Ken's Naperville Real Estate Blog : Is Active Rain becoming obsolete?

Is Active Rain becoming obsolete?

I joined Active Rain in February 2007.  At the time, I knew the term "blog", but really didn't know what it meant...

Over the first year, I wrote about 5 posts, and wondered, "Why isn't this bringing me any business?"

I didn't get it.

One year later, I made a committment to AR, blogging, and my real estate business.

At the time, Active Rain was my only social media outlet, and I ate it up.  Facebook, Twitter, and Trulia were either months or years awar for me.

So again, I poured my soul into writing posts on Active Rain.  I still go back from time to time and read the old ones.  If you are struggling as an agent today, I strongly suggest you go read some of my old ones.  Not necessarily well written, but honest, raw and passionate.  Gives me the chills reading the painful times I went through and my honest sharing of them...

So much has changed in the last several years for me.  My passion remains the same, but I am spreading it out over several mediums now, not just focusing it on one...

About 3 years ago, a corporation purchased AR from its founders, Jon Washburn and friends, and believe AR may  has lost it's way.

I don't write this to criticize the current owners, but rather to inspire them to greatness.

Two issues I currently have:

  1. Price
    Like many agents, business still remains challenging for me.  Many are struggling to make ends meat, pay MLS dues, and to survive in these times...
    There was a time when I sang the praises of AR to all that would listen.  Now, however, I not only need to explain the value of the time commitment, but I also need to tell them that it is worth $39/month (is that the going rate?).
    This is a tough sell, and one I don't make.  I could not afford to make that investment personally, so I don't ask others to...
    Facebook, Trulia, and just about every other social media site is free.  AR needs to find a way...
     
  2. The Facebook Issue                       Facebook  
     
    Facebook is my most valuable social media asset.  The benefits I receive from participating on FB outweighs the benefits from every other site I use combined.
    My problem is this:  I want to promote Active Rain, and I would like to use FB to do it.  However, when I go to post my writing from AR, the link doesn't really work.  It looks lame.  I have to post a picture with it.  Many that would be interested in my writing click on the picture, and never see the words associated with it.
    This is a serious problem for me, as well as others I have spoken to.  I have asked Active Rain (on Facebook, ironically) multiple times why this occurs, and I have never heard back.  
    I have a simple solution.  I now post my writings from Trulia, not Active Rain.  My posts from Trulia look clean and neat, with the title of the post, the first several lines, as well as a picture.  Facebook is a visual forum, and a picture with the links are a must...
    I would prefer to post from AR, but frankly, I lose to much exposure, and I won't do that.  


Again, this is not sour grapes.  I have no ill will.  I would like to see AR prosper in this changing world, and believe it can.

I don't expect pricing to change.  I am OK with that.  I have a free account as one of the early adopters.

I do expect a good answer as why I can't post on FB.  I have suspicions why it happens (don't want to share content?).  I hope those suspicions aren't true, and it is a technological glitch.  If so, FIX THE GLITCH!

Ken

Read my post, "I am a horrible Realtor!"

Read all of them.  Lots of good stuff.  Some not so good, but you have to break some eggs to make an omelette...

 

 

Comment balloon 18 commentsKen Tracy • November 09 2012 08:47AM

Comments

Hey Ken,

I continue to get leads from my AR posts, so I don't think it's obsolete.  And the expense goes down as we cross 100K point thresholds which encourages more participation in AR.  The FB link was working well at one point.  Not sure what happened.  I will look to see other responses to your post.  Best of success to you for a strong finish this year!

Posted by Jordon Wheeler, J W Group Real Estate Sales and Service (The Jordon Wheeler Group) over 5 years ago

I think it is a good suggestion to lower the price.  Mine has gone down due to the accumulation of points, but for newbies, who have no experience in seeing the benefits of AR, that does seem like a heavy price to pay for experimenting...

Posted by Gary Frimann, REALTOR and Broker (Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates) over 5 years ago

I see Active Rain as a tutorial style sharing of information...learn so much!   The two aren't exclusive of each other...meet different needs, perhaps?

Posted by Li Read, Caring expertise...knowledge for you! (Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring)) over 5 years ago

Hi Ken...

The Facebook thing is a concern to me too. Hopefully this honest post will stir someone to action.

Featured in the Group "Whacked!!!"

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) over 5 years ago

As one of my earliest friends on AR, you probably know that I've had..."issues" since the sale to ML (which was complete about a year ago, not 3 years ago, although ML started investing 3 years ago).

I'm an interaction junkie. Remember the monkey and the stimulant pellets....that's me on FB. I love seeing bits and pieces of peoples' lives, even if I'd never comment on their status posts or kids' sporting events. I like the really fast delivery of tech and industry news. 

I also like my own blog site, and those of dozens of others, for info on communities, marketing, technology and trends. But blog sites are mostly "push" communication. Only the most prolific tech and industry writers have the subscription base to generate even a dozen comments...and there is rarely debate. The debate, in fact, is on FB and Twitter.

Tightening the link to FB for posting would let me magically integrate my two worlds. 

AR is not obsolete, maybe just a little dated, but it's all about location, isn't it? Better a more mature neighborhood with good quality homes people than always chasing new. I wouldn't be here if I didn't think it was going to happen.
   


  

Posted by Leslie Ebersole, I help brokers build businesses they love. (Swanepoel T3 Group) over 5 years ago

Ken -- interesting topic.  I have reached out to specific AR contact, to see if they can do something about answering you. 

Have a fantastic weekend!

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) over 5 years ago

Ken- this is an interesting post. Thank you for sharing

Posted by Rhonda Duffy, #1 Retail Listing Agent in the U.S. (Duffy Realty of Atlanta & Rainmaker Realty) over 5 years ago

Hi Rhonda, Steven, Leslie, Richard, Jordan, Gary, and Sea to Sky.  Thanks everyone for responding.

I was worried you would all hate me for this.  Thanks for not hating me! :)

Anyway, as far as the money goes, that is a business decision.  I believe they are making a poor one.  Every other site is free.  Yes, they struggle to make money, but FB is figuring it out...

As far as the posting on FB goes, it used to work fine.  After the management shake up, it does not.  Perhaps I am paranoid, but I don't feel AR believes it is in there best interest to easily share content, and is stopping it...

I hope I am wrong.  They know there is a problem, and I haven't been answered.  Until they change this, I will use Trulia to post on FB.  Seems like a horrible decision on their part.  I have thousands of FB contacts, and they are being exposed to Trulia, not AR as I would prefer...

AR, I await an answer regarding the FB post issue.  Is it a glitch?  Or are you hoarding content?

Thanks again for listening! 

Ken

Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Keller Williams Realty Infinity) over 5 years ago

Ken,

I believe I told you on the Facebook thread it has nothing to do with any nefarious reasons. We don't want to allow you to share your content? I'm sorry, but that's laughable if you actually believe that. What possible purpose could we have for not wanting the extra traffic on ActiveRain that you posting to Facebook could bring us.

You must not have gotten my response to your post on Facebook. It's simply a technical issue that for whatever reason our developers have not been able to figure out. I do know it's on a backlog for us to look at, amongst many other things. The most important things we have been clearing off that backlog are SEO related and are helping to allow our members content to continue to rank successfully.

We really are not trying to keep AR content hidden from Facebook users. In fact, we would love if every AR member shared every single blog post they wrote with their Facebook friends and on their fan pages. Nothing would make me more happy. I know there is an issue with the images. It's not on purpose.

I have sent your blog post (even though the issue is already on our backlog) over to Amy, our project manager to see if your concerns (on top of the ones I have already expressed) will get this issue moved up the timeline.

Posted by Bob Stewart, ActiveRain Ambassador (ActiveRain) over 5 years ago

It's hard to convince a broke agent that 39 bucks a month is a needed investment. And frankly, it takes 6-8 months of consistent effort to learn how to blog effectively. Sadly, most agents who try will give up before the process has a chance to pay off.

 

Posted by Doug Rogers, Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent (Bayou Properties) over 5 years ago

People actually pay to be on AR now? Now I know why people I've invited never signed up. I can tell you that when I was invited, the only reason I tried it was because it was free. This was news to me. Interesting.

Posted by Bob & Bonnie Horning over 5 years ago

Hi Bob, Doug, and BB.  Thanks!

Bob, I beg you to get it figured out.  I like promoting the site, and there is no better way than FB.  It used to work just fine, but can't understand how long it could take to fix.  I know you guys have smart people there, so hope it gets worked out soon!

Again, the $39/month is an issue that AR faces.  All social media companies are looking for profits, including the big ones.  Zillow recently took a big hit in the stock market, and even the mighty FB struggles for consistent profitablity.

I am sure there is a way, but I bet the fee is a tough sell for many.  Lots of effort generating content.  Paying on top of that would be painful.

Again, I have gotten business for AR without a doubt, and have learned tons.  Many of my friends consider me some social media guru, but you can't pay bills with such labels...

Thanks again Bob, for facing my criticism.  I without a doubt thought you were hoarding content, btw.  Glad to hear it is not the case...

Ken

Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Keller Williams Realty Infinity) over 5 years ago

Hi Bob.  Thought I would stop in and address your comment one more time...

I ask you, what is more laughable.  That AR can't fix a glitch that has been going on for a long time (certainly at least a year), or my suspicions?

I stand corrected and believe you when you tell me it is being worked on.  I also understand your tone, because my post wasn't that super positive about your company.

But it was an honest concern by one of your members and long time contributors...

Ken

Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Keller Williams Realty Infinity) over 5 years ago

One of the things that I LOVE about AR is that honest, constructive feedback is well-taken. I also like the idea that open discussion is tolerated.

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) over 5 years ago

As a newbie it is nice to hear it might take 6-8 months to see the benefit.  I have posted to Trulia and then to FB.  I thought I was paying $49.00/month.  Does anyone feel my pain?

Posted by John G. Johnston, An Exclusive Buyer's Agent ~ Westcliffe, CO (John G. Johnston & Associates, LLC) over 5 years ago
Can't agree with you more on the Facebook issue. There has to be a way to make that work better. And I can not get new members to join active rain with the current pricing either. Great point. Lets hope AR is listening.
Posted by Dana Hollish Hill, Lead Associate Broker (Hollish Hill Group, Keller William Capital Properties) over 5 years ago

I have seen the results from my AR blog but would also like to have more exposure.

Posted by Kathy Sheehan, Senior Loan Officer (Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021) over 5 years ago

I'm not sure where to start here. But in running ANY business you have both Fixed and Variable Costs. One of your variable costs is Marketing. Your Marketing efforts will be spent in 3 primary areas -Lead Generation, Personal Branding of your business, Exposing your Listings to the marketplace.

All that being said, I must always be measuring the R.O.I. I receive on any dollars I invest into Marketing. We are taught to work from an Annual Business Plan and to create a Marketing Budget. This is where I have my disconnect from the thinking that "AR costs too much or is unaffordable".

It took great courage but this year 2012, I drew the line in the sand and proclaimed "NO MORE PRINT MEDIA" !!! (no more dollars towards Newspaper or Homes Mag,etc.). I have all my Marketing to the internet. I know I'm preaching to the chior but at $39per mo. x12(=$468 per yr) this is not a cost that forces me out of budget ! I must do something to promote/market my Listings !

The ease of doing a Realbird or Postlets, then putting it on a my AR Blog and launching it to Google AND THEN using all of the built in Social Media Tabs for yet more exposure. If I do that for 20 listings this year I'm at an average of $22 per listing ?($468 / 20).

I guess it's just the classic is the glass half empty or half full ?

Posted by Michael J. Perry, Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist (KW Elite ) over 5 years ago

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