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I Own This Neighborhood

The Question

Danilo posed an interesting question concerning the motive of Active Rain in promoting the Localism side of their platform with a facelift. He also suggested their intent could be to dominate the market for hyper-local real estate information.

I have to admit, the change didn’t mean much to me. I’m not sure about their motive or whether they will become the place consumers go to for local information. I just never thought about it, until Danilo asked the question.

Starting Out

I cut my blogging teeth at Active Rain; learned to walk and talk there too! I spent many a day and night hanging out with friends. I read, and gleaned knowledge about blogging from agents all over the country.

Some days were good blog days, others, well; let’s just say I erased a fair number of posts, before I realized you should be cautious about erasing posts.

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I always knew Localism was in Beta, I just never understood the difference between Localism and Active Rain. When I posted there, it was about neighborhoods and communities 95% of the time, so almost everything I wrote was posted on Localism.

Moving On

I left Active Rain last year, except for an occasional trip back to post my listings. I have since concentrated on my “outside blog”; the term for a blog which wasn’t an AR blog.

Localism and AR were good to me. I basically own the city which I posted about. Google has my Localism posts number 1-4 for Avon Indiana Neighborhoods. Search Avon Indiana Homes (insert any Avon subdivision name) and I place with at least three of the top ten. I’ve closed several transactions with people who found me on AR.

Not only was most of my content not great, it is now outdated. The community school district has changed its website, so the links are broken. Soon, I will be changing my IDX solution, invalidating my neighborhood listing links. Will the consumer think I have disappeared?

Going Back?

I could go back and update the information. Is it really worth the time? Should Localism become “the force to be reckoned with”, as some believe, would it be a good investment to ensure I don’t lose my placement in my area? Would it be valuable to have accurate information there for consumers?

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Or, would I just be competing with myself. Could I have the same or better placement with my own blog? There is only one #1 spot. Can one independent blog compete with many writers on AR/Localism? Will I continue to own my neighborhood and community? I think so!

I could be wrong! What says you?

See UPDATE – Comment #6

Revealed ~ How Localism plans to make money.

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Written By

Paula is team leader for The "Home to Indy" Team in Indianapolis . She is passionate about education and client care and believes an empowered client is better prepared to make good decisions for themselves. You'll find her online at Agent Genius,Twitter and sharing her insights about her local real estate market at Home To Indy.



  1. Frank Jewett

    July 9, 2008 at 5:21 am

    Being from Willow Glen (neighborhood in San Jose, CA), my first stop at Localism 2.0 was Willow Glen. I was suprised to see a profile of the neighborhood had already been posted. My surprise turned to horror when I realized the profile in question had been copied and pasted from a local lead generation site. Most real estate bloggers don’t use “gentrification” and “tapestry” in the same post.

    I posted links in the other thread, which is probably why that comment is awaiting moderation.

  2. Jennifer in Louisville

    July 9, 2008 at 7:05 am

    I look at like this: Blogging or providing information (Answers to questions, etc) on OTHER PERSON’S sites needs to be assessed for potential risk. You are creating content for them for the search engines to recognize them as the authority on that particular topic/locale, and helping to establish in the minds of consumers that if they have a question about an area, they go to them – not you.

    And most importantly: Are they going to become a competitor for search engine visibility against you? [And while it may be “free” now, are they likely to start charging fees back to you – once you have helped establish them as #1. You need to understand what their revenue model is based on. If they “have no revenue model” – you can bet that they do, its just not implemented YET.]

    Some people shrug off the internet visibility concern with the rationale “Well, I’ll just make sure my pages on that site rank.” The problem with that type of cavalier attitude is that THEY control the site, THEY control the information, and you are establishing THEM as the authority – not you.

    All of that being said: Do I blog/post/comment/answer questions on sites other than the ones I control? Sure, you betcha. But I do it on sites that I don’t foresee a reasonable circumstance in which it will come back and bite me by creating a monster I have to fight later on.

  3. Paula Henry

    July 9, 2008 at 7:19 am

    Frank – There are those who will copy and paste anything. Looking back, my neighborhhod content on Localism was horrific, at best, but it was my own.

  4. Paula Henry

    July 9, 2008 at 7:21 am

    Jennifer – You don’t know how true everything you just said is. I have a follow-up comment.

  5. Cheryl Allin

    July 9, 2008 at 7:36 am

    I totally agree! Since the advent of CMS systems such as WordPress and Joomla, I’ve always advocated my clients “own” their marketing. I’m a bit of an SEO wiz and I realized early on just how (expensive, but) worthwhile it is to have terrific, well ranking content. Pairing the right system with the right content and you get massive Google juice. Put an article into an Advanced Access site, you may get in the top 100 – put that same article into a well optimized Joomla site and you’ll get in the top 10. Why just hand over all of that to some vendor who’s basically grooming you to be the grease in their ranking sweatshop? Check the terms and legal verbiage and you may find you have zero ownership of all that terrific content you post on the vendor site – and you wouldn’t want a duplicate content ding for posting that same content to your own blog/site. I doubt the vendor might eventually ‘profit-share’ and offer you a piece of the advertising revenue – more likely they’ll charge you a hefty monthly fee for the privilege.

  6. Paula Henry

    July 9, 2008 at 7:37 am

    UPDATE! Jennifers comment was dead on accurate.

    My curiosity got the best of me and I wandered over to Localism to check out the changes.

    I don’t have to worry about updating my content – they are only using the most recent posts; a good decision. I’d hate the thought of my old posts being featured on the site.

    Looking around, I see the neighborhoods I created on the site have been used as a neighborhood you can “now” claim. For the low, low price of $7.50 to 15.00 per community, per month. Sounds like a Point2 Strategy.

    Knowing my competition, the communities will sit “unsponsored”.

    My content is better posted on my “Outside Blog” where I control the information and benefit personally from both, consumer interation and the search engines.

  7. Eric Blackwell

    July 9, 2008 at 8:03 am

    Like Jennifer said, it needs to be evaluated for it’s competitive threat potential.

    I think that too many people which are in an industry that promotes “own” rather than “rent” are often way too quick to “rent” their online marketing space. And at that they rent it from folks who have the potential to drink their milkshake. And these folks like milkshakes enough for it to be a temptation! (grin)

    Great post.


  8. Ken Smith

    July 9, 2008 at 8:19 am

    “I think that too many people which are in an industry that promotes “own” rather than “rent” are often way too quick to “rent” their online marketing space.”

    Well said Eric.

  9. Ken Smith

    July 9, 2008 at 8:23 am

    “Looking around, I see the neighborhoods I created on the site have been used as a neighborhood you can “now” claim. For the low, low price of $7.50 to 15.00 per community, per month.”

    This is actually a little annoying. They have used the content from those that use AR, which from day one we have been repeatedly told would be free, to fill out the sister site. They gained rankings based on the contributions of those writing on AR and now want to change for those rankings. Worse those that built up the site might not even be the one to sponsor the area they built content for.

    This is the issue when you give away your time, effort, and content to a site you do not own or have any control over.

  10. Elaine Reese

    July 9, 2008 at 8:25 am

    When the beta version of Localism first went live (18 mos ago?), some of the savvy Rainers raised the exact issue that Jennifer mentioned. I didn’t “get it” then, but I do now. Today’s Inman article where Jonathan mentioned that NOW we can claim all those neighborhoods that WE identified and established AND got extra points for, can now be OURS for a fee. I feel like I just got sucker-punched.

  11. Paula Henry

    July 9, 2008 at 8:42 am

    Cheryl – BINGO! You do not own the information you post on these sites, which was one of my considerations for only posting on my own site.

    Hefty monthly fee = $7.50-15.00 a month per neighoborhood.

  12. Paula Henry

    July 9, 2008 at 9:09 am

    Eric – They drank my milkshake! Good thing I didn’t make it with Hagen Daz.

  13. Matt Thomson

    July 9, 2008 at 9:12 am

    AR and Localism are fine tools. It’s free to post on AR, so I don’t see that we have much room to complain about what they’re doing.
    My “outside blog,” part of Larry Cragun’s Undressed Network, still dwarfs anything I’ve ever posted to Localism. I’m on page 1 of at least 33 search terms using “Gig Harbor” with my “outside blog.” I’ve found my Localism posts on 2 search terms…one on page 1, the other page 3.
    I think it’s great Localism is having a face lift, but it’s not something that worries or excites me. It’s another business looking for more business.

  14. Cheryl Allin

    July 9, 2008 at 9:19 am

    Thanks, Paula! It’s such a shame they’ve gone to this paid model when they honestly could have generated some revenue by some other means that didn’t alienate their contributors. It makes me want to work on a clone that’s 100% free for contributors and visitors *forever* – and perhaps use that to build credibility on other product offerings, open the site up to discreet and relevant ads…something that wouldn’t tarnish the reputation and contributions. Another 20,000 foot view potential project LOL.

  15. Paula Henry

    July 9, 2008 at 9:30 am

    Ken – I wandered over and found the same thing – It was free to use, you just gave them permission to “own” the material. Much better to own than rent!

    Elaine – I haven’t yet checked out the Inman article. I did look at the site and discovered the new cost. My content wasn’t great, so no loss. I know many who have written wonderful material about their neighborhoods and now, will have to pay or have another agent featured for their neighborhood.

    Many more have AR as their only blog – they must continue or start over.

  16. Paula Henry

    July 9, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Matt –

    Yes – it is free to post – but you do not own the material. I see there are 13 neighborhoods for Gig Harbor on the new Localism. I didn’t check to see who had the most content for each neighborhood. I know you are an excellent ambassador for Gig Harbor, so let’s assume 10 of these neighborhoods are ones which you have written content for. Are you willing to pay the minimum of $7.50 a neighborhood to keep your position on Google? That’s $75.00 a month – no longer free!

  17. Paula Henry

    July 9, 2008 at 9:40 am

    Matt – Another thought – how high would Gig Harbor Undressed be in Google if you did not write for AR. You are an excellent writer – why compete with yourself? Just a thought!

  18. Frank Jewett

    July 9, 2008 at 9:59 am

    Paula, I’m sure your content, as humble as it may have been, was more than a list of keywords aimed at Google.

    I thought Localism was going to be weed-free. How did something that obvious slip through? It’s embarrassing.

  19. Glenn fm Naples

    July 9, 2008 at 10:14 am

    Years ago someone with more smarts than myself on the ‘net – said why are you posting on AR – you are building their content, why not build your own blog or add it to your site. Point is we need to learn where to build our content so that we benefit and not another entity.

  20. Jonathan Dalton

    July 9, 2008 at 10:44 am

    Suddenly my decision to add next to nothing to Localism seems justified.

    What’s ironic is I’ve closed an escrow with someone who found me through Localism. But it’s still not worth it to me to have to pay someone to add content and fuel them.

  21. Paula Henry

    July 9, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Matt – I think I misunderstood you – your Undressed site IS doing better than AR in search results?

  22. Paula Henry

    July 9, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Frank – Yes, it was more than a list of keywords, although I did feed Google when I could. I’m not sure the approach you linked to would be very effective.

    Glen – Same here! I am glad I listened.

    Jonathan – I have closed several from AR/Localism, but still, would not want to pay to feature my own content. Or…..have my content on another agents featured city. I will feed my own blog!

  23. Glenn fm Naples

    July 9, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Paula – like your statement “I will feed my own blog!” Think as more time goes by more real estate agents will learn to feed their own blog. In my area AR does not show all that high in the SERP’s.

  24. Ken Smith

    July 9, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Glenn I seriously doubt that most agents will really get it. Most of the agents on AR will not take the time or effort to start their own blogs.

  25. Glenn fm Naples

    July 9, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    There are some agents on AR which are extremely prolific with the number of posts they write. Those agents really should have their own blogs. There is a woman in my area, who should consider her own blog – but I am not going to tell her.

  26. Mack in Atlanta

    July 9, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    Ken I think you are absolutely correct. Most agents are going to take the easy way out because they don’t get it. Paula will continue to own her local area as will you and many of the others that comment on here. Why, because we understand the importance of having our own blog and contributing to forums like this and not building something for someone else that we may have to fight in the future.

  27. Ken Smith

    July 9, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    I actually was just looking at Localism and must say that lack of quality is amazing. Cut and past posts from ConnectMLS for “market updates”, cut and paste of the city homepage as an entire post, the city banner with a link to the city website as another, and so on with low quality crap.

    These low quality posts drive consumers away and almost guarantee that the only people that will make money from localism are the owners of the site.

    Just a thought…those that do invest the time into writing quality posts are associated with everything else on the site. IMO Your reputation is only as good as those you surround yourself with.

  28. Danilo Bogdanovic

    July 9, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    A few people already said it, but figured I’d chime in too…the one issue I have with AR and Localism as being the ONLY place you post is that it is NOT your blog/content – AR and Localism own everything.

    What if AR goes belly-up? What if they decide to start charging for the service? If you don’t have our own established blog at, what will you do then? There’s a lot of “what if’s” for someone to solely rely on AR and Localism as their blog platform

    That’s why I have my own blog – I own the domain and the content and no one can take it away from me except myself. If AR does something wacky, I’ll still have all my content on my own blog which they can’t touch.

  29. Bob

    July 9, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    Ken, that is exactly why I said it sucked.

  30. Frank Jewett

    July 9, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    The approach I linked to misses the point completely. We play to SEO so that consumers will find us, but if they find crap (like a detached list of keywords), they will quickly abandon us for other sites. I wrote about changes in the way people search a few weeks ago in my blog. Based on the hits I’m getting, people are no longer clicking every link from top to bottom on Google, but rather scanning links to try to see which one looks like it will provide quality information rather than a sales teaser or a spider web. I know I scan at least half of the first page before clicking any of the links. Do you?

  31. Nickie

    July 9, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    I think the writing has been on the wall for a long time at AR. No surprises there.

    It is convenient, easy, fun (folks love to comment there) & up ’til now, free.

    I would guess that there are plenty of people that will hang in there, but I think serious bloggers will move on-if they haven’t already.

  32. Frank Jewett

    July 9, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Actually AR is still free and I do believe that you’ll get just as much Google juice today as you did last week. Localism sponsorship only matters when visitors hit a neighborhood page, but they still navigate directly to your blog (completely missing the sponsors) when they find you on Google.

    Until the neighborhood pages of become actual destinations, this argument is really much ado about nothing. The rest of the AR value proposition remains intact and is still totally free.

  33. Elaine Reese

    July 9, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    I spent a little time over there to see what was up and how the new platform looked. I thought they were going to clean it up and only allow certain quality posts to appear that discussed neighborhoods. I saw several posts that were totally ads for the agent and/or their broker. I saw quite a few other posts that had nothing to do with neighborhoods or the local area. And I also saw some postlets for listings – which I thought they weren’t going to allow anymore.

    Oh, yes, I also saw a Google Ad with really ugly teeth! Hey, I want one of my posts next that! NOT!

  34. ines

    July 9, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    As much as I’ve felt weary of Active Rain for a while, I have a soft spot for it for the same reasons you do Paula. I got my blogging feet at AR, met tons of amazing people. I still go in there and post an occasional article and still don’t know what to feel about this whole Localism thing.

    We all know that a site is nothing without content – we have built Localism from Scratch and if we stop contributing now, does it mean we are giving away our hard work to someone else who may be willing to pay the $7.50 or write a couple of posts that will be seen above my hundreds of posts?

    I’m torn – that’s the bottom line. A side of me wants to buy all those cities I wrote content for and another side of me doesn’t want to empower them.

    Good food for thought and still don’t have the answer. (and in my case, there are 2 people in my market place that have been adding content to those cities like crazy in the past few weeks)

  35. Ken Smith

    July 9, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    @ Bob – I almost lost my drink on my keyboard, that was about the funniest “I told you so” I have received in a long time.

  36. Frank Jewett

    July 9, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    Ines, you aren’t “giving away your hard work” because most people are going to find you and your quality content via search engine. It remains to be seen whether city pages will become attractive. There’s a reason Google became bigger than the actual content providers they linked to. Consumers prefer targeting searches to browsing in most cases and consumers can still find you at ActiveRain.

  37. Kay Baker Wilmington NC Real Estate

    July 9, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    At this point, I feel pretty fortunate that I didn’t put more effort into AR. I am starting my own outside blog, which is the only way to go now.

  38. ines

    July 9, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    Frank – I don’t want to turn this post into how the consumer finds me but I have to tell you that after almost 2 years and too many posts on AR and almost 200,000 points, I only have 1 transaction to show from it. The consumer will find me and everyone else in that network.

  39. Paula Henry

    July 9, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    Glen – Thank you! I could feed the neighborhood side of Localism, except, if I feed my blog – Consumers will find so much more than just a post about a neighborhood. In this way they get to know me and how I do business, which is much more important to their goal of buying or selling a home.

    You’re right – there are some wonderful agents who post amazing content about their area; they should have their own blog. Shhhh…..

  40. Paula Henry

    July 9, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    Ken – Your right, most agents on AR will not start their own blog. Actually, most of the agents listed there are not active participants on AR. They put their face and info on the directory, a profile talking about how great they are and never went any further.

    There are some really bad posts, which is basically a lack of knowledge about blogging and SEO. It’s like a newbie Realtor, so much to learn about really doing business – after a while, they get it or they leave.

  41. ines

    July 9, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    You guys are going to love this – today I was talking to an agent who was telling me about his blogging on Trulia Voices. 🙂

    He actually thinks that participating is TV is blogging! …and so the definition of blogging continues

  42. Paula Henry

    July 9, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    Mack – Exactly! The future is now – I fight those Localism and AR posts for position for Avon Indiana, because I did post so much content there. No one else in my area posted as much as I did about one city. The bad thing is, the content is outdated, the good thing; they will find me and hopefully my personal blog.

    My outside blog has finally made it to page one for Indianapolis Real Estate, a much broader term, but I’m not competing against myself for position. I’ll make it there for the small cities I service.

  43. Matt Thomson

    July 9, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    PAULA–Yes, Undressed is WAY better than AR for me. I hadn’t thought of AR knocking down my Undressed. My AR posts are directed towards real estate pros for the most part. Anything for the consumers on AR is usually a cut and paste from my Undressed. I don’t believe doubling up is hurting me, but I haven’t studied it much.

  44. Paula Henry

    July 9, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    Danilo – As someone else said so perfectly – it’s own, not rent!

    Nickie – We all knew they would have to make money at some point. There are still some great bloggers there who do not have their own blog and should. I actually miss some of the people.

    Elaine – Your right, there are some bad posts, but some areas don’t have many active participants, so they have to put up getting a bit much on the AR side. I even get advertising in the comment email I receive from AR.

  45. Paula Henry

    July 9, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    Ines – The bad thing is, what they consider neighborhoods are actually small neighborhoods. Like many small cities here, the subdivisons all start to look alike, with very few exceptions. I probably posted information for about 30 different subdivisions. That would be costly and of course, empower them with our content.

    I’m sure there are some big neighborhoods in Miami, like there were in Phoenix, but here, there is only one in Avon which I would consider worth the cost. In all the areas I work, there are maybe four huge communities which would be worthy of such an investment.

    Point2 did the very same thing. What used to be a quaterly fee for a city, has now been diluted to individual neighborhoods. And, how did they get the neighborhood information – the agents had to enter the name of the neighborhood.

  46. Frank Jewett

    July 9, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    Ines, you were featured in today’s take home edition of ActiveRain!

  47. Paula Henry

    July 9, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    Kay – Good for you! Feed your own blog 🙂

    @Frank @ Ines – Yes, they will find you and everyone else, only if they land at AR! I have many people, clients and other Realtors, tell me all the time – “I see you everywhere online” That will be key! Your Miamism posts have a lot more content and key search phrases than a few people on AR can put out. People will target their search and you will be there.

    Ines – 🙂 As long as other Realtors think TV is blogging, we will be fine!

    Matt – Good! You write amazing content and it should stay yours! Your pictures are beautiful, too 🙂

  48. Nickie

    July 9, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    @Paula Certainly they would start charging somewhere at some point. Everyone needs to get paid at the end of the day, unless of course we are all retired.

    The trouble I find is that, as many have already stated here, people are blindly working on a site that isn’t truly theirs; putting all their eggs in someone else’s basket (or as Eric said, filling someone else’s milkshake) without placing any in their own.

    And many don’t understand the difference.

  49. Paula Henry

    July 9, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    Nickie –

    Many don’t understand the difference; many more don’t want to make the investment. They want it for free. As Daniel wrote earlier, free comes with a price.

    Others don’t know what it takes to create their own blog. I remember when I first thought about doing an outside blog – I went to WordPress, looked around and thought, what? I could never have accomplished my own blog without some help and I think most feel the same way.

    Many people only blog because they heard they should, not realizing they are giving someone else all their goods.

    If they really think about it, blogging is time and time is money, why not pay yourself?

  50. Eric Blackwell

    July 10, 2008 at 6:39 am

    @Paula- I just realize that you are only two hours up the road in Indy! You just received a coupon for ONE MILKSHAKE. Next time I am up there, I will give you a call (GRIN).

  51. Eric Blackwell

    July 10, 2008 at 6:43 am

    @Nickie- This is a case for education. They do not realize that it is not THEIR milkshake. It is being sold to them as if it IS indeed theirs. That is the problem I have with it.

    @Ines-TV is blogging like Judge Judy is a real court of Law. The definition of blogging is getting WAY too wide grin. (grin)

  52. Ken Smith

    July 10, 2008 at 9:49 am

    @ Ines – I really hate how most agents can’t see that Trulia is our competition. So answering questions on TV is blogging, not sure if I should be amused or scared that someone with this level of intelligence is out there selling homes.

    @Paula – You can always remove posts that are competing with your main site from AR. You will loose a few points, but you will remove content that is competing with your main income generating site, not to mention you are removing content that might end up helping your competition rank for the neighborhoods you aren’t willing to spend money on.

  53. Sue

    July 10, 2008 at 11:20 am

    I understand how Trulia is our competition from reading posts here and some other places, but only recently. I will say that I do some blogging on active rain. I know they offer some separate blog feature which I haven’t done. I don’t really care about the points. Bottom line, I have not received any leads from Truly or Active Rain. However, I have from my own on-site blog. With everything I read lately, that seems like the best use of my time to add more valuable content to my own site. I’ll probably continue to do a post or two on Active Rain to advertise listings.

  54. Paula Henry

    July 10, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    Ken – I have thought about it, since they are basically useless without working links.

    Sue – Yes, the best place is your own blog. If you can get the consumer to your blog – they will only read your content, not the content of every other AR member who happens to be writing about your area, also. Best!

  55. Paula Henry

    July 10, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    Eric – I would love it – I was actually born in Kentucky (Louisville) and although there is debate about whether people from Louisville are actually Kentuckians, I say I am. Lost the accent long ago, though. Thanks for the coupon!

  56. Faina Sechzer

    July 11, 2008 at 1:27 am

    Paula, I just went back and looked at the site again. In addition to the issue you raise about paying for the content created by us, or else someone else benefiting from it by “buying” the neighborhood, there are several other things that trouble me. My posts are listed sequentially with all the other posts for Princeton. How does it help my business? If I don’t post for a while, my content wouldn’t even be visible, yet it is the biggest contributor to Princeton NJ. The site now is not based on consumer oriented searches. How would consumers find information important to them? As it appears to me now, it would be difficult for consumers to find either authority content or authority blogger. Perhaps, I am overlooking somethings very positive others see, since there are so many favorite reviews of Localism by active contributors.

  57. Eric Blackwell

    July 11, 2008 at 6:08 am

    @Paula- They call it Kentuckiana. Those of us in Indiana call it Indy-ucky….GRIN.

  58. Paula Henry

    July 11, 2008 at 6:08 am

    Faina –

    I may be overlooking some positive things also. Like you, I would not want other agents content displayed if I have paid for a featured neighborhood. I assume that will probably NOT be the case once they have sold the neighborhoods.

    The biggest problem I have, is their use of the term “neighborhood”. Princeton, NJ. will most likely NOT be an option for a neighborhood. You will have to buy every subdivision or every small section you have ever written about to ensure your content is displayed when someone searches for that neighborhood.

    In my previous posts to Localism, I submitted information on more than 30 different subdivisions, but, only one of them is worth the cost per month to maintain. Even then, there is only so much you can say about a particular subdivision within a city.

    Quite honestly – I have made the decision, it is not worth the time to worry about whether someone else has my city. I can do more with my own blog. Although most of the pictures I have posted there were not great, I am not going to give them more information to use on the site.

    Here’s something I love and food for thought – the Queen of Blogging,Teresa Boardman (in my opinion), does not have one post or picture about St.Paul on Localism. I listened to her many months ago about keeping your content on your own site, and am happy I listened.

  59. Eric Blackwell

    July 11, 2008 at 6:11 am

    @Ken’s point to Ines–and now they have $15M to drill deeper into our pockets with…

  60. Paula Henry

    July 11, 2008 at 6:16 am

    Eric – I like Kentukiana better 🙂 When I was young – people would often comment that Louisville isn’t really “Kentucky”, until they wanted to tell me a stupid Kentuckian joke 🙂

    I guess the real Kentuckians live on horse farms or in the mountains.(sigh)

  61. Jennifer in Louisville

    July 11, 2008 at 6:24 am

    @Paula – Guess that makes me a real Kentuckian since I live on a horse farm, so I can tell a Kentucky joke.

    The Top Legal Question being debated in Kentucky is:

    If you divorce your wife, is she still your sister?

    [Always thought that was a good one. :)]

  62. Paula Henry

    July 11, 2008 at 6:36 am

    Eric, it’s a catch 22 – when Zillow first came out, I signed up to see what it was about and I made the decision to not post my listings there. For awhile, I excluded Zillow from my Point2 site. Then RE/Max of Indiana started posting their listings there. Now, if I want credit for the listing, I have to go claim the listing as my own.

    The consumer now knows about these sites and want their listing info everywhere. There is no going back and I am not opposed to opening the information to the consumer – I am opposed to erroneous information and having to pay for information which was provided by me.

    I am now very careful about where I comment and post any information outside my own blog.

  63. Paula Henry

    July 11, 2008 at 7:12 am

    @Jennifer – Yep – you’re for real! That is a good one!

    The one that fits me – since we left when I was 11.

    What are the Kentuckians three “R’s” – Reading, wRiting and Route 31N.

  64. Ken Smith

    July 11, 2008 at 9:51 am

    @ Paula “The consumer now knows about these sites and want their listing info everywhere.”

    When I say Trulia or Zillow to someone most (90%+) give me a blank look and then when i ask if they have heard of these site they admit they haven’t. We assume way to much in this business and are giving way to much credit to these sites. The consumers don’t care how you do it, they just want their home sold.

    “Then RE/Max of Indiana started posting their listings there. Now, if I want credit for the listing, I have to go claim the listing as my own.”

    That would be enough reason for me to leave a company, actually it is keeping me from moving to an office that I really like currently. I would be their top producer by far, but I told them they would have to guarantee my listings never show up on Trulia or Zillow…so far they haven’t agreed to my terms. Not really a big deal as I am 99% sure that it’s time to open my own office.

  65. Paula Henry

    July 11, 2008 at 10:28 am

    Ken – I really appreciate your insight – this Localism talk has exposed the potential overt risk of posting outside of my own blog and the underlying motive of these companies.

    I know many in my market (agents) don’t know about these sites except if their company is posting listings there, even then, they are clueless.

    For the last few months I have thought about opening my own office. This is yet another “pro” to add to the list.

  66. Ruthmarie Hicks

    July 12, 2008 at 2:11 am

    I just started blogging about 8 months ago – and like many got my start on Active Rain. I have posted a great deal of quality content to localism and was just getting started on my “outside blog” (not with AR – but with typepad.) Now I’ve got a real problem. I think this whole thing of owning neighborhoods is going to be a MESS. They haven’t really cleaned up the localism posts the way they should have and I’ve posted so many subdivisions of my own city and surrounding areas that it would cost some serious coin to “own them.” Yet I haven’t yet established myself as an outside blogger – so I’m not sure if my posts will become less visible if I don’t “buy in” and so the question becomes one of buying “insurance” that people can still find me on AR while I’m building my presence outside AR.

    One thing this has done is PUSH me to get the help I need to get a kick-a** outside blog rather than continuing to struggle trying to put one together for myself.

  67. Paula Henry

    July 12, 2008 at 7:08 am

    Ruthmarie –

    For as much as it would cost you to “own” several subdivisions at Localism, you could very well hire someone to assst you in getting your TypePad Blog the way you want it.Then take all those posts at AR, delete them and repost them on your own site, continue to add more content and you won’t have to worry about placement for your area.

    You need to keep your content your own, by not feeding other sites. Do you have your TypePad blog set up the way you want it, where you can just start posting to it? If not, find someone to help you.Then go be #1 in your area. If you’re not sure about keeping your Typepad blog, there are some great companies offering blogs and training.

    I am willing to help you with the blogging aspect and where to go to get a great blog. If you want to keep the TypePad blog, there are other people who can help you set it up. email me @ Paula (at)

    You can also check out Mariana and Jays series about blogging here at AG.

    Does anyone here on AG have some ideas for Ruthmarie? Anyone know about setting up Typepad? (I don’t) Or is TypePad the way to go?

    Please don’t hesitate to email or call me, I’m happy to help! Either directly or direct you to the right people.

  68. Mack in Atlanta

    July 12, 2008 at 7:52 am

    Personally I think WordPress is the way to go. You can get info at

  69. Sue

    July 12, 2008 at 8:08 am

    WordPress has a nice clean look.

  70. Ken Smith

    July 12, 2008 at 9:34 am

    IMO wordpress is the way to go mainly because there are so many people that know how to use it and are willing to give free advice. Not to mention the amount of free themes and plugins that are available.

  71. Bob

    July 12, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Go with WordPress.

    Then take all those posts at AR, delete them and repost them on your own site,

    Post them on your own blog, but don’t delete them on AR. Truncate the AR posts to the first few sentences, then link to the full post on your own blog.

  72. Kathy McGraw

    July 12, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    Near the end of last year I started thinking that I had too many eggs in one basket. I did a free outside blog, but didn’t like it. About a month ago I got help setting up a Word Press Blog. I’m happy with it, and trying to get it started….am not ready to give up on AR, I like them, but am ready to expand to doing my own thing. I only have a small handful of Posts on Localism so it doesn’t concern me.

  73. Paula Henry

    July 13, 2008 at 5:49 am

    Mack – I agree – mine is WordPress through the Tomato and I can’t wait for them to switch to 2.5 version.

    Sue – Agreed!

    Bob- Listen to Bob – I didn’t think before I worte that.

    Kathy – Good for you. Do as BOB suggested and build your outside blog with content. You cans still participate on AR.

  74. Ruthmarie Hicks

    July 13, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    WOW! I didn’t respect such a generous response. Thank you all very much. I actually called the tomato people on Friday and spoke to them and am thinking of going that way. It’s a MAJOR expense for a newer agent, but one that would probably position me well later on.

    They took a quick look at my AR blog and called me a “sprinter in need of some tweaking” to move forward.

  75. Paula Henry

    July 13, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Ruthmarie – The RE community is a great place and a wealth of knowledge. Good Luck! I sent you an offline email.

  76. Cheryl Allin

    July 14, 2008 at 12:39 am

    Just to throw it out there, if anyone truly wants to own their own blog outright – be able to move it anywhere, update it, add anything you like to it – you need to consider getting affordable hosting and using Open Source software such as WordPress or Joomla. Open Source is basically ‘free’ software supported by thousands of volunteers and coders who make our life easier by doing a lot of the hard work.

    You can get very inexpensive and easy to use hosting as sites such as,, etc. Joomla is what I prefer as I like to have my website and blog in one spot – WordPress is traditionally used just for blogging. I personally find the Joomla control panel much more intuitive than WordPress and there are tons more features. (I’m biased, of course 🙂 )

    TomatoBlogs is great if you decide to go with the WordPress platform, but you can also “go it alone” and setup your blog yourself. Many hosting providers have ‘one-click’ installs for both WordPress and Joomla. Templates are easy to install and there are usually many, many articles online that help walk you through any process. (@GotBob comes to mind, – he did it all himself)

  77. Holli Boyd

    July 15, 2008 at 9:50 am

    Just one more vote for a self-hosted website – get yer hiney to get the domain and do it. I even pay for hosting thru them (me thinks it’s 4.00/month but I pay annually). I tried joomla and have not given up yet for some community projects and personal stuff – but wordpress is so darn easy and so much fun! I am slightly addicted to widgets.

    Also, I cross post all of my original posts on AR (but post ob my blog first) and have links to the original posts. I am not going to buy my community in the new localism – mostly cause I really dont have much competition there right now and don’t want to pay for it. I love having my own blog.

  78. Paula Henry

    July 15, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    Cheryl – I haven’t tried Joomla, but love WordPress and agree it is best to have your own blog. You do a terrific job with your sites – you have one of my competitors for a client and I love her site.

    Holli – Good idea cross posting. I need to do that on my static site to keep it fresh. I have a blog on the backend, just don’t do much with it and really should. Thanks for the motivation to get my hiney in gear 🙂 I won’t be buying a community either. I just can’t keep up posting too many places.

  79. Lane Bailey

    July 28, 2008 at 10:55 am

    I have a Joomla site and a WordPress site… and an A|R presense as well as an A|R Outside Blog. I love the A|R platform, but I also realize that I am just a content generator for them. My own sites are more important for generating business. A large part of what I do on A|R is for peer interaction.

    As far as Localism goes, I’m not biting at the moment. The area that I am getting ready to roll out for Diamond Dwellings has 41 communities on A|R’s Localism. I will not be spending $300+/month to be the sponsor of those communities. I know that there are dozens of other S/Ds that haven’t been included yet… and that would just raise the bill. Even just going for a majority (to get the “free” city sponsorship) would cost a couple thousand dollars a month. It just isn’t worth it…

    That said, I will remian on A|R and provide fresh content for it and Localism. I will probably be able to continue to rank for my targeted communities.

    It is about balance.

  80. Ruthmarie Hicks

    July 28, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    I’m with you Lane. I may do one part of my city, but when you look at it, all of us have to sponsor quite a few “communities” for this to work for us. I have a feeling this could get UGLY with people trying to slice my piece of pie smaller and smaller. I have been royally ticked off at the way AR has done this. They obviously went for the “CHA CHING!” rather than monetizing in a fair and equitable way. I’m working on getting a “tomato blog” but my finances are very tight right now. I’ll get it going, but I’m going to have to beg, borrow and steal.

  81. Matt Fagioli

    August 3, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    There is no one more committed to hyper-local than we are at Diamond Dwellings. I think it IS the game — going forward. I also think that localism will be a factor (as AR certainly is already). But, as Lane said, we’re just “their content” (unless you’re linking back to your own blog, etc. Do you want to be only as good as your last post? And this doesn’t even address the whole paid sponsorship thing. Just like google adwords, paid sponsorships are NOT a solid long term strategy if you want to control any part of your own destiny.

    I think you have to play in all the games. AR, Localism, Your blog, Multi-user broker blog, etc. etc.

  82. Paula Henry

    August 14, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    Lane – Thanks for your input. It’s the balancing act which keeps me from over commiting too many places. Time is limited and although I did enjoy th peer interaction, it becomes a time drain.

    Ruthmarie – I, too would have to cough up quite a sum to keep my slice of the pie on Localism. Funny thing, though, I am the one who input all the data for the city I specialize in on Localism.

    Matt – I’m surprised you recommend playing in all the games. I find it to be a bit much and could only manage to link back to my primary blog to keep up. Agreed that paid sponsorship will not provide the long term benefit most of us desire.

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