Mr. Rob Hahn posed this question this morning on Twitter, while at the very same time Bill Lublin quotes Chris Brogan “we are all so hungry these days to be commentators.” Seconds Later, Aaron Strout again quotes Chris with “listening is the new black.”
All of this is absolutely true, and answers Rob’s question decisively as well as affirms my post yesterday where I urged Realtor.com to open the windows and listen to its subscribers.
The Realtors’ issue with Realtor.com is many many fold, but the issue at heart is that the Realtor never really felt they had a say, nor do they have a say in how listings are shared, nor do they have any way of making any type of change (there are no committees to join). This is a passionate business, and agents work very hard for their listings to have very little control in how they’re shared; Realtor.com is the ultimate reminder of this fact as Realtor.com is happy to take fees but not interested in crowd sourcing its relationship.
We’ve seen 1.0 model after 1.0 model adopt social media and the principals of crowd sourcing, yet our industry is resistant to it at every turn.
According to Hillary Marsh, her and Pam Kabati with NAR listened for virtually two years before acting on the use of social media; and they acted. Brining Todd Carpenter to NAR was not the first step, as they spent a lot of time and energy listening to as well as asking the crowd before even creating the position. They listened passionately, asked a lot of questions, designed a position, and then they listened some more, and what they got in return after installing Todd was a very excited crowd. For the very first time, the crowd felt that they had been heard, and that NAR was listening, and suddenly, you began to see overall sentiment change where NAR is concerned.
It didn’t change anything at NAR in the short run, but what it has done is open a window for voices to come in, and the crowd for the most part is settled because for a change, members can see progression on behalf of the National Association of Realtors towards modernity.
It hasn’t been perfect for NAR, but NAR is engaged, it’s organic, it’s dynamic, and the relationship is growing between NAR and its members with Todd as a conduit- a visible symbol of the relationship.
Realtor.com could learn a lot from NAR and I’m sure they’re trying, but the problem they have is that Realtors would just assume it be named Move.com. Ultimately they have no relationship with the brand behind the brand, so there is no personal connection to Move, nor Realtor.com at this point. This could change virtually overnight if Realtor.com would simply open the door in meaningful ways.
Remaining in the relationship as a “Take Agent” ultimately ends with the significant other feeling taken advantage of and resentful, and in this case it demonstrates perfectly how its subscribers feel. Inevitably there’s going to be a breakup unless the Take Agent begins to give back in meaningful ways.