(Washington DC) – In a statement released this morning, the National Association of Realtors® announced a new initiative aimed at curbing abuse in photographic representation amongst its membership in the virtual sphere.
“This initiative has been ten years in the making,” according to NAR spokesman,Trevor Null. “Ever since Realtors entered the online space en masse, we have been fielding complaints from the public about misleading avatars.”
Jane DeVannon of Surprise, AZ filed one such complaint back in 2009.
“We were nervous first time buyers,” Mrs. DeVannon explained. “Having never been through the process, we had no idea what to expect and knew that we needed to hire a Real Estate agent we could trust to guide us through the process. So we did what we always do when we have a critical decision to make. We Googled it.”
With over 87% of today’s home buyers starting their searches online, per NAR statistics, the DeVannons’ story is a common one.
“We settled on a nice looking gentleman, about forty or forty two, with two darling children in his profile picture. Imagine our surprise when an obese seventy five year old with a goiter the size of an Olsen twin showed up to our first appointment. We tried to make the best of it, but we could just never get past the initial lie,” Mrs. DeVannon related.
“We have long had a reputation problem with the general public,” Null admitted. “Grossly misrepresenting our appearances in online marketing has only served to exacerbate the institutional mistrust. I mean, when you think you’re hiring Gary Cooper, and you get Gary Coleman, it’s a problem.”
According to Initiative UB-FUGLY, all Realtors® will be required to update their avatars monthly, without benefit of Photoshop or similar photo editing software that can alter true appearance.
“And none of this downward pointing camera angle bullshit,” Null expanded. “If you have three chins, the consumer needs to see three chins.”
Penalties for failing to comply with the new requirements will be severe, including mandatory use of DMV photos for first time offenders. Proof of ownership for any/all pets and children in a Realtor’s avatar must be furnished prior to Internet use. Nieces and nephews are off limits.
The news comes too late for the DeVannons, but they are hopeful that future buyers will be spared their painful lesson in what the NAR refers to as “photo synthesis.”
“We think he rented the kids,” Mrs. DeVannon added.
– Filed by Paul Slaybaugh, BSRE News © 2011