What's Behind the Top Contributor Badges

Real Estate Technology with ActiveRain

I am the creator of the Top Contributor Badge on ActiveRain.  It's all my fault, I admit it!  That being said, I still stand behind the idea.

There have been no shortage of blog posts, comments, and social media shares with Trulia conspiracy theories and other such craziness.  Our intention with the Top Contributor Badge was:

  1. To give our most dedicated bloggers a badge that they can share with consumers and their industry peers that recognize their efforts on ActiveRain.
  2. To get more new members on ActiveRain as members shared those badges online.

Our team has been working on a three-pronged marketing campaign to drive new membership on ActiveRain in May and June. That playbook that included:

  1. An email campaign where we found all of the people who have been invited to ActiveRain over the past twelve months but did not accept the invitation, then sent them a nudge to join our community.
  2. The "Double Points for Inviting a Friend" campaign that wrapped up this week. Our winner Captain Wayne Rowlett won an Amazon Kindle free RainMaker accounts for his 17 companions.
  3. The Top Contributor Badge to give our most frequent bloggers the chance to brag about their status using social media.

It was an interesting process to come up with this list.

Initially, we were going to publish the Top 1% of Bloggers on ActiveRain. That list didn't quite work out, because if it was the top 1% of our 258,000 members, the list would be too big and not have any credibility.  If it was the top 1% of people who wrote a blog in the past year, the list was too small and stacked with profiles who were obviously just auto-posting listings.

In the second round, we decided to change the award to "Top Contributors" by moving away from the top 1% concept and trying to find a logical number to qualify.  We considered 25, 50, 100, and 200, but finally ended up deciding that 52 was a great number. In our ActiveRain University classes, we are constantly encouraging people to write one blog post per week.  That got us a list of about 1,200 people.

Another interesting decision was what kind of posts to include.

  • Public Posts VS Members Only
  • Do listings count?
  • What about reblogs?
  • Should there be a minimum character count?
  • What if the person is just posting a quote of the day?

In the end, we decided that hand picking a list based on our own criteria wasn't a smart way to go.  We included every kind of blog post on ActiveRain, except for reblogs.

We all agree that this list isn't perfect.  As we developed the badges we started thinking forward to creating other badges for people who leave the most comments, see the most traffic on their posts, and other measurements of engagement that are equally for our community.  We are hoping this badge is the first of many to reward the people who put their heart and soul into building up our community.

So, there it is!  I'm the guilty party, but I really don't feel like we have anything to hide.  We love the fire and accountability in this community and appreciate all of the responses to this idea.  There is no conspiracy at play here, this is all part of our efforts to keep ActiveRain healthy and growing.  Thank you for your honesty.


Comments (92)

Jon Kolsky
Kolsky Realty & Management - Long Beach, CA
Licensed California Real Estate Broker

Kris~ I think your idea is brilliant and I like it! One of my favorite things is "it makes it easy to see who's doing the heavy lifting here... I am blown away by those that manage over 2 post a day, and I am even more blown away from those that manage 3,4,5, post a day... I know how difficult it is to post qualified post more then once a day, but nevertheless, those of us that do it "get rewarded" in many ways 

Jun 20, 2014 06:19 AM
Kate McQueen
Realty Associates Texas - Cypress, TX
Tailored service for your real estate needs!

I ALMOST had to stop reading right after "conspiracy theories" and "other such craziness."  But forced myself to "listen."

However, I did have to stop right after "that list would have no credibility."  Kris, the list ALREADY has no credibility in that the members on that list that HAVE TRULY CONTRIBUTED quality content are subservient to a financial institution that blasts out listings all day long.  


Jun 20, 2014 07:22 AM
Gloria Todor
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services - Media, PA
& Doug Durren (484) 431-3686 in SE PA

Thank you AR for trying something new.

Thank you Kris for explaining the behind the scene thinking on this effort.  

Kathy Streib #19 about name change and Myrl Jeffcoat #53 speak my mind.




Jun 20, 2014 08:35 AM
Bill Reddington
Re/max By The Sea - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

Honestly it is about the content not the frequency to me. So the badge doesn't mean much to me. I think the million plus points club is probably annoyed. Maybe some new favorites will show up.

Jun 20, 2014 09:25 AM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Kris, you did fine, nothing to apologize for.

No system will please everyone,

  • The features are not an indicator of quality, maybe popularity, but who knows for sure.
  • The leaderboard is an unachieveable goal for most, though I earn more points than most, i will not live long enough to get near the top, and neither will anyone who has not been at it since the first few years.
  • the top contributor list is good in that it only takes the past year into consideration, but it should include the whole picture, comments, reblogs, contests, etc.

Maybe you may want to incorporate your great point system into the top contributor system.  Instead of most posts in the last year, rank it by number of points earned in the past year.  This would weed out those who quit AR long ago and reward those who are doing all of the things that we should be doing everyday.

Jun 20, 2014 09:56 AM
Craig Daniels
Tech Training for You! - Staten Island, NY
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant

Kris - just a simple suggestion on the next top contributor list
perhaps do total number of posts however use a qualifying filter of x number of CLICKS (full page views) required. Maybe x is 20 or so. If possible, unique visitor clicks would be best so a person couldn't promote their own posts.
Comments is not a good qualifier because a good SEO post found by public may not have any comments but get plenty of views.
Posts that aren't seen by anybody aren't helping the blogger. Posting many times a day in robo-post mode, but no clicks... what is the point?
You should get a badge for doing what is going to get you found.
I like ideas that give incentive. points, badges, etc  are good!
I'm glad you are doing a v2 algorithm though because it can be better.
Keep up the hard work. appreciated :)
Now please turn off the pop up telling us about the new feature :)

Jun 20, 2014 11:38 AM
Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Broker/Owner
Travis Realty - Enterprise, AL
email: Travis@theSOLDman.me / cell: 334-494-7846

arghhhhh - wayyyy to many factors to consider - above MY pay grade!! Good luck!

Jun 20, 2014 11:56 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Hmmm... I guess I have nothing to say, because I didn't know about the contributor badges.

I STILL think removing our ability to easily follow our favorites was a big mistake, in spite of Kerrie telling me the majority wanted the change.

Jun 20, 2014 12:59 PM
Anna Hatridge
R Gilliam Real Estate LLC - Farmington, MO
Missouri Realtor with R Gilliam Real Estate LLC

I can tell by all the comments more changes will come and it stands to follow that like all aspects of life 'Change is Hard, even if it is a good change'. Most adults do not embrace change as quickly as young children. Remember when a child looks at something new as a challenge or in awe, that is a lesson we can learn again as we get a little more mature.

Jun 20, 2014 01:56 PM
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

Kris, thanks for the explanation. This is an added incentive to blog more frequently!

Jun 20, 2014 02:20 PM
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Kris:  My only word of caution regarding the inclusion of Listings would be that you actually are not treating all members alike then.  The criteria you use should be attainable for all professionals on the Rain. I understand that the majority of members are agents ... but please, always remember that there are many other excellent representatives of our industry here too.  The criteria for achieving these badges should represent a level playing field ...


Jun 21, 2014 07:07 AM
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Gene brought up a great point to remember!!  The level playing field concept is important.

Jun 21, 2014 04:22 PM
Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional

I think that AR often ignores its most valuable resource ... the long time members. They could tell you what brought them here and what keeps them around.

Jun 21, 2014 11:40 PM
Mark Loewenberg
KW of the Palm Beaches - Palm Beach Gardens, FL
KW 561-214-0370

did not know about this.. how do we see who is on the list Kris?  thanks!

Jun 22, 2014 11:58 AM
Kate McQueen
Realty Associates Texas - Cypress, TX
Tailored service for your real estate needs!

Can someone explain "top contributor" #7?  What is this?  Is this a service that charges agents to list their blogs there?  Very curious.

Jun 23, 2014 03:28 AM
Kate McQueen
Realty Associates Texas - Cypress, TX
Tailored service for your real estate needs!

Also, the badge appears every time I go to my home page.  Didn't I see a comment here that said the badge was designed to appear only when you first log in?  I've seen it at least a few dozen times in the last week.

And what about the link from Trulia to AR? Are there plans to make it more interactive?  If I were a consumer and were directed from Trulia to AR only to see a page of featured listings that are written for an agent audience, I'd close the link and go away, never to return again.  This will drive a way our consumer audience.

Jun 23, 2014 03:34 AM
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI

Well, I am honored I am still on some kind of board...a top contributor is an honor and surprised I even made it to 100.  So...bring on the next contest!  lol.

Jun 24, 2014 02:19 AM
Women of Westchester Working Together
Women of Westchester Working Together - West Harrison, NY
Women helping Women get ahead

BTW, this page no longer works.  It does not show the top contributors.  I just tried on 2 browsers - firefox and chrome.

I really hope you guys make some fixes soon.  Losing the "following" button was a big mistake.  Huge inconvenience.  also the side bar info is still screwed up at the bottom - the iframe.  It looks really unprofessional.

Jul 05, 2014 11:49 PM
Larry Johnston
Broker, Friends & Neighbors Real Estate and Elkhart County Subdivisions, LLC - Elkhart, IN
Broker,Friends & Neighbors Real Estate, Elkhart,IN

Good afternoon Kris Neese , With all the confusion on the badges, it looks like some of the top contributors have the badges posted.  I didn't during that time, but noticed that it must be too late, or I am missing something. Is it still possible to put the badge on my blogs.

Jan 06, 2015 01:51 AM
John DL Arendsen
CREST "BACKYARD' HOMES, ON THE LEVEL General & Manufactured Home Contractor, TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments - Leucadia, CA
Crest Backyard Homes "ADU" dealer & RE Developer

Call me stupid but what badge? Where? What does it look like?

Jan 06, 2015 02:04 AM