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ActiveRain sold, goodbye and a word of warning for users – Developing



ActiveRain has been sold

The backstory is ActiveRain has officially been sold. Jonathan Washburn, co-founder and former (ousted according to sources) CEO of ActiveRain wrote on his blog on ActiveRain “Six amazing years after creating ActiveRain I’ve stepped down as ActiveRain CEO and I’m now focusing 100% of my business efforts on revolutionizing the daily deals industry through the DailyTicket community.” Control is now back in the hands of Market Leader, Inc. where former consultant, now CEO Nikesh Parekh has taken over the community, all of which has been happening in what seems slow motion for quite some time.

Latest development: AG was tipped early this morning to a blog post where Jorgen Hahn, former CTO, VP, Product Development opines:

A $60,000 Eulogy for ActiveRain

“Welcome dearly beloved, friends, and family. We are gathered here today to honor the memory of ActiveRain, taken from us before her time.

I haven’t known ActiveRain as long as many of you. We were introduced through a mutual friend early in 2008. Full of laughter and grace, I couldn’t help but fall in love, and committed myself fully to her free spirit during that perfect Washington summer.

Some are born to do great things. ActiveRain didn’t just provide a forum for real estate professionals and consumers; she fostered friendships and forged enduring connections that will last long after we’ve left this burial plot and her name is little more than a faded memory.

She didn’t talk much about the cancer. Jon cared for her tirelessly and believed, even until the bitter end, that he could save her. But ducem mercatum is an insidious disease and knows no cure.

Her grace under pressure should serve as an inspiration to all. After learning that Matt and James, once counted among her dearest friends, had sold her out to ducem mercatum for 30 pieces of silver, she simply smiled. No complaints or bitter recriminations accompanied the news of her now-certain death. When Jon was stripped of his power of attorney (née chairman of the board seat), leaving her adrift and under the care of “new management”, she offered no protest. And when death finally arrived, she passed secure in the knowledge that she had made a difference in the world.

A wealth of journals filled with wonderful memories still line her shelves. I know that she would want you to keep your writing alive, and encourage you to collect your belongings before the house is sold or razed.

Why the $60,000 eulogy? That’s the blood money her new caretakers offered me to reanimate her lifeless cadaver. I choose instead to remember her as she was on that summer day when we first met, full of life and ready to set the world on fire.

We will always love you, ActiveRain. Rest in peace.

Jorgen Hahn, former CTO, VP, Product Development, ActiveRain”

From Ian Morris, Market Leader, Inc.

“All of us at Market Leader are very excited to be broadening our already strong relationship with ActiveRain.  As a company that is 100% dedicated to the success of real estate professionals, we share a common bond with ActiveRain, and are big supporters of the company and its community.   As such, when two of ActiveRain’s early employees decided that it was time for them to cash out their stake in the business, we were happy strengthen our relationship and investment in the company.”

This quiet transition is now out of the bag and users are looking for reassurances and questioning why the warning from the former ActiveRain CTO, and what now, and in the future.


Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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  1. Melissa Zavala

    May 11, 2011 at 10:15 am

    Interesting… Jorgen's eulogy is very well-written. We will have to see how this unfolds. Clearly there is truth to the saying that everyone has their price.

  2. Joe Manausa

    May 11, 2011 at 10:52 am

    I've been active on ActiveRain since July '07. I hate to see it go down, it's like a great-big "Board of Online Realtors."

  3. Missy Caulk

    May 11, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Ian's comment is not exactly what happened. They approached or where approached by Matt and James to sell their shares so that ML would have majority control.

    Jon tried to raise the money and he did, but it was too late like by hours.

    Jon is an entrepreneur and not a manager and should have brought someone in to do day to day operations. I get it, I am not a manager either.

    As someone who has been very loyal to AR in the midst of many leaving and bashing it, it is sad. IMHO they should have figured out a way to keep Jon on in a new role, Development or something as he is the Visionary and heart and soul leader of AR.

    Jon's post which was written earlier was him doing what was in the best interest of the Community he built. I have no idea why Jorgan wrote his except maybe as an explanation as to why the site has been so unstable in the past month or so since he left.

    I would feel this same way if anything ever happened to AG. I am loyal to a fault, I know…big weakness.

    • Lyn Sims

      May 15, 2011 at 11:21 am

      I agree with Missy here. We will see what unfolds as I think it is a great & unique platform.

  4. Ken Brand

    May 11, 2011 at 11:08 am

    The only certainty, is uncertainty. We see it every day, every where. Speed, grace and success.

  5. Franne Schwarb

    May 11, 2011 at 11:22 am

    So what does that mean for active rain users? Stay put? Leave? Any thoughts?

  6. Erica Ramus

    May 11, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I am loyal to AR as well, and agree with Missy that the AG post is not 100% on target. The "sale" of shares happened months ago. Jon moved on this spring.

    I also agree they should have kept him on board. Jon "got it" — as many of us old timers (4 years) know. We will have to see if the new guys "get it" as well.

    My fear is now it's going to turn into a purely $$$-driven machine. I have tried ML in the past and know what they do. I would hate to see the whoring out kinds of stuff that happened 2 years ago where they were bribing bloggers with free ML accounts to then blog their praises.

    I actually was one of the fools who paid for it, and was less than impressed with their customer service and their response to my requests for help with the product. I dumped it.

    Maybe it's better now. Who knows.

    But this does not bode well for AR. Jorgen's $60,000 eulogy stems from that's the amount they wanted to pay him to stay on. He didn't. Good luck to the new guy in THAT seat.

  7. Missy Caulk

    May 11, 2011 at 11:32 am

    I know of no "good programmers" that would work for that amount. And Jorgen worked 24/7, he did it out of love, passion or whatever.

    Erica, I didn't say the AG post was wrong but that Ian's comment quoted was not exactly correct in what happened.

    • Drew Meyers - Virtual Results

      May 11, 2011 at 3:08 pm

      Good programmers make a lot more then 60k. For someone leading the entire dev effort there, that's a slap in the face if you ask me.

      • Matt

        May 11, 2011 at 3:50 pm

        Just a hunch that was some type of retention bonus not a salary…

  8. Erica Ramus

    May 11, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    I agree Missy! The thread of events is just a little confusing.

  9. Matthew Coates

    May 11, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    What does this change mean to us as members?

  10. Bill Cobb

    May 11, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    I've been blogging in the rain since early 2007 and am thankful for the fact that Google index my post from that authority site within 3 minutes via google alerts. Raincamps are awesome and so is Kerrie G.

    What I clearly don't understand is out of 207,000 members, why are the same 20 to 30 familiar faces featured as featured articles, even when the articles are not about real estate but rather a festival! Is there anyone actually perusing the other 206,960 members articles? Just an observation!

    • Erica Ramus

      May 11, 2011 at 6:21 pm

      It is my belief that of the 206,000+ members, only probably 1200 or so are ACTIVE blogging regularly.

  11. Tim Harris

    May 11, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    There are many more moving parts to this story….most of which aren't being shared.

    For the record, Jon Washburn and I are friends. Niki (new CEO) and I are becoming friends.. thanks to the intro from Jon. Additionally, I was one of the financial sources for the attempted buyout of the remaining shares…I was working with Jonathan to buy his original partners out.

    I am a AR true believer…have been posting on AR for years. The community (and the Google juice) are great.

    ARs blogging technology is not cutting edge. At one time it was. Since 07 the blogging world has chosen its winner…WordPress. The widgets and tools available for WP are vasty superior vs AR. Its not ARs fault that their technology has been out paced. They did the best they could with what financial resources they had available. I am sure if Jorgen had the resources and cash he would of built something epic…(AR should of kept him on)

    MarketLeader is profit driven. As they should be. (profit driven and making an actual profit are two different things) Part of making a profit is producing a product or service that folks are willing to pay for. I would imagine that ML will invest substantial resources into AR. Providing the liquidity to evolve the platform. MLs only potential risk is being too far reaching with AR users and losing the communities support. Knowing Niki, I seriously doubt this will happen. Niki (like Jon) are wiked smart.

    Would I have preferred Jon be included in the mix…along with Jorgen…of course. Will Jon do well with his new company…you bet. Remember, Jon is still a major owner of AR. If AR were to sell (or make a profit) Jon benefits.

    ML's take over will ultimately benefit its users….

  12. Barry Cunningham

    May 11, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    What's ActiveRain?


    May 11, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    oh my! i just spoke at the their Active RainStorm event in Anaheim this year. had no idea all this was brewing….

    • Mark

      May 11, 2011 at 11:07 pm

      Hey Herman,

      Activerain will continue because its member driven. First as a member, then as a vendor sponsor of Activerain, I've seen the grace and talent in the community for years – they will be fine. The members have an organic connectedness and commitment to the art of real estate, and to each other.

      Those running Activerain are well aware of that, and I'd be surprised if they messed with it. For my part as a sponsor, I still view it as a great way to dialogue with the real estate community and get great feedback on Kodak products, both positive and critical, and it's a great forum for us to engage with the real estate community and we'll continue to do so.

      Anyway – thanks for letting me know I was screengrabbed, but this is not news to me, and in fact Bob Stewart posted to the community about the change weeks ago. Lauren, Kerrie, Kelly and all the great people at Activerain are still there, and the dialogue with the members is as strong as ever for me and Kodak.

      I consider Jon a friend and wish him well, and I have respect for AR and MarketLeader, and especially appreciate the members of Activerain.

  14. J Philip Faranda

    May 12, 2011 at 6:11 am

    Sooner or later, the suits come in and ruin everything. I certainly hope that isn't the case in this chapter for Active Rain, as I love the Platform and contribute often, but it has not been an auspicious transition.

    One troubling matter about this is the concern about our content. And while there are ample tools for importing my writing elsewhere, the comments-the real metric of the community and what makes AR special- seem impossible to import. That is troubling as well.

  15. Ruthmarie Hicks

    May 13, 2011 at 3:03 am

    This is a lesson for us all. Never, never, ever put all of your on-line eggs in a single basket. Right after I joined AR it was almost bought out. I blogged exclusively on AR for about 1 year before building my own site with the help of the Real Estate Tomato. I still post to AR – but my primary concern is MY blog. As a result it is ranking well on Google and has more visitors than my AR blog.

    I remember the "free Market Leader" stuff of 2009. I found the whole thing questionable and pretty annoying. Apparently, for some of those offered the freebe – it was like a fire hose of leads. But what happened as more people joined up? The fire hose probably turned into a dripping faucet. Interesting that Erica felt the same way and had a bad experience with them. I thought I was the only one who didn't like the whole thing.

    • Lyn Sims

      May 15, 2011 at 11:24 am

      Market Leader thought we would all 'fall in line' to sign up but that didn't happen. I think they think realtors are idiots by buying back their own leads.

  16. Susan Milner

    May 13, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Focus more on your own blog and not so much on someone else's. AR has been an awesome real estate and blogging platform but for anyone who was silly enough to only blog there; shame on you. The majority of your time should be spent on the sites you own and control then SOME time on others. And I read that only a handful of users were actually paying; seems like a huge challenge to keep running it the way they were. They needed a new direction. I don't claim to know anything about the people involved or any scandal but I'm a firm believer in 'everything happens for a reason'. 🙂

  17. Cliff Stevenson

    May 13, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    I wanted the content on the blog on my website first, and was always concerned about duplicate content affecting my primary site. It might have been a bogus concern, but it was the reason I spent my time on AR reading and not posting.

  18. MH for Movoto

    May 13, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Wow, what a story. Good for Jorgen.

  19. eric

    May 15, 2011 at 9:46 pm offers a community for agents, nothing more. They give no google juice @ all. Ya ya, i know if you pay the money to AR your posts get indexed, so what.

    the same post with a wordpress site would also get indexed.

    now what platform gets better results? based on the testing i have done on brand new blogs, AR usually ranks a few positions on google. i.e AR ranks #4 on google while WP would rank #8

    established WP blogs usually rank the same if not better than AR.

    ya AR has a 5 second set up where as wp takes some time. but if a designer was hired to set wp up for you you would still save thousands over a few yrs.

    you can get the same community feeling with the members only posts.

    my .02 cancel the rainmaker upgrade, get a wp blog, and repost your wp posts to ar.

  20. Andrew Mooers

    May 23, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    You can look at this many ways. I prefer the viewpoint that is shared, hammered out by actual Active Rain blog posters, members. On the Internet you want to more than just one horse in the house race. Everywhere on the web.Blogging posts on platforms for different market reach, slant. But other media like video crafted for SEO bell ringing, websites, social media because 85% of folks go on line to find anything. We've learned much from Active Rain, currents can change their direction and volume. Keep paddling and go easy on the gamification as the points are not the point. Front page SE index with lots of your work appearing in position after position is the goal. Your biggest critics of AR, anything are not using it I have found. Get back to work.

  21. Kevin "Troll" Tomlinson

    May 28, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Who cares. Matt Heaton had every right to do with his percentage. This is biznezz people.

    Agents are so namby-pamby it gets me sick.

    Things change. Remember "too big to fail" is not impossible.

    Personally, this is a non-issue for me.

  22. Rich Jacobson

    May 30, 2011 at 4:51 am

    People have been taking critical shots at ActiveRain since day one, especially by those who have had very little actual time/experience on the platform. This post is no exception. ActiveRain offers value to its members, value that results in closed transactions/money in the bank. It's simply one more marketing tool at our disposal as real estate professionals.

  23. Sharon Alters

    May 30, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Honestly, the tone of this article reads like a bit of yellow journalism to me. I have been a member of ActiveRain for 4 years and found it to be a community that is not duplicated anywhere else. The camaraderie, the sharing of information, and Google juice have made it a priority for me in my business plan. We are always guaranteed change in life, but is AG trying to give AR a kick in the pants? So glad Missy and Tim have commented to give some perspective to this post and hope the readers read the comments and not just the post.

  24. Rich Jacobson

    June 21, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Like I said, it's people who have little if any actual experience participating on the ActiveRain platform (Eric) who tend to be the most critical. To say that AR offers a community for agents and 'nothing' more is clearly ignorant about it's value proposition….

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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, 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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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.



aging housing inventory

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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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.



zillow move

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,, 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’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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