Off to Chase The Next Big Storm AR's V.P of Sales and Blog Trainer Signing Off.

Services for Real Estate Pros

bird taking flight on the shore in ZurickIf you ask Jon Washburn he will tell you that he is “not a sales person”, but don’t let this fool you!  What began as an innocent lunch back in 2009 resulted in me leaving my successful business behind to join forces with Jon at ActiveRain. The goal was to find a sustainable revenue model for a company that was on the brink of running out of the capital.

ActiveRain was a robust community at the time with a little over 100k members but very little dependable revenue.  Jon, in my opinion, had two choices: he could clutter every page of AR with advertising, or we could start charging our new members to take advantage of the reputation (SEO) the community had built.  Thus, the Rainmaker concept was born. 

A few months later I began noticing that the agents who were upgrading to RainMaker with the hopes of increasing their online presence didn’t have the training required to make that possible. So I turned to my trusted friend Steven Graham, who within two weeks developed SEO strategies for those members of AR who needed it the most, and turned it into a two hour training class for new members.  This single class evolved into ActiveRain University, led by Steven, which currently has over 10,000 graduates.

This company was Jon’s vision and legacy. ActiveRain is now at over 200,000 members, and in January alone of this year we signed up just shy of 1,000 new paying RainMakers! We were fortunate enough to be asked to join Jon on his journey to accomplish that vision, and we hope his legacy of ActiveRain-- and now DailyTicket-- will continue to grow and thrive. 

Now that Jon’s active role in the network has ended Steven and I have decided to find a new vision.  Changing lives, both within the ActiveRain community and at the ActiveRain corporate offices, is the reason we came to ActiveRain and the reason we stayed. Jon gave us the freedom to create a unique culture here that you couldn’t find anywhere else. The community thrived, as did the employees of ActiveRain. Since the changing of hands, we have grown to miss the creativity and challenges that come with building and maintaining this type of culture.

As of today Steven Graham and I will no longer be employed by ActiveRain. The time has come for us to find a new home. We have been invited to help develop a social media and SEO blogging platform as their V.P of Sales and SEO Blog Trainer. Imagine every tool you could possibly need to succeed online in one tool box. That is, where we will both continue to do the work we love, and although we’ll miss being part of what goes on behind the scenes at ActiveRain, we’re excited to embark on this new adventure.

if you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact us at:


Comments (175)

Michael Blue
Home Smart Realty West - Encinitas, CA
REALTOR - 760-889-8877, Encinitas/Carlsbad

Steven-  you are such a big tool....thats not right, you were a useful tool to help all of us achieve better SEO ranking and readable blogs.  Thanks.

May 21, 2011 11:07 AM
Douglas Ching
Kenmore, WA

Melissa - We felt that it was simply time to move on to our next challenge and ePropertySites already has an amazing base and product line to build from.

Nellie - We will continue to support the AR community however we can, we love you all =)

Joan - Steven's patients comes with the true desire to help and that is what makes him the best.  

Wanda - Love it, that was Stevens original idea for a title (onward and upward) I vetoed it though heh

Asheville - I see you understand the advantages of the SEO gained from your name being a real estate search term.  We thank you for your complement and blessings.

Jon - Nikesh will no doubt accomplish amazing things with AR, the change in culture is inevitable with a different leader.  ePropertySites is a great fit for what Steven and I believe in.

Susan - Ahh Atlantic City!  We will meet again.

Michael - It has ben an amazing ride and should continue to be.

Tanya - You spoke my heart.

Bill - We will continue to help the real estate community wherever we are.

Nancy - I'm glad to hear of so many agents already using the company that we are moving to.  See you on the other side!

Edith - I appreciate you understanding and crediting the people behind the curtain that put their heart and soul into this community.  

C Tann-Starr - Don't think your going to escape us anytime soon.

Gail - As long as Bob is around you will be in good hands.

Pat - I have no doubt about it! 

Donna - There are many employees that worked behind the scene to help build AR to what it is today, our community builders are the visible faces and get most the credit =)   I challenge you to come back to ePropertySites in two months for a return visit.

Suzanne - Change is a constant and not always a bad thing.

Marchel - Ahh so long ago was that training, I appreciate you checking out our new home.

Amy - Jon was the founder of AR, Bob will probably take up the training and Steven will always answer questions sent to him via email

Terrie - The hardest decision we have ever made.  This was not just leaving a company it was leaving friends and family.

May 21, 2011 12:02 PM
Betina Foreman
WJK Realty - Austin, TX
Realtor, C.N.E., with WJK REALTY

Dear Doug,

I am so sorry you guys are leaving AR. It really won't be the same without you. You guys were a valuable asset to the site and were always very helpful. I wish you the very best of luck on your new adventure.



May 21, 2011 12:37 PM
Jon Washburn
Seattle, WA


I am sad that we are no longer working together. You know that I have the utmost respect for you and believe that you are an amazing and inspirational leader. I wish you the best in your new job.

May 21, 2011 01:45 PM
Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956 - New City, NY
Real Estate Salesperson

Doug and Steve, so sorry to hear that you're leaving the AR community.  We all benefitted from the knowledge you shared.  Wishing you the best in your new endeavors and hope you succeed in fulfilling all youara dreams and aspirations with this move, but you'll be sorely missed!

May 21, 2011 03:46 PM
Kathy Opatka
Serving Ocean City, MD, & The Delaware Beaches

I hate it when companies get NEW management ... and the change in personel starts!  It is my hope that AR continues to succeed!

Good luck at your new venture; I'm SURE you'll both do well!

May 22, 2011 03:44 AM
Connie Harvey
Pilkerton Realtors - Brentwood, TN
Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate

Doug, I wish you and Steve great success. Will you have training for us at your new place? We'll all be there sooner or laterr!

May 22, 2011 04:14 AM
Dave Halpern
Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827 - Louisville, KY
Louisville Short Sale Expert

A Market Leader sales rep called me the other day. She was was on a roll and I couldn't stop her from reading her script. She was trying to sign me up for some program she didn't understand or couldn't explain. She couldn't answer any questions outside of her script.

After about six or seven minutes of her meandering droning, I got the impression that her script assumes that Realtors are ignorant fools that can't accomplish anything on their own, therefore they must sign up for Market Leader for salvation. I'm ALWAYS open for new marketing channels, but I didn't have an hour to spare in hope that this pitch lady will get to the point. Maybe I'll call them back and try to get a knowledgeable sales person.

During the sales call I kept thinking that since Market Leader has now taken over Activerain I wonder if this is how Activerain will be marketed. If Activerain gets destroyed, the fantastic model that the ousted founders created will re-emerge under different new ownership, a different name, and different leadership.

May 22, 2011 05:03 AM
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) - Boise, ID

Sounds like we need to change the name of this site to "ActiveChange".

I know I am starting to look at my options in the real estate world for new and evolving companies on the horizon to team up withy as well. I have built my resume to where it is much better used in the national arena.

Like they said in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "Goodbye, so long, and thanks for all the fish"!  Thanks for the idea for today's blog:

May 22, 2011 08:44 AM
Douglas Ching
Kenmore, WA

Dagny - We will still be members of AR and are willing to answer any questions.

Sheila - Thanks for checking out, our new home =)

Brian - I would agree with you, it is interesting but not surprising that they featured several post from other agents about our departure but not ours.  Culture change I guess.

Teri - I love your signature line!  Glad to see you back in the blogging world.

Greg - Of the original group, Bob and Kerrie.  Niki will no doubt bring in good people and there are some employees like Kelly P that keep the place running.

Judi - We hope so to!

Dagny - We tried to leave without a $60,000 eulogy..but its probably because we mention the company that we are moving to that they are trying to keep this underwraps?

Jody - As long as Bob is here nothing to drastic will change.

Steve - I appreciate your post and your optimism for a good future!

Adell - Thank you for already checking our new family out!  I'm sure more classes will become available at ARU

Jeremy - Long time no see, your right about the countless hours...three years of employment and I did not take 1 day of vacation...

Petra - Time will tell, AR will not go away but it will evolve.

Brian - We learned from all of you as well, thanks back.

Diane - It has ben a blessing to work here.

Maria - Bob is still left =)

Larry - It bums us out as well.  Yes change can be good.

Dawn - The amazing thing about this community is the freedom and sharing of knowledge and information.

Loreena - Raincamp was FUN!  Dallas welcomed us like no other RC.  I love to hear that prominent members like our Ambassador's are already using and seeing success.  






May 22, 2011 02:08 PM

WOW - I loved Steven's classes and was looking forward to meeting him at Dallas Rain Camp.  I use eProperty sites and love it!  I guess I will hear more later on the next turn in the road for you at eProperties.  Good luck. 

May 23, 2011 05:22 AM
Steven Graham
epropertysites - Mountlake Terrace, WA
Coach, ePs, Director of Training

Thank you all for your words of encouragement and support as Douglas and I make this difficult transition. It is my goal to conitnue to provide real estate proffesionals with the very best blog training that can be found online today. It will take a couple of weeks to get every thing up and running the way I would like it at They have a great staff and a solid platform with reliable technology, so my confidence is high in this regard. I have no doubt that I will be teaching people how to become Google Heros again very soon. I will be sure to let all of you know when my classes have become available again. Until next time folks.......STAY BEAUTIFUL!

May 23, 2011 09:34 AM
Marney Kirk
Cummings & Co. Realtors - Towson, MD
Towson, Maryland Real Estate

Doug, it was a pleasure to meet you and Steven at the AR event before KW's Family Reunion. I wish you much luck in your new venture!

May 23, 2011 10:14 AM
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Many thanks to both of you for your many contributions to Activerain.  When leadership changes, the staff often does, too, so I guess this was inevitable.  Good luck to you both in your future endeavors.

May 23, 2011 05:43 PM
Emily Read
Salt Lake City, UT

WOW YOU GUYS!! You guys will be sorely missed - both of you are amazing and I'm sure have done INCREDIBLE things with ActiveRain... WAHHHHHHH :(

May 23, 2011 06:37 PM
Douglas Ching
Kenmore, WA

Vickie - Thank you, we feel loved!  Steven will continue doing what he loves, training agents how to be successful online.

Mike - Thats all we can both do my friend.  I'm glad our training had a good impact on you this is the best kind of reward for us.

Joe - I love it, we will see you there.

Missy - I will always remember that day.  The times I had with your son and daughter will stay with me forever.  Very sad day for us as well.

Margaret - The fact that you are offering us help while using the word "us" proves how amazing this network of agents are.  Real people =)

Deborah - Steven will continue to teach about blogging and SEO that can be applied to any platform or website.

Nikesh - Thank you I know you will take the reigns of AR and do well.

Frank & Sharon - A change in culture forces you to adapt to that culture or change your environment.  I don't think they will forget

John - Our previous training are not really available as we did all live classes.  Fortunately you do have a account so you will still have access to our training.

David - I'm willing to bet that Bob will take over training until a replacement can be found.  Bob is more then capable and knows his stuff.

Brad - You know it buddy.  I miss our late chats together.

Steve - It's amazing how you can make something work if you place your heart and soul into it.

Charles - They are going simply to a new location to continue the same work

Susan - It will survive again, and yes I knew the answer =)

Carol - Bob will do an amazing job at the classes, he is a very good teacher.

Christopher - I agree it will be interesting to see how AR evolves.

Bill - Thanks for the luck, we have never had personal profit on our minds honestly.  I gave up a tremendous amount to work here at AR and money is not why i'm leaving.

Craig - I appreciate that, just because your behind the scene does not mean you do not play a part.  We will meet and talk someday!

Lee & Pamela - hah I could send you the file for your background -)

Bob - I really appreciate that my friend, we look forward to helping you any way we can.

Ann - We can't wait either!  I'll look you up once we are up and running.

Christine - Change is always scary, but also adventurous.  Keep your eyes peeled we got some awesome stuff coming up.

Barb - Thats the truth, even if you don't like it.

Richard - We still love this community and will not slam such an amazing community of friends and family



May 23, 2011 08:31 PM
Kent Dills
Broker, Dills Real Estate - Bellingham, WA
Real Estate 817-495-8028, Bellingham, Washington

Douglas, the only certainty about change is change itself!  Best of luck to you and Steven in your future endeavors!  

May 24, 2011 11:07 AM
Joan Valverde

I just received the email from Steven, and am so sad to see you have gone.  The classes were great!  Thanks so much, and God Bless you in your new adventure. :)

May 24, 2011 12:32 PM
Phil Hillerman
Crye-Leike Realtors® - Rogers, AR
Crye-Leike Realtors®

Sorry to see both of you left AR.  I know you will be successful in your next adventure.  Best wishes.

Oct 20, 2011 06:00 AM
Dale Baker
Baker Energy Audits and Commercial Properties Inspections - Claremont, NH
New Hampshire Relocation Real Estate Information

Howdy and evening Douglas

Douglas, Welcome to the New Year of 2012! Hope y'all had a mighty fine and safe New Year's Eve!

Happy New Year to you and your family!

May each and everyday bring you and your family an abundant of blessings for the rest of 2011 and all the way though the New Year of 2012!

Have a good one
Dale in New Hampshire

Jan 01, 2012 11:50 AM