A review of Agent Image websites services and pricing.


All right Robert Newman here real estate
marketing consultant. This is a piece on that is connected to my the 20 top real
estate website providers in the country. You can’t talk about the top real estate
website providers without talking about Agent Image. Agent Image is really
one of the very few custom real estate website providers that is out there and
they certainly have the largest body of work that you could look at. They have
close to 18,000 live sites. This is just one example, this particular site is
called a semi custom which just means it’s custom home page with a templated
interior that just means all the interior pages were templated. There
isn’t custom design so this is more like You can see these are all going
to end up being pretty simple pages. All right pretty, pretty standard pretty
simple on the interior of the site with the homepage being magnificent. Full
disclosure from 2007 to 2009 I contracted with agent image. My role
there was, I had many roles. I started off as a project manager, I moved into sales,
I ended up in the online marketing division and in 2000 I made my dates may
be a little off but I left to my only time in my 10 years that I left to go
outside of real estate I was recruited to be the senior vice president of sales
at a company called psycho ex which was at that time the number one custom real
estate website provider. This was, this is … Sorry, custom small business website
provider. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. The kind of client
clients that we’re dealing with were one-of-a-kind. The lists like I
dealt with the Democratic National Convention would be an example. So I was
doing, I went into doing very large web development projects and a
challenge that was amazing ultimately I came back to real estate
and I went to work for the guy that was the CEO at the time that I left and then
he recruited me and I contracted with him for four or five years. So I ended up
in sum total of these last ten years seven or eight of these two of those
years have always been very closely tied to teams and people that I met when I
was working over to Agent Image. Having said that this, Agent Image.
I’m going to do the same kind review except I don’t need to look around like
I usually do. Okay, so here’s the details that you need to know about both the
company and the product, okay. These sites are currently being
built on WordPress. You do own them it can be a little bit tricky getting these
guys to sign over the site to you to give you the actual website file should
you ever want to leave them. There is a hosting and IDX charge. So they usually,
they split their IDX contracts between two companies IHomefinder
and IDX broker. In my opinion hands down selection of any person using one of
these sites should be IDX broker but you will oftentimes run into a sales person
that doesn’t really know real estate as well as they should and they don’t know
that a IDX broker can ultimately yield much better conversion rates.
Unfortunately, despite many years of consulting with these guys and many
years of really trying to get it through to them when I was actually on staff
there. There is just not nearly enough of a focus on the bottom line or the
end dollar. That’s going to be my final comments on the product. They do have
marketing packages, I strongly suggest that you do not buy them. They’re listed
on their website and the best sales people there will try to sell you on
them. They’re wildly out-of-date and they rarely work and the challenge when you
are dealing with a company that has 18,000 installed websites is that they
do have some of the top real estate agents and brokers
in the entire country as clients so when they show you websites that are
experiencing success a lot of times there’s a lot of things that you as the
consumer don’t know. Like it may have nothing to do with the internet packages
that they’re selling today. Some of those clients retained me as a consultant and I
basically show them how to work around these sites and be successful
despite there are some some things that agent image still does that
really slow down websites in terms of marketing. One of them is that even
though you own the site the only way that you can get the permission to
install plugins at will is you’ve got to really bug their customer service
department to get them to do that for you and unfortunately some of the
plugins that are best for SEO that you do need to use, you have to get them
installed. So there’s a number of little sticky wickets. It’s also real hard to
get them to send you your website files and a few other things. However, if you
are an agent that is very detail oriented and very meticulous as are many
of their clients by the way then it’s possible that you’ll get an
excellent result with Agent Image. Now let’s lead on to another thing.
Agent Image hat divides its operations into two parts it has its sales team
here in the United States the sales team is run by a guy by the name of Gregg
Pitzele. Again full disclosure I am friendly with everybody that I am
showing you. These are not just unknown people to me, I’ve had many conversations
in some cases I’ve sat in the same room and as you know for a year or longer
with some of these people. I know them well, they know me well. Gregg is a good
guy in my opinion, it’s just my opinion. I would say though he’s always gonna
sell whatever products that they put in front of him to sell and again I’m not
knocking him. I’m just saying that you as the consumer should be very careful with
the marketing however a couple of points that I’m going to lead into
here is that unfortunately for all the people here in the states that work for
agent image the websites were built in the Philippines.
Now the company has three partners that started this company 17 years ago out of
an apartment they were just kids when they did it Tiger Bitanga, Jon Krabbe
and Luigi Amante. Okay these are the guys, these are the linkedin profiles. You can
pause the video and look them up if you want. They’re all under the corporate
name of The Design People which is a company that they originally established.
Jon is the CFO, he works here in California.
Luigi is here in California, now the reason it says board member is I do
believe that he may have retired or semi-retired out of agent image. Jon is
semi-retired and the last partner or founder is also semi-retired. Okay, what
I mean by that to be specific with you it’s not to say that these guys aren’t
involved with the company and I think that if they were to see this
review they would probably protest but to say that they’re full-time employees
there especially at the same as they were at the time that I worked there is
simply not the case. Tiger has started other
companies and is bootstrapping. You can see it on his profile, he talks about it.
He’s doing other things. The day-to-day operations of the company are
being handled by his brother Mike Bitanga and this is my ex profile right
here. Again I want to emphasize my experience with Tiger John and Luigi is
that they are all very good guys but I also think that they’re all, have moved
on to other challenges and that it’s other people that mind the shop and the
two main players that I’m aware of and I’m not saying that this is the
like end-all be-all I’m just gonna say that as far as I know the Gregg Caselli
handles the sales here and Mike handling production in the Philippines
are the two big people to keep an eye on if you have any problems which leads me
directly into my next statement. Agent Image can make a very good
product as you’ve already seen but custom website design is tricky. In
addition they’re doing it in high volume and when they established the company
they developed some systemic problems that I know.
They took on many hundreds of thousands of clients and didn’t
necessarily have the staff to support that kind of volume. So they did
eventually staff up but it left them in this position where they’ve been
trying to catch up on production for years almost a decade. They’ve never
caught up on production and this creates a very strange review experience so this
is a old thread on Trulia that’s been around since 2008. Now when you start
reading through it you see some old answers here from 2010 but now we start
getting 2016 and here down here you start seeing stuff in 2017. This is a
review that is a guy raving about Agent Image and honestly the clients that have
a good experience. So if you call in you get a good design team you’re not
forgotten about you are very organized you’re submitting all your information
on time and then the website is produced in four to eight weeks just like they
said it would be and then you immediately go into service like
they’re charging you hosting and so on and so forth and you’ve got yourself a
website that you find beautiful often times especially if the people
that built the website for you the team that individual product team or
production team if they’re pros because agent image has
had some of the same people in the Philippines for 10 or 15 years which is
why they win webby awards for some of their work but the real qualified staff
that they have over there out of like 150 people is maybe that I know of
knew of was like 25 and everybody else is newer not necessarily as good at this.
So here’s what happens, if you happen to have bad luck like this is just one
of many examples. So upgrade my website two years later I still have nothing and
that goes on and on and on. That’s why everywhere you look with
reviews from Agent Image despite their very best efforts. Their reviews still suck,
like just flat-out suck and as a sales person there I mean I had an experience
where I did a $10,000 custom website and they quite literally just
forgot about it for a year and I brought it up
and try to get it addressed and it just never, it just never made it to the top
of the emergency list that was there. Now again I want to be super clear that
these aren’t guys trying to rip anybody off it’s just a pair of young guys that
tried to grow a company very fast and it left some systemic problems inside of
the culture. I’ve seen nothing to suggest that they’ve necessarily addressed all
of these systemic problems. However, they are one of the best custom real estate
website shops that’s out there. So if you wanted to work with them despite
understanding what you’re walking into how would you do that. My suggestion
would be to drop my name Robert Newman to Gregg Pitzele.
Don’t let Greg turn you over to one of his his team members okay and I’m
sure they’re good I’m sure he probably has amazing people
working for him I have high regard for the man but don’t let him do it anyway.
Go to him and say specifically Robert told me to make sure that you babysit my
project through the production process. As part of this you
the consumer need to understand that there’s a laundry list of things that
you have to deliver to agent image when you’re ordering a custom website. Custom
website so not like going to a ihouse web or any of the other companies that are
gonna throw up a website for you in two days and they’re done. All they need is like
a picture of you and maybe a couple of links to social profiles that’s not it.
You have questions that need to be answered, about pages that need to be
written, you have IDX paperwork that needs to be
signed, filled out, and sent in. So IDX brokers their paperwork if you,
like there is a project setup process and it is weeks long and you as the
agent need to be organized and prepared. If all of that is in place if you are
fast on your responses, if you’re organized, if you don’t make them wait
and you don’t become a low-priority my experience is you have an 80 to 90%
chance of having a seamless experience with Agent Image and they
will build you a beautiful website and at the end of the day you will own it
which is really hard to find. So yeah you roll the dice but you can
end up getting a good service and a good product from them
if you walk in and you’re organized. Like if you know all of this in advance. If
you’ve been prepared and also understand you’re spending a lot more, you’re always
going to spend a lot more. If you want to go to the customer route. Never like if
you’re looking to nickel and dime or budget is really a huge priority for
you this is not the route. Like these guys are not the company, it’s just not
the route. Like figure something else out but if you’re in a place where
you hit this moment where brand is everything, you’ve got the money to risk,
you can afford to burn $3,000 just in case these guys drop the ball. You
might give them a try. Last but not least again I think I
emphasized this once before but when you’re talking about marketing all those
customers like I really need to emphasize this I know a few people that
still consult with Agent Image clients in the background. We and a lot of the
results that certain Agent Image clients are getting are due to these
consultants that they met that no longer work for Agent Image but still trying
to secretly either give them advice or run their entire web operation from the
back end. So just again remember that if you’re being shown websites. Now they may
say oh no it’s us, it’s us you know who knows. Just keep that in mind. All right
anyway I hope you found this helpful leave me any comments at the bottom of
the video. Guys from Agent Image if you saw it I’m sorry man I had to, you had
to be included on the list of the top web providers and I had to tell the
truth.

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