Test Ad

Is this time of year a good time to run a test ad, or should I wait until after the holidays? All input would be aprreciated.

While the holidays are not the best time for a test ad, if you have a 30 day due diligence period, you don’t have a lot of time to pick and choose. I’d run it now and see what happens. If you get very few calls, it’s not just due to the holidays. People are still looking to upgrade their quality of life for the new year, so it’s not like the end of the year has no appeal. If you hoped for 30 calls and get 20, then the holidays might be partly responsible. If you hope for 30 calls and get 3, then you can’t blame that on the holidays.

We went under contract on a park this past month. Immediately after, we ran a test ad in the major newspaper in that area - just like Frank and Dave suggest doing. The test ad pulled exactly ZERO calls. No kidding…zero. We thought the newspaper had maybe printed an incorrect phone number, but they hadn’t. Needless to say, we cancelled the contract.

We also own a park just outside the St Louis metro. We happened to be selling a home on payments last month and ran an ad in the local paper. There were about 20 calls in a 7 day period from this ad.

I thought this was a great example of how wildly different demand can be in markets. Thank God for test ads…


As identified in earlier threads, test ads are fraudulent, illegal and open the user to potentially huge liabilities. The user is advertising something they don’t have and have no intention of providing at that time.

The test ads are a scam to obtain market data from a neighborhood the user is not familiar with for the user’s personal benefit.

The test ad supporters were invited to write and sign a letter describing the test ad usage. The letter could then be submitted to the governing authorities for clarification on the test ad usage legality. None of the test ad supporters were willing to do so. This confirms even the test ad supporters know the test ad usage is fraudulent and illegal. The offer still stands if any test ad supporters deny this.

The test ad usage also provides an indicator of the user’s moral character. If the user is willing to post fraudulent, illegal ads for their personal gain, what else are they willing to do?

If you base your business upon fraudulent and illegal practices, then you need to accept the civil and criminal responsibility for these actions.

If you teach fraudulent and illegal practices, then you need to accept the civil and criminal responsibility for these actions.

I’m not sure why this negative post on test ads pops up periodically, but test ads are in no way unique to mobile home parks, as they have been a staple of commercial development for decades. Every time you drive by a sign on a piece of undeveloped land offering a phone number to call to lease retail/office/industrial/apartment/medical space in a “soon to be built” development, what you are seeing is a test ad to guage demand. In those speculative real estate projects, only a small percentage are ever built. However, in our case, we close on probably 80% of the parks that we run test ads on – and then use those test ad responses to rent homes to those customers – so there is certainly nothing wrong in this concept. In addition, we give the responses to the test ads to the sellers we don’t buy from, so they can call those customers if needed (which are few and far between since we dropped the deal due to low results from the test ad to begin with). Anyone who feels morally opposed to test ads is certainly welcomed not to run any, and to take a gamble on the demand as they see fit. We believe that everyone has the right to conduct their business in their own way, and we respect that right. However, this forum is designed to allow a free expression of ideas between park owners and operators, and test ads are very much a part of all real estate due diligence, and for logical reasons.

OMG, who is this guy - and what is his purpose - that’s what we need to know.

Test ads and split ads are the only way to know your market.

I have to share a story - we own a building that has a Beauty Salon in it. the girls are always complaining they don’t have any money - they need more customers, etc.

So I made them a sandwich board to put out on the sidewalk that says, “Walk-ins Welcome!”. They won’t put it up, so I asked - you can’t complain about not having money, when you won’t advertise. They said, “it is false advertising - and we won’t do it”. I shook my head and said, 'what on earth are you talking about?" - they said, “we can’t falsely advertise like that - it’s against the law. If we have a client in the chair and someone walks in - we CAN’T do their hair - and that’s the part that’s against the law”. I asked why they couldn’t ask someone to wait 20 minutes or take an appointment to come back later/the next day, etc. They still - to this day don’t get it.

When I saw this post, I wondered if this would come up as a topic.

Let me say- for the record- I can clearly see both sides of this issue.

I have huge issues with people that call on me, or others, with false stories to try to gain favor or information. It might be legal, but for me it is not in my moral or ethical wheelhouse. So the person that says they have a 1031x and are wondering if I am selling my property, I ask for the address, and if they are not telling the truth they will for sure not be going under contract with me. I have been down the road of shady business people and I feel I need to shower after each call or meeting. What I know is- what ever they are saying might or might not be rue, and that puts me on high alert.

So to this post- everyone in these cases needs to follow their own moral and ethical compass. There are times things might be legal, but you might not employ them in your business or personal life because they cross your moral or ethical line. For instance, I am totally turned off by flagrant fouls. To me it is dirty, and the players should be tossed out of the game along with another player who plays the same position on the team. The rules tend to just give penalty’s. Some people cheer at the foul and the penalty is justified… Just two sides of the fence on the same issue.

In advertising- there is actually a ‘test’ one can use to see where the ad fits on the ‘moral and ethical’ line… I would love to see all ads had to pass this test by a group of peers- like movies are rated prior to being put up- I would REALLY like to see it in politics- but that is a post for another forum… anyway- here is the TARES Test of Ethical Advertising. Feel free to google it and read for yourself how it is put in practice.

So- whatever your ad is- try this test on it and if you pass- your probably ok, if not- you might want to tweak your ad, or how you reply, or something so you meet the test for yourself. Remember- you moral and ethical compass guides the answers- so this does not tell you what you can or can not do- it just gives you steps to honestly look at what your doing.

The TARES test is useful in evaluating whether the advertisements are part of an ethical way of advertising. While the TARES test will not solve all ethical problems in creating ads, it does give creative people, marketing directors and strategic communication planners a tool.

The -T- stands for truthfulness which evaluates whether an ad is honest or not, and whether it is used to deceive the audience. The -A- stands for Authenticity which states the question “Does this ad motivate the creator for the same reasons that it was made to motivate the audience? The third part of the test the -R- stands for respect. Do the advertisers respect the audience enough to promote a decent product that will, indeed, hold some truth to its use? The fourth part of the test -E- deals with equity. This has to do with whether or not the advertiser and the consumer are “on the same level” of understanding the product. Finally, the S in the TARES Test stands for social responsibility. Looking at the TARES test, advertisers and marketers can be responsible for each part when it comes to advertising.

Could someone please place one of their test adds as a sample? I have not ever done that but am looking into a couple of parks and had considered running an add.

Also, where does one place an add? Newspaper, Craig’s List, etc.



Well, I am not buying parks in unknown areas, but if I were, I would be using the same ad we use for vacancies. When I hear from a greeter that we have a vacancy, this is what we put online:

14x70 3br 2ba, all redone - nice! 495/mo, good community. 859-319-5000 StarHomeUSA.com

this way, they call on a 14x70 - and if we also have a 16x80, they are delighted. Simple.

and here’s another we use -

Campbellsville - 2 & 3 bedroom mobile home trailors for sale or rent, from $395 per month – incudes lot rent. Most in the low 400s/mo – ask for Phil 859-379-5263

BTW - our people text or email trailOrs - 9 times out of 10 - which tells me they are probably searching that term as well. When in Rome…

“I’m not sure why this negative post on test ads pops up periodically”

It keeps popping up because the test ads are fraudulent, illegal and their usage must be stopped. The user is advertising something they do not have and have no intention of providing at that time. The test ads are used to try to overcome the user’s lack of local market knowledge and to give themselves an advantage over other investors. The test ad user is running a scam.

The real question to ask is why do test ad supporters continue to support and recommend fraudulent and illegal practices?

If you disagree, then contact any regulatory agency and ask them if it is acceptable to advertise something that you do not have and have no intention of providing at that time?

“We believe that everyone has the right to conduct their business in their own way”

I agree, provided they stay within the legal regulations that all people are required to follow. It’s illegal to run a scam to try to give yourself an edge over everyone else.

“Test ads and split ads are the only way to know your market.”

Incorrect. If you do not know how to gather the local market data legally, then you need to consider paying someone for that info if you need it. This is a known issue when you consider purchasing property in an area you are not familiar with.

I’ve already requested any test ad supporter write a letter describing the test ad usage. The letter could then be submitted to regulatory agencies for their opinion on the test ad usage. NOT A SINGLE TEST AD USER HAS DONE SO. Sorry, but even the test ad supporters know they are running a scam.

The test ad justifications provided are ridiculous. The test ad supporters have to accept the fact that they are posting fraudulent and illegal ads for their personal gain.

I’m amazed the test ad supporters also support due diligence in their business model, but refuse to perform any due diligence on their test ad usage legality. The civil and criminal liability could be huge for the fraudulent and illegal activity. All they need to do is contact the regulatory agencies and ask if their test ad usage is legal.

Since the test ad usage is fraudulent and illegal, and the test ad users insist on continuing to use the test ads for their personal gain, the test ad scam will be reported to the regulatory agencies so they may take action to stop it. The test ad supporters will be held responsible for their actions.

Before this starts to get out of hand again we will be closing this topic.