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“Trulia Blogs” Rolled Out On The DL

Trulia went old skool…

No press release. No big announcement. On the DL and using only word-of-mouth marketing, Trulia rolled out “Trulia Blogs” (beta) last week.

Does it remind you of anything?

Trulia Blogs definitely some similarities to Active Rain such as the “headline” feel of the real estate blogs home page. And the posts are all on Trulia’s platform, not a live RSS feed from participating bloggers and their own outside blogs. This may seem very attractive to those who just want to write posts and not worry about setting up their own blog on WordPress, Typepad, etc. But you may want to check out this post and this post (especially the comments) for a discussion relating to some of the pros and cons of this type of blog platform.

I noticed that you can’t tag your blog post with your own tags – they’re preset in a drop down menu labeled “Categories”. Therefore, you can’t search posts by keywords. Nor can you search posts by location (only “Trulia Voices” has that ability). This is a concern for me as a Realtor blogger because it doesn’t allow consumers to find my blog by searching keywords or by location. (It’s still in beta so maybe these things are in the works…?)

SEO and ROI…

As for SEO, I have no idea how it’ll do. Others such as Active Rain have some good SEO due to tags and keywords, which Trulia Blogs doesn’t have. If you’re a Realtor and blogging to get your name out there in front of potential clients, you may not find Tulia Blogs attractive if there’s no SEO.

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It seems that the way it’s currently set up, your blog will be visible mainly to those who come across you on Tulia Voices. If they like one of your answers and click on your profile, they may also click on your blog. Other than that, the only way to run across your blog is by looking through a specific category.

Problem with that is that even if a consumer likes your post/blog, they may be buying or selling in Seattle, Washington while you’re in Loudoun County, Virginia. That doesn’t translate into a client nor ROI and even the most passionate Realtor bloggers are in it to make money to pay the bills.

Currently, the blogs are only visible to registered members who are logged in. Wonder if Trulia will open it up for people to read as a teaser to make registering more attractive…

Tip of the iceberg?

Trulia has usually done things well and intuitively so that leads me to think (and hope) that this beta version is only the tip of the iceberg. But they’d better roll out the new and improved version soon…

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Written By

Danilo Bogdanovic is a Real Estate Consultant/REALTOR(R) in Northern Virginia and author/owner of and Danilo serves on various committees with the Dulles Area Association of REALTORS(R) and the Virginia Association of REALTORS(R).



  1. Frank Jewett

    July 22, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    Problem with that is that even if a consumer likes your post/blog, they may be buying or selling in Seattle, Washington while you’re in Loudoun County, Virginia. That doesn’t translate into a client nor ROI and even the most passionate Realtor bloggers are in it to make money to pay the bills.

    This is why real estate blogs should contain at least 40% local content. Don’t argue with me, argue with Teresa Boardman.

  2. Heather @ Trulia

    July 22, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    Hey Danilo – Heather from Trulia here. Rudy will probably want to stop by too, but he’s busy Beering with Bloggers at the moment :). In the meanwhile, let me clarify…

    1) We haven’t “launched” anything (yet). You are looking at a private, invite only beta that only a handful of people currently have access to.
    2) Tags/searching/other really cool stuff – absolutely in the game plan. Stay tuned.
    3) Discoverability – as with all things on Trulia, we think that someone searching in a specific location likely cares most about content relevant to that location. Again…stay tuned.

    Tip of iceberg? Yes. Awesome feedback and have a great night!

  3. Frank Jewett

    July 22, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    Congrats to Trulia on implementing this “metoo” feature!!!

    Time to update our list of online real estate portal differentiators…

    online listings – commoditized
    photos, maps, and drive-bys – commoditized
    online property valuations – commoditized
    agent blogs – commoditized
    community portals – commoditized
    local real estate experts – still up for grabs

    I almost hesitate to say this in a room full of outsized egos, but it really is all coming down to you, the local real estate experts. Your participation will be the only real differentiator still in play in 2009.

    Think about that while you guzzle their booze at Inman Collect Connect.

    It’s time to ask “what’s in it for me?”, with “free” being the floor rather than the ceiling.

    Repeat after me: “If you’re going to monetize me, you should pay me.”

  4. Jennifer in Louisville

    July 23, 2008 at 7:05 am

    Yay…..pull out some deflated balloons.

    Another place to get people to create more content for someone else for free – so that THEY, not the local agent that created the content in the first place, can then dominate the search engines.

  5. Danilo Bogdanovic

    July 23, 2008 at 8:39 am

    Frank – Don’t worry Frank – I agree with you (and Teresa) about local content. Personally, I would shoot for at least 75%, if not more. And not all of us have “outsized egos”.

    Heather – I hope so, but I’m still wondering why it would be rolled out without the most key and important features left out. As some have said here and as many have said before, why would we give someone/somebody all of our content, time and effort without any ROI for us while that someone/somebody benefits. Doesn’t make sense to me… In my business, my time + intellectual property (need to) = money (for me, not someone else).

    Everything can be commoditized except the expertise of a great local real estate agent.

  6. Matt Stigliano

    July 23, 2008 at 9:49 am

    I realize the discussion about ROI is always an important one for real estate agents and rightfully so, we all need to succeed in our business or its just not a good business.

    But here’s where I get a bit confused on all of this (and feel free to give me your thoughts, that’s why I’m here)…

    Although sites like these may be getting your content for free…your name, personality, and knowledge are still attached. You may not be getting the SEO you’re looking for, but someone might see what you wrote and say, “hey, this is someone I’d like to work with…let me dig deeper.” You’re not getting the direct connection you’re searching for via your own personal blog or site, but you are getting an introduction to someone who may not have found you otherwise (I guess you could argue that it makes you harder to find, but even if you’re the number search, that does not guarantee you business).

    A great example:

    My band was offered to be in the movie “Fahrenheit 9/11.” They wanted to use a song that apparently was popular with troops as they blew stuff up in Iraq. The band usually collects a very high fee for this kind of use of our music. Plus, this movie was being highly anticipated and the publishing royalties would have added up to a lot of money (plus the initial payment). We all love money. Don’t let anyone fool you, everyone in a band wants to make money at the end of the day. However, we were all excited about the prospect of being in the movie and what it could do for us. The film was coming out in 2004 and the song was from 1996…this could revive an old song for us and bring about more sales of a record that was not in the public’s eye anymore. So we gave it to Michael Moore for free. We collected zero. But, the ROI on the release of this movie was incredible for us. More tours, better pay, more interviews, more exposure to fans and non-fans alike, more album sales for an older record, more spins of the song on radio…whether they hated us for participating in the movie or loved us for it, we got the exposure out of it that helped push us out of a long hiatus (we took off from 2001-2004 after nearly killing each other on a year and a half tour that was absolutely non-stop).

    Don’t get me wrong, I see the benefit of having everything under your control, but I also see the potential for exposure…which can lead to those returns that we all seek.

  7. Jennifer in Louisville

    July 23, 2008 at 9:59 am

    Although sites like these may be getting your content for free…your name, personality, and knowledge are still attached.

    Thats the thing. They can export the data to another site and/or modify it however they so desire. Its no longer your information. It belongs to them.

  8. Matt Stigliano

    July 23, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Jennifer – Are there cases where this has happened? As someone who had to deal with the Napster/Intellectual Property debate constantly, I’m always interested in this topic.

  9. Jennifer in Louisville

    July 23, 2008 at 10:19 am

    One example happened a couple weeks ago. Activerain information was exported and is now powering Localism – and they are now charging agents to be the “neighborhood sponsors” (utilizing the very information they created in the first place). Michelle DeRepentigny wrote an article about it over at Bloodhound Blog on July 9th called: Gagging on the Kool Aid: Active Rains rolls out new

  10. Rudy from Trulia

    July 23, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Hi all!

    I’m listening in on the first panel of bloggers connect where they are talking about what to write about and who to write to [your audience]. I haven’t heard them talk about where to write. That being said, our blog platform is is beta. We invited a number of people to test the platform and love the feedback we’re getting. And, as Heather mentioned, we will include many of the things that Danilo pointed to.

    Trulia has a built in consumer audience. Our blog platform is an extension of our Q&A platform. What’s interesting is that consumers will be able to blog as well. It’s another place to connect with a consumer. We agree, the ROI is yet to be tested – that’s the exciting part. After we go live with the new platform, I hope that some of you here give it a test drive to see if it can work for you.

    You never know where a consumer will look.

    Thanks all for your feedback.

    Social Media Guru at Trulia

  11. Eric Bramlett

    July 23, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Given Trulia’s track record, I highly doubt the links on these blogs will be followed. If that’s the case, the SEO advantages to agents will be in the negative (in the negative b/c they sucked time away from doing something productive.)

  12. Bob

    July 23, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    An excellent example Matt, but the big difference is that a) there were only so many songs in that movie and b) you got a credit at the end that everyone could see if they sat in their seat long enough.

    The movie gave you exposure you could not have gotten on your own. That isn’t the same thing with Trulia, where, like AR, it is looking for a needle in a haystack.

    Put a link to my blog on a Trulia page that everyone sees and I’m in.

  13. Eric Bramlett

    July 23, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    You never know where a consumer will look.

    Is that the new tagline? 🙂

    Put a link to my blog on a Trulia page that everyone sees and I’m in.

    I second that motion!

  14. bill lublin

    July 23, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    Danilo Interesting post. And while I think starting a blog on someone else’s site is not the best long term move,I can understand where some people would choose to write a single post or 2 in a trulia or AR Environment, but in the long run , there is nothing free in the world. If they provide the environment and you use it,what’s wrong with their getting a benefit from it, They want Trulia to be THE place for consumers to look for real estate related stuff. If you’re OK with that, support it. If you’re noy OK with it ,write somehwere else

  15. The Harriman Team

    July 23, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    @Matt – ah, Lüpüs Thünder! We don’t need no water…good song, good band, good film. Methinks I’ll have to upload some new music to the iPod…

  16. Dan Connolly

    July 23, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    Actually I have gotten two leads from Trulia!

    Let’s see the first one was from a nice young lady who needed help cashing a $500,000,000 check from her late father. The other one seemed like an actual customer asking about properties in an area I work, no phone # just an email. I responded within 5 minutes of her inquiry, followed up several times and never heard back from her. Yeah, I know, that comes with all leads…

    These two came after participating in Voices for a bit, but for me, wading through the endless posts of agents asking people to check out their award winning websites was really boring. I can’t really imagine that the blogs are going to be any more interesting. Someone will ask about a neighborhood, or post a piece about an area and then get to hear from everyone who wants to be their agent talking about how great they are.

    I am waiting to hear someone from Trulia weigh in on the no follow aspect of the signature links in the Trulia blog, but I’m not holding my breath. It seems simple enough, if you want agents to contribute some content to your website, how about paying them for it with a little link love? Afraid that too many will spam the blog? What do you think the agents are doing in Voices? If that’s not spam I don’t know what is!

  17. Ken Smith

    July 23, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    I am waiting to hear someone from Trulia weigh in on the no follow aspect of the signature links in the Trulia blog, but I’m not holding my breath. It seems simple enough, if you want agents to contribute some content to your website, how about paying them for it with a little link love?

    I look into my crystal ball and predict that Rudy will say “we no follow the links because it’s an industry standard”.

  18. Frank Jewett

    July 23, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    Ken, you forgot “Just to clarify…”

  19. Ken Smith

    July 23, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    BTW Frank this is great “If you’re going to monetize me, you should pay me.”

  20. Heather @ Trulia

    July 24, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Hey – Heather again…Rudy is busy paneling/socializing/causing mayhem at Inman Connect.

    We’ve been listening over the past few months to agents, and know how important SEO is. The blog content will be dofollow. The blog comments (and prop detail pages) are nofollowed “as is industry standard” (shout out to Ken).

    Joking aside, we agree with all of you that if we can’t prove ROI, we don’t have a product. We are working hard and listening to feedback… Trulia Blogs are meant to help agents and consumers connect with other agents/consumers/locals/etc. If you want to give it a test run, email me at heather [at] trulia to get beta access. Have questions? Same email.


  21. Laurie Manny

    August 8, 2008 at 4:39 am

    You never know where a consumer will look.

    I know exactly where a consumer will look. They look on the search engines. They search the top 3 positions. The leads can pour in up there in the stratosphere and Trulia is trying to take those positions.

    I love this talk about ooooh I got 2 leads from Trulia. You can get more leads than that before you wake up in the morning on your own blog if its set up right.

    Why don’t you ask the top voices on Trulia how many leads they have received for all of the work they have done. I asked while we were up at Inman. While you are at it, ask them about the quality of those leads, I did.

    All I’ll say here is that it wasn’t anywhere near worth the work and time involved.

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