I have had a fun time messing with this active rain stuff, and I feel it could indeed be beneficial in the long run. However, I have to wonder about the general public finding this site useful. It seems like a fabulous place for agents to network and perhaps grow influence with other agents. My understanding is that the purpose of the network is to ultimately generate business for agents and afiliated real estate practitioners. The problem I see is that if a consumer does happen to find the site, there doesn't seem to be anything on the homepage that might keep the public here.
In my not the least bit humble opinion, the home page should be redesigned to be public friendly, with an agent login that would bring us to the area of the site where we can network. The homepage needs to be layed out so that the consumer can find agents, read blogs about their market and pertinent real estate information and news, a mortgage area to find a lender, a home inspection area, etc. All of these areas should be kept free of clutter, with really useful information for consumers, with a rather conspicuously large button that reads FIND AN AGENT (inpector, appraiser, lender, etc).
Wouldn't this give us the best of both worlds? We could have our area, and consumers could have theirs. I would assume that many real estate leads would be generated with this layout.
Would this change the nature of active rain? Would it be more expensive for the developers? Would they then have to charge agents for the service? Perhaps.
I would love to know what you guys and gals think of this.