decided to supply our membership information. Our areas of expertise, you ask? Well, yes, they asked, too. Undaunted, we selected the options "pest control," "auction/foreclosures," and "home warranties" (if you think about it, tons of profit-making synergies lurk within that grouping).

Professional designations? Uh-oh. Hmmm, how about our degree from DDS (Ding Dong School)? Sure, it's not really a professional designation. But we pressed on, deciding, after 0.25 seconds of careful deliberation, that pressing on had enabled us to achieve our august real estate rank. But pressing on wasn't easy. Errors in print happen, as we know full well in this corner. But you'll find an inordinate number of gaffes here. For example, you'll find the word "catagory" - apparently a whole new category. And then there's the recurrent logo "Real Estate Pro's" - leaving us to ponder what it is exactly that the singular possessive is presuming to modify.

And that's just the tip of the ungrammatical iceberg.

Groucho Sorts It Out

You get the drift. A swarm of real estate-related sites are popping up, and some require industrial-strength caution. This site certainly seems to be one. And if you want a higher-end listing on this site, you'll have to pay (really).

As for us, we modestly opted for the free listing. So you'll now find us, however incongruously, listed on realestatepros.org - at least for a few days. (And, yes, our professional designation is listed on-site as DDS).

After that, we imagine that our membership information will end up swimming with the cyberspace fishes.

And if it doesn't, then we'll act out a famous telegram that Groucho Marx once sent a Los Angeles civic organization:

"Please accept my resignation," Groucho wrote. "I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member."



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