Giving and Receiving....Should We Always Get What We Don't Pay For?

Services for Real Estate Pros with Real Skillz-Clear Marketing for Your Real Estate Vision

I initially published this post on May 30, 2008.  Given the new move by Point2Agent to charge for their free websites and Active Rain now charging for outside blogs and some upgraded features, along with the fact that Internet companies are still trying to monetize their offerings, I felt this post would be worth a second view.


The Internet, Welfare, and the Age of Entitlement


Driving home tonight these lyrics from a local pop station pumped through my car's speakers:

"I know you and you know me cash rules everything around me. Say Is Cash Kingdolla dolla bill y'all, dolla dolla bill y'all."

I'm not down with thug songs but these words ring true. Dolla bills don't rule my world, but they give me the freedom to create my own corner of the world. The freedom to live in a house I choose, in a neighborhood I choose, in a city I choose. The ability to have those frivolities like gas, electricity, a car, health insurance, food, clothes.

They give me the freedom to take a break once in a while by vacationing Oceanside.



The internet is a highway of free lanes

The Internet has become a land of free lunches.   Blog, get socially connected, use a new tool or widget, watch a video, or attend a webinar.  It's Free. I can't think of many things I pay for now on the Internet, much of what I use doesn't come with a big price tag, and if there is one, it's negligible.

Somehow, I don't think that the Internet as it's grown from its infancy was meant to evolve this way. I have a hard time wrapping my head around entrepreneurs yearning to remain philanthropic Internet evangelists.  Internet fans have learned to become staunch advocates of the free wares at the Internet fair.

The eyes of Internet fans have been trained to ignore the advertisements mixed among the transparency.


A blatant decree of valuable goods for sale does nothing but get the backs up of otherwise loyal fans with a war cry of "Hell no, we won't pay, we can leave here any day".

And so now even MySpace searches to find a revenue model that will grow.






Is the Internet stuck in a vicious cycle?

Is the internet stuck in a vicious cycle


Are we creating junkies by getting them hooked on "Free" without providing them with a viable rehab? The junkies will pass down their habits to their friends, their loved ones, and their future offspring. The addiction of free will continue unless a widespread intervention occurs.

Who can afford to live for free?


At some point it's inevitable that service will be sacrificed in the Internet fans will become heartbrokenpursuit of rampant freedom on the Internet. Businesses will pull out their cyber aging hair in frustration when they are unable to convert their evangelists to paying customers. The love lust of Internet lover's souls will start to twang like the ballad of a broken hearted country singer.

The Internet will become a vehicle of disenchantment.


There's a lesson to be learned by listening to the woes of Internet entrepreneurs.  Be careful of what methods you choose to attract clients. As a marketer, a salesperson, and a real estate consultant be smart with your solicitation efforts.

  • Seek clients who value your advice and feel it's worth the price tag you command.
  • Work daily on attributes that focus on your self-worth.
  • Know that money is the beginning, middle and end game for your business.

This is the way you need to roll.


Chivalry is a curious thing.  What we need is respect


In every generation, you will find clients who value high touch service above all and will pay for the freedom it affords them.

There are prospects you will encounter who will want the drive-thru fast food prices expecting to get the 5 star meal. They will threaten to go down the street to your competition if you don't give them what they want.

Let them.

Don't go the way of the dodo bird by falling into tainted love with the age of entitlement.







Since I wrote this post I have abandoned some of my Internet junkie habits and paid for some Internet goods.  Here are a few things I am paying for willingly,


What do you pay for or are you a full fledged freebie Internet junkie?  Please share by commenting below.



Navigating through the internet of paid and free tools is a Real Skillz specialty.  Call #262-203-5231 or email for a no nonsense real estate marketing consultation that will help you become a lean mean marketing guru.


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Goodbye Active Rain
Out of Real Estate

Rebecca, maybe this is a slow move towards a resource based economy instead of a monetary one like the Venus Project is working on.

Feb 08, 2009 02:31 AM #1
Matt Thomson
Fathom Realty Colorado - Littleton, CO
Helping you find success through real estate

SnagIt has a sister tool from the same company that is actually free.  It doesn't have all the bells and whistles, but does the same thing.

Keller Williams gives all of their agents free websites (fully customizable) so we don't have to worry about paying outside vendors. 

I pay for my blog.  Being part of the Communities Undressed Network for $50/mo has been more than worth it.  $127,400 in commissions from that blog since Oct '07.  That's just folks who found me via the blog, that doesn't include folks who found me some other way but were influenced to use me due to the blog.  I also pay for SendOutCards so I can have a personal and unique way of staying in touch with past clients.  That's all I spend on in terms of marketing.

Bottom line for me is that I'll pay for it if it has a return.  If there's no return, I'll find something that works nearly as well for free.

Feb 08, 2009 02:39 AM #2
Brian & Marie Spray - Action Realty Group - Frisco, TX
Frisco TX Realtors

I admit to being a freebie junkie but since my point 2 site just changed from free to $10.00 per month I ponied up and subscribed because I feel continuity is more important than cost right now.  I do just wish that for the new cost they included a few more features. than they did for free.  Otherwise I do still try to stay as low budget as I possibly can to minimize overhead.


Feb 08, 2009 02:53 AM #3
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

I am always willing to pay if it works. IMO I think AR should have a pay model for even the regular blogs. Why? If you post here regularly then you are getting leads and buyers and sellers. Why should the guys with the creative genius make money on what we are making money on?

I suspect many who just set up a profile would go bye-bye.

If folks tracked their sales, where they came from throughout the year, it would be a slam dunk to drop what doesn't work and add more $ to what does work.

I like that many new start up companies let us beta test to see if we like it, if it works as they tweek the system. Then some beta testers get added in.

Feb 08, 2009 02:58 AM #4
Elizabeth Cooper-Golden
Huntsville Alabama Real Estate, (@ Homes Realty Group) - Huntsville, AL
Huntsville AL MLS

Love the freebies, but we do have to "earn our keep" as they say!  I too pay for Localism, and I'm getting ready to pay for the Outside Blog here on AR.  As for Point 2, I'm on the fence.  I had it when it was free, but can't track any sales back to it, so I'm just not sure.  I too pay for SnagIt, but after reading Matt's comments, I may be able to kick them to the curb and use Jingproject.

It always blows my mind when members of Active Rain get their panties in a wad over paying for anything here. It is a's not like they are holding a gun to our heads...If you don't like what they are selling, just don't do it. Why complain? 

Great points you made here girl!  BTW:  Found it on Twitter:)

Feb 08, 2009 03:01 AM #5
Doug Aaserude
Inactive until May. 2009 - Beaverton, OR

Great points. Free is not always better. The NetGeneration has become a generation of self entitled enthusiasts. Everyone owes them everything kind of attitude.

Feb 08, 2009 03:11 AM #6
Maria Mastrolonardo
RE/MAX of Naperville - Naperville, IL
Realtor, Naperville, IL Real Estate

Rebecca - you make some great points! In this business it's worth paying for tools that bring a return on our investment.

Feb 08, 2009 03:15 AM #7
Liz Loadholt
Liz Loadholt- AgentOwned Realty- Covering SC - Mount Pleasant, SC
Realtor--Broker-in-charge - Trainer--Relocation Director Covering SC

Rebecca --- I am still too new to this blogging and social networking to know about all those things that you mentioned that you are paying for ---- I do post all my blogs to "Localism" --- I did go the link for Localism from your blog ---what is the big difference? Thanks again for opening my eyes.

Momma Liz

Liz Loadholt

Feb 08, 2009 03:44 AM #8
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

     No matter how much money is spent to reach customers and to do it frequently... instantly,  if there is no service or quaity of product, it is all for nothing. Organic driven useful real estate/ area information with  videos, blogs, links coupled with a glimpse of your the real, hardworking personality  that's passionate about your area and the property you sell is what is key.

With radio, the airwaves were and are free to enjoy, and advertisers piggy backed to keep it free.  By now charging for free sites and removing that option, you have the top of the crop but limit the voices, the options to the top 20% of the profession..any profession.  I still think if you build it free for starters with venture capital, gain a following first of the local "suppliers", the soldiers in the local market that create that market for all to see, and have large growing numbers of local agents, you wil attract advertisers. Banks, stagers, insurance agencies, movers, attorneys, big advertisers that want to be in that arena wil pay for that traffic, those number of eye balls. It could stay free for the local provider it is all built around, that stocks the shelves.  I think if you start charging the creator of the local turf, other free local outfits will spawn with new tricks to do what they did in the now growing cost sites. America, new ways to do things with ingenuity. 

    If you keep it simple you can provide a service for free subsidized by advertisers.  But if you get too fancy and expensive, its like a restaurant...that cuts back on portions, raises prices on meals , shortens hours and thinks the same traffic is going to come thru the doors.  I think in the current economy, turning inward to charge the contributors will back fire.  If the agent does no contribution to creating the local portal, I think fine, charge him a fare to hitch a ride.  But if the local agent is putting in the sweat equity to make the area shine...suggesting he start paying to stay in and share the spotlight of what he created starts the decay of the marriage. 

     There are always other options to consider. Had a salesman tell me how cheap it is to buy a zip code...and I reminded him with 11 people per square mile where I live in Maine, $300 to buy a zip code that only has 136 people is a waste of money.  The and big players have lost sight of the small rural size fits all pricing and limited or no options with a take or leave it attitude spoil the honey moon. Lincoln freed the slaves. $2 er click with a rebate is costly for the low / no population areas of the country where you can buy a home for $40,000 and less. Need a tier system if you charge at all for the country mouse.

Feb 08, 2009 03:45 AM #9
Mike Klijanowicz
Cummings & Co. Realtors - Perry Hall, MD
Associate Broker @ Cummings & Co. Realtors

You are soooooo right, you can't start something out for FREE and then start charging at a later date if you said that you would never do that.  It will be entertaining to see what happens if anything to Point 2 for going back on their word to ALL of their customers and clients...

Feb 08, 2009 07:02 AM #10
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

I have never had a problem paying for things on the internet that have a meaningful impact on my business. Active Rain and Point2 are both great examples. In fact I would have no problem paying for an Active Rain membership.

Feb 08, 2009 07:20 AM #11
Barb Szabo, CRS
RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio - Cleveland, OH
E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes

Rebecca, I am a relatively new blogger (11/08) and an absolute newbie to the social network thing but because I want to take my business to the next level I do pay for point2 professional (~$49 per month), I pay for some neighborhoods with point 2 as well, my outside blog, sponsor communities on localism. I think you get what you pay for. Free is just

Feb 08, 2009 08:27 AM #12
Rebecca Levinson, Real Estate Marketing and Online Advertising Consultant
Real Skillz-Clear Marketing for Your Real Estate Vision - Lake Geneva, WI

Tony, Matt, Brian and Marie, Missy, Elizabeth, Doug, Maria, Andrew, Michael, Bill and Barb- I don't often do this but I am not going to comment back to each point because I have said my opinion in this post and asked for reader's opinion.  I thank you all for wholeheartedly sharing.  It's really been a great discussion.

Liz- You can actuallly sponsor communities on localism.  You should be able to see an add for this on the left handside of your personal home page on Active Rain.

Feb 08, 2009 10:59 AM #13
Kathy McGraw
CELLing Realty - White Water, CA
Riverside County CA Real Estate

Rebecca- I enjoyed this; interesting.  I'm also intrigued with the comments.....some seem to be OK to pay, and others prefer not to.  You asked what we pay for...

I pay for Yahoo (get Pop 3 Forewarding, and many extras.  I pay of Roboform to help me remember all these passwords, I pay for Picnik, and I used to pay for a Point 2 Neighborhood Overseas.  I have been paying for for 2years, but next month won't renew it,  I also pay on a Notary Site that got me tons of business over the years.  If I have the money, and see the value then I pay for it.

Feb 08, 2009 05:44 PM #14
Rebecca Levinson, Real Estate Marketing and Online Advertising Consultant
Real Skillz-Clear Marketing for Your Real Estate Vision - Lake Geneva, WI

Kathy- Thank you for sharing freely in the conversation.  I really appreciate it.

Feb 09, 2009 05:52 AM #15
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Hi Rebecca-This is a great post and so true today that people want stuff free but somebody had to do the work so that person should be compensated fairly. Great job. Enjoy your week. :-)

Feb 09, 2009 11:24 AM #16
Rebecca Levinson, Real Estate Marketing and Online Advertising Consultant
Real Skillz-Clear Marketing for Your Real Estate Vision - Lake Geneva, WI

Sharon- Thank you it's nice to see you on here.

Feb 11, 2009 04:36 PM #17
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