The time has come. After much deliberation, I’ve come to realize that I’ve spent too much time selling real estate and not enough time working on a full-fledged acquisition strategy. I want to be bought out. That, my friends, is the dominant theme of Real Estate 2.0.
It’s not about transparency. It’s not about the consumer. It’s not even about the agents for many of the third-party interlopers. It’s all about the benjamins.
Case in point: Active Rain, an online real estate community that provides free blogs to its members, has sued Move.Com because Move.Com’s folks allegedly promised to buy out Active Rain’s folks but then changed their mind.
Active Rain once was a kinder, gentler version of the RealTalk listserv – a great deal of information for real estate agents without the risk of being flamed into cinders. But then word got out. And people started looking at how you could accumulate points and get an SEO bonus to boot. And so they started writing posts for the points rather than because they had something to say. And as of this moment, at least 90% of the blogs on Active Rain suck because the writers never learned there’s a larger point than getting points.
Move.Com is in much the same place, only with fewer blogs and a higher degree of sucking among the authors. Again, almost none of the authors have any idea why they have a blog but the price was right and REALTOR magazine told them that they needed one and so they started writing.
In some ways, this would have been a marriage made in hell – a powerful website from an SEO perspective being purchased by a company with no clue what real estate blogs really are about … consumer education, hopefully without the dizzying spin so prevalent in all things touched by NAR.
The details soon will disappear behind Inman news’ subscription wall. If you care about the he said, she said then go to Athol’s blog where he’s got links to the whole fiasco.
As for what really has my goat about the whole thing, it’s the utter lack of transparency in the entire process. Real estate agents are beaten about the head and shoulders for the mere to desire to make a buck yet that’s all that the majority of the real estate 2.0 folks are looking to do. And they’re doing it with our “product” – whether it’s our inventory, our writings, our photographs.
How far would Trulia Voices go without agents answering questions (even agents who have never visited the state about which they’re answering?) What about the listing feeds? Would Redfin have anywhere near the cache if we didn’t waste our time talking about it?
Active Rain wouldn’t exist if not for the writers. Localism, AR’s stepchild, never would have gotten off the ground if agents hadn’t leaped like lemmings to post their photographs and intellectual property for a few points. MyHouseKey didn’t get the contributions and fell through.
We provide the content. The designer wonks get all the cash.
Screw it … send me the check and the website’s yours. Hell, I’ll even through
throw in Captain Morgan and a half-eaten Sparky from ASU for an extra $25.
It doesn’t get much more transparent than that, does it?
UPDATE: Here’s the thread on AR. I understand some measure of support but it doesn’t seem like most of the folks there get what’s happening.
Joel Burslem at Future of Real Estate Marketing does get it – the content you add to these sites isn’t your own.
UPDATE TWO: Grammar corrected. Oy vey. Thanks to Brian for the comment which made me aware of my rant-induced error. And I also fixed the link to the AR thread.[tags]real estate blogging, real estate technology[/tags]