Professional respect in regard to marketing material

If I get 3 calls on the same subject in a week – I judge that this is something worth highlighting.

The issue I have experienced this week is in relation to photos of properties for sale. When a property for sale switches between one agent / salesperson and another agent / salesperson should the photos be able to be used by the new agent?

We received a call and a couple of emails from salespeople who wanted to know if we could in some way block others copying photos from our site without their permission. They were incensed that another salesperson would “steal” their photos to use on a new listing for that property.

There are a couple of ways of looking at this issue – technical, legal and professional.

Technically

The web is an open platform – in almost all scenarios you can “right click” on an photo and save it. You can then use it wherever you like – that is from a technical standpoint.

Legally

Images in the form of photos are intellectual property (I should point out I am not a lawyer – this piece should not be taken as legal advice, just observations!). Someone paid someone to take photos of a property for sale – or the selling agent took the photos. Those photos are the legal property of someone. Unless that person informs people in general that those photos are freely available then it should be assumed that they are not freely available to download and copy.

As an instance the content of this blog as with all photos on this blog is accessible under what is becoming a very common structure for the web called Creative Commons – simply put – I am happy for the content of this blog including all facts, words and images to be freely used and copied as long as (a) statements are not presented out of context, and (b) appropriate attribution is given – just tell people where you got the content by referencing the source – through a web link.

Despite this many people believe that as content on the web is accessed for free that somehow that makes it free of any copyright, and they can do what they like with it – that is not the case.

Professionally

Whilst it may be very easy to copy photos from one listing to another and in so doing save time and money, the key question that should be asked is “what message does that send to the vendor” irrespective of who owns the photos – even if the rights to the photos have been granted by the property owner.

When a listing transfers from one listing agent to another – it should signal the establishment of a new marketing approach for that property on the market. This process should seek to review all components of marketing for that property – price, description, photos and marketing material. To do anything less would be dereliction of duty of the part of the new listing agent.

To “just” take the the listing and not try and add personality and a new marketing focus would seem to speak to a lack of professionalism on the part of the new agent, and would in my mind awaken the question in the mind of the vendor as to what value this new agent really brings to the process if they are prepared to “re-cycle” somebody else’s marketing campaign.

July 19 2009 04:56 pm | Online marketing and Photos

One Response to “Professional respect in regard to marketing material”

  1. Sharon James on 19 Jul 2009 at 6:44 pm #

    Thanks for highlighting this issue Alistair, while it’s flattering to have your photos used it’s also very frustrating. I beleive it sends a very clear message to the seller as to the level of effort the new salesperson is prepared to go to on their behalf.

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