All Phoenix Real Estate.Com

Phoenix Real Estate and Homes for Sale | Jonathan Dalton, Realty ONE Group – (602) 502-9693

Jonathan Dalton
REALTOR
ePro, SFR
602-502-9693

Inside Baseball: On Redfin and Active Rain

Inside Baseball: On Redfin and Active Rain

Some inside baseball … this may not interest the non-real estate set, aside from the glimpse it provides into my thinking. Which could be interesting. Or frightening.

This past week I had the opportunity to interview with Redfin, a discount real estate company, about the chance to be an “overflow” referral agent. Seems that Redfin is getting more than leads from its Phoenix real estate website than the company’s handful of local agents can handle, so it’s looking for agents to help manage the flow.

Though the interview was one of my best, it ends up Redfin’s going another direction. Which is fine, as I’m sure I’ll manage to stay afloat as I have the past seven years even without their help.

But there’s one question asked that keeps nagging me …

During the interview I was asked if I use Active Rain.

For those who don’t know, Active Rain is an online blogging community that’s been around for a few years now. Many of my friends in the real estate blogging world are folks that I met there; some of them still write on the site.

At the time I was active on Active Rain, there were 20,000-odd members and we were writing for each other as education pieces and for the public. When you went to the site you’d have the ability to search for agents in different towns, you’d see some featured posts, you’d see some rankings …

A lot of that’s still there. But was also now exists on Active Rain’s front page are a series of smarmy testimonials to the financial wonders that come with paying for an upgraded membership there. Agents happily holding commission checks and wondering why other agents ever would question the brilliance of paying for premium account.

The visuals turn my stomach, to be perfectly honest. Since the first day I’ve been licensed I’ve been inundated with this same routine, all of which generally include the hook that “you’ll cover the cost with your first commission check.” Few ever pan out.

Reality is Active Rain is to real estate blogging what America Online was to the Internet back in the day … a safe haven for those unwilling to leave a secure environment and see what the real world’s like. If you’re not there you’re nobody to the regulars; except many of the originals, the folks whose content drove Active Rain’s growth, aren’t there anymore.

I’m currently running somewhere in the area of six separate websites, not including the single-property WordPress blogs I build for my listings. I don’t need Active Rain. Haven’t in a very, very long time.

If activity on Active Rain is in any sense a measure of a real estate agent’s technological expertise, then happily count me among the troglodytes who know more than the so-called evolved.

Comments

  • I’m still trying to figure out what any of this has to do with baseball…..

  • I’m still trying to figure out what any of this has to do with baseball…..

  • I’m still trying to figure out what any of this has to do with baseball…..

  • The way the Mariners play?

  • I can completely understand the comparison of Active Rain and AOL – I was a chat room monitor for years with AOL – and right from the get go I thought AR was a lot like AOL – many of us found our blogging voice there –

    I agree 100% that AR is a great place to share with other agents – but the cumbersome ways for a potential client to find you there is ridiculous – if any company out there thinks being active in AR is going to make a great agent they most likely “don’t get it.” 

    Sorry Rich – but I must say I too agree with this –

  • What interests me right now is traffic … more traffic, better Google ranking. In my mind, I know a presence on AR will not translate into traffic outside AR. Not with 200,000-plus members climbing over each other to be noticed. Those days are years past.

    Truthfully, I don’t mind not having REALTOR traffic even as I write about something like this because agents aren’t going to be buying houses from me. At the same time, along the lines of all publicity is good publicity, all web traffic is good web traffic.

    Having said all that … it was a really, really odd question to be asked; I’m not sure what participation on Active Rain indicates.

  • What interests me right now is traffic … more traffic, better Google ranking. In my mind, I know a presence on AR will not translate into traffic outside AR. Not with 200,000-plus members climbing over each other to be noticed. Those days are years past.

    Truthfully, I don’t mind not having REALTOR traffic even as I write about something like this because agents aren’t going to be buying houses from me. At the same time, along the lines of all publicity is good publicity, all web traffic is good web traffic.

    Having said all that … it was a really, really odd question to be asked; I’m not sure what participation on Active Rain indicates.

  • Hi Jonathan,  Thanks for your blog post.  I am just finishing up three months at ActiveRain and I would love to chat with you more about how you think I should be thinking about ActiveRain and where ActiveRain should be going (regardless of the testimonials on the front page).   My email is nikesh at activerain or give me a call at 206 254 6506.  Looking forward to connecting.

  • Jim Zirbes says:

    Don’t think you missed much by not being included in the Redfin leadflow. Where they able to explain why they needed another agent? I’ll reason that it’s likely that with both their primary internal & the oveflow agents, it’s that the agent turnover is just as bad if not worse than any other remotely comparable network. Why? Because in the end it just wasn’t worth it in the opinion of many who tried when considering the demands from the corporate office in following up with the mostly lukewarm potential clients. And for those few that do get to close, the comparatively meager net dollars remaining for the agents meant mucho effort for minimal return.

  • Missy Caulk says:

    Jon, I met you and most of the “kool kids” back in the day. Nothing wrong with having your own blog, I get it and have since 2007 when Jon was going to sell to R.com. But, I don’t understand why people who learned to blog there, trash it so much. I have met the most wonderful Realtors, Lenders and Stagers there.
    Never look at the home page, guess I will now. But, whoever said it that should be on the members side and NOT the consumers side.

  • Hey, Missy … is saying most of us outgrew Active Rain really trashing it? A lot of us started on RealTown blogs and outgrew those to move to WordPress before those blogs caught up with a lot of what we needed. AR is a highly insular community; for some, there is no blogging world that exists outside AR. Which, to me is like, AR in the day.

    The only observation I see that could be trashing the place is calling the photos “smarmy” but I’ve not seen anyone in the thread defend having them on the front page.

  • I’ve run the numbers and done the math, Jim … you may not be far off. I’m no fan of Swann, to say the least, but he was booted from the program months after joining. Given my analysis of Redfin here in the past, I’m thinking the interview wasn’t the deciding factor.

  • Jonathan, I think you are a good guy but I think you’re being a bit mean spirited in this post. Is the check thing tacky? Yes. I say take it down. But don’t judge the platform over their sidebar. Yes, Active Rain is a good place to start, but it’s not a bad place to maintain a presence, either. It has helped me build my company. 

    I was Redfin’s first Partner Agent in New York, I run my own independent firm which has grown through a very depressed period and am in the top 10 out of over 7000 in my MLS for deals closed since 2007. I could “outgrow” the platform and could do far more on the “outside” myself- and probably will-but I will always maintain my voice there. 

    Just as activity on AR doesn’t make the man, nor does the number of websites they run. All I care about is what kind of a guy you are to do business with. 

  • By the way, if Redfin passed on you they most likely made another mistake. 

  • Point well taken. And, yes, there is a little unwritten history between me and some folks at AR that seeps through. Don’t want to start into that, though.

  • Naturally, I agree. Of course, the bridge over the River Kwai didn’t get
    obliterated this completely so, needless to say, I’m not holding my breath
    for another invite. 🙂

  • Only because it fits … had an email from HouseHunt end up in my Junk Folder with the heading “One lead, one sale.” From the e-mail – Michael Hoke, Realtor from California Sunset Realty and HouseHunt member agent
    representing Lake Elsinore,
    CA just reported, that he opened
    escrow on the first lead he ever received from HouseHunt. He is in the process of opening another
    escrow from another HouseHunt lead for $460,000. The average price in the county is just under
    $200,000. “Thanks again to HouseHunt.”

    This is my point with the front page of Active Rain. It’s no different than what we’re bombarded with as agents every bloody day. 

  • That’s really interesting.  I’m a new agent and was wondering what Activerain is about and if it’s worthwhile to use.

  • Jim Little says:

    I have been on Active Rain since 2006, early days to be sure. Like Jonathon, I feel the paychecks on the first page a consumer sees are tacky, and reinforce the public perception that we are all about the commission. I can see that a person browsing the web might mistakenly feel that AR is not the place to get good info when buying or selling a home. Certainly the Raingods should remove it.

  • If it’s about the consumer and the agents, then they take it down. If AR is about the revenue they can collect for upgraded accounts, then they’ll leave it.
    Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

  • Elizabeth Cooper-Golden says:

    Jonathan, While I don’t “know you” personally, I have always heard very good things about you. I do have to disagree in part about AR however.  I joined in late 2007 if I remember correctly.  I had NO idea what a blog was at the time and learned how to walk there.  I quickly moved on to my own blog, but also remained a member, and quite active for the vast majority of time.  I have since slowed down, but that’s only due to a new business that is growing leaps and bounds.

    Here is my take on Active Rain:  Side bar with commission check photos-tacky.  Otherwise, I’m a fan.  Granted, I’m grandfathered in and don’t pay.  If they ever changed the business model for me, I hate to say but I would probably still remain.   It only makes sense for me, income wise.  I just closed an upper end lead last month directly from Active Rain.   They Googled a subdivision and called me from an old post.  Happens quite frequently honestly.  By frequently, I mean a few times a year.   

    I do think that we all need to have our own blog as the main priority.   My blog will always be my first priority.

    Active Rain is just one more marketing tool for me.  As J.Phillip stated, I have recruited 2 wonderful agents because of AR.  I was able to form relationships with them.  The got to know “me” via my written word and vise versa.  I have formed so many wonderful relationships, as you have.  

    Being a member of AR has served me well not only financially but has also been a wonderful stepping stone introducing me to the world of technology.  I could say I’m off to bigger and better things, but that wouldn’t be the truth.  As the old saying goes “it takes a village”.  AR is a part of my online village and I’m not going anywhere 🙂

    WHAT was Redfin thinking?  Their loss, for sure!

  • Disqus generic email templateI’m also grandfathered, to my knowledge; first signed up for Active Rain back in the fall of 2006 if memory serves. For me, the village became less and less valuable as it grew but that’s just me. I’m also a curmudgeon. If AR works for you, far be it from me to dissuade you from using it. My point remains that it was a strange question to ask; it was almost as if the use or lack thereof of Active Rain served as an indicator of how well-wired an agent is which, if that really was the case, is just silly.

Real Time Web Analytics