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You wondered why you should blog as a Realtor, Google is answering



I had an interesting conversation recently about crowd sourcing. This particular Realtor stated that he did not crowdsource anything. In fact, it seemed foolish to him to even ask questions of followers on Twitter for recommendations. I quickly asked if he used Google.

Obviously the answer was yes, and my answer was that he did in fact crowd source if he used Google, and an even bigger issue is that consumers are sourcing their answers to vet yours.

I’ll explain. In the past, we competed on keywords and relevance, and to a degree we still do, what is changing however is the ability to bump those that hold the number one positions for high value search terms to the bottom.

It’s true. We (the user) can now narrow our search to the latest results rather than keyword armed, link held positions. We can determine the age of the information we find most valuable, placing those that blog or dynamically update content front and center.

We can now see not only Wikipedia, but Quora, Flickr, and Twitter in the stream of results, and with a click of the mouse, you can adjust by freshness. In essence, you’re crowdsourcing your search, and depending more and more on consumer-driven content rather than static material designed to residually produce results. Dynamic content will surely win the day (although we advise you trust but verify your search results).

What’s most interesting to us is the fact that Google has incredible insight on its faithful users. One of those sources is your feed reader, and one could derive that from your Google Feed Reader, Google can send you a trusted source as a result, and the same goes for Twitter, Google friends, Gmail, and the like.

Moral of the story? It’s going to pay to be social, and it will pay even more to be blogging, but the bigger money will be on the “latest” articles.

Can you continue on the path of ignoring a social path and remain successful? I suppose that if your clients aren’t on the internet, you’ll be just fine. I’d also posit that it no longer matters if the Realtor crowdsources their business, the better question is “are my clients crowdsourcing my services?”

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. Ryan Mason

    February 17, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Money quote:

    “Moral of the story? It’s going to pay to be social, and it will pay even more to be blogging, but the bigger money will be on the “latest” articles.”

    This is what we’ve based our entire company culture about. And it’s funny, no matter how much people “get it” intellectually, until they actually get that true “a-ha!” moment personally, it doesn’t stick. But articles like these always help. Good stuff, Benn.

  2. Jeff Belonger

    February 17, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Ben… very very interesting and thought provoking. The new changes with Google and what you mentioned, I need to now go to google and play with this. I understand what you are saying, but I need to see it for my own eyes.. But this makes a valid point on what one should be doing when it comes to blogging and social media networking. My question would be… could you get me 8 days a week and 30 hour days?? Good post.

    • Benn Rosales

      February 17, 2011 at 9:01 pm

      I think the answer is to work smarter, not more or harder. Glad it got your gears turning.

      • Drew Meyers - Virtual Results

        February 17, 2011 at 10:06 pm

        Agree with you Benn; those who ignore this shift are going to struggle. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next month, but soon. I think Google is going to continue to reward those who “show up” day in and day out…people like Dale Chumbley.

  3. Jeff Belonger

    February 17, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Benn.. I have always been the philosophy of working smarter… but with so many new changes regarding social media, google, networking, SEO, etc, etc.. one can’t help not to work harder.. hence my 8 days a week statement. Unless I had a team at my disposal, which would cost money, I have no choice at this time not to work harder… which means staying on top of this stuff… which means so many hours in front of the computer, etc, etc. And as Drew stated… needing to show up day in and day out… many of my mortgage blogs take longer than the usual blog, because they are detailed, precise… just like this one… .. and if I am only 99.9% sure, I ask or research to make sure I am 100% sure.. and this can take time, no matter how good I am at what I do.. or the knowledge that I have… just saying.

    I will be working harder and smarter at the same time.. lol Especially with what you pointed out… I went through Google after reading your post… very interesting. And just for the fact, the consumer can now control the time frame of such information. I wrote a very good blog on a typepad account I was had in early 2007 and it is still #1 or #2 when searched.. but I have a few other posts on the same topic that are creeping up the ladder. But what you shared, I now need to do those same types of posts more often, right? Or am I missing something? Forgive me… just brain dead right now.. lol

  4. stephanie crawford

    February 17, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    Cool. I knew I could separate by date, but had never noticed the relevance/timeline sorting option.

  5. Coleen DeGroff

    February 18, 2011 at 7:25 am

    Benn – Blogging is time-intensive and can feel like a productivity sucker. It’s good to know that in the eyes of Google – and more importantly in the eyes of our customers – it is time well spent. Time for me to step up my game! Thanks for this eye-opening article.

  6. Bryan McDonald

    February 18, 2011 at 9:52 am

    You are right, having the latest articles is important. You can no longer have a website without constantly updating it with new information. Search Google for “The Best External Hard Dives” and you get reviews from 2008. Filtering search results by date is becoming more and important. What is more interesting is your statement “It’s going to pay to be social”. Below the “Sort by relevance” option there is a “Social” search option that shows results based on your social network. Google announced yesterday they are updated their Google Social Search. These social search results will now be mixed throughout your search results (before they could only be found at the bottom) based on their relevance. Not only is the timeliness of blog posts important but also the size and reach of your social presence.

  7. Bob Wilson

    February 18, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    ” In the past, we competed on keywords and relevance, and to a degree we still do, what is changing however is the ability to bump those that hold the number one positions for high value search terms to the bottom.”

    This isnt exactly a true statement because it implies that the results you see when you search is the same as what others see with the same search query.

    With personalization, that isnt the case.

    • Benn Rosales

      February 18, 2011 at 12:51 pm

      I see what you’re saying in a macro sense of search, but in each users instance, their search is also geo aware. My point is to help people understand that Google is giving them the power to place value on age and recommendations, not debate the merits of great SEO. Obviously, if your title isn’t sensitive to possible search terms, it’ll never be relevant enough to land page one. The problem I see with this is that some of the most valuable content on the web are seasoned articles, age doesn’t make them less relevant imo, but there is an economy in freshness.

      • Bob Wilson

        February 18, 2011 at 1:35 pm

        Freshness isnt an indicator of quality though, just as age doesnt mean something is not relevant. Google knows this, and isnt duped by a page title, which is why Google will always be looking for authoritative citations, in whatever form those may be.

        The weak point is this:

        “It’s true. We (the user) can now narrow our search to the latest results rather than keyword armed, link held positions. We can determine the age of the information we find most valuable, placing those that blog or dynamically update content front and center.”

        With a gazillion new pages published everyday, “those that blog or dynamically update content” are still facing ridiculous odds for being found for queries that drive traffic that converts to money in the bank. Ranking for something when someone does a search when they are not logged into Google isnt an either or proposition. It isnt the ‘content is king”, “fresh is best” or “link rules” argument. Its more comprehensive than that.

        It isnt sage advice to continue to perpetuate the myth that if you blog, google will come. It just isnt that simple.

        • Benn Rosales

          February 18, 2011 at 3:40 pm

          Wrong equation – (publisher + connection = result regardless) it’s happening every single second. Look at the images, it even provided news. Log in and out of your gmail account and each time search for a topic, and watch your results change based on connections it’s used.

          This personalization of results isn’t an seo move, it’s a communications blessing.

          Because you do not believe me to be correct, does not make me wrong. I suggest you take this article on it’s whole and not piece by piece, the only thing I am perpetuating are social results and that people should use them.

          I’m out for the weekend, spew away.

          • Bob Wilson

            February 18, 2011 at 10:29 pm

            “Spew away”

            So much for intelligent debate. That may explain AG’s need to regurgitate content. So much for freshness.

  8. MH for Movoto

    February 18, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Hey, if time-search is the brave new world, that’s all the more reason to blog as frequently as possible – and I expect that will change the ontology of the Blog a little bit. but it’s good motivation nonetheless.

  9. David Hood

    February 18, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Can you continue on the path of ignoring a social path and remain successful? I was giving this some thought lately, I have a Twitter account and a Facebook account, but only set it up knowing one day I would get left behind, if I did not participate. Looks like that time has come to do more social media.

  10. Ken Brand

    February 18, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    If you share it, Google will find and reward you, then everyone will know. It get’s better and better. Nice share, exciting times.

  11. Connor MacIvor

    February 19, 2011 at 11:43 am

    On the PD, when teaching firearms and tactics, we always told the in service folks and recruits, when showing a technique – You may never use this, but if you will keep it in your “minds toolbox” – it will be there if you need it.

    Social Media will be about the “slow blade winning”. I am in total agreement with you Benn, when it comes to needing to get involved – but I also think that hard work (the right kind of hard work) pay’s off huge.

    Agents come into my office wondering how we are still keeping our numbers high in the current market – it is always about working hard and constantly learning. I redirect them to your blog and others and I am very fond of when it comes to learning from masters. But those suggestions fall on deaf ears for the most part. The “silver bullet” is always the most attractive option along with “set it and forget it” theory of Real Estate marketing.

    While some are sleeping, you are your readers are running to steady, the sleepy-heads might never catch up…

    Thanks for your very “timely” article – My BEST – Connor

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Social Media

Twitter to start charging users? Here’s what you need to know

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Social media is trending toward the subscription based model, especially as the pandemic pushes ad revenue down. What does this mean for Twitter users?



Twitter and other social media apps open on a phone being held in a hand. Will they go to a paid option subscription model?

In an attempt to become less dependent on advertising, Twitter Inc. announced that it will be considering developing a subscription product, as well as other paid options. Here’s the scoop:

  • The ideas for paid Twitter that are being tossed around include tipping creators, the ability to pay users you follow for exclusive content, charging for use of the TweetDeck, features like “undo send”, and profile customization options and more.
  • While Twitter has thought about moving towards paid for years, the pandemic has pushed them to do it – plus activist investors want to see accelerated growth.
  • The majority of Twitter’s revenue comes from targeted ads, though Twitter’s ad market is significantly smaller than Facebook and other competitors.
  • The platform’s user base in the U.S. is its most valuable market, and that market is plateauing – essentially, Twitter can’t depend on new American users joining to make money anymore.
  • The company tried user “tips” in the past with its live video service Periscope (RIP), which has now become a popular business model for other companies – and which we will most likely see again with paid Twitter.
  • And yes, they will ALWAYS take a cut of any money being poured into the app, no matter who it’s intended for.

This announcement comes at a time where other social media platforms, such as TikTok and Clubhouse, are also moving towards paid options.

My hot take: Is it important – especially during a pandemic – to make sure that creators are receiving fair compensation for the content that we as users consume? Yes, 100%. Pay people for their work. And in the realm of social media, pictures, memes, and opinions are in fact work. Don’t get it twisted.

Does this shift also symbolize a deviation from the unpaid, egalitarian social media that we’ve all learned to use, consume, and love over the last decade? It sure does.

My irritation stems not from the fact that creators will probably see more return on their work in the future. Or on the principal of free social media for all. It stems from sheer greediness of the social media giants. Facebook, Twitter, and their counterparts are already filthy rich. Like, dumb rich. And guess what: Even though Twitter has been free so far, it’s creators and users alike that have been generating wealth for the company.

So why do they want even more now?

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Social Media

TikTok enters the e-commerce space, ready to compete with Zuckerberg?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Setting up social media for e-commerce isn’t an uncommon practice, but for TikTok this means the next step competing with Facebook and Instagram.



Couple taking video with mobile phone, prepared for e-commerce.

Adding e-commerce offerings to social media platforms isn’t anything new. However, TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese firm ByteDance, is rolling out some new e-commerce features that will place the social video app in direct competition with Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook and Instagram.

According to a Financial Times report, TikTok’s new features will allow the platform to create and expand its e-commerce service in the U.S. The new features will allow TikTok’s popular users to monetize their content. These users will be able to promote and sell products by sharing product links in their content. In return, TikTok will profit from the sales by earning a commission.

Among the features included is “live-streamed” shopping. In this mobile phone shopping channel, users can purchase products by tapping on products during a user’s live demo. Also, TikTok plans on releasing a feature that will allow brands to display their product catalogs.

Currently, Facebook has expanded into the e-commerce space through its Facebook Marketplace. In May 2020, it launched Facebook Shops that allows businesses to turn their Facebook and Instagram stories into online stores.

But, Facebook hasn’t had too much luck in keeping up with the video platform in other areas. In 2018, the social media giant launched Lasso, its short-form video app. But the company’s TikTok clone didn’t last too long. Last year, Facebook said bye-bye to Lasso and shut it down.

Instagram is trying to compete with TikTok by launching Instagram Reels. This feature allows users to share short videos just like TikTok, but the future of Reels isn’t set in stone yet. By the looks of it, videos on Reels are mainly reposts of video content posted on TikTok.

There is no word on when the features will roll out to influencers on TikTok, but according to the Financial Times report, the social media app’s new features have already been viewed by some people.

TikTok has a large audience that continues to grow. By providing monetization tools in its platform, TikTok believes its new tools will put it ahead of Facebook in the e-commerce game, and help maintain that audience.

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Social Media

Your favorite Clubhouse creators can now ask for your financial support

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Clubhouse just secured new funding – what it means for creators and users of the latest quarantine-based social media darling.



Woman talking on Clubhouse on her iPhone with a big smile.

Clubhouse – the live-voice chat app that has been taking the quarantined world by storm – has recently announced that it has raised new funding in a Series B round, led by Andreessen Horowitz, the venture capital firm in Silicon Valley.

The app confirms that new funding means compensation for creators; much like the influencers on TikTok and YouTube, now Clubhouse creators will be able to utilize features such as subscriptions, tipping, and ticket sales to monetize their content.

To encourage emerging Clubhouse creators and invite new voices, funding round will also support a promising “Creator Grant Program”.

On the surface, Clubhouse is undoubtedly cool. The invite-only, celebrity-filled niche chatrooms feel utopic for any opinionated individual – or anyone that just likes to listen. At its best, Clubhouse brings to mind collaborative campfire chats, heated lecture-hall debates or informative PD sessions. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m actually obsessed.

And now with its new round, the video chatroom app will not only appear cool but also act as a helpful steppingstone to popular and emerging creators alike. “Creators are the lifeblood of Clubhouse,” said Paul & Rohan, the app’s creators, “and we want to make sure that all of the amazing people who host conversations for others are getting recognized for their contributions.”

Helping creators get paid for their labor in 2021 is a cause that we should 100% get behind, especially if we’re consuming their content.

Over the next few months, Clubhouse will be prototyping their tipping, tickets and subscriptions – think a system akin to Patreon, but built directly into the app.

A feature unique to the app – tickets – will offer individuals and organizations the chance to hold formal discussions and events while charging an admission. Elite Clubhouse rooms? I wonder if I can get a Clubhouse press pass.

Additionally, Clubhouse has announced plans for Android development (the app has only been available to Apple users so far). They are also working on moderation policies after a recent controversial chat sparked uproar. To date, the app has been relying heavily on community moderation, the power of which I’ve witnessed countless times whilst in rooms.

So: Is the golden age of Clubhouse – only possible for a short period while everyone was stuck at home and before the app gained real mainstream traction – now over? Or will this new round of funding and subsequent development give the app a new beginning?

For now, I think it’s safe to say that the culture of Clubhouse will certainly be changing – what we don’t know is if the changes will make this cream-of-the-crop app even better, or if it’ll join the ranks of Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook in being another big-time social media staple.

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