Did Advanced Access FINALLY Bite the Dust?

After the sale to Dominion Enterprises, Advanced Access continued to spiral downward with a product that lacked new innovation. Once they did come up with some improvements they failed to offer it to their current clients. It has now been reported that Advanced Access is no longer offering websites. Over the years, Advanced Access has been more interested in signing up new accounts rather than addressing issues with their product, and most importantly their ability to stay online due to power outages. Many complained about credit cards being charged for renewals even after they had cancelled their accounts. Others wondered for years WHEN they would be able to upgrade to the NET platform, which turned out to be a bust anyway.

Their site is still up but according to an insider,

effective Aug. 18th the sales departments were closed, the sales team laid off and the AA platform was officially laid to rest.

It’s interesting to note that on their ‘Featured Clients’ page, the most recent addition was back in October 2010 and the one prior to that was way back in November 2008. What does that tell you? A lack of personnel as they kept slip-sliding along? I can recall when they had a new Featured Client every month (and I was one of them).

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Advanced Access Still Slip-Sliding Along After Two Years

In only ten days this blog will be two years old. As I read the two recent comments (which I will copy into this post) it appears that not much has changed at Advanced Access when it comes to POWER OUTAGES! With reports that websites are once again down, what will be Advanced Access excuse this time? It’s been well over a year since they claimed to have moved their equipment to a fireproof location with redundant back ups.

Why do agents continue to stay with Advanced Access? I know it may be difficult to even think about moving your site once you are familiar with your current back-office setup. However, take my word for it, it’s NOT that difficult to get used to another system! After all, what can possibly make one system more complicated than another? They all offer WYSIWYG as well as html for those familiar with it.

I moved my URL’s away from Advanced Access to Point2Agents and was quite happy there. I had four sites at P2A and still have a couple of free sites at places like RapidListings.com but now host my own main sites. It gives me the freedom of changing whatever I want and have NEVER had my sites go down, nor my email. At first I missed the IDX that Advanced Access offered as well as their custom forms but got used to the ‘handshake’ offered by P2A and opened an inexpensive account with MyContactForm.com to create my own forms that are as good as AA’s. Now that I host my own, I run a single IDX on all of the sites including a foreclosure site that ranks #1 for our area. Right now I am hosting well over 50 sites for under $80/year and many rank on page #1 if not at #1 on Google. I have found that you don’t have to have any PR rank to sit in the number one position if you have the content, keywords, ideal URL, AND back links which AA made us delete. Yes, the Web Gorilla convinced them that it was imperative that we all get rid of our reciprocal links so for those of us that did, we slipped further and further off Google’s radar.

If you look at my www.PreforeclosureSite.com, which was only developed to earn passive income from ebooks, DVD’s, and Google Adwords, you will see that it has NO pagerank yet ranks #1 for keywords “Northern Illinois Foreclosures”, “short sales northern Illinois”, #6 for “bank owned northern Illinois”, #8 for “preforeclosures illinois” and many other keyword phrases.

I’ve had more fun promoting ‘passive’ income sites and hosting them under a master account during these trying times. Google forbids us to discuss our earnings from Adwords so just let me say that it has paid the bills! I have enough of my own sites with massive amounts of interior pages that allow me to slowly pump over 3,000 back links to any new site without swapping with anyone. Don’t be afraid to get out from under Advanced Access’ wing and learn how to fly on your own.

Here are the two recent comments that indicate that nothing has changed when it comes to Advanced Access hosting. It’s especially frustrating when the sites ‘conveniently’ go down over the weekend when buyers have more time to spend online searching for homes.

Kelley’s comment on 4/18/09
“I have my site with them but am becoming increasingly unhappy with them.”

Susan’s comment on 4/19/09
“It’s happening again! Advanced Access websites, Virtual Office and Forums down again ALL WEEKEND. And when you call, their mailbox is FULL! You can’t even leave a disgruntled message.”

Why NOT To Buy an Advanced Access website!!

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

Advanced Access – Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow. NOT!

After using up the free months I earned as credits that extended my subscription beyond my annual renewal, I finally parted company with Advanced Access this past weekend. There was no cake, no good-will wishes, and no tears. Like leaving an employer that you once loved working for, time and ongoing issues had taken their toll. Looking back, I can’t recall a single upgrade that Advanced Access added to my product in the past four years. I was still using the same virtual office to make website changes, and seldom saw any new templates being offered, if at all. It seems that they were simply running the rubber off the old worn tires, trying to get whatever mileage they could out of them.

Sure, they eventually came out with their 4.0 update but it was never offered to the 3.0 users as promised for well over a year. I’m sure it is plagued with problems, and being designed on a different platform, is undoubtedly just too incompatible with 3.0. Reading the posts on the forum and by agents who asked for their money back, those of us riding on their 3.0 bald tires should probably consider ourselves fortunate. Speaking of the forum, what a graveyard that has become! Seldom is anyone online and when there are posts they usually consist of what appeared over the weekend such as:
Getting Frustrated
Problem Editing Webpage
VO Home Page editor is text only
Problems uploading docs
Design Center File Upload Stopped Working
Template Manager on the Fritz
e-mail not working
Scrambled Stats Again
Forum Posting Stopped Working
Slideshow Builder Broke
Stats not adding up-Please fix
Website is not W3C valid

Typical weekend, though, and very little Customer Support to deal with the questions. If they do answer, about all they can do is send up a ticket so not too many repairs get done until after Monday morning coffee. My site is now hosted by Point2Agents a company highly recommended by the Amigos who sponsor RealTalk as well as teach the ePRO classes. Several months ago, they also stopped recommending Advanced Access of which they, like me, were staunch supporters. I already had three other websites with P2A which rank very well on Page #1 of Google and was always impressed how they were able to make ONGOING updates to their software that continue to enrich them with more and more great features. And, NO, they haven’t had a power outage that comes anywhere close to Advanced Access meltdown last year. In fact, I don’t recall my site ever being down!

If you read what Advanced Access posted on their ActiveRain blog, you can see that a pattern of power outages continue to shut agents sites down. For example, on 05/22/2007, they posted “At this time, Advanced Access is having significant power issues at our offices and all services are currently down. 100% of our resources are dedicated to solving this problem with many various solutions being implemented at this time. There has been no data loss or corruption of your services. We are expecting that all services will be shut off for the rest of the day.” This was followed by a post on 02/25/2008 that said “At this time most systems are up and running. Specifically, certain websites will be running slowly throughout the rest of the day and the Classic 3.0 Virtual Office is currently inaccessible. Email is operating and will be slowly moving through the backlog of messages from the past day and a half. Our entire staff is working diligently to correct these remaining issues and we will continue to keep you updated.”

The question I ask is in regard to their continued comments of “The new data center is a state-of-the-art facility with multiple fiber paths for internet connectivity, redundant environmental control systems, on-staff AC and electrical technicians and on-site backup diesel generators.” Why are sites constantly down due to outages?

Now, I can concentrate on getting my pagerank back to where it was before the Web Guerrilla decided to make an example of it and got me banned by Google for over 30 days. What an airhead, and he never did accomplish what he promised to those at Advanced Access who bought into his BS. They finally woke up when his one-year contract came up for renewal and showed him the door. You never see anything posted by AA regarding his accomplishments, so apparently, even they were unimpressed by the results. Between the unimpressive independent web reporting stats for Advanced Access sites and the lack of proper page identifiers, it is difficult for anyone with an AA site to keep a high Pagerank. I slipped from a PR5 to a PR3 but stay tuned, folks, things are going to be changing for the better!!.

Advanced Access Sites DOWN per Agents & Clients

Well, it seems like Advanced Access just can’t seem to figure out the magic formula to keep the power on. Once again, agents and their clients are reporting that the websites are unavailable. This has been an ongoing problem with Advanced Access for quite some time, even though they claim to have a state-of-the-art backup system in place. The other problem is trying to reach Customer Service to report any problems, as many agents indicate that calls go unanswered or they tire of being on hold forever waiting for a supervisor. All this should change once enough agents bail out and the size of the Advanced Access client base becomes something that they are capable of handling. Is there anyone who can save them before they go under?

Advanced Access promotes ForSaleByOwner.com

In a snafu to all their paying clients, Advanced Access elected to include an article in their February newsletter promoting ForSaleByOwner.com . I wonder how many agents missed it and sent it to their clients before AA was blasted for including something that takes away from Realtors® income and replaced it with something more appropriate.

Here’s an excerpt of the article:

How to Sell Your Home in a Tight Market
(ARA) – Now that the New Year is underway, a lot of people are wondering what 2008 has in store for the real estate market. Industry experts say it could be a tough year for people who put their home on the market.

With more than 4.2 million homes currently on the market and more to come as spring “selling season” arrives, home prices are falling to entice buyers to get off the sidelines. Buyers, of course, are drawn to houses offering the best deal for the money. With home prices threatening to go lower or, at best, remain unchanged, many home sellers are concerned about selling their home for less than it was worth just a year or two ago. Add to that the fact that real estate agents typically eat up five to six percent of a home’s sales price, and that’s even less money that will go to the seller.

This probably explains why many sellers are choosing to forgo working with an agent and save on commission, allowing them to price their homes more competitively. There are now more people using ForSaleByOwner.com, the nation’s largest Web site for these home sellers, than at any other time in the company’s history.

There’s big money to be saved. An analysis performed by the company found that real estate agents and brokers collected $55 billion in commissions in 2007, an average of $13,900 per home sold. People like Joseph De Luca of Enfield, Conn., question the wisdom of paying so much when, with a little effort, he could do the job himself and save thousands of dollars.

“An agent is going to market the home by putting a yard sign out front, posting an ad on the Internet and holding a few open houses. Why pay a five or six percent commission when I can do that myself,” asks De Luca.

Instead of spending thousands on an agent, he invested $249 to market his three-bedroom home on ForSaleByOwner.com. DeLuca’s listing package included a guidebook to selling your own home, and other resources to walk him through the entire real estate process. He also received a ForSaleByOwner.com yard sign that signaled potential buyers to view his home on the Internet, and a home appraisal report that compared his home to others in the area and gave him market information so that he could price his home accurately.

De Luca noticed that similar homes in his neighborhood were listed at more than $340,000 and hadn’t moved. Figuring that he was saving on commissions, he sold his house for $335,000 within 45 days. Had he gone with a commissioned agent, it would have had to sell for $355,000 in order for him to pocket the same amount. “I’ll never use a real estate agent again,” De Luca proudly says.

Another ForSaleByOwner.com customer, Bruce Brandywine of Tampa, Fla., attracted a buyer who saw his online ForSaleByOwner.com property ad and toured it during an open house that he hosted himself. “Who knows my home and can possibly explain its features and attributes better than myself?” he asked rhetorically. To close the deal and give him piece of mind that nothing was overlooked, he hired a real estate attorney to handle all of the necessary paperwork.

Brandywine is not the only one choosing to skip the “middleman.” ForSaleByOwner.com estimates that ‘for sale by owner’ sellers saved almost $9 billion in home value during 2007.

“The real estate market is expected to be tough for at least the first half of 2008, so we expect more people will avoid using a commissioned agent in order to price their home competitively and save more of their home’s value.” says Eric Mangan, director of consumer relations at ForSaleByOwner.com.

Whether you’re planning to sell in the near future, or are looking to buy, log on to http://www.ForSaleByOwner.com for the help you need today.

Courtesy of ARA Content

“Brief” Power Outage At Advanced Access adds 1,000 Hits!

Amazing what a ‘brief’ power outage at Advanced Access can do to this blog! I wonder if AA got 1,000 hits in the last four days. Going back and reading some of the 13 pages on the AA forum thread from when the lights went out on ‘Black Friday’ in May of 2006, it was astonishing to see how many agents had closed their accounts with Advanced Access. After that fiasco they posted this about their new server setup at the new location:

“The new data center is a state-of-the-art facility with multiple fiber paths for Internet connectivity, redundant environmental control systems, on-staff AC and electrical technicians and on-site backup diesel generators.”

The recent power outage only ranked as ‘brief’ although all sites were down during prime time for over four hours with a very weak explanation. Stay tuned………