Why I deleted my ActiveRain blog posts

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Tonight I went into my ActiveRain account and deleted every article I’d ever posted there.

When I mentioned this on Twitter, it caused a bit of a stir, so I thought I’d take the time to explain my actions.

Some backstory…

Back in February 2009, the ActiveRain network announced they were moving to a pay model. What had once been free would now cost money. This caused quite the discussion, but let’s face it – the ActiveRain founders had every right to monetize their network.

The announcement included the news that AR would “grandfather” founding members. In other words, only new AR members would be required to pay to have a full-featured “Rainmaker” account. I thought this was a pretty nice gesture. As always happens with announcements like this, rumors and misunderstanding happened almost immediately. One of those rumors was that founding members (of which I was one) would only be grandfathered in for a year. One of the AR principals, Jonathan Washburn swiftly squashed that rumor with this comment on the announcement post:

Jonathan-Washburn-free-membership-for-life

Fast forward to today…

Twitter began to buzz that grandfathered Rainmaker accounts were being removed. Now I’ve only posted articles twice to AR in the last two years, but I do log on and read and comment a couple of times a month. I’d seen no notice that grandfathered accounts were going away. I know many of the folks that founded and work at ActiveRain and shutting off account with no notice just didn’t fit with the way these guys typically do business. But sure enough, when I logged into my account, my “Rainmaker status” was gone – unless I wanted to pay $39/month to get it back.

I said to myself, “Self, you must have missed an email.” So I searched. Nope, no email notice. So I said, “Self, there has to be something about this posted on the AR blog”. So I went to the “Official AR Blog” – nothing. Not a mention of this.

After some investigation, and help from my Twitter friends, a post by Bob Stewart, another AR principal was uncovered.

In his post dated May 25, 2010, Bob states:

Thank you to everyone who has helped build ActiveRain into the network it is today. In our continued effort to reward our members who have spent time, energy and heart growing our network and contributing on a regular basis, we are implementing a new policy regarding grandfathered RainMaker accounts:

Grandfathered Rainmakers who have contributed one blog post in the previous 90 days will keep their grandfathered RainMaker account. Grandfathered RainMaker members who have NOT contributed one public blog post in the previous 90 days, will lose their grandfathered RainMaker account.

Well, so much for “membership for life”… More like 17 months.

But wait. The post goes on to say that “Starting June 24th, grandfathered RainMakers who have not posted a public blog post in the previous 90 days will lose their grandfathered RainMaker status. You will be notified when your account has gone 60 days without a blog post. This will give you 30 days to generate one public blog post in order to keep your grandfathered RainMaker status.”

A “60 day warning”, fair enough. Except I didn’t get a 60 day warning. I suppose I could have deleted it, but if you’ve ever seen my email inbox, you’d see I don’t delete anything. I archive everything in Gmail. I received no 60 day notice. In fact, it hasn’t even been 60 days since the announcement was made…

Several commenters on the announcement post, and several on Twitter also said they got no warning notice.

Yet Rainmaker accounts are dropping like flies.

I pondered this development and will freely admit that it didn’t sit well, at all, with me.

You see, I joined ActiveRain back in June of 2006, not long after it started up. There was no blogging platform back then. In fact, there wasn’t much of anything back than. About all you could do was build a profile page and invite other members to join. But I thought the idea of a real estate “social network” was brilliant, and I knew it would grow and develop.

And grow and develop it did. I, and many other original members invited others. We evangelized for the network. We helped it grow and develop into what is today, a 186,000 member strong network. It is, almost inarguably, the leading real estate social network.

Why I even posted what AR themselves has recognized as the first blog post on their network, and on March 25, the one-millionth blog was posted on AR.

And yet here today, many “for life” grandfathered accounts are no more. Unless you “contribute” once every 90 days.

I suspect someone right now is saying, “Oh quit your whining and just post once every 90 days”.

I think you are missing the point.

I, and many others, did contribute to AR. Dare I say without the founding members, AR wouldn’t be what it is today. Brad Andersohn, the AR Community Manager commented to me after the 1,000,000th post:

Brads thank you

“Thanks for starting us off and sending us down the right road” is contributing. I also continue to comment on AR posts, but apparently the AR founders don’t think that counts as “contributing”. This strikes me as odd because AR awards “points” for comments, as well as posts. In blogging classes I teach, I regularly promote AR as a great network, with a caring and helpful membership. I’ve seen dozens, if not hundreds of people scribble down “activerain.com” when I speak and teach.

But today my account was downgraded because I no longer “contribute” to the network.

Well, since my contributions are no longer needed, welcomed or appreciated, it seemed the only prudent thing to do was to remove the content I wrote that, at least in my mind, contributed to the network.

Selfish? Sour grapes? I’m sure some will think so. The bottom line is ActiveRain doesn’t need me. And it certainly feels like they don’t believe I contribute any more. You should read some of the comments on the grandfather removal post and see what many current AR members feel — there’s a whole lot of agreement about us “non-contributors”…

That’s OK. It’s their network, it’s their servers, and it’s their rules. They are free to change their rules and policies however they see fit. All that does is reinforce what I have said for a long time – you need to have complete control over your content. Put your content on someone else’s network, and you are at risk of the rules being changed.

So tonight I simply chose to take back my content. It has all been exported and saved (sadly, hundreds of comments are gone as AR provides no way to export comments). I may repurpose some of it. Who knows.

I know some will disagree with my decision to delete my content from AR. And that’s OK. We all are individuals with unique needs, wants, desires and motivations. That is what makes the world interesting. I didn’t do this to “get back” at AR. Good grief, I am one of 186,000+ members and my 86 posts there are insignificant in the pool of one million plus. Me deleting my content will have absolutely zero affect on AR.

But it is my content, and I am free to do with it as I please.

So I did.

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About the Author
Jay Thompson

I'm a real estate broker in Phoenix, Arizona and the publisher of the Phoenix Real Estate Guy blog. I tend to drive too fast and scream at the University of Texas and Denver Broncos football teams. My two kids are smarter than most adults I know and my wife is simply amazing.

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  1. You know Jay, I did the same thing before I left House Values. Removed every post I'd ever made on their mastermind forum.

    I wasn't impacted by the AR move, but was surprised at their actions. Must be a House Values/ Market Leader thing eh? :)

    I enjoy Active Rain and still "contribute" for a variety of reasons, but it seems only reasonable to at least warn those that provided the content that a change was on the horizon.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Brett – wow, Mastermind forum. That was a blast from the past!

      I enjoy AR too. I read there often, and comment occasionally. I just don't have time to post content there. Apparently that's all that counts as a "contribution to the network" now. That's awfully short-sighted, especially considering how smart the guys at AR are.

  2. Jay – I must say – I AGREE – I have thought about doing the same for a couple of years. I have never had the guts to do it – but with people I respect like you taking the lead, my guess is myself and others will follow. It comes down to this – the real estate profession is constantly accused of not being honest and straight forward. Now, we have a huge real estate platform being dishonest by going back on their word, maybe it is time for us to take a stand and not participate in something that does not have the same standard of ethics we do. Nice job outlining exactly what ActiveRain thinks of those of us that helped them grow – personally I have invited 33 people, written over 500 posts and so this is a feat I am not willing to tackle tonight – but I seriously feel I will be following you with.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Thesa – 500 posts is a lot of content. I only had 82 (or 86, I can't remember). Removing your content there is a very personal decision. I wouldn't blame anyone for leaving it there, or taking it off.

      Someone commented on the AR announcement post, "If they have no plans for posting on ActiveRain in the future, what was lost?"

      There is a one word answer for that….. Trust.

      • Jay – in all honesty for my area – I out rank AR everyday hands down – and most of the people in my area have left AR and gone to their own stuff – it is just the time consuming task of taking it down one by one so I know it is gone. AR lost my trust a couple years ago when a community builder called and thought intimidation would get me to pay for localism and more.

        As others have said – there was a time when AR was fun, exciting and I thank them every day for giving me a training ground to find my voice, to not be afraid and just do it. But as Dustin said to you on twitter – his status he can feature you – wtf – he has not blogged on AR for a year or so but he is staff so he keeps his status – and do we really care about features anymore when half the stuff featured is CRAP. It comes down to the same thing it always does – a bunch of political BS where someone has to feel they are empowered – the funny thing is – we can empower ourselves by taking control of our own content as you did. Be true to yourself :)

  3. Hey Jay,

    I am really sorry to hear about this. You definitely were the leading pioneer for blogging on AR.

  4. Jon Griffith says:

    You know, the best way to vote is to use your feet, and you walked right on out of there. Nice work.

  5. I like your decision, your content is what makes them money with ads. That should be more then enough to run a successful business. Everyone knows that any social network you pay for will never have the same success of a free one.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Alex, I've really never understood ARs monetization plan. They have a few ads on the home page, but nothing on individual posts. Charging the people that contribute to the network doesn't make sense to me. With the eyes and traffic they get, I would think they could make serious bank on ads and "sponsors".

  6. Jay,

    I hear you and feel you. I have joined a few "free" sites only to find within a year or so, they want you to pay for their services. The problem is they were making a lot of money before they started charging their members through advertisers. When they began to charge $10-$15 minimum from every member each month, they started making a mint. To top it all off, like you said, all the content you are contributing is pretty much under their control. I need to learn more about how to take control of my own site and my own content.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Troy, I'm a bit of a control freak. I want total and complete control of my content. Don't people want total control of their finances? Content IS money….

  7. You couldn't have said it better. What many fail to see is that without the content and contributions from participating members, AR (and other forums/blogs/networks) are just an empty space in the worldwide web. Continue to lead the way with TPREG.

  8. John Wake says:

    ActiveRain's monetation dilemma reminds me a bit of Twitter, popular companies looking for a way to monetize their popularity. They're all looking for that "Adwords" that will turn them into money machines.

    (Kinda like me and my site. :) )

    • Jay Thompson says:

      John – if anyone can figure it out, you will. ;) I don't blame AR for wanting to make money. Personally, I think they should have sold the site back when Move was making a play. I don't know all the details of that deal, but there was a time when AR could have been sold for a tidy little premium. I'm not so sure that's the case now….

  9. They just shooting them self in the foot. Like many other free network do they want more money. What’s going up is always coming down.

  10. Jay. I agree it was a terrible decision. It can't be that expensive to keep these members and their blogs in active status. We used to have a lot of fun back in the days didn't we? I think today is my 4 year anniversary on AR.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      BB –

      First, congrats on your 4 year ARniversary! 4 years is a long time to stick with anything.

      You are one that I read as regularly as I can. You do good stuff there (and elsewhere).

      I can't believe this is about money. My posts consumed less than 250K of space and generated almost zero bandwidth usage. That would be pennies a year for server space. It feels like they are making a push to get "deadbeat members" (those are some AR members words, not AR Staff words) to publish. But that doesn't make a whole lot of sense either. Me posting once every 90 days isn't going to do diddly to build content for AR.

      Maureen McCabe commented today, "If they have no plans for posting on ActiveRain in the future, what was lost?" I can sum that up in one word, better than all the gibberish I wrote here.

      What was lost?

      Trust.

  11. I is sad to see you leave but . .what would you have done if you were in their position?

    Activeran is a collaborative network that our efforts are multiplied to bring us results. I contribute with over 20 posts every week and maintain a powerful presence in particular neighborhoods. My posts aren't enough yet depend in the collaboration of others to make my posts "visible" By you writing a post every once in a while, you will get the SEO power of Activerain.. .but you are not contributing.

    You have achieve a higher level of media usage using the internet and I question your decision from a business stand of view. . it is very unnatural and almost seems a little emotional. I have been following you for over two years, perhaps time will give me an answer but for now, I depend on Activerain for a stronger presence in the Internet and I'm still a fan of yours and see your astute internet presence as a teaching tool for me.. .

    Just a little confused . .

    Fernando

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Fernando –

      What would I have done if I were in their position?

      I would have honored my promise – "founding members have a free membership for life!"

      "but you are not contributing"

      Commenting isn't contributing? If that is the case, then AR needs to stop awarding points for comments. Or better yet, just disable commenting on blog posts.

      Inviting members to the network isn't contributing?

      Talking about the benefits of AR in classes and seminars I'm in isn't contributing?

      Not to toot my own horn here, but I don't need, "the SEO power of Activerain". This blog has pretty good SEO power on it's own. That's why I post my articles here, not on AR (or anywhere else).

      You're right, there was emotion involved in the decision. I'm an emotional guy. I felt like I was lied to, and I felt like my contributions were no longer deemed important by AR. From a business perspective, I got nothing from my posts on AR. I'd only posted twice in the last two years. That content would serve me far better being posted here on TPREG. And I can do that now, should I decide to.

      Thanks for following Fernando, and I hope that clears it up, a little bit.

  12. David G says:

    First rule of corporate PR is "never say never" or as in this case never say "for life." Quite a few services have recently terminated their free offering; NING was one of the more notable ones. I still firmly believe in the freemium business model but it seems to work either for the largest mainstream sites (like facebook and google) or for those services where the paid product is a high-performing no-brainer (like flickr pro or if you'll indulge me with an example close to home, Zillow's Premier Agent package.)

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Well said David. When Jonathan proclaimed, "founding members have a free membership for life!" one of my first thoughts was, "Life can be a pretty long time…"

      Point2 Agent did the same thing with their free web sites. That wasn't very well received either.

      I can't imagine the AR guys making this decision lightly, they are smart fellows. But their execution (specifically the almost complete lack of notification) is quite puzzling.

      I'm a fan of the freemium model too. And like any model, it has to be tweaked from time to time. IMO, this was a poor decision on the part of AR. Does getting a post out of me every 90 days really do them any good? Personally, for me, the $39/month for a Rainmaker account is nowhere close to a high-performing no-brainer. For me, it would be a complete waste of money. Others mileage will vary.

  13. What ActiveRain management did to you and its other founding members who have not "contributed" in whatever random timeframe they deemed necessary in order for you to be worthy of a free membership is BS, plain and simple. As an early adopter who helped make ActiveRain the collosal network it now is, your contribution already speaks for itself. ActiveRain's short-sighted, ungrateful attitude is sure to backfire, as do the actions of so many of today's behemoth real estate aggregators and hangers-on. All I hear is another great sucking sound…

  14. Jay, it's a sad day when any forum loses the participation of someone of your stature. Upon reflection, I don't think it would have hurt AR one little bit if they had given the founding members (the first 100, or 500, or 1000, pick a number) free, lifetime membership like they originally said. It would have been a nice gesture to all of you who saw the potential of the original Active Rain, who provided the first content and helped mold the place into what it is today.

    Let me tell you this: I have 109 posts on AR, a little more than your 86, but not by much, and far less than most. But I would gladly delete every stinking one of them if it would bring yours back. For some to say that you don't "contribute" is ludicrous. Your contributions, in every forum you participate in, far exceeds the flotsam and jetsam found on most communities, AR included. To be deprived of your wisdom, expertise and down-to-earth observations lessens us all.

    I'm not sure if your posts can be restored to AR, and as you said the comments are now history, but if there is a way to do it, I hope you'll consider it. Either way, TPREG still has the top spot in my Feedly.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Pat & Wayne – like I mentioned on your AR post about this, I sincerely appreciate your kind words.

      I'll still hang out on AR, chiming in on comments when something gets me going. I've only posted there twice in the last two years, so I honestly don't see myself posting there again with any semblance of regularity. TPREG is my playground and my "venue". It's not going anywhere.

      Thanks for your continued support and understanding.

  15. Jay ~ It seems the folks at AR didn't think that particular decision through. How much would it have actually cost them to just leave you guys alone? Yours is the second post I've read where the definition of what is deemed a contribution comes up. As you correctly point out, commenting is a contribution, it's short sighted of them not to recognize that. (Plus in your case you clearly contribute in ways other that writing posts with your on and off-line support of the AR concept).

    As wide reaching as your following is, my guess is that the AR folks are sitting and scratching their heads this morning contemplating their own boneheadedness. (Is that a word even?) Your very public exit from the AR stage will definitely give them a lot to think about!

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Well if "bonheadedness" isn't a word Denise, it should be!

      The "posting is the only way to contribute" mantra is quite puzzling. I just don't get it. My posts there took up almost no space and since it'd been forever since I posted, I doubt any bandwidth was used, so this makes no sense as a cost saving measure. I can't speak for AR, but it seems like it's a way to get more content added.

      Personally, I don't see the point. Forcing someone to post leads to…. forced posts. Which are generally going to be lousy posts — not something they should want to promote I would think.

  16. Clint Miller says:

    I am a big fan of AR…what little 'street cred' I have developed in the re.net world started there…and a huge chunk of what little I have resides with the blog posts I have there.

    Having said that, I think this decision by AR was the wrong one. I have piles of proof that you contributed in the form of comments, for sure. You have commented on a number of the posts I have written on AR. And we have had several debates on different topics, whether that be on the same side or opposite sides — all of which have forced me to learn more and more about this industry as a whole. To me, any form of "contribution" that you did or didnt make meant the world to me. And, Im sure Im not the only one that feels that way.

    Sad to see this happen, Jay. But, I stand behind you with your decision.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Clint – I'm a fan too. I started TPREG before I joined AR, but my experiences on AR helped me realize the potential of real estate blogging, and that made me focus on my efforts here.

      To claim that the only way to contribute to a community is by posting articles is simply baffling to me….

  17. jim little says:

    PS: Agent Genius has 2 recent articles about Posterous making it possible to import your A/R blog to their site, no charge. They say the A/R site will be unaffected. I'm going to check it out.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Posterous is an interesting thing. It's very easy to use. I'm not sure it's right for a primary blogging platform (can you incorporate a home search into a Posterous blog?) and of course it has the same fundamental flaw of posting on AR, realtor.com or any other site — the poster has no control over the domain itself. Just like AR changed the rules, Posterous could too…

      • Toby Boyce says:

        Amen Jay. I lost interest in ActiveRain when the move.com situation arose and the whole “who owns the content” discussion erupted.

        I’m not a fan of Posterious – for that EXACT reason. I OWN my domain, I manage it and I don’t have to worry about a “big dog” coming in and swooping up the “hot start” and changing the rules.

  18. Jay, I was really bummed to see our "Ben Franklin" of AR deal with this. My guess is that there was some sort of glitch in their system that was not sending the notifications of a site being terminated, but also, the math based on the post does not line up properly.

    I had watched all of the comments when this post came out & how everyone on AR thought it was this good idea. What makes no sense to me is why they would like the idea of pages of content being removed from the search engines. The last time I checked, one of the determining factors in SEO is number of pages of content. Also, I know the network prides itself on having over 1.7 million posts of content. However as they continue to change the members stuff off of public search engines, that number will continue to diminish. Also, as you mentioned, your stuff on the server wasn't taking major amounts of server space and wasn't going to really change if it was public or members only. My guess is that this decision was to be a motivator to try & lure those original contributors back to ActiveRain to post again. Instead, it appears like it might be doing the opposite it seems. From a business standpoint, I really do not see the financial benefit to changing your mind on the lifetime freebies. We that worked hard laying the pathway to their worldwide dominance of real estate networks online, who helped build it into the cash machine it is, were getting that thank you gift. It is kind of like when an agent buys a gift card to a restaurant for their client for closing. The only thing is, it would be like you handing it to the new buyer and saying "congrats on your new home, I got this for you to enjoy however you wish" And then after that saying, "the only stipulation is that you must also take me, my wife, & 2 children along with you to dinner so we get a free meal too"

    From a members business standpoint I can see why you would be unhappy. You haven't postoed on AR in a long time and that isn't a big deal. But you still do have content that was posted on the network. That stuff stay's out there forever. While you may not get a ton of traffic from the old posts on AR, I am sure that it did send at least a few visitors your way each month. Even if you never wrote again, your stuff was still possible for someone to find you again. That potential for new business would make me really unhappy.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Jeremy – I've since heard that old Rainmaker posts will still be crawlable by Google (this was yet another poorly communicated thing on ARs part).

      I just checked my Google stats for the first half of 2010. Activerain.com sent me 314 visitors in that time period. There were four spikes in that traffic that correlated with links from AR posts to TPREG posts. Those spikes accounted for roughly 250 of the 314 visitors sent this way.

      That leaves 64 visits my old posts (or my profile) may have sent me in the last six months. There were 415,089 visitors here in the last six months. I'm not concerned with losing 64 visits.

      I bet I could republish some of my old AR content here and drive far more traffic than AR has sent me.

      I'm not saying AR doesn't work. Far from it. I'm sure it works for many. I don't expect it to do much for me as I've only posted there twice in the last two years.

      I've met many friends through AR. Friendships I value. That won't go away…

  19. Jay, I'm sorry to hear this has happened. It's unfortunate for everyone. You deserve better treatment, IMHO, and AR gave themselves another black eye after the whole bad server thing earlier this year. In the long run, it doesn't really matter to them from a business perspective, but I'd be willing to bet that leaving AR won't cost you any business either. You're way too good for that!

    This is the first I had heard of the house cleaning over there, there was no mention of this at the most recent raincampDC, so it's really by pure chance that the same thing didn't happen to me.

    And Brad, I'm glad to see you come over and comment about the AR position regarding the matter. I don't think you guys are being intentionally malicious, and I know how hard it can be to monetize such a great community without ruffling feathers!

  20. Elaine Hanson says:

    I've been alive forever, and I wrote the very first blog,

    I put the words and the SEO together

    I am PhxREGuy, and I write the blogs…..
    :)

  21. TheRECoach says:

    I said this today on Lani's Agent Genius post regarding Active Rain & Posterous, and I think it applies here Jay. To me, I see MySpace vs Facebook, when I see Active Rain. To me it seems a "desperate" attempt to create revenue to stay afloat and will result in it's overall demise…I mean really, you must pay to place content on their site? content that they will gain SEO value from! What's next, they gonna "Stone" Rainmakers who don't comply??

    Anyway, my comment on Agent Genius was… "Switch to Posterous if your goal is to gain “new” readers. Switch to Posterous if your goal is to enlarge your Sphere. Switch to Posterous if you want to save time (Bookmarklet), while proving a wider Internet/Social Media presence (Auto Posting). Stay with Active Rain if you want to connect with your Peers for Referrals & Networking.

    You can also have your Posterous Blog “Auto Post” to your WordPress Blog, then just go in and “edit” the Categories, Tags & add a few Keywords. WordPress is much better to have, but Posterous has given me the ability to gain close to a 37% adaption rate amongst my 200 Agents! Never, in over 5 yrs, have I found a better way to get Real Estate Agents to “engage” in Blogging & Social Media…Never! It is the best way to start off a Rookie, think “Training Wheels:”

    Stay Blogging My Friends!

    @CBRELongBeach

  22. Rod Rebello says:

    Jay – thanks for the heads up! I didn't realize that my grandfathered status had also been removed until I saw your post. I also did not see any warning. I will notify them to get it back. In any case, not well handled by AR management.

  23. Rory says:

    Jay,

    I also deleted all of my blog posts. All of the reasons that you mentioned apply, but most of all, I own the content, and that's what I wanted to do.

  24. Dena Stevens says:

    A few years ago somebody wrote a post outlining the new AR pricing system, it was an April Fools joke. And at the time it got tempers flaring, then members acknowledged the joke. But really, didn't we all know it was coming? I may not have been the biggest nor the most noted blogger on AR but I've been there for some time. I would be nice if the AR gods acknowledged those who helped build it.

  25. I believe you did the right move after all it's your content. It appear that people over at AR doesn't know anything about gratitude nor do they realize that without the content and contributions of their members, their platform would simply be another worthless domain in the worldwide web. I heard a lot of users are now switching to Posterous. Last week it announced that they would be allowing content to be imported from ActiveRain. I hope other users join the exodus, if not to Posterous then somewhere else…or might as well install WordPress on your own server!

  26. Kaiholo Hale says:

    Your content is exactly that (yours!) and it is the contributors who make up AR. I can see the power of a strong real estate network, but the way the staff is going about it will just end up driving contributors away. I will continue coming to TPREG for relevant, insightful information. Keep up the good work.

  27. I am also a founding member. My stuff is still there but since I only contribute to the community with members only posts I am no longer a rain maker. The posts have to be public in the last 90 days and I have been writing to other members once a week for years. Amazingly I don't care. my posts will stay. I may write again and then again I may not.

  28. Jay,

    Thanks for the heads up. I need to check out my account and see if I have been ditched. Like T said, I really don't care as I get more business from my blogs than AR anyway. I write on AR when I feel I have a worthy subject, and don't just post BS like so many other members do. Quality over quanity is my moto.

  29. Bruce Wagg says:

    Jay,

    Wow, what a firestorm on this issue. I was never a big blogger but did understand the model that AR was striving for. I attended the" raincamps " and got some great information but ultimately it seemed like it was benefiting AR more than me. I am sure they have a great business model figured out but I am glad that you have decided to focus on your own site. I will continue to read it often.

    Nice Move

  30. jim little says:

    Jay,
    I am disturbed by this, not because they felt they needed to monetize the site, but in the fact they did it without fair warning.
    Thanks for the heads up on this.

  31. Hi Jay – Sorry I’m late to your post. I just wanted to let you know, it was not AR’s intention to remove grandfathered members who helped build or are still actively contributing to the network and community. A large portion of the grandfathered members removed had less than 1000 points, very few posts, and in some cases, not even a photo on their profile. We felt if they hadn’t contributed in the last 90 days, they were probably no longer in the business, weren’t using the network, and wouldn’t care anyway.

    Right or wrong, this was our attempt to clean out the system but not at the expense of the few who deserve and should remain grandfathered members. Technically, it was easier to reinstate the few than to try and manually go through each of the hundreds that were no longer active or participating. We have in fact reinstated quite a few members and are still doing so. We believed that grandfathered RainMakers would contact us in the event they were going to still be active or supporting the network, and we would simply re-activate their memberships.

    If any grandfathered member had their membership status changed or removed, and would like it to be reinstated, they simply just need to contact us and let us know. If our attempt at getting the word out effectively was inefficient or the cause, I apologize, and hope you’ll accept that. You know how much we appreciate and value all that you’ve done and contributed on the network.

    Your grandfathered membership has been reinstated, and I hope you’ll continue to participate at any level you see fit in the future. This move was never intended to penalize or punish our founding, supporting, and contributing members.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Brad –

      You're not late to the post. I posted this late last night.

      I appreciate you stopping by. And I appreciate the reinstatement of my Rainmaker account. I doubt I'll post to it, not because of what's transpired recently, but simply because I chose to focus my efforts here.

      AR will always hold a special place in my heart. I've had the pleasure of meeting you, Bob, Jonathan and others inside AR, and I've met many friends thanks to AR. None of that changes.

      I don't understand, at all, this decision to go back on Jonathan's promise. But I don't own, operate or work for AR. I'm sure you have your reasons, and the bottom line is it doesn't really matter if I understand the decision process or not. It is what it is. My only hope is that you all can realize there are many more ways a member can contribute to AR besides writing a post. The message, to me at least, in Bob's announcement was clear — posting is all that matters.

      That I do not understand. At all.

      I also don't understand why Bob said members would get a 60 day notice, yet accounts are being downgraded less than 60 days after the announcement was made. For whatever it's worth, I would have not been concerned with doing whatever was technically easier. I would have taken the time to do it in a way that didn't alienate some long-time members. But again, it's your business and not mine how you chose to handle that.

      I'll continue to stop by AR and read and comment on occasion. I'll have to ponder how I address the topic of AR in my classes and seminars. I still think it's of value to many, despite this (in my opinion) horrible decision. But I can not simply sweep under the rug that the rules in AR (or any public platform) can literally change overnight. What happened here is a case study of that, and that's not something I can just ignore with my student and audiences.

      • Toby Boyce says:

        very well said Jay. All of my responses kept leading me back to what momma said "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

    • ines says:

      an e-mail would have been nice Brad – I have not read all the comments here, and it makes me sad, that's all – that some of us would be put in the "clean out the system" category.

      • ines, I totally agree. The "new AR" has shown no consideration of those of us who were involved in building and contributing to it. It's a slap.

        • ines says:

          At first I thought nothing of it Rhonda, but then you start thinking back and it really is sad – I had the urge to delete today and went back to read some of the posts and I just have to shake my head.

          • Most of my stuff on AR wasn't that great since I was a new blogger…so it was easy to delete. I did leave a few behind and I'm leaning towards just wiping them all out.

            If I had great stuff on AR, I would repost them on my own blog. I've done that with Rain City Guide for a handful of post I'm proud of when I'm going on vacation (scheduling the post out). I want "my" content on my blog…(kind of going beyond AR here…but same topic)… I have no control over what happens at RCG just as I have no control at AR.

  32. Erica Ramus says:

    I wrote a huge freaking response here. Did it disappear? Damn do I have to type it again?

    Jay help me

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Erica – so sorry about the lost comment. Sometimes a comment will get trapped by the spam filter, but I looked and yours wasn’t in there. I have no idea what happened. No one else has reported a problem. I suspect it’s one of those dang internet glitches. Sorry!

      I do like your suggestions.

  33. I think it was real nice and decent of active Bob to stop by and shed some light on the subject. While I understand your emotional response to the poorly implemented actions of Active Rain, it appears this situation is mainly a lack of communication.

    TPREG is a powerhouse on the web if you are looking for Phoenix homes for sale. I completely understand your choice to devote your content to this blog and not AR as I am doing the same. The truth is, you don't need AR at all other than for social reasons and perhaps the few educational posts by selected members.

    The fact that you hang around and post on occasion is reason enough to keep your access to AR free and Bob stated that in his post.

    I hope you continue to visit AR in whatever capacity you choose right for yourself and your brokerage. Either way, I'll keep following you on twitter and monitoring this blog whether you choose to visit AR or not.

    Oh and just between you and me, I'd rather eat a rattlesnake than let one of my agents sign up for HouseValues/Market Leader. I'm like an elephant that way, I don't forget. :)

  34. Justin Smith says:

    Hey Jay,

    I was bummed to read your post. Although we never talked much on AR, I was there during the first few months in '06 and have some very fond memories of that first year.

    It's a shame that it has lost some of that early simplicity and innocence. I haven't been active there for quite some time but logged in and noticed that my "rainmaker" status is still active…

    Per your earlier comment, I think it's vital that you educate your students about the pitfalls surrounding networks like AR. While there is some value, steps always have to be taken to protect your content and beware of new rules and lame decisions by the company.

    Like you, Active Rain will always have a very special place in my heart as it helped me fortify a career in internet marketing. It gave me a voice I never realized I had and I'll be forever grateful. But that doesn't mean I'll be jumping back in any time soon… especially with crap like this going on.

  35. Erica Ramus says:

    Now I’m really pissed because I wrote a long one and it disappeared. You rebel.

    1. I think OLD profiles should be deleted (those who have not logged in or replied to comments within 6 or 9 mo.

    2. If you are logging in and reading or posting, leave it alone. Members only or not, leave it be

    3. I bleed AR. I have 1000 posts and 400k_ posts. But if you log in, keep you grandfathered. My issue is with those who create a profile and never come back. Never.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Advertisers, sponsors, investors and anyone that might ever be interested in buying AR will place a very high premium on member count. I doubt you’ll ever see any accounts deleted.

      I also doubt you’ll ever see posting quotas for paying members. They sure don’t want to piss off the ones that write checks.

      They aren’t deleting grandfathered Rainmaker accounts. They are downgrading them. If this is truly about “cleaning up the network” then they’d be deleting accounts, not downgrading them.

      Sounds more to me like they want to encourage grandfathered Rainmakers to contribute more content. That I can understand. I’d have a lot more respect for them if they just came out and said that. Threatening me with removing my promised (for life) account does absolutely nothing to motivate me to post there. Quite the opposite in fact.

  36. Erica Ramus says:

    Jay– I also have problems getting emails from AR. I no longer get the daily summary, which stopped coming sometime last year. They did fix it for me and then it stopped again.

    In spring, when all the AR system problems happened, I also stopped getting notifications of comments from AR. I didn't bother to ask them what happened. But I do think they have communication issues.

  37. TLW says:

    Jay…Next month will be my 4th year as well. That is a long time. In that time I've witnessed things that have, simply put, blown my mind. Some of the decisions that have been made, I find to be peculiar. I think you've truly wrapped it up with the word "trust". Trust is not something to screw around with. It's also not easy to win trust back. I'm so unhappy about all of this. To see Founding Members treated this way trouble's me deeply :(

  38. Jay, I'm glad you wrote this… like you, I post at AR infrequently. I've made a decision to have a majority of my articles on my personal blog where I have control of my content. I logged into AR to see that I've been downgraded too. Brad from AR states that this is mostly happening to folks with 1000 pts or less, I'm currently over 20k (I always found points pointless)….but now that I've deleted most of my posts, I'm sure my points will drop–GASP!

    It boils down to if someone is going to search a term that's related to me or my field, I want them to find me first, not me on AR.

    AR has gained a great deal by the accumulation of all of our content. I'd like to say I don't blame them, but they're all grown ups…and at the end of day, I want control of my content too.

  39. I agree AR should be monetizing their website with ads and sponsors, not by charging the users who built their site. Everyone has the right to choose what to do with their business but it doesn't seem very logical to be penalizing the people who helped you popularize your business. I enjoyed being a member of AR until I went to a AR seminar. It was supposed to be educational about how to be a better blogger. It was a 4 hour sales pitch for buy this, buy that from us. Uggghhh. I left with a very bad taste in my mouth. My participation in AR went down steadily after that.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      I've never been to a RainCamp. And now I don't expect I'll be invited to one any time soon… Thanks for stopping by Carmen, we need to set up a time to meet again!

  40. Dunes says:

    Sometimes having Principles or thoughts about things like Honesty/Communication/Fairness can be such a nuisance ;)

    I'm not an RE Pro or Agent so perhaps my view on this doesn't matter but if you're aware of my existence that's never stopped me from yadda yaddaing before.

    As a Non-Pro I try (usually unsuccessfully but I try) to stay informed about the Real Estate Market, Trends, Practices, Options, Opinions ect.

    This search as all Pros or Consumers are aware can take you many places and many sites where you find/see the thoughts of literally Thousands in the RE Profession…Zillow/Trulia/ActiveGenius/ActiveRain/Blogs/Comments/Discussions there is no shortage of Content to wander through…..

    A Person like me tries to work thru the "PROs?" who are just repeaters of Talking Points from NAR, the Copy & Pasters, the Snake-Oil salespersons, the Pros who is Trolls ect..and maybe view an interesting approach, an honest opinion, some accurate data and maybe even some original thought…I've come to Respect and look forward to seeing/reading the thoughts opinions of a Few who I have seen consistently strive for an Honest sharing and Representation of who they are and what they think.

    That doesn't mean I agree with them consistently, it just means they have allowed me by their Consistent effort to be Honest to reach a Comfort Zone, a place where if they suggest a person may wish to consider this or that…..I stop and consider.

    It's a great Zone to be in and the People who work hard to provide that Zone IMO are the most valuable Representatives of the RE Profession..

    So that being said here is my Opinion….

    1. Jay is one of those Few RE Pros that has Provided me with a Comfort Zone…If Jay suggests considering this or that may have significance then I try my best to consider or learn about it.

    Why? Because IMHO he has earned that Respect/Consideration from me by his so very obvious attempts to be Fair/Honest and a Communicator who understands Communication is a 2-Way Street

    2. The Failure of many RE Sites like ActiveRain/Trulia/Zillow even Realtor.Come IMHO is that they fail to see the value or importance of these PROs and cater much more to the Brown-nosing, we will pay for and buy Magic Beans, we need Badges and Titles crowd.

    (I can say that because I ain't a Pro with all the thin Blue line obligations;)

    3. It doesn't matter if Jay posts or doesn't post on a Site or how often….WHAT MATTERS IS HIS OPINION OF THAT SITE……to people like me.

    4. RE Pros need to pay far less attention to what THEY think and FAR MORE attention to what the Public thinks (Has nothing to do with this Topic but I like sayin it anyway…)

    In closing….If Jay Thompson is associated in anyway with your RE Site ya should be making him a Mayor or DrizzleMaker or GeniusFella or All-Star of All Stars or at least Welcomed and appreciated…..

    So to be Clear….I Like Jay……….I think ActiveRain did Dummy thing

  41. Bad call AR. Falling back on 'we are just trying to clean house efficiently' doesn't cut it. You said one thing and did another – pure and simple. Making matters worse, you were 'sneaky' about it by not notifying your members you were doing so. Bad call.

  42. Alan May says:

    Jay – I just learned about your situation, and I'm bummed to see you leave and take your ball with you. There have been a handful of cases similar to yours, and they took their case directly to Brad, who looked at them on a case-by-case basis, and agreed with them and reinstated their status.

    I wish, in retrospect, you had taken that tact, instead. I can see both sides of this argument (AR does have the right to monetize their site, and try to clean out the deadwood), at the same time they should have honoured their promise "rainmaker for life" especially to their very first blogger. They could/should have used the "log in" to see if members were active, and they should have followed up with their 'notification' prior to losing your status.

    Yes, AR screwed up here… I'm sure they have "backups" somewhere, and maybe (with your permission) they could resurrect your posts and comment stream? It's worth asking.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Alan –

      Thanks, but I'm really not interested in having my AR posts resurrected. I only posted there twice in the last two years, and I won't be posting there any more.

      There seems to have been numerous ways this could have been handled. Checking log ons, comments, point totals, etc. But Bob's post was pretty clear — they only consider posting an article as "contributing". Honestly, with that attitude, why would I want my posts put back?

      Brad quickly reinstated my Rainmaker account. I will read there on occasion, and comment on occasion. But I won't be posting there.

  43. @Alan, what's the point of resurrecting the deleted AR posts? Personally, I'd much rather have someone find me via my blog than AR. In fact, in all my former years there (I began at AR in late 2006 I believe) I have yet to have a CONSUMER say they found me via AR.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Rhonda – the only contacts I've had from AR are people trying to sell me something, and one referral possibility from an agent. Not a single consumer contact.

      AR claims they get 2,000,000 consumer views a month. I won't question that (though I'd love to know what analytics package they use that tells them if a visitor is a real estate professional or a consumer…). If you do the math of 2M visits divided by 186K members, you get a result of 10.75 consumer visits per month per member. Yeah, there is no way it's a linear thing — some AR member may get 1000 consumer visits a month. But the average is less than 11 visits per month per member.

      This blog gets 11 visits roughly every 13 minutes.

      I think I'll continue to put my effort here.

  44. Alan May says:

    Rhonda – it's not ALL about SEO… there might be some educational value for someone in Jay's posts and comments… don't you think?

    He surely doesn't have to do it, if he doesn't care to… it was just a thought.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Alan – all the comments I’ve left on other people’s posts are still there. My posts that were there were all pretty old, and I doubt they provided much value any more. People are welcome to visit here any time, and gain a wealth of information. ;)

  45. @Alan, if you read my original comment (65), you'll see that I deleted most of my post too ;) I had enough post for over 20k points…whatever that means. I'll probably go delete the rest when I have some spare time.

    I care more about educating the consumer… and as I said, it has not been my experience that any have found me there.

    AR is a nice chummy network of re peeps and there's nothing wrong with that–if that's what you're intested in.

  46. Cliffs Edge says:

    Alan, Jay was kind enough to share some of his stats on a previous comment on this thread:

    "I just checked my Google stats for the first half of 2010. Activerain.com sent me 314 visitors in that time period. There were four spikes in that traffic that correlated with links from AR posts to TPREG posts. Those spikes accounted for roughly 250 of the 314 visitors sent this way.

    That leaves 64 visits my old posts (or my profile) may have sent me in the last six months. There were 415,089 visitors here in the last six months. I’m not concerned with losing 64 visits."

    Maybe I'm looking it from the wrong perspective, but if an AR blogger with 150K points (your number) barely gets a bleep of traffic back to his site, then I would have little incentive to post there. Based on that, I would prefer to put content on my site which will hopefully help improve ranking on the SERPs. And sure, I get it, it's not all about SEO, it could be informative posts meant to share information and exchange ideas.

    Have a great day/weekend.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Cliff – thanks for repeating those numbers for Alan. I never really tried to optimize AR to send traffic here. This blog does pretty well in search results, so it never made much sense to me to try to drive traffic from AR to here. This is where I focus the vast majority of my effort. I get far more traffic from natural Google results than I'd ever get from AR, even if I optimized AR.

      Actually, I believe I can drive more traffic here via Twitter and Facebook than I could from AR.

  47. Hey Jay, that is bad stuff they did to you. I would repost-on my site. Rather than delete from AR…you could have edited with a redirect…back to new page on your site. Just a thought for the next one to be burned by AR.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Joe – I did export all my posts. I may republish some of them here. To be honest, a lot of them were crap. Several were time sensitive 3 or 4 years ago, but there were a couple of pretty good "evergreen" posts I may put up here.

  48. Alan May says:

    @rhonda… my apologies. I didn't catch that you'd deleted your posts.

    @ cliff… and I totally understand the logic behind that…

    again, I'm not insisting that Jay should be interested in resurrecting his post and comments… it was his statement that "sadly, hundreds of comments are gone as AR provides no way to export comments", and I was simply providing an option… perhaps selfishly, since I am a resident of AR, and would like to have him there…

  49. Cliffs Edge says:

    Alan, I totally understand your position (and Jay's as well). No worries, have a great weekend.

  50. @Alan, no worries! :) It's an interesting conversation.

  51. Alan May says:

    @ Rhonda… btw… I just checked and you were active on Active Rain in January, April and July of 2007, with a total of 8 posts. That’s just not enough to expect any SEO return.

    Jay, on the other hand, had almost 150,000 points (an indicator of a very active blog, with perhaps hundreds of posts… no way to tell for sure, since they’ve been reaped).

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Most of my points came from referring other members, and leaving comments. I only had 86 posts (23 featured). I think I dropped 22K points when I deleted my posts. As I mentioned in a previous comment, I got very little traffic from AR to this blog (though in AR's defense, I never really tried to generate traffic from AR).

  52. Dunes says:

    I apologize for commenting twice but Jay mentioned the 2,000,000 visits monthly claimed by AR and others the Blog views ect…

    Are these thing Agents actually feel have some sort of value? Trulia posted a Blog to Announce they got over 6,000,000 Unique visits a month just a while back (Unique = each was a different IP#/Computer)..At the same time on the Page where they sell PRO to Agents they declare 7,000,000 Consumers visit Trulia every month (The page still says that) Now I'm not good at math but it didn't seem to make sense and I asked the same questions Jay asked here…How do you know out of the X number how many are Agents using the site vs Consumers…don't Many Agents use several computers or have access to them ect…Bottom line they got angry but did admit they have no way to separate who is a Consumer or Agent ect. but they were assuming this and that and new math here and Easter and it added up to 7,000,000 Consumers visited every month so stop asking dumb questions…

    Just to prove I don't make this stuff up. .http://www.trulia.com/blog/pierre_calzadilla/2010/02/special_message_from_trulia_s_coo

    Blog views..840 visits from who…Other Agents? How many visits do those who comment add up to? 1 for comment +1 to see if anyone commented about comment and…

    My point being it seems to this uninformed fella that these are PR #'s not numbers to use for being somewhere…What's the good of SEO this or that, Marketing Plan this or that or the Famous Agent.."We are Social Media Experts" if you had 2 Transactions all year?

    Jay got if I understood him right 415,000 visits HERE this year so far, a number he arrived at, can count, can see, can look at and say I got X amount of Transactions from that, X amount of Leads, X amount of results/feedback for this or that …PLUS Jay is in CONTROL of his Content, and Marketing Plan….

    I live in Oregon, But I read Arizona Agent Jay's Blog, If I see he's commented on any site I read it…This discussion proves others do also…that in my opinion is worth more than questionable/debatable numbers

    My point from that rambling is…Why are Agents so supportive of RE Sites who's purpose is to Promote the Site by claiming they Promote Agents?

    Why do Agents use those Sites and their Marketing/Sales pitch to them as proof they (The Agents) need the Site to succeed? Who actually needs who?

    Do the Jay Thompsons need ActiveRain/Trulia/Zillow ect. or do they need the Jay Thompsons to point to as part of their Marketing Plan….Who really has the Power? The Sites or Agents?

    Who actually has a Marketing plan that's working..Agents or the Sites conviencing Agents to use them?

    Perhaps I do not explain well but I'll end with this…Ya can believe what ya want but I'm somewhat familiar with Business and Real Estate. If I was to decide who's approach to a successful Business Plan, Marketing Plan, Social Media Plan (whatever name ya give it) to use…I'd be following Jay's approach very closely..The RE Sites don't succeed because YOU Succeed, they succeed BECAUSE their PR has convinced you that they know more than YOU about how to succeed

    AND THAT IS BASED ON WHAT?????????

    If your are actually getting enough Business to Justify the Time spent at AR or anywhere else then more power to you but if not…What the heck are ya doin? Isn't your time worth money?

    Isn't the Bottom Line..Right Now…In this Economy..In your Market, to get Business? To get people to Buy at time time they obviously do not want to buy? To find out why they don't (Trust, hate Agents, lazy, waiting for Easter..whatever) and address THOSE ISSUES?

    Who do ya figure has the Right Workable Effective Approach to That?

    Jay or AR or Zillow or Trulia or Move or the Gurus…

    My opinion is if yer not paying very very close attention to Jay's approach and his reasoning for using it….Then you're standing at the Airport waiting for your Ship to Dock

    • To answer Dunes- Actually yes, the time spent on AR is worth the money made. We carry between 40 to 60 listings and strictly work with sellers. Now about 70% of our listings are short sales and 60% of those come from sellers reading our AR blog. In 2008 right before the HAMP program came out we went for over 6 months of getting 4 listings per week from calls from sellers who found our AR blog. That has dropped a lot since now many people went into the loan mod tryouts before they short sale. We get more buyer leads from our website but I don't focus on those. As we take on more buyer agents than I will work more on buyer leads for them, but our focus is on listings. We are in the top 2% closed transactions in our mls so we are not talking about one or two deals a year and we are not talking about chump change either. So I believe you can carve out a great business on AR if you are a listing agent.

      I also coach agents and AR is a huge part of our marketing program for coaching. The business I have generated at AR for my courses and webinars and for private coaching clients is amazing. There is NO way I could have the caliber of agents that I coach through PPC or blogging on a solo wordpress blog without the audience I have on Active Rain.

      I do agree that you need to have your content on something you own as well.

      For me it is a question of why change something that ain't broke?

      • Dunes says:

        I'm glad it is Working for you and I did say if ActiveRain is working for you then more power to ya…BUUUT if you are only getting 2 Transactions then……I'm not trying to talk anyone out of using ActiveRain and I do not believe Jay is either….2 Different issues

        1. It was wrong the Way they handle their Relationship with Jay

        2. Based on a couple of comments by others about Site visits, blog views ect. I thought I'd pose my questions…guilty of off-topic but not of not understanding ActiveRain has value

        3. I was just at ActiveRain letting a Member know another member had stolen her Content/Blog.. .http://activerain.com/blogsview/1748423/hey-look-at-this-someone-wrote-the-exact-same-blog-post-as-i-did-word-for-word-what-a-coincidence

        I do check there and read Blogs as I'm sure many members of the public do

  53. Jay, AR has changed a lot from when I first started blogging there a couple of years ago when it was in it’s infancy and really, pretty innocent. I enjoyed those times and for me it was a good time to participate in AR. As a new blogger, it was nice to “network” and learn from fellow bloggers and the “community”. I guess just as AR has changed, my blog and I have too.

    I attended the first RainCamp in Seattle… I had signed up not sure that I was going and then AR used my reservation as a promotion! I contacted AR to let them know I was on the fence about it…they invited me to be on a panel (someone must have dropped out last minute) and I did. There were parts about event I thought were useful but overall, it was a huge sales push… I remember wondering how many paying “butts in the seat” were buying it…I bet many were.

    • Toby Boyce says:

      "Jay, AR has changed a lot from when I first started blogging there a couple of years ago when it was in it’s infancy and really, pretty innocent. I enjoyed those times and for me it was a good time to participate in AR. As a new blogger, it was nice to “network” and learn from fellow bloggers and the 'community'. I guess just as AR has changed, my blog and I have too."

      The best way to put it. I got into Active Rain in '06 sometime in the fall. It was people like Jay, Broker Bryant, Theresa, etc. that got me to understand the importance of placeblogging and being seen by the CONSUMERS and not other agents/allied professions. I will always have a soft-spot for how the folks of ActiveRain assisted me in becoming a better young agent and developing as I have.

      As the network grew, the participation by key members moved to other platforms and I followed.

  54. Erica Ramus says:

    Jay — I echo what DUNES said. Trust is the key there. AR lost your trust and it’s a difficult thing go get back.

    I have personally gotten business from people who have referred me from AR, and also people who have found me there. I do find it profitable. I will continue there.

    That said, I have had a different feeling since the whole Market Leader thing last year. I was dismayed to see them prostitute themselves out and recruit members to this system. I was disgusted by the “use market leader” posts over and over by the people who were given free accounts.

    I signed up — not free but paid — to test it. And quickly discovered a few flaws in the system. Locally, I could not tweak it to work for me. The search methods did NOT synch with our local system. I had to use an alternate MLS system to get the feeds. Blah blah blah. When I told them I needed it tweaked to work for my area, they said it would be fixed in the next revision. It was not. I cancelled the system.

    But meanwhile while I understood AR and Market Leader had a financial arrangement, I was also disgusted to see the system affected and changed by this relationship. Since then I have continued to post but have been a bit jaded. TRUST is not 100% there. TLW nailed it on the head.

  55. Larry Brewer says:

    I’m not sure that the result is what the management at ActiveRain intended, but I do think the whole idea is a bad business practice. Lots of people get busy with other projects and then come back to visit the old neighborhood. In this case you house was removed by the city because you weren’t living in it when they knocked on the door.

  56. wow… finally done with every single comment. I haven’t done that in a very looong time.

    Jay, in any case. I understand the trust issue. Before I get into anything else, I am glad I was introduced to AR, because I got a chance to know you, and it was nice to have met you and then run into you a year later.

    So.. back to what has happened… again, I can understand the trust issue. I also understand what AR was trying to do, when it came to those that started a profile, yet stopped and never came back. I am not a blogging platform guru… but I think how they went about it, was the wrong way. I know many didn’t get e-mails about this and I know I didn’t. But I still use AR about 10 times a month. I do know that I get many deals from those finding me on AR. I did also set up my own outside site, that started to do well, but then it got hijacked… long story, but in the rebuilding stage.

    Overall… yes, AR has changed… I miss the old days… but many of us know that things just change, no matter what, especially as time ages. I will hit my 4 yr anniversary in October. It has lost some of it’s luster for me… but I still value it because of my old relationships, making new ones (networking), and because I still get decent business… mostly from consumers reading my stuff. I saw that you did the math, on how many daily hits they would receive or monthly hits…. but that is based on 186,000 members. We know damn well that only about 5% to 10% of those members are truly active… well, that is a guess of mine. I just looked at the 3 posts just for July and I am averaging at this point, about 840 views per post. But again, we knoe for each person this would be different.

    Anyhoo… I am babbling… I do feel the bad taste in your mouth about this situation. I think it could have been handled differently. I still do think AR is a great blogging platform for the newby… and another good way for new agents to read up on some good material… but then again, not all posts are accurate or true….

    So… again, sorry for what happened… I do value blogging… I do value AR in some ways… and I do value your posts, your thoughts, opinions… and what you have brought to blogging. I wish you luck, but I know I will see you around.

    PS… and I will invite you to the next RainCamp… but wait, what I always want doesn’t always count. lol Well, my thoughts of this should be good enough.

    Jeff

  57. @ Dunes…

    I understand what you are saying…. but I am not a robot.. I succeed because of what I write (quality & factual), and it wouldn't matter as much (once I built up my name), where I would write to accomplish success. So no, I don't read into the PR hype that some boast about there numbers. I listed my stats for AR because that is a main source for me. I would bet if Jay was posting as much on there, his stats on AR would be much higher. Yet I get it… he has chosen his own path which is awesome and he's done a great job at it… but it takes not only good to excellent writing (posts), but good marketing… and his own PR. Not knocking Jay at all.

    Overall… I just felt that your comment was a semi attack of what I stated, when I think you misread what I wrote. With so many so-called social networking gurus out there, you just can't follow one and only one. Each has their own methods… some do more than what they share, on how they got there. Some of my point is that AR is still a good place to new people to start. It's one of the few sites I know where you can get help from not only the people behind AR, but from many of it's members. Yes, AR's platform is more social… and yet you attacked those that seem to talk about it.. saying, why do agents promote it or want to use it.

    Answer… I think one thing you fail to realize is… Example.. Yes, Jay has set himself apart from many others.. but I also use AR for networking with real estate agents from all over… it's one way to get my name in front of them. Many eyes see me quicker this way… I do this for a reason. In Jay's case… people have to find him, then follow… on a single site, it takes more time for anything to happen. And yes, because of how I worked AR, I get a lot of business from posting there. Yet, I also realize the importance of having my own site, drawing people to that… which I can use AR for that,… and dabbling on other sites.

    Jay… sorry if I had hijacked this… but again, sorry for what you went through. Yes, I think they could have handled it a little better. I read Brad's comment… even though their plan was to get rid of those that signed up and then didn't do anything… their method is not of common sense because they assumed members as yourself would say.. "hey, I am not a member now… let me call AR"… I would be pissed also.. and just an e-mail, which many have not received? My problem with the whole thing… it felt like this move was kept on the down low per se… many of us didn't find this out until it started to happen to other members.. and to go back to what Jonathan had promised. Hey, it's their company and they can do what they want… but breaking a promise such as that one, that came from the top.. I agree, it kills "trust". Jeff

    • Dunes says:

      Jeff

      I'm not sure at all how you felt my comment was in response to or directed at your comment at all…I reread your comment but still do not see the connection…There was none intended.

      I'm aware of your Contributions/Blogs at ActiveRain, in fact when the FIRST big…Tax Credit for Downpayment thing was going on I linked people at Trulia to your Blog about it at least 50-60 times…I do read your Blogs….I even emailed you once when I saw an Agent Cut & Paste one of your Blogs without mentioning you wrote it in an attempt to make it appear they wrote it. You dealt with it swiftly ;)

      My comments were general and not directed at you or anyone specifically but rather Questions I have from reading and following hundreds of Blogs, my experiences at Trulia and reading hundreds/thousands of Agent/RE Pro Comments about Marketing, the RE sites, their role, marketing plans and Social Media..

      If anyone hijacked the Thread it was me and if so I apologize but IMO Jay has made it clear that his decision was based on the "Trust" issue yet to me it seems some of the responses here and on other discussions about Jay's decision that some wish to make it about Marketing or leads or seem to suggest that those things carry more weight that the "Trust" issue..

      My response was a general one to that and not directed at you or in response to you…

      I Do think my questions are legitimate ones if even you feel they are incorrect or are disagreed with by anyone….. so I do in a way resent them being described as an "Attack"…

      • Dunes says:

        "Blog views..840 visits from who…Other Agents? How many visits do those who comment add up to? 1 for comment +1 to see if anyone commented about comment and…"

        Just did notice this may be what suggested to you I was directing my comment at you…I assure you it wasn't, I just remember the number as I wrote and not who stated or used it…The Blog views thing was mentioned here and in other discussions about this so I was just using a number I kinda of remembered to ask a question….

  58. Hundreds of comments lost … 85% of which were along the lines of "great post." The world will continue to turn, methinks.

  59. tina merritt says:

    Nice Post. Congrats on the feature.

    Sorry. Couldn't help myself.

    Many of us started out on AR and "grew-up" with them. We know the guys that work there, personally. We believed in and helped grow the network. That's probably why this feels personal; it hurts that they seem to not "care". IMO, a better decision would have been to offer grandfathered Rainmakers with significant content, "Founders Club" status and ask them to continue to support the network by posting and/or commenting every 60 days or so.

    AR was the first site to successfully facilitate the unselfish sharing of information in real estate via a social network. I wouldn't know the incredible people (like you Jay) in the RE.net world that I know without AR. It was through AR that I learned about Inman and the first RE Bar Camp. If I had a real estate technology question at 1:00am, I could post it and get an answer in minutes. AR helped expand my real estate knowledge from my little market area to the entire U.S. Best of all, AR gave me all of this for free while driving business my way. Do I currently get much out of the site? Not really; but I suppose as an AR "alumnus", I still feel a sense of loyalty.

    Do I think AR handled this decision properly? Absolutely not. That being said, I have no idea what their current situation is in this economy. Desperate times call for desperate measures and just as we don't have time to post on AR regularly, perhaps they don't have the resources to go through all of the accounts that are affected by this policy change. Not sure if you have noticed, but AR's presence at conferences has been pretty thin lately, their sponsorships are nil and the once-renowned "AR After-Parties" are gone.

    There's been a lot of AR bashing going on lately and yes, they have brought a lot of it upon themselves with these decisions. But please, keep in mind that they gave us all something that we needed when no other company could – and for free. Jay, you said yourself that some of the posts you exported from AR were not "re-postable" because they were crap. Well, isn't that what AR was there for? To teach us how to not write crap? By deleting your posts Jay, the agents who are just learning to blog and experience the network will not have the opportunity to know how awesome you are. They won't be able to experience your unselfish sharing of information. Why punish those agents over some stupid mistake the powers-that-be at AR made?

    And just in case you forgot…you will always be a real estate stud muffin to me!

    Tina in Virginia

  60. Tina, IMO the reason why AR's presence has been thin at events is because they're trying to promote RainCamps (I was one of the planners for REBC Seattle and they were invited to volunteer — it's open for everybody and anyone)… I wonder if they feel RainCamps compete w/REBCs? I think they're both totally different…REBC's agenda is developed the morning of (typically) and AR's agenda is something entirely different.

  61. Too many thoughts, too few synapses. Active Rain is a virtual Fredo to many of us. Hard not to love it like the befuddled brother that it is, but who hasn't wanted to take it out for a one way fishing trip at some point or another? I've considered nuking my AR blog before for no greater purpose than the anticipated catharsis.

    The fun is long gone, but I still derive benefit from my participation, even if just in the chance encounter with another kindred spirit. I miss what it was, use what it is and keep a finger on the eject button at all times.

    You've been out here for a long time, Maverick. Pretty soft landing when you pull those 80 some posts. Me, with my baby WP blog, I have to watch that canopy lest I get the Goose treatment.

  62. Lyn Sims says:

    Sour grapes that's what I hear. If it was so valuable why not still participate? I guess you've moved on mentally to better things, better sources. I challenge your thoughts on your participation with only 80 posts – that's nothing! Lack of participation is a problem when 100's of agents/accounts only fill out their profiles and then do nothing for years. That in itself is monumental information overload that is of no value to the community. I am personally glad that if you don't participate on a 'regular' basis – you're toast. Talk about baggage!

    I also don't understand why you would have deleted those posts that provided some SEO benefit to you? Maybe you also don't understand SEO?

    I wish you well in your new endeavors.

    • Else says:

      Talking about sour grapes – Who is Lyn Sims?

    • Karen Rice says:

      Love how people finish off a rude comment with "I wish you well." You ma'am, are a liar. You wish nobody well – your caustic remark speaks volumes.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Lyn – you are certainly entitled to your opinion that this is all about sour grapes. I'm sure you are not alone.

      So I guess you fall into the camp the believes the only way to participate in ActiveRain is by posting. Comments don't count, inviting people to AR doesn't count, and talking about and promoting AR to hundreds of real estate professionals doesn't count.

      OK, that's your opinion too.

      "Maybe you also don’t understand SEO?"

      Well, I understand enough about SEO to get this blog ranked on page one of Google for the search term Phoenix real estate. That's a pretty competitive search term. I understand enough about SEO to have hundreds of page 1 rankings in the SERPs for pertinent search terms. I understand enough about SEO to have over 70,000 back links to this blog.

      This blog has had over 440,000 visitors and over 1,000,000 page views this year and generates enough leads that it allowed me to open my own brokerage.

      So don't worry too much about my SEO abilities. There is always a ton more to learn about SEO, but I do what I can.

      I Googled "Schaumburg Homes" since that's the primary real estate keyword in your blog's title tag. I stopped looking for your blog after not finding it in the first six pages of results. You do rank on page 3 for "chicago northwest suburbs", another part of your title tag. Congratulations.

  63. Geri Sonkin says:

    Jay, I'm really late to this party. My family is visiting from Arizona and I've been offline a lot. I found it shocking that this happened. I remember the early days on AR, when there were one or two thousand of us and we were feeling our way around the blogging platform. It was fun back then and friendships were made and nurtured. For my own reasons, I drifted away for a period of time and found my way back intermittently last year. I seem to remember suggestions coming up from time to time about getting rid of what some people perceived as dead wood, those who weren't posting often. I thought it ill advised from the first and was frankly surprised when I read that recent implementation post to which you referred.

    There is a huge issue with trust whenever we're told one thing, only to discover the words were hollow and meaningless. A wise woman once told me many years ago, "never go by what people say, go by what they do."

    So many of the old crew are gone now and certainly missed. I'll continue to visit you here.

  64. Karen Rice says:

    Holy Smokes. Can't believe this. I don't blame you one bit Jay. Not one bit.

    I actually can see deleting blogs that have been abandoned, the user only has 3,000 points, and hasn't logged in for a year. That is totally understandable.

    But ..wow. Just wow.

  65. I have been advising for years now about the perils of creating a marketing mix where some of the more important ingredients are "free" solutions. The business model of "free" has only proven itself to a select few companies that have been either extremely well funded or extremely lucky. It's a slippery slope. If you build your business on a foundation of solutions under which you have no control, you shouldn't be surprised when pieces of it start to crumble or vanish. That said, there are plenty of "paid" services that aren't much more reliable, but at least you can go into each situation eyes wide open and create a strategy that allows you to move your eggs, free or otherwise, into an evenly distributed number of baskets.

  66. TLW says:

    Lynn…This is TLW, I've been chewing on your comment. I think it's important that you understand that "Founding" Members are the reason you, and thousands of others, enjoy the fruits of The Rain. Without us, a few thousand, AR would not exist. And if it did manage to make a go of it, without our input, content, or money, it would have turned into just another 'Icky' Real Estate site. Founding Members like Jay should not have had their accounts shut down. Abandoned or otherwise. Those accounts are part of the history of AR. To shut them down it just wrong. It doesn't matter how anyone puts it, wrong is wrong. Seeing them shut down this way is like watching AR bite the hand that fed them. I understand why Jay has done what he's done. I'd have done it as well. Your comments to Jay trouble me deeply. I find them to be downright mean, which surprises me. Lyn, I hope that if you're reading this you will return and apologize for being so careless in your remarks. Jay is one of the nicest people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. He's handled you well and did it with kindness mixed with reality. For this, you need to thank him. Not everyone in Space would have been this gentlemenly with you. Roar!

  67. TLW says:

    Jay…

    Please tell me how to get my image connected to my comments? Don't tell me I have to sign up for something else :)

  68. TLW says:

    This is a Gravatar test :)

  69. TLW says:

    Yay!!! Now I can Roar and everyone knows it's me :)

  70. TLW says:

    Oh, I forgot to thank you Jeremy and Dunes. That was actually kind of fun and gave me a reason to update my WP Profile.

  71. TLW – I adore you :)

  72. Joe Pryor says:

    First, I have really enjoyed reading the comments, it has been a great conversation and should validate the importance of comments in blogging. Second, I think we have a touch of true belieiverism on AR that crossed the line into hubris. I do blog on AR and I like the interaction with other real estate people, but it is never a reason to abandon your content and building your personal identity as yourself, not just yourself at AR. A lot of blogs are about the Tao of Raincamp and all the business that comes with the accumulation of points, and possibly the higher ups saw this as the reason they should take this course. Now comes the crucial test that will show whether AR will go from puberty into adulthood. Yes they stumbled, but what will they do now? Hopefully they will figure it out before the fathers follow the granfathers into the void.

  73. TLW says:

    Joe…AR grew into its AdultHood in the summer of 2008. I watched it happen. The points system has been in place since day one. This goes much deeper than any ones' pride. This is a matter of trust. Our collective trust. To publicly say one thing, and do another, is not the foundation in which we built AR on. We built it with trust. We gave of ourselves freely because of trust. What many of you Newer Members don't seem to get, is what it took to keep AR up and running. I suspect until many of you do the homework, in that department, you'll never get it. You weren't there. You have no idea of all the things were told. Promises were made. Guarantees were made. What we Founding Members see happening doesn't sit well with us. I am 100% behind what Jay has done. In light of the circumstances, why in the world should he leave his content on AR? As Jay's account was downsized, his content serves him no purpose. Google doesn't crawl Members Only content. I normally stand behind everything AR does. This is one time, when I believe, they've made a mistake they can't fix. That's a sad thing. A sad thing indeed.

  74. Jay – AR made a big mistake here. I discovered you on AR – I reblogged one of your posts on the first tax credit and subscribed to this blog about then. That reblog is gone, now, btw.

    I realize that you made an emotional decision to remove your blog posts, and do not blame you one bit – but I think that you made a mistake, too. (Their loss is greater than yours, so true, your good old content was still good old content that is now lost to AR.)

    But regardless of your stats, the quality of leads and agent referrals from AR are good for you. :)

    Your infrequent but valuable comments on AR that might make a reader (agent or consumer) want to go check out your blog? There is nothing there now – your old AR blog posts were enough to convince a consumer that you are very good. Or an agent with a referral client. Just for that reason, I suggest that you do post one more time on AR and just say 'bye, come see me on this blog.' Or something. :)

    I am a big AR fan – 14 closed transactions in the 12 months directly from my AR blog, mostly from old posts – they have been good to me – sorry that you were not notified in time to decide, I would have been pretty upset, too.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Virginia –

      I appreciate your comment. A final post on AR is a pretty good idea, I may just do that.

      My Rainmaker status was reactivated, but now it's gone again. I'm sure that could be fixed too, but to be honest, I just don't see the point. It was taken away, given back, and now taken away again — once again with no notice.

      I never posted on AR about the tax credit, so it must have been someone else's post that you reblogged….

      As for leads and traffic from AR, I've never received a single real estate buyer or seller lead from AR (in fairness to them, I never wrote there or optimized for lead generation).

      Traffic? I've received 64 visits from either my AR profile or old AR posts this year to date — out of 415,000+ that have visited here. AR doesn't send me traffic.

      Honestly, anyone looking for me, or information on Phoenix area real estate, is FAR more likely to land on this blog than on anything I ever had on AR. My AR profile does come up #8 on Google for my name, but people would have to scroll past this blog, my website, and my Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles before they got to my AR profile. And even if they did land there, my contact info is there.

      There's no question AR works for some. But it's not a magic pill, none of this internet stuff is. I don't need AR for business, I've got this blog and other sites and social media that drive all my business. I've met some wonderful people through AR, many of which I consider good friends. They'll still be good friends, that won't change.

      • Rod Rebello says:

        Jay – I got my status reinstated only to see a day later it was gone again. After I complained (again), was told I needed to make a post by midnight to reset the posting timeout clock. I made a dummy post just to keep it – a comment about posting to keep my status :) . Not sure it's worth the hassle to keep it going.

      • Jim Gatos says:

        This "on – off", "on-off" behavior from AR is beginning to make me nervous. I went to a RainCamp a couple of days ago and signed up for 2 months of AR for $2 a month and $39 beginning the third month. I don't like what I am reading here and I think I'll just go back to Typepad or go to WordPress.. At least I'll have my own blog, not both Paying for AND contributing to theirs.

  75. Paul says:

    "The Tao of Raincamp" … someone get Joe Pryor a silkscreen and some start-up capital. ;)

  76. Geri Sonkin says:

    Those of us who joined AR early on, when nobody including them had a scintilla of an idea of its potential, created the foundation on which the company stands. We were the bricks that built the structure. There was no Google juice back then, no great expectation of how it would build our business. We nurtured it with no promise of gain, as we would have a child we brought into this world. IMHO that should count for something.

  77. Joe Pryor says:

    TLW, the pride is not in the early adopters like Jay, you and others, it is in the company itself. I understand business overlays based on a free service that starts that way, and then finds ways to monetize it. I think Facebook has done a pretty good job of that. The problem for AR is that if you go to ranking.com and look at AR it was No. 833 the last time I checked. Realtor.com, who I truly detest in 203, followed by Zillow and then Trulis far behind. Localism is barely a blip, I think it was above 10,000. I don't think that looks like a site consumers are flocking to as much as one that real estate professionals use to talk to each other, get a lot of comments, but that does not necessarily translate to business. What business I have received has been from Google indexing a combination of posts that includes AR. The True Believerism has not helped, I do not not read post talking about my journey to umteen million points, or Raincamp described as if was Paul on the Damascus Road experience. That does not contribute to me getting to know what makes the members tick, or what special information they have to share. There are alternatives to this like with specific groups in realtown.com, ot Bryant's short sale group which seem to me to be more vibrant and open. So if I could recommend something to AR leaders it would be more anarchy, less dogma, and fewer Politburo purges.

  78. @ Joe P.

    Your comment has some merit to it in regards to rankings and such. I won't site here and claim to be some SEO expert or an expert on real estate platforms. But one thing that I did want to point out in regards to AR not being found by many consumers and their s0-called ranking. From my experience, the consumer finds my post that I did on Active Rain by doing searches through Google or Bing, etc,e tc.. They don't find it by going to AR directly. Common sense and reality to me, I could care less, as long as I am found online and ranked high for my searches. Besides, I really wouldn't want tons of borrwers flocking to AR and doing their searches there for a good loan officer. Some loan officers have very well written profiles, but they don't know crap… or could hardly spell mortgages. Many rely on descriptions such as : Best interest rates… lowest interest rates, 10 day closings… yet if you read their posts, they show me nothing, or lack of knowledge per se.

    Now, this is just my opinion, based on what I have seen since I have joined in 10/06. Yes, I blog outside of AR also… but that is what cracks me up about the features. The average consumer doesn't lurk the features page…. most members do. Yes, I like to write to the members from time to time… keeping my face in front of them. To me, this is a special captured audience that I can't get on to many platforms… my blog posts themselves is what is found by the consumer, online, through searches.

    In regards to the AR platform politics, I try and ignore most of that and don't even bother… let those members cry to each other… bitch, moan, rant… I am focusing on quality posts that get searched.

    Overall, I am only bringing this up because you talked about the rankings and such. Sure, other sites such as Trulia and Zillow are higher ranked, but their model is totally different. Besides, many of the loan officers and realtors on those 2 sites, in the questions and answers sections, suck… in my opinion, 80% of those answers given are terrible. Hence why a select few of us went out and started http://www.mortgagemythbusters.com

    Anyhoo… I just wanted to share some of my insight and how I look at those types of rankings, which don't bother me.. I want to know where my posts rank… that's where I get my business. Just as Jay's site itself ranks very high… he did an excellent job with that. But I will say that I would still use AR to some capacity. It all depends on what one is trying to accomplish and who their market is, what they are trying to target.

    thanks

  79. Laurie Manny says:

    So many great comments and discussions here, all relevant. AR is a great place for an agent who has no positioning on the engines to get started but there is nothing more valuable than owning your own site and content, I have always said this. While starting out on AR all agents should be building their own web/blog presence. Once their presence is established it is prudent to stop posting local real estate posts to AR, reduce their presence in your local area while bringing your own sites up to the top of the engines. Those of us who have been gone from the rain for a while recognized this a long time ago.

    I deleted most of my real estate related posts from AR a long time ago (about 75% of my posts). The AR SEO was pushing dated posts to the top of the engines. I prefer to have current information at the top of the engines – on my own sites, so I removed the content that was interfering with my placement on the engines. I suggest that others do the same. I will probably delete more of my posts.

    The posts we have on AR provide many of our sites with valuable backlinks. What a shame for AR to have done this and jeopardize the backlinks we have all built by contributing to and building their system, and build we did. We put a lot of time and effort into earning the right to these backlinks, it is unthinkable that AR considers us disposable.

    Many AR members have no idea how much valuable content is being deleted. In the early days of AR the members were very generous with how to's and sharing advise. Much more than has been exhibited in the last couple of years. I learned so much in the early days it made it possible for me to put together a top notch blog and keep it at the top of the search engines in the #1 position for Long Beach Real Estate and in top 3 positions for almost any long or short tail keyword related to my local area.

    While I may no longer be a contributing member (posts) I still read and occasionally comment on AR. There are very few members who contributed as much as myself and a few others. 4 of us moderated the entire AR system for most of 2007. AR has a short memory.

    AR should reconsider the way they are addressing their dead accounts.

  80. okay.. I am getting comment updates, telling me the Ines and Rhonda are leaving comments… but the last comment I see is from Laurie Manny.

    I any case, I was upset that some lovely ladies were having a conversation without me… ;o)

    Seriously though,, as I have said above, I agree, I think AR handled this poorly. Brad Andersohn gave an answer that they were trying to weed out those new that haven't done anything in the last 90 days… okay, I can accept that. But in Jay's case, without truly knowing.. look what happened. I never even got an e-mail and know many that didn't… I just think this could have been handled better and it is a shame.

    • ines says:

      You're pretty funny Jeff – and then I tried responding to Rhonda and it won't let me (I guess Jay never planned for so many friggin' comments here) :)

      Jay – even considering AR's poor social etiquette <<talk about SOCIAL MEDIA PARADOX

      …. I'm thankful to them because I wouldn't have met people like you – true friends I can count on.

  81. non-issue for me. But I do love the drama that is be whooped up over this.

    If you don't like it, delete.

  82. Kaye Thomas says:

    They have been busy folk at AR.. just checked and I've also gotten the ax… with no notice. While I haven't posted in awhile I also read and make comments from time to time. Seems a bit silly and very shortsighted on AR's part to throw all of us who helped get AR going out the door.

  83. Lisa Heindel says:

    I'm not a founding AR member, but I have been there since 2007. The slowly changing atmosphere there is just sad. I'm grateful that I joined when I did and was able to get ahead of my local competition with everything I learned there – especially from people like Jay and Laurie Manny, who make me think (that's always a good thing :) ). I'm grateful that I've made some excellent referral partner contacts. I'm eternally grateful that I've made some very good friends that I would not have had without AR. That said…my focus is now on my own site as I wean myself off of the crutch of AR. The dynamics that are in play there now are completely different than they were 3 years ago and it seems that with moves like this it's not going to get any better.

  84. Kris Wales says:

    Hi Jay,

    Like you, I didn't receive an email about this change. I noticed people on FB talking about it and remembered when we were told (not all that long ago) that grandfathered members were in for life.

    The first thing I thought of when I read about this on FB was how close to the heels this sudden change in AR policy is coming after all the server issues. Most of us dealt with the 404 errors pretty darned well for months and still came back to AR. Some, like me, poured more of their blogging efforts in to their "other" blogs. It appears that any gratitude shown by AR to those who didn't abandon the ship during all of the downtime that AR had has been swept to the side.

    Also like you, I contributed in ways that can't be measured by anyone else but me. Every potential blogger that I talked with heard about ActiveRain. I can point to over 20 paying members who are there because I touted the Raindrops. No, I didn't send invites. I gave them the link directly to the site. I never felt the need to earn points from someone elses blogging efforts.

    Sometimes contributions are quiet ones, but that doesn't mean they aren't important ones. Not abandoning ship during the rough times as well as quietly promoting the site should be as important as posting a "Guess what I did today" blog article every 90 days.

  85. I think I still have a rainmaker not sure- I see all of these site like Trulia and Zillow use our information to get up in the search and then charge us to advertise. Do you think that Active Rain will start getting in the listing business and lead generation.

    Also I have decided to cut Trulia and Zillow off – do you think that is a good Idea

  86. Marcus says:

    "Me deleting my content will have absolutely zero affect on AR."

    Deleting your 86 posts may not have an affect, but I think you undervalue the reach of your voice. Several others have deleted their posts since you wrote this, and I assure you many others are considering doing the same. Or they've finally clued in that content ownership is a big deal. A really big deal.

  87. Morgan Carey says:

    I have considered doing this MANY times (I have always been a bit annoyed that they thought they could charge me now for a site that I helped them establish) – but I was worried about it looking like me whining or whatever as well (let's face it, I run a large Realtor social networking site, and they have more members, I must be a hater right?) – Not so, more like someone who is embarrassed to say he sent a TON of invites to his own membership, and through what I thought was true social spirit unselfishly sent MY traffic and MY users to AR in the hopes that they might benefit as "early adopters".

    I am going to Join you Jay (and I recommend others do the same) AR has turned into more and more of a spam pit, and they only ever feature AR suckup posts, it's quite lame.

    And for the record – Jay you are always welcome to participate at REW (blogs, forums whatever) for free (and it will always be free) or may I be struck down by whatever spam demons now plague AR.

    I don't have any points for you "yet" – but I am sure I can figure something out heh

  88. I was never a member of AR, but after reading this post i can totally understand the choice you made to remove all posts from the site. This is the first i have heard of this ordeal with ActiveRain and it amazes me what they have done. I can almost say i am glad i never was a part of the site… seemed to have saved me a lot of time and frustration.

  89. Jay,

    I have to say from someone who has looked up to you since I started blogging in 2008. This post is making me think with my own active rain account. =(

    But in either, thanks for sharing and your effort in trying to be objective is well apprreciated.

    -Joe

  90. Dunes says:

    I have a Question

    If Content is so Important then why is this Tolerated by Agents or Sites that are Agent Focused?
    http://activerain.com/blogsview/1748423/hey-look-

    I noticed one of the Agents who Blogs at ActiveRain that I enjoy reading had her latest Blog posted on Trulia by another Agent at ActiveRain (Who made it appear as they had written it)..So I became a tattle-tale..

    My Question would be…Now the discussion seems to be…Wish/Hope Maybe ActiveRain will do something, Maybe they will learn from being caught, Maybe Maybe….Is this not an important issue? Shouldn't it be taken more Seriously by RE Sites and PROs (Appears this is not the First time for this Agent)

    Shouldn't they not be an ActiveRain or Trulia or Zillow Member…Does this attitude of Thief is OK not have Implications to the Consumer and the RE Industry Image/Credibility?

    Why are Pros not saying to Sites (Not just ActiveRain all RE Sites)…What Credibility do we have if we tolerate this and do you have by tolerating this? Why is something like this going on (and it's common not some strange it seldom happens issue,,not long ago Jay and I spoke together because we saw 3-4 Agents do it in just a 15-20 Minute time Span & and when caught they basically said "What's the Big Deal?" YOU don't say that if it's a Big Deal IMO so they were right in a way)

    Isn't this something Agents/Pros United should Deal with since it's an issue to all of them and affects THEM individually far more than it affects an RE Site and not sit around asking why others don't Deal with it?

    Just Curious…If Content is Important?

  91. I love watching all you "founding people" take such pride in saying "I'm a founding member" blah blah blah.

    Well if it is so important to you—get over there and write. You cannot have your cake and eat it too.

    You guys acting, like, well, me: spoiled brats. FYI.

    I'm not saying you are wrong (to be acting like a spoiled brat) but if it is a duck….

    Jay, it must be slow in the re.net. No other cause to be appalled about? No one to gut? And to think you've been brought down to the likes of AR to whoop up some scandal…..

    I'm glad I withdrew (you guys should try it). Money is really, really cool.

    I sort of made my quiet escape (from campus) when I saw pics of people working in a garage and calling it progress. Nope none of that kool aid for me!

    Jay, why u bustin' AR's chops? Eeeh?? They are trying to do things with it. This is a business they don't owe you or I anything.

    Things change. Policies change. "Terms of Use." So they didn't send you an email. A simple call would have put you right on top of the pile—right where you like!

    I don't get the "this is appalling" from all you "founding members" and re.net royalty. Most of you don't even write on AR and consider it beneath you.

    Come on. This is such a nothing issue.

    #justsayin'

  92. Karen Rice says:

    Heh. Kevin, that's a mighty long and thought out response for what you consider a "nothing issue." ROFL

  93. The issue is nothing really, the reaction I read is.

    People in the re.net historically have taken gutting someone for something as small as a faux-paus and gutting them for sport. I've seen it and have been apart of it many times (ah, the good old days).

    AR is harmless. They don't mean any harm. Heck, they gave all of us our start!

    Except for Jay, of course, I heard tale of his ways at Housevalues or Homegain before AR. I think that is where he "sharpened his skills."

  94. MN Homes says:

    The AR decision is asinine on a number of levels:

    1. How does the infrequency of your posting diminish the value of posts that you have already committed?

    2. People who post infrequently are the people who are probably least interested in paying a fee.

    3. It probably does not cost AR any money to keep your current account active.

    One thing is certain: I won't be spending any time or money on Active Rain

  95. And today A/R removed the leader-board, at least in the format it ever existed and now all the A/R members except the top 2 are regulated to be "side notes" on the side of a page – without much info. So the whole idea of referring on the network is now diminished as well — You are so right Jay, on must control one's own content and server space. All the best.

  96. Joe Murphy says:

    Wow, your post sure brought a lot of feedback, I was a "grandfathered" member, but then decided to upgrade to get an outside blog. Not sure it has helped any, in fact, I was wondering how to revert to my old membership. I enjoy activerain, and still recomend it to anyone asking about starting in blogging.

    They should just start doing google adsense, already, they have tons of traffic, that might help them make some money.

    joe murphy

  97. And today A/R removed the leader-board, (at least in the format it ever existed) and now all the A/R members except the top 2 are regulated to be “side notes” on the side of a page – without much info. So the whole idea of referring on the network is now diminished as well — You are so right Jay, one must control one’s own content and server space. All the best.

  98. To borrow a few common sayings… Erasing one's existence from Activerain sounds a little bit like "biting the hand that feeds you" and I won't be following your lead. For the past two years I have maintained two blogs because it doesn't seem to me like good business sense to put "all my eggs in one basket", so perhaps that's one reason why I'm flexible with whatever the Activerain gurus feel is in the best interest of their business.

    I'll miss you, Jay, and I'd certainly miss my friend Thesa if she decides to leave, but I'm in it for the long haul. Activerain isn't perfect, but it has contributed to my bottom line, my business knowledge, my tech skills, my circle of friends… "let me count the ways." The cons amount to a handful of annoyances, but the list of pros for participating in Activerain run off the page for me.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Margaret – I agree with you. *If* AR was feeding me, I wouldn't have bitten that hand. AS I mentioned, I'd only posted there twice in the last two years, and I get almost zero traffic from AR (in all fairness to them, I never attempted to get business or traffic from them).

      So, *for me*, deleting those posts has zero impact or potential impact on my business. It also has zero impact on anyone at AR — staff or members.

      It boils down to principles. I put a LOT of value (too much probably) in trust and in people's word. I can tolerate a lot of crap, but in almost 50 years of life, I've never been able to tolerate being lied to. And, again *for me*, that's what this felt like.

      I haven't posted to AR in years, I won't post there just to maintain an account, so why bother? I know AR didn't say, "screw these people", that's not the way they think. But it was, in my opinion, a very poorly thought out decision. To me, it shows they don't care about what I've done to help them and if they don't care, then I'd rather take my content and re-purpose it for a better use — for me.

      Selfish? Maybe. But it is my content, so I should get the "highest and best use" for it. For me, that clearly isn't on AR. But on here, or one of my other sites (this site isn't the only egg in my basket.)

      I'll continue to read on AR, and comment occasionally. And in reality, that's all I've done directly on that site in the last two years anyway. Will I continue to advocate for AR in my classes and seminars? Probably, but with a much stronger caution that the rules can change on a whim….

      Thanks for stopping by!

  99. TLW says:

    Jay…It's unlikely that she'll come back on her own. Looks like I need to drag her pretty ass back in here :)

  100. TLW says:

    Kevin…

    Watch it Man. I'm one of those "Founding Members". Don't make me hit you. I'd like it too much :)

  101. TLW you go on and found all you want to "found."

    I say live and let live. I love AR. I am not ABOVE it. Just like if my $9M listing needs the floor swept, Kevin gets in there and sweeps.

    I like to have fun. Sometimes I get all wacky. Sometimes I say what needs to be said. I don't follow the crowd. I hope they all "go" to someplace grand but I'm a loner by nature.

    You can tell I'm my own man, I NEVER endorsed foursquare! Don't be appalled. I know some of you will want to pulverize me…but it seemed silly then and does now.

    By the way, TLW, I've had the best year EVER selling real estate. I love to blog. That's my honey—but Twitt'n and FB'ing and all the stuff—-well the further I get away from it—the more $ I make.

    >>Bill Lublin feel free to use my comment for the SMMI<<

  102. Hey Jay,

    Off topic, but what's up with CORE? I saw some big announcement in May but haven't seen anything since.

    I think that is a quality way to RE professionals to exchange and participate.

    IT would be a shame if CORE went away. Again quality stuff.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      I need to get off my duff and do something with CoRE. Just been ridiculously busy lately. Look for something on it *soon*. Would love to hear any suggestions you might have.

      Thinking of going with a monthly version, perhaps with some defined categories like "Local", "Industry wide", "finance", "investment", "Agent to agent", or something. Wide open to ideas…

      (for interested observers, CoRE = Carnival of Real Estate, a collection of blog articles from across the real estate space hosted on some regular basis).

  103. Paul Francis says:

    Lots of laughing… by the time I got to comment #100 I forgot that I was on your site… and thought I was on AR…

    Do I get any points for this comment?

  104. TLW says:

    Hi Ya Kevin…

    I know you've had an incredible year. I'm not as disconnected as people think I am. I'm there. I just don't say much until someone pisses me off. Or whines because Kevin is selling and they're not :)

    And I frickin' dislike FourSquare with a passion only exceeded by my passion for my real life :)

    Jay…

    I'll try to get that on video :)

  105. TLW says:

    And someday I hope to master Their vs They're vs There :)

  106. Good for you brotha!

    There are lots of views and slants and takes on something like this but I think the bottom line is you stood up on PRINCIPLE and walked.

    At the end of the day, the $40 is irrelevant and we both know it. But you didn't want to be slimed.

    Love it!

    RM

  107. Trydunlo.com says:

    You deleted every article? WOW

  108. Charles says:

    Looks like I'll need to take a trip over to AR. I'm sure our account got the axe as well. I have no problem with their decision….but when you say one thing then do another…..

  109. Gena Riede says:

    Bad news travels fast!! Saddened to hear that AR would have no loyalty to all of us who actually helped propel it into the giant that it is today. Quantity is not necessarily quality, though.

    When I put something in writing, I stand by it and ethically AR made a very bad mistake.

    Seems my status has changed at AR as well and like everyone else there was no notification. Too bad … actions speak louder than words. I guess their core values changed since we were all there.

    Like you Jay, my blog brings my business. Active Rain brought me friendships and for those I will always be grateful.

  110. Jay Thompson says:

    Serhiy –

    What this post was intended to do was: 1) provide an avenue for me to explain why I did this; 2) hopefully make people think about having control of their content; and 3) attempt to make a point that there are more ways to contribute to a network like AR than writing a blog post.

    People are certainly entitled to their own opinions of what the motivations and intent for this post were, but the simple fact is, I wrote it not them, and anyone who claims to know exactly what this post was intended to do is merely speculating.

    In my opinion, anyone thinking about buying a Rainmaker account should analyze the potential ROI of that investment. That's true for *anything* any agent chooses to do. Whether that's purchase an AR Rainmaker account, decide to spend time building a Facebook presence, buy a radio add, blog on their own domain, do a mass mailing — whatever. You investigate, examine the ROI and make a decision. Once that decision is made, you re-evaluate periodically determine if the ROI is still what it needs to be for *you*. That will be different for everyone and just because one person doesn't find the ROI in a particular method, tool, system or platform doesn't mean another person won't.

    There are countless ways to skin this real estate cat. Some ways work for some and not for others. I have yet to find a single way that works for everyone.

  111. What I have taken the time to do is scour the internet this evening to get some inspiration from fellow RE bloggers.

    I stopped in at all the *usual* haunts (all y'all) and I gleaned nothing of true value.

    Content, my friend. I went to every "superstar" blog and every "B" list blogger and there wasn't one interesting thing.

    Boy whizzes thru AR and bam! Bunches of people I didn't know writing really good stuff.

    Never become Louis XVI/Marie Antoinette and become so out of touch with reality!

    Expand your horizons, meet new people.

    If I was starting out and had my choice of AR or Twitter or FB for $40/mo. Hands down would be AR.

    My motto: You don't get what you don't pay for. Yes, I was lucky to be in early. Business people should know how business works. If someone is being nice to you-be nice back. It is a respect thing.

    Respect is a two way street. Some peeps want to have it all and EXPECT and DEMAND not to have to give anything.

    To me it is pompous.

    #justsayin

    I've never rec'd any leads from FB or Twitter…so my expectations from them are low.

    I'm glad I didn't lose my "status." I find value in AR.

  112. Kevin, I don't think there's one secret SM sauce that works for everybody. I have closed transactions from Twitter, Facebook and my blogs… not one from ActiveRain. And don't judge my AR account now–I've deleted a majority of my …back in the early days, I was into supporting "localism" with photos and posts… but was turned off when I discovered my content was supporting Brio. It was probably my first lesson on the value of my content and being aware of where you decide to spend your time and efforts on the www.

    I have continued to grow away from AR over the years… and this last bit that Jay has written about is just a tired last straw for me.

    Bottom line, my content is best on my personal blog.

    • Rhonda,

      Can you expand a little on "supporting localism" and the lesson you learned?

      • Serhiy, In a quick nut-shell, it appeared to me that they were using *my* AR localism content to support their Brio agent's SEO. Looking back, I know that it probably isn't completely "my" content once I upload it to AR and that was my "lesson" learned.

  113. Jay Thompson says:

    Kevin wrote: "Expand your horizons, meet new people."

    I agree completely.

    And *for me*, Twitter is a great tool for doing exactly that. Through local "Tweet ups" organized on Twitter, I've met over 300 people — non-real estate people (ie: potential home buyers and sellers) — in real life. And we closed nine transaction sides last year through that group (which is nine more than I closed via AR in four years). Clearly nine transactions from Twitter won't send me into retirement, but the ROI is pretty damn good.

    Personally, I think twitter is a lousy place to get "leads". It just isn't suited for lead generation, in my opinion. Use it as a tool to engage with people and meet them in real life, and business can result. But, like any other tool in the toolbox, it's not for everyone.

    I've never closed a transaction from FB or from AR. Never gotten a single lead from either one of those. In fairness to both those platforms, I never really attempted to use them for prospect generation. Can they generate prospects? Absolutely. For some, but not for everyone.

    If you don't find anything of value here Kevin (or anyone else), my suggestion would be not to read here. Why waste the time? No offense, but my target audience for this blog isn't agents in Miami, it's potential home buyers, sellers and investors in the Phoenix market. That doesn't mean every post here is written for that audience, but the vast majority are.

    I focus my attention here, because it works for me. My goal for 2010 is to generate 4,000 prospects from this blog. At the half-way point of the year, we were not too far off that pace. I don't think we'll hit the 4K by the end of the year, but it'll be close, and I'll tweak and adjust and hope to find some way to hit that goal, and even more next year.

    One of the nice things about having my content here (and on other sites in my complete control) is no one can change the rules (well, except maybe my wife). I'm a bit of a control freak and I like having the *complete* control keeping my content on platforms that I own provides.

    Others mileage will vary.

  114. Well Jay,

    Why was your content on AR at all, then? Further, I understand that they offered to give you back your little "Blue Bar" status back. Is that correct?

    This really isn't about the content. This issue, to me, seems about status and bullying.

    Is it really about the blue bar?

    I saw another *star* who skinned her content to a posterous blog. Oh gawd. I think I barfed a little when I saw that.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Kevin –

      I first posted on AR in 2006. I'd posted twice in the last two years and maybe four times in the past three years.

      So for all practical purposes, I hadn't really written on AR in three years. And compared to thousands of others on AR, I really never had a whole lot of content there. I chose to focus almost solely on this blog in 2006, not long after I wrote most of my stuff on AR.

      As I said in the post, and in my comments here, for ME it boiled down to trust. I don't know how else to say it. I have zero tolerance for being lied to, and I felt like that's what AR did. You and other people are entitled to feel differently. You don't like being called a troll, or being told to shut up, and I don't like being lied to. It's really that simple. It's not some conspiracy theory, it's not some grand plan, it's not to bully AR. It's a personal choice for me because I thought the whole thing was handled in a shitty manner and I don't tolerate being lied to.

      I could give a rat's ass about status, or a blue bar, or to be honest, what other people think of me. If I don't trust someone, and feel like they lie to me, I don't do business with them. Period.

      Yes, they reinstated my "rainmaker" account. They also took it away again, without notice again a few days after that. If I asked, they'd probably reinstate it. Again. Personally, I don't see the point. I won't be posting there, just like I haven't been posting in the past three years. I will continue to read there, and comment occasionally, just like I have been.

      Is it really that difficult to understand? I don't know how to make it any clearer.

  115. Wow! Quite a discussion. I’m a relatively new guy in the industry and haven’t been blogging on AR. I recently attended AR camp. though, and was considering buying the rainmaker account. This thread chilled me down a little :)

    And, yes, thanks for emphasizing on having control over your content.

  116. Serhiy,

    That is EXACTLY what this post was INTENDED to do.

  117. Karen Rice says:

    Kevin I honestly don't understand what your point is in continuing to post here. You've said your piece, what more is there to say? You are in obvious disagreement with Jay and with others who feel the same way he does about the way AR handled this situation.

    I for one am concerned that just as they went back on their word re: the status of rainmaker accounts, what if a year down the road they decide to eliminate grandfathered accounts and charge for them as well? It is, in my opinion, a very real possibility – even though AR "said" they would not do that, what AR "said" means nothing – this post proves that.

  118. Life is way too short to dedicate this much time and thought into Active Rain of all things. It's time to put this to bed!

  119. “Sounds more to me like they want to encourage grandfathered Rainmakers to contribute more content. That I can understand. I’d have a lot more respect for them if they just came out and said that. Threatening me with removing my promised (for life) account does absolutely nothing to motivate me to post there. Quite the opposite in fact.”

    How simple doing this the right way would have been!

    Several times in your comments you mention how smart that the people at ActiveRain are. Well, evidently being smart and knowing how to run things well do not necessarily go hand in hand.

    You would hope they would learn from their mistakes. Just recently they made more changes, again with inadequate notice. And they are promising to make more. I sure hope those changes are positive. I guess I will have to wait and see.

  120. From the first day I signed up with Active Rain I knew the day would come they would go to a pay model, Luckily I wised up fast and realized that creating your own content that you own (self hosted blogs) and control was the way to go. I do believe like you Jay, that AR has the right to do what they want being it is their network but don’t forget the people who helped you get there.

  121. JasonB says:

    Hi Jay, I'm new to AR and enthusiastic about the platform. Reading your post was deflating, it doesn't seem to correlate with the culture of AR, at least how their culture has been prestented to me. The comments on this post have been excellent as well. Although I'm still excited to participate in AR I now have some pause, perhaps, as you point out, if you don't control your content…well…you don't control your content; but their SEO capabilities keep me from changing course. Can you, or anyone else, give me an idea as to how I can learn successful SEO strategies for a custom blog? At the very least, you've convinced me that's important to know and understand moving forward. Much thanks. Jason

  122. Karen Rice says:

    What will benefit YOU in the long run is the return on the searches for long tail key words, not "real estate" or "realtor" if you know what I mean.

    Many bloggers outrank AR – it all depends on how well optimized your post is.

    For me the value in AR is the community, the stuff I have learned from others, the friendship, and yeah, my early blogging did capture leads. THen I learned to take control of my content. I blog on both AR and my own blog – because more times than I'd like to count my AR blogs have been "unavailable" due to their past server errors. Who knows how many leads I lost because they tried clicking on my AR blogs….

    • JasonB says:

      Thanks Karen. I'm pretty sure I understand long tail search terms as opposed to shorter, much broader ones, but there must be more to good SEO than that…

  123. Jay Thompson says:

    @Jason – there is a TON to SEO… It's part art, part science with a healthy does of mystery thrown in. AR has a significant amount of "authority" because of it's shear size (Google likes large sites) and there are a bazillion people linking to it (Google likes links — most links).

    You can read about and study SEO for a lifetime and never grasp all of it. Plus it's dynamic, the rules change. And, because there are on the order of 100 items believed to be in Google's search placement algorithm, and no one outside of a few within the walls of Google know the actual "formula", if you ask 10 SEO experts a question, you'll get 12 different answers.

    Karen makes a great point about the "long tail". My best example is right here on this blog. We're on page 1 of Google for the search term "Phoenix real estate". That's a *very* competitive term, and most consider "city real estate" the "Gold Standard" of search. But it took five years, hundreds of posts and getting thousands of links back to this site to get there. And yes, it does drive traffic here. Fairly significant amounts. But it's very "unfocused" traffic. Better (better as in terms of people that register for a home search and ultimately become a client) are long tail terms like, "some-subdivision homes for sale", "phoenix home search", or even "I need to short sale my phoenix home". Those types of terms drive a LOT less traffic than "phoenix real estate", but serious buyers and sellers tend to use those types of searches.

    AR is a great place to learn. It has a helpful (for the most part) membership, and I've made some great friends there. But you CAN build a strong web presence outside of AR, and I think it is crucial to control your own content. I'd much rather spend my time and effort adding content to MY domain name, not to AR.com (or realtor.com, or blogger.com or any other community platform).

    AR's fine for a supplemental place to post content. And if you get prospects from it, then go for it. It's all about the ROI. If that's there for you, then there is no one that should tell you not to use it. Different things work for different people.

    This blogging thing is *hard work*. There is no magic site that will propel someone to the top of the search engines. I chose to use this blog, which I have *complete* control over, in my efforts to dominate the internet. Still have a LONG way to go, and I'll never get exactly where I want to be, but I'm going to give it a hell of a shot.

    If you'd like some good resources on SEO, check our SEOmoz.com and SEOBook.com. Both have great tools, and good communities. They both have free and pay levels. I'd start out with free (I like free) and move to pay when you've absorbed the free stuff. There are many other good SEO references out there, these are just two I've happened to learn from.

    It is VERY easy to get bogged down in SEO speak. People worry about keywords, and tile tags and H1/H2/H3 tags, keyword density and meta this and that. I've seen people mangle great blog posts all in the name of "SEO". The key (for me, and this is over-simplifying) is I write for my readers (and me), and I write what I'm passionate about. That (hopefully) comes through and some people find it engaging. The Google's of the world are *smart*. Write enough compelling content, and they'll figure out what your blog is about. That's not to say I ignore SEO fundamentals, but I don't obsess over them.

    The most important thing? Don't get discouraged, and don't give up. You *can* make it happen.

    • JasonB says:

      Thanks Jay. That was really informative in a comprehensive way and had some specific resources for me to follow up. I really appreciate that. Now how do I get my picture to appear when I comment!!??

      • Jay Thompson says:

        "Now how do I get my picture to appear when I comment!!??"

        Go to http://www.gravatar.com and set up an account (it's free). Then, if you use EXACTLY the same email address (it's even case sensitive) when you leave a comment as you used setting up your Gravatar account, it will auto-magically appear here, and on any other gravatar-enabled WP blog (and most are).

    • Bob Wilson says:

      "We’re on page 1 of Google for the search term “Phoenix real estate”. That’s a *very* competitive term, and most consider “city real estate” the “Gold Standard” of search. But it took five years, hundreds of posts and getting thousands of links back to this site to get there."

      Took me 3 months to rank #1 on page 1 for "san diego real estate" with a new site after I sold the site that had ranked #1 for several years for the same term. Less than a dozen posts were written, so I dont think its about "write enough and google will figure it out".

      It isnt a mystery at all, unless you follow the SEO advice on AR. Do that and you have a better chance of finding the Holy Grail, the lost city of Atlantis, the fountain of youth and that ever elusive pot o gold at the end of the rainbow – all in the same week.

      AR was and is a red herring when it comes to its perceived SEO value.

      • Jay Thompson says:

        "Took me 3 months to rank #1 on page 1 for “san diego real estate” with a new site…."

        But the VAST majority of agents don't have your mad skills… Yes, there is more to ranking for any term than writing enough and letting Google figure it out. That's gross over-simplification on my part, my bad, but this wasn't intended as a post on SEO.

        I agree *completely* with you about the perceived SEO value of AR.

        • Bob Wilson says:

          Good enough. I responded just because it was over simplification and from someone who just deleted all of their AR content, the resemblance to the advice proffered by most of the past and present AR kings and queens of SEO was more than I could stand.

  124. Karen Rice says:

    Jason what you learn at AR re: SEO you can apply to any blog. Same principles. I use both AR and WordPress. I like the wordpress platform better, truth be told. I use AR now because it does well for me. But so does WordPress. I like AR because of the community aspect of it. That isn’t there w/ WordPress.

    • JasonB says:

      Wow. Thanks for the rapid response Karen. I’ve been taught (indoctrinated) by AR that their SEO results are a result of 186,000 bloggers all blogging on things real estate. Subsequently the search engines see those kind of numbers on a focused topic and grant it relevance – this is a pretty simplified version but it outlines AR’s pitch to me. Does Word Press – which is a graphically more appealing platform, provide the same benefit? Of course you’re still not ultimately in control of your content.

  125. WOW! Thank you for posting this Jay. Seriously. And I don't see it as whining at all. This came at the perfect time for me. I just set up an account on Active Rain about 2 weeks ago and I was considering a Rain Maker account, so that my blog would be public. I started an Internet Marketing blog on their for agents though and I think it would be fine for only members to be able to view anyhow. However, after reading this I'm going to do some investigating, of course, because I verify all of my information (no offense) and will likely not post anymore blog posts there at all. Why would anyone want to add content to a social media site (which by the way does them more good than you) that has no sense of loyalty. You are exactly right. If you hadn't have invited your friends then they wouldn't have invited their friends and it wouldn't be what it is today. How appalling! And what a bad PR move!

  126. TLW says:

    Ha! It's done gone viral Jay. Lol :)

  127. Before hitting the post button on a blog post, every blogger should ask themselves "is it important to me now, or in the future, that I'm in control of the content I'm about to post?"

  128. Tom W says:

    Jay: sorry I'm late to the comment que….been on vacation.

    Bravo! In the past I have been itching to do this, but I need to export my posts first and archive them. It just was never at the top of my to-do list.

    Every time AR makes a change I see them incrementally moving away from their original values. Every change benefits them and takes something else from the contributor.

    Another valuable lesson……"lifetime" usually means "until the next big management meeting" or "until we need to squeeze more money out of you".

    Thanks for another great post.

    -Tom

  129. Wow, Jay. I guess I need to pay more attention to AR. I haven't been much of a networker on AR or other blogs lately because I find my own blog lucrative enough…though I do like the page rank links. :)

    Saw you on Diverse Solutions the other day and I had just about made my mind up to go down that road for a new site I'm launching. When I say you on it that was the clincher. Take care.

    (By the way, reading some of the comments was a jog down memory lane. I didn't join AR until late in 2006 when I was looking around trying to make my own blog better. I learned so much then from AR contributors. There were about 5,500 of us and so much knowledge available. I appreciate everyone that contributed.)

  130. I need to go to bed. I put my address in wrong. :)

  131. Jim Gatos says:

    Hello, Jay…

    I just canceled my subscription to Typepad and my blog that I had, massrealestateguy.com. It was a "chore" to keep writing and writing and with SO much to do daily, I was really getting to the point I had to make decisions about my time. So I decided, that had to go.

    Then I went to a Raincamp in Boston last Monday.

    So much information there, from Ben Kinney, the featured speaker and fellow KW'r. I decided to take another stab at it. They were offering ActiveRain for $39 a month with a 2 month for $2 tryout (over the phone, I can stand a potential $4 loss, LOL).

    Having had some experience in blogging, I now decided to get more "hyper" local with a new name, . Please check out THIS link…. http://metrowestrealestateblog.com/post/1771735/o

    48 responses and counting.

    Until RainCamp, I never saw much reason to blog there. Now, this post alone garnered me over 47 responses, ALL from other agents.

    I'm sincerely asking the other other side of the fence, you guys; what's the value in this? Am I on the path to greatness?

    Now I'm trying to be funny, but would I be better off going back to Typepad? It's WAY cheaper ($468 for ActiveRain per year versus $127.07 for Typepad "Pro") my content is MINE on Typepad, and Typepad is INFINITELY MORE FLEXIBLE and More Automatic. However, I never had 48 responses on a post like I did with the above.

    I could do both but then I'd be paying over $600. I like Typepad for simplicity and the ease of use. The features with WordPress are on a par. But THAT's another argument, I suppose.

    They also seem to recommend you post your listings and be smart about your headlines at AR with your posts, for example, "Millbury Antique" WILL put my AR post on the first page of Google.
    http://www.google.com/search?q=millbury+antique&a
    I tried this with Blogger a couple of days ago at http://jimgatos.blogspot.com/2010/07/millbury-ant… and have yet to see my post on the first page of Google.

    I am ticked off that I was a RainMaker until July 15th or whatever for NO CHARGE until they changed their policy at AR, just like you, Jay. I never contributed much at AR, and NO, I never got an email about their policy change, just like you, Jay.If they sent me at least an email, I'd be able to decide if I wanted to start blogging on AR, and save myself over $400 a year.

    I'm not TOO crazy about Market Leader/HouseValues being behind AR, too, may I add.

    What's everyone's take here? I think I'm gonna eventually modify this comment and create a post OVER THERE, to see what their answers are. However, for a lot of agents, I'm sure they are faced with a similar dilemma.

    In terms of referrals, I never got ONE meaningful one. I did get a referral that another agent in my office finally did service but I felt the clients and referring agent were extremely bigoted. Even so, that would mean one sale only..

    I'm going to modify this comment and make an AR post out of it but I really respect your opinions here at PREG.

    Thanks

    Jim

  132. Karen Rice says:

    I have to ask: will agent responses (from all over the country) help sell your listings or get clients to call you?

  133. Jim… This is my opinion, but you are getting way to caught up on recieving comments. It all comes down to who your audience is…. are you going after the consumer? The Realtor? It's nice to get comments, but in all honesty I could care less. I would want my phone to ring and or to receive phone calls. You need to think about this part seriously.

    Secondly, are you saying that you were a Rainmaker previously, that you were grandfathered in? If so, all you need to do is e-mail them or call them, they will reactivate you.

    On another note… you mentioned that you got frustrated with AR because you didn't receive much business. It comes down to time and quality of your posts with some good key words and key word seperation. I am not a true expert here, but I follow the basics… in my first 6 months of blogging, you could find me on the internet with several searches… Writing quality posts is extremely important, because Google loves this… making sure at least one key word is in your title, first paragraph, in the middle and at the end,. It does get my defined in regards to the type of headers and such.. but I first started out on Active Rain and did a Type Pad account like 8 months later… I stopped type pad about 8 months after that and some of my type pad posts rank higher still… why, just good quality content. And yes, if you write more hyper local, this will propell you even higher and quicker. But again, this is getting deeper.

    Overall… I still use Active Rain for several reasons…. I do get business from my posts over there… but it's a great way for me to meet knew realtors that follow my stuff and that I might have a chance in doing business with them. In the last year or so, I have picked up a good realtor because her office would read my posts and realize that I know what I a talking about. Just last month, I picked up 2 new realtors.

    Outside that, I had my how blog page but that got hijacked… long story… working on a new one that should be out in 2 weeks. And I started a group one for consumers… In my opinion, you need to stop reading into some of what you are reading here and else where… Yes, if you post on AR, you don't control your content 100%.. but it's still yours. There is a button that you can hit that allows you to export all of your old posts so you can store them. Keep in mind… just because you write on Type Pad or Word Press, and they say it's your stuff, you have control over it… if that company ever went out of business, then what? If you do a word press blog and host it some where, if that host/server ever went down, you lose it. Same withy AR… yes, they are using you in a way to gain google juice, but you can use them right back. And you can copy your material over to a data base per se.

    Overall.. you need to have a blogging plan. I would do both AR and an outside blog. And depending on what your audience is, that you might set up a few outside blogs.. And you need a reason, a game plan to why you want to be on AR… what is your audience. I will say that it's a good place to be because you can learn some stuff from others… real estate tips… mortgage updates from some of us…that you don't get from your current loan officers, SEO stuff… but don't read into everything that AR tells you… do some things on your own.

    The bottom line and reason for Jay's post, in my opinion… was because he was hurt and mad because AR went back on their word. And I agree with him on this… but some that have followed and deleted their stuff from AR? I wouldn't because I rank high in many areas.. and yes, I could post else where, which I do… but it depends on how you right, andhow it will rank. That is a whole other post.

    Good luck with it… just be wise and don't believe what everone has to say… some sides get all worked up and AR has some of it's own plan when telling you certain things. Stick to the basics of what I mentioned, and you should be good to know. But remember, depending on your target audience and the quality of your posts, it could take 6 months or a year to really start to pick business up. It's not about putting your listings up and nothing else or rarely anything else…. you need to get google to like your stuff and for consumers to find you interesting and what you write would be helpful. I have known some consumers to follow my stuff for 2 to 4 weeks before they would contact me… so you need to be consistent and good… thanks

  134. Jim Gatos says:

    Jeff. you made a lot of strong points and I am going to call AR on Monday and explain I was a grandfathered in and shouldn't pay. If they say I should I'll just cancel. With Typepad I can have unlimited blogs; it's simply a matter of content and time. I was only focused on ONE blog; I think you're right. In a couple of months I did get calls from Typepad blogging, it's a matter of questioning all those agents comments.. are they going to get me any business or not.

    Probably but the best way to handle it would be to multi post on AR plus an outside blog. Can't hurt.

    Thank you

    Jim

  135. Paul Francis says:

    Ack… this post made me relapse back into the dreaded AR addiction… Went in to make sure I had my "90 Day" post and I've spent too much time on there catching up to all of the changes… LOL!

  136. Jay Thompson says:

    Jim –

    Jeff's (and Karen's) response were pretty much spot on.

    I have people all the time remark about how many comments they get on AR. Well, comments from other agents and RE professionals don't sell houses.

    The simple fact is, the vast majority of blog readers don't leave comments. I get from 1,000 – 3,000 unique visitors a day here and probably average 5 comments a day, tops.

    But I get more home search registrations, emails and phone calls than that, every single day. And THOSE are what sell homes.

    Personally, I'm not a fan of posting individual listings. Far better off to build a single-property site and cross link to that in a neighborhood post on your blog. The software I use for single-property sites? WordPress…

    One correction to what Jeff said — "Keep in mind… just because you write on Type Pad or Word Press, and they say it’s your stuff, you have control over it… if that company ever went out of business, then what? If you do a word press blog and host it some where, if that host/server ever went down, you lose it. "

    That is not correct. Using a plugin for automatic daily backups, I can switch a WP blog over to a new host in a matter of minutes. And WordPress is Open Source, so it's not owned by a company. I recently read 8.5% of sites on the internet run on WordPress. That is a ridiculous number of sites. Millions. WP isn't going anywhere.

  137. Jay Thompson says:

    Also Jim, your post on AR with the 48 comments was Featured and on the Daily Drop email list. That certainly drives comments from other AR members. So if for some reason getting members to comment was your goal, you'd still have to keep in mind that a featured and Daily Drop post is really an aberration. How many comments do you get on posts that are not featured or on the Daily Drop?

    But again, number of comments is the last thing I'd use to measure success of a blog.

    I have one goal for this blog — to generate prospects. The VAST majority of those come from home search registrations (an area AR blogs happen to be *very* weak in — in my opinion). Too many bloggers have no goal for their blog. They just write and write and hope something happens. You have to MAKE something happen, no matter what platfrom you chose.

  138. Jim Gatos says:

    I totally agree and I just pray someday you'll do a seminar in the Boston area, Jay!

    I do have a single property website capability from realestateshows.com. They are great and well worth the money!

    Agent Comments are nice but they normally don't sell houses. What "they" try to get you with AR is the potential for agent referrals. I had ONLY ONE, and didn't take it, because the agent who called me interrogated me concerning my religious beliefs SO much my mind was dancing and I was insulted. This incident happened over a year ago and I don't know who it was now. He winded up referring to someone else. I didn't know your religious beliefs were a consideration for listing a home.

  139. Jim Gatos says:

    Also, I have to DEFINE exactly what my blogging goals are, stick to the top 3 and blog sensibly. and daily. Also I have to define Metrowest (which is easy) but define it for the public too!

    Jay, Come to Boston someday! LOL Teach the masses!

  140. I've been watching all this stuff on number of comments & what Jay & some others have stated is so true. But, I wanted to share an example to enforce it even a step further:

    If you do a search for the term Austin Relocation Package, you will find my biz partner Jason Crouch usually in the #1 spot with a post he wrote on AR. This post isn't at #1 because of AR, it is there because he shared really good information that is content maxed. That post was written in March 2008.

    The last time I checked the stats on it, that post had been viewed over 55,000 times alone. It also has 47 comments. But, if you read the comments, they are all from people on AR saying how great his post was. The consumers find it, and read it, but when they finish they pick up the phone & call. So, don't get discouraged if you don't get tons of comments on a blog post you write. Not all of us are as lucky as Jay to get his posts going viral on their own blog :)

  141. Jim Gatos says:

    Just a follow up.

    I sent an email to Brad Andersohn from ActiveRain explaining my situation; he seemed genuinely concerned to help me and he contacted Steven Graham from AR. Steven called me yesterday and told me I was reinstated to AR as a Rainmaker under the grandfather clause and all I have to do to maintain that status is to post at least once before 90 days.

    I said okay and then I mentioned you and your situation, Jay. Steven said he'll call you. Don't know if he did, or if you want AR again, but I took them to their word. I will be, however, watching my credit card. If I get charged I'll contact or cancel. I have to give them the benefit of the doubt, they both sounded very sincere.

  142. Dave Kinkade says:

    I don't know what to make of A.R.; they sound like the Grinch after you helped to build the network but then they come around again and make nice. It is as bad as trying to follow the plot line of professional wrestling over a few months. Tough to know what is real and how it will end up. I hope they ultimately show love to the founding members who gave so much of themselves to build A.R. into the powerhouse that it is today.

  143. Jim Gatos says:

    A lot of these questions can go away when I see real stats: how many sales do agents make from ActiveRain, etc… Maybe Missy Caulk should be asked; her picture is everywhere at a Raincamp…

  144. Jim above makes an interesting point. I have a pretty high profile on AR through sheer attrition, if nothing else. I make a poor guinea pig because I tend to write pieces more editorial and/or creative in nature than advised for pure business generation. As such, my SEO and lead-gen from AR is pitiful in terms of ROI for 3 years of effort. That with a fair amount of featured posts, high number of readers, etc. Biggest challenge of the platform that I see is the tendency to move away from consumer driven content in favor of that which will attract more interaction with the membership. Could produce some referral business (I've had but a handful of those despite prodigious posting), but not the kind of return one gets from hammering away at local consumer-driven content with attention to solid SEO practices. In short, I think AR can probably generate ample business for those who use it in accordance with what is taught at their camps and tutorials, but the culture of the platform lends itself more to socializing with non-consuming peers.

    I've generated more business from my more focused WP in its relatively short life than in 3+ years blogging on AR. Probably has more to do with the practitioner than the practice in my case, though, so take it for what it's worth.

  145. Karen Rice says:

    I have gotten a good deal of business from my ActiveRain blog – sellers called me wanting ME to list their homes because they saw my blog about other listings….

    I have rarely blogged for anything other than to obtain business – I never really became a popular player at ActiveRain because I blog to my customers, not to become a "rock star." :) No offense to the rock stars – you guys are great and I read many of your blogs! But that's not MY purpose.

    Unfortunately I have not tracked my leads from AR – they are all jumbled together in "Internet Leads." I know however, that at least $15,000 of my income has come from my ActiveRain blog – seems modest but my income is modest…lol…my gross earned commission is good for my area, low for others….high for some! Anyway you look at it though, $15,000 for writing some blogs is a darn good return on my investment. And that's an "at least." I am certain it's more….I just never really tracked it.

  146. You're one of the smart ones, Karen. I never set out to achieve any sort of status, the platform is just conducive to what I like to write (rather than what I necessarily should write). Creative writing is an interest of mine, so AR has been terrific in that respect. I keep my account simply to scratch that itch while utilizing other tools for more direct business generation. I think AR is a great catchall site, but one really has to assess how they would leverage it before paying for a membership. I'm grandfathered in, so I have the luxury of using it to suit my poorly defined purposes without the cost consideration.

  147. No tears shed over this development. Your contributions were worthwhile, but much of it was just a lot of Realtors whining about things
    My recent post Nice patio

  148. I just Googled Active Rain and this post came up how long after you wrote it? You sure are getting your monies worth…or no monies worth. Keep speaking your mind Jay.

  149. I fully understand where you are coming from. There are several platforms I use, and both have undergone change. Real Estate Webmasters is another example, where although their free blogging platform is great, you are at the mercy of another persons decisions. I remember Aaron Wall from SEO Book said, "for gods sake, make sure you have your own domain and complete control over your work."

    I´m not taking anything away from platforms like AR and REW, its just that full control is the only way you can guarantee consistancy.

  150. Bob Elliott says:

    Found this by accident Jay.
    Went to post a new blog for the first time in a while and found out my Rain Maker status was dropped also after over 3 years.
    I went to Rain maker camp here in Chicago and was told I am grandfathered in for life so they are looking like a bunch of liars at this point.

  151. Mike Teifel says:

    I agree, you should keep your content on your own site so you'll always have control of it. That way your protected if a site changes its policy to own all content posted to it, or to possibly sell content posted, or reuse at there discretion. That is one of the problems with Web 2.0

  152. Krohn Group says:

    Well Jay looks like you are doing way better now.. Having your own blog great work!

  153. Anthony says:

    Jay-

    Well written comment and good for you to stand up for your principles.

    Cheers, Anthony

  154. 100% agree! I never knew why people would contribute to AR if they have their own Blog anyway. I visit your site once or twice a month. AR….once or twice a year. Its post like this that keep me coming back. I like a little bit of an opinion from the author also rather than being unbiased. Keep em coming!
    My recent post Best Neighborhoods in Columbia SC

  155. Good for you!!! It's ALWAYS better to be on your own than to be someone's "user-generated content."

  156. Edite Lawrence says:

    I'm thinking to delete my account as well. I am so very dissapointed with AR guys. They promised to keep my status and now it's also gone without a single warning. It just feels such poor business model to charge people who built their business. Very Very disappointed, I will not promote them any longer.

  157. Brendan Winans says:

    My "Rainmaker" account was removed because I hadn't posted within 90 days. All I had to do was call them and ask them to reinstate it, told them that I wanted to continue posting and they gladly did it. I do understand your point, but they still maintain a Ma' and Pa' shop mentality in that they will be flexible on their rules.

  158. Jay,

    I don't think I was reading your blog 20+ weeks ago, so this post is new to me. I could not agree more with the entire idea of working to develop your own Internet presence outside of AR, Realtor, Trulia, Zillow and all the rest. No matter how you slice it, these companies are all about making (or trying to) money. They are not altruistic – it is about them, not you. They want to control the Internet, don't forget that, and in doing so it has to come at someone's expense.

  159. Carol Farrish says:

    I have been a big supporter of Active Rain & routinely advise virtual assistant clients to include a paid membership in their repertoire. It is still an uphill battle to sell them on $39 a month. I am shocked & disappointed that just last week, the price went to $89.(It is $59 if you call in.) There was no advance notice, no explanation.

    I really appreciate the help Active Rain staff have given me over the past couple years, but this is an outrageous increase. I know that AR does wonderful things to educate agents & consumers, but this is a very poor marketing strategy. It will really be hard sell to encourage clients to put out $89 (or even $50 when they are just getting into blogging. The fact that AR makes no attempt to make the case for this huge increase does not sit well. have searched the site & find no notice.

    A side point – the price keeps going up & Active Rain still does not the post ability to control font size & color as even the cheapest software has. As AR staff has repeatedly says, “use Firefox” – but that is beside the point.

  160. I didn’t know that AR had increased their monthly fee to $89.00 and I am sorry to hear that. I have persuaded a friend to blog and use AR as their training ground but $89.00 is going to be too steep for her to pay at this point in her career.

    • Miriam- why would anyone want to pay $89 when they could get an awesome site like Jay’s & so many other WP sites out there for under $10/month blows my mind. I thought $39/month was pushing it for the features they offer, but $89/month is just completely ludicrous.

  161. JIm Gatos says:

    There’s a LOT of agents that probably don’t know any better or they think they can get referrals from AR..

  162. Karen Rice says:

    Well I for one am excited about the $89 fee! That means NONE of my local competitors will be starting up an AR blog any time soon! Ha!
    (and if my rainmaker status goes away, so will I…I’m set up on WordPress too. :) )

  163. JIm Gatos says:

    Where exactly did it come from that ActiveRain is now $59-89 per month? No one over there seems to know that..

  164. Jim- I sent Jay a screenshot. Maybe he can load onto his media with a link. To see it I had to create a fictitious acct and then try to upgrade to rainmaker status.

  165. serhiy says:

    Jay,

    It looks like this post has all chances to be the most commented on in 2011 as well. :)

  166. Jay Thompson says:

    Here’s the screen snip showing that AR is charging $89 for Rainmaker accounts.

  167. I joined ActiveRain back in 2007 or so and never received an email about being grandfathered. When I questioned it, they couldn’t find any of my accounts. I have been paying a monthly fee of $39 a month, which I think is a little high but worth it.

    $89 – I would really have to think about that one long and hard. Today’s market has hurt some agents and I think new agents to the site will have a hard time swallowing this one and will pass on becoming an upgraded member.

  168. Joe Pryor says:

    I wonder if this is a change in policy. The $89 looks like a package with an outside blog which i have never done. What I was grandfathered into was a single blog. I do my own WordPress like a lot of bloggers so I never saw the value of an outside blog. I use Active Rain still because of the indexing, but honestly, my own blogs get indexed also. If you check ranking.com Active Rain is at 682 and localism.com is 14,828. Really 682 isn’t bad with millions of web sites, but compared to other sites that attract real estate buyers and sellers not agents, there are better ways to reach them if you think that is important in the first place to use real estate portals versus free stuff like Google and Facebook.

  169. Hi Jay – I’m concerned over AR’s willingness to up their pricing that dramatically without notice. I’ve started learning WordPress as a result and just posted my first blog. I can’t find it on Google yet – any advice on this endeavor? I did benefit from the support at AR, I wonder if that’s available with WordPress. Much appreciated. Jason

    • Hey Jason-
      A brand new blog won’t appear instantly in Google, particularly if there are no links pointing at it from other domains. Now, the trick is if you get Jay to write a blog post about your blog with a link to it — then it would get indexed fairly quickly :)

  170. Karen Rice says:

    A lot of the SEO tips you can learn from various “How to blog successfully” blogs on AR (or anywhere else) are applicable on WordPress. Use longtail keyword rich titles, image tags, and links. Use keywords in your text. You can do it. I’ve had my WP blog outrank my AR blog many times. I keep AR but am not depending on it any more.

    • Jason Balaban says:

      Thanks Karen. I put all that know how into my 1st WP blog that I published earlier today. When I published an AR blog it would appear in Google pretty quickly – sometimes 5 or 10 minutes but I finished the WP blog about 7 hours ago and I can’t get it to appear on Google. I’m doing long tail searches that should absolutely work. Does it take WP longer to propogate? Thanks for the encouragement – I like AR but I’m determined to be independent. Jason

      • Jason- New sites don’t index right away. It takes a few weeks for Google to start crawling it. If you just set up the blog today it isn’t going to be found in Google. You could probably type in the actual domain to Google & still not find it.

        Don’t fret though, it will be found and it will bring you business. If you continue this path on WP before you know it, your WP site will outrank anything you ever did on AR.

      • Jason.. what Jeremy stated,,, but I wanted to add something, because I am not sure from reading your comment.. Are posting the exact same post that you did on your WP blog to AR? if I am not mistakened, Google will only index one of the same. You don’t get penalized for it.. just not credit for 2 different sites.. not unless you change up the title of your post, the H1 tag (your first sentence), and some say about 20% of the begining of your post. If you do want to copy a post from one site and put it on AR… wait until you get the google alert, which will tell you that it has been indexed.. these are just some tips that I have picked up… thanks, jeff

        • Jay Thompson says:

          Jason – You’ve gotten some good tips in all the comments above. What is the URL of your new WP blog? You used http://www.myahdigital.com/ when you posted your original comment, and that site IS indexed in Google, but it’s not brand new (looks good too).

          If you use the new blog’s URL when you enter a comment, that link will be followed by Google from here. You’ll also get a link at the bottom of your comment to your most recent post, like in Karen’s and Jeremy’s comments.

          • Jeremy, Jeff, Jay (the 3 “J’s”): Thanks for the feedback I’m going to keep plugging. It was an original post, not an AR replicate. I used the WP Url for this comment. thanks again, Jason

  171. The gift that keeps on giving. My heirs are going to inherit comment notifications to this thread. I am seriously considering having my head cryogenically frozen, a la Ted Williams, just so they can thaw me out in 5000 years to see if this mofo is still going.

  172. TLW says:

    I’m still here to and thanks to Slaybaugh, I’m cold :)

  173. Jack Placido says:

    Hi Jay,
    I just wanted to chime in and say HI! do you remember me from HV?
    I’m pretty sure that you’re the one who invited me to AR years ago.
    I think this is all a bunch of BS on AR’s part.
    I hope you’re doing well!
    Jack

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Hey Jack! Of course I remember you. Those were the days eh? I think I did invite you to AR long ago.

      Things are great here, hope the same for you!

  174. Hi Jay & everyone – I noticed AR doesn’t offer you the ability to leave a web site address when you make a comment – is this done on purpose? They don’t want to “seed & water” anyone else’s site but their own? Thanks for your input!

    • Jay Thompson says:

      I couldn’t say why AR doesn’t allow you to leave a URL when you comment. Could be spam control, could be they want to keep people on the site, could be they just don’t think it’s necessary… only AR could say for sure.

    • I believe that most of it is for spam control. They also have tags on all comments to help reduce this. Doesn’t always work because of the sheer size of the network though. Also, they want you to be logging into your AR account to comment. And when you do the login, it automatically links to your AR profile instead.

  175. Paul Francis says:

    $89 a month for new users ($59 a month if you call in) for an AR blog??.. lots of laughing..

  176. Holy crap… So the $89.00 is for realz? I thought it was a lousy joke.
    Hi Lovely, Hi Slay.:-)

    Oh and Jeremy – Miriam just got a brand new WordPress site that we think is pretty darn cool – cuz we built it.

  177. Jay – sorry, i keep forgetting to remove that jokey name thingie. I just removed it, so it’ll be the last ‘spammy’ comment from me.

  178. Hi Jay
    I too am one of the long time members who has been on AR for years-and have been reading along with interest as this discussion developed. I totally understand how you feel and have noticed that many of the bloggers I used to subscribe to have not posted in a long time. I think it was nice that AR did apologize but also understand why you feel the way you do. It certainly has changed a lot from the old days.

  179. Paul Francis says:

    For only $50 a month… post all of the blogs off my site you want… LOL!

  180. Steve Schwab says:

    I’m not a big fan of the Active Rain model at all. I went to an Active Rain event here in Portland last year that was marketed as a one day event for $39. Ok, I didn’t read the fine print, but there shouldnt have been any. If the process was talked about at the event, it didnt stick with me, maybe I was in the Bathroom at the moment. I didn’t hear anything at the Event that convinced me that paying to use their blog made since, and that I couldn’t already do with WordPress for free. What got past me was I was signed up, just by attending. It wasn’t until 5-6 months later that I noticed they were billing me for $39 per month for something I didn’t realize I bought and was not using. Look, Realtors need to be cautious. They are a target, a sales opportunity and many allow themselves to be sucked into expenses in an already expensive business to be in. Active Rain may make since but I’m simply not convinced. If I blog regularly in WordPress, my rankings improve, I’ve seen those results. My biggest issue is I don’t do it often enough.

  181. justmoveout says:

    I believe that most of it is for spam control. They also have tags on all comments to help reduce this. Doesn’t always work because of the sheer size of the network though. Also, they want you to be logging into your AR account to comment.

  182. Debe Maxwell says:

    Hi Jay! Wow, this was a solid hour read! LOL I knew that you removed all of your posts but, wasn’t sure of the details. I cannot imagine that they’ll keep alot of their membership, should they go to the $89/month. That’s just too crazy but, one thing is for sure–I’ve learned SO much on AR and have made SO many friendships that I am ever so grateful for the time spent there. I’ve also gotten some great business from there and will always be thankful for the folks there (members and staff) who helped guide me into the 21st Century (social media, of course)!!

  183. Mary Lockman says:

    Hi Jay,
    Always the peacemaker, I have not read every comment here, but I will say this, I too joined AR early and I never seem to know of all these changes. Somehow my account is always free. I know Brad Anderson (not well) but I am friends with his wife, and I know Brad Stewart and Jon Washburn and his lovely girlfriend who’s name I temporarily forget. They are very nice folks trying to make a living. If you were to directly contact them I think you would find they would be eager to make things right for you. Not that at this point you would. I just wanted to point out that I personally know these folks to have very good intentions, and they need to make some money too. They really try to help. NOw that can not be such a bad thing can it? Too bad they did not think out the diplomacy of the changes though. Life is a beach and then you die.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Mary –

      I also know Brad (he’s no longer at AR), Bob and his wife Christa, and Jon (who also left AR as of a day or two ago). We’ve all meet in person, and I consider them all friends. I think they consider me a friend as well.

      And you’re right, they are top-notch people. We’ve all had long discussions about this (note that it happened in July 2010) via email and in person.

      The did re-instate my account after it was removed. Only to remove it again. And reinstate it again, and remove it again. I suspect it was a glitch, and last I looked it was re-re-re-instated.

      But if it’s not, it’s simply not worth having to keep on asking. I don’t post on AR any more, and hadn’t for a couple of years when this first started.

      I do strongly feel that I continue to support AR via reading, commenting, and evangelizing for AR. But it was apparently decided that for the purpose of keeping people grandfathered, the only thing that counted was posting.

      And that’s fine. It’s their network, they are free to change the rules. Just as I am free to remove my content.

      I’ve got no hard feelings toward AR. They made a business decision. I thought it was a bad decision and very poorly executed. I know for a fact some of the AR principals agree with me on that. Some may not. That’s cool too.

  184. Thomas Moore says:

    Something that used to be so powerful is now dead…. Talk about digging your own grave AR! I have always enjoyed your posts Jay and am glad you had such a positive outlook on all this. I have always found your content to be informative and interesting.

    Keep up the good work.

  185. Sam Trevino says:

    Hello Jay,

    I’m currently in a debate with myself regarding activerain. I just recently entered the blogsphere and have doubts if I will continue forward with activerain. My major concern is two-fold. First is control of my content versus being at the mercy of some organization’s terms of use that can be changed at any given moment. A free site can go to a pay site and just as easily say all content submitted become their property. The second concern I have is time. I started my own blog with a wordpress install and I don’t know if I really want to take the time to write two blogs. What I mean by that is I really don’t want to cut-n-paste my wordpress blog articles over to activerain. Effectively I’d be writing unique content for two separate blogs; not necessarily an easy task. I have until the end of May to make my decision on activerain, then they will start charging me $59.00 a month ($708.00 annually). At that rate I could pay for some minor adverting of my website or go old school and do a mail campaign. Now this doesn’t mean I’m against activerain as it’s an awesome source of information for agents and consumers, but I’m leaning more towards committing my time, money, and energy towards a product I have total control over. Just my two cents as someone who has just seriously stepped into the blogsphere.

  186. If anyone on this thread is looking for a way to migrate all their content on active rain to a WordPress.org install, let me know. We have a solution in the works.

  187. I meant what I said in that comment, and I miss that cowboy hat!! Hope all is going well Jay, your blog here is awesome and worthy of the awards received. Stay well my friend.

  188. BTW – there’s a post I wrote to assist anyone with backing up their ActiveRain content, but I won’t put a link here because I would never hijack your blog Jay. You can visit TheRainBlog dot com for the instructions. This will not include how to delete your ActiveRain content however. :-)

    Jay’s note: I’ve got no problem with you including a link that’s pertinent to the discussion Brad! Click here for Brad’s instructions backing up ActiveRain blog posts.

  189. We have to agree with the majority of people here. We’re no longer able to access our account either and they shut off our ability to turn posts from members only posts to public ones. We also noticed recently that some of our blog posts were deleted without notice. More shocking perhaps is their recent price increase to 89.99$ month. I just can’t fathom anyone paying that for a minimum return on investment in comparison with other lead generating sites or those with higher traffic (trulia/zillow). Great blog and site jay. All the best-

  190. and they even took our banner away!! i seriously suggest everyone back up their content before it’s too late. Brad and others have given great suggestions as to how to go about it.

  191. I’m very late to this party, and late to engaging on AR. Joined fall of 2009 but decided to upgrade just this month – for $59. My husband pays $39, having coughed up the cash a few months earlier.

    I am dismayed at how things have gone with AR, and not optimistic about the new ownership.

    That being said, I really appreciate the expertise other RE pros contribute – if they’re there, I’m there and when they’re gone, I’m gone, even if it means losing google juice.

    Makes me want to launch a next-gen service that actually plans for the size and scale that AR didn’t anticipate.

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  1. [...] Interesting results from Active Rain users. Agent Genius asked their users if they used Active Rain and a whopping 87% said yes they do. Then when asked should Active Rainers switch to Posterous? nearly half said they should. Could it have anything to do with this? Why I deleted my ActiveRain blog posts. [...]

  2. [...] a result to being subscribed to Jay’s post about why he deleted his blog posts from ActiveRain (here’s the specific comment) — I learned that ActiveRain has recently changed their [...]

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