Instruction Manual For The PROA Advertising System

This site is for PROA members who wish to advertise their rental units online.  It allows members to create ads and post them to the system.

To put ads into the system, go to the PROA web (www.PROAssoc.org) and log in as a PROA member.  Then click "Apartment Advertising".

To use the site, members must obtain a PROA ID from the PROA affiliated organization where they hold their membership.  PROA's at-large members should obtain their ID's from the PROA Treasurer (e-mail to treasurer@PROAssoc.org).

When your PROA membership expires, your PROA ID will no longer be valid.  You must obtain a new PROA ID when you renew your membership.  See the section entitled "Renewing Your PROA Membership" at the end of this manual for important instructions.

LOGGING IN AS A PROA MEMBER.
When you first arrive at the site, the system will determine if you have already logged in as a PROA member.  If you are already logged in, you will go directly to the Advertising Startup Page.

If you are not already logged in as a PROA member, you will be asked to log in first:

  • Click the "Member Login" button.  A window will open to allow you to log in.  Enter your name, select your PROA group, enter your PROA ID, and then click the "Login" button.  After you have successfully logged in, click the "Continue" button to move on to the Advertising Startup Page.

ADVERTISING STARTUP PAGE.
There are three options available from the Advertising Startup Page:

  1. Obtain the Advertising Site's Instruction Manual.
    Click the link and the manual will be displayed in a new window.  You may print out a copy if you desire.  When you are done, close the window to return to the Advertising Start Page.

  2. Obtain Guidelines for Fair Housing Advertising.
    Click the link and the guidelines will be displayed in a new window.  You may print out a copy if you desire.  When you are done, close the window to return to the Advertising Start Page.

  3. Advertise Your Rental Units.
    Click the link to continue onto the Advertising Search Page.

ADVERTISING SEARCH PAGE.
There are five things you can do from the Advertising Search Page:

  • Search For Rental Units.

  • Register as a New Advertiser.

  • Create a New Ad.

  • Edit Your Existing Ads.

  • Edit Your Advertiser Profile.

  • Logout.

These five functions are explained below.
  1. Search For Rental Units.
    You can use the search feature to find rental units listed in the data base matching the following search criteria:  Type of Rental Unit, State, County, Municipality, Number of Bedrooms, Number of Bathrooms, Furnished or Unfurnished Units, and Maximum Price.  Enter your search criteria and click the "Search" button to display the list of matching units.  To view any ad from the list, click the "View Ad" link next to the listed item.  The ad will be displayed in a new window.  Close the window to return to the list.  Click the "Search Page" link to return to the Search Page.

  2. Register As A New Advertiser.
    If you have not already set up an advertising account, and would like to do so, click the link to register as a new advertiser.  A form will open to allow you to register and set up your account profile.  Enter your information in the form as explained below, and then click the "Update" button to register.

    After registering, you may use the links at the bottom of the page to navigate to your next function.

    The fields in the account profile form are as follows:

    • E-Mail Address.  (required field)
      Your e-mail address will act as your user name on the advertising system, so make sure you enter it correctly.

    • Password.  (required field)
      Enter any password you wish to use for your advertising account.  Be sure to write it down somewhere, because you will need it to access your ads later.

    • Advertiser Name.  (required field)
      Enter the business name you use for your rental business.  When you place your ads, this name will be entered into your ads automatically.

      If you use several different business names, enter the name you will use for the majority of your ads.  Later, when you place your ads, you will be able to change the business name listed in any particular ad.

    • Advertiser Phone.  (required field)
      Enter the phone number you want tenant prospects to call when they see your ads.  Since people from outside your area may view your ad, be sure to enter both the area code and number.  When you place your ads, this phone number will be entered into your ads automatically.

      If you use several different phone numbers, enter the one you will use for the majority of your ads.  Later, when you place your ads, you will be able to change the phone number listed in any particular ad.

    • Advertiser Address, City, State, and Zip.  (optional field)
      If you enter a business address, it will be automatically entered into each of your ads.  Later, when you place your ads, you may change or delete the address listed in any particular ad.

      If nothing is entered, no business address will be entered into your ads automatically.  However, when you place your ads, you will be able to enter a business address in any particular ad if you wish.

      If you use several different business addresses, you can enter the one you will use for the majority of your ads.

    • Advertiser Default Logo.  (optional field)
      An entry in this field allows you to automatically insert a graphic or business logo into your ads.  The logo must be in JPEG or GIF format (see the section titled "Maximum Size of Image Graphics" near the end of this manual).  Use the "Browse" button to find the file on your computer and insert it into the field.  Later, when you create your ads, you may delete or replace this logo for any particular ad.

      If nothing is entered, no business logo will automatically be entered into your ads.  However when you place your ads, you may insert a logo into any particular ad if you wish.

  3. Create New Ad.
    If your advertising account isn't already signed on, you will be asked enter your user name (which is your email address) and your password.

    A form will be displayed for you to create your new ad.  Enter the information in the form fields as explained below.  After entering the information, click the "Create New Ad" button at the bottom of the form to insert your new ad into the system.

    After creating your new ad, you may use the links at the bottom of the page to navigate to your next function.

    The fields in the ad form are as follows:

    • Advertiser Business Name.  (required field)
      Your business name to include in this ad.  The name was already entered from your advertiser profile, however you may enter a different business name specific to this ad.

    • Advertiser Business Phone.  (required field)
      The phone number you wish tenant prospects to call for this ad.  The phone number was already entered from your advertiser profile, however you may enter a different phone number specific to this ad.  Since people from outside your area may view your ad, be sure to enter both the area code and number.

    • Advertiser Business Address, City, State, and Zip.  (optional field)
      Your business address to include in this ad.  If you entered a business address in your advertiser profile, it was already entered for you.  However, you may delete it or enter a different address specific to this ad.

    • Advertiser Business Logo.  (optional field)
      Your business logo to include in this ad.  If you set up a default logo in your profile, it will automatically be included (even though the field appears blank in the form).  If you wish to use a different logo specific to this ad, use the "Browse" button to find the file on your computer and insert it into the field.  Clicking the "No Logo" check box will prevent your logo from appearing in the ad.  All logo graphics must be in JPEG or GIF format (see the section titled "Maximum Size of Image Graphics" near the end of this manual).

    • Ad Duration.  (required field)
      This determines how long your ad should run.  Select the duration you want from the pull down menu.  You may select 7 days, 14 days, 21 days, one month, or Permanent.

      Permanent ads were designed for apartment complexes which almost always have units available.  A single ad can be created for each style of unit in the complex and then run on a permanent basis.

      NOTE:  No matter what duration you select, your ad will no longer be included in any search after your current PROA membership expires.  This includes permanent ads.  When you renew your membership, your ads will again be included (see the section titled "Renewing Your PROA Membership" at the end of this manual for important instructions). When one of your ads expires, it will remain in the system in expired status for 30 days.  The ad will no longer be included in any search, but you may renew it without having to reenter the information (see Edit Your Ads below).  After 30 days, the ad will be removed from the system unless it is renewed.

    • Unit Type.  (required field)
      The type of rental unit you are advertising.  Select the type from the pull down menu.  If your rental unit can not be categorized in any of the types shown, please e-mail the PROA web master at webmaster@proassoc.org to have the list expanded to include the type you wish to advertise.

    • State.  (required field)
      The state where the rental unit is located.  This site was initially set up to advertise properties within Pennsylvania.  However, some PROA members have properties in adjoining areas in other states.  If the state you wish to enter is not in the list, please e-mail the PROA web master at webmaster@proassoc.org to have the list expanded.

      After the state is entered, the page will reload.  This is normal.  The list of counties for the selected state must be loaded into the County field.

    • County.  (required field)
      The county where the rental unit is located.  Note that you cannot select the county until you have selected the state first.  If the county you wish to enter is not in the list, please e-mail the PROA web master at webmaster@proassoc.org to have the list expanded.

      After the county is entered, the page will reload.  This is normal.  The list of municipalities for the selected county must be loaded into the Municipality field.

    • Municipality.  (required field)
      The municipality where the rental unit is located.  Note that you cannot select the municipality until you have selected the state and county first.  In some cases, large cities are further divided into geographic areas within the city.  If the municipality you wish to enter is not in the list, please e-mail the PROA web master at webmaster@proassoc.org to have the list expanded.

    • Address.  (required field)
      The street address of the rental unit.

    • Bedrooms.  (required field)
      The number of bedrooms in the rental unit.  Select from the pull down menu.  Zero bedrooms can be selected for "studio" or "room" type units which do not have separate bedrooms.

    • Bathrooms.  (required field)
      The number of bathrooms in the rental unit.  Select from the pull down menu.

    • Furnished.  (required field)
      Select "Furnished" or "Unfurnished" to indicate if furniture is included with the rental unit.

    • Price From.  (required field)
      If this ad refers to a single rental unit, this is the advertised monthly rental price of the unit.  If the ad refers to a number of different rental units of this category within an apartment complex, this is the lowest monthly advertised rental price of the units.  This is a pure numeric field.  Do not enter a dollar sign or commas.

    • Price To.  (optional field)
      If this ad refers to a single rental unit, this field is not used.  If the ad refers to a number of different rental units of this category within an apartment complex, this is the highest monthly advertised rental price of the units.  This is a pure numeric field.  Do not enter a dollar sign or commas.

    • Description.  (optional field)
      A description of the rental unit, similar to what would be included in a newspaper ad.  Please review the Guidelines for Fair Housing (available on the Advertising Startup Page) to make sure your ad complies with Fair Housing Laws.

    • Features.  (optional field)
      A list of special features about the rental unit that you may want to emphasize.

    • Current Price Specials.  (optional field)
      Any current special pricing deals, free rent specials, or other promotions you wish to include.  This text will be emphasized in red text within the ad.

    • Images.  (5 optional fields)
      Using the "Browse" buttons, you may locate up to five photo files on your computer and include them in the ad.  All photos must be in JPEG or GIF format (see the section titled "Maximum Size of Image Graphics" near the end of this manual).  The associated description field will be printed below each photo in the ad.

    • Layouts.  (2 optional fields)
      Using the "Browse" buttons, you may locate up to two floor layout files on your computer and include them in the ad.  All floor layouts must be in JPEG or GIF format (see the section titled "Maximum Size of Image Graphics" near the end of this manual).  The associated description field will be printed below each floor layout in the ad.

  4. Edit Your Ads.
    If your advertising account isn't already signed on, you will be asked enter your user name (which is your email address) and your password.

    A list of your ads will be displayed.  The status of each ad in the system is always in one of four states:  Active, Inactive, Expired or Administrative Hold.

    • Active.
      The ad is currently running, and is available when the system is searched.  On its expiration date, the ad's status will change to expired.

    • Inactive.
      The ad has not yet expired, but has been removed from active status and is currently not running.  It will not appear in any searches.  The ad remains in the system, allowing you to reactivate it without having to reenter the information.  On its expiration date, the ad's status will change to expired.

    • Expired.
      The ad's duration has expired, and it will not appear in any searches.  It remains in the system and you may renew it without reentering the information.  An expired ad will remain in the system for 30 days, at which time it will be automatically removed.

    • Administrative Hold.
      The ad has been put on administrative hold by the system administrator because it has been determined to contain language which does not comply with PROA's advertising policies (see the section entitled "PROA's Advertising Policies" near the end of this manual).  The ad will not appear in any searches.  Contact the system administrator (e-mail to webmaster@PROAssoc.org) to have the administrative hold removed after the non-complying language is removed.

    In your list of ads, there are several buttons next to each ad.  Different buttons will appear depending on the current status of each ad.  Clicking on a button will perform a function related to that ad as described below:

    • View.
      Clicking this button allows you to view the ad.  The ad will appear in a new window.  When you are finished, close the window to return to your list of ads.

    • Edit.
      Clicking this button will display a form containing all the information for the ad.  You can then change any of the fields.  After making your changes, click on the "Update" button at the bottom of the form to register the changes.

    • Remove.
      Clicking this button will permanently remove the ad from the system.

    • Deactivate.
      This button will appear only if the ad is currently active.  Clicking the button will change the status of the ad to inactive.  The ad will no longer be available to be displayed by any searches.  On the ad's expiration date, it's status will automatically change to expired.

    • Reactivate.
      This button will appear only if the ad is currently inactive.  Clicking the button will make the ad active again.  It will again be available to be displayed by any searches.  Note that reactivating an ad does not automatically renew it.  The ad's expiration date remains unchanged.

    • Renew.
      Clicking this button restarts the duration of the ad over again  The ad's expiration date is recalculated from the ad's duration, starting from today, and the ad is put into active status.  Note that if you had previously deactivated your ad, you will also have to reactivate it to have it show up on searches.  You may renew ads which have not yet expired if you wish to extend their expiration dates.

    After editing your ads, you may use the links at the bottom of the form to navigate to your next function.
  5. Edit Your Profile.
    If your advertising account isn't already signed on, you will be asked enter your user name (which is your email address) and your password.

    A form will be displayed containing the information in your advertiser profile.  You may change any of the fields.  After making your changes, click on the "Update" button at the bottom of the form to register the changes.  For your information, your current PROA membership expiration date is shown at the bottom of your profile.

    After making your changes, you may use the links at the bottom of the page to navigate to your next function.

  6. Logging Out.
    Once you have logged into your advertising account, you will remain logged in until you either quit your internet browser program, or logout.  If you leave the advertising system without logging out, you can go to other sites on the internet and then return to the advertising site without having to log in again.

    To log out of your advertising account you must either quit your internet browser program or click the "Logout" link at the bottom of the page.

FORGOTTEN PASSWORD.
When you sign into your advertising account, you will be asked to enter your user name (which is your e-mail address) and your password.  If you forget your password, enter your e-mail address and then click on the "I forgot my password" link.  For security purposes, a new temporary password will be created for your account.  The new password will be sent to your e-mail address.  Use the new password to sign into your advertising account.  You may then edit your advertiser profile to change your password to one of your own choosing.

ENHANCED TEXT.
Normally the text in your ads will be printed in plain black text (except for the "Current Price Specials" section, which is printed in red bold text).  However, for emphasis, you may decide to enhance certain text in the ad's "Description" and "Features" sections.  This is accomplished by surrounding the text with special tags as follows:

To print in bold:  <B>text to be printed in bold</B>
To print in italics:  <I>text to be printed in italics</I>
To underline:  <U>text to be underlined</U>
To change the text color:  <FONT COLOR=RED>text to be printed in red</FONT>  (Note most ordinary colors will be recognized)

These tags may also be used in combination, for example:
To print in bold underlined:  <B><U>text to be underlined and printed in bold</U></B>

WARNING - USING SINGLE QUOTES (APOSTROPHES) WITHIN YOUR TEXT.
When the advertising system was programmed, single quote marks (apostrophes) were used by the programmer to indicate the start and end of text fields processed by the system.  Inserting them within a description or other text field will confuse the system, and generate an error message when you submit your ad.

If you need to use a single quote character (apostrophe), precede it with a back slash.  This tells the computer that the following character is part of the text, not the end of the text field.

For example:  ... located near Founder\'s Square ...

MAXIMUM SIZE OF IMAGE GRAPHICS.
To conserve file space in the advertising system, there is a maximum limit on the total size of your image files of 3 MB for each ad.  This includes photos, floor layouts, and ad specific logos.  If your images exceed this maximum size, additional images can not be included in the ad.

Photos and other graphic images can consume large amounts of file space depending on their resolution and size.  The advertising system was designed to display images at a resolution of 72 dpi (dots per inch), which is the resolution of most computer monitors.  While high resolution images may be necessary for some photographic purposes, they serve no useful purpose in the ad system, and are not recommended.  Images will be displayed at 72 dpi regardless of their higher resolution.  High resolution images will simply take up more file space than necessary, thereby limiting the number of images you can include in your ads.

Many digital cameras can be set to produce images at various levels of resolution.  A maximum picture size of 640 x 480 pixels at 72 dpi (this is usually the lowest resolution setting available) is recommended when taking photos for your ads.

Tips to Reduce Image File Sizes.
If you are scanning images with a digital scanner, it should be set to a resolution of 72 dpi.  If possible, they should be 6 x 5 inches or smaller in size.

Logo graphics should be created at 72 dpi, and should be no larger than 216 x 216 pixels in size (this displays as 3 x 3 inches).  Logos larger than this may look out of proportion to the rest of your ad.

To conserve space, it is recommended that floor layouts be scanned as black and white or gray scale images at a resolution of 72 dpi. If possible, they should be 8 x 10 inches or smaller in size.

You may use either GIF or JPEG format for your image files.  However in many cases, you may find that JPEG format uses less file space for photos.

Large, high resolution digital images can be reformatted, resized, and their resolution reduced using a variety of commercially available software products, such as Adobe Photoshop Album (about $50.00), or Microsoft Picture It (about $50.00).  Many digital cameras and digital scanners also come with free software allowing you to perform these functions.  Some shareware or freeware software that can resize images may also be available for download on the internet.  File sizes can be dramatically reduced by slightly reducing photos to smaller sizes.  For example, reducing a 6 x 5 inch photo scanned at 72 dpi. to 4 x 3.33 inches at 72 dpi. will reduce the amount of data in the reduced image to 44% of the original.

PROA's ADVERTISING POLICIES.
It is PROA's policy that all ads on this system must comply with PROA's Fair Housing Advertising Guidelines and all applicable laws.  No language may be used which is obscene or otherwise offensive in PROA's sole opinion.  PROA will not knowingly accept any advertising which violates these policies, and reserves the right to prevent any such advertisement from being publicly displayed.  A copy of PROA's Fair Housing Advertising Guidelines may be obtained from the Advertising Startup Page when you first log into the system.

Every ad displayed by the system contains a link which can be used by the public to register a complaint about the ad.  When a complaint is received, the ad will be reviewed by the system administrator to insure compliance with PROA's advertising policies.

If it is determined that an ad does not comply, it will be put on administrative hold, and will no longer appear in any searches of the system.  The member who created the ad will be notified of the complaint by e-mail, and will be requested to edit the ad to remove the non-complying language.  Once the ad is corrected to the sole satisfaction of PROA, the administrative hold on the ad will be removed.

PROA also reserves the right to cancel the advertising account of any user who repeatedly and seriously violates it's advertising policies, and to ban the user from future use of the advertising system.

RENEWING YOUR PROA MEMBERSHIP.
When you first register as a new advertising user, the system automatically records your membership expiration date in your advertising account.  When your membership expires, your PROA ID will also automatically expire; and your ads will no longer be included in any search.  This also includes any permanent ads.  When you renew your membership, you must obtain a new PROA ID and update your membership expiration date in your advertising account.  After doing this, your ads will again be included in any searches.

Obtain your new PROA ID from the PROA affiliated organization where you hold your membership.  PROA's at-large members should obtain their ID's from the PROA Treasurer (e-mail to treasurer@PROAssoc.org).

IMPORTANT:  The advertising system will NOT automatically know that you have renewed your PROA membership until you update your expiration date in your advertising account.  You must log in with your new PROA ID, and select "Edit Your Profile" from the Search Page.  Then sign into your advertising account with your user name (which is your e-mail address) and password.  This will update your new membership expiration date as shown at the bottom of your profile.  You do not have to make any changes in your profile form.  This procedure must be done within 60 days after your membership expires.

After your PROA membership expires, if you do not perform the above update procedure, your entire advertising account will be deleted from the advertising system after 60 days!