from villain to hero in one easy step

Real Estate Agent with Jameson Sotheby's International Realty

We've been spoiled.  For the most part Active Rain has functioned fairly well for years, with the exception of the occasional glitch.

Recently we suffered a serious crash, which to this date still hasn't been resolved.  People are up in arms, some complaining bitterly on the Q&A section seeking revolution.

We recently learned that our sponsor/owner Ben Kinney is actually losing money each and every month that he keeps the lights on here in the rain.  It's literally costing him money to keep the site that takes regular shots at him online.

Yes, I know that some members are paying a monthly fee to participate.  But in fairness, it's a pretty modest monthly fee for what they get back.

I know that the powers-that-be are working on a solution.  They're no happier about the effects of this crash than we are.  I, personally, am going to give them as much slack as I'm capable of in order to resolve this.  I'm grateful and happy that they've kept our lights on this long, and allowed us all to share with each other.

If AR went down permanently, (heaven for-fend) I don't know what I'd do with that extra six-hours of my day.

So, I'm willing to move Ben Kinney, our benevolent owner, from the category of blood-sucking-leech, to that of hero-of-the-day.  How about you?

Now, for those of you who feel this makes me a toady or suck-up... y'all go ahead with your bad self.  I'm good with my position.

Posted by

 ALAN MAY, Realtor®   
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate

Jameson Sotheby's International Realty, 2934 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
Office: 847.869.7300      Cell: 847.924.3313      Email:

Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate
Licensed in Illinois



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Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Happy to give them slack, would just like as you say to see some stabilisation and of course a return of alllllllll my pointtts, June had been a very good month for me. But would miss everyone on here, if it was to disappear. Not sure it sucks up 6 hours of my day, but it can feel like it at times.

Jul 17, 2020 10:15 AM #2
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

I haven't paid since the Twitter contest at 200,000 members.  I'm not easily knocked off track.  Even with all the sites issues, it has always allowed me to do the essentials:  blog daily, read as I want, leave comments as I want.  Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, but always able at some point during my day.  And that's essentially for 10 years straight.

Yes, what happened a couple of weeks ago isn't great, but in the big scheme of my life, absolute worst case of losing a month's worth of posts?  I'm still living, and still selling real estate, so what's to ultimately complain about. 

And even if I was paying, a month's down time is what?  $20 or so worth of loss.  In a business that spends 1000s without blinking, what's one Andrew Jackson?  Bill

Jul 17, 2020 10:36 AM #3
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Of course, I'm from the school of thought that Ben Kinney is not a stupid businessman... he must have done some analysis prior to taking on this investment and had an underlying ratonale to do so. I suspect the numbers didn't totally pencil out at the time he took on the Rain so there must be some payback somewhere for him to keep hanging on despite monthly losses.

I do get a bit annoyed about people saying "it's free so don't complain." I paid my dues for years and I wasn't the one who came up with the idea of making it a free account at 500K points. At the end of the day, it's not free. Our time is not free so when it becomes impossible to log on, to comment, to quickly post something, it's costing me money... and it's not adding positively to my bottom line or to Ben's bottom line. (Case in point... it took three minutes for me to log on just now; two minutes to get your post to open... and this morning it was taking a full minute to get each comment to post. Yesterday it was taking 3+ minutes per comment to post if it didn't kick me off the site completely.)

Then there's the issue of linking our posts here to our social media... when the site doesn't work properly it does nothing for my professional "image" and it becomes impossible to measure the lost opportunity cost if people come across my posts in SM and can't link back easily to this site (if at all).

And like Ron and Alexandra Seigel  I, too remember, all the promises made... and nothing has come to pass.

Jul 17, 2020 10:54 AM #4
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

Haven’t seen the hate you mention.
Definitely see the complaints.
But, what you’re basically describing above is lack of communication. All Ben needs to do is share updates with his community here and rally the troops. In the absence of leadership the inmates run the asylum. Totally preventable with good communication.

Jul 17, 2020 12:41 PM #5
Kris Collis, Associate Broker
Smart Way America Realty - East Stroudsburg, PA
Professional Results you Expect 702-574-8102

Every CEO/business owner who survives understands that communication is  duty #1 as a leader. It needs to come from the top in writing, not left to @Active Rain Member Support.

The issues with the core platform continue to increase year after year while members with 1M points or more try the same old platitudes to placate newbies and newer actives.

It does appear on occasion that some Active Rain Ambassadors present as the front-line CYA team to quelch differing points of view.   We know the president who said, "the buck stops here."  If mgt. can't lead and walk the talk, no communications from Ambassadors will save their business. It is finally time for mgt. to address the many members who remember many promises made and never kept.

Jul 17, 2020 02:35 PM #6
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

I've been somewhat disappointed with AR and haven't posted as much lately. Hence I seem to have completely missed the June mishap and wouldn't know if I even lost points.

However, I've been free forever (because I've been here forever) so I really can empathize with the paying members.

I would also pony up and pay for a well-run program if that were ever offered.

Jul 17, 2020 03:01 PM #7
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

It’s funny how easy it can be just to be kind and people jump through all kinds of hoops

Jul 17, 2020 05:04 PM #8
Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!


I rain in the rain and love it.  Learn so much.


Jul 17, 2020 05:49 PM #9
Steve Higgins
RE/MAX Kelowna - Kelowna, BC

Hi Alan,

Good post and thank you for the update. I have lost a lot of points but I am not on here for the points, it really doesn't matter if I get my points back or not as it won't change anything for me.

Jul 17, 2020 06:27 PM #10
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

Would like to see the points restored but it isn't a mountain, more like a molehill. Am still enjoying the time spent here and recently grew a pair!

Jul 18, 2020 06:51 AM #11
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Rumor had it that this site was practically given away to him.  Not sure what he really expected in terms of cash flow.  He would have to change the business model, and frankly, I'm all for it.  I think we would see a lot more quality here on the platform if it was pay to play for everyone, all the time.

An honest discussion about what it would cost to get this working like a business and not a hobby is in order.  After the June debacle, I think there would be a lot less push back on it if it meant our posts wouldn't disappear into the ether.  No one who is putting OUT money and getting none back is going to be very motivated to keep the lights on and functioning properly here.  That's just common sense.

Jul 18, 2020 06:56 AM #12
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Well I for one am glad I'm not dependent on ActiveRain.I love it, but it's a supplement to what I do.  My website is the core of my plan and would recommend that others take ownership of their business and blogging...and diversify.

I knew Ben invested in the site (and am thankful for that), but was not aware that he was losing money on it. That's not good for anyone. I'm hoping it's more of a loss leader for him and that he comes out ahead in the end.  He's preety smart, last I checked.

Anyway, nothing is perfect.  Yesterday, cloudflare went down for nearly 30 minutes...and half the internet was down. (well that may be an exaggeration, but a lot of big sites were down.

I will also say that people should be willing to invest in their business (time and/or money).  I pay $93/month just for hosting my site and it well worth it.  And, that's peanuts compared to what I invest now for marketing my site.  I got there gradually.

Jul 18, 2020 07:04 AM #13
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Interesting posts and comments. I didn't realize Ben K was losing money monthly on AR. If that's true, I'd suspect discussions about whether or not to continue happen on a regular basis. Or discussions about whether or not to make changes happen. It is, after all, a business. Sounds like perhaps the decision to keep it running is a human decision.

Jul 18, 2020 07:12 AM #14
Jeffrey Richman
Immediate Home Solutions - Waxhaw, NC
Creative Real Estate Specialist

I have come back to the rain to make friendships and contacts.  It's unfortunate that the site went down, I lost quite a bit, as did others, some more, some less.  With that said, it's still a great place to be.  This site is not the be all - end all.  It's a place that you can give your thoughts by blogging and answer others thoughts as well.  It's a place to learn and grow and meet people, but it's not the only place.

Personally, people have made promises to me, but I don't abandon them.  Things happen, don't be so hard on Ben.  Be glad that he was here when he was needed.  If you're that upset, buy it from him.  Just sayin...

Jul 18, 2020 11:32 AM #15
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Well goodness- what the heck have you kids been doing!!???  I am a non-paying member but throw no stones at me, please. Somebody has to be in at the beginning (and I didn't join until 2008)  and as some have said, perhaps we paid our dues in a different way. 

No this is not the ActiveRain that many of us grew up with but as in life, things change.   Quite frankly I'm pleased as punch that Ben Kinney has kept this ship afloat for as long as he has. 

The biggest cherry on the ice cream sundae here is the community.  

I'm patient. Yes, it's frustrating but what isn't. 

Good post and responses Alan and Liz and Bill Spear 

Jul 18, 2020 01:57 PM #16
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

Great post Alan. People were talking a little violently about the whole thing on various forums. I'm just going to go with the flow.

In fact, I barely made it on today. I am using that new browser Edge & it got right in.

Jul 18, 2020 02:33 PM #17
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Lyn Sims I've had 3 browsers open to try to play in the Rain. 

Jul 18, 2020 05:40 PM #18
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I have really liked Ben since the day I met him.  I'm pretty sure he was in physical pain talking to me.  I'm a typical, hug you, over excited loud mouth southern girl and he's SUPER shy.  But he forced himself to have that conversation with me even though he was uncomfortable with my "but I know you" attitude.  Over the years I've kept in touch with people I've met in the rain even outside of the rain.  Ben has long been a hero in my book.

Jul 19, 2020 08:43 PM #19
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

Active Rain....  Remember when we were so happy Ben was going to take this over and away from Zillow and Trulia?  I still appreciate that. 

I am grateful for Active Rain. 

I love the interaction of the people who are Active Rain. I don't use Active Rain as the power base for my business online. I don't expect this to be more than it is a vehicle to share ideas and learn from some exceptional people. Living in Alaska I would never have had the opportunity to hob-knob with the quality of professionals on this site. Its Amazing!  

For me I don't feel like we need to get all bent out of shape on this. Its an issue but not life and death  No time for Revolution Just keep moving on in a positive motion! 

I trust the powers that be will fix it and Make us all Happy. Its not like other online sites haven't had issues lately....  like say Twitter! 

Jul 19, 2020 11:40 PM #20
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

WOW! Just reading this thread is a little painful, Alan! Like Liz and Bill Spear, the groundwork has been set for me (many moons ago) so, I don't stress too much over the down time. I do understand the paying members having issues though and I do believe that AR will make amends with regards to them.

Like Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can! it's a molehill for me. And, I have to agree with Chris Ann Cleland - I'm not so sure I would keep the lights on if I was bleeding that much money either but, I'm sure grateful to Ben for doing so. 

I've done referrals with many members (including yourself) and have to say that I will be forever thankful for the relationships forged here, the massive amount of learning/education others have been so gracious as to share with me/us here and I know that there will never be another ActiveRain.

So, I say we sit upon our molehills & cherish our time on ActiveRain for as long as we have the honor to do so! 

Jul 20, 2020 04:11 PM #21
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Alan May

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