Privacy be damned!

Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626) once said “Knowledge is Power”

Its nearly 2008 and even after 400 years things have not changed that much. Data is knowledge, therefore today, data is power.

Why is it then that agents put up with portals using our data for their own gains? The major portals have all done deals to provide our data to other companies. Domain sends the agents data it collects to APM and REA send it to RPData.

REA relies on a very open ended clause in their terms and conditions that states “by using the Service, you grant us an irrevocable, world-wide, royalty free licence to commercialise, copy, license to other persons, use and adapt for any purpose any material you generate or submit to make use of the Service.” No doubt Domain has a similar such clause.

REA would argue that this sort of clause is required so can have agents properties on other portals like ninemsn but because it is so open ended the portals use the benefits of these clauses to send your data to a partner companies.

With access to live data of properties for sale and sold, companies like RPDATA and APM have rolled out or are in the process of rolling out new data solutions such as offering market and investment reports to the public, all for a fee of course. I believe that in some cases, agents are being resold their own processed data back again. If the agents were getting a benefit out of this then you can bet the marketing departments from the portals would be yelling it from the rooftops. Instead, the authority is hidden away in the terms and conditions.

I was assured by a senior staff member of one of the major portals that they only sent publicly available information to their associated data partner. The argument being that the information could be scraped anyway. It turns out that was easily proved incorrect and after his own investigations he has confirmed that other data outside of what is being publicly displayed is being sent in that data feed.

Where is the damage in all this to us, the agents? There are dozens of scenarios if not more that could affect you but here is a couple that might.

Your client database is valuable. The larger and more up to date and accurate it is, the more valuable it is as a vital part of your goodwill. Ask any agent who has sold his sales business recently. They will tell you how their established client database increased their sale price or how the lack of such a database cost them money.

What if your opposition was offered a database containing the names and addresses, property details, sales details, photos, contact phone numbers of every single sale your agency has made in the past 10 years. Remember the terms and conditions you agreed with allowed an irrevocable, world-wide, royalty free licence to commercialise, copy, license to other persons. Effectively these companies can do what they like with any information you put in the back end of a portal and you have no say in it.

Every agency should have a privacy policy in place. How many of those privacy policies allow for the private data of our clients being sent by the portals to RPData or APM. If your policy does not specifically list the portals you use, it should at least have something like “We may also disclose the personal information, other information or data we collect from you for the purpose specified to you at the time of collection or for another purpose if you would reasonably expect us to disclose it for that purpose; and that purpose is related to the purpose specified to you at the time of collection.”

I believe that sending information to a property portal would be easily covered by this sort of clause if it was not specifically stated in a privacy policy but since most agents don’t even know this data pipeline is going on I doubt it could be argued that their clients could reasonably expect their data to end up in the RPData database as well. Nor do I believe that any agent notifies a client that at the time of data collection that their data will reside on a third party property data base Do these deals done with our data put agents in jeopardy for breaching our clients privacy? Who will be held responsible should a complaint be upheld?

I have posed these very same questions but am still awaiting a response.

REA have switched off our agency’s details being forwarded to RPData and the Domain rep has just told me that Domain‘s feed to APM can be disconnected for an agency if requested as well. I would strongly suggest any agency ensures their privacy policy and any privacy notices cover these data feeds if they don’t already or even get them cut off like we did.

I believe that agents should have to opt in for any third party to receive our data plus have the ability to opt out at any time and that all such feeds be transparent and not cloaked in secrecy behind some all encompassing clause in the terms and conditions. I believe that agents should decide where their data is sent because ultimately we will be responsible for its misuse. We should always be in control of our own data, and remain in power in this industry.

apm, Domain, Ninemsn, REA, rpdata

SEO For Real Estate
Listing Leads
Agentpoint Real estate

About Glenn Batten

Glenn Batten is the General Manager at First National Real Estate Nerang and Principal at the First National Real Estate Upper Coomera office and has over 20 years real estate experience and a passion for technology. Glenn has been writing from an agents perspective on industry issues and covering a range of topics on Business2 since 2007.

25 Responses to Privacy be damned!

  1. Peter John Mericka December 4, 2007 at 1:23 pm #

    You arrogant so-and-so, saying:

    “I believe that agents should have to opt in for any third party to receive our data plus have the ability to opt out at any time and that all such feeds be transparent and not cloaked in secrecy behind some all encompassing clause in the terms and conditions. I believe that agents should decide where their data is sent because ultimately we will be responsible for its misuse. We should always be in control of our own data, and remain in power in this industry.”

    And how do estate agents gather “our data”? By use of means that are themselves, as you put it, “cloaked in secrecy behind some all encompassing clause in the terms and conditions”.

  2. David Crombie December 4, 2007 at 2:07 pm #

    This is the very reason for the creation of realestateworld.com.au.

    Website and publications aside, realestateworld is all about the collection and provision of real time sales data by the industry for the industry. Areas where realestateworld.com.au has been rolled out is now deleivering sales data based on exchange.

    For far too many years agents have been paying for the privelege to give their data away only to have to buy it back in another form.

  3. Peter Ricci December 4, 2007 at 2:23 pm #

    The accuracy of this information has to be questioned as well Glenn as I don’t know too many agents who actually place the correct data in the sold area of systems. I am sure RPA Data and others cross check it later against official government statistics, but it does leave a hole in accuracy!

  4. Glenn Batten December 4, 2007 at 5:43 pm #

    Peter,

    Arrogant? I’ve been called lots of names before.. including that.. but what’s your actual point?

    You think agents collect information secretly?… Please inform us then. I would love for you to show me an agent that has a clause like REA’s (irrevocable, world-wide, royalty free licence to commercialise, copy, license to other persons) in their authority to sell.
    Examples?

    You have your right to your opinion, as we all do, and you certainly have never wavered in stating your opinion of real estate agents quite proudly… however I would have thought that in this case you would have wholeheartedly agreed.. or maybe you are just jumping at the opportunity to have another propaganda like swipe at agents again.

  5. Lara December 5, 2007 at 9:09 am #

    Data is meaningless until it’s turned into information. What rea.com.au does is perform a service. i.e. turn the data collected by advertisers on its property into valuable information that helps the agent to better marketing and commercialise product themselves.
    The re-purposing of data creates a win-win-win situation: the vendor makes more money out of a sale; the agent makes more commission, and the publisher generates income via another revenue stream.
    Last time I checked, I was living in a democracy with a market economy. Where exactly is the problem in all of this?!?!?

  6. Glenn Batten December 5, 2007 at 1:09 pm #

    Lara,

    A democracy? Yes!

    A market economoy? Yes!

    But what that has to do with legislation I dont know. This is not the wild frontier where we can all do what we want. We have legislation to follow, particularly in this case the Privacy Act whereby we have to notify people we collect data from where that data will be used especially in the case of databases.

    I have not seen an example of a real estate agency advising clients that there information may end up on a property database such as RPData or APM. Till recently these companies got their data from different levels of government however processing delays meant that the information was months old by the time it turned up.

    To provide more timely data solutions they now do deals with the portals to get this information that the agents provide to them. Most agents would have (or should have) correct notification that the data is being sent to the portals but I dont know of any that notify of the information eventually residing in a property database with RPData or similiar companies.

    We don’t have to like the Privacy Act, but unfortunately we do have to abide by it. I am suggesting that agents add into their privacy documents this transfer or risk being found to have breached the act. Maybe the portals would be found to be to blame because they dont ever specifically advise agents that they feed the data to the property database companies.. Despite their terms and conditions do they have an obligation to advise us where the data is being sent similiar? Don’t know, but I believe its case of protecting ones backside just in case and an edit to an agents privacy policy or a couple of phone calls can do that.

    Using your win-win-win example I have to ask, how does the seller get more money from his property and therefore the agent get more commission?? In the words of Pauline … Please explain? Even though money is not the issue here, most agents dont even know this is happening let alone make more money from it.

  7. Michael McNamara December 6, 2007 at 12:34 pm #

    Glenn,

    The prices that we charge for data products have risen very little from the time when us and RP data mostly had quite basic government based data. Agents have benefited hugely with much more sophisticated data now available.

    This means everything from advertisements, aerial photos and other geo-spatial data.

    Over the last few years we and others have invested considerable time and effort in collecting as much information on individual properties as possible. Now agents can search for expired listings, track price changes, market share, property photos and days on market. A lot of data that relates to bedrooms bathrooms and parking all come from advertisements.

    This rich information helps the whole industry and I am sure you are not suggesting that we stop collecting and stop offering this data to agents in products.

    We also collect more up to date sales data than ever before but let me make this clear, we don’t publish information which comes directly or indirectly from particular agents that those agents don’t intend to be published. For instance, if an address is supressed we don’t publish it.

    As for the feed of data we recieve either from anywhere we will respect an agents wishes to not publish. It is important that aggregated data like median prices, discounting and days on market is compiled from a complete data. It is a better solution not to restrict supply of individual records but rather use the do not publish function.

    The old argument that we collect data from agents only to sell it back to them is as tired as it is naive. The assumption that advertised and agent reported data slips effortlessly into our databases underpins the false logic that drives that argument. Even without the direct costs of data, the massive task of taking data from well over a dozen sources, matching, parsing, standardising, enriching and appending is a 7 figure cost to us. The whinge that data providers shouldn’t be making a buck out of this is just silly.

    We would be selling government data at much the same price even without the richer agent reported and advertised data that we collect.

    The privacy argument is also misinformed. Federal privacy laws relate to information kept about individuals. What other equity markets call transparency you call a breach of privacy.

    Where privacy laws would apply is where agents give us information about individuals. I don’t know how APM would have access to an agents contact database but even if we did, I can’t conceive a situation where we would think it was appropriate to publish one agents contacts to another.

  8. Glenn Batten December 6, 2007 at 2:53 pm #

    Michael,

    Thanks for a great response from your point of view.

    You are 100% right, I am not suggesting that you stop collecting data and offering this to agents or even the public and I certainly respect your right to make a quid out of it. I empathise with your position and given the laws you have to deal I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes.

    Like all agents we need the data that APM and RPData and others are selling, but that does not mean we have to like it or lump it with how its handled. Remember this article and the issues I raise are from an agents perspective. If I was in your position I would not want an agent to have the ability to turn off the data feed to us so easily for instance, but as an agent that is exactly what I want. Both opinions are valid whether you think they are misinformed, whinging or not.

    I really have three main issues – Transparency, Respecting the Agents/Owners Decision to Display and Agents Compliance to the Privacy Act.

    Transparency

    I am suggesting that the whole process be transparent to the agent since we are the ones who enter it into the databases and start the collection process. They should know where their data is being sent and have the ability to activate or deactivate it as they see fit. Obviously this should not be done at your level, but more the portals.

    As a company that specialises in data, do you condone such a clause such as REA’s that removes any rights of the agent so totally and complete to their information? I personally think its unfair. Thats my personal opinion, and I bet the opinion of many other agents.

    If the transfer of this data was transparent then there is no need for such clauses and agents would never be at risk of their own data being legally sold to their opposition, no matter how tiny the chance of that every happening is. I am sure RPDATA and APM and many others would never contemplate such tactics, but you know as well as I do there are individuals and companies that will do anything for a buck and if the data ends up in their laps we can do nothing about it.

    Not that it changes my argument, but would you share with us if there is a commercial benefit returned to the portals for providing this information to you, whether it be financial or more just on an alliance basis? I personally think it would be fine if there was (and quite honestly surprised if there wasn’t) but it just reinforces my point about data being valuable.

    Respecting the Agents/Owners Decision to Display

    You mentioned that if a property is marked with no address that the information is not displayed ever by APM. That maybe what happens with your company but it is not uniform across everyone. From the article you will remember that said I proved that the information was being sent was being made public. One of those properties I used as an example to the portal was my own place so I knew exactly what was provided by our agency and what wasn’t.

    Why this issue became a hot potato with us is we listed a property with a tenant in place managed by another agent. The tenant insisted that we could only use internal photos only if the address was never published. We agreed and gave her that undertaking and the property was never published with an address but a local agent trying to stir up trouble provided them with a printout showing our photos and information with their address. We should never be put in that position, and from what you have said APM would never do that, but another company did. Error? Mistake? Oversight? dont know and honestly dont care, but if you are not sent the information we cannot get in trouble for it.

    The problem I guess as far as I am concerned stems from the fact that you have been sent the info in the first place. Maybe in this case the data should be forwarded to you without anything making it identifiable so you can use it for aggregation statistics but not apply it to individual property records. Put simply, if as you say you don’t use it, why do you need it?

    Compliance to the Privacy Act

    I believe and have suggested that agents should ensure that they cover such a transfer of information from their portal to companies such as APM and RPData in their privacy policies and documents. Do you believe that is not necessary or required?

    You say the privacy argument is misinformed. How so? In the example I outlined above, please explain to me what my defence to the privacy commissioner could be? Have you sought an opinion from the office of the Privacy Commissioner on this issue that you wish to share and we as agents can rely on?

    You raised the matter that federal laws cover the information of individuals… but in the vast majority of cases properties are owned by individuals so what’s your point there? The privacy act deals with more than just the display of information and I cant see how your assurances that you wont publish it and therefore the fact we as agents wont get caught out changes our requirements. It does however deal with the storage/disclosure of that information and that’s where the problem lies.

    I cant seriously believe the fact that you may not be given the owners first and last name would make the issue exempt to privacy laws as you are given the property address which makes the owners name identifiable (especially to you) and therefore not private. This is proven by the very fact that you immediately apply that data to the individual property records which already have the owners name recorded. You cant have your cake and eat it too!

    Specifically, where in the do you believe that the transfer of this information is exempt from the privacy laws, especially as it relates to section 2.

  9. Michael McNamara December 7, 2007 at 11:21 am #

    Glen,

    Thankyou for posting this.

    It seems to me that you advocate one standard of transparency for data providers and another for real estate agents. I understand this even though I find it amusing.

    There seems to be a number of issues that a thrown in the blender here.

    Copyright on data – you say data is very valuable but then again much of it isn’t owned by anyone. How could one possibly own a sales result, a bedroom – bathroom count or an address. The answer is you probably can’t unless you are the government.

    Copyright on IP – Agents and vendors own ip on logos, copy, the way an ad is compiled, the look and feel of their ads. Just who owns IP on photos would keep a bunch of lawyers occupied for weeks I am sure.

    Privacy – The federal privacy laws determine how information about indiviuals is treated. Information about property (even if you are clever enough to relate that back to an individual) is not covered under this legislation according to our understanding.

    So, in all of that. Instead of wading through a largely untested legal jungle we apply two rules here at APM.

    1) Don’t publish information which comes directly or indirectly from particular agents that those agents don

  10. Glenn Batten December 7, 2007 at 12:36 pm #

    Michael,

    What I find amusing is how your trying to muddy the waters on the issue. I never threw copyright into the blender here as it has not been raised until you just did. Copyright is another issue entirely and as far a I know whether the information is copyrighted or not has no bearing on the handling of data collection, storage and disclosure under the Privacy Laws. For instance an agent would never claim copyright on a client’s name, their address, property details or sale details but when we record it we are subject to the privacy laws on what we do with it. IP laws are not designed to prevent facts from entering the public domain and the collections of facts organised or presented in databases or lists can be copyrighted…. or maybe you are suggesting you don’t own the copyright to your own database? As to images, the issues of copyright ownership and moral rights seems pretty clear to me. What gets hard is proving and enforcing it.

    Where is this non transparency by agents you are talking about? Most agents don’t know this goes on so how can they be transparent about it and didn’t I suggest that agents need to place the specific data transfer into their privacy polices to cover the largely unknown data feed from portals to APM and RPdata. I have to strongly disagree with you as I am suggesting agents be transparent on the issue for the specific reason of covering their backsides. Clearly you see no issue with failing to advise agents or their clients that such data transfers to your company exist but as the recipient of that information flow, I guess you wouldn’t though would you..

    What have you got against agents knowing where this data is going, what its used for and subsequently covering themselves by acknowledging the transfer in their own privacy documents?

    You advised that the privacy argument is misinformed but when I asked you to clarify why they are misinformed you don’t answer the questions I raised. Who is not being transparent?

    I take it from your non answer that you have not got a legal opinion or an opinion on the privacy commissioner on the implications of your actions as it relates to agents? It just your understanding…… and should an agent question it you find them whinging, naive, misinformed and amusing. Thankfully you don’t get personal hey!

    Your two rules that you apply are admirable but are not typical across all the players and I again have to ask if you don

  11. Michael McNamara December 7, 2007 at 1:25 pm #

    Glenn,

    It seems sometimes half my life is spent seeking legal opinions. I am not about to publish them here but they are reflected in my answers.

    APM and domain.com.au are part of the same business unit. I think it transparently obvious that between us we have a formidable information database where we capture as much information as possible in order to give our customers (both agents and the public) the best data and listings service available with their needs in mind.
    We aren’t being opaque about the extent of data we share – on the contrary- its a selling point.

    The “if you don’t use it why do you need it” argument is a bit of a storm in a tea-cup if you ask me. All we can do as a business unit is respect and accomodate the requests of our customers as best we can. Whether the APM data team do this or the domain.com.au technical team do this is irreleveant on all counts as we achieve the same outcome.

  12. Peter John Mericka December 12, 2007 at 5:03 am #

    Glen,

    What bothers me is your suggestion that estate agent come by data legitimately, when the opposite is true.

    I recently went to two “opens” with my son, one involving a Philip Webb estate agent and the other a Stockdale & Leggo agent.

    Both of these agent wanted photo ID. Why? Ostensibly for “security reasons”. However, buried in fine print titled “Privacy” was a supposed acknowledgement by those visiting the property that they agreed that their private information could be fed out to mortgage brokers etc. unless the visitor went to the trouble of opting out.

    Information gathered by estate agents does not belong to estate agents, and it should not be used by estate agents to enable them to “remain in power in this industry” as you so frighteningly put it.

    And please don’t join the chorus of estate agents who see my comments as agent-bashing. I attack bad behaviours, it’s just that the perpetrators of those bad behaviour are invariably estate agents. A careful reading of the material I have produced will confirm that lacky lawyers and conniving conveyancers get exactly the same treatment.

  13. snoop December 12, 2007 at 6:31 am #

    “most agents dont know this goes on”
    Are you kidding?.
    Of course they do ,they use RPDATA every day.
    Of course its beneficial to them or they wouldnt subscribe.
    These data aggregation services provide a service for a fee ,but life would be harder without them?
    Agree about internals though,that info is sensitive and their should be procedures in place

  14. Glenn Batten December 12, 2007 at 10:50 am #

    Snoop,

    I beg to differ. Most agents do not realise their data is being sent. They believe that the only source of data that RPData and APM has are the governments sale records. I am not just guessing at this, I have asked quite a few.

    Most do not realise that information by agents is collected and used for things like “market appraisal” and other commercial products. Ask around yourself like I have. Ask other agents yourself if they realise they are signing away “irrevocable, world-wide, royalty free licence to commercialise, copy, license to other persons” and see what they say? Are you happy with that clause.

  15. Robert Simeon December 12, 2007 at 11:10 am #

    Of course agents are aware that sold property information is being collected by RP Data and APM. In Sydney agents report their weekly sales and it appears either in The Sunday Telegraph or Sun Herald each Sunday. Just last year the retired Reserve Bank Governor described the system in Australia for collecting property data as “hopeless”.

    The Fairfax Media owned APM have certainly improved their services whereby they are today the market leader where data aggregation services is the way of the future. If I have a single complaint about them would be that I don’t own one – they are a license to print money.

  16. Glenn Batten December 12, 2007 at 11:15 am #

    Peter,

    We are talking about sale information here and you offer the collection of buyers information at open houses. Then you admit that there was a disclosure on the collection form but you claim it was not collected legitimately. You question that an agent asks for photo id before letting somebody into their clients property but hasn’t the owner got rights? You would be the first one complaining and bitching if it was a criminal casing the home that an agent let in.

    Since when does client information collected by an agency in a database not belong to them? Client databases are the cornerstone of just about all businesses, even legal practices.. now your claiming real estate agents don’t have any intellectual property over the client data they collect..

    Why shouldn’t real estate agents remain in power of ourselves. Real Estate Agents as an industry should not be run by lawyers but be run by the agents themselves. Why should lawyers draft clauses that effectively strip away our entitlement to our own intellectual property. Ahh.. thats right, as far as you are concerned real estate agents cant have client databases.

    Even your supporters would have trouble believing there is not any agent bashing going on. Lets face it negativity sells. That’s why Today Tonight and a Current Affair have an audience. Do they raise real issues, sure, sometimes, but it is lost between the waffle for the majority of Australians. Real current affairs programs do a better job of highlighting real problems with real journalism rather than beating it all up with sensationalism. As I said, negativity sells. Still people would rather watch that drivel rather than say the 7:30 report on ABC. If you stick with the Anna Coren model I am sure you will continue to get people who claim you are agent bashing.

  17. snoop December 12, 2007 at 11:17 am #

    Its the old story read what you sign and amend your customer contracts accordingly.
    No one forces you to sign anything.
    But I would suggest that these industry databases are a good thing and that the industry needs data and analysis to stay competitive.
    Its a bit like the banks needing the credit information companies.
    It only works if everyone participates.

  18. Glenn Batten December 12, 2007 at 11:28 am #

    Robert

    Of course agents know that if they send information themselves it ends up being collected, but how many know that even if they dont send it in it is being provided by the portals to the data aggregators anyway.

    Because of Domains minority share, APM go out of their way to get agents to submit data to the newspapers so they can then access it. We get emails from them every week to submit our sales data. RPData does not seem to do this I assume because their partner is REA which has the sheer majority of agents anyway.

    The real estate industry certainly needs them and they get a hard time, but in this case they are only the recipients of the information. It is the portals that have these clauses and forward the information on whether you send it to the papers or not.

    Why shouldn’t the portals disclose who they are sending the information to?

    Why shouldn’t agents have the ability to stop a feed of their information to a particular company because they published it when it was marked not for display or indeed for whatever reason they see fit?

    Are you ok with clauses such as REA uses?

    Do you believe that the portals don’t need to be transparent about who they send the information to.. giving them control what they do with your data?

  19. Robert Simeon December 12, 2007 at 11:34 am #

    Glenn – APM is 100 per cent owned by Faifax Media.

  20. Glenn Batten December 12, 2007 at 11:35 am #

    Snoop…

    Please understand I am not disagreeing with you at all. They are a good thing, and they are certainly needed. No question whatsoever.

    Much of the responsibility of the problems I have falls on the portals. It is easy to say read everything before you sign it but its the simple reality that this does not happen. You would have to be anal retentive if you read all of the terms and conditions for everything your bought, every service you used and every website you visited.

  21. Glenn Batten December 12, 2007 at 12:00 pm #

    Robert,

    I understand that.

    Firstly they are still two separate entities and secondly they are not the only companies involved…

    thirdly, who is to say that the information is being sent only to the two main aggregators. Just because we know about them does not mean that the information is not being sent to anybody else.

    The REA clause at least allows them to send it to whoever they want or are you fine with that?

    and lastly, even in Sydney only a small percentage of agents submit their sales to Fairfax media and I reckon that just about all of them would realise that the information is also given to APM. In fact doesn’t the collection sheet you fill the information in say exactly that? That’s transparent, however how can you say the other collection methods that have been raised are transparent?

    Robert, does your privacy notices to your clients declare that the information you have collected is being forwarded to these data aggregators?

  22. Robert Simeon December 12, 2007 at 2:06 pm #

    Glenn,

    I don’t have a problem whom sends the information on to whatever organisation so long as it is accurate. We offer all of sales data except in the case where confidentiality agreements are executed.

    Personally I find this data a revelation as now we can access yesterdays statistics that are exacting as against a previous system that was both out dated and inaccurate. This now greatly assists the Reserve Bank of Australia and Treasury. As they now pin point market activity and gauge which markets are flourishing and those in destress.

    I am a huge supporter of data aggregators.

  23. Peter John Mericka December 17, 2007 at 10:15 am #

    Glenn,

    You’re deliberately missing the point. Data collected by secret and sneaky means was the matter under discussion, and I gave you an example.

    Please don’t go all hysterical on me when I draw attention to the poverty of your arguments.

    Information should be gathered in an ethical manner, and then provided for the benefit of the entire industry, and by this I mean the real estate industry, not just the estate agent industry.

    It is arrogant when estate agents seek to extract information from consumers by use of dubious means, and then claim some form of ownership of that information for the purposes of maintaining control over consumers.

    Glenn, controlling “our industry” is one thing, but controlling access to information is something else entirely.

  24. Guy Davidson January 11, 2008 at 2:35 am #

    Greetings,

    I have just been reading all these comments and find it all very interesting.
    My name is Guy Davidson and I am the director of Tasmanian-Property.com, which is an internet based real estate and property listing service. We specialise in Tasmanian property and have links throughout the world as part of a global hub of realestate sites. We pride ourselves in integrity and transparency. For this reason, I have included here a copy of our Privacy Statement…for your scrutiny and comments.

    It is a shame that there are still ‘crooks’ out there (not making any reference to any particular people or organisations) who insist in taking people and their confidence in them, for a ride.
    The one good thing about such behaviour is that it helps set a standard to differentiate between the good and the bad. So rather than ‘cry over spilt milk’ we need only provide decency and treat our customers and all others for that matter, with dignity.

    There is too much compromise for the dollar, and unfortunately it isn’t past some of the bigger corporations to allow success to be measured in dollars rather than customer relationship and care. Smaller companies and businesses as well as individuals are often also guilty of such poor tact.

    I don’t know about all of you blokes, but it is always very refreshing to read about and experience wholesome marketing skills refined with conscientious endeavour to protect the customer’s privacy and be open and honest about all dealings with personal information.

    Here is our Privacy Policy and if you are interested, you can take a look at our professional site at
    http://www.Tasmanian-Property.com
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………….

    Thank you for visiting Tasmanian-Property.com, an Internet Marketing Ltd. site. Your privacy is important to us. To better protect your privacy, we provide this notice explaining our online information practices and the choices you can make about the way your information is collected and used at this Internet Marketing Ltd. site.

    The information we collect

    At some Internet Marketing Ltd. sites, you can order products, enter contests, vote in polls or otherwise express an opinion, subscribe to one of our services such as our online newsletters, or participate in one of our online forums or communities. The types of personally identifiable information that may be collected at these pages include: name, address, e-mail address, telephone number, fax number, credit card information, and information about your interests in and use of various products, programs, and services.
    At certain parts of some of our sites, only persons who provide us with the requested personally identifiable information will be able to order products, programs, and services or otherwise participate in the site’s activities and offerings.

    We also may collect certain non-personally identifiable information when you visit many of our web pages such as the type of browser you are using (e.g., Internet Explorer, Mozilla), the type of operating system you are using, (e.g., Windows ‘XP or Mac OS) and the domain name of your Internet service provider (e.g., America Online, Earthlink).

    How we use the information

    We may use the information you provide about yourself to fulfill your requests for our products, programs, and services, to respond to your inquiries about our offerings, and to offer you other products, programs or services that we believe may be of interest to you.

    We sometimes use this information to communicate with you, such as to notify you when we make changes to our subscriber agreements, to fulfill a request by you for an online newsletter, or to contact you about your account with us.

    The information we collect in connection with our online forums and communities is used to provide an interactive experience. We use this information to facilitate participation in these online forums and communities and, from time to time, to offer you products, programs, or services.

    If you choose to submit content for publication (e.g., a “letter to our editors”), we may publish your screen name and other information you have provided to us.

    We sometimes use the non-personally identifiable information that we collect to improve the design and content of our site and to enable us to personalize your Internet experience. We also may use this information in the aggregate to analyze site usage, as well as to offer you products, programs, or services.

    We may disclose personally identifiable information in response to legal process, for example, in response to a court order or a subpoena. We also may disclose such information in response to a law enforcement agency’s request, or where we believe it is necessary to investigate, prevent, or take action regarding illegal activities, suspected fraud, situations involving potential threats to the physical safety of any person, violations of our terms of use, or as otherwise required by law. In addition, we may transfer information about you if we are acquired by or merged with another company.

    Agents and contractors of Internet Marketing Ltd. who have access to personally identifiable information are required to protect this information in a manner that is consistent with this Privacy Notice by, for example, not using the information for any purpose other than to carry out the services they are performing for Internet Marketing Ltd

    Although we take appropriate measures to safeguard against unauthorized disclosures of information, we cannot assure you that personally identifiable information that we collect will never be disclosed in a manner that is inconsistent with this Privacy Notice.

    We may on occasion combine information we receive online with outside records to enhance our ability to market to you those products or services that may be of interest to you.

    Finally, the Internet Marketing Ltd. sites covered by this Privacy Notice will not use or transfer personally identifiable information provided to us in ways unrelated to the ones described above without also providing you with an opportunity to opt out of these unrelated uses.

    Cookies and Web beacons

    To enhance your experience with our sites, many of our web pages use “cookies.” Cookies are text files we place in your computer’s browser to store your preferences. Cookies, by themselves, do not tell us your e-mail address or other personally identifiable information unless you choose to provide this information to us by, for example, registering at one of our sites. However, once you choose to furnish the site with personally identifiable information, this information may be linked to the data stored in the cookie.

    We use cookies to understand site usage and to improve the content and offerings on our sites. For example, we may use cookies to personalize your experience at our web pages (e.g., to recognize you by name when you return to our site), and save your password in password-protected areas. We also may use cookies to offer you products, programs, or services.

    “Web beacons” or clear .gifs are small pieces of code placed on a web page to monitor the behavior and collect data about the visitors viewing a web page. For example, web beacons can be used to count the users who visit a web page or to deliver a cookie to the browser of a visitor viewing that page. We may use web beacons on this site from time to time for this and other purposes.

    Collection of information by third-party sites, ad servers, and sponsors

    Some of our sites contain links to other sites whose information practices may be different than ours. Visitors should consult the other sites’ privacy notices as we have no control over information that is submitted to, or collected by, these third parties.

    The Internet Marketing Ltd. sites covered by this Privacy Notice sometimes may offer content (e.g., contests, sweepstakes, or promotions) that is sponsored by or cobranded with identified third parties. By virtue of these relationships, the third parties may obtain personally identifiable information that visitors voluntarily submit to participate in the site activity. Internet Marketing Ltd has no control over these third parties’ use of this information. The Internet Marketing Ltd site will notify you at the time of requesting personally identifiable information if these third parties will obtain such information.

    Some of the Internet Marketing Ltd. sites covered by this Privacy Notice may use a reputable third party to present or serve the advertisements that you may see at its Web pages. These third party ad servers may use cookies, web beacons, clear .gifs or similar technologies to help present such advertisements, and to help measure and research the advertisements’ effectiveness. The use of these technologies by these third party ad servers is subject to their own privacy policies and is not covered by our privacy policy.

    Our commitment to security

    We have put in place appropriate physical, electronic, and managerial procedures to safeguard and help prevent unauthorized access, maintain data security, and correctly use the information we collect online.

    How you can access or correct information

    For instructions on how you can access the personally identifiable information that this Internet Marketing Ltd. site has collected about you online, or how to correct factual errors in such information, please click here to contact us

    To protect your privacy and security, we will take reasonable steps to help verify your identity before granting access or making corrections.

    How to contact us

    If you have any questions or concerns about the Internet Marketing Ltd. online policy for this site or its implementation you may click here to contact us

    Updates and effective Date

    From time to time, we may update this privacy notice. We will notify you about material changes in the way we treat personally identifiable information by placing a notice on our site. We encourage you to periodically check back and review this policy so that you always will know what information we collect, how we use it, and to whom we disclose it.

    The Privacy Notice posted on this site was updated on 1st of October, 2005.
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………..

    The live links in this policy statement are not enabled here, but if you would like to follow up to be more sure that all that is written here is transparent, please go ahead !

    All the best to you all . You have a good thing going here.

    Guy

  25. John Hamer January 11, 2008 at 7:58 am #

    Wow Guy,

    It’s good to hear from somebody with integrity in Real Estate marketing. It is something that I have always practiced in my Bed & Breakfast business, and though sometimes you feel like getting down and dirty like your competitors, I believe that honesty pays dividends in the long run.

    Good luck in your endeavours to bring honesty and integrity into an otherwise questionable industry.

Leave a Reply