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Peek-a-Boo! Greetings Lurkers!

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Missy Caulk wrote a nice post on Active Rain over the weekend “introducing” Agent Genius to the many many real estate professionals that read and participate on AR. Thanks Missy!

In the one hundred plus comments to that post, “Lurking” is mentioned a couple of times, which got me to thinking…


According to TechWeb, “to lurk” means “To view the interaction in a chat room or online forum without participating by typing in any comments”. The more Websterish pre-internet definition is “to lie in wait in a place of concealment especially for an evil purpose… specifically: to constitute a latent threat”. It’s that “traditional” definition that tends to give lurking a bad name.

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Is lurking wrong?

Let’s face it. The vast majority of visitors to a blog or web forum are lurking. As an example, I get between 800 – 1000 unique visitors a day on my blog. On a normal day I may get 10 comments. Over the 3+ year life of my blog I’ve had over 500,000 unique visits, which has resulted in about 7,300 comments. That means only about 1.4% of my visitors leave a comment. I comment frequently on blogs and forums, but I read significantly more articles than I comment on. Maybe I comment on one in 25, at best.

The simple fact is, most blog readers never comment. Ever.

People lurk for many reasons. Often, you really just don’t have anything to add to the conversation. Sometimes people are afraid of “sounding stupid”. And on many blogs and forums, people simply aren’t ready or willing to face the potential backlash and abuse that joining a comment stream can produce (clearly, I hope, people realize that won’t happen here or on the blog of any AgentGenius contributor).

Whatever your reason for lurking, there is nothing “wrong” with it. Of course the authors here and elsewhere like to get comments, and the comments are what have made many Ag discussions so worthy. But you oh avid lurker, should not feel guilty for never or rarely laying down a comment. If you visit, and you read, and you learn and you take something away, then (speaking for myself only) I have done my job here as a writer.

Now that being said…

Here’s an open invitation to comment. You don’t need to add anything profound. No one will attack you, and you won’t sound stupid. A simple “Hi, I’m here” will suffice. Who knows, you may make a new friend, you may find out how easy it is. You may even like it (be careful, it’s addicting AND fattening!).

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But if you prefer to not comment, lurk away. There’s nothing wrong with it.

Written By

Jay is the Broker / Owner of Thompson's Realty in Phoenix, Arizona. A self-professed "Man with a blogging problem" he can be found across the Interweb, including at the Phoenix Real Estate Guy blog where he opines on all things real estate and tosses out random musings.



  1. Louis Cammarosano

    September 1, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    thanks Jay

    Another interesting stat we find on the Homegain blog re lurking-there doesn’t alway seem to be a correlation between the number of comments on a particular post and the number of visitor it gets.

    We have some very widely read posts that have received but a few comments.

    Occasionally you get that rare post that gets tons of visitors and dozens of comments

    Some posts stand on their own and don’t require comments.

    I think it was Dustin Luther who said if you want comments, leave out points in your argument and the commentators will fill them in for you.

  2. Jonathan Dalton

    September 1, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    Hi, I’m here. Great post. Please send me my 25 points.

  3. Jim Gatos

    September 1, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    I am not a “lurker”,, When I go to a blog, first of all, I tend to “scan” the articles using “Sage Too”, an RSS Reader Extension for the Firefox extension. I have to feel comfortable that I’ll add something worthwhile.

  4. Melsky

    September 1, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    I lurk here because I’m considering a career in real estate. I was an agent about eight years ago and sold two houses. I wasn’t all that happy being an agent. I didn’t like the selling part that much but i loved marketing and working on the computer so I am hoping to find a job doing that. I read this blog to see what is going on in real estate now. It’s very different now!

  5. Team Tapper Realtors (Burlingame, CA)

    September 1, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    I entered the blog world less than 6 months ago. I was a pure “lurker” for about the first 4 months. I am now trying to be more involved in commenting because it seems like I can only learn so much from lurking. I need to interact to get to the next level.

  6. Elaine Hanson

    September 1, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    I lurk because I like to listen & learn. I already know what my thoughts are. Hi Jay!

  7. Bill Lublin

    September 2, 2008 at 1:34 am

    I lurk , he lurks, she lurks, we all lurk, ’cause its so much easier than work!

    Please don’t tell me I won’t sound stupid – it feels like a challenge when you put it that way –
    And if Jonathan gets 25 points, I want 50 points – I typed more then he did. 😉

  8. Russell Shaw

    September 2, 2008 at 1:43 am

    I’ll see Jonathan’s offer of 25 points and Bill’s offer of 50 points and raise them both to 100 POINTS. That is correct. I want 100 points. Take it or leave it – 100 points. Nothing stupid about that.

  9. Paul Francis, CRS

    September 2, 2008 at 4:57 am

    Hi! I’m here :)….

  10. Missy Caulk

    September 2, 2008 at 5:05 am

    Hi Jay, when you have something to add to the conversation, I like to comment, if not I read. I probably read more than I comment on most blogs. Agent Genius is a warm, friendly place to comment and get to know others. Those are interesting stat’s on your blog.

    Love those Google Alerts !

  11. Brian Block

    September 2, 2008 at 5:25 am

    I lurked for a long time before diving in head first and getting involved. Lurking helped me to learn and understand the nature of blogs and blogging. Still, like you, I probably comment once per 25 or so posts read.

  12. Liz

    September 2, 2008 at 6:24 am

    Hi There!

  13. Kris Berg

    September 2, 2008 at 7:28 am

    Hey, good lurking! I’m hear, I mean here too.

  14. Matt Stigliano

    September 2, 2008 at 10:46 am

    I once was a lurker here. I admit it.

    For those lurkers out there that feel they have “nothing to add” or feel any sort of insecurity about the fact that the AG writers carry tons of experience behind them and you just can’t compare, so you therefore, have nothing good to say…

    Let me tell you, you’re 100% wrong. I learned quickly here that you shouldn’t feel “inexperienced” or “unable to add to a conversation.” Fact is, I have gathered more help by commenting here then you can possibly imagine. AG is a very welcoming community, even when you’re not the most experienced agent in the world. I felt that way once, but I’m sure glad I spoke up. So if you feel “new,” step up to the plate and get involved. You’ll thank me later.

  15. Jay Thompson

    September 2, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Ya know, I expected several smarta$$ comments. And some of you did not disappoint! 😉

    It’s really not hard to comment. But lurking truly isn’t a bad thing. Matt however makes a great point — come out from behind the curtain and you might find your blogging experience deeper and richer!

  16. Mariana Wagner

    September 2, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    Hi, I’m here. Great post. Please send me Jonathan Dalton’s 25 points.

  17. Mariana Wagner

    September 2, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    … and I don’t “lurk”. I STALK.

  18. Vicki Moore

    September 2, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

  19. ines

    September 2, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    May the Lurkers come out!!! 🙂

  20. Matthew Rathbun

    September 2, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    I admit it, I go for a week or so lurking and then when the opportunity of time presents itself I jump in here and pee on all the trees like a dog marking my thoughts!

    Russell: Do I get 200 points for using a peeing dog analogy!?!?!

  21. Russell Shaw

    September 2, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    Yes, Matthew, I think a peeing dog analogy is worth 200 points. Jay? Benn? Lani?

  22. Ricardo Bueno

    September 3, 2008 at 12:12 am

    I’ll admit it…I’m a lurker. Heck, sometimes I read your blog and don’t comment Jay. I read Agent Genius and don’t comment. I know Lani & Benn see me visiting through mybloglog…

    Anyway, it’s ok to lurk, BUT, it’s a lot more fun and engaging when you stop to comment 😛

  23. Amanda Hall

    September 7, 2008 at 6:34 am

    I’m just stalking my friends that lurk here.

  24. Dan Brough

    September 8, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Leaving a comment because you said to – I do lurk.

  25. Linsey

    September 9, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    I lurk a lot (say that 10 times fast). 🙂

    I often find that some of the dialogue that takes place after a post is as fascinating as the post itself. You people are all so damn smart and witty that it’s easy to find myself content with a little lurking.

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