Category Archives: Rants

Re/Max NJ: You’re not doing it wrong…but you could be doing it better

So on my way down the Garden State Parkway to the Jersey shore this past weekend, I pulled into the infamous Cheesequake rest area (my personal favorite) to get some gas and a drink for the remainder of the trip. In pulling in, I was greeted by a giant sign for Re/Max NJ. What a great idea – not only would those signs target prospective homebuyers but also possible new agents…AND people both traveling within and through NJ – kind of making them a customer and employee acquisition tool. The URL was prominently displayed at the bottom of the sign, So I pulled out my phone and went to the URL, half expecting a non-mobile site to come up. But to my surprise, a mobile formatted site showed up and loaded pretty quickly. OK we’re getting there! (note: I was the passenger on this trip, so wasn’t texting while driving :))

So here’s the part that I would have normally posted into my ‘You’re doing it wrong’ category, but hey they had a mobile site, so I can’t go too hard on them. Sure the form fields are pretty small on my iPhone 4, the interface elements could be a bit larger. Like 40% larger. I’m sure some creative director talked about everything being above ‘the fold’ instead of being clickable with anything but an infant’s thumb or an electrostatic-enabled pencil eraser.  Call me progressive but personally I prefer usability over keeping design and UI elements within the ‘fold’ as the fold is different on devices and changes based on rotation. Plus thumb-scrolling is pretty widely accepted in getting to the bottom of a page (and its quick too). And, if coded reasonably well a text-entry dialog will have a ‘search’ button clickable after entering text.  But hey at least its mobile-friendly which is more I can say about most sites I visit.

Moving right along, so from the search page I check a few boxes then click SEARCH. My mouse pointer returns to the ‘Enter City, Zip, Address or MLS#’ form field. I figure maybe I missed the miniature button, so I carefully take aim and click again. Same thing. So here I am at a NJ rest stop, I haven’t a clue what city I am in (apparently Cheesequake isn’t a city as it returned an error), no idea about the present zip code, and based on the lack of knowledge regarding the previous two options it’s safe to assume that knowing an address is out of the question. I won’t even comment on MLS#. All I want is a listing of properties nearby that match the checkboxes I’ve selected (Single-Family, Condo/Townhouse, Multi-Family) and I can’t execute a search.

To make matters a tad worse, my second thought above was what a great recruitment tool this would be. Sadly there wasn’t even a mention of ‘Join our Team!’ or anything similarly upbeat and aimed at recruiting new Re/Max talent. Anyone reading this that runs a business knows the cost of finding talent; with the awareness and sheer eyeballs seeing this sign, I see that as another lost opportunity.

Anyway the title of this here entry includes ‘…you could be doing it better’ so here goes. First, let me search. Sure it taxes your database just a tad more to allow me to do a search without any text in the search box, but give me some results. Even if the empty box search returns some featured properties (maybe with some tools to refine my search), do something to put some property information on the screen for me. I got to the site, you have my attention for 15-30 seconds. Something…anything. Red error message text generally results in me clicking the top right button and putting the phone back into my pocket, or switching back to Words with Friends.

This leads me into fix #2. The mobile device is good at a few things – making calls, sending texts…and knowing its location. So fix number 2 is…(drum roll)…PUT A GPS SEARCH ON IT! People from all over travel the Garden State Parkway, help them find properties. Each rest area may have different results, it could be fun. You could even make a contest out of it if you wanted. Regardless, put a (damn) GPS search on the page and show me properties near this place where I’m getting food, gas, and generally killing a few minutes before I hop back on the road. Or lets combine 1 and 2 here – if my search field is blank, prompt me for my GPS location. Kill two birds with one stone (or query in this case). You get my drift here.

Rant aside, it’s a shame because lack of a mobile strategy and planning is certainly turning business (and possibly talent) away from Re/Max NJ. They have great billboards with great visibility. The billboards are all new (I didn’t see them last trip) and they’re BIG. While reading this some folks will probably say ‘well yea but we want to drive people to our website.’ That’s great! But let me know if anyone has their PC rigged into their car so they can view the full site in the few minutes they have between highway hauls. Or instead rely on the memory retention of GSP drivers after having seen hundreds of miles of advertisements…I doubt many of them will get home, unpack, and remember to go to the URL they saw on the sign (what was that website again?).

The really bad news here for Re/Max NJ is they have someone like me seeing the sign, thumbing in the URL and getting to the site – and all they’re getting is a bounce. I’m sure those signs, and the space on which they’re built weren’t cheap. I’m the target demographic, and I may even be looking for a small summer home on the Jersey shore…with no way for me to find it they missed their opportunity. But alas, next year around his time I’ll be going back down to the shore, hopefully by then they’ll have read this article and either fixed their mobile site or brought on an actual mobile vendor to do it correctly – instead of a web vendor who builds a miniature website to say that they ‘do mobile’.

Or, maybe by then I’ll be driving to my summer home which I’ve found between now and then.

Miller Mobile – You’re doing it wrong!

I couldn’t resist this one. SMS has been in play for years now, and yet still overpaid agencies can’t get it right. Please see exhibit A below:

Now, let’s take a look at this. This is obviously a coaster, likely being used in a bar or club to promote Miller’s “Win Epic Prizes” campaign. At a glance we can tell legal got their grubby hands on even the tagline…’epic’ has an asterisk which makes me question the epic-ness of the prizes. I digress.

It doesn’t take more than a middle school degree to realize that the goal of this campaign is to have customers text in – that would likely create a successful campaign. My prediction: the campaign to win epic prizes will be an epic fail.

First let’s look at the keyword, or what we at Mobile Card Cast call the Mobile ID. Not only is it a 10 character Mobile ID, but its mixed alpha-numeric. This will not only strongly deter folks from texting in, but exponentially increase both the possibility of input error and the frustration level of the user – most users will have to toggle between the alpha and numeric keyboard modes during input. Fail #1.

Second, let’s look at the shortcode. OH THAT’S RIGHT, I cant see it either. This is to be used in a bar people, and anyone who’s ever been to a bar can agree that for the most part they’re not the most well lit places on earth. And how about the call to action? The word ‘Text’ is equally illegible. So my question is, what brilliant Creative Director decided to use 8pt condensed font for the shortcode and CTA? Are they giving away free illuminated magnifying glasses to potential participants? Fail #2 and #3.

Rants aside here, you can see why this is categorized in the ‘You’re doing it wrong’ section’. The Mobile ID is cryptic; the shortcode and call to action are illegible in the environment within which they will be viewed. This is why having a strong mobile team on your side is important…it will prevent your ‘epic’ campaigns from becoming ‘epic’ fails.

But hey, at least it will keep the moisture off of the bar.



Basically, using the word ‘basically’ really irks me. You hear it all the time. “What do you do for a living sir?” “Well, i basically run an IT department.”

Whats even worse is when people use it as a ‘crutch’. “What did you do yesterday Bill?” “Well John, i basically just went shopping to home depot, and picked up a chainsaw so i can chop down the tree that fell and is basically blocking my driveway.”

This burns my ass. Oh I see, so what you’re saying is that you have to boil it down because you dont think i can understand it? What am i a moron? Im gonna go out on a limb here. Im probably more intelligent than 90 percent of the people i deal with on a daily basis, and that could be conservative. Yea, jackass, i am basically smarter then you. Take the extra 8 words and .3% of brain power necessary to tell me the story. Or I’ll basically ignore you.


Online Poker being illegal is BS

OK so in thinking of this whole online poker being illegal, something came to mind…a parallel if you will.

The deal is, for those who dont know, putting money into an online poker account is illegal. Some sites are getting around this and letting us play.

But lets boil this down to the roots. You can subscribe to tons of online sites, and pay per month or per use. The trade off is, you cant get money out. You are essentially paying for a service with no return.

Then you have online games. You can buy and sell digital items in games like World of Warcraft, Second Life, and others, for a profit if you are good. Some folks make their living selling items in these games…deriving wages for time spent ‘playing’.

So it seems that, in our backwards-ass society: it is ok to pay for a service, either recurring or monthly. Also, it is ok to pay for a service, then use that service to derive wages (WoW, Second Life, etc). BUT, it is NOT ok to put money into an account, and use your skill and knowledge to make money playing poker.

Another parallel can be drawn to the stock market, which in my opinion for most people is more gambling than poker is. Yes sure there are investment stratagies in stocks, but there are playing strategies in poker. Plus, i would argue, its harder for the average person to learn how to effectively trade stocks and make money in the market than it is to make money at poker. The list can go on and on, but i will end my rant here.

So do what you have to do to keep playing…after all, Alfonse D’Amato is on our side!

Raise on. 

The Drive-Through

Every morning i hit the drive thru at dunkin donuts for an extra large coffee. The dunkin donuts near me (in Norwalk) is possibly the best and fastest dunkin donuts around…im usually thru there in about 4 minutes. But sometimes im not, and thats the topic of this post.

Anyone who has been there can see it coming a carlength away…you look ahead of you, and see a dude in a landscaping truck going over the list of shit he has to get…or the really obese woman in the yukon denali with her 3 obese kids…”yes ill have 4 bacon egg and cheeses, 2 bagels with cream cheese, toasted, a box of munchkins, 5 coffees, 2 with cream, 1 with sugar…….etc, etc, etc”. Now, i like bacon egg and cheese sandwiches as much as the next guy, and i love bagels, and i love buying stuff for my friends and family, but i have this thing i practice called consideration, a unique pattern of thinking to which most people is as foreign as a flying frog.

How can you order 5 sandwiches and 6 coffees and expect to get thru the drive thru in under 10 minutes…even by microwave oven, DD sandwiches take at least 4 minutes to make. There should be a rule, bagels and coffee only through the drive through. Or even better, if your order takes more than 3 minutes you have to buy for the next three cars in line. Something. Anything. Im sick of waiting in line, wasting time and wasting gas, because some lazy moron decides to be inconsiderate to the rest of us who are already late for work.

So my point is, use common sense. If your order is going to take more than 2 minutes to fill, dont be lazy – take a wee bit of effort, get off your fat ass, go inside, and dont hold up the drive thru.

Internet Gambling

So i have to address this one. The government once again is trying to think for us, and in the name of ‘protecting’ us, trying to ban gambling online. I wont even get into splitting hairs about what is gambling, games of chance versus games of skill, etc. This is a perfect example of the new government, which is people pushing their beliefs on the rest of us, just because they can.

I see it this way…if you gamble your house away on the internet, then either seek help or jump off a building…you’re a moron. We dont need the government to protect us from ourselves. Its just like the seat belt laws. If i dont want to wear my seat belt, who are you to tell me i have to, or take my money if you catch me NOT wearing it. The real issue there is not that the goverment gives a flying frog tit about you (cause trust me, they dont), its cause if you wear your seat belt and get into an accident chances are the hospital bills will cost less money. So the reason you’re forced to wear your seat belt is to save insurance companies money. Thats it, plain and simple.

Ah I digress. Back to gambling online. Again, this comes down to money. The real reason gambling online is about to become illegal is because the government feels that the money gambled online is being sent out of the country, and they’re not getting a take. Its ok that we spend a trillion dollars on a ‘war’ (dont get me started there), but its not ok if you play poker against some dude in england and lose 10 bucks. Its all a crock of shit, and quite frankly im tired of being told what i can and cant do by a bunch of preppy losers who were most likely beat up and made fun of in school, who unfortunately have the power to influence the things i can and cant do during my tenure on earth.

So for me, im going to make sure i find a way to keep gambling online, and by any means necessary get around the ‘laws’ that these corrupt, ignorant, insignificant dweeblets are passing.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, im going to go gamble my life savings away playing roulette and craps online. Try to stop me.