"Just What Part of 'Referral' Do You Not Understand?"

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams West Sound Realty WA State 52404

Okay, jumping up on my soapbox today. For those of you who actually 'get' this, please forgive my rant in advance!

We have a feature here on ActiveRain. It's called the "Referral Exchange." It's one of the primary tabs, right there at the top of your AR page. It's for the expressed purpose of passing referral clients between our members. Here's the definition/requirements clearly stated on the referral submission page:

"The Referral Exchange is the place for members to effectively pass/share client referrals with one another. A referral is a 'live' client contact, someone who is seriously considering either buying or selling a home in the near future. The Referral Network IS NOT a place to advertise your listings, promote your development, or solicit 'potential' referral partners for some unknown possibility down the road. It is ONLY for members to share/pass actual 'live' clients who need a real estate professional to assist them now."

The Referral Exchange IS NOT a means of promoting yourself as a 'potential' referree or referrer. It's only for passing 'live' clients who are legitimately in the process of buying or selling real estate. PERIOD!

If you want to promote yourself as a potential referral partner, then NETWORK! Yes, that's right. NETWORK! That's why it's called the ActiveRain Real Estate NETWORK. You interact with other agents, you develop meaningful relationships, you NETWORK.

Every time someones DUMPS their self-serving, self-promoting 'so-called' referral into our system, it automatically alerts members who have genuinely taken the time to input their specific market area. Imagine their disappointment when they respond, only to find that the 'referral' is not actually a 'referral,' but is your inconsiderate tease.

How can I say this diplomatically, maintaining my professional composure as an ActiveRain Community Builder? 


Okay, rant over. Continue with what you were doing....

Rich Jacobson

ActiveRain Community Builder/Social Media Guy 

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Rich Jacobson is a licensed Real Estate Broker & Branch Manager for Keller Williams West Sound; an avid Crab Hunter, Clam Digger, and Oyster Shucker, he is the Social Media Evangelist for Life on the Kitsap Peninsula & The Western Puget Sound in scenic WA State.


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Joe Hayden Real Estate Team
RE/MAX Properties East - Louisville, KY
Your Louisville Real Estate Experts!

I'm a little unclear as to what you are trying to say with this post...


Apr 30, 2008 09:50 PM #52
Ann Cummings
RE/MAX By The Bay - NH and Maine - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent

Hi Rich - Amen to this post!!!  Your rant deserves to be read and featured, and it's long overdue, in my opinion.  I used to go there to check out things for my area, but quickly became totally disillusioned with the junk that kept being posted there.

Those who need to pay heed will not see this post, unfortunately.  So, those of you at AR are going to have to really stomp down on those abusing things like the referral exchange.  Please do stomp down, and do it hard, too!


Apr 30, 2008 09:53 PM #53
Jean Powers
Kane & Associates call 510.908.9002 - Alameda, CA
CRS,e-PRO,HAFA,SFR Broker, Northern California
I take it you're a little angry over this. I get a little frustrated when posts are added to the individual groups and the content has nothing to do with the group topic! I wasn't aware of the referral exchange, I have to check it out, thanks for the post.
Apr 30, 2008 10:31 PM #54
Pam Winterbauer
Pam Winterbauer Real Estate - San Ramon, CA
"Providing Blue Ribbon Service"
Rich.....thanks for providing a refresher course on self promoting.  Amen.
Apr 30, 2008 11:12 PM #55
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI
Hey Rich. That was a much needed rant. I'm sorry to say, but you will most likey need to do it again, and again, and again......
Apr 30, 2008 11:46 PM #56
Cami Pinsak
Keller Williams Realty - Camarillo, CA
Wow!  No more coffee for you!  In all seriousness - I agree.  It is a big bummer when you think you have a referral only to find out it is "spam"!
Apr 30, 2008 11:56 PM #57
Geordie Romer
Windermere Real Estate / NCW - Leavenworth, WA
Serving Leavenworth, Lake Wenatchee, and Plain
Is it time for a rant about the Q+A on localism now too? It seems like it is in worse shape than the referrals...
May 01, 2008 01:42 AM #58
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

I had a good referral for Westchester NY yesterday.  I did NOT go to the referral exhcnage.  I went directly to a top ranked agent in Westchester NY, Miriam Bernstein.

I did not get 20 e-mails from folks in Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, etc.  Nor did I get 10 phone calls from lenders seeking to finance the buyer.  Nor did I get 15 e-mails from agents in Ill., CA, TX, looking for future referrals. 


May 01, 2008 07:56 AM #59
John MacArthur
Century 21 Redwood - Washington, DC
Licensed Maryland/DC Realtor, Metro DC Homes
Rich - I would love to take advantage of this feature, but it is outside my comfort zone regarding how to actually put myself out there. I can only hope those that I network with know that I would welcome any referrals.
May 01, 2008 01:46 PM #60
Frank Jewett
tech4REpros - San Jose, CA

Rich, thanks for trying!  The type of people who treat online communities the way dogs treat fire hydrants aren't likely to read your post.  They just stopped by to staple their flyer to your pole.  How about a 4,000 point threshold to post to that forum?  I bet that would be relatively easy for ActiveRain's programmers to implement and it would reduce the likelihood of "click by" spamming.  The average spammer isn't going to go to that much trouble.

May 01, 2008 04:46 PM #61
Jeff Dowler CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Thanks for this, Rich. The referral resource has been far from that since it was set up. I stopped looking at it soon after for this very reason (as have others I talked to). Seems that most of the "referrals" are, as you say, simply self-promos and solicitations for buyers and sellers. Too much to monitor I would think.  One has to wonder about the value in the overall scheme of things given how it is being used. Not sure that simply telling folks the guidelines will really work in this case. Let people pay for their ads and support AR like some are alrady doing.


May 01, 2008 07:38 PM #62
Lisa Ryan
Callaway Henderson Sotheby's International Realty - Montgomery, NJ
Selling Princeton,West Windsor and Montgomery Town
Rich~ thanks for laying down the law!  Lately I've been ignoring my alerts for reerrals because they've all been garbage.
May 01, 2008 08:56 PM #63
Erin Newington
(916) 548-9198 Real Estate Masters - Elk Grove, CA
Elk Grove Realtor
It is disappointing!  I say impose a point reduction penalty!
May 01, 2008 09:39 PM #64
Kate Elim
Dockside Realty - Spotsylvania, VA
Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a

Hi Rich...It is great that the Rain has a benefit like this and thank you for the reminder on how we should use it properly in order to make it a worthwhile source of referrals.

Hoping I have some soon that I will be able to share with others.



May 01, 2008 11:46 PM #65
Rich Jacobson
Keller Williams West Sound Realty - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker
Frank - that's actually not a bad idea. I'll bring that up at our next team meeting....
May 02, 2008 10:08 AM #66
Frank Marta
Nuhome Group, LLC NMLS#:835196 - Houston Tx | Mortgage Broker| 713-373-0345 - Houston, TX
Texas Home Loan Specialist NMLS#: 245813
Yes I have noticed that, thanks for addressing that............
May 06, 2008 11:14 PM #67
Deb Brooks
Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas - Wichita Falls, TX
Rich, thank you for the strong reminder for all. I have been forgetting about that feature but I will remember it for the future! You have to know we all appreciate what you do in the building and preserving this site! It's great having you watch over us...Later in the rain~Deb
May 06, 2008 11:24 PM #68
Billnulls Blog Florida Realty Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL

I am SO glad to find this post! I check that page regularly and was disappointed more than once with what I found there! Glad to see this is being taken care of!

May 13, 2008 08:46 AM #69
Vicky Chrisner
Fieldstone Real Estate - Leesburg, VA

WOW.  There are so many ANGRY people on this site! 

I'd like to build a network of PRESCREENED agents (not the kind that are easily angered) nationwide.  I hand out a lot of referrals, probably 2-4 a month of quality referrals.  Every time I get a request, I have to go searching for an agent.  It would be so nice if I already had someone pre-screened.  In our "down time" that is what my assistants and I work on...building that database.  Is that really so wrong?

I've used this "referral" posting only once... and you wouldn't believe the silly people that called me back - they lived on the other side of the country, they don't even know how to SPELL commercial, let alone handle a commercial transaction... isn't it the same thing?  I didn't get angry, I just didn't send them the referral.  The good news?  I found a fabulous agent to refer the commercial deal to, and it made me look good to my client.  The system works!  Plus, I put the silly people into my database and on a drip campaign - even though I'd never send them a referral, I'd still be happy to pay them for one they want to send to me.

There are REAL things to be frustrated with in this world, let's not sweat the small stuff. If you see an inappropriate posting, I think you can explain to that agent that the site is really only meant for posting needs for quality-I-need-this-now referrals...without getting angry.

Here's to having a little patience with each other.....

May 30, 2008 09:10 AM #70
Tina Farinas
Better Homes Realty - Gold Rush - Roseville, CA

Alleluhiah!  I hope they get it this time.  I have been frustrated with that section for some time and I'm glad you addressed this.

May 30, 2008 09:56 AM #71
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