Editor’s note: If you’re not in the real estate industry (this means you, Mom) you’re free to skip this one.
Maureen McCabe over at Columbus’ Best Blog reported this morning that InternetCrusade and RIS Media are combining forces at IC’s recently-revamped RealTown.Com portal.
From the press release:
Without any formal membership drive, RealTown is experiencing viral growth, witnessing on average 100 new members a day, and housing more than 4,000 member blogs, 17,500 blog entries in addition to more than 52,000 community generated messages.
The collaboration will provide members and subscribers of both RealTown and RISMedia the opportunity to establish an online presence in an advanced social networking environment, create market-area expertise and credentials, access an expanding knowledge base of nearly 1 million posts and articles, tap powerful marketing tools, get free online coaching and mentoring, and become part of a powerful referral network.
Substitute “Active Rain” for “RealTown” and boost the numbers a bit and the two paragraphs would read nearly the same. Which means that while the changes at RealTown have been somewhat interesting, it’s all been done before.
For those who only discovered this blog in 2007, Dalton’s Arizona Homes Blog started on RealTown two years ago. It’s hard to take Alexa traffic figures seriously, I know, but for a while my blog was driving about 17 – 18% percent of the traffic to RealTown.
That was part of the reason I left. I needed a more robust blog interface, but I also figured it made more sense to drive that traffic directly to my own server and site, my own brand – it was a lesson I learned taking IC’s e-Pro certification course.
I wasn’t alone … several of the bloggers you probably have in your RSS feed reader started at RealTown and moved on long, long ago. Retention’s always easier than recruitment but IC wasn’t yet in position to retain us.
While the partnership may bear some fruit, forming a real estate social networking site is so 2007. Most of us don’t need to be on RealTown to “create market-area expertise and credentials.” I can do that quite nicely here every day.
(Quick aside: my company’s relocation director asked where she could find the absorption rate figures I run, believing them to be a creation of the Arizona Regional MLS. I told her to check my blog every Tuesday – it’s the lone online source. They’ll miss me when I’m gone, I tell ya.)
Consumers are mentioned in the press release, as they always are, but this all has more to do with consumers finding agents than consumers finding information. Agents will go to RealTown as they have gone to AR in search of commission checks, whether they really are there to be had or not.
For me, the kicker of the press release was the reference to the “powerful referral network.” Again, most of us don’t need Active Rain or RealTown to form a powerful referral network. There already is one in place, formed through the real estate blogs over the past couple of years.
If Mr. Kay has family or friends moving to Phoenix, is he going to go to Active Rain or RealTown to find an agent for his folks or is he going to call me? (The answer: neither. He’ll probably call the HouseChick because he has an excuse, then call Jay when he learns Tucson isn’t near Phoenix. Stupid sock puppet.)
Personally, I’m already working with a half-dozen clients that have been referred to me by other bloggers over the past three months. That, kids, is a powerful referral network.
If IC and RIS Media could jump into the Way Back Machine and form this alliance back in 2006, it truly would be something to behold. But here in 2008 it’s just another drop in what seems to be an increasingly large bucket of social networking efforts.