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Opinion Editorials

Top ActiveRain bloggers once highly active have gone dormant

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Over the years, real estate blogging has changed from an experiment to a standard marketing tool and chosen platforms have evolved as well. Many Realtors choose to own and host their own blog on platforms like WordPress.org while others opt for community hosted blogs like ActiveRain.com.

ActiveRain’s long evolution

ActiveRain has changed through several iterations over the years ranging from its initial goal of Realtors blogging for consumers on a high ranking site, to a more internal real estate network with Realtors writing for points with other Realtors commenting (thus earning more points). Many see the network as a water cooler of sorts for the real estate industry.

The real estate network made headlines in July of 2010 for going back on its original promise to never charge founding users and was sold this May to MarketLeader and the blogosphere lit up when Jonathan Washburn, CEO and co-founder said goodbye as the company’s leader.

Format and culture changes over the years

The company has changed format over the years and the culture has shifted right along with it. As a pay-to-play network, and with the shift, some users have chosen to leave and jump ship for their own site or for a competitor like Posterous, while others have remained highly dedicated to the network.

Top bloggers in 2009 versus today

In October 2009, we profiled ActiveRain.com bloggers, outlining the 51 Top Ranking ActiveRain.com Real Estate Blogs according to the blogger in every state with the highest number of points.

While several well known real estate bloggers like Lenn Harley and Kristal Kraft have remained active in the real estate network, we took a look at the current state of the top 51 list and uncovered that 32% of the bloggers originally profiled who once were extremely competitive for the top spot in their state have not blogged in the last 30 days, with one in five having gone completely dormant.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Eric Hempler

    July 26, 2011 at 7:16 am

    To me it always seemed like ActiveRain was a way to interact with other agents and not a lead generating tool. Why pay a monthly subscription to it when you can have a free blog? Then if you go to a self hosted route you have even more freedom to SEO the sucker.

  2. Park City Home Search

    July 26, 2011 at 9:02 am

    Might as well use the information you write to generate leads or else you are just wasting your time. Although there is significant link value from AR links.

  3. sfvrealestate

    July 26, 2011 at 11:52 am

    I think all the top bloggers are now blogging for Agent Genius!

  4. Bob Stewart

    July 26, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    My hunch tells me that many of those bloggers that are dormant have probably moved on to their own wordpress sites…..although some of them could be completely out of the business. Heck, over two years many real estate agents fall out of the business.

    I suppose that means that 68% of them are still blogging, which is WAY higher than you would find for blogs in general across the internet. I believe the built in community at ActiveRain acts as a support network to keep people engaged with their blog. Certainly nothing wrong with that.

    If you were to take a general outlook at the real estate business in general, I wonder if more than 32% of people are no longer in the business from October of 2009. My guess is yes…..which means our bloggers succeed at a higher rate than an average person not blogging? Who knows…….

    Are you really using a headline for July of 2011 that is based on a study you did in October of 2009? Sensational stuff…..I love it!

  5. Bob Stewart

    July 26, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    And if bloggers can start out and get their feet wet and then move on to write for great industry sites like AgentGenius, we love that! Tons of extremely talented writers all over the RE.net, no question!

  6. Matt

    July 26, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    I changed my activerain blogging strategy when the latest changes to the google search algorithm (the Panda updated) went into effect.

    I used to duplicate much of my local content and tweak it slightly for activerain, but with google now seriously frowning upon duplicate content, it seemed better to try and put SEO juice back into my main website.

    End result is I blog at active rain a whole lot less than I used to.

    Cheers,
    Matt

  7. Lyn Sims

    July 31, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Who's Agent Genius? 😉 I just disagree & I am sure that a certain portion of the top bloggers have moved on thru regular attrition. A few I know of personally stopped selling real estate, moved to a different part of the country and are ??. What they still wrote in the past is good quality material. Your survey seemed flawed as Bob Stewart mentions as it is so ancient. 2 months ago is agent in blogging standards.
    There are plenty of active agents that still produce great posts but each agent has their maximum content ability. Kristal Kraft hasn't posted for over a month – that's not exactly active.

  8. Angie @AgentKnowHow

    August 2, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    I created my AR profile years ago and one of the things that frustrated me then was how it turned into a breeding ground for xyz solicitation. I know AR was not at fault, but I was initially discouraged. I don't understand the points system. Are the points redeemable? The overall layout of the Blogs themselves is very "old school." With self-hosted wordpress sites and Facebook Groups and I dare say other networks like twitter and LinkedIn, the competiton for my attention, time and budget is pretty steep. Lately, I have read a couple of agents complain that AR was down. Not sure what's the cause of this downtime, but I believe the company needs a clearly defined direction if it intends to survice the social world of 2011 and beyond.

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Opinion Editorials

Shady salary transparency is running rampant: What to look out for

(EDITORIAL) Employees currently have the upper hand in the market. Employers, you must be upfront about salary and approach it correctly.

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Man holding money in the dark representing false salary transparency.

It’s the wild wild west out there when it comes to job applications. Job descriptions often misrepresent remote work opportunities. Applicants have a difficult time telling job scams from real jobs. Job applicants get ghosted by employers, even after a long application process. Following the Great Resignation, many employers are scrambling for workers. Employees have the upper hand in the hiring process, and they’re no longer settling for interviews with employers that aren’t transparent, especially about salary.

Don’t be this employer

User ninetytwoturtles shared a post on Reddit in r/recruitinghell in which the employer listed the salary as $0 to $1,000,000 per year. Go through many listings on most job boards and you’ll find the same kind of tactics – no salary listed or too large of a wide range. In some places, it’s required to post salary information. In 2021, the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act went into effect in Colorado. Colorado employers must list salary and benefits to give new hires more information about fair pay. Listing a broad salary range skirts the issue. It’s unfair to applicants, and in today’s climate, employers are going to get called out on it. Your brand will take a hit.

Don’t obfuscate wage information

Every employer likes to think that their employees work because they enjoy the job, but let’s face it, money is the biggest motivator. During the interview process, many a job has been lost over salary negotiations. Bringing up wages too early in the application process can be bad for a job applicant. On the other hand, avoiding the question can lead to disappointment when a job is offered, not to mention wasted time. In the past, employers held all the cards. Currently, it’s a worker’s market. If you want productive, quality workers, your business needs to be honest and transparent about wages.

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Opinion Editorials

3 reasons to motivate yourself to declutter your workspace (and mind)

(EDITORIAL) Making time to declutter saves time and money – all while reducing stress. Need a little boost to start? We all need motivation sometimes.

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Clean work desk representing the need to declutter.

It’s safe to say that we’ve all been spending a lot more time in our homes these last few years. This leads us to fixate on the things we didn’t have time for before – like a loose doorknob, an un-alphabetized bookshelf, or that we’ve put off ‘declutter’ on our to-do list for too long.

The same goes for our workspaces. Many of us have had to designate a spot at home to use for work purposes. For those of you who still need to remain on-site, you’ve likely been too busy to focus on your surroundings.

Cleaning and organizing your workspace every so often is important, regardless of the state of the world, and with so much out of our control right now, this is one of the few things we can control.

Whether you’re working from a home office or an on-site office, take some time for quarantine decluttering. According to The Washington Post, taking time to declutter can increase your productivity, lower stress, and save money (I don’t know about you, but just reading those 3 things makes me feel better already).

Clutter can cause us to feel overwhelmed and make us feel a bit frazzled. Having an office space filled with piles of paper containing irrelevant memos from five years ago or 50 different types of pens has got to go – recycle that mess and reduce your stress. The same goes with clearing files from your computer; everything will run faster.

Speaking of running faster, decluttering and creating a cleaner workspace will also help you be more efficient and productive. Build this habit by starting small: try tidying up a bit at the end of every workday, setting yourself up for a ready-to-roll morning.

Cleaning also helps you take stock of stuff that you have so that you don’t end up buying more of it. Create a designated spot for your tools and supplies so that they’re more visible – this way, you’ll always know what you have and what needs to be replenished. This will help you stop buying more of the same product that you already have and save you money.

So, if you’ve been looking to improve your focus and clearing a little bit of that ‘quarantine brain’, start by getting your workspace in order. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels to declutter and be “out with the old”; you may even be inspired to do the same for your whole house. Regardless, doing this consistently will create a positive shift in your life, increasing productivity, reducing stress, and saving you money.

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Opinion Editorials

How to identify and minimize ‘invisible’ work in your organization

(EDITORIAL) Often meaningless, invisible tasks get passed down to interns and women. These go without appreciation or promotion. How can we change that?

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Women in a meeting around table, inclusion as a part of stopping gender discrimination representing invisible work.

Invisible work, non-promotable tasks, and “volunteer opportunities” (more often volun-told), are an unfortunate reality in the workforce. There are three things every employer should do in relation to these tasks: minimize them, acknowledge them, and distribute them equitably.

Unfortunately, the reality is pretty far from this ideal. Some estimates state up to 75% or more of these time-sucking, minimally career beneficial activities are typically foisted on women in the workplace and are a leading driver behind burnout in female employees. The sinister thing about this is most people are completely blind to these factors; it’s referred to as invisible work for a reason.

Research from Harvard Business Review* found that 44% more requests are presented to women as compared to men for “non-promotable” or volunteer tasks at work. Non-promotable tasks are activities such as planning holiday events, coordinating workplace social activities, and other ‘office housework’ style activities that benefit the office but typically don’t provide career returns on the time invested. The work of the ‘office mom’ often goes unacknowledged or, if she’s lucky, maybe garners some brief lip service. Don’t be that boss that gives someone a 50hr workload task for a 2-second dose of “oh yeah thanks for doing a bajillion hours of work on this thing I will never acknowledge again and won’t help your career.”  Yes, that’s a thing. Don’t do it. If you do it, don’t be surprised when you have more vacancies than staff. You brought that on yourself.

There is a lot of top-tier talent out there in the market right now. To be competitive, consider implementing some culture renovations so you can have a more equitable, and therefore more attractive, work culture to retain your top talent.

What we want to do:

  1. Identify and minimize invisible work in your organization
  2. Acknowledge the work that can’t be avoided. Get rid of the blind part.
  3. Distribute the work equitably.

Here is a simple example:

Step 1: Set up a way for staff to anonymously bring things to your attention. Perhaps a comment box. Encourage staff to bring unsung heroes in the office to your attention. Things they wish their peers or they themselves received acknowledgment for.

Step 2: Read them and actually take them seriously. Block out some time on your calendar and give it your full attention.

For the sake of demonstration, let’s say someone leaves a note about how Caroline always tidies up the breakroom at the end of the day and cleans the coffee pot with supplies Caroline brings from home. Now that we have identified a task, we are going to acknowledge it, minimize it, and consider the distribution of labor.

Step 3: Thank Caroline at the team meeting for scrubbing yesterday’s burnt coffee out of the bottom of the pot every day. Don’t gloss over it. Make the acknowledgment mean something. Buy her some chips out of the vending machine or something. The smallest gestures can have the biggest impact when coupled with actual change.

Step 4: Remind your staff to clean up after themselves. Caroline isn’t their mom. If you have to, enforce it.

Step 5: Put it in the office budget to provide adequate cleaning supplies for the break room and review your custodial needs. This isn’t part of Caroline’s job description and she could be putting that energy towards something else. Find the why of the situation and address it.

You might be rolling your eyes at me by now, but the toll of this unpaid invisible work has real costs.  According to the 2021 Women in the Workplace Report* the ladies are carrying the team, but getting little to none of the credit. Burnout is real and ringing in at an all-time high across every sector of the economy. To be short, women are sick and tired of getting the raw end of the deal, and after 2 years of pandemic life bringing it into ultra-sharp focus, are doing something about it. In the report, 40% of ladies were considering jumping ship. Data indicates that a lot of them not only manned the lifeboats but landed more lucrative positions than they left. Now is the time to score and then retain top talent. However, it is up to you to make sure you are offering an environment worth working in.

*Note: the studies cited here do not differentiate non-cis-identifying persons. It is usually worse for individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community.

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