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Save the Badges for the Webelos

On My Honor, I’ll Do My Best …

Somewhere in my house I have one or two pins left from my days with the Webelos and a couple of badges left over from my days with the Boy Scouts. If I’m not mistaken, the main badge floating around my office is from when I reached “Second Class.” And now thanks to the good folks at Active Rain, I officially can be “second class” again because I ain’t got no steenkin’ baches.

Now there’s an obvious difference at play here. When I was in Webelos and Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, I had to earn badges. One day I had to deliver roses to my sick neighbor to turn my Bobcat pin upside down. Another day I had to help an elderly person across the street whether they liked it or not. (And Jay T. still hasn’t forgiven me for dragging him across that road.)

Aside from the incredibly impressive 300,000-point badge, though, you don’t really have the earn any of these baubles on Active Rain. You just have to pony up the dough for one product or another. Assuming you are one of the people who haven’t quite figured out you ought not have to pay a monthly fee to blog.

(Note: for those handful of you who poke your head in out of the rain and realize there’s a larger world out there, please tell the others that it’s safe to venture outside the compound walls. Really. They’ll be okay. Just make sure to avoid snarling vendordogs.)

Badges as Negotiable Tender

As Bob Stewart called me a cynical bastard last summer (thank you, by the way), he did say that he gets it … that I’m one of the small percentage of people who don’t need Active Rain because I can do my own thing. In that vain, I admit that I also get it. Active Rain, with its point culture and the “great post” mantra, can be of tremendous benefit to beginning bloggers as they try to learn what they’re doing. Badges and gizmos and brownie points all help encourage the newbies to do what’s hardest … to keep writing.

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In time, though, most of us discover there are more rewarding ways of being encouraged. Like, just maybe, receiving a commission check based on something you wrote or through other blog-related ideas you might happen to have. And those checks at the end of the day mean much more than some spiffy badge since my mortgage company doesn’t accept badges as payment.

You don’t need to have a Rainmaker badge to really be a rainmaker. Because being a real estate rainmaker has nothing do with how many products you purchase on Active Rain and everything to do with the amount of leads you generate for your own business. It’s not about them. It’s about you.

That’s what you need to keep telling yourself … it’s not about them, it’s about you. Well, and your mortgage companies. If you find one that does accept Active Rain badges as payment, let me know … I might actually step back into the compound and tell 10 people a day that they wrote a great post.

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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. Jack Leblond

    February 23, 2009 at 9:34 am

    I’m not a RE professional, nor do I play one on TV. I do, however, know a few things about blogging and the internet in general.

    I think that even as recently has a few (maybe less than one) years ago sites like this were a great help to new bloggers in your industry. As you said, that simple pat on the back from a “great post” comment can really boost a writer’s confidence and help them to keep push forward. However, ever since I discovered AG and was introduced to this community, I have been impressed at how an industry that is so competitive can also be so supportive of it’s members. You all back each other up; here on AG, on Twitter, on your blogs, and countless other places.

    If ever there was a warm, safe place for a new blogger, the Real Estate community is it.

  2. Ken Brand

    February 23, 2009 at 10:49 am

    Chuckle, chuckle….Webelos. Thanks for the flashback and the high definition perspective. Damn Fine stuff here.

    Rock ON Jonathan.

  3. Jo Soss

    February 23, 2009 at 11:44 am

    I love my badges! I even wrote a post about how much I love them 🙂

    Love your story – I wasn’t a Webelo but I was a Den Mother 🙂

  4. Melina Tomson

    February 23, 2009 at 11:56 am

    I am on AR and have a business blog outside of AR. I do think it is a great training ground for bloggers because when you start blogging you are clueless and yes, the forced commenting is nice to keep you going.

    I think for those that stick around and keep blogging, which is a small portion, they do venture outside the AR walls.

    I’m not a fan of the badges and have been assured that members will be able to disable them if they want. At least they removed the large raindrop from the comment stream. I really disliked that.

  5. Kim Hannemann

    February 23, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    I was one of the “Rainers” who didn’t qualify for the freeness, which as far as I can tell is OK because hardly anyone but other Rainers actually seem to visit Rain. Naturally, I’m not getting any steenkeen’ batches, either.

  6. Mark Eibner

    February 23, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    we’re at it again Save the Badges for the Webelos: Get out of your feed reader and comment on t..

  7. sheilabragg

    February 23, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    Save the Badges for the Webelos: Get out of your feed reader and comment on this post- we PROMISE that the ShamW..

  8. Bob Stewart

    February 23, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    A cynical bastard? Geez, I didn’t mean for it to come off that harsh 🙂

  9. Matthew Rathbun

    February 23, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    It’s ok Bob, I think Jonathan knew it was a term of endearment! I would have considered it as such 🙂

    I think a lot of people need or appreciate some level of appreciation. Didn’t Napoleon say “Men, will die for ribbons”? …or something like that.

    It’s no different than when you go to a convention and the hand out those silly ribbons to put on name holder to say how important you are.

    It was fun in the beginning and then you realize that if you’re really a big deal, you don’t have to tell everyone.

    (I feel a post coming on…)

  10. JeffX

    February 23, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    …or long list of silly acronyms after your name. You will be able to earn (non AR product related) badges too.

    Its a quite fascinating phenomenon.

    Great post Jonathan, thanks for sharing 😉

  11. Paula

    February 23, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Jonathan –

    I don’t care about buttons, ribbons, plaques and awards, but the friendships and comraderie can’t be beat.

    Active Rain was great training ground for me, where I met many agents I still talk to and call friends. I left many months ago and was suprised to find I have one of the blue buttons near my head as an original rainer.

    Funny thing – with all those points, I don’t think I wrote much worth going back and reading, but at least I can blog for free there if I want 🙂

  12. Jonathan Dalton

    February 23, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    Bob – I more than took care of my wounded pride with your bottles of Riesling. Matt’s right, though … I knew what you meant.

    Everyone – I’m not sure if I’m free or not. I haven’t logged on to check. I blame Teresa for all of this. Damn weenie got me thinking.

  13. Jamey Bridges

    March 20, 2009 at 9:58 am


    Too funny! My twin brother and I actually achieved Eagle Scout, so we had a few badges 🙂

    I would agree that if those who are on AR (myself included) focused on badges that would not be the best idea. A focus on quality information that generates leads that will turn into business is much better served. Because, as you pointed out, if you can’t earn the majority of the badges without payment, it doesn’t mean too much.

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