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Not Chuck Norris, but…

This week, I had the pleasure of bugging Agent Genius contributor Ben Martin over the phone while he drove back home from D.C. I’ve been curious about the launch of and wanted to get the scoop, so after torpedoing Ben with questions, he proved that he is bullet proof. Well, okay, maybe he’s no Chuck Norris, but I learned a lot about VARbuzz.

Ben Martin is already hip-deep in two other blogs outside of AG- one that covers the “code of good business” campaign which is sort of the business side of The Ted and another regarding the annual convention, both of which are over but those blogging efforts are being rolled into VARBuzz. Ben still saw potential in a blog that would create a greater presence for their corporate blog, generate conversation and engage members. “We want to show that we’re proactive, that we get it.”

Future of,

Ben has already recruited several bloggers to author the site with him, helping to amplify the voice of the site with blog backgrounds ranging from a few weeks old to years old, so the mix should definitely create an interestingly diverse product.

Regarding the site design, they’re testing the full vs. partial feed subscriptions (be sure to let him know your preference) to see what best serves their site. The logo is intentionally highlighting the “social” aspect of social media and social marketing and aims to be clear to the audience that the site is interactive.

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Much more than a tool

Ben sees as much more than a tool- the blog will “enhance and extend relationships” with the benefit being “creating personal connections between VAR and their members.” Putting a real face on the blog “humanizes it and connects people, and ultimately they’ll appreciate more what [VAR] is doing.”

By humanizing what people at the association level do, there is a posibility that VARbuzz will “change some attitudes of the naysayers about the whole association machine.” VAR progresses while NAR is tied up in traditional media and overly controlling the message while being unwilling to acknowledge the shift in control has gone to the members who now control the message because of online communications.

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Matthew Rathbun

    February 12, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    We’re rather proud of our Ben! I am pretty excited about VAR embracing this technology. Ben’s done a good job of finding a diverse group of Bloggers and to widely spread the social media word. I think he’s why there are soooo many Virginia twitter’s and bloggers.

    VAR is going a step further and not just getting out the word, but also doing workshops on doing it right. Ben’s working to not only educate on how to do this, but how to do it ethically and legally. Efforts from folks like Ben, Jim Duncan and Daniel Rothamel have been great inspirations for a lot of folks.

  2. Heather Elias

    February 12, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    As a VA Realtor, it’s great to see our association being proactive and reaching out to the member base in new ways. Even the monthly magazine put out by the association this month was full of articles on how to use technology to grow your business…written by people that I already know and respect from the community. Maybe VAR will light the way so that NAR can catch up? =)

  3. Ines

    February 12, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    very impressive – I said it last week when I posted the video of the TED on Miamism – Realtor Boards across the nation should pay attention……..and learn.

  4. Ben

    February 12, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    I’m just glad to be a part of the conversation. Stay tuned to VARbuzz this week as VAR holds its annual Legislative & Education Conference. Thursday, I am told, we’ll have a special — and perhaps controversial — guest.

  5. Jay Thompson

    February 12, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    The VAR leadership sets the bar, VERY high, for all other associations.

    I left a comment on the VAR CEO’s post today that he needs to either move to Arizona and head up the AAR, or pack his bags for Chicago/DC and do it right at the “Big House” — the NAR.

  6. Jeremy Hart

    February 12, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    Ben’s been a great addition to the Association! It’s been interesting, in the limited time I’ve been at the Legislative & Education Conference so far, the number of people who’ve *already* mentioned the site, that they’ve read it, heard of it, etc., and are interested in what’s to come! The BUZZ is already there among our members, thrilled to see this take off under Ben’s guidance! Thanks for bringing it to everyone’s attention …

  7. Sara

    February 13, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Hi everyone-

    Kinda off topic but I am trying to see if anyone else is attending the RE online Convention at Its free so it hasn’t hurt me to attend, and I have been finding some cool services and software at some of the booths. One thing I wanted to get your take on was has anyone used it? Thanks!

  8. Brian Block

    February 14, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    I just found VARBuzz the other day shortly before reading your post about it. VAR and certainly Ben are on top of all things W2.0 and I’m happy to be associated with a state association that has it together like that. It was a pleasure meeting with Ben last month at the Inman Connect NYC.

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