Rating’s Dirty Little Secret – How TV Networks and Real Estate Agents Cheat the System

Rating’s Dirty Little Secret – How TV Networks and Real Estate Agents Cheat the System

By: Richard Wamsat
Aug. 2, 2017


"Boosting TV ratings is easy for networks that don’t mind playing dumb” reports the Wall Street Journal.What they discovered was, the networks were intentionally misspelling the name of their programs on the nights that they knew the ratings would be low. For example, during the Memorial Day weekend when viewers might be away from their TVs, The Nightly News misspells the title of their program to The Nitely News. A change slight enough that viewers would still recognize the show in the program guide, but the automated Neilson ratings would categorize the show as a separate program. Any poor ratings on that day would not get averaged in to bring down the score for the program as a whole.

This trick means that networks can publicize higher ratings then what they really have. That in turn attracts more viewers and more advertisers, translating to more money. This isn’t the only slight of hand that the networks do to beef up their bottom line. Sometimes the networks take a second airing of a program and add those extra views to the original airing. Sometimes they fudge the numbers by changing the classification of a re-run to an encore so the views don’t factor against the first run count.

A dirty trick to be sure, but could your real estate agent be playing dirty too?

Inman a real estate industry news source reported the 2017’s 1000 Top Producing Real Estate Agents based on RealTrends and WSJ’s “The Thousand List”. The staff writer at Inman wrote, “There’s a lot of talk and braggadocio in the real estate industry, but the numbers don’t lie. And the top 1,000 agents and teams were ranked today based on the data alone.”

Wait, what if those real estate agents were gaming the system like the TV networks?

The report is broken down into team stats and individual agent stats. The top individual agent had over 3000 transaction sides in one year which would equate to that one agent (non-team) selling more than 8 homes per day, every day, including weekends, holidays, and while on vacation. Or stated differently one home an hour 5 days a week, 12 hours a day all by himself. Interestingly, the top reported agent team had 1000+ less transactions then the individual agent. And to even be considered in the top 10 on the individuals list you would need to sell an average of 400 transaction sides per year, more than one per day, every day. The staff reporter says that the numbers don’t lie, but it doesn’t take a mathematician to see that there is some manipulation of the numbers going on.

Recently I sold a home where the buyer’s agent was on a team. At the closing table the buyer’s agent gave instructions to record the sale under the agent’s team leader’s name who in this case never even participated in the sale. By doing this they artificially pumped up his ratings so he can fool unsuspecting buyers and sellers and win more clients.

This is why in chapter 4 of my book The Value Driven Approach to Sell Real Estate: A practical guide to protect yourself from real estate greed and bank an additional $30k in profit by thinking like the great Buffett, I show how smart homeowners don’t give in to hype like an agent's ratings. Instead we’ve created a proven blueprint, a philosophy, not based on hype but on the foundation of common sense. We don’t confuse our clients with sales pitches and gimmicks. We give them investment information, to allow them to make smart decisions. Thus, our clients are protected from making fundamental mistakes, and against, taking unnecessary risks.

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