Modelry - A Random Walk through Internet Real Estate: ActiveRain 2011 Review and a Look Ahead to 2012

ActiveRain 2011 Review and a Look Ahead to 2012

AR Holiday PartyHappy Holidays ActiveRain! 

As ActiveRain is getting ready for the holidays and New Year, I thought it would be useful for me personally to jot down some notes on what we have accomplished at ActiveRain and talk openly about some of our challenges.  Hopefully, we will be able to address many of the challenges in 2011.

As many of you know, 2011 has been an eventful year for me personally and for ActiveRain.  I started in April of 2011 at the same time, ActiveRain was facing significant technology and business challenges.  Prior to April 2011, ActiveRain.com would be down for extended periods of time.  If ActiveRain was not down, there were server issues preventing blogs from saving.  Community-wise, ActiveRain held the "pole position" as the community and source for real estate professional information, thanks to the many contributions and kindness of the thousands of active real estate professionals who are blogging, helping and contributing to the community.   Business-wise, ActiveRain started charging for our RainMaker product in February of 2009.  RainMaker allows for real estate professionals to "publicly" blog on ActiveRain and have those blogs show up in the search engines.  ActiveRain also held in-person RainCamps and sold sponsored post advertising on ActiveRain and in the DailyDrop newsletter.   People-wise here at ActiveRain, a number of employees at ActiveRain left in the May and June time frame, seeking employment at other companies, some in the real estate industry.  Luckily a core team (Bob, Kerrie, Kelly, Kelly, Chris, Lauren, Abe, Anthony, Kristi) dug in and weathered the storm.  We now have a wonderful team that is doing great things every day. 

What Have We Accomplished?

  • Technology:  The single biggest challenge facing ActiveRain was downtime and the stability of the technology.   I started in April 2011 and by June 2011, we had a band-aid on the problem so that the site was not going down for hours or days at a time.  We then started digging into the root problems uncovering issues like the needed software and database upgrade and database queries that would slow down the site for hours at a time.  Yesterday, we actually pushed out the Rails 2.3.14 software upgrade which should enable us to start developing on and improving on ActiveRain in 2012.  We also doubled the size of our technology team, while narrowing their focus.  Christy Nicol joined us in November.  Christy and Chris are our Ruby on Rails developers.  Market Leader has been a huge help here.  Since May, Chris Beahm and Patrick Lesher from Market Leader have taken over "systems administration" and network architecture, which is making sure the servers are working properly.  Jerome Farrar from Market Leader has taken over Information Technology / Helpdesk, which involves helping people when their computers have issues.  Finally Justin Christie from Market Leader has been helping with our phone systems and Internet access.  All this help from Market Leader on the "infrastructure" allows Chris and Christy to focus on ActiveRain.com instead of being pulled in 10 directions every day. 
  • Training /ActiveRain University:  Education is one of the core values of ActiveRain.  At the same time, learning how to use ActiveRain, SEO, blogging and social media is one of the biggest challenges facing ActiveRain.  Consequently, we added 2-3 webinars per day and encouraged our members to lead educational webinars.  We have had great members like Ben Kinney, Katerina Gasset, Chris Alston, Rich Jacobson, Debe Maxwell, and may others lead webinar training for ActiveRain.  We also moved RainCamp to an online webinar which has appealed to more members in more locations and tag-teamed RainCamp with MeetUps in local areas where we are able to get 300-400 members together.  We also launched ActiveRain University with tutorials, classes, guides and webinars that are accessible 24/7 (which were not available previously).
  • Educational Content: In November, we aggregated the results from our surveys and launched our series called "Rich Real Estate Agent, Poor Real Estate Agent" which is geared at helping real estate professional really understand what works when it comes to real estate technology and real estate marketing.   "Rich Real Estate Agent, Poor Real Estate Agent" has 272 comments on ActiveRain, 23,000 mentions in Google, 250 likes on FaceBook and more than 150 tweets on Twitter. 
  • Social Integration:  In August, we launched our social integration project which allows ActiveRain members to share their content to FaceBook, Google (via +1), LinkedIn and Twitter.  We now see a tweet about ActiveRain or ActiveRain content every 2-4 minutes, have thousands of likes for ActiveRain content on FaceBook and more than 9,000 "+1's" on Google for ActiveRain content. 
  • Team:  We have added a number of great people to the team.  Notably, Kate Yackley started in July as VP of Sales.  Kate is ultimately responsible for Sales and Member Services.  Kelly Pflugrath manages member services directly.  Anthony Van Vactor has taken a leadership role in sales and training. Bob and Kerrie continue to lead all our community activities.
  • Revenue: With all these things coming together, we have been able to grow revenue from April to December for ActiveRain.  Majority of the growth has come from our RainMaker premium blogging subscriptions and advertising on ActiveRain.com.  The absolute dollar amount of our growth is not huge, but has enabled us to hire and address technology issues.

 Did It Work?

  • Net Promoter: I measure the effectiveness or our success using Net Promoter.  I spoke on Net Promoter at the Dallas RainCamp in May.  Net Promoter is based on the simple premise that the long-term success of a business is based on the likelihood of customers to refer other customers.  To calculate your Net Promoter Score, survey your customers and ask them "Please rate on a scale of 1-10, what is the likelihood of your referring ActiveRain to friend or colleague?"   You then take the percentage of members who rated you as a 9 or 10 (called your promoters or fans) and then subtract the percentage of members who rated you as a 6 or below (called your detractors).   That single number is called your Net Promoter Score which is a single number which you can then use to manage the long-term success of your business.  Here is a link to the Net Promoter Scores for some of the best known companies in the world.   Net Promoter Scores vary dramatically by industry (people generally do not love their credit card or cable company).  Apple has a Net Promoter Score of 72, Amazon - 70, Google - 53, Trader Joe's - 82.
  • Listen: The next step is to really understand why your Promoters love you and why your Detractors hate you.  Then you can make a conscious decision to do more of the things for which customers love you and fix the things that people hate.  Or not.  Sometimes, you can never convert a detractor into a promoter.  But at least you have the information.
  • ActiveRain: We have run the Net Promoter Survey twice now.  Once in May 2011 and again in November 2011.   We calculate our Net Promoter Scores for all members and then separately for our paying RainMaker members.  You can see that our Net Promoter Scores have increased significantly from May to November based on our focus on technology and education.  As you can see for an Internet web site, our Net Promoter Scores are actually pretty high.
Net Promoter Score  May-11 Nov-11 % Increase
All Members 38% 42% 11%
Paying Members 55% 64% 16%
  • Promoter Feedback - What is Going Well:  Based on the responses from the Net Promoter, ActiveRain is the best source of real estate information and training on the Internet.  The community is amazing and supportive.  The SEO juice from blogging on ActiveRain pays off big time for those that are willing to work ActiveRain.  Great traffic, referrals and leads from ActiveRain.  For complete transparency, here is a link to all the anonymous ActiveRain promoter feedback for those who are interested in seeing it.     
  • Detractor Feedback - What are ActiveRain's Challenges:  Similarly, in the vein of complete transparency, here is a link to all anonymous detractor feedback on ActiveRain.  When I look at the feedback, I see a number of buckets: too much information, intimidating, too hard to learn (ActiveRain, Blogging), too time consuming (blogging, reading), small club of insiders, hard to break into the club, too expensive, not enough value.

 So, in general, ActiveRain is making progress.  Now the next step is to take these learnings from the ActiveRain community and continue to make our members more successful.

A Peek into 2012: Simplification & Community Power

Looking at what we do well at ActiveRain and the challenges posed by the feedback from the detractors, it is clear that we need to:

  1. Make ActiveRain easier to use: You will see the start of a re-design of ActiveRain starting in January of 2012.  The first page we will be touching will be MyHome which is the most visited page on ActiveRain.  Right now the majority of MyHome is empty white space.  We will be moving toward an activity feed format.  See below screen shot.  More information to come on this in early January. 
  2. Make it easier to find the right or best information on ActiveRain:  Even for us, the ActiveRain Insiders, it is hard to find the best article on FaceBook marketing.  We will look to implement a combination of user content ratings and editorial to aggregate the best information into simple guides for the members.
  3. Figure out new and better ways to harness the power of the community to produce the best information and help other real estate professionals make money:  "Rich Real Estate Agent, Poor Real Estate Agent" was a great learning experience for us here at ActiveRain.  In 2012, we will be launching more community based "systems" like surveys and reviews to collect information that is important to real estate professionals.  I know this is a bit vague, but more information to come as we finalize plans.
  4. Assess the points system and the feature board (not sure what this means, but I am putting this out there)  The points system needs to be looked at consciously.  There are members who like it as is and others who hate it.  Same with the feature board.   A lot of things on the Feature Board don't necessarily make sense either.  The Feature Board is a combination of professional, consumer, and local blog posts, all of which have different audiences.
  5. Make RainMaker better:  As you have seen from our surveys and research, blogging works if you or the real estate professional is willing to put in the time and effort to blog on a regular basis (1-2x per week).  The 2011 NAR Survey of Home Buyers and Sellers says reputation and trust are two of the most important criteria when consumers pick a real estate agent.   Blogging and social media are two of the best ways for a real estate professional to develop their reputation online.  BUT, blogging only appeals to a small percentage of real estate agents.  Why?  It takes work and time to blog.  That is why most real estate agents would prefer to advertise on Zillow or Trulia rather than blog (not mutually exclusive).  We will continue to evolve RainMaker to make it easier to use and appeal to more real estate professionals.  Again vague, but more information to come.

Great accomplishments and great learnings in 2011.  Lots of work to do in 2012.  Our team has worked extremely hard in 2011 and is looking forward to our new initiatives at ActiveRain in 2012.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Niki

 ActiveRain MyHome

Nikesh Parekh

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Comment balloon 76 commentsNikesh Parekh • December 22 2011 01:09PM

Comments

Nikki, you and your team are making strides in the right direction & I hope it continues...I love AR for its benefits all around!

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Hey Nikki

Wonderful post man.  You are the man.

Great staff is the reason for the success you are getting and I hope you and AR continue to put effort in this wonderful business for benefit to all agents.

Thanks Nik

 

Posted by Jimmy Phan, Phan real estate group in hickory (KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY IN MOORESVILLES, NC) over 6 years ago
Niki,

Thank you very much for such a detailed update. We would love to hear from you more often even if it is just snippets of information or progress. There is an old saying that people are “down on what they aren’t up on.” Fixing and improving things at AR is crucial but increasing the frequency of communication so the members are “up on” what is going on will boost our morale and AR’s ratings.

PS: While not everyone will be interested, let the tech guys fill us in on some of the nuts and bolts improvements.
Posted by David Gibson CNE, 719-304-4684 ~ Colorado Springs Relocation, Relocation, Luxury & Lifestyle residential (Colorado Real Estate Advisers LLC ) over 6 years ago

Great progress, and it sounds like you are on the right track to take things to the next level.

For my 2 cents, I'd encourage more focus on things that improve technology, usage and SEO vs. internal features such as points/features.  If we address the former and get more usage from the light users, it will be a win win for the community.  And, remember that the more vocal users are already committed.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 6 years ago

Hi Niki, Thank you for taking the time and detail to recap "the year in Active Rain" for us.  I am a newer member of Active Rain and was unaware of the challenges and progress until this post.  The information is greatly appreciated!  Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Posted by Linda Holloway, REALTOR®, Your Next Home in Tampa Bay Starts Here! (Keller Williams Realty Tampa Central) over 6 years ago

Nik,

All good stuff and I wish the entire AR Staff much success moving ahead. I'm not sure the "detractors" aren't just dedicated AR members providing constructive feedback.

Rich

Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 6 years ago

Nikki ... The operative word is blog. You have to blog and making them pertinent, through a rotation of what you need to be posting is as vital as air and water in real estate success! Thanks for the run down. Do more often, even if less to report so stepping stones of communication, a trail exists. Too often you can wonder if anyone is in the front of the blogging train, bus or behind the lime green sequin curtain. Russell Ray hit one of our blogs and thought great points, lots of work and effort but why bother because the suggestions for improvement, little maneuvers don't get responded to. It would be a same for AR to be reduced to reblogs, market report copy and paste. The intellectual, education for the REALTOR will mean hitting different venues for that. And do the mechanical dog and pony generic on this site.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 6 years ago

Great review and peak into 2012 - keep us updated regularly

Posted by John Ammirati (Century 21 American Homes) over 6 years ago

Nikki-  I appreciate you taking the time to look back at 2011 on AR and informing us about the great things to come in 2012.  Have a wonderful Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

Posted by Stephanie Stringer, Mortgage Loan Originator (First Choice Loan Services NMLS#210764) over 6 years ago

I look forward to seeing all the changes in January! 

Posted by Erica Ramus, MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate (Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA ) over 6 years ago

Nikki, you guys just keep the forward thinking attitude and this ever evolving platform will continue to be the great community that it is.

I'm so happy to be a part of AR and, not only has my business grown as a result of being here, the friendships and contacts I've made along the way keep me coming back for more!

All the best to you, the AR Staff and everyone in 2012!

Posted by Craig Rutman, Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor (Helping people in transition) over 6 years ago

You and the whole team at AR have worked magic during the last few months. I'll have to say...the system running a lot smoother makes ALL the difference in our AR world!

 

Happy Holidays to you Nikesh (sorry I couldn't talk longer but at the office and had to talk contest stuff with Kerrie!)  and all the ActiveRain staff....and of course all our members (the people behind the words) who make all this possible. HUGS!

Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Century 21 Liberty Homes) over 6 years ago

Nikki....thanks for the update.  It's always good to hear how things are progressing. My two cents on the negative feedback (based on the "buckets" you describe) is generally that those people are not willing to put in the time that would give them the benefit.   I do wish a REAL RainCamp would return.  I never had the chance to attend one so now I can't have one of those cool "attended rain camp" badges! LOL!  I did the first online one; the second one seemed like a repeat of the first, more or less so it wasn't really worth it to attend. It's not quite the same as being in the same place in person with everyone else.  

But overall, things seem to be moving in the right direction!

Posted by Christine Smith, Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA (Buyers Brokers Only LLC - www.BuyersBrokersOnly.com) over 6 years ago

Thanks for the continuioing updates on what is ebing done to fix problems but also take the site to a new, and better, level.

Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad (Solutions Real Estate ) over 6 years ago

thanks for the warning... I mean, look-ahead.  just be careful as you change things... I'm all about evolving, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater and in an attempt to make Active Rain easier to use, screw her up.

Posted by Alan May, Helping you find your way home. (Coldwell Banker Residential) over 6 years ago

It has been incredible watching this company overcome obstacles and grow to become what it is today before my eyes. Digging in and weathering the storm has been one of the greatest decisons of my professional career as a true Social Media Enthusiast. Very excited for the year ahead!

Posted by Abe Schmidt, Real Estate Social Media Trainer over 6 years ago

Hi Nikki,  Congrats and thanks for the dedication and talent you and the staff bring to our little corner of the real estate business.  Best wishes to you all for 2012 !!!

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) over 6 years ago

Niki...

Before making any changes to the points system, I would get PLENTY of feedback. I volunteer to be on the committee!

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) over 6 years ago

Niki- I've loved watching this community grow and am loving being a part of it.  I've learned about so much more than real estate... blogging, SEO, How to add this widget to that thingie.  But SEO and points aside, I love the community that is here .

Thank you for keeping us informed.  

Have a wonderful holiday and will see you in 2012!


Featured in Bananatude

Bananatude

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 6 years ago

Great news. I look forward to growing with ActiveRain in the next year. It's been a great year for me. Hope everyone enjoys the holiday season and much success to ActiveRain in 2012 !

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) over 6 years ago

 

Howdy and afternoon Niki

Niki, I just had to stop by to ask you, do you really think we really need the new Sponsor Add Box which just showed up on the Home Page of members? The thing has made my home page much wider and out of whack. To read it, I had to move the slide bar to the far right.

By the above photo is the one which I told you about not being able to upload, this morning on your ActiveRain Software Platform Upgraded Today blog post.

Marry Christmas to you and your family!


May each and everyday bring you and your family many blessings!

Have a good one
Dale in New Hampshire

Posted by Dale Baker, New Hampshire Relocation Real Estate Information (Baker Energy Audits and Commercial Properties Inspections) over 6 years ago

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you from Crystal Beach Florida!

Barbara-Jo's Beach Blog

We will be enjoying Christmas Day in shorts and sandals down here.......................

 

 

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) over 6 years ago

Niki ... thaks for the update.  Ia agree with Richard ... look carefully at the posint systembefore you ake any changes!  Great Job!

Posted by Lisa Wetzel, CDPE, SFR carsonvalleyland.com (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates) over 6 years ago

Niki, love the community. Keep up the great work! Could you add "app" to the list of improvements to AR in 2012? Thanks.

Posted by Eric Michael, Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519 (Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI) over 6 years ago

Hi Niki - The ActiveRain team and yourself have been making great improvements during 2011.  I agree with other commentators that you need to carefully consider the implications before making changes to various parts of ActiveRain including the points system. 

The beta home page screenshot in your post has LESS useful information than the current screen and requires more clicks to access various options.  Don't make something that is clear more complicated and less user friendly.  A lot of people are also on dataplans with significant caps or are on slower ISPs for a variety of reasons.  You don't need to have extra data such as photos being downloaded on the home page.

Posted by FN LN over 6 years ago

Niki - Looking forward to all of the great stuff you guys and girls have cooked up in the new year, Very excited to see what happens next year. Best of luck and a Happy New Year to all of you wonderful Staffers...

Posted by Robert and Lisa Hammerstein -201-315-8618, Bergen County NJ Real Estate (Keller Williams Valley Realty) over 6 years ago

Your update and explanation is appreciated. The system has been running much smoother. We are all a part of this platform and making our industry better. For me, I plan to continue blogging into 2012 and to learn as much as possible. Good to have such a strong team who cares.

Here's to the best year ever!
Margaret

 

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) over 6 years ago

I had forgotten about all the server issues from Spring. Thanks for all the hard work!

Posted by Doug Rogers, Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent (Bayou Properties) over 6 years ago

Dear Niki -
Good "BSchool" report!  Nice for us to hear the year in review!  Sometimes when in motion, one is dodging trees. The forest itself is hard to see.  Here you have shown us the overview of the lovely forest that is AR.

Adversity can bring out the best of our characters.  Yes, it was a bit tricky getting through what I call the "dust storm" of May/June but the remaining members of the community received an opportunity to stay together and grow stronger.  And we are really doing both under your leadership. Thanks.

Let's hope the values of the Community Guidelines and the Weltanschauug on which AR is based lead us like a beacon of shining light into the future.
Have a happy day _
Lynn

Posted by Lynn B. Friedman, Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers (Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ...) over 6 years ago

I guess my two big beefs are confusion over blogs....you have an inside blog and a outside blog and a localism blog. SO if you are putting in links which would you use. I can't imagine others are not confused on this as well. Then I have question on WP and tranferring from here to there.....a button would be nice! I am excited to see all of the coming changes! Merry Christmas!

Posted by Rosalie Evans, The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale (Meritus Group Real Estate) over 6 years ago

The single biggest issue that AR faces is suitability for use as a legitimate platform for communicating with consumers. The serial presentation of posts -- no navigation or menu system for the blog -- has driven away all those who start on AR and migrate to another platform. 

 

Posted by Leslie Ebersole, I help brokers build businesses they love. (Swanepoel T3 Group) over 6 years ago

Great outline of what the company has done and where its headed.  I'm in 100%.

Posted by Luis Iniguez, Search Inland Empire Homes For Sale - Short Sale Agent (Option One Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for your feedback.  As you can tell now, I am pretty analytical and methodical in how I think.  Hopefully it wasn't too boring.  I could have written another two pages about what I learned in 2011.  I will try to do a better job blogging about ActiveRain so the community has a better sense on where we are going and the challenges we are facing.

Debbie, continuing to improve AR's domain authority, traffic and SEO juice is on the top of our list.  The big challenge we face is tackling duplicate content and plagiarism.  I need to spend more time on this in 2012.

Christine, I would certainly be open to doing "real" RainCamps as long as we can get 150 members to pay in advance to attend.  The challenge we ran into (as others seem to be encountering) is that you spend a lot of time and money to plan a RainCamp event and members do not sign up until the last minute.   If there is a way to either 1) have members sign up early or 2) keep our costs low to put on a RainCamp, we can do a physical RainCamp.  Previously, we were spending about 25% of our time as a company on RainCamp and still losing money on the event :(

Alan, Richard, Lisa, and to others who have voiced concerns about the points system, we will definitely seek input before we make any changes.

Hi Dale, we replaced the pictures of the agents holding the checks with ad, so the width of the page should be the same actually.  If and when we can figure new sources of revenue for ActiveRain, we can consider taking the ads off the pages.  At this point, a large percentage (>95%) of the members of ActiveRain are free.

Eric, mobile is big.  I would love to figure out an app strategy.  Most of our traffic comes from computers on the web right now, though I am sure that will change.

Marc, we will be rolling out the changes slowly and can make changes as needed to optimize.  We need to balance the needs of super-users with causal users who find ActiveRain confusing and intimidating.

Lynn, thanks for the kind words.  You are right, AR needs to stay true to its values and the community.

Roslie, the outside blog vs Localism is confusing.  The Outside Blog is a customizable blog with your branding.  Your Localism blog is similar to your ActiveRain blog, but on Localism and targeted to a hyperlocal area.  It's confusing to me as well.

Leslie, you are right.  We need to make changes to reduce our bounce rates and increase engagement.

 

 

 

 

Posted by Nikesh Parekh, Technology Entrepreneur, Executive, & Investor (Trulia) over 6 years ago

Hi Nikki--thanks for this great update.  I love what has been happening in the Rain these last few months and am looking forward to a great 2012.  Happy Holidays. 

Posted by Janet Jones, Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii (Just Your Style Interiors, LLC) over 6 years ago

This is great information about the plans for the future. Thanks for keeping us in the loop.               

Posted by Sandy Acevedo, RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale (951-290-8588) over 6 years ago

Niki, you all have taken ActiveRain to a higher level with all these changes and I'm looking forward participating again in 2012

As far as the points thing. . my suggestion, don't touch that unless you change it from points to dollars. . 

Merry Christmas. . 

 

 

 
Peace
Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) over 6 years ago

Sound like a keep on keeping on post to me.  So, to quote Headly Lamar, "Go, and do that voodoo that you do so well!"

Merry Christmas to all here!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Love the update.  I concur with the others about making any radical changes immediately.  AR has obviously done something right to be where it is.  Change is inevitable just do it slowly and with a lot of thought.  Thanks for all that you all do. 

Posted by Paula McDonald, Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury, TX 936-203-0279 (Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury) over 6 years ago

2012 will be a very good year.  Anxious to see the changes firsthand!  Merry Christmas and a properous New Year to y'all!!

Posted by Ralph Janisch ABR CRS Broker, Selling Northwest Houston to good people like you! (Janisch & Co.) over 6 years ago

You are always on top of things and we appreciate the things that you have done so far. Expecting 2012 to be even BETTER!

Posted by Joni Bailey, Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR® (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services - Anderson Properties) over 6 years ago

I do applaud you for taking on the challenge and staying with it, I do feel your sincerity of what you mean when I met you here in Dallas. Now, take a few good days  off with the family and we'll come back strog in 2012.

Posted by Loreena and Michael Yeo, Real Estate Agents (3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Frisco TX Real Estate Co.) over 6 years ago
One of my Associates asked me to find out what is Active Rain's relationship with Market Leader and realestate.com?
Posted by Marjorie Taylor, New Homes in St. Augustine Florida (Riverside Homes) over 6 years ago

Niki, I very much appreciate you sharing with us on such a personal level on a look "back" and a look "going forward".  Very helpful in growing our own understanding of what the future will bring. It is indeed a very rich environment and we are hopeful for the future. I also hear all the caution and I can relate. We have been given so much here and there is so much more that can be done. Looking forward to a wonderful 2012! Thank you so much for sharing so much with us. We do appreciate it! Happy Holidays!

Posted by Jeanean Gendron, Specializing in Selling Unique Properties (The Address Realty) over 6 years ago

Hi Nikki, keep up the great work.  Thanks to you and the AR staff you are one of my most visited internet sites.

Posted by Bob Miller, The Ocala Dream Team (Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty) over 6 years ago

How about Raincamp at the ActiveRain office? That would give us a nice behind the scenes look at how things work (and keep event costs down).

Posted by Doug Rogers, Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent (Bayou Properties) over 6 years ago

Happy Holidays to my friends still left on the AR staff, and to ALL the members who have built and maintained this site to be what it is today.  A few wires, programmers, and software apps can build any web-page, site or network, but it's the AR Members who have done the greatest job ever building the content and culture of ActiveRain. THANK YOU!

Thanks for 4 great years here, I'm looking forward to 2012 and all that it will bring to this network and to our Industry. 

Real estate is not just a job, it's an adventure...  enjoy the journey!!  :-)

Posted by Brad Andersohn, ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876 (Director of Education & Industry Outreach at eXp Realty & RE Tech Campus) over 6 years ago

Nikki.  Thanks for this synopsis.  When the system is dragging, it's helpful to know that manatement is working on it and won't give up. 

I look for more, more, more ActiveRain.

 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Great Job Nikki thanks for the tour. I cant wait to see all the new stuff coming http://activerain.com/blogsview/2653452/a-day-at-hq-activerain-and-i-almost-fried-my-noodle-

Posted by Mark Taylor Mortgages, 602-361-0707 #MarkTaylor #Awesomerates NMLS#207897 (and for 1st Time Buyers, Move Up Buyers & Investors ) over 6 years ago

It looks like things are headed in the right direction, good to have you on board, Niki.

Posted by Cynthia Larsen, Independent Broker Serving Sonoma County, CA (Safe Haven Realty) over 6 years ago

Looking for construcitve criticism? Probably not... but here's my .02. You should add a feature for sheduling posts. Would really help folks to like to work ahead or need to go on a vacation, but do not want to sacrifice their blogging routine.

Posted by Melissa Zavala, Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County (Broadpoint Properties) over 6 years ago

Everyone, with things like the points system, we will take it slow.   The key is really to make sure we know where we are going, before we make any changes.

Marjorie, Market Leader is the parent company of ActiveRain and RealEstate.com

Doug, we would LOVE to do a RainCamp or a convention here in Seattle.  But, do you think members would come?  If so, email Kerrie - kerrie at activerain dot com!

 

Posted by Nikesh Parekh, Technology Entrepreneur, Executive, & Investor (Trulia) over 6 years ago

Melissa,

Always looking for feedback.  Scheduling posts is on our list of featrues to add (at the right time).

Niki

 

Posted by Nikesh Parekh, Technology Entrepreneur, Executive, & Investor (Trulia) over 6 years ago

Hi Melissa,

It's just a test IDX web site that I had set up to test the widgets and the ability to drive traffic from an IDX web site.  Ellen Smith & Allen Tate Realtors are not real (as far as I know).

Niki

Posted by Nikesh Parekh, Technology Entrepreneur, Executive, & Investor (Trulia) over 6 years ago

One of the tricks of Good Blogging is keep it short and keep it simple.  To sum it up, things run better, AR is more responsive, we are headed in the right direction, and AR is very popular with members.  

Good job, keep it up.  Merry Christmas!

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Happy New Year Niki and Active Rain! Look forward to seeing the changes in 2012.

Posted by ARDELL DellaLoggia (Sound Realty) over 6 years ago

Howdy and afternoon Niki

Niki, I sure wanted to be sure to stop back by to say, Thank You mighty kindly for y'all taking down the second Sponsor Add Box which had showed up at the yesterday afternoon at the top of our Home Page!!! Now the Home Page is back to normal.

To your reply to my first comment, I don't have a problem with the add box at the top and the long one on the side. I was only talking about the second big add box that was added yesterday afternoon. As I side above with that second big one at the top gone now the our home pages are back to normal.

Have a good one
Dale in New Hampshire

Posted by Dale Baker, New Hampshire Relocation Real Estate Information (Baker Energy Audits and Commercial Properties Inspections) over 6 years ago
Hi Niki - I love Active Rain as-is, but I do wish it were easier to find groups on various subjects.
Posted by Susan Neal, Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker (RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks) over 6 years ago

Happy New Year!  Thanks for keeping us updated.  With all this community communciation, still don't understand how the realestate.com got botched?  We missed out on our city due to the sales agent not returning our calls at all.  too bad!

Posted by Kim & Kristine Halverson, Realtors (www.LiveWorkSiliconBeach.com, Santa Monica Real Estate :) ) over 6 years ago

Hi Susan, great things on connecting with others coming in 2012.

Kim and Kristine, Sorry for the confusion on RealEstate.com.  We are learning and were not crisp out of the gate.  I apologize. 

Posted by Nikesh Parekh, Technology Entrepreneur, Executive, & Investor (Trulia) over 6 years ago

Hi Dale, we were testing an add placement for the new MyHome.  It showed up on the old MyHome.  We then took it down when we realized.

Posted by Nikesh Parekh, Technology Entrepreneur, Executive, & Investor (Trulia) over 6 years ago

Nikki,  Took the time to read every word.. :)  It appears that you covered all of AR in evaluating current status and making plans for changes or at least putting "on the table" any thing that is not performing as well as you would like.  Thank you for informing us. 

Posted by 1 ~Judi & Don Barrett & Chassy Eastep - Integrity, BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK (Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745) over 6 years ago

"HAPPY HOLIDAYS" from Vegas Bob and Family ... ;o)

Photography by Robert Swetz

Posted by Robert Vegas Bob Swetz, Las Vegas Henderson Homes for Sale (Realty ONE Group) over 6 years ago

From a tech stand point, I think the steps forward have been a huge sucess.  I have a couple of other complaints though.  With the launch of RealEstate.com, AR for the first time tarnished my view of their reputation.  My partner and I received approximately 15 phone calls selling the new product.  We actually spoke to a live person about 5 separate times and asked (and eventually demanded) to be removed from the list.  AR seemd incapable of managing this request.  At this point, I believe the calls have finally stopped.  The ironic thing is that I actually had interest in the product, but I was SO turned off by the call campaign that I never spoke to anyone about it.

The only other thing I wanted to comment on is RainCamp.  When I attended in Atlantic City last year, I found it to be a transformative event.  The online courses and local Meetups cannot and will not compete.  I  took the initiative to host two Meetups this year, but they really have nothing in common with what RainCamp was.  

I love AR and don't mean to suggest with my two criticisms that it's not a great platform - it is.  That being said, I want to share my thoughts in the interest of contributing to its continued growth.

 

Posted by Kate Akerly, Brooklyn Residential Sales and New Development (Halstead Property) over 6 years ago

what a year!  thanks for all of the updates, Nikki!  Look forward to all the changes and new courses in 2012!

Posted by Kerry Lucasse, Your Nest Atlanta Real Estate Consultant (eXp Realty - Nest Atlanta Team) over 6 years ago

..... I forgot to comment about the PICTURES!  They are fantastic and really have the AR Spirit!

Posted by Kerry Lucasse, Your Nest Atlanta Real Estate Consultant (eXp Realty - Nest Atlanta Team) over 6 years ago

Hi Mike,

Thank you for the feedback.  I do not claim to have all the answers and I will admit that I make mistakes regularly.  But I hope we can listen carefully and make the right changes.  I hope the technology is an example of our putting our mind to a problem and coming up with the right solutions.

On RealEstate.com, I will have our VP of Sales Kate Yackley give you a call so that we can get the right feedback on the process.   Like I said before, we are learning and getting better in the process. 

On RainCamp, I am very supportive of doing more in-person events like RainCamp.  The key is that ActiveRain can't lose money on the event.  We don't need to make money, but I don't want to lose money on every event.  If anyone in the community wants to take the lead on figuring out how we can do this, I am very supportive of figuring it out.  Bob and Kerrie and itching to get out into the community.  Based on how RainCamp worked in the past, breaking even on RainCamp 1) getting members to sign-up ahead of time and early, 2) we need to have roughly 150-200 members attend each event, and/or 3) keeping our costs low.   The main cost drivers are actually the cost of the hotel room and travel costs for the staff.   If we can be clever and creative, I am sure there are lots of ways to make RainCamp work for everyone.  RainCamp is also time consuming in terms of putting together GREAT content and organizing.  If the community were to take on a greater role in RainCamp, there may be a great solution here.

Posted by Nikesh Parekh, Technology Entrepreneur, Executive, & Investor (Trulia) over 6 years ago

Thanks Kerry.  It's amazing how much fun you can have with a camera and some silly props! 

Posted by Nikesh Parekh, Technology Entrepreneur, Executive, & Investor (Trulia) over 6 years ago

FYI - I am not going to be online as much between Christmas and New Year! It's my wife's Xmas gift!

Posted by Nikesh Parekh, Technology Entrepreneur, Executive, & Investor (Trulia) over 6 years ago

Niki - to you and all the gang at AR

Have A Very Merry Christmas

and

A Prosperous New Year

 

Posted by Kathy Clulow, Trusted For Experience - Respected For Results (RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage) over 6 years ago

Niki -

Thanks for letting us into your head.  Happy holidays.

Posted by Jim Hale, Eugene Oregon's Best Home Search Website (ACTIONAGENTS.NET) over 6 years ago

You guys do such a great job of continually keeping us informed and moving forward. Thank you for all of your support!

Posted by Sylvie Stuart, Home Buying, Home Selling and Investment - Flagsta (Realty One Group Mountain Desert 928-600-2765) over 6 years ago

 Hi Nikki,

Just Stopping By to Thank you for a Pfanntastic Year in the Rain and
To Wish You and your Loved Ones


Merry Christmas

Posted by Peter Pfann @ eXp Realty Pfanntastic Properties in Victoria, Since 1986., Talk To or Text Peter 250-213-9490 (eXp Realty, Victoria BC www.pfanntastic.com) over 6 years ago
Hi Nikki, you have done a fantastic job this past year and just wanted to say so. Although it has been mentioned, IMO the point system is genius and I would hate to see it changed. I would also like to see some of the groups looked at and perhaps downsized...there's just so many that it can get confusing..for example I think there are several groups pertaining to TV shows?. Additionally, any way we can clear out the "members" that have gone and not come back for like years? And, one more thing that just drives me batty is my subscriber list...sometimes it works and I can go through all of the pages and other times it just jumbles up the first couple and I can't see the old subscribers. Every now and again I like to check out who my subscribers are and visit their pages. OK, enough of my suggestions :)...I know that you are doing much to improve AR and you and your team have done extraordinary with the Technology aspect. Have a terrific New Year!
Posted by Brenda Mullen, Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!! (RE/MAX Access) over 6 years ago

Niki - For the feature board, I'd suggest three columns on the front page each to cover 1) Professional, 2) Consumer, and 3) Localism posts.  You could also just do 2 columns and have one be professional and the other consumer.

I'd also reduce the profile picture size and limit the example text to 2 lines instead of the current 3.  That will give you more real estate to publish a few more articles at a time (more features!).

Posted by Bryan Robertson, Broker, Author, Speaker (Intero Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Thanks so much for all the hard work that was done in 2011; and, I'm looking forward to a more improved AR for 2012!  Happy New Year to you and all the team...

Posted by Peggy Hughes/pha logistix, inc., SF NYC LA (pha logistix inc) over 6 years ago
im not gonna put the average No?? one is prbboaly?? gonna read? this paragraph and shit look , ima be straight up. im a 17 year old rapper that takes my music seriously because my songs aren't on no WEAK SHIT.as a matter of fact im not even gonna type anymore, click the channel. listen to the songs. you'll become hooked to my music.. FUCKING GUARANTEED.
Posted by Donky almost 6 years ago

Participate