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ActiveRain goes back on promise, infuriates founding users

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Real estate blogging platform and social network ActiveRain inadvertently made news last week when free blogging platform Posterous announced they would take aim directly at Active Rain by allowing users to import their content directly to Posterous.

This week, Active Rain inadvertently makes for heated conversation again by going back on their promise to founding members (the first users of the service) that they would never have to pay to participate because they evangelized for free and promoted the service making it what it is today.

Real estate blogger Jay Thompson, one of Active Rain’s original users and long time advocate of the brand noticed along with many other bloggers today that despite ActiveRain’s promise to grandfather in “founding members,” he was asked to pay an annual fee before he would be allowed to continue participating.

ActiveRain allegedly fudged notifying founding members and moved forward by only allowing active members to be grandfathered in. Thompson’s argument is not only one that he and others did not receive proper notification, but he and others comment frequently and despite being on a points based system tied to each user’s account, it is not considered to be “participation.”

Thompson’s response? He deleted all of the content he had ever written and I suspect he and others will no longer refer to ActiveRain in their frequent seminars, courses and speaking engagements.

But wait, there’s more…

In light of the news that ActiveRain members can import all content to Posterous, many assumed that the loyal ActiveRainers wouldn’t jump ship, but when we surveyed our audience, although 87% of those surveyed currently use ActiveRain, 53% of all respondents believe that ActiveRain users should switch to Posterous. AgentGenius founder Benn Rosales says that a move like this is “lateral at best.”

ActiveRain is a business and we’ve known the founders and staff for a long time and they are owed a great deal of credit for bringing many people online. Their company is funded and they have every right to monetize in any way they see fit, but this is another case of a free service changing terms for its users whether they like it or not and it is a common advent on the internet- if you don’t pay, you don’t have control.

We want to know what you think:

With the advent of the Posterous import feature, the already existing WordPress import feature and ActiveRain frustrating founding members, what do YOU think is on the horizon for the real estate blogging platform? Will those inside the pay wall become more loyal and grow the network internally or will this be the tipping point (for those already unhappy) to jump ship? Tell us your thoughts in comments.

CC Licensed image courtesy of Tevin C via Flickr.com.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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59 Comments

59 Comments

  1. Matt Thomson

    July 9, 2010 at 1:17 am

    Why would you pay? AR was a great platform, and they did bring in a lot of writers, but their offer of “Google Juice” is soft at best. With all of the free platforms out there, all with their own ability–whether as great or not–to produce search engine rankings, I can’t think of one reason to stay with AR.
    Others may have received business from them and see things differently, and that’s great. If something brings you more money than it costs you, then maybe it’s not all bad. For folks like Jay, and to a way lesser extent myself, who have participated on there but our business comes from our own blogs, there’s no reason to stay part of that community.

    • Bryan Thompson

      July 9, 2010 at 10:10 am

      Your comment caught my eye because my brother’s name is Matt Thompson (with the “p”). I had never blogged with AR but received an invite to do so from an agent friend of mine. Perhaps it was just a few of the blogs I noticed, but much of it looked a little too clunky for my taste. Is it customizable? I have blogged with Posterous for more than a couple of years and I think their simplicity and mobile support will do very well with the real estate market. Interested to see what happens.

  2. Stacie Wells

    July 9, 2010 at 1:24 am

    I take it this notification was fairly recent? Just wondering because I’ve been an AR member for quite a while and haven’t received notification that this was being revoked. I’ve gotten very little business from AR and certainly wouldn’t consider paying for the RainMaker privelege – especially under these circumstances! Thanks for the update and keep us posted!

    • Benn Rosales

      July 9, 2010 at 1:38 am

      Apparently only revoked if you have not updated in the past 90 days.

    • Jay Thompson

      July 9, 2010 at 1:46 am

      Stacie – Bob Stewart posted on May 25 that grandfathered accounts that didn’t have a post in the last 90 days would be eliminated. He also said a “60 day warning” would be issued. I haven’t heard yet of anyone with a downgraded account actually getting a 60 day warning. Of course it hasn’t even been 60 days since the announcement….

  3. James Malanowski

    July 9, 2010 at 1:26 am

    I hope Jay exported his content to save it for posterity before deleting his account.

    • Jay Thompson

      July 9, 2010 at 1:41 am

      Of course I did. Sadly, AR provides no way to export comments, and I wasn’t about to copy/paste hundreds of comments, so those are gone forever.

  4. Jay Thompson

    July 9, 2010 at 1:38 am

    I think my thoughts of AR’s actions were pretty clear. But as I mentioned in my post, my 86 articles there and the fact I am one of 180,000+ means I’m a mere drop in the rain bucket.

    Great question as to what will happen. AR clearly has some rabid fans, and it’s hard to imagine them leaving en masse. If one can wade through the comments on Bob Stewart’s post announcing the removal of some grandfathered accounts, you’d see a lot of support from the AR crowd. Comments like:

    “If someone hasn’t written a post in 90 days then they probable (sic) are not too concerned about blogging anyway.”

    “I like this. I think 90 days is too long and I wouldn’t give a “heads up” after 60. There seems to be a lot of “dead weight” around.”

    “If they don’t appreciate free maybe they would if they had to pay for it.”

    “Blogging it is OWN reward! AR is supporting those who support it * KUDOS for acknowledging THOSE who BLOG”

    And it goes on and on and on.

    To be blunt, some of these people are utterly clueless and apparently think the only way to “blog” is to do it on AR. There is also an incredible amount of short-sightedness if AR members (and Staff) think the only way to “contribute” to the network is to post articles.

    Will these folks jump ship? I doubt it. They are coughing up $39/month to “blog” on AR, so they must think the ROI is there. Eventually some will learn that control of their own content is crucial. But sadly, many will not.

    Just MHO…

  5. Drew Meyers

    July 9, 2010 at 4:31 am

    I like the AR guys, but think we’ll start seeing more and more agents using AR jumping ship and using WordPress.org installs on their own domain — and mix that with a skinned Posterous blog on their own domain. There are just too many benefits to owning and controlling your online hub and not enough reasons to warrant putting that presence in the hands of a platform you can’t control. I think 70% of real estate websites are going to be WordPress within 2 or 3 years.

  6. Ken Brand

    July 9, 2010 at 7:26 am

    It will be interesting to see what the mid-term, long-term impact of their decision is. And, I wonder what thoughts drove the decision? What pops into my head is that it’s a common mistake to believe that “we” are the reason why. In this case the “we” is Active Rain. They may have the made the mistake of misunderstanding that “Active Rain” isn’t “Active Rain”, it’s all the people that breathe life into community, not them. Also, it seems to be a sharp lesson in what happens when you don’t communicate, interact and conversate with your community.

    Odd rollout, more like a steam roll.

  7. Matthew Rathbun

    July 9, 2010 at 7:37 am

    I think your hard-core folks will stay. I shuffled my stuff to Posterous the day I heard about it.

    I post there about once every two months to say that I do, but frankly it’s not be as fun as when I first joined (that account was later deleted b/c I hated everything I wrote). 🙂

    I liked the concept and the platform (even if it was abused by it’s members at time) but think that your more serious folks eventually need more control of their site and migrate to self-hosted WP.

  8. Joe Spake

    July 9, 2010 at 8:02 am

    I would not pay to participate in AR. I am sure if they got rid of that silly point system, that rewards quantity rather than quality, they would lose a lot of members. I only post material there that would interest my peers, as the public is more responsive to my self-hosted WordPress site.

  9. Joe

    July 9, 2010 at 9:27 am

    We post to ActiveRain on an irregular basis so we were in on the (remaining) free version. However, the news the platform was changing to a paid service was announced in a blog entry that only by chance I found when I was searching for something on ActiveRain. I think the right thing to do would have been announcing the change over a broadcast email, then if folks chose not to post a blog entry, then so be it. I believe the requirement is one blog entry every 90 days to be considered ‘active.’

  10. Joe

    July 9, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Stacie Wells wrote:

    “I take it this notification was fairly recent? Just wondering because I’ve been an AR member for quite a while and haven’t received notification that this was being revoked.”

    My point exactly, and the one I just posted! 😉

  11. Elaine Reese

    July 9, 2010 at 9:38 am

    I joined AR in Aug or Sep of 2006. It was fun and extremely informative at first. In 2007 the rumblings began about how vulnerable our content was and who controlled it. I removed all the hundreds of photos I had posted to the early Localism just before they switched to the “new” Localism. When I began my WP blog, it quickly out-performed AR, so I deleted a lot of posts, leaving only basic posts on AR. I didn’t care for the way the posts looked on the outside blogs & Localism, since the layout sizing of each was different. I haven’t posted anything since last Sep, so naturally my Rainmaker status was removed. I have since deleted all my posts.

    It was obvious early on that AR was more interested in the member count than in maintaining quality when they refused to delete the accounts of known plagiarizers. It is still obvious as there is no “delete my account” option as there is with other platforms.

    It’s my understanding that the inactives will go behind the members-only wall, unsearchable by the search engines. With those posts hidden from view and others being deleted, will this impact a search engine’s view of AR with all the dead links?

  12. Daniel Bates

    July 9, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Jay, you think your 86 posts are a drop in the bucket compared to 180K, but they probably made up about 1% of the actual good content on AR. Most of the savvy founders have only remained loyal in that the still post to AR IN ADDITION TO their own WP blogs which they created long ago. I still believe that AR offers a good SEO value if you were grandfathered in and syndicate a teaser portion of your blog posts with a link back to the main article on both AR and Localism, but in terms of traffic or search engine appearance they have fallen with all the fluff writing and other competition on the web. Now once the good writers stop paying any mind to them and even continue the trend of content removal, I think that we’ll see the AR ship start to sink without a major change in development.

  13. TheRECoach

    July 9, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Is it possible that this move by AR was motivated by LeBron leaving for Cleveland and the people of Cleveland acting like morons, or Lindsey Lohan going to Jail, or the city of Oakland showing is lack of class by using, yet another court case, as an excuse to loot and pillage? because to me they are all just examples of sheer stupidity!

    Show me one Internet tool that began as a Free product, in the true spirit of the “open Source” Internet, and then started to charge it’s loyal participants that actually increased in popularity? There are none. There may be some that actually made money after the move, but not became more popular.

    AR started a downhill slide quite some time ago, and this is simply the “mailbox” at the end of that hill, that they will crash their bike into!

    If you are a serious Blogger, put your content (emphasis on YOUR) on your own Blog! WordPress is the best, but others do exist.

    I love Posterous, for the beginner, it has allowed me to train, lead, & motivate my Agents to participate in Social Media at a 37% adaption rate. Something I never thought possible.

    Whatever you do…

    Stay Blogging My Friends!

    @CBRELongBeach

  14. Broker Bryant

    July 9, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Bad decision on the part of AR in my opinion. But I ain’t leaving. I’ve made a whole bunch of money from my AR blog. And of course blogging on there has lead to many more opportunities. It’s all good.

    BTW, I have 4 AR blogs. 2 WP blogs. 4 Ning networks. 3 YouTube sites. And 5 other webs.

  15. BawldGuy

    July 9, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    I realize I’m usually in the dark about these things. But it’s apparent even to this TechTard that AR has always been like the East Toilet Seat, Iowa AA minor league baseball team when it comes to real estate related blogging. Sure there are the exceptions here and there, but, like most minor league teams, East Toilet Seat very rarely send any of their players to the Bigs.

    Am I the only one who sees this? Am I totally wrong?

    • Jay Thompson

      July 9, 2010 at 12:56 pm

      “Am I the only one who sees this? Am I totally wrong?”

      No and no.

    • Ken Brand

      July 9, 2010 at 1:01 pm

      You’re spot on. This is a classic example of situations where “no experience” goes ka-boom. It grew, and succeeded organically, it wilts when outside influence poisons the very thing that made it work. Nice case study in how to kill your children/future/golden goose.

  16. Lesley Lambert

    July 9, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    I stopped using AR as my main platform last year and have been actively working on moving my content over to my WP site. I realized long before these changes that the format was built on peer to peer and I wanted to reach clients.

    I have friends at AR and am astonished that after the recent issues with HUGE blog outages that they would follow so quickly with such a short sighted decision.

    I hear the ardent supporters quoting as Jay mentioned and I wonder, do you people not blog ANYWHERE else or to ANYONE besides other real estate professionals? My focus is consumer and education driven on my personal blogs.

    Additionally, I am unsure if my status has been revoked, but I received NOT ONE email from AR on this matter.

    • Jay Thompson

      July 9, 2010 at 12:55 pm

      Lesley – there is a WordPress plugin that makes exporting AR posts to WP as easy as just a few mouse clicks. (But it won’t do anything with comments). zeek.com/import-your-activerain-posts-to-your-wordpress-blog/

  17. Benn Rosales

    July 9, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    I’m cool with AR deleting our accounts so long as they’re deleted. It’s their SEO loss, and my gain as I personally do not care if AR results for my brand. Pretty simple.

  18. Brad Andersohn

    July 9, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    I think there are some who might misunderstand what has taken place here. We were simply making our best attempt at cleaning up and removing non-active grandfathered members. I handle all the tickets that come into AR and many of them are requests to be removed from the network because they are no longer in the industry, business, and real estate.

    Regardless, we felt if you were not on the site, active, blogging, commenting, or even reading, then it was safe to assume you were not actively participating or supporting the network or community. As I said in Jay’s post, the largest percentage of the members who were removed from the grandfathered status had less than 1000 points, maybe one or two Blog posts, and some never even uploaded a profile photo.

    This move had nothing to do with penalizing our founding members or breaking any promises, it was a sweep to clean up the network. It seems much easier to reinstate a grandfathered member if they contact us and ask than it does to go through 186,000+ members individually to try and remove one by one those no longer active or in the business.

    I personally apologize to those members who were inactive that helped build the network, and their status ended up changed. All it takes is an email, a call etc to let us know, and your status can easily be switched back to rainmaker. For those of you who know us, and our culture, know that our intentions were and always are positive and meant to benefit all involved.

    Thanks for reading and hopefully understanding. 🙂

    • Jay Thompson

      July 9, 2010 at 2:03 pm

      Brad –

      You know I love you man, but think about what you just said.

      First of all, it’s not 186,000 members you had to go through. Not every current member is grandfathered.

      You’re saying here, “we felt if you were not on the site, active, blogging, commenting, or even reading, then it was safe to assume you were not actively participating or supporting the network or community.”

      The announcement said posts were all that mattered. There was no mention there about commenting or reading. Posting, or lack thereof, was the *only* criteria.

      You’ve now said a couple of times this was an attempt to “clean up”. So were these accounts with no profile pic, less than 1000 points, or never logged in after they created their account DELETED, or were they just downgraded?

      Seems if you truly wanted to “clean up” non-participants, you’d remove the account all together, not just downgrade them. But of course that would lower your membership numbers, which advertisers, sponsors and investors might not like….

      Let’s be blunt Brad. This was a poorly thought out decision and an even more poorly executed one. There was no announcement on the “Official AR Blog”, 60 day warnings were supposed to happen yet no one seem to have received one. In fact, it hasn’t even been 60 days since the announcement…

      Finally, you said, “This move had nothing to do with penalizing our founding members or breaking any promises…”

      When founder Jonathan Washburn says, “Founding members have a free membership for life!” and 17 months later that membership is gone, that IS a broken promise no matter how you try to color it.

      There are smart people at AR. You are one of them. If you all can’t see how this was mangled, and how you’ve damaged your trust and reputation, then maybe you aren’t as sharp as I thought. Where’s Jonathan’s statement? I know Bob is busy, but the silence from Jonathan is deafening…

      • Brad Andersohn

        July 9, 2010 at 2:29 pm

        Thanks Jay – Jon is actually at Bob and Christa’s wedding, in fact I believe he is in the wedding today which you’re welcome to join us “virtually” if you’d like.

        activerain.com/blogsview/1733457/the-ultimate-live-wedding-ceremony-you-re-invited-

        Regarding the way this was handled, I cannot change that, what’s done is done. There was a post that Bob did announcing this and we have decided since then, that all these types of announcements should be done on the official AR Blog, in this case, it was not.

        In the past, Bob or I would make these types of announcements on our posts to try and reach the largest audience possible. It was also sent out in our daily newsletter, but let’s face it, all sorts of things can get missed in a days work.

        Could we have done a better job getting the word out? Probably. Could we have made a mistake in doing this the way we did? Sure. Was it done with the intention to break a promise that Jon made previously? No. Being very candid here, we are just everyday people here doing our best to provide a product, another tool, a support system and educational platform for Industry professionals who want to share, learn, grow, connect, build relationships, and add meaning and dollars to their bottom line and to their business.

        Will we make mistakes? Yes. Are we perfect and flawless in our directives and decisions? Absolutely not! How will we grow and learn? From our efforts in trying to be and do better everyday. Our members ARE what make ActiveRain what it is today and that has never been taken for granted. The culture we promote and are proud of was built by our members and their passion and love for the network.

        There’s nothing I can say or do that will change the way some folks will think about us, they will forget what we say, they will forget our names, but they will never forget how we made them feel. My goal is to make sure EVERY member FREE, grandfathered, or paying, knows that we are passionate about our product, our site, and that we honestly and sincerely care about this industry and them as a member. Even if they don’t care about us or what we are trying to do.

        In time, this will all go away as it always does, and other changes will come and go as will members, but I promise you this, we will always try to do what is best for our members and for our company, not every swing will be a base hit or home run, but every attempt will be for the grand slam!! Love you too man! 🙂

  19. Janie Coffey

    July 9, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    I see how what Brad is saying is a perfectly plausible explanation. Comparing AR to WP, etc. is a little like comparing apples to oranges (or Twitter to Facebook)…. while they are similar, there are some fundamental differences as well. AR is built around a community concept which is great in many ways and stand along blogs are for one thing only, reaching consumers. I have both (and a posterous account)

    I am one of the founding members and will always hold a special place in my heart for AR even though I am there much less frequently than before.

    Not entirely sure that Posterous can replace the unique aspects of AR but find it interesting that they specifically targeted the real estate industry (maybe b/c they saw so many of us there?)

    It is an interesting turn of events and I do hope for AR and for newer bloggers (and old timers like Bryant who really love it) that they will continue to grow and work through any kinks that they might go through.

  20. Matt Stigliano

    July 9, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    I read Jay’s comments on Twitter as all of this started and was shocked to see it happening. I had missed the announcement and wasn’t one of those that had my account downgraded (I had recently written quite a few posts actually).

    I don’t wish to get into the self-hosted vs. outsourcing argument over this current news, as I think that was covered well enough in the articles about Posterous gunning for ActiveRain members and the plethora of posts about WordPress vs. ActiveRain. In my opinion, that’s an entirely different beast and it’s like trying to choose a political party to side with.

    Instead, I want to talk about how I can’t believe the news. I’m gutted that ActiveRain would do this. That might sound a bit dramatic, but I really do. I grew up with ActiveRain. I was a new agent, given a shot at writing for AgentGenius when I joined ActiveRain – at that time my actual website (with blog) was a barely formed shell. I quickly took to blogging and in terms of how ActiveRain operates with the point system, I excelled. I quickly rose through the ranks of Texas and more specifically San Antonio bloggers to become the number three in San Antonio. You can argue about the point system all you want, but it was still an accomplishment if you ask me. I didn’t get there by clogging things up with just anything either – I took my writing as seriously as I could (with a few laughs thrown in) and made a lot of friends, received some referrals, and had clients who read my blog.

    All in all a success story. I was grandfathered in and was even given the title ActiveRain Ambassador, which granted me a free outside blog. I’ve won contests, I’ve had fun, and I’ve learned loads of new things. I like ActiveRain. I like the people at ActiveRain – particularly my interactions with Brad and Bob, who have always had a minute to chat with me about anything and everything.

    I haven’t always agreed with ActiveRain either and have never been shy about telling them what I thought. During the recent outages I wondered aloud many times whether this would spell doom for them – as no matter how they slice it, the outages were too long and the company was way too slow to correct them. I’ve read all the reasons and I still think it was handled poorly on their part.

    Now there is this, the un-founding of founding members. While I appreciate Brad’s comment that a call or an email could have some reinstated, it’s the method and the message that bug me. I know Jay may not blog there (and I am using Jay as an example, there are others) all that often, but he does contribute. Jay is a founding father of blogging in my eyes – I learned a lot of what I do today from him and his blog. To downgrade him is to tell the world that you’re not interested in community as far as I’m concerned, you’re only interested in numbers. Maybe that’s not what ActiveRain intended, but that’s how I feel about the move.

    Before there were founding fathers there was constant complaints and cries from the membership that the system needed to be “cleaned up” and the defense was always that those people may not blog often, but ActiveRain wanted to leave it open to them as not everyone blogs everyday. Now with a pay system, it is easier to marginalize those people I suppose. With all the spammers, lazy cut and paste posters (thieves), and agents talking out their ass about things (search “tax credit extension” – a nod to Jay Thompson’s obsession with quality and correct info) – perhaps there should have been some more thought into what to “clean up.” Perhaps the referral system emails I get from members (well, one member) that only send me the occasional “referral” that is nothing more than solicitation from a lead generation company (and yes, I have reported every time). Perhaps the guy who does nothing but re-blog everybody else? Perhaps the political yahoos that have turned ActiveRain into a purile argument of which side is better (and although politics has a place in real estate, some of what’s going on there is less than necessary for a real estate platform – it’s turned ugly and childish at times)?

    Sorry, I got off on a tangent a bit there…

    I’m not worried for Jay, it’s not as if he has to build a blog from scratch now (imagine if you did – ugh), but I do feel for him. The inconvenience of it all combined with a bit of a slap to the face probably isn’t under the category “fun” for him. ActiveRain probably won’t see any sharp declines or fall into the sea anytime soon because of the downgrade, but their image and integrity has certainly suffered a huge blow in my eyes.

  21. Joe Spake

    July 9, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Apparently AR is somehow limiting limiting importing posts to Posterous to the most recent 10 posts.
    A few people have asked Posterous about this. Here is the response I got:
    “It looks like AR has implemented some changes to limit what we can grab. We’re looking into it and will let everyone know when we have an update. If there is an appropriate place where you can let other AR users know about this change, we’d appreciate it. Thanks for your patience!”

    • Brad Andersohn

      July 9, 2010 at 4:45 pm

      Joe – we have no way of limiting importing posts to posterous or any other site for that matter. Our export feature is in an xml format and includes all posts written by a member on our network. Any limitation to the import process you mention would be controlled by the site you are importing to. Just fyi… 🙂

      • Benn Rosales

        July 9, 2010 at 5:35 pm

        Can we consider this an official statement?

        • Diane Guercio

          July 9, 2010 at 6:49 pm

          Just got this:
          Rich Pearson just commented on the post “Now’s the perfect time to move up from Active Rain to Posterous ” on The Official Posterous Posterous:
          Sorry – I was given some inaccurate information. It looks like this was a problem on our end. It should be completely fixed in the next 20 minutes. (If you want the link, Benn, email me)

          • John Cannata

            July 11, 2010 at 4:40 am

            Im still reading through the string of comments, but I like how Brad was just trying to assist with a question that was asked… Benn comments in what I took as being a smart ‘rear end’ … only to find out that Brad was correct.

            Come on guys, lets not try to make it a personal attack. You dont agree with the AR way. I get it. Continue to push the other site without trying to bash others. THATS how you will get more members (and respect).

            Thats just my two cents.

    • Rich Pearson

      July 9, 2010 at 5:35 pm

      Joe – we’ve just pushed a fix that allows you to get more than the first page

    • Benn Rosales

      July 11, 2010 at 6:13 am

      Hi John, I normally do not respond to name calling, but in this case I will.

      I asked that question and immediately went directly to posterous, you’ll see their comments here following my question. It was a very strong claim, and it needed to be vetted immediately. Brad was doing Jon and Bob a solid by stepping into this thread, and I needed to know if that was an official statement for good reason. I don’t mind people venting, but we have to be careful that we deal in truth, or at least do our best to vet accusations. I assure you, my tone wasn’t smart assed, it was in defense of AR because I doubted the assertion to begin with.

      I’ll take the last word on this one.

  22. Rich Pearson

    July 9, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Benn – it looks like a glitch on our side.

  23. Brad Officer

    July 9, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    It’s odd to see this much heat over a company choosing to charge a fee.

  24. Frank LL0SA - FranklyRealty.com

    July 10, 2010 at 6:51 am

    Unintended consequences are a b*tch!!

    My bet is AR had a week of sleepless nights trying to think of all the possible reactions and consequences for their policy change. And it wasn’t perfect for a tiny minority.

    Why blog on AR? Google Juice. It is real and unmatched for a new blogger. Try it. I just tested it. I started a new blog 3 days ago on blogger with a test phrase. I even did the “add URL” and it still isn’t in Google. I posted it on AR and withing hours it was #2. Maybe WP is better, but with a new site, I doubt it. Is it in the longterm better to have a full domain site? Yeah probably, but boy is WordPress a pain for me, and I’m supposed to be techie.

    And let’s not forgot comment love. Start a WP blog and expect 1 comment a week or even month. Open a AR blog and get 25-50 if your post is decent. Real clients/buyers dont want to read a dead blog.

    Best of luck AR, I know how you can make it up for founding fathers and those over 100,000… Stock options 🙂

    Frank
    FranklyRealty.com

  25. Broker Bryant

    July 10, 2010 at 7:56 am

    You guys most really be upset that there was no conspiracy. Maybe next time.

    • Benn Rosales

      July 10, 2010 at 10:15 am

      We’re not looking for conspiracy, we just don’t like bombs dropped without some sort of basis in fact. It would be a very serious charge. Best, Benn

  26. BawldGuy

    July 10, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Frank — As a curious outsider asking, how’s AR been for your bank account? Thanks

  27. marti garaughty

    July 10, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    I’ve been out of town for a few days and just saw this. Although I founded and moderate the 3rd largest group on ActiveRain (The Art of Marketing YOU) and read/sort thru/feature group member’s posts every day… I post sporadically, I prefer quality over quantity but it seems my Rainmaker status has been revoked as well.

    I guess my almost 4 years of contributing tech advice, marketing insights and giving ActiveRain members more graphics and blog goodies than I can count… doesn’t count for very much to AR. This sucks in so many ways. A notice of some kind would have been nice.

    I was wondering why I’ve been getting more emails than usual from AR members asking about how to set up their blog on WordPress! Now I know.

  28. Dunes

    July 10, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    I’m not very Smart so perhaps ya could help me..

    This makes AR better how?

    Plus curious about this….
    “Open a AR blog and get 25-50 if your post is decent. Real clients/buyers dont want to read a dead blog.”

    And those comments are made by who? Clients/Buyers?

    You know who’s actually reading the Blogs (Buyers/Sellers)…How?

    Jay from his Blog on his Site..

    “I just checked my Google stats for the first half of 2010. Activerain.com sent me 314 visitors in that time period. There were four spikes in that traffic that correlated with links from AR posts to TPREG posts. Those spikes accounted for roughly 250 of the 314 visitors sent this way.

    That leaves 64 visits my old posts (or my profile) may have sent me in the last six months. There were 415,089 visitors here in the last six months. I’m not concerned with losing 64 visits.

    I bet I could republish some of my old AR content here and drive far more traffic than AR has sent me.

    I’m not saying AR doesn’t work. Far from it. I’m sure it works for many. I don’t expect it to do much for me as I’ve only posted there twice in the last two years.

    I’ve met many friends through AR. Friendships I value. That won’t go away…”

    ————————————————————————————————————-
    I’m hearing Jay say his issue is a “Trust” Issue here and on his Site… haven’t noticed him making it an effectiveness issue except when responding to those who do..

    He did provide the above info in response because Others have discussed the Effectiveness issue but I’m not thinking that”s what Jay is Discussing or Claiming is the reason for being upset….

    They (AR) it seems to me said one thing and did another…
    Some people for whatever reason seem to have a problem with that…others worry about other things

    Personally I like the one’s who worry or get upset about “Trust” issues but then I’m not an RE Pro or have that much expertise in the Marketing/Social Media area….

  29. Ken Montville

    July 10, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    I guess I’m really late to the party here.

    I haven’t heard “boo” from AR re: downgrading or sweeping or anything. Maybe it’s because I haven’t posted for awhile although I remain # 1 in my town, #3 in my County and #20 in my State.

    I have seen my little “Rainmaker” badge disappear and the little icons for 100,000, Localism and such. No matter. I don’t own Active Rain and, honestly, I don’t make any money off of it in terms of business generation, either.

    Yes, I connected with a few good Realtors that become people I could trust referrals with and hung out with at meetups and the like. However, I really like WordPress a bit better. I own my domain, my blog, the hosting isn’t free but it’s cheap and the spam control is better.

    There were times I really tried to get something cooking. I blogged and blogged and blogged. I linked. I did everything I could think of and heard about and still nothing. Either I live in a “non-wired” area (evidenced by the fact that my rankings are high in spite of being a bit lax over the past 6 months.

    So, for my money AR can do what they want when they want. They really nickel and dime anyway with upgrades for this, Market Leader (formerly House Values), etc. With 186,000 users is they charged $1/month it would probably go over better.

  30. daltonsbriefs

    July 12, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Heading now to check if I’ve been booted. Many times I have suggested to professionals wanting to learn new media and how to use it in real estate, that they spend a couple months working inside of Active Rain. Writing, testing ideas, commenting and learning. At this point, if all above is true, it sounds like AR is dying. Sorry to see it, was a fun place to hang for the last three years.

    Agree with many earlier comments though, once the site reached 100,000 members and the allure of gaming the points system wore off … it was for most of us a place to get SEO. That’s the place I learned and worked inside a couple different SEO groups and have many friends from those days still. Buggy whips have faded into distant memory, it happens.

  31. Dave Keys, real estate SEO

    August 27, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    I'm somewhat pragmatic about AR. I'm an SEO guy, not an agent. I keep my account active- it's valuable for back-links but I'm always looking over my shoulder since several accounts I ran were "grandfathered out." Just this month, someone suggested witholding "points" for posts not about real estate. A winning thought for nobody IMO. After what I've seen there and in Google's attempts to corral the social market, I keep my resources as independent of any one blogging platform or social community as possible.

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Austin

Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?

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Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.

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aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.

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zillow move

Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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