Video Tours Exposed

Recently I have noticed that a lot of companies (large and small) are desperately trying to take advantage of the nuance of the video tour ‘rave’ by offering slide shows disguised as ‘video tours’. It seems the Jack-in-the-box law is now in effect. ‘Virtual tour’ companies are popping up all over the place offering ‘video tours’ that are nothing more than glorified slide shows.

Here’s the deal. Pretty much anyone can start one of these supposed ‘video tour’ services using slide show software for next to nothing and charge whatever they want for it. That’s fine. This is America.. whatever… but why lie?

I am going to go out on a limb here and let the secret out. I may get sued, but I think it is worth it if I can save just one agent form the death grips of a video tour bait-switch deal. Here’s the secret that they DON’T want you to know…. If the image is static (no movement) it’s a still picture, not a video. So, if the trees aren’t moving and the dog stopped breathing, chances are you didn’t get a video. So, what do you get when you take a bunch of images and make them fade in and out and side-to-side? Ummm, I am not sure, but I believe that may be a slide show. You can fancy it up any which way, but it is still not a video.

I was sitting here writing an article about the differences between slide show tours, virtual tours and video tours when it dawned on me… I have never had a real estate agent ask me if they could link their video tour to MLS. So here’s my question…

Have any of you ever linked a video tour (not a slide show) to MLS and if so, have you ran into any problems with IDX rules?

With virtual tours and slide shows (depending on your virtual tour provider), you have the option of using a different link that automatically removes the branding and audio using the same tour. But with a video, this is not an option. It would seem to me that you would have to produce two separate videos (one with branding & audio and one without) in order to take advantage of full exposure for the listing. This would incur additional expense and time (even if you produced your own). Thoughts?

Cheryl Waller
Treasure Coast Virtual Tours