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Does Nice Make You Credible?


The beginning

Since the beginning of, we set out on a mission to balance some of the harsh tone out in the real estate blogging community. It seemed every day a new product launch would give some blogger somewhere permission to just shred the site’s offering to bits. You could click to another blog to hear someone firing off about how another someone in real estate blew and how much better he or she was. This constant drumbeat on the web left a wide gap for a balanced perspective of all things new and old in real estate.

What has grown from the tone change throughout the real estate blogging community is a new standard where it is expected that when speaking about a business or person, articles may leave the reader just short of your real opinion, passion, or feelings on the issue.

Watch out

I for one am all for being professional with one’s opinion and tone, but I am not okay with a writer not telling it how they see it. Without honesty, a reader is left with a doubt as to whether you ever really expressed your true opinion or not. We must be careful not to reduce blogging to the mundane.

Have we lost the middle?

The best outcome seems to be a fine middle ground where one can vent an opinion in a professional manner that opens the debate and a real understanding of whether it should even be mentioned at all. Is the profession advanced with what has been said? Some miss the mark entirely with a sort of nicer than nice tone to which point it would almost appear to be ass kissing. Is the REBC to become a bunch of ass kissers? Or, are we here to actually create opportunities to improve the consumer real estate experience?

Whatever happened to being professional?

I’m absolutely guilty of speaking my mind and I’m absolutely honest. If I cannot be honest about a subject, the subject is not written about. Since I’ve been in blogging, NAR turned a page and listened, got a fair shake, Redfin is a little less disruptive, and many who sought to revolutionize real estate realized that there are actually about a million individuals out there competing with them, not just a trade association. All of this is done with the loud drumbeat of the real estate blogging community seeking out what their consumers think and broadcasting it loudly and clearly- not always professionally. But isn’t that the key here? Professionally?

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The profession must remain competitive in order to improve, new business models must emerge, fail, and succeed, and new bloggers must not be afraid to tell it like it is- kissing ass never got anyone anywhere, especially when the REBC steps up to the plate on an issue; a response is almost always forthcoming. A writer must be honest with themselves and the reader and demonstrate their passion on issues- that is what makes blogging great! Getting a chance in a lifetime interview with a big name only to ask how’s the weather is the equivalent to shooting one’s self in the credibility with a shotgun.

Tell it like it is

Although I demand a positive tone in any conversation, ask for a positive solution, or at the very least a realistic balanced opinion of any good or service- I want honesty more than anything. I want to know what you REALLY think, and so do your blog readers. All too often, we worry about the opinion of our opinions to the point that we just stop giving them and in the end it is the reader who loses, and our profession ceases to grow. In saying all of this, being salacious in tone to grab headlines isn’t what we’re discussing- what we are talking about is what is required if your opinion seeks to be in demand.


So, no- nice doesn’t make you credible. Being professional, direct, and honest does.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network. Before AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation has received the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular offline events. He does not venture into the spotlight often, rather he believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits and develops, so he gives all credit to those he's empowered.



  1. Mariana

    April 28, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    So, the sarcastic comment that I get so often: “Hey Mariana, why don’t you tell me what you REALLY think…” is a good thing? 😉

  2. Benn Rosales

    April 28, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    Absolutely a great thing, and fun to read too.

  3. Reuben Moore

    April 29, 2008 at 8:44 am

    Coming from the South, let me assure you that “nice” is often a mask for what the individual actually believes. A true southerner can tell you to jump in the lake, but they are so “nice” about it, you might actually thank them.

    “Nice” is certainly preferable to “rude,” but not at the expense of honest, or constructive criticism. Plus, nice by whose standard? We can all agree to a standard of “professional, civil discourse,” but often those who place the greatest weight on “nice” are really using it as a stick to beat those they disagree with.

  4. Glenn fm Naples

    April 29, 2008 at 9:04 am

    I have often been criticized for presently an objective view of the real estate market from my friends and clients. They might not like what I say, but it does get down to how you say something and not what you are saying sometimes.

  5. Benn Rosales

    April 29, 2008 at 9:05 am

    Reuben, that is absolutely true. The ubber nice I’m referring to however is where someone brings something up but never actually says anything, overlooks the obvious w/o mention, and brushes over items that might be of controversy. Ignoring the pink elephant if you know what I mean.

  6. Benn Rosales

    April 29, 2008 at 9:08 am

    Glenn, the larger the audience the harder it is to please all sides. I am often suprised at the tone some take from mine and other’s posts as I know the tone in which it was intended. It is virtually impossible not to offend someone on a site like ag, and local is even worse. At least at ag you can redirect conversation, but local they may just click off with a bad taste in their mouth having completely misunderstood you.

  7. ines

    April 29, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    I have to admit it’s not easy Benn – I can see why some may be afraid at times and rather keep a lid on it. I for one agree that it’s important to express your opinion. If not, what are we doing blogging.
    I’m not known to be controversial or mean, but I hope I’m putting my thoughts across…..maybe I’ll drink a bit more espresso before I write and kick it up a notch.

  8. Glenn fm Naples

    May 1, 2008 at 9:19 am

    Benn, do you think it is more opinion at times than tone? You are right about local – bad taste on the first visit and gone for good.

  9. Benn Rosales

    May 1, 2008 at 10:30 am

    Glenn, we all welcome disagreement, it is opinion that drives this great Country, Business, and even our own lives. Why add a nasty tone to your opinion when the point of blogging is to create a conversation. I would say though that if someone dislikes you for a business opinion, and opts to write you off then that is a real shame. We should always shake hands at the end of the day and agree to disagree. That is professionalism, that is the desired result. If you blog to sway opinion, then you aren’t blogging, you’re grandstanding.

    Ines, I love your personality and your writing. You’re very entertaining and approachable. We need more of that in the universe. What you do is not pandering, and pandering is the enemy of blogging.

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