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.