Former Advanced Access Employees Sound Off!

Jan 22nd, 2008
The IDX product for Advanced Access has long been a huge problem, and will definitely not be in any form of working order any time soon.

I say this as the former manager of the department that “John Adams” mentioned above.

I just became aware of this site today, and am glad there is a resource for current and former clients/employees to document their frustrations with this company’s failings.

I sincerely regret leaving a department that I worked very hard on in such chaos, but I simply had enough with the company. The IDX product was constantly not working due to archaic programming methods and simple lack of attention to it. When serious work began on 4.0, all upkeep for the IDX program stopped completely – and this lack of maintenance on the IDX product continues to this day due to the continued efforts to fix all the 4.0 issues that are still around. I found myself in a position where I had to defend a product that simply didn’t work to both clients and the MLS partners we have contracts with.

Disillusioned, frustrated, and overwhelmed with day to day work that had piled up and was beyond my ability to whittle down (partly due to AA’s decision to lay off my assistant in late June, the ONLY help I had in that department, making it so I was now in charge of day to day work and manager work) I decided to take a job with another company, and couldn’t be happier about the decision.

Anyway, the reason I’m posting this little story is that I don’t want people to have to deal with AA’s crap anymore. 4.0, IDX, everything is in bad shape right now, and will most likely not be fixed anytime soon. The representatives you speak to on the AA forums and in the call center are blowing smoke up your ass whenever they say things like “it’ll be fixed/added/upgraded soon”. I say this as a former smoke blower that just couldn’t take it anymore.

For those of you who are still current clients and have the AA build IDX program: CHECK IT and make sure it is working. The only reason I beleive AA has gotten away with this program’s problems for so long is because the web site owners don’t search their own site too often. Check results against your MLS’s search results, and check it against other IDX providers’ results.

PS. Just for more info on the IDX problem: while I was still employed with the company, I was looking to buy a home in my area since I was recently married. I attempted to do these searches on what I was most familiar with: the AA IDX product. I was UNABLE to use the product that I was in charge of for reliable results and had to use competitor sites. That really says something, I think.

January 22, 2008
I just wanted to back up what was posted here. I am a former manager of the IDX/MLS Dept., and I can tell you that things will most likely not get better.

From what I observed during my time there, it seemed that new programmers would come on board, realize what an absolute mess everything is and leave not wanting to deal with it. I don’t beleive any of the programmers are incompetent or lazy – they are simply given the task to fix major issues left by the programmers before them. That cycle is why you as the AA client don’t get things fixed

January 23, 2008
MLSNI is very large, and does take a long time to update if they are downloading the FULL set of data and photos (photos especially). If everything were working correctly, they would only be downloading what is new/updated every day, which takes minimal time. The replication process (the process that parses the data from the download area and puts it into the search database) being used is archaic, full of bugs and issues, and was built really assuming they would only being using it for 1-5 different MLS feeds. As of the time I left, they were downloading ~135 different feeds.

The problem is NOT the download – it’s what happens after the download where everything gets screwed up. They unfotunately have no way of knowing WHAT is missing, so the only fix is to either re-download individual listings by request, or download ALL of it again and hope things go better this time.

What I’m getting at is: the lack of updates on the IDX feeds is not because it takes a long time to do the normal every day download; it’s because the process breaks, then a client such as yourself may not notice for several days before reporting it, then it may take several days for the report to reach the IDX programmer, then it’ll take a day to apply a fix that may just yield the same problems and start the cycle over again. By this time, data has been out of date for a week, maybe more.

Some trivia here for you: during my time there, MLSNI was often used as my example to the powers that be of how broken the system is. For example, over several weeks I documented what percentage of the listings in MLSNI had photos available. That number avereaged between 50% and 60%…you can’t tell me that half of all active listings in that area do not have photos. I won’t say these reports fell on deaf ears necessarily – I do beleive (maybe naively so) that the IDX problem is well known and recognized as a serious issue by those who would be in charge of fixing it, however the bigger priority seems to be getting 4.0 to work properly (1.25 years later as of now) and building the 3.0 to 4.0 conversion process. Who knows when that’ll be done, and who knows when the inevitable bugs and issues from it will be worked out.

Bottom line is that NO ONE is touching IDX unless it is an emergency situation where all IDX is down. Then it gets a band-aid.

January 23rg, 2008
I’m also an ex employee of Advanced Access but I was in the Website Marketing (cough) Department. I was (and still am thanks to high up insiders) very familiar with what was going on. You’ve already heard that it won’t get any better and it really truly won’t. Justin is to busy trying to save money than retain clients and fix the overall problems. His head is up corporates ass. Now Aron Spegon, Director of Customer Service, wants to put all liability on the clients to help reduce the expectations of AA. New clients no longer have someone helping them with their new website. They have to do it all on their own. Shitty business practice? I think so… and so do many more.

I bet John and Jerra are pissed at the downfall of this company.

I left AA after three years in December 2007 because of their lack of concern for existing employees needs (and then some), the way I was forced to treat our Marketing Clients, and for the way the company was turning out to be. I wanted to work for a reputable company. When I told them that, I didn’t mean bad reputation.

I am now self employeed and serving clients the way they should be served and giving them the support they need to become a success WITHOUT Advanced Access.

I can help you get away from them without royally screwing up your rankings if you have a 4.0 site. If you have a 3.0 site, it will have an effect but the long run wil be better for you.

January 28, 2008

Does it really matter that the ex presidents are seemingly unwilling to give out their true identities…? However they can matter of factly speak about the going on’s and policies and procedures currently in place at AA? Hmmm… Working in the office next door to Sean G for about a year, I can adamantly state that Sean was working all day every day with his hands tied trying to make a difference at AA. I was in a “Director’s Meeting” when he was even brought in to explain how and why we needed to make changes to the way Advanced Access handles the IDX data (Mark Gilmore arranged this presentation). How many of the recommendations he made were followed…? I’ll let Sean handle that one.

Does it really matter that the reality is that since John Morris and Justin LaJoie left, AA decided to attempt to keep the course instead of keep up with the competition. Does it really matter that the “Intellic@rds” that are touted as an email marketing solution are dated back to 2001-02? When is the scheduled “deployment” (its a popular word that was introduced by IT at AA to make it seem like progress was being made) for the next version of the Intellic@rds? Old news… No suggestions nor proposals were ever seriously considered by Captain Edward John Smith and his Yes men and woman. The only proposals and suggestions I ever saw being implemented were when it dealt with cutting earned commissions and bonuses of its employees.

Let’s not point the fingers at the individuals who attempted to keep AA cutting edge and providing good service to its clients. I for one, and can attest on the behalf of Sean, that pride was taken in providing our clients the best possible services that we were capable of providing based on how tied up our hands were.

Lets rather talk about the fact that if you are a current AA member and are running the newest version of Internet Explorer, you cannot edit the content of your website… There is a work around, obviously I am aware of that, but what are we really talking about? Is it our clients responsibilty to jump through hoops to use something they are paying $40 or $50 a month in “hosting” for? Or should AA man up and resolve the problems like any responsible company would. Apparently AA feels it is being held hostage by Microsoft for releasing IE7… Hmmmm…

Third-level domain names anyone? Oh yeah, we offered those. What happened to them? I guess they are not as important as “deploying” banner advertising to its clients asking them for more money by selling them Leadmore. Programming is more than on top of it when it comes to that. but where is the upgrade to 4.0 for all 30,000+ clients (which we all know was a bogus number ask Gary Brackle) . Realistically 4.0 is garbage, people are much better offf with 3.0, but at least with 4.0 you can still sort of use your page editor. To sum this up, though it may seem like there are ex-employees who are unfairly letting off steam realize that Advanced Access was a GREAT company to work for. And it USED to provide great products and services to it’s clients. But those days have long since passed and when you feel like things could have been done to avoid it’s downfall, you almost feel responsible. I know that I do.

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35 Responses

  1. I’d like to find out more about the service you’re offering. Our website is with AA and I’m worried about what I’m reading here.

  2. If your going to leave AA, get an hosting account with HostGator, 1&1, or BlueHost. Install wordpress, and hire a design firm to create a custom theme ($450 est.). For my SEO sites I use HostGator + WP. It’s easier and more stable then the VO (3.0 or 4.0). Hosting shouldn’t run you more then $8 a month. With the money you’ll be saving, pay for IDX separately.

  3. Scott- Please contact us about the services you can provide.

    Thanks- Jerri

  4. Here it is May 7th, and I had 226 broken links as a gift from the jerks at Advanced Access. Now, going on over 24 hours, they still have not resolved the issue…please DO NOT buy an Advanced Access website – please spare yourself the bleeding , pain, misery and humiliation from your clients.

    jeff
    http://www.jeffboyce.net

  5. I was an employee of advanced access earlier this year working as an upper level manager. They are by far the worst company to purchase a Real Estate website from. They have extremely shady business practices and frankly the services do not work… 98% of the clients that I worked with did not received 1 lead from the site in roughly 1-5 years. Not 1 single lead. They do not use current web technology and they will lie to get a sale…I am not at all a bitter employee the work enviroment was great and some of the people are great but overall this company is scamming thousands of people for thousands of dollars. DO NOT TRUST ADVANCED ACCESS… FORMER MANAGER

  6. Just curious former “eployee” from “upper management” as to who you are, and why you don’t go ahead and identify yourself? If you had this level of dissatisfaction from clients, and this seems to be a platform to discuss this, and you don’t work for them anymore, why the hiding? I find the show of former employees who don’t identify themselves pathetic.

    • You sign your complaint “Anonymous” and expect people to believe you have any credibility at all? Pathetic indeed.

      • Tee Dee is one to speak she goes thru the BBB with two accounts making false claims and she her self does not reveal her name so yes “Tee Dee” it is pathetic isnt it

  7. This company sucks on every level. But the worst part of it is their attitude. I wish I could put them out of business or bill them for the amount of hours I’ve been on hold.

  8. I find it amusing that every so often, including today, I get called from Advanced Access telling me about all the improvements they have made over the past year.
    Today, it was Curtis, who has only been with them for a year. Then, I see posts like Barbara’s and KNOW it’s still the same old crap going on over there!

    Thank’s for the update, Barbara.

  9. Barbara is a special case that should sincerely look into extreme amounts of time with a psychiatrist. When you call people and threaten them with physical harm, do you honestly expect them to help you? Additionally, when you call for help, and the first words out of your mouth in response to a question of “How are you today?” are “Get off your fat fucking ass and get me your manager!” do you think anyone is going to help you? There are faults in every service and I agree that there are improvements to be made, but sometimes you must first look at the source of where the complaint is coming from. I would recommend that anyone dealing with Barbara Feldman to be ready to deal with someone whom is completely unprofessional and totally computer illiterate.

    • Another “Unknown” anonymous response with some crazy talk thrown in. So you’re a current employee of Advanced Access. Don’t you get it? People find this site because we’ve all had awful experiences with Advanced Access. They repeatedly fail to live up to their promises.

      Sniping from “Unknown” and “Anonymous” posters does nothing to change the reality or the perception people have about Advanced Access. The BBB website had 72 complaints and every review gave Advanced Access one star. ADVANCED ACCESS IS A BAD BUSINESS.

      • again Tee Dee puttin two cents in not knowing any facts did she botehr to read how this customer treated the rep no she is only out to do for herself hey TeeDee why not post your name you sound more vidictive than anyone

  10. Advanced Access needs to be taken down! They’re incompetent!

    Read what others said on the BBB.org site 100% negative! Don;t even consider wasting your money with them.

  11. Has anyone taken this company to court /SEC before? Seem clouded in LLC & INC Anaheim Business Lic. States:
    Owner CONRAD HALL, PRESIDENT
    Owner PETER ILL, VICE PRES
    Owner MICHAEL ASKEW, TREASURER
    Mailing Address ADVANCED ACCESS P O BOX 2333 NORFOLK VA 23501 2333
    Business Name ADVANCED ACCESS 8101 E KAISER BLVD 300 ANAHEIM CA 92808 0000
    Corp/Partner J WILLIAMS INC
    Owner JOHN MORRIS
    Owner JERRA MORRIS
    Corp/Partner DOMINION ENTERPRISES
    Owner L T M COMPANY LP
    Owner A T C HOLDINGS INC

  12. ps: Don’t beleive this site than see what others are saving {all negative!} at BBB.org and http://www.ripoffreport.com !! Caveat emptor .They’ve made some very very bad enemies!

  13. We were with AA for 5 years. The last 2 years have been a disaster. What a waste of time and money. Finally we are done with them and now have a website with a much better company – Agent Image.

  14. Thanks for the news. Started the process to see on trial if this was an option for one of our new domains. Five week delays, attempts to push the cookie cutter website and when you want custom, have the template, hierarchy all worked out to just skin a wire frame site, you get shuffled from one programer to another..one of them told me the extent of his background was he pimped his facebook profile and had no other design back ground. Attempting to paste our premade headers over template sites…whoa. Custom template..good luck. And from comments above, you are right…you are on your own to do it yourself although it i hard then just doing a site because you have the AA platform and not support to figure things out. I feel sooooo lucky I did not take the step to transfer the idx, etc.

  15. I would suggest doing content marketing, let me explainYou can get a video professionally created for around $47.00 97.00 (30-60 seconds) showing your quality desk drawer slide. You can even prove how easy it is to destruct your competitors and blast it around over 100 internet video sites for as little as $5.00 per site to be done manualy!You can get keyword research done for you professionally, identifying the keyword phrases that will get you a decent amount of search volum, yes with lower competing pages.

  16. For nine months, I’ve been trying to get Advanced Access to add 7 Subdivisions to the available search links.

    I’ve spoken to numerous managers and lower level service people. In spite of numerous promises, not one has been added.

    I’m becoming convinced, they don’t really care about their customers.

  17. Advanced Access totally sucks! We signed up with them in January 2010 and canceled on May 1st because the site was down multiple times and the email was bouncing to our clients over and over. We were on the phone with technicians and managers for hours and hours trying to get it fixed but all they did was blame the registrar (GoDaddy). Maybe they would get the email info back into the system and it would work for a few days and then it was gone again, simply wiped out so we had NO EMAIL for about half the time between January and April. Or we would load up the DNS info again; it would take two days for the site to go live and then it would be up a few days and then down again. Not only that but they lied about the cost!

    When we talked to a manager and told him to cancel the account he refused and WE ARE STILL BEING BILLED EVERY MONTH even though we have moved over to z57 (and are paying them monthly as well).

    We quit Advanced Access because they were in breach of contract when the website and email didn’t work. Yet they refuse to stop billing us, so we are going to report them to the Better Business Bureau and anywhere else.

    Advanced Access should be shut down. As far as we’re concerned they are stealing our money.

  18. Hello “Tee Dee”; can you perhaps provide the name on your account with Advanced Access so I can have someone assist you ASAP?

  19. No, Anna. Advanced Access had multiple opportunities to “assist” us, but repeatedly failed to do so.

    We have now reported Advanced Access to our credit card company and the Better Business Bureau. The BBB lists more than 70 complaints similar to ours made over the past three months against Advanced Access. Obviously, there’s something wrong with your business model in addition to the very poor service.

    Your PR problems will only continue to grow as more and more people who have experienced poor service and unethical treatment by Advanced Access complain about it. But instead of trying to trap people who express their disgust, why don’t you just focus on fixing Advanced Access?

  20. Hello, I am sorry you feel that way. I understand your frustration and again would be glad to help.

  21. Anna,

    It;s always good to see you stopping by to try to resolve agent’s issues although most have already made the decision to move on to another vendor.

    How’s little Aiden and Emma Rose doing? They must be about ready to start school by now 🙂


    We had some good times at Advanced Access before Dominion took it over, especially on the forums and long before the ‘promised’ new templates that were a big disappointment when they finally arrived.

    Back in 2008 Advanced Access reportedly had a “60 Member Customer Support Team” and a “Highly Trained Technical Support Staff” so why are agents still winding up on this site to vent their frustration with Advanced Access?
    (for reference: http://www.xsoldx.com/AdvancedAccess.html )

  22. It should come as no surprise but it seems that AA is falling even harder. From what I hear, Anna left the company as well as Justin Davis, former GM/VP. As of last check, nobody has been put in charge of operations. There is an empty chair in an otherwise empty office. The Director of Customer Support is also… gone. If you have an AA website, you better start looking for an alternative solution to hosting/marketing.

  23. Advanced Access is dwindling down to nothing but a billing department, to suck like the parasites they are the blood of anyone who signed a contract they can’t get out of, even though Advanced Access does not provide the service they promised.

    I think anybody still working for Advanced Access is a crook, or at least understand that the company is essentially a criminal enterprise.

    They should be shut down immediately.

  24. Chris C. is the top guy in charge now by default. With nobody to stand in his way, he is working hard to try to put things back together the way it should have been in the first place. If anybody can make it happen, Chris can and I have a lot of respect for what he did and tried to do while I was there. When you let monkeys run the show, you have yourself a circus. I have a few clients who are with AA still so I have to hope for their sake that corporate listens to Chris so he can work to fix a lot of the crap.

    • I don’t know who Chris C. is, but I have had numerous interactions with everyone on their customer service staff more than once. Most of the staff are trying their best with a system that is a genuine piece of crap! The current supervisor, Phil Castillo, is useless and knows nothing about the system himself – he is actually attempting to charge me design charges for a website that I am designing myself! The in-house design team gets nothing done; consistently! Having a sissy supervisor who insults clients is probably the beginning of the end for this group – forget the BBB – they already have “thousands of complaints”.

  25. This thread started back in January of 2008 and three years later the same type of complaints continue to be added. All we can say is STAY AWAY from enlisting the services of Advanced Access for your real estate website. It’s amazing that they have stayed afloat this long since changing hands several years ago.

  26. Well, Advanced Access sucked money out of our credit card until October of 2010, though we had no service with them after April 2010. and were paying z57 for a real estate website.

    We provided Discover with links to this site and to the BBB where there are many, many complaints exactly like ours about Advanced Access. It must must be terrible to work in a place like that where they rip people off and their public face is a guy like Phil.

    Whatever they told Discover, they continued to allow Advanced Access to steal money from our account. All we can do now is let people know how badly we were taken by Advanced Access.

  27. xx

  28. Ron, Seeing as you are celebrating your 10th year anniversary with AA and have only made one template change back in 2004, on a scale of 1-10, how would YOU rate their overall service and the return on your ten year investment when it comes to Internet leads?

    I don’t see your site coming up on the first three pages for your first five (main) keywords and after ten years you have only gained a Google PR1. Just curious why you are still with Advanced Access.
    Washington D.C. real estate
    Bethesda Real Estate
    Vienna Real Estate
    McLean Real Estate
    Silver Spring Real Estate

  29. Well the day has come that you can no longer purchase an Advanced Access website. Effective Aug.18th the sales departments we’re closed, the sales team laid off and the AA platform was officially laid to rest (with the exception of supporting legacy clients for the time being)

    I spent 9 long years with the company in upper management (running sales departments) and for the most part have only positive things to say about what it once was (pre-acquisition of course) I left on my own terms 2 months ago in search of a product/company that is investing in the clients that pay their hard earned money for services. I also couldn’t live with the fact that we were selling technology that was built 5 years ago and still touting it as cutting edge. At the end of the day I met a lot of good people, and believe it or not, actually helped a couple agents make some money from their websites.

    I would love to have the opportunity to talk more with you if your an agent looking for solid service, support and quality design work. Do a google search for LINKUREALTY. The company has been in business since 2003 and doesn’t have a shred of bad PR on the internet. Our product/design work is light years ahead of the standard boiler plate stuff ya’ll are used to. Take a look and contact me with any questions.

    http://www.pearlrealestategroup.com
    http://www.laketravisrental.net

  30. Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.
    Look advanced to far added agreeable from you! However, how could we
    communicate?

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