Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, is famously partial to wearing gray t-shirts and hoodies. About a decade ago he set “wear a tie to work every day for a year” as a personal goal – making clear to everyone that he views neckwear as a challenge. But, he’s rarely seen in the mid-step “business casual” attire that many people consider mandatory for a real estate agent at work.
That didn’t stop MarketWatch from publishing an eye-catching story today that asks a humorous question: “Mark Zuckerberg as a real-estate agent?”
The story included a photo that was edited to put Zuck’s smiling face on the body of an agent wearing khaki pants topped with a long-sleeve shirt and tie. (Does Zuck even own a pair of khaki pants?) He’s standing in front of a house for sale, and he has a nametag that says: “Hello. My name is Mark.”
In the hands of this photo-edited Zuck are some papers, and he’s leaning forward slightly as if he’s about to ask an open-house attendee: “Would you mind putting your name on the sign-in sheet?”
For all of Zuckerberg’s many talents, it’s not clear he has the people skills to make a good real estate agent. And, he certainly wouldn’t have a good track record when it comes to knowledge of the nation’s housing laws that prevent discrimination. Last month, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the settlement of a lawsuit that will require Facebook to stop its longstanding practice of targeting ads when it comes to housing. The company still targets other types of advertising – the practice drove ad revenue to $55 billion in 2018, a jump of 38% from a year earlier.
Also, Zuckerberg narrowly averted a title-related PR disaster in Hawaii when he apologized for a slew of lawsuits last year related to his 700-acre estate. The "quiet title" suits dropped by the billionaire would have dispossessed hundreds of indigenous Hawaiians from sacred lands.
Still, it’s a humorous image to ponder Zuckerberg as a real estate agent at the start of an early-spring-market weekend, when things really start heating up for the professionals who working in America’s housing industry.
Of course, the story by MarketWatch reporter Andrea Riquier does a great job of covering the important topic of Facebook’s role in real estate marketing. It’s worth a read.
It details the potential challenge to Zillow, the real estate behemoth that logged 176 million unique visitors to its site in 2018. And it quotes Julian Hebron, the founder of The Basis Point, who wrote a piece for HousingWire on March 25 discussing the same topic. You can read that here.
But it’s MarketWatch’s doctored picture of Zuck as a real estate agent that you might want to print out and hang on your company’s bulletin board before you head out this weekend to sell some homes.