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.
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?
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
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