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Is Your Blog Following Britney Spears’ Career Path?

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.

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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 (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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Written By

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.



  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


  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


    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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