ActiveRain business insight - Tribe Management

Real Estate Agent

I used to get asked all the time, "How is ActiveRain going to make money?".  However, since the HouseValues investment things have slightly changed; now everyone is eager to tell me how ActiveRain is going to make money. 

The funny thing is that most people's understanding of ActiveRain's value proposition is wrong. Most people tell me that the value of ActiveRain is in our member's content. That is false. Although the content on ActiveRain is valuable to it's members, I do not view it as a primary value to ActiveRain Corp. At least in the sense that none of our planned revenue models are dependent on utilizing our members content to make money.

Seth Godin published a post today that explains ActiveRain's business strategy perfectly, so I am going to leave you with a portion of his post instead of trying to paraphrase what he said.

"...the understanding that the real asset most organizations can build isn't an amorphous brand but is in fact the privilege of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who want to get them.

It adds to that the fact that what people really want is the ability to connect to each other, not to companies. So the permission is used to build a tribe, to build people who want to hear from the company because it helps them connect, it helps them find each other, it gives them a story to tell and something to talk about...

Everything the organization does is to feed and grow and satisfy the tribe. Instead of looking for customers for your products, you seek out products (and services) for the tribe."
Fran Gaspari
Patriot Land Transfer, Inc. - Limerick, PA
"The Title Man" - Title Insurance - PA & NJ


I see Active Rain more as a 'nation' composed of many 'tribes'...each tribe serving a particular the value of Active Rain is in the sinew that binds all these units together! JMHO, Thanks,   Fran

P.S. The beauty of AR is that it is a 'dynamic' entity...constantly growing in membership, quality of content, character of its members, and value in general!!!

Jan 30, 2008 11:47 AM
Jon Washburn
Seattle, WA

Hi Fran,

Good points. I should be careful when talking about "the value of AR".  In this post i am talking strictly about AR's ability to generate revenue.  There are many institutions that have tremendous value, and don't make any revenue.  Wikipedia for example.  ActiveRain has a ton of value for it's members and non-members as well, in the way of learning, friendship, etc.  

Jan 30, 2008 12:01 PM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Pull, pull, pull.

How many times do I have to say it???

Jan 30, 2008 12:18 PM
Brian Block
RE/MAX Allegiance, Managing Broker/Branch Vice President - McLean, VA
Northern Virginia & D.C. Real Estate
Jonathan, does this mean we have to run around in loincloths and body paint?
Jan 30, 2008 12:20 PM
Mike Jones
SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) - Tucson, AZ
Mike Jones NMLS 223495

Soo good, Jon!  Thanks.

Mike in Tucson

Jan 30, 2008 12:21 PM
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate
I read Seth's post today, wasn't thinking about us at the time, but I get it. I'm excited about the future for all of us. I like Fran's analogy. Sorta like the tribes of Israel...
Jan 30, 2008 12:33 PM
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO
Jonathan, I agree with you, Seth and Ed. It makes more sense that there are two separate values at work, one internal and one external. Thanks!
Jan 30, 2008 01:22 PM
Deborah Burns ~ Seattle Real Estate Agent
Realty Executives -BRIO - Seattle, WA

So Jonathan, I guess if we are a tribe, then that would make you Chief!  :  )

The idea of the goal is in providing information and services for the tribe is interesting.  I am helping a friend with company blog and at my meeting today I was talking about how one of the blog's purposes is to be a resource for it's visitors (current and prospective customers) and create a "club" of raving fans to spread the word.  So now instead of just a "club", I can think of it also as a "tribe". 

Jan 30, 2008 01:50 PM
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International - Saint Petersburg, FL
This also seems relevant to the VillageMaker product from Real Pro Systems, which is a way for us to create such a community for our clients. Glad you included the link to Seth's actual post. Keep up the search for products and services for us!
Jan 30, 2008 02:01 PM
John MacArthur
Century 21 Redwood - Washington, DC
Licensed Maryland/DC Realtor, Metro DC Homes
Jonathan - Methinks the tribe protest too much.
Jan 30, 2008 03:03 PM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info
Jonathan - that's a great philosophy, and it seems to be working.  If you love what you're doing, and you do it well, then sooner or later you will be rewarded, if you can hang in there long enough.  It's nice to see integrity is alive and well in America.  Congratulations for having the perseverance... Chief.
Jan 30, 2008 03:40 PM
John Novak
Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace - Las Vegas, NV
Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate
This spins traditional marketing 180 degrees, but it's becoming clearer every day that that's the directon the public wants to go. Will be very interested to see if Seth expands on this in his keynote to the KW Family Reunion (our national convention) in February.
Jan 30, 2008 04:48 PM
Alexander Harb
Knights Investing - Mesquite, TX
Dallas, Texas Real Estate Investing

Fascinating, Mr. Spock....

Why did not anyone see this before??


Isn't the statement of purpose of the company enough of a clue?

"We are a free on-line community for real estate professionals
designed to help them promote and grow their business."


Can anyone say....'Hmmmm'...???? 








Jan 30, 2008 08:33 PM
Bill Roberts
Brooks and Dunphy Real Estate - Oceanside, CA
"Baby Boomer" Retirement Planner

Jon, I will go and read Seth's post because I am interested in what he has to say about AR because you referenced it. I sincerely want AR to make money, not just get capital infusions from endless fundings.

I agree that the platform is the value proposition, not the content.

Good luck to ActiveRain, and to all of us.

Bill Roberts

Jan 31, 2008 01:31 AM
Billnulls Blog Florida Realty Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
here is one more person agreeing with Fran that this will take some thought -
Jan 31, 2008 03:33 AM
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

I'll tell you... what I'm afraid of here is that HV thinks they are the product that needs to be marketed to the tribe... 

A/R is an amazing community.  And, I hoe that it generates values for its owners, and doesn't get devalued.. 

Jan 31, 2008 02:36 PM
Randy L. Prothero
eXp Realty - Hollister, MO
Missouri REALTOR, (808) 384-5645

I tried the HV product and moved in.

I tried Active Rain and I am still there.  It is all about results and value.  I hope their influence does not hurt our results.

Feb 01, 2008 04:38 AM
Bob Stewart
ActiveRain - Seattle, WA
ActiveRain Ambassador


HV made their investment based on a plan that we already had. We will be executing on our plan..........not an amended one 

Feb 01, 2008 02:07 PM
Aaron Warner

My only previous experience with tribal management up to this point involved an Indian reservation and gambling. Pretty interesting article you found though. I'm starting to see why your office has so many Seth Godin books floating around.

May 06, 2008 08:03 AM
Phil Leng
Retired - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng - Retired

When I saw the term Tribe Management I thought it was the policies for the staff that worked at AR!

However, the concept of having the members interact with each other seems to work pretty well.


Mar 13, 2011 10:31 PM