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Business Marketing

Is Your Blog Following Britney Spears’ Career Path?

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gimme gimme morez


Ah, a title that will past muster with Mr. Rosales … always a good start. Now if I only can find a way to make the article sync to the title.

First, some very brief history.

I started my Dalton’s Arizona Homes blog in January 2006 and did nothing with it until that July. I asked for help, Ardell offered it and I was up and running in fits and starts. By the end of the year I’d left RealTown Blogs for my own server and that’s where I am now.

When I started writing I didn’t realize there was a blogging community. Ardell asked me what I knew about Bloodhound Realty and I gave an honest answer – never heard of it. It struck me as totally an Internet and blog-driven phenomenon. I didn’t know who Jay Thompson was either, at least not until I ventured onto Active Rain.

There may have been one or two others writing then but for the most part, that was how my blogging career started – trying to escape the long shadows cast by both the Phoenix Real Estate Guy and the Bloodhound.

(Such a different world now for Steve, Chris, Heather, Christoph, Austin, Rod and so many others. The competition’s so vast here in Phoenix now that you almost don’t worry too much about it. Doubt it? Consider the link love I just sent to six, some of whom you may not already know.)

In Jay I found a kindred spirit. In Greg, as I’ve told him, I found my personal Howard Stern. I’d read something he wrote and react on my own blog. Before HousingPanic dubbed him “he who shall not be linked to” I’d already started to call him Lord Voldemort on my blog. It was great for traffic. It also was utterly pointless.

Fast forward to this past weekend’s row between Odysseus and one of his most ardent foils, Joe at sellsius. Two days after the eruption the news wasn’t the actual argument, it was the lack of attention paid to the entire episode. Some of it could be attributed to the “been there, done that” feel. Some could be the realization that the real estate blogosphere or re.net (Greg’s term) has evolved past the point where there was one dominant dog.

Agent Genius was born into somewhat different times – Zillow and Redfin already were in existence, for example. The shock value from both (and for those who don’t remember, there was a considerable amount) long since has worn off. There seems to be a lot more imitation than true innovation these days, and imitation’s not as interesting a topic.

My personal reaction to the entire row also gave me insight into the evolution of my own blog. Once upon a time I’d have jumped into the fray with both feet, eager to pick up the traffic and get my voice out there. But now? My blog wasn’t the place for it. (Neither was Agent Genius … or apparently FOREM, Inman or I Can Has Cheezeburger given the total lack of coverage there as well.)

Yes, I’m still guilty of glancing at my Technorati ranking but I’ve come to understand that a high Technorati ranking in and of itself means nothing, at least not unless you’re trying to pursue a second career as a social media expert. I check my traffic numbers every day, not so much for the raw numbers but to see who has come from where so I can adjust my strategy as necessary.

Traffic for the sake of traffic means nothing to me. Focused traffic – people looking for bank owned homes, Canadian buyers, etc. – means the world. (And I didn’t even have to pay 15 Benjamins to learn that lesson.)

In spite of myself, my blog has become a semi-local real estate blog – semi-local in that I’d prefer to write about larger issues than a weekend farmers’ market. But it’s no longer a place where I’ll discuss a blog war in hopes of pulling in some extra readers.

Most everyone who’d take notice of such a post already is reading me. I thank you for that. And now I’m looking more to the public side of things.

Hmmmm … Britney Spears. Yes, here it is.

One of the primary drawbacks of a discount real estate model is there’s always going to be someone willing to go lower. And at the end of the day, the first one to zero will win. That’s the inevitable end.

One of the primary drawbacks of building your traffic through link-baiting, blog wars, contests (pissing and otherwise) and other such publicity stunts is the next such stunt has to be more outrageous than the one before. People aren’t fascinated by Britney Spears because she’s drunk nightly. It’s because she’s drunk, then drunk with the kids, then driving through stop signs, then stripping naked in a store …

Every action causes a viewer to stop and say, “no f’ing way.” It’s when these things are taken for granted that attention begins to wane. Some were outraged by last week’s post on BHB. I was one who read it and yawned. Just another personal attack in the interest of one person’s view of truth. Ho-hum.

There was news in the after-math. When Dustin speaks, people listen. When distinguished writers such as Jay, Kris and Jim summarily leave, that’s notable as well.

But the thing is, attention already has started to wane. In today’s real estate blogoverse, there’s such a rich and varied conversation constantly taking place that the “look at me” shouts and insults and their aftermath are gazed upon as a relic of the days when Phoenix was a two-horse blog town.

Jonathan Dalton is a Realtor with RE/MAX Desert Showcase in Peoria, Arizona and is the author of the All Phoenix Real Estate blog as well as a half-dozen neighborhood sites. His partner, Tobey, is a somewhat rotund beagle who sleeps 21 hours a day.

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Athol Kay

    February 19, 2008 at 8:41 am

    I hear you JD. I’ve had a busy few days and discovered this little eruption a day or so after it happened. By then it’s up to 50+ comments on some threads, but I felt strangely relived that it was all too much to try and keep up with.

  2. David G

    February 19, 2008 at 9:59 am

    hmmmmmm; writing about how you’re not writing about it; doesn’t that kind of just boil down to writing about it. 🙂

  3. Jay Thompson

    February 19, 2008 at 10:15 am

    David G – I wrote a “I’m not blogging about Zillow” post a LONG time ago. I still get visits to that post all the time.

    Thanks JD.

  4. Charleston real estate blog

    February 19, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    Perhaps, with maturity, Britney will stay home and be a better parent (let’s hope) instead of jumping into the fray at every opportunity.

  5. Mariana

    February 19, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    (sorry … I cannot get over the initial pic of BS to read your post.) HA! Her initials are BS…

  6. JD

    February 19, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Its about time you all finally figured out Swann does what he does for one reason

    Traffic

  7. Jonathan Dalton

    February 19, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    David G. – well …

    My contention is the news wasn’t the event itself but the aftermath – the departures and the utter lack of attention paid to the entire thing. Which is a first, as best I can tell.

    As I’ve told a few people, my perspective on life with the other Dog Blog is different because it’s in my own backyard. Trying to get going with two giants on the landscape was a challenge.

  8. Rod Rebello

    February 19, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    Thanks for the plug, JD. I’ve relatively new to the whole blogging thing, picking up ideas from you, Jay, and others to guide me. Still got a long ways to go. It’s a whole new world out there to explore and it’s been very entertaining. Didn’t realize all the uproar going on about BHB until I read your post. I think I’ll just try to keep it simple for now and work on getting that focused traffic you mentioned.

  9. Charleston real estate blog

    February 20, 2008 at 5:04 am

    Jonathan, why do you think he hasn’t monetized the traffic. Is ego bigger than dollars

  10. Jonathan Dalton

    February 20, 2008 at 9:51 am

    Rod – good way to go.

    Howard – in a way he is monetizing the traffic through the grand conference which, from all indications, officially jumped the shark sometime overnight. It’s less an industry blog than a golden parachute.

    I’m simpler. I sell real estate for a living.

  11. Charleston real estate blog

    February 20, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    I don’t see how a couple of hundred dollars per attendee is all that much compared to the ptotential ad revenue he proudly rejects with thousands of page views on thousands of pages but what would I know, I sell a home here and there and write about local Charleston real estate on my blog.

    Actually, I don’t know who clicks through those ads anyway but Google certainly does seem to make a dollar or two from it.

  12. Shailesh Ghimire

    February 21, 2008 at 10:37 am

    JD:

    Your comment “Traffic for the sake of traffic means nothing to me. Focused traffic – people looking for bank owned homes, Canadian buyers, etc. – means the world.” – is EXACTLY the reason why I blog. Personally, I see no reason to blog other than for business. Traffic? Who cares. It’s not how many people that walk into your store that matters, its how many people cause that “chi-ching” sound in your store.

    BTW: Your honesty, integrity and transparency is why I read your blog and that matters a whole lot in blogging.

  13. Jonathan Dalton

    February 21, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    Much appreciated, Shailesh!

  14. Chris Butterworth

    February 25, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    Hi Jonathan,

    Someone once told me that time in the blogging-world should be measured in dog-years – 2006 isn’t too long ago but seems like forever! I used to pay a lot more attention to all the hoopla & side stories than I do today. Frankly, writing good content AND taking care of my clients is a full-time job. It was easier to keep up with 4 or 5 blogs, but now I have about 30 blogs in my reader, and I simply can’t read & comment on every post. (heck, it’s 10:30 at night & I’m reading real estate blogs? What’s wrong with this picture!!??) I still read every headline, and try to skim as many as I can, though.

    But I agree with you theory exactly. Nice post; well said. Put me in the “me too” category!

  15. horse property gal

    March 10, 2008 at 2:20 am

    Interesting shtuff! What a scary picture of B.Spears!

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Business Marketing

How a Facebook boycott ended up benefitting Snapchat and Pinterest

(MARKETING) Businesses are pulling ad spends from Facebook following “Stop Hate for Profit” social media campaign, and Snapchat and Pinterest are profiting from it.

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Phone in hand open to social media, coffee held in other hand.

In June, the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign demanded social media companies be held accountable for hate speech on their platforms and prioritize people over profit. As part of the campaign, advertisers were called to boycott Facebook in July. More than 1,000 businesses, nonprofits, and other consumers supported the movement.

But, did this movement actually do any damage to Facebook, and who, if any, benefited from their missing revenue profits?

According to The Information, “what was likely crumbs falling from the table for Facebook appears to have been a feast for its smaller rivals, Snap and Pinterest.” They reported that data from Mediaocean, an ad-tech firm, showed Snap reaped the biggest benefit of the 2 social media platforms during the ad pause. Snapchat’s app saw advertisers spending more than double from July through September compared to the same time last year. And, although not as drastic, Pinterest also saw an increase of 40% in ad sales.

As a result, Facebook said its year-over-year ad revenue growth was only up 10 percent during the first 3 weeks of July. But, the company expects its ad revenue to continue that growth rate in Q3. And, some people think that Facebook is benefitting from the boycott. Claudia Page, senior vice president, product and operations at Vivendi-owned video platform Dailymotion said, “All the boycott did was open the marketplace so SMBs could spend more heavily. It freed-up inventory.”

Even CNBC reported that Wedbush analysts said in a note that Facebook will see “minimal financial impact from the boycotts.” They said about $100 million of “near term revenue is at risk.” And for Facebook, this represents less than 1% of the growth in Q3. However, despite what analysts say, there is still a chance for both Snapchat and Pinterest to hold their ground.

Yesterday, Snap reported their surprising Q3 results. Compared to the prior year, Snap’s revenue increased to $679 million, up 52% from 2019. Its net loss decreased from $227 million to $200 million compared to last year. Daily active users increased 18% year-over-year to 249 million. Also, Snap’s stock price soared more than 22% in after-hours trading. Take that Facebook!

In a prepared statement, Chief Business Officer Jeremi Gorman said, “As brands and other organizations used this period of uncertainty as an opportunity to evaluate their advertising spend, we saw many brands look to align their marketing efforts with platforms who share their corporate values.” As in, hint, hint, Facebook’s summer boycott did positively affect their amazing Q3 results.

So, Snapchat and Pinterest have benefited from the #StopHateForProfit campaign. Snapchat’s results show promising optimism that maybe Pinterest might fare as well. But, of course, Facebook doesn’t think they will benefit much longer. Back in July, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told his employees, “[his] guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough.”

Facebook isn’t worried, but I guess we will see soon enough. Pinterest is set to report its Q3 results on October 28th and Facebook on the 29th.

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Business Marketing

Cooler temps mean restaurants have to get creative to survive

(BUSINESS MARKETING) In the midst of a pandemic and with winter approaching, restaurants are starting to find creative and sustainable ways to keep customers coming in… and warm.

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Outdoor eating at restaurants grows in popularity.

Over the last decade we have seen a change in the approach to clientele experiences in the restaurant business. It’s no longer just about how good your food is, although that is still key. Now you have to give your customers an experience to remember. There are now restaurants that feed you in the dark, and others who require you to check all your clothes at the door. Each of these provides an experience to remember alongside food that ranges from good to exquisite, depending on your taste.

Now, however, the global pandemic has rearranged how we think about dining. We can no longer just shove people into a building and create a delectable meal. If you’ve relied mostly on people coming into your restaurant, you may struggle to survive now.

The new rules of keeping clients safe means setting things up outside is the easiest means of keeping large numbers of them from crowding inside. Because of this, weather has become a key influence in a company’s daily income. Tents that were a gimmick before, only needed by presumptuous millennials, are now a requirement to keep afloat. People are rushing to make their yards into lawns that bring some in some fancy feeling.

The ties to the sun in some areas are so strong that cloudy days have been shown to drop attendance as much as 14% for the day. This will become the more apparent the colder it gets. For me, I always mention hibernation weight in the winter, when all I want to do is curl up and eat at home. Down here in Texas we are already finding cooler weather, drops into the 70s even in August and September. We are all assuming a cold winter ahead. So, a bit of foresight is finding a means of keeping your guests warm for the winter ahead.

San Francisco restaurants have started with heat lamps during their cooler evenings. Fiberglass igloos have also been added to outdoor seating as a means of temperature control. A few places down in the Lonestar state keep roaring fires going for their outdoor activities. While others actually keep you running in between beverages by encouraging volleyball matches. This is the new future ahead of us, and being memorable is the way to go.

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Business Marketing

Healthcare during pandemic goes virtual, looks to stay that way

(BUSINESS NEWS) Employment-based health insurance has already been through the ringer with COVID-19, but company healthcare options are adapting for long term.

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Stethoscope with laptop, showing healthcare going virtual.

Changes in employment-based health insurance may end up costing employers more, but will provide crucial benefits to workers responding to the healthcare challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a recent survey by the Business Group on Health, a member-driven advocacy organization that helps large employers navigate providing health insurance to their employees, businesses will increase access to telehealth, mental health resources, and on-site clinics in the upcoming year.

Besides the obvious impacts of the coronavirus itself, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have also rippled out to affect other aspects of public health and how we engage with medical care. With so many people staying home to reduce their in-person contacts, there has been a significant increase in the use of telehealth services such as virtual doctor’s visits. According to the survey from Business Group on Health, whose members include 74 Fortune 100 companies, more than half of large employers will offer more options for virtual healthcare in the upcoming year than in the past.

The pandemic, resulting economic fallout, and dramatic changes to our lives have inevitably exacerbated peoples’ anxieties and feelings of hopelessness. As we move into cold weather, with no end in sight to the need to socially distance, this promises to be a particularly dreary, lonely winter. Mental health support will be more necessary than ever. In 2019, 73% of large employers provided virtual mental health services. That number will increase to 91% next year, with 45% of large employers also expanding their mental health care provider networks, making it easier for employees to find the right the therapist or other mental health service provider, and making it easier to access those services from home, virtually.

In addition, there will be a 20% increase in employers offering virtual emotional well-being services. Altogether, 9 out of 10 of the employers surveyed will provide online mental health resources, which, besides virtual appointments, could also include apps, webinars, and educational videos.

There has also been a slight increase the availability of on-site clinics that provide coronavirus testing and other basic health services. This also included an expansion of resources for prenatal care, weight management, and chronic health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

These improvement won’t come free of charge. While deductibles will remain about the same, premiums and out-of-pocket costs will increase about 5%. In most cases, employers will handle these costs, rather than passing them on to employees.

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