Question: I have invested years creating content for Localism, what happened to all of it?
Answer: All of your content is still there! You, and Google, will always be able to find all of your posts on your personal blog page on Localism. For example this is Deborah Burns page http://localism.com/agents/deborahsseattlehomes
Localism now features new and improved blog pages for every region in the US and Canada. For a post to show up on one of these pages it has to be approved by one of our human editors. Right now about 10% of all posts submitted to Localism are being approved.
Current Localism editorial review status:
Total photos: 83,687
Photos reviewed: 44,465
Photos approved: 6,409
Total Posts: 179,526
Total Posts reviewed: 7,400
Total Posts approved: 940
Question: I've created a ton of content for Localism but I'm not showing up as Top Neighbor!
Answer: The Top Neighbor scoring algorithm is based on the amount of approved content you've provided to Localism. We are still only a part of the way through reviewing past content so don't worry if you are not ranking for the next few days/weeks. If you have worked hard to create good content I will almost assure you that your work will be rewarded with a Top Neighbor ranking.
Question: What does it mean to Sponsor a Community, and do I now have to pay to rank high on Localism?
Answer: All of the ways ActiveRain members got their content onto Localism in the past is still 100% free. This includes: pictures, blog posts, profile information, and comments. Community Sponsorships are an entirely new type of content that we created specifically for the new localism. We realized that the Localism community and city pages would rank much higher with the search engines if they had some component of static content, and after much deliberation we decided that selling sponsorships for this component would be the fairest and easiest way to get this content created. These sponsored area descriptions will still require the sponsor to write quality information and will be subject to editorial approval.
Question: What are the Top Neighbors, and can I pay to be ranked higher?
Answer: Top Neighbors is a ranking of the top content contributors for each region. The Top Neighbors list is completely based on user content contribution and there is no way to buy your way to a higher ranking.
Question: What is going to constitute an approved article on Localism?
Answer: We are still establishing a written set of guidelines. Right now I am instructing the editors to accept posts that they would find interesting and valuable if they were looking for information on that particular area. It is important to note that the more granular the post is tagged the less picky the editors are. For example, a marginal quality post will likely be accepted on a Community blog, but a very good post may not make the cut for the state blog page. To have a state level post accepted, it needs to be exceptional.
Question: I have noticed some bugs or other technical issues since Localism went live.
Answer: Check out Jorgen's "issues" post here. He is the "go-to guy" for technical issues.
Question: The content column is too narrow and is screwing up my content.
Answer: Sorry guys. We had to make a design decision and the narrow column is here to stay on Localism. We felt that for many of the social components we intend on launching in the coming months, more room on the right hand side of the page was going to be important. Currently, only posts that are using HTML (such as tables) that is too wide are being affected. The posts that do not use HTML are being adjusted by an algorithm that attempts to resize images and reformat the posts accordingly. While there will be an adjustment period, you can expect something similar with the blog post creation tool in the not too distant future.
Suggestion: Use plain text and photos. Don't do html editing.
Question: Can only people who pay contribute content to Localism
No. Anyone will be able to contribute content regardless of whether or not they wish to sponsor a community. The sponsorship will give that sponsor the right to compose only the static text description at the top left of the community page. All other forms of participation will be open to everyone. You will still be able to be a 'top neighbor', you will still be able to contribute blog posts to your community, you will still be able to contribute pictures.
Question: I am concerned about paying to be an expert instead of writing to be one.
Answer: Don't be concerned! If you don't want to pay, no problem. Your Localism blog posts should still rank very high on Google and you'll still receive significant traffic. The paid sponsorships are just another option for users to generate business.
Question: Where are listings going to be shown? When are they going to be added?
Answer: We don't want to answer this too specifically, but we are working on something. ;)
Question: How do you define a community?
Answer: We decided to leave this up to our members. My belief is that it will start with users only submitting large neighborhoods as communities, but over time the number of the communities will expand as people choose to submit individual buildings as communities. For example, I could see a school, church, office building, or apartment complex all receiving great benefit from keeping a community blog on Localism.
Question: We still need some more clarifications on sponsorship. In the city of Henderson, NV there are several master planned communities, and many of these have unique subdivisions within them. If one AR member sponsored the master plan, could others sponsor subdivisions within the master plan?
Answer: Each submitted community will be sponsorable. The two main requirements are that the community have a unique name and reside within the geo-graphical confines of a city. For example one person could sponsor "Queen Anne" Seattle, and someone else could create and sponsor "North Queen Anne" Seattle.
Question: Should I be reposting all of my old content?
Answer: Yes, under two circumstances: 1) If you had some excellent and timeless posts older than six months, and 2) If you have a bunch of ugly or self-serving marketing material on the bottom of your posts and are open to removing it.
Question: How do i post content to Localism?
Answer: If you are a member of ActiveRain you can post to Localism by clicking the "for consumer" checkbox on the blog post interface and then geo-tagging your post. [Geo-tag refers to selecting the state, county, city, and community of your blog post.]
Question: Are the photos still being editing out?
Answer: Yes. This will be a never ending process. All photos will be manually reviewed.
Question: What will you be doing to promote Localism?
Answer: We believe that in no time Localism will be ranking very high in the search engines; however we still plan to promote localism heavily through search engine paid marketing.
Question: How do I sponsor a city?
Answer: City sponsorships are free to the member who sponsors the most communities in each city.
Question: What if someone else sponsors a community that I want?
Answer: All sponsorships are sold to only one user at a time. If someone sponsors a community where Localism presence is important to you, you may still capture superb community presence through your submission of compelling blog posts, pictures, and high ranking as a top neighbor.
Question: Are you open to reconsidering your pricing model for the Sponsored Communities?
Answer: Absolutely! Our number one goal is to provide the best service to our members. Of course we are a business and need to make a profit too, but if you have any suggestions on how we can alter our model to serve you better please let us know.
Question: What do you mean by “If you have a bunch of ugly or self-serving marketing material on the bottom of your posts and are open to removing it.”
Answer: Some of the headers or footers people place on their blog posts look bad on the Localism blog pages. The editors do take this into consideration when evaluating a post.
I know how important the call to action buttons are for some of our members, so in the next few days we will be creating and providing some button designs for our members to use that will match the localism design.
Question: The new design format is too small; why are you restricting creativity with it?
Answer: The narrow width on the left column is necessary for future feature initiatives within Localism. I would argue that creativity is not being restricted. However, if our members can use plain text in their blog posts it will go a long ways towards making Localism be a consistent user experience for visitors to the site, and formatting issues will be resolved across all platforms. Please continue to upload pictures and videos to the site.
Question: Why don’t you make the width on ActiveRain match that on Localism?
Answer: We are working on it.
Question: RealEstateShows do not display properly in Localism.
Answer: I am sorry I wasn’t aware of that. We will start to work on a solution to make them display properly on Localism.
Question: I think it is unfair that I have worked so hard on building quality content for my region and you are going to let someone else have an equal shot at sponsoring my community as me.
Answer: I agree. We are all working on a plan that will allow our most active members a chance to buy some communities in a pre-sale event before the offical "land rush". It is also important to note that we are keeping Localism in private beta and only available to ActiveRain members until after the land rush. We are doing this partly so that all of the ActiveRain members will get a shot at sponsoring their communities before other local businesses can.
Question: Our team's localism posts had been set up for a viewing pane width of approximately 720 pixels. As an aging Baby Boomer with eyes dimming too quickly, I also like to use a font size of 3 instead of the AR default of 2.
With the new localism's encroachment and adverse possession of about 1/3rd of the previous viewing pane's space, our old blog posts are really messed up.
See: http://www.localism.com/blog/wa/vancouver/posts/547109/Vancouver-Washington-Moving-Resources as an example.
1) Will Localism's encroachment continue? If so, what should I do with our older posts (most of them look bad)?
2) Assuming the encroachment continues I'm considering future localism posts to be teaser text, with the main post back at AR, and all internal linking going to AR pages. Make sense?
Answer: The column width we are using on Localism will nearly certainly be staying the same. Your example post would display nicely if you allowed the picture to wrap naturally and display on the next line. I personally would not make the Localism posts teaser posts, but that is your call.
New Question July 11th
Question: I don't like the advertisers being displayed in the skyscraper banner on the right side of the page. Can you do something about it?
Answer: I have instructed Jorgen to remove them. I would expect that sometime today they will simply disappear.
Question: Why have you hired editors to review and approve our content? Isn't that censorship?
Answer: One of the biggest complaints we've had since Day One from many of our members is the concern over poorly written content showing up on Localism. Our editors will ensure that only good quality content shows up on the community pages to be viewed by consumers. In addition, we will be providing our members with very specific critiera for what constitutes good quality content, so you'll be better equipped to publish accordingly.