Real Estate Social Networking Websites MUST learn from Activerain's Announcement...

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Real Estate Web Trainer, LLC.

Real Estate Social Networking Websites MUST learn from Activerain's Announcement...

The flaw in Activerain's Thinking...

Social Networking Websites MUST learn from Activerain's Announcement...Today, Feb 16th 2009, came the announcement that Activerain will monetize from Agents when they Blog!!! (Forgetting that it was those Blogs that made the Network Powerful with Search Engines.)

The power of Activerain will then diminish as loyal participants realize that they hold such a power with their ideas and their content and will choose to participate in other friendlier platforms.

The power of the network is larger than the individual... But those who hold the network tightly must tread lightly or lose influence...

Want an example... Think Myspace.com (It is declining and FaceBook is becoming the most Successful Model Ever...)

So today we breakup with Activerain; what a shame - she used to be so much fun...

Activerain announcement to start charging Real Estate Professional for Blogging and ignoring that it was their contributions that created their visibility will lead to the failure of the network, and agents will transition to new platforms that understand what is at the core of every Real Estate Transaction: the REALTORS... STOP Bleeding them dry!!!

All Social Networks must respect their members and stop trying to monetize from ALL Participants... the way to monetize is to offer additional layers of services that appeal to 10% of the network...

Note to Social Network Providers: Offer an open network for all participants then offer a layer of special additional tools for those who desire automation and are willing to pay for it... Run your network on 10% of your network - NOT by thinking you will get a Dollar from all participants... and YES do it with limited advertising...

Want examples of network failures... MSN, AT&T, and unfortunately Zillow... (Note: This is Zillow's chance to take on Activerain and Trulia by offering Free Services for Blogging and Listings Visibility!!!)

How about AOL... Good Night AOL sleep tight!!! (Tight control of the the internet spells doom...)

Want a name of a successful growing network: Trulia.com. (Zolve is slowly growing and will benefit from Activerain's Announcement...)

Activerain was the most successful such Social Network for Real Estate Professionals and everyone was trying to emulate them... the good news is that it opens Trulia and Zolve to become the most attractive Social Networking Services for Realtors... (PS: WannaNetwork and BrokerAgentSocial - STOP confusing your Agents with changes that are haphazard and capricious...)

So What is the lesson... Social Networking Websites Should Stop creating Networks so they can control them and look to milk agents from every dime they are making... Worse STOP pretending that you have SEO Tools that transcends the truth of Search Engine Visibility... Activerain became visible because of the content the Real Estate Professionals who dedicated themselves to adding daily...

So Goodbye Activerain and hello Trulia, Zolve, and Condo.com!!! (and maybe a Hello to BrokerAgentSocial, and Zillow, and WannaNetwork...)

Web Link: Social Networking Websites MUST learn from Activerain's Announcement...
Local Blog: Real Estate Social Networking Websites MUST learn from Activerain's Announcement
Broker Agent Social: Real Estate Social Networking Sites MUST learn from Activerain's Announcement
Realtor Talk: Real Estate Social Networking Websites should learn from Activerain's Announcement
Zolve Blog: Real Estate Social Networking Websites ought to learn from Activerain's Announcement...
Trulia Blog: Real Estate Social Networking Websites MUST reflect on Activerain's Announcement
WordPress Blog: Real Estate Social Networking Sites Should learn from Activerain's Announcement...

Real Estate Blogging Strategy, Real Estate Web Trainer, Real Estate Web Strategy, Real Estate Blogging, Real Estate Networking Websites, Activerain, Real Estate Networks, Real Estate Social Networks

Key Yessaad - Real Estate Web Trainer

About the Trainer: Key Yessaad - Real Estate Web Trainer. To train, inspire, and coach Real Estate Professionals succeed is my passion. I have a niche area of expertise which is the combination of Real Estate Web Strategy, Consulting, and Systems Implementation... Inquire about the various Real Estate Training Seminars.

Comments (28)

Key Yessaad
Real Estate Web Trainer, LLC. - Wilmington, NC

The power of the network must respect and invite descent... I don't expect to continue to be welcomed given the level of hostility that is coming...

Instead of attacking my sporadic participation as you imply in your response, I invite to engage my ideas and see them as the possibility to make the Network Better rather than an attack on you personally...

Activerain should continue to invite Realtors to participate and monetize on clever ad placement a-la Facebook... Just an opinion and you may dismiss it as you dismissed by earlier contributions...

I have brought hundreds of Agents to Activerain because I always felts that Activerain understood Zillow's failures...

Feb 16, 2009 01:58 PM
Tony Sena
Shelter Realty, Inc - Henderson, NV
Broker/Property Manager

Rich,

Even though I don't agree with Key, your statement as someone who has only participated sporadically at best on our network, you really aren't qualified to voice an opinion on the value of our community, at what point is an AR member considered qualified to voice their opinion?

Feb 16, 2009 02:12 PM
Roger Johnson
Hickory Real Estate Group - Hickory, NC
Realtor - Hickory NC Real Estate

Rich, with all due respect, you've just stated the fatal flaw of AR's thinking on this, two of them, in fact.  First, you (as in AR) have forgotten what made AR a success, it's contributers/blogwriters.  That's not only the existing contributers, but the potential new ones as well, which you are now charging for the ability to add to your content.  To me, this just seems insane.

Two, you say that Key isn't 'qualified' to give an opinion because he has 'participated sporadically at best' on the network.  I ask, who is, then qualified to give an opinion, especially since AR has asked for them?  Furthermore, if he isn't qualified to determine the value, as someone who has been on AR for awhile and has over 2700 invite points as well, how can any new member "qualify" the service?

You know the old saying, You don't kill the goose that lays the golden egg.  You guys deserve to make money, but there are other ways of doing it besides charging the people that have, and will, continue to make AR a success.

Feb 16, 2009 02:14 PM
Shane OnullGorman
Eau Claire Realty, Inc. - Eau Claire, WI
Eau Claire Wisconsin, Real Estate Agent & Realtor- Buy or Sell

Then seperate things. The ones who put alot of work into this are here and probably will stay. The ones who didnt do much probably will go. What difference would that make?

Feb 16, 2009 02:24 PM
Mark Madsen
Las Vegas, NV
Mortgage Marketing

Key -

What is the point of bringing WannaNetwork into this fight?  We moved our old bucket platform over to a new shiny WordPress solution so that our members could get more traction in the search engines with free self-branded blogs.  I would expect that a real estate blog trainer, such as yourself, would understand the significance of our move - even if you are still using a la mode as your main site.  :)

If you read our about page, which I wrote, you'll see that we are a humble social network held together by a couple of full-time real estate and mortgage professionals.  We are not trying to pretend like we can play in this corporate world of real estate social networking giants who have million dollar bank rolls.  Actually, the last time I checked, you had one of our free blogs as well.  So, there is no reason to accuse us of creating a social network to milk agents for every dime they are making.  

"(PS: WannaNetwork and BrokerAgentSocial - STOP confusing your Agents with changes that are haphazard and capricious...)"

This comment from you is either in reference to our move over to WordPress, or the fact that we broke the site last week and set everyone back a few days.  In either case, I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience, however, this is the price we pay for innovation. 

In response to your "Charge 10% of the Members" comment - I don't know.  Interesting thought.  I'm just happy that AR is trying their idea first.  Somebody in this real estate social media networking world has to eventually prove that there is a win win "free" Web2.0 solution for our industry.

I guess it boils down to who will produce the highest ROI for its members.  Between all of those social networks you mentioned above, who do you think would produce the most closed deals a month?  If they all remain free, yet produce zero business for their members who invest time blogging, then I would say that they are all over priced. 

 

Feb 16, 2009 04:40 PM
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

Key, I am sorry you feel this way. Activerain has enhanced me personally, my business and my bottom line. It did for me what no domain, top line website has ever done.

To say they don't care about their members is not true. Why do you think they grandfathered all of us in who have contributed to the community to make it successful.

As you said the power of the network is greater than the individual, so why should the new Individual folks sign up not have to pay for what we have created. Then by their selfless hours and untold monetary investment and us by our content.

Anyone can join free, participate, learn and grow.

When they see the value they can then join and pay.

Sound completely fair to me.

It is a business, they need to run it like one.

Feb 16, 2009 11:45 PM
Anonymous
Chris Dowell

State your opinions Key and keep them coming. Everything I do in real estate I look at the ROI. Last year I sat in a mastermind group and a very trust worthy person told the group that AR will be changing their platform in the next couple years. He said that they would first charge new bloggers then look at other avenues of making money. I changed my blogging platform due to I didn't want to start something and then switch later. I use AR a little, but not like I used to. AR is a great product right now. Once they change, people will find a new solution. I had zero sales from using AR. I have switched and integrated my blogging platform into my website and see weekly inquiries from customers and have had sales.

 

 

Feb 17, 2009 12:05 AM
#15
Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Tony & Roger:   Please understand that I meant no disprect to Yessaad. He is certainly entitled to his opinion. My point was that how can one be in a position to genuinely quantify/evaluate the multiple layers of membership value if their participation here has been limited? Mr. Yessaad may certainly be qualified in other aspects of social media in general, but his numbers don't indicate any significant degree of exposure/investment in our community.

Feb 17, 2009 12:56 AM
Key Yessaad
Real Estate Web Trainer, LLC. - Wilmington, NC

I must clarify something to the whole community... I support Activerain pursuit of monetization and Revenue Generation; Activerain is an excellent platform for Realtors and Real Estate related communities and the support of its members if quite evident...

I just think that making money from Blogs stifles creativity; and further argue that other avenues may provide more bang and more revenue...

As Rich does illustrates I have not racked up the necessary points to be a voice in this community - so I shall not further comment on this; but I would like to know what many of the community with large points have to say...

I mean no offense to any and I have supported this community indirectly by bringing hundreds of agents to it, and will continue to do so; I truly desire the best for all participants. I hope Blogging does not become the venue of those who only Agree, and that Descent is not ad-hominem.

Feb 17, 2009 01:17 AM
Brad Andersohn
Executive Director of Education at eXp Realty - Fairfield, CA
ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876

It's too bad that so much effort goes into these "Why Nots" and not into the "Why" of our new membership plan.  I have to agree with Missy on this one, I have seen her production and the results due to her efforts as a founding member here.

"To say they don't care about their members is not true. Why do you think they grandfathered all of us in who have contributed to the community to make it successful.

As you said the power of the network is greater than the individual, so why should the new Individual folks sign up not have to pay for what we have created."

Of all the ways we've offered you to support this community monetarily, and you said yourself (offer additional layers of services) you have chosen to select none of them, and yet you say there are other ways to generate revenue with not a single idea, suggestion, or solution.  I think you're entitled to an opinion as are ALL members, but I'd also love to see more ideas and suggestions as opposed to just throwing in the towel and just saying "GoodBye, I'll Miss You!"  or "So today we breakup with Activerain; what a shame - she used to be so much fun..." and then "So Goodbye Activerain and hello Trulia, Zolve, and Condo.com!!!

So my next question is are you requesting that we disable your account now since you're leaving?  I am getting a mixed message from your post vs your last comment. "I have supported this community indirectly by bringing hundreds of agents to it, and will continue to do so; I truly desire the best for all participants."

Let me know, I'm here to assist you with that if you need.  Thanks Key.

Respectfully, :-)

Feb 17, 2009 03:05 AM
Roger Johnson
Hickory Real Estate Group - Hickory, NC
Realtor - Hickory NC Real Estate

Rich, the free membership is going to be limited now?  How can a new member testing the waters of AR try to determine if the cost is worth it if their exposure to what you're actually trying to sell, the SEO benefits, is limited?

I truly don't envy you all at this point.  It's a tough call and even a tougher sell.  I'm not speaking from a vacuum either.  I've been personally involved in two other websites that had massive success and tried to capitalize on it by charging members an access fee.  In both cases, they were alot cheaper than the dollar amount your proposing, and in both cases, they failed miserably.

I wish you all the luck.

Feb 17, 2009 03:07 AM
Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Roger:   Thanks for your questions. As licensed professionals, how do we determine the cost effectiveness of any marketing effort? We invest in websites, mailings, refrigerator magnets, print advertising, etc.. We spend hours manning Open Houses or driving clients around looking at properties. There are always inherent risks associated with any form of marketing. Some risks are more pronounced than others. It's obvious that ActiveRain produces results for those who are willing to commit the necessary time and energy to consistently contribute content and participate within our community. New members will be able to interact with other members, post articles that are 'Member's Only,' and benefit from the wealth of information being shared daily. They can still learn and observe before venturing out and committing to any fee-based features. If we had simply made the decision to just start charging everyone for access period, then we would definitely be insane, and Key could rightly accuse us of ignoring those who have so faithfully contributed their content to help get us where we are today. But that isn't the case. Nothing has changed for those members who have played a part in growing our network. New members will still have FREE access to some basic features, but if they want to benefit from the SEO/ranking aspects, they will need to subscribe.

Feb 17, 2009 03:32 AM
Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Mr. Yessaad:   I have not attacked you here by any measure, nor has my tone been hostile by any stretch of the imagination. As first and foremost a 'member' of ActiveRain I am very passionate about our community. It has radically changed/positively affected my personal approach to business, fostered deep & meaningful relationships for life, and resulted in an excellent added revenune stream. I have been involved since the inception of the Network and have observed firsthand the manner in which AR manangement/staff has interacted with their membership. Their track record clearly and consistently demonstrates that they don't 'forget' or 'ignore' those who have played such a vital role in helping them achieve their success. In fact, the first point of their 'Weltanschaaung' Purpose Statement says this:

1.    We understand that the value of the ActiveRain community rests entirely with its members. We admire the spirit of real estate professionals and believe our goal is to fully engage their talents and knowledge for the benefit of all members of the real estate community.

In all of my experiences across a multitude of social networks, I have yet to find anything that even remotely comes close to providing the same friendly, supportive, and encouraging environment for its members that ActiveRain does.

I would be curious to know exactly how does charging someone to blog necessarily affect their creativity? And what other avenues would you suggest we use in order to create self-sustaining revenues?

Conversational blogging invites and encourages lively debate and discussion. It should challenge our thinking, and affirm or change our views. Opposing views are always welcomed!

Feb 17, 2009 04:12 AM
Roger Johnson
Hickory Real Estate Group - Hickory, NC
Realtor - Hickory NC Real Estate

Rich, I have not accused you of being greedy in this.  Not sure if this was directed personally at me, or to some of the responses in general, but I do want to be clear.  I have said that you deserve to profit from your success.  I simply don't think that this is the best way to go about it.  In fact, I don't like you all being called greedy and selfish anymore than I like some of the people voicing their concerns over this move being called 'cheapos' 'lazy' and 'stupid,' but I digress.

Why is this not the best way?  Because anytime you put a price on something, you have to prove it's value to the people that you are asking to pay for it.  Your sales pitch on this is the SEO of AR, which while undeniable, is a very hard thing to quantify for someone that is new to the business, to SEO, to blogging are all three.

While I may be undervaluing the free membership, I also think that you are overvaluing it.  I've already stated, with the limits of the free membership, I doubt that many will truly learn the value that AR has, or can give them.  Also on that note, AR is merely a tool.  To get the full benefits of the SEO, you have to be active.  So then the question becomes is the tool worth $29/month to new members?  It remains to be seen, but I simply don't see alot of first time bloggers jumping at that opportunity.  I hope I'm wrong.

Also, when someone pays for something, they expect more.  In the short time I've been here, I have truly fell in love with AR (even though I'm sure that I'm also blackballed at this point, too), but there is alot at AR that is still a work in progress.  I can truly appreciate the time and effort that you all put into this, but new, paying members, won't, or simply won't care.  Just one example of this is the blog editor where the WYSIWYG editor and the HTML editor don't work together.  Not an issue for me, because I'm simple anyway, but is it going to be an issue for a paying member?

As I said, I don't envy your position.  It's tough to determine a price point that isn't too high or that is too low so as not to generate the income needed.

In Brad's blog, I did offer suggestions.  I think you're trying to 'shoot for the moon' with the $29/month deal.  Why not make AR (the inside blog and other normal AR stuff) $10/month for new members.  With no contracts, spending $10-20 for a month or two to 'test the waters' truly isn't that much money, even for cash strapped agents trying for something new and it'll give them a true taste of AR SEO (if they post something).  Keep the outside blog a premuim service upgrade for all members at the $19/month level.  I think that this makes much more sense, is much easier to justify and wouldn't hinder the growth level much at all, IMO, while putting some much needed, and deserved, revenue in your pockets.

As far as other revenue streams, selling ad space would be the primary suggestion.  Your main page PR is 6.  Companies pay big bucks to get one a 6 webpage and done properly, the ads wouldn't detract from the appearance.

Good luck

Feb 17, 2009 10:37 AM
Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Roger:   I just went back and amended my previous comment. I have no idea how 'greed' entered the picture. Must've been a carry-over from a previous comment somewhere. It's been a 'whacked' day and I think this is like Comment #1001! I would agree that the onus will be on us to prove the value, to market the benefits effectively. We can do that. I think we've obviously created enough positive 'buzz' about this network and have hundreds of WOM supporters who believe in the results. We have a lot of work to do, we've only just started to create additional tools that wil continue to increase the value proposition of involvement here. You don't ever have to worry about being blackballed on this network for simply voicing your opinions. We're big boys. We can take the criticism. We also value your input. We're not perfect. We make mistakes. But you need to know that our desire and passion is to create a platform that truly benefits its member, and delivers results for those who are willing to invest their time. One of our strengths over the past 3 years has been our willingness to listen to our members and to take into consideration what they want and need. We plan on offering more, Roger. We have to. You will find that we are never happy or satisfied with the status quo. We will always be working to create new and better tools for our members to implement into their businesses.

Feb 17, 2009 04:49 PM
Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Mr. Yessaad:   Were you going to be kind enough to respond to my previous questions?

I would be curious to know exactly how does charging someone to blog necessarily affect their creativity? And what other avenues would you suggest we use in order to create self-sustaining revenues?

Feb 17, 2009 04:50 PM
Home Loan Search.Online
Home Loan Search Online - Newnan, GA

Active Rain is a great tool. There are plenty of available resources online to network and learn from. If you do not feel that Active Rain is in your best interest becuase of the new membership plan you do not have to participate.

Feb 23, 2009 07:34 AM
Frank D'Angelo
EXIT REALTY NEXUS Minneapolis & St. Paul MN - Coon Rapids, MN
Helping people is my business in Real Estate

Wow,

This is one of the hottest posts that has touched the nevers of so many people.  Actually everyone has a valid point, however everyone including AR may also be going with the traditional flow.

I'm confident AR will closely wathc their bottom line and hope they look for the indicators that may affect the bottom line.  It's a comforting feeling knowing about the grandfathering clause, however having said that, I know that tomorrow and the next day there may be some great new up and coming real estate professionals that may bock at any costs associated with joining AR.

The majority of beta/free launches failed for that one fundamental reason. Entry cost and/or maintenance costs.  I love the power of AR, more importantly I love the giving community and associates who give and gain from each other.

Re: saying good by to AR is like:  'Do you remember the good old days when we Googled things?"

Best of 2009 to all

Frank D'Angelo - Broker/SRS

Feb 28, 2009 08:19 AM
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

it just dawned on me that Key Yessaad - Real Estate Web Trainer was an ActiveRain member.  I caught his post about breaking up with ActiveRain and his predictions in 2009 on another site that he said was going to Flourish because of the changes for new members announced on 2-16-2009.

I'm still grandfathered February 17, 2011.

Feb 17, 2011 08:19 AM
Brad Andersohn
Executive Director of Education at eXp Realty - Fairfield, CA
ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876

Maureen - now you know why I follow you all around this network. lol~  You really are pretty awesome you know?  You never cease to amaze me at some of the stuff you find and do.  Not to mention your last comment on my very first post.  Sorry Yessaad for hijacking your post with my comment to Maureen, but she's worth it!!  :-))

Feb 17, 2011 09:29 AM

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