HIS Alert: Phishing Messages

It has come to our attention that there is an e-mail scam circulating, claiming to be an official request relating to webmail access.  Here is an example of a fradulent e-mail an agent received:
_________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Webmail Account Owner,

To complete your Account upgrade process, you are to reply this message and enter your ID and PASSWORD in the space provided below, you are required to do this before the next 48hrs of receipt of this e-mail, or your Webmail Account will be de-activated and erased from our database.

Full Name:
Full Webmail User ID:(example:johndoe@example.com
mailto:example%3Ajohndoe@example.com)
webmail Password:

Warning!!! Account owners that refuses to update his or her account within stipulated time of receiving this warning will lose his or her account permanently.

Warning Code:VX2G99AAJ

Thanks,
Webmail Administrator
__________________________________________________________________________________
 
If you receive a message like this, do not reply. Delete it, or report it as a spam or phishing message if your mail system supports it.  Like most online service providers, HIS will never request your password in this manner.  When dealing with such issues, we encourage you to contact us directly and take extra steps to authenticate any communications related to your account.
To learn more about phishing scams, visit these links:

Phishing on Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phishing 

How to handle suspicious e-mail
http://www.microsoft.com/protect/yourself/phishing/prevent.mspx

REsearch 4.2 Feature Focus: OPEN HOUSE

With 4.2 you have more reason than ever to enter your Open Houses into REsearch.  Now open houses that are entered in REsearch immediately become available to other REsearch users on REVO (REsearch Virtual Organizer, your default home page in REsearch), and will soon show up on AlohaLiving.com automatically, where homebuyers will be able to see and search for them as well. Now both fellow real estate professionals and the public will be able to plan a visit.
 
We have already had a number of people enter Open Houses on the 4.2 Beta site, and we encourage you to do the same.  As the number of Open Houses entered into REsearch grows, we will continue to make the searches for them on Aloha Living more sophisticated and widespread throughout the site.

 

Step 1: Enter Your Open House In REsearch

To enter your Open House into REsearch 4.2, simply visit the Beta site HERE, click the “Add Open House” button on the Open House navigation bar (on your REVO home page), and then enter the information into the pop-up box.

openhouse_screencap_400.jpg
 

Step 2: Check it Out on Hawaiiinformation.com and AlohaLiving.com!
 
Once you hit OK, all of the information for your Open House will soon show up on Aloha Living and Hawaiiinformation.com automatically.  Customers and colleagues alike will be able to search for and access your Open House information using the links on the AlohaLiving.com and Hawaiiinformation.com homepages, as well as through the various home searches once more Open Houses are entered. 

 open_house_400.jpg

 

 

As always, if you have any questions or feedback, please do not hesitate to contact me:
 
Erin Shaw
Marketing Coordinator
Hawaii Information Service
Direct: (808) 599.422 4 ext. #159
Toll Free: 1.800.628.3121 ext. #159
E-mail: erin@alohaliving.com

It’s 4.2 Beta Time!

REsearch 4.2 Beta
Your Participation and Feedback is Important To Us! 
 
 
We are now commencing our public beta testing period for REsearch 4.2 and would like for you to please join us in testing it out!  This is a public Beta to encourage all of our members and customers to learn by doing.  To do so, follow these quick steps.
 
1. Visit http://webre2.hawaiiinformation.com/REsearchBeta/HIS/ and go for it!
 
2. Please remember that the Beta site is LIVE, so any changes you make to your listings will appear on the current/existing and beta site.

3. E-mail any questions/feedback to erin@alohaliving.com so that we can make note of your thoughts and suggestions as we make tweaks/additions to 4.2 and later versions.  If you want to submit comments and or questions anonymously, simply print them out and either fax or mail them to me at the number/address, or you can leave an anonymous comment on our 4.2 Beta blog at the address below.
 
4. Visit http://blogs.alohaliving.com/beta  to see posts of your feedback and answers to your questions.  If you have a question I suggest visiting the blog first to see if it has already been addressed.
 
 
Thank you for participating & mark your calendars – REsearch 4.2 goes live February 4th, 2009!
 
As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me:
 
Erin Shaw
Marketing Coordinator
Hawaii Information Service
680 Iwilei Rd., Suite 777
Honolulu, HI 96817
 
Fax (Oahu): 808.536.6499
Fax (Toll Free): 1.888.628.3121
Direct: (808) 599.4224 ext. #159
Toll Free: 1.800.628.3121 ext. #159
E-mail: erin@alohaliving.com

REsearch and Skype

SkypeAre you a Skype user? If so, please be aware that you may encounter problems with REsearch. If you installed the Skype Plugin for Internet Explorer as part of the Skype install process, all phone numbers displayed in your browser (including within REsearch) will be converted into a Skype dialing icon. This may obscure the display of the phone number, or even prevent you from using other functions in your browser window (i.e. printing, copying, etc.).

For best results, you should disable the Skype Plugin for Internet Explorer when using REsearch.

How to disable the Skype Plugin for Internet Explorer:

If you are using the latest version of Skype, click the Skype icon in your browser toolbar and uncheck the “Turn number highlighting on” box. You can also completely remove the Skype add-on.

Skype in IE

If you are using an older version of Skype or do not have a Skype icon in your browser toolbar, click the “Tools” menu and select “Manage add-ons…” Then, in the list, select any Skype add-ons listed
then click Disable.

Tips and Tricks

How do I filter out timeshare and fractional listings?

Tired of seeing timeshare and fractional interest listings when you want to see only single-family residential? You can eliminate timeshares and fractional interests from your search results by using the field “Type of Listing.”

Timeshare Filter

Of course, the success of the search results depends upon accurate data entry. On both the residential and condo data input form, there is a field called “Type of Listing” and there is a checkbox for “fractional” on the residential data input form and for “timeshare” on the condo data input form.

Timeshare Entry

If you are offering less than 100% ownership in the property, you MUST indicate the proper offering by checking the box in the data input form.

How do I identify “short” sales and/or foreclosure sales in a search?

HIS is in the process of adding a “short sale” disclosure to the other disclosures in the data entry process. In the meantime, you should search remarks for language that indicates a short sale or pending foreclosure.

If you are approached to list a property that is a “distressed” property, or if your listing becomes a distressed property after you have listed it, you must remember the criteria set forth in Act 137: “Mortgage Rescue Fraud Prevention Act.” This new law was covered in Core B of the mandatory continuing education. If you have any questions about your duty under the law, please discuss them with your Principal Broker or go here and log into HawaiiRealtors.com.

What is an oceanfront condo unit?

Ever wonder why a non-oceanfront condo unit was included in the search results for an “oceanfront” property?

There are two fields in the database that pertain to the definition of “oceanfront”.

  • Oceanfront Parcel – which is the field searched when you click “oceanfront” on the search screen – determines only if the parcel is oceanfront.
  • Oceanfront Unit – searches the database to see if the unit is oceanfront.

Therefore, to search for an oceanfront condominium unit, you must ask for both “oceanfront parcel” and “oceanfront unit”.

Blog Comments – How to Grow and Sustain Them

My friend and I have a food and cooking blog, and every morning I check in to see whether people have left any comments on our recent posts.  Comments are validation that people are not only reading your blog, but thinking about it and interacting with you.  As you gain more readers, you should begin to turn them into commenters.  A thriving community of commenters brings people back and keeps them engaged – doing some of your work for you!

Here are a few helpful tips to get you going and keep those comments coming!

  • Keep the topics current.  If your posts reflect what is going on in the news, in your community, or in your business today, people are more likely to want to enter into in a dialogue.
  • Reference other bloggers or relevant websites in your posts.  This will establish you as someone who shares great resources, and will hopefully also get those other bloggers’ attention. Getting a link back is a great compliment.
  • Respond to comments.  You don’t need to individually post a reply to every comment, but check in on discussions and show that you’re paying attention and appreciate their feedback.
  • Pack a punch!  Be passionate, or even provocative and controversial in your opinions.  It’s a great way to elicit a response from people, whether they agree or disagree.  This strategy is a double-edged sword, of course!
  • Ask a question.  Wrapping up your post with a call to action is a pretty straightforward way to encourage comments, telling readers you want to hear from them but also giving them a starting point.  Go beyond, “What do you think?”  Ask for specific advice or suggestions related to the topic at hand.

You may have noticed that in society, when a few people start doing something, others tend to follow.  Work on getting a base of people who frequent your site and interact on it, and both your traffic and number of comments will continue to grow.

Q: Do YOU have any great ideas on how to get people to leave comments on your blog???

E-blast Check List

I send out e-mail newsletters, or “e-blasts,” on a pretty regular basis.  Before I send them out, though, I want to be sure I’ve dotted all of my I’s and crossed all of my T’s. You can’t take an e-mail back, so I want to make sure I haven’t missed a date or included a broken link.  So I ask others to review them beforehand, for example.  I’ve also developed a checklist to go through before I send out each “e-blast,” and I thought I’d share it.  While mistakes do happen, hopefully a checklist like this will help reduce them. 

  • What’s in your subject line?
    • Make sure your subject line is a reflection of the content you are sending.  Avoid spam words like Sale, Free, Act Now, etc. Here is a site with a list of spam words to avoid: http://www.wilsonweb.com/wmt8/spamfilter_phrases.htm
    • Keep it short and sweet – make sure the important part of the message is at the beginning so it doesn’t get cut off by narrow columns or views of the subject line.
    • If you are copying elements from an earlier campaign, make sure to change the subject and date if necessary.
  • Verify sender information
    • Make sure that you are including the correct sender in the “From” field. Many people will reply directly to the “e-blast,” so make sure they can reach you.
  • Update dates and times
    • Again, if you are updating an earlier campaign, double check your dates and times (or time-sensitive references, i.e. “Happy Holidays!”) and update them if necessary.
  • Test your links
    • Click each of the links in your “e-blast.” Send a test e-mail to a few people internally to make sure all of your links work properly on a variety of computer systems.
  • Preview in multiple e-mail readers and explorers
    • Messages may look different when viewed in Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, AOL e-mail accounts, and the like, just as websites may vary when opened in Firefox or Internet Explorer.  Do a few tests to make sure everything is in order.
  • Image Links
    • If including images, don’t forget to attach links to them if necessary. Many users will expect images to be active links.
  • “Forward This” Feature
    • If offered by your e-mail newsletter service (i.e. ConstantContact, Campaign Monitor), turn this on!  It never hurts to get a few more leads via your recipients forwarding the e-mail along to their contacts.
  • Preview both Text & HTML formats
    • If separate versions are available, make sure the layout is correct and legible in both text and HTML formats to ensure that everyone receives the same message.
  • Check your “To” list
    • Double check that you are using the correct distribution list for your “e-blast.”  It helps to clearly label lists when you import or create them with a description and a date for easy reference.
    • If you are not using a service to manage your e-mail campaigns and manually sending messages from your own e-mail account, be sure to use the “Bcc” (or “Blind Carbon Copy”) field instead to hide the list of recipients.  It’s bad form to expose others’ contact information.

  

The New and Improved REsearch 4.2!

2008_floorplans_merry-xmas.jpg 

We can already see it — 2009 is going to be an incredible year!  Mark your calendars for February, when we will be unveiling several new and wonderful upgrades for REsearch that we have been working tirelessly on, just for you.

Over the next month or so we will be sharing sneak-peeks of the various features and upgrades that will be included in 4.2.  We will also be holding a series of in-person demonstrations as well as Webinars both before and after the release for anyone interested in learning more.

And since you have all been so good this year, we wanted to wish you Happy Holiday’s by announcing that, yes, finally, the floor plan and plot plans for condominiums throughout Hawaii will soon be available online.  With the click of your mouse, you will be able to search for, browse, and download floor and plot plans for 2,200+ condo projects throughout the islands–a bank of over 10,000 drawings!

The changes in 4.2 will vary slightly depending on which services you use.

If you are a Member of HIS or an MLS of Choice customer, here are a few of the updates and upgrades you can expect to find in the new version of 4.2:

  • Fresh Perspective: Enhanced REVO!
  • Map It: Condo floor plans and plot plans will soon be available online!
  • Industry Leading: Personalize your searches by dragging and dropping your favorite/most used fields — a level of customization offered by NO OTHER MLS company in the nation.
  • Added Value: Calculators, calculators and more calculators!

If you are a TMK Customer, here are a few of the upgrades and updates you can expect to find in the new version of 4.2:

  • Industry Leading: Personalize your searches by dragging and dropping your favorite/most used fields — a level of customization offered by NO OTHER MLS company in the nation.
  • Map It: Condo floor plans and plot plans will soon be available online!
  • Simplify your life: Search with greater ease and options.
  • All About Appearances: New REsearch “Bathing Suit” and crisper icons.

Questions? I would love to hear from you. Please e-mail me at erin@alohaliving.com. Until 2009….Happy Holidays, and best wishes for a safe, happy and prosperous New Year!

—Erin Shaw, Marketing Coordinator