There’s always something to howl about

The All-Spin Zone: The big news from the Inman News relaunch is that much of the is now in bed with Brad Inman

I had mail from a vendor just lately asking me if I might be interested in a forthcoming story. This was my reply:

Just so as not to disappoint, this is the way we work:

Good for consumers, agents or lenders, we eat it up.

Good for the vendor, we ignore it.

I should think this would be obvious, but much of the has gone into pure PR mode — more high-fives than your kid’s soccer match — so I just wanted to be clear.

As evidence of this phenomenon, witness the fawning coverage for Inman News’ relaunch this weekend. For all the hype, what actually happened was that they moved the furniture, and gave everything a coat of paint — hardly earth-shaking events.

Interestingly, it’s still a for-pay site, but, as far as I can tell, the “news” is now free. Here’s an unencrypted telegram from Secret Agent Slobbering Dog to Brad Inman: Regulating access to the news was the chokepoint. No one should pay for ordinary information — mostly regurgitated vendor press releases, just like Realtor magazine. But no sane person has any reason to pay a hundred-and-fifty bucks a year for an official Inman News sippee cup.

Of course, while everyone else was fawning over that boffo furniture-moving job, we were talking about strangling the last of the chokepoints in the twenty-first century marketplace. Oddly enough, we have the idea that what is important is what is important to you — not to the people we have drinks with — or hope someday to have drinks with.

My take is that people can crave affection or admiration or companionship entirely too much. The same goes for prestige. What makes real weblogging work — and what makes most corporate or commercial or vendor blogging fail — comes down to spin, juice, PR. You either shun it or you embrace it, and there really isn’t any middle ground. It’s a nice thing that Inman News did a little sweeping up. But that ain’t news.

On the other hand, there is ample room in these events to draw inferences. BloodhoundBlog has nothing to gain or lose. I set it up that way. We don’t take advertising, and we don’t have an affiliate program or a membership plan. We — or at least I — don’t care who loves or hates us, and I warned everyone a long time ago, not once but twice, about the corrosive seductions of so-called “prestige.”

A whole lot of real estate webloggers — many of them vendors — got into bed with Brad Inman this weekend. This doesn’t make them bad people, and it does not imply that they are writhing helplessly under Inman’s thick thumb. “But glittering prizes and endless compromises shatter the illusion of integrity.” It’s never wise to want something that someone else has the power to take away. The webloggers involved are, in actual fact, lending their prestige to Brad Inman, not the other way around. If they lose sight of that, preferring instead to do whatever it takes to sustain their status as big fish in a stagnant backwater, that would be tragic.

In the mean time, who are you going to turn to for news you can trust? The answer is obvious. We learned the hard way not to make these kinds of deals. The upshot is, we can shoot our mouths off however we choose.

Like this: The Inman News relaunch? Big snooze. Painfully pale to look at, most-likely-to-fail as a social site — and the pay-for-intangibles business plan is absurd.

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11 Comments so far

  1. Todd Carpenter March 4th, 2008 12:14 am

    Well I didn’t just jump into bed with Inman. I’ve been keeping the mattress warm for over a year now. 😉

    If I’m lending my prestige to Brad, he can have it. I participate in Inman to reach all those people who haven’t a clue about The ones who’ve assigned me no prestige in the first place.

  2. Greg Swann March 4th, 2008 12:18 am

    I have an unlimited faith in your independence, Todd. Never doubt it.

  3. Eric Blackwell March 4th, 2008 7:56 am


    Neil Peart penned it and you called it correct. (and Todd ftr, I don’t doubt your independence at all either…)

    Note the line before it:

    “One likes to believe in the freedom of <>”

    And later on in the song:

    “It’s really just a question of your honesty, yeah your honesty.”

    There are those who signed on who have the honesty (read: Todd et al)and those who do not. Only time will seperate the musical abilities of RUSH from Milli Vanilli…

    …but time has a way of doing that. (grin)


  4. Barry Cunningham March 4th, 2008 8:03 am

    But Gregg, while indeed, “glittering prizes and endless compromises shatter the illusion of integrity”…….isn’t it true that in this Web 2.0 world..are not we just all “merely players, performers and portrayers,each another’s audience”?

  5. Louis Cammarosano March 4th, 2008 5:08 pm


    Do we not all shine through our collective association with each other?

  6. Daniel Rothamel March 4th, 2008 7:35 pm

    Looks like Todd took the words out of my mouth.

  7. Jay March 5th, 2008 6:51 pm

    My first impression is that the new version was a real estate facebook…which is unnecessary. Facebook works fine as I’ve learned in the last 2 weeks. But I’m interested in having access to old videos/news archives or whatever they can think of to make me think my $$$ was well spent. Surely they’ll come up with something.


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  10. genuinechris johnson October 16th, 2008 10:06 am

    somehow, i missed this post first time around.

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