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Should The Word “Bar” be Removed From “REBarCamp”?


REBarCamp vs. RECamp

In 2008, the first Real Estate BarCamp was born in San Francisco and was scheduled for the day before Inman Connect, led by Andy Kaufman which has spread across the nation like wildfire. BarCamps occur in other industries and in other countries and are based on an un-conference format that is interactive based upon attendees’ presentations as groups break into smaller groups.

BarCamps are (as you guessed) typically held in a bar and were founded on the principle of open group sharing of information at a low cost (free to attendees) in an effort to educate the whole and began as a technology-development-focused concept and has evolved.

So it has been proposed to remove the word “bar” from the term as the concept has changed. Does it matter that recamp(dot)com is already taken? What are the logistics behind this potential shift? Is this a game of semantics or does changing the name of the event aide in the larger evolution of REBarCamp?

UPDATE: David G’s Take:

Take the poll- should the word “bar” be removed?

Although I haven’t confirmed with David Gibbons, according to Jim Reppond, David G is proposing the shift of phrase:

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What do YOU think?
Why do you think it should or shouldn’t change and does it alter the future of REBarCamps?

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. Daniel, The Real Estate Zebra

    July 21, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    The “bar” in barcamp has nothing to do with the drinking establishment. Per wikipedia– “The name ‘BarCamp’ is a playful allusion to the event’s origins, with reference to the hacker slang term, foobar: BarCamp arose as a spin-off of Foo Camp, an annual invitation-only participant driven conference hosted by open source publishing luminary Tim O’Reilly.”

    I like the fact the real estate version pays homage to the original. I say keep it.

  2. Ajay Mehta from Zillow

    July 21, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    The principle of BarCamps is a revolutionary one, and no matter what they’re called–these meetings will always hold that independent, “unconference,” spirit.

    However, who are we trying to reach with these gatherings? As they begin to grow larger, we want to bring together people who don’t know a lot about SEO and SMM. People who might not even understand things like how to effectively blog, or even how to set up their own blog.

    Yesterday, David Gibbons and I (along with Diane Tuman) presented WordPress software and basic blogging techniques to some agents at CBB. When David brought up RE BarCamp, we were greeted with looks of confusion.

    We want people to hear the name of our event and it to be sticky. If we’re setting a branding in place that will stick for years of events to come, why not make the branding as sticky as possible.

    Real Estate Camp and RE Camp are much easier-to-understand, sticky, terms. So I think we should at least give them a chance.

  3. Jim Reppond

    July 21, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    I think David has good but misguided intentions here. Yes, it’s a little tough for those who are unfamilar to understand the concept and misunderstand because of the name. But sans “bar” is a bad idea. The whole barcamp concept is international and very well established at this point.

  4. Andy Kaufman

    July 21, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Call me a purist, but barcamp is one word.

    We didn’t invent the term, we became part of the community.

    Lets give credit where credit is due.

    I love ya David, but I feel strongly about this one.

  5. Lani Rosales

    July 21, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Andy, post amended to reflect “BarCamp” rather than “Bar Camp.” I knew better but fudged it, my mistake.

  6. Bill Lublin

    July 21, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    I’m with Andy on this one – as part of the larger community, we should honor the framework – to do otherwise would be like going to someone’s house for a visit and deciding to repaint the living room to be attractive to other guests-

    In the words of someone who knew something “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”

    See you at REBCSF David 😉

  7. Todd Carpenter

    July 21, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    I think we should change it to RE NARCamp.

  8. Mike Mueller

    July 21, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    I think it should stay the same.
    The way I look at it, it’s unfamiliarity with some is an open door to explain just how the REBarcamp is different.

    Calling it an RECamp, RELearnAllAboutTheWideWorldOfInterwebsCamp or anything else is fine – I just don’t see an overwhelming value in it.

  9. Wendy Hughes-Jelen

    July 21, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    Look, as someone who loves marketing from the creative aspect, I like nothing better than naming things – I even suggested a name for a new cherry developed by the Washington State University agricultural program (pity it wasn’t picked). BUT I stand by the REBC name and brand on the grounds that the first thing our real estate colleagues need to understand is what RE Barcamp is…if they can’t learn and embrace even the name how will these people stand a chance to learn how to blog (so much more than understanding the concept is implementing it), HTML tagging to make a post more jazzy looking, or how to think in abbreviations and hashtags to survive in the Twitterverse?

    Leave REBC___ alone. We have bigger things to worry about!

  10. Jennifer S. Levine

    July 21, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    When I was first learning about REBarcamp, the name is what first attracted my attention. Assuming the meaning behind it, I was excited at the opportunity to be a part of an open learning environment that would allow the participants to truly interact with one another. I have enjoyed educating others about all that takes place at the various REBarcamps since my first one last year in San Francisco. I think it’s a keeper as is!

  11. Marie Kratsios

    July 21, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    I came across the term REBar Camp just a few months ago as I became more and more interested in Web2.0. I understand the term to mean an informal but organized gathering to discuss social media as it relates to the real estate professional. (If it happened to be held in a bar, so much the better). Calling it RECamp or RE NarCamp would, to me, make it more about real estate in general as opposed to a new way of marketing real estate. There are enough conferences and conventions about real estate in general. My vote would be to leave the name alone.

  12. Todd Carpenter

    July 21, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Marie, forgive me as my sarcasm doesn’t always translate. Just for clarification, the NarCamp reference was a joke.

  13. Yolanda Hoversten

    July 21, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    I got curious because of the name…it’s not broken why fix it?

  14. Brad Coy

    July 21, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    I propose an additional space in between RE and barcamp: RE barcamp. The name has been butchered enough and I’ve had it with the recently overused Rebar Camp

    But really… do what ever you want. My preference “RE barcamp” Coming to San Francisco this August 4th 🙂

  15. Brad Coy

    July 21, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    … errr… my comment should have read *sarcasm* as well. It was stripped.

  16. Lani Rosales

    July 21, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    UPDATE: posted David G’s video response above, explaining his thoughts behind removing the word “bar.”

  17. Mike Mueller

    July 21, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    David – great thoughts and great explanation. (and thanks for the mention)
    My video is here:

    Clarification: I didn’t “have to” create the video, I wanted to.
    (I wanted to drink the beer too)

    My thought is that the Bar confusion is a fantastic opportunity to explain how different the BarCamp model is from a regular conference. If there was no confusion how many people would not come to the event because they thought it was just another real estate conference?

    I agree that you have a very valid point about having to overcome the Bar.
    But if you take that away or replace it with anything else, how do you separate this event from anything else?

  18. Marie Kratsios

    July 21, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    Back to Todd: I thought it was and I meant to put something in parentheses (joke?), but I was focused on what I was writing and completely forgot to add it. To be honest, since I’ve only been at this SM stuff for a few months I wasn’t 100% sure.

  19. Rhonda Porter

    July 21, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    I think we should leave the bar in RE Barcamp. I don’t see any reason for changing it… I wasn’t aware of having “marketing issues” with any of the barcamps I’ve been to. Plus RE Camp Ho doesn’t sound as good as RE Bar Camp Ho… just sayin’

  20. Jonathan Dalton

    July 21, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    I can’t even begin to imagine it matters whether “bar” is in there or not, not unless you’re worried you’ll lose a lush like me.

  21. Linda Aaron

    July 21, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Those of us that understand what RE BarCamp is need to be takin it to the streets and explain it to the uninitiated.
    It would be a shame to lose the original intent of the founders of this extraordinary event. I say we raise the bar by keeping the bar.

  22. Brian Block

    July 21, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Everything I was going to say has already been said.

    Keep the Bar in REBarCamp — in the name and in the activities and happy hours before and/or after the camp.

  23. Nick Bastian

    July 21, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    David, I love ya man but… I have to strongly disagree with you on this one.

    In order to “grow this thing” for larger audiences you will probably be losing the feel and meaning of a barcamp and might as well put on a “camp” for a couple hundred a whack. As for the people who are scared to “spend the day in a bar,” I am pretty sure they can stick to their $500.00 conference where someone comes in and sells them a bunch of junk they don’t need.

    As you know, I have a TON of respect for the work you do in promoting barcamps but I am not sure that bigger will be better. I have learned more in some of the small sessions at barcamps than I ever imagined. The “seminar” I attended today with a panel of “experts” seemed like a waste of time in comparison to an environment where people can exchange thoughts and ideas instead of hearing someone speak in generalizations and legalese. (BORING)

    Already, there has been talk of national sponsorships, larger audiences etc. Soon, the mainstream audience will be the target and the innovators will probably move on to something different.

    The open format and sharing of ideas is what I love about BARcamp.

  24. Matt Stigliano

    July 21, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    @MikeMueller nailed it when he said:

    I think it should stay the same. The way I look at it, it’s unfamiliarity with some is an open door to explain just how the REBarcamp is different.

    Twitter doesn’t really describe what it does as a brand name, but look at it’s current usage. Google? WTH does that mean? Korn was the worst band name on the planet in my opinion, but look how much of a household name it became.

    If it was called AerotechBarCamp, I would agree to some changes, but as it stands, I think it is a great “brand” – it just needs explained to the masses, just like Twitter had to be.

  25. Dean Ouellette

    July 21, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    David I need to disagree… when I first heard of barcamp I had no idea what the bar was, I didnt think of a drinking bar. Then I heard the story on how it started and I LOVED it. I think its a great story and gives the essence of what it is all really about.

    And you are completely wrong about another thing… most of the real estate professionals I know have set up second homes/offices in bars

  26. Elaine Hanson

    July 21, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    The word Barcamp got my attention and I had to learn about this new term and a new idea for me. The professionals who will benefit from REBarcamp are the ones with the curiosity to explore the concept and welcome the open way of learning. I like it the way it is.

    It was just a nice bonus that REBarCampOC was held in an actual bar- wasn’t it? 😉

    Besides, I like the way you say BarrrCamp, David.

  27. Ashley Drake Gephart

    July 21, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    Dropping the bar doesn’t change the fact that you will have to explain it. REBarCamp or RECamp makes no difference. People that aren’t tech geeks aren’t going to get it either way. I am trying to organize one for Albuquerque and have been explaining it to our local RE community. It takes 20 seconds for them to go from “WHAT?” to nodding their heads and smiling.

    Here is my “elevator pitch”:

    We are planning a REBarCamp. It’s not in a bar and it’s not at a camp. It’s an “unconference” of sorts. We talk about technology. It’s a living organism that changes based on who is attending.

    At this point, they are excited and on board. Remove the bar and I could cut two seconds off this pitch.

    3.5 minutes is the length of my presentation to our local board. 3.5 minutes to get an entire board behind it.

    Leave the bar. It works.

  28. Ricklie Stone

    July 21, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    I’m new to all this and have heard extraordinary things about REBarCamp from those who have been participants. It makes sense to me to honor the REBarCamp founders by not changing the name. It evokes curiosity and discussion and after-all, isn’t that what REBarCamp is all about?

  29. Julie Ziemelis

    July 21, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    I had the pleasure of meeting David at the REBarCampOC and we worked on a 15 minute marketing pitch and the guy is brilliant. However, Andy has a point. “We didn’t invent the term, we became part of the community.” I get the same quizzical looks from Realtors when I try to tell them about the REBarCamp concept, but ya know…if their interest is piqued and they are smart enough to catch the concept and be on board for the adventure…its a good thing. I DO believe the concept is spreading throughout the industry and a brand has definitely been created. Ride the wave!

  30. Rhonda Porter

    July 22, 2009 at 12:43 am

    Ajay mentions:

    “However, who are we trying to reach with these gatherings? As they begin to grow larger, we want to bring together people who don’t know a lot about SEO and SMM. People who might not even understand things like how to effectively blog, or even how to set up their own blog.”

    Kind of off topic (okay–it is off topic) but this is part of David and Ajay’s “defense” for dropping the bar… is the goal of REBC to reach folks referenced above… (if so, that limits REBC too) or is it just to reach out to everyone and anyone in the RE community who is interested in learning and/or sharing.

  31. Russell Shaw

    July 22, 2009 at 2:42 am

    My vote would be to NOT change it unless the name was being changed to RE NARCamp like Todd suggested.

    Truth is, I don’t think it *could* be changed unless everyone agreed, as the new name would then need an explanation of, “formally known as RE BarCamp.

    I don’t even drink anymore and I like the current name. Plus, David didn’t look straight into the camera as much as he should have. 🙂

  32. Brent Ellis

    July 22, 2009 at 8:13 am

    Don’t change a thing. In fact, all this discussion is doing the entire movement good by keeping it in the forefront. All these articles and discussions are serving as the education tool to inform those that don’t know what RE BarCamp is.

    I think I am a great example to use here. About a year ago, maybe longer, @bnix got me ‘turned on’ to the whole Web 2.0/Social Media piece. As I began to research and discover more about all of this, I couldn’t help but stumble across RE BarCamp. I had no clue what it meant, but I took the time to find out!

    With Web 2.0 and the entire social media movement as a whole, the majority STILL don’t get it and are learning, I am still learning myself. So there are numerous unfamiliar terms one has to learn along the way, RE BarCamp is just one more new term people need to learn.

    I have had to explain this very term several times to a variety of people and I am not even close to being one of the ‘rock stars’ or heavy hitters within the community (Whats that? Why is it not descriptive enough?). It just gives us all one more opportunity to ENGAGE others and help create interest, while educating them.

    And um, well…What does Zillow tell to a consumer? Zillow does not imply anything to do with RE IMO. But the consumers know what it is…NOW.

    As for the RE BarCamp possibly being easier to market and could become bigger with a minor name change…uh, in a year look how far it has come! I think it is working pretty effectively. In fact, I would argue that a name change now would further confuse people, possibly creating a minor set back initially.

    Leave the name alone and keep the focus on raising the bar for these events. The ‘buzz’ a successful RE BarCamp creates will educate the masses on what a RE BarCamp is.

  33. Mark Eckenrode

    July 22, 2009 at 10:37 am

    not a fan of changing the name and frankly, if the name was changed i seriously question whether folks would call it by whatever the new name might be.

  34. Kathleen Couch

    July 22, 2009 at 11:19 am

    The first sound of REbarcamp made me think of rebar that are “steel bars used to strengthen cement”. Even with that thought the real meaning is similar.

  35. Mike Price

    July 22, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Changing the name is a completely ineffective gesture in removing the intimidation factor. People need to be schooled on the format of a BarCamp and changing the name isn’t going to make that any easier. I’m often amazed at how folks are so willing to tinker with something that works already. It was my understanding that the first RE Barcamp in Seattle was standing room only and many of the folks were newbies. Was it that hard to get those folks in the door?

  36. Tyler Wood

    July 22, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    With all due respect to David G., what does the name Zillow have to do with real estate? 5 years ago very few people knew what Zillow was. That has changed quite a bit today. But if you are saying the name has to be more in line with what something is about, your name wouldn’t really make sense, nor Trulia.

    I’d argue that RE Barcamp will be pretty well known by most agent in 5 years. Those in life that are intrigued will ask questions and learn for themselves, and those that do not will continue to do so.

  37. Deborah Madey

    July 22, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Todd, I instantly got your sarcasm…and thought it was witty and great.

    PapaGrande – We MUST keep the BAR in REBC for you!

    WordCamp dropped the BAR…..and that’s OK.

    No reason to mess w/ REBC………

    And, no one told the story that BARCamp was named for the Bay Area Rejects – who were uninvited to FOO Camp in the tech world?

    Let it be REBarCamp…………………

    uh-oh – Dave – your poll results are pretty clear here.

    See ya all soon!!

  38. Carolyn G-Tu

    July 22, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Guess it’s cool that REBarCamps are becoming so common that people want to rebrand it to make it more real estate centric – seems like that is a pretty far distance from just a year ago. Think the name should stand – idea was not just about real estate.

  39. Craig Barrett

    July 22, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    The brand isn’t ours to change. Embrace it. Or don’t.

    @rerockstar I would so go to AerotechBarcamp.

  40. Bob

    July 22, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    No sleeping bags, so maybe we should drop the “camp”.

  41. Matt Stigliano

    July 22, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    Brent Ellis’ comment about Zillow and what it means are more than valid. I remember (long before I thought about being an agent) hearing the name Zillow and checking it out. I wondered why the name, but checked the site out and learned what the site could do. Now Zillow is ingrained in the public awareness. Like Kleenex. If I needed a name for a tissue to blow my nose in, I certainly wouldn’t think hmmm, perhaps it should be called a Kleenex. There are names all around us that make little sense in terms of what their function is.

    I do understand where David is coming from – that “bar” implies something to someone who doesn’t know about it. I think it provides a great opportunity. He mentioned Mike Mueller’s video. I thought the video was great. The “bar/beer” tie in made it funny and interesting.

    Build the brand and you can make it work – even with a word that might imply something that it’s not. Get out there, educate, inform, and invite. Many people have gone to one for the first time and are now rabid fans. Let them get out there and do the same. It will happen if people want it to happen. Name or no name.

    Lucky no one wanted to call it REsexcamp.

  42. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    July 22, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    If a name is isolating people from participating, then those people have a problem. See for me I think REBAR (as in reinforcing bar, (for reinforced concrete) : ) but I do have a problem with CAMP (not fun memories of my childhood) j/k

    Come on David – people give you the same look when you say Inman Connect or mention any other social media conference. I’m with Andy about purism and although the venues are growing and changing, the concept is not. Disagree with you on this one and looking forward to seeing you at REBARcamp SF and REBARcamp Miami 🙂

  43. Greg Afarian

    July 23, 2009 at 12:12 am

    I totally understand what David is talking about. However, there will always be that group of Realtor’s that just don’t get it. I don’t think it should be changed and it would take away from the core of where it was derived from.

    With that said, what I would be more concerned about after hosting a RE Bar Camp in Boston is the 300 people to sign up to attend and 1/3 don’t show up. I think the real question should be is if the event remains “FREE” do we charge a small fee and if they show up they could get the money back or perhaps have the option to put the money to go to a charity designated for that Bar Camp? Realtor’s giving back! Thus giving no shows an even greater incentive to show up?

    Changing the name for some is a NO for me…. I think maybe those same Realtor’s that don’t want to go to a RE Bar Camp because of the name might also be the same people that don’t want their listings syndicated as well?

  44. ARDELL

    July 23, 2009 at 12:55 am

    I’m with brad coy on this. barcamp should have no CAPS, so RE barcamp says it best.

  45. Brandie Young

    July 23, 2009 at 2:22 am

    Someone probably told Google and Yahoo their silly names would hold them back as well.

    It’s not the name, it’s what you make the “thing” become.

  46. Benn Rosales

    July 23, 2009 at 9:19 am

    There are many problems anything will have when it comes to adoption, but somethings to consider may be:

    Add a tagline to the logo that defines the concept that folks can use to better explain it.

    Write content around the rebarcamp name that can be downloaded and printed, posted on BBs etc (take the guess work out of the pitch for those who may need it).

    Rather than tell the world that rebarcamp is requiring something, enforce the philosophy of sponsoring your own seat (max $250).

    If some basic marketing is generic, it can be given to each rebarcamp as a marketing kit that they can add their local branding to.

    Ask for donations from attendees post attendance even if it’s just $1, these donations could help pay for general marketing and outreach.

    Rather than shut out ideas, maybe we listen to the crux of the issue and find ways of answering to the problems because what David is talking about is reaching deeper, and I think that’s David being David, not David saying this is wrong.

    Last but not least, if you think there is a better way of doing rebc and want something different, then start something- no one owns barcamp, or your desire to raise ‘the bar.” This is actually happening all over the country every day, they’re just not called rebarcamps.

  47. David Gibbons

    July 23, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    What an awesome discussion. I HEAR YOU guys and I learned a lot from this exercise … just posted my thoughts in this video:

    Benn – you seem to get where I’m coming from. Marketing this event takes work — suggestions for great taglines and other standard “marketing kit” items would be very useful for future events.

  48. Kristal Kraft

    July 24, 2009 at 12:10 am

    Great idea for controversy but I feel we have made significant headway in establishing REBarcamp as an event not to miss. If we were to drop the BAR, we’d have to start all over on the branding. Call me old fashioned, but I like it.

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