Triggering My Hot Spot

I have blogged about this before…it is really one of my “hot spots”.   This morning, not only did I receive an email from this company (oh, I mean SPAM) stating that this is information that I requested, which I did not, it is about something I am absolutely against: selling consumer’s information when they’ve had a credit report pulled to become preapproved.    [photopress:trigger.jpg,full,centered]

If you go to their website, they state, “Receive a daily feed of consumers in your target market that just yesterday had their credit checked for a mortgage loan approval.That ’s right, these consumers have just had their credit checked within 24 hrs, specifically for a mortgage loan approval! Now you can provide them with a pre-approval in just a few days for unlimited growth potential.”

Picture this, Mr. and Mrs. Homebuyer meet with a Loan Originator and sign many documents for the preapproval process including disclosure forms that their private information will not be sold. Within hours, they begin to receive relentless phone calls and post cards from other lenders.   It’s too bad the credit bureaus are not a party to this agreement and that it is legal for the bureaus to re-sale credit scores, addresses, phone numbers, debts, etc.

I’ll go eat a box of Valentine’s candies and go chill out in a corner somewhere.



27 thoughts on “Triggering My Hot Spot

  1. I agree that Wikipedia does rock (despite it’s shortcomings).

    It does seem a bit self defeating that Inman would “hide” all the articles behind the Inman members only website. If only members can see it, only members can read and have an incentive to create content. Inman should get more ad revenue (but might lose subscription revenue) if they opened it up.

    Although the software industry has some success mixing open and proprietary business models (the most common is giving away the software and selling the support), it’s seems the media industry is fighting amongst itself trying to find a model that works (with Viacom & YouTube being a recent example). It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out.

    BTW, anybody checked out the Zillow Wiki?

  2. Hi Robbie,

    Yeah, I looked at the Zillow Wiki. The first thing I noticed was that they’re lacking a “search” box, and where a visitor would find a search box on wikipedia, Zillow strategically placed advertising boxes in that same place. Interesting.

    I’m in the middle of writing a masters thesis, and there is no way anyone on my degree committee would approve a wikipedia reference. However, for information needs that have lower consequences for accuracy, I do love the ease of wikipedia.

    I am curious about the use of any wiki like Inman or Zillow for use as a tool that would connect us with many, many others. Not just doing so for the sake of needing to analyze ROI (return on the time investment) but for giving something to the world that’s in your brain for the sake of sharing knowledge. My hypothesis is that the ROI would present itself organically.

  3. Hi Jillayne, it looks like Roger is the Chief Moderator of InmanWiki. I agree it’s odd how it appears as if he co-authored your article. Maybe they should change it to say “approved by Roger…”?

  4. Hi Drew,

    Thanks for stopping by RCG. One of the things about the Inman wiki that I thought was pretty cool, was their report on recent search terms.

    I saw that the most often searched topic was “short sales” so I put together a way more detailed article than what Inman had available for visitors. It didn’t take me long (half an hour) to share my knowledge, and if it helps homeowners and agents, even just a little, terrific.

    From a psychological motivation level, it prompted this reader to jump up and “help” the world a little bit, reaching in and making me think about the balance between internal motivation (generosity, helpfulness) v. external motivation (money, recognition, ego gratification).

  5. Robbie — All content in the Inman Wiki is freely acccesible to all. Nothing is hidden. Jillayne wanted to know why the copyrighted articles she has written for Inman News — which is a separate site — aren’t on the Inman Wiki.

    Jillayne — thought your article on short sales on the Inman Wiki was very informative and an improvement over what was already there. The “wiki thing to do” might have been to edit the original entry rather than create a new one, though.

    The issue of authorship on Wikis is a little different than many of us who write bylined stories or blog posts are used to. A Wiki is supposed to be a collaborative effort. When you post an article many people may add their own insight (well, you hope they will be insightful). On Wikipedia, this may not be obvious since you have to dig behind the scenes to see the various versions of a story and authors, but it’s not unusual for an article to have dozens of authors and versions. On Wikipedia or Inman Wiki, It’s only “yours” until someone comes along and changes it.

    (see the guidelines)

    The Inman Wiki does allow people to use bylines if they are writing pieces that “offer significant educational content” but that doesn’t mean somebody won’t come along and add to or change your post.

    This is a strength and weakness of all Wikis. You gain from the wisdom of the crowd but there’s the potential for people to go in and take things out of your article or add things that are innacurate. There’s always the previous version to go back to, but the idea is keep adding to the entry, making it better by expanding its scope, and not to get into a battle of egos.

    You sometimes see big controversies over entries on Wikipedia but for the most part the system works, in that they have amassed a vast storehouse of information that can serve as an excellent jumping off point for further exploration. (Wikipedia also has some strict rules about maintaining a neutral position and providing outside links to back up statements of fact.)

    The key to any Wiki’s success is a lot of participation, both in terms of contributions and editing, including policing of the site to catch the innacurate or strictly self-promotional contributions.

  6. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for stopping by RCG.

    Q: If it’s discouraged in the guidelines, why are there so many people posting their own biographies or posting sales pitches?

    Q: Why are the articles I co-authored for Brad Inman not on the Inman Wiki?

  7. One of the areas where wikis can be a huge resource is in the critical analysis and annotation of literature.

    Prior to the wikis, there was only one author (Stephen Weisenberger) that had published an annotation of Thomas Pynchon’s “Gravity’s Rainbow”. With only one person tracking down the references, you get a lot of bias and conjecture in the work. But with wiki you get a self-correcting, ever-expanding analysis and reference for a complex work. Now there are several wonderful and deep references for a novel that contains a great deal of obscure historical and scientific references.

    I contribute regularly to the new wiki for Pynchon’s new novel, “Against the Day”. (, where I am constantly amazed at the scholarship and occasionally obsessive posts of my fellow readers.

  8. Jillayne, you asked:

    “Q: If it’s discouraged in the guidelines, why are there so many people posting their own biographies or posting sales pitches?”

    Wiki users are welcome to create agent or business profiles in the appropriate categories:

    The moderator (with the help of Wiki users) is working to keep blatant ads and sales pitches off the site.

    Here are what the guidelines have to say about it:

    “To that end, we discourage contributors from posting advertisements, press releases, product offers, Web pages or other material whose primary purpose is to directly solicit the purchase or a property, product or service. If what you are posting is designed to sell rather than educate, please do not post it here.

    There are several categories where you can educate consumers about the services you offer. We encourage you to submit your personal, brokerage or company promotions to the “Real Estate Agent,

  9. Thanks for the clarification/direction, Matt. After I thought about it for awhile, I figured that news-related stories didn’t quite fit on a wiki. What I co-author is often educational. I think those articles might be a good fit. I’ll go through them and see if they need modifying to be wiki-ready.

  10. The nice thing about that particular Wiki is that there is room for dissent and conflicting interpretations. That is not the case with many other Wikis.

    What can happen on a Wiki is a ping-ponging of “facts” between users. But since Pynchon is notoriously reticent to add any original source material to the scholarship of his work, we are also liberated to hypothesize at will.

    I took part in a demo project with the City of Sammamish (disclosure: I was on the Technology Committee at the time) to develop a WIki for distributing information about the city. One of the reasons this was not successful is the fact that not all communications are suited to a group consensus for dissemination. If your communication is just one-directional, ie: you are giving information that you are in control of to people, then a blog or just a website is perhaps a better vehicle for your content. But if you are actively seeking participation in the collection (and correction!) of content, then a Wiki is a great way to go about it.

    It’s all about Information Design!

  11. Copy/Paste from Inman News:

    Users get more opportunities on tried and tested news service
    Friday, February 23, 2007

    Inman News is introducing a slew of new products as we turn to our readers to participate more in our news platform. The idea is to expose our content, inspire richer feedback and encourage contributions in the spirit of using the platform to promote innovation in the Inman tradition.

    Under the heading “Inman Community Zone” on the Inman News home page, we have launched a series of new features:

    We have exposed 4,000 Inman News articles on the InmanWiki and plan to open up thousands more. We have as many as 20,000 articles in our news library….”

    Thank you Brad and Jessica!!

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