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Archive for the 'Weblogging 101' Category

Getting a San Diego Condo VA-Approved Adds Value To Service Members

Debra Brady and I are experts at VA-financing.  One of the things we do very well is secure a VA condo complex approval for condominiums which aren’t agency approved.  Some comments from a recent YELP review:

I started the home buying process while still on deployment, and Brian graciously worked with me across 13 time zones to begin explaining the ins and outs of home buying.

This is actually kind of fun for me.  With technology, deployed service members can communicate with me well in advance of buying.  Many times, when deployed,  they have free time with little to do.  They use Gchat, Facebook Messenger, Skype, and email to communicate with me.  Sometimes it makes for some weird hours but I enjoy finally meeting them when they return to the States.

I googled VA home approval, and his was the first name to pop up.  Brian is an absolute master at working with the VA.

That’s what I love to hear–that we come up first on Google Search for this topic.

Brian took my wife and I out for cocktails to explain in person the different loan rates and explain the decision making process for each of them, and Debra worked like a fiend to make sure thinks were done WELL ahead of time.

This is how Debra and I work.  I spend most of my time “selling” real estate agents and educating clients and Debra gets the loan done.  When we’re clicking properly, I am “Mr. Outside” and she is “Mrs. Inside”.  Clients know that she is in the office, every day from 8AM until 230PM each day and available on the telephone.  This frees me up to: (a) find more business for us and (b) properly educate home buyers about the process.  We pride ourselves on “no surprises” during the loan process.

To any Servicemembers who are interested in using their VA loan option, look no further than Brian, he is THE expert who will get you into the place you want.

That’s what I hope to hear on every VA loan we close.  It doesn’t ALWAYS happen but, I’m proud to say, it does happen more often than not.

Related posts:
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  • BloodhoundBlog Radio: FHA/VA in 2010 (with Tony Gallegos)
  • New NAR policy allows “objective” exclusion of certain listings from members’ presentations of IDX feeds . . .

  • Comments are off for this post

    Active Rain Says TANSTAAFL To Founding Members’ Uproar

    The Active Rain Real Estate Network is charging a fee.  I’m not surprised.  The network has been trying to find ways to monetize its business since inception.  It tried a referral network and advertising and now it’s faced with the hard decision of pay-for-play.

    Lani, at Agent Genius reported that one founding member deleted all of his content in protest:

    This week, Active Rain inadvertently makes for heated conversation again by going back on their promise to founding members (the first users of the service) that they would never have to pay to participate because they evangelized for free and promoted the service making it what it is today.

    Real estate blogger Jay Thompson, one of Active Rain’s original users and long time advocate of the brand noticed along with many other bloggers today that despite ActiveRain’s promise to grandfather in “founding members,” he was asked to pay an annual fee before he would be allowed to continue participating.

    ActiveRain allegedly fudged notifying founding members and moved forward by only allowing active members to be grandfathered in. Thompson’s argument is not only one that he and others did not receive proper notification, but he and others comment frequently and despite being on a points based system tied to each user’s account, it is not considered to be “participation.”

    Thompson’s response? He deleted all of the content he had ever written and I suspect he and others will no longer refer to ActiveRain in their frequent seminars, courses and speaking engagements.

    I don’t know if I would have chosen to delete my content there.  Like any advertising model, it might have been useful to really analyze the costs and benefits.  I can think of three benefits to paying for membership in the network:

    • Back links to my home site- I can’t quantify what that benefit is but I know it helps my SEO
    • Traffic- I get some 200 visitors monthly from Active Rain URLs
    • Conversion- I receive 1-2 GOOD inquiries monthly, directly from the Active Rain contact forms.

    This isn’t too hard to quantify.  The traffic alone is worth $200/year based on a price of only a dime per click.  The 15-20 good inquiries turn into 3-5 loans annually; that’s at least $10,000 in annual income to me.  I like to receive a 5-1 return on my advertising dollar so let’s say that’s worth $2,000 to me.    That’s more than the $29/month it costs to have an Active Rain account.

    I don’t understand why everyone praises the value of “free” if free ain’t producing results.  Moreover, if you can trade $350, for $3500, isn’t that a good investment?

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  • 29 comments

    Weblogging Clients

    I’m now writing on a few blogs. BloodHoundBlog, of course. But also my own firm blogs for criminal law and bankruptcy law.

    All this blogging can get a guy down, especially when you have to use WordPress’s web interface. I like the act of writing. I hate the act of logging into WordPress and blogging.

    So I’ve been looking for webblogging clients – tools you can use to interface with the blog, draft posts from your desktop, and post them without having to log into the actual WordPress site.

    I’ve been using ScribeFire for a few months, and it’s ok. It is a plugin that works with Firefox, whether on a Mac or a PC. The problem is that, so far as I know, the plugin hasn’t been re-written for Google Chrome. And I like Google Chrome because it is so fast.

    I recently did a little googling, and found some other clients. The best of the batch, which I’ve been using today, is called Ecto. Ecto is only available on a Mac. It’s light-weight, easy to use, has the ability to “cross-post” to different blogs, and also interacts well with WordPress’s various features, like scheduled posts, tags, and categories.

    It’s a little buggy. It’s crashed once on me today. I’m hoping that is fixed, because otherwise I like it.

    This post was written with Ecto, in fact.

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  • 10 comments

    BHB-style lawyer marketing – from the trenches

    This is a long-delayed post. A thank you to BHB. A clue for others to see, use, follow. This post is about marketing techniques. A case study. A “you can do this, too.”

    Apology in advance

    Gregg, please pardon the backlinking to myself. I don’t like to pee in the pool by hyping myself, but the project I’m backlinking to is almost over, and will be worthless by the 15th of October, so I have no long term benefit from this. I’m deliberately not linking to my main website.

    The world we live in

    BHB is interesting to me. The philosophy (treat your customers like humans, get ‘em smart, treat ‘em right), the approach (use the tools that Teh Interwebs give ya), the people.

    The real estate world is hidebound and burdened with useless historical debris. But the law world is worse. Lawyering is a closed shop industry and the State Bar is hellbent on protecting union members. Using ideas imported proudly from Elizabethan England.

    BHB-style thinking and action to me is what the individual can do — constructively — to rage against the machine. (Hmmm. Good name for a band, I think.)

    The opportunity

    First, background. The IRS announced a voluntary disclosure program in late March, 2009 — people with money hidden offshore could Come to Jesus and avoid criminal prosecution for tax evasion.

    I’m an international tax lawyer. Ding-ding-ding.

    Seizing the opportunity

    With help and coaching (ha! Chris hates that word!) from GenuineChris I launched www.foreignbankaccountamnesty.com. Simple WordPress install, various plug-ins, no biggie.

    With me so far? Yep. All of you have launched blogs. Ain’t but a few of you who have made money on them. Listen up.

    Get to work

    Here’s what happened next. Chris Johnson harangued me. “Write!” he commanded. I wrote like an SOB. I remember one time when he said “It doesn’t matter what you write, just write.” As if content doesn’t matter. My “A” student overachiever feelings were hurt. But I wrote. Brute Force SEO. That’s what we did.

    Hint. Here’s how you generate a LOT of posts fast. (1) Go buy a little digital recorder. Cheaper = better. Sony = badly-designed overpriced POS to be avoided at all costs. (2) Sign up for an account on www.speak-write.com. (3) Talk into your digital recorder. (4) Send the sound file to www.speak-write.com by email. (5) Get it back in an hour or less, fully transcribed for about 2 cents a word. (6) Light edit. You’re not Marcel Proust. (7) Post.

    Then he said “Do video.” I fretted about that. I’m not photogenic. I don’t have high quality equipment. I didn’t have a pretty background. Guess what. I used my iMac’s native camera. Sitting at my desk. If I was lucky I remembered to pull out my Eyeball microphone to get better quality audio. And I did video. Lots of it.

    Hint. Want to generate blog posts at the same time you do video? (1) Pick up that digital voice recorder of yours. (2) Push start on video recorder. (3) Push start on camera. (4) Start talking. (5) Stop talking. (6) Video to blog, audio to www.speak-write.com for processing into text.

    What happened

    Here’s what has happened. Starting from the first week in June.

  • Phone calls to me from all over the world. (I took a cue from @bawldguy’s blog posts and stuck my cell phone number at the bottom of every post. I got calls from Singapore while I was at my daughter’s soccer practice. I got calls at the beach. Yay Jeff. Thanks for the idea.)
  • Huge revenue. It only counts when the check clears. And the check/credit card has indeed cleared. Let’s just say we have collected in excess of 50X my out of pocket costs.
  • We had to close the door to new business. I did this to honor the commitments we’ve made to existing customers.
  • What’s next

    The amnesty closes on October 15, 2009. I am already plotting my next internet move.

    Action > Whining

    Memo to all personnel:

    • Prospective customers call me, having read EVERYTHING I wrote. They have watched ALL of my videos. They have already decided to buy from me.
    • Videos matter. One guy came in last weekend (flew in from the East Coast) and said “Hey, you look just like you do on your videos!” I about bust a gut. :-)
    • Videos REALLY matter. People saw me, heard me, and knew what to expect when they dealt with me. One less obstacle to the close.
    • Just write. Quantity matters more than quality. Sorry but it’s true.
    • Don’t do the tech stuff yourself. Hire someone. Chris knows way more than me. It wouldn’t have happened without him. If I had tried to do this myself, I would have washed out.
    • This is fun. REALLY fun.
    • This will work for anyone, even real estate brokers. :-)

    Thanks Gregg for the opportunity to talk about this out loud, and for the BHB inspiration. Funny how I tell local real estate friends about BHB and they don’t get it.

    Mr. Google

    Oh. Adwords. We eventually decided to experiment with this, a couple of months after we launched. Took our daily traffic up 5X. Stopped buying ads and traffic dropped again. Hmmm. Cause/effect is obvious even to me. Can’t tell you if we got clients from them or not. But it was at the level that ONE additional customer paid for all the Adword spending we did. And I figure Adwords brought us at least one new customer.

    Mr. Google is your friend. Give him money.

    Anyone else out there, contact me if you want to know more about what I did, how I did it. Do what I do, get what I got.

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  • 21 comments

    Please Help Me Welcome NAMB President Marc Savitt To Web 2.0 – Action Step Requested

    I wrote an article at Lenderama yesterday.  Here’s the deal:

    I’m a card carrying NAMB Basher and have been for several years.  And I’m hardly alone.  The other day, I had a 10-minute phone conversation with NAMB President Marc Savitt.  The conversation inspired me to write the article you’ll find on Lenderama.

    If you’d be so kind to read that article, and if compelled, please leave a comment letting Mr. Savitt know that if he engages us, we’ll respond – and above all that you appreciate his efforts.  Now, more than ever, the mortgage industry needs to come together as one.  Brokers, bankers, supply chain… all of us.

    Please help me give Marc Savitt a warm welcome to the world of Web 2.0.  Thanks in advance.

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  • Comments are off for this post

    Multiple blog hosting and your files. A Project Bloodhound inquiry for DIY WordPress publishing.

    I’m in need of clarity. Being mostly clueless to the concept of file management and hosting in general has led me here by way of looking to publish more then one blog.  That, and after spending far too much time with “online and phone help” with what should be a simple domain name transfer for Yahoo to Godaddy, I’m at my wits end.   Word to the wise.  If someone offers you a domain name for $1.99, don’t bite.

    Here’s the deal. I have a “deluxe hosting account” with Godaddy which runs me, I think, around $6.50 a month and gives me what I need. ( I know your bluehost mediatemple whatever is better and that’s not the fix here ).  Focus.

    When I started another blog, I created a new database via my SQL database and now this blog lives in a folder under the main account as well (see below).

    hosting-control-center-file-manager-1

    So from what I gather, with 25 databases I can run 25 different sites under this one account, right?   The databases (sites) just become sub-files of the main account.  If I’m off, just let me know.

    One other thing that puzzles me (utter ignorance) is the file placement in my directory.  I was going by the intructions given to me by the help desk at Godaddy, and what you see is what I ended up with.   Could you all give me a little insight to whether this looks OK or not?

    Assuming that everything is set up right so far, my next question would be, what is the advantage of opening up a separate account for a new site?  With each and every domain I purchase, I am offered a free “Economy hosting account”, which of course will not allow you to host WordPress.   To do this, I would need to open another “Deluxe hosting account”.

    Any insight here would be appreciated.  I plan on helping my wife with her own site and hosting and I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to get her set up separately or just run hers with mine.

    Many thanks. If I get somewhere with this, I have one for Engenu one next.  These are the kind of mental stumbling blocks that hold me up for days.

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  • 12 comments

    Engenu Webinar w/ Greg Swann TONIGHT @ 8:30 EST/ 5:30 PST

    If curious to know how Greg Swann builds property websites in the time it takes most of us to eat a bowl of cereal, tonight’s the night.

    What: Engenu demo with Greg Swann
    When: 8:30pm EST, 5:30pm PST
    Where: At your computer

    We’ll be recording this session too, so if you can’t make it and would like an email w/ the replay sent to you, go ahead and register anyhow.

    Register Now Button

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  • Comments are off for this post

    Should Blogs Enjoy the Same First Amendment Rights as Traditional Press?

    Aaron Krowne, Founder of the Mortgage Lender Implode-o-Meter, posted the following article yesterday.

    New Hampshire Judge Orders ML-Implode To Divulge Identities of Anonymous Posters

    Questions:

    1)  Should blogs/consumer advocacy websites enjoy the same First Amendment protections as traditional press?

    2)  Does Justice McHugh’s decision disturb you as much as it disturbs me?

    3)  On the other hand, how is a company like The Mortgage Specialists  (innocent until proven otherwise) protected against an insider leaking confidential documents, the validity of which is yet to be substantiated?

    I am a proponent of the ML-Implode-O-Meter and a believer in Aaron Krowne.  So I’m afraid I could be biased here.  However, if you share my opinion regarding the sanctity of the First Amendment:

    a)  Aaron has created a few advocacy groups on Facebook so please look him up if interested.

    b)  Here’s a list of volunteers helping Aaron.

    Perhaps Aaron himself puts it best:

    “If the order stands, a flood of similar lawsuits filed by corporations against ‘whistleblower’ and consumer advocacy web sites could appear across the country”

    More negative coverage of “The Mortgage Specialists” can be found here.  I actually called them prior to publishing this article – fully expecting for the phones to be disconnected.  Instead, my call was taken on the first ring.  During our 2-minute conversation, the TMS employee told me that “all that had been taken care of”, it was a “compliance issue, not fraud”, and that the guilty parties were no longer with the company.

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  • 12 comments

    Tweet Us Better Mr. Liniger! — When In The World Is RE/MAX International?

    Woe is me. I’m feeling rejected, ignored, and well, sorta “LOST.” Where and “When” the heck In the World  is RE/MAX International?….

    Denver?

    1977?

    Here’s the thing. I’ve controlled “Twitter.Com/remax” for over a year now and I still haven’t received one email from somebody at International asking me to forfeit the identity. I expected they’d shut me down due to a corporate policy that stipulates I’m not allowed to use the RE/MAX name online.

    I remember that when I grabbed the handle on a lark I was thinking, “well with the popularity of this Twitter thing (whatever it is) I’m sure mother RE/MAX will be in touch soon to snag or perhaps even buy it away by grandfathering me in as a 100 percenter or something”.  Wishful thinking. Nothing happened and I forgot I even owned the identity.

    So when I recently noticed I’d been picking up “followers” out of the blue, I decided to lob a few tweets as an experiment of sorts to see what the reaction might be.  I posted mostly recruiting and company website plugs for the RE/MAX I’m currently at, and picked up 70 or so more followers over the span of a few weeks.  But still, no response from the Big Balloon.

    The only thanks I got for my effort was my new broker calling a few weeks ago to ask why I had porn on the site.  I guess I’d accidentally followed or reciprocated on a follow request from a Philly area escort service, and a colleague of ours pointed it out to him. I apologized and zapped the pretty lady off of the profile, and that was that.  (At least I think…)

    Anyway, I don’t know why, but this Twitter.com/remax thing has really been on my mind a lot lately for some reason. Isn’t Twitter a big enough deal that someone at RE/MAX, maybe even one of my recent RE/MAX colleague followers would have dimed me out to the appropriate department in Denver?  I mean, I think I sorta deserve something for my efforts. Maybe at least rebuke from International for using the corporate name in vain?

    You see, I  want to know that the huge flying orb I’ve aligned my career with is hip to all this game changing web 2.0 stuff. And I think RE/MAX Associates wordwide are certainly free to have some doubts about the company’s committment to technology with how badly the super well intentioned but grossly unusable “Lead Street” back-end has been ignored over the past few years?

    (RE/MAX friends, please feel free to show your support for this last statement by listing your beefs with the LeadStreet “CRM” in the comments here.)

    That said, even if we grant that LeadStreet is really ENeighborhoods’s fault, there’s still this failure to set a good example and at least pretend to adopt this social media stuff!  If RE/MAX doesn’t have or doesn’t feel the need for a social media manager, it’s all good.  (I guess Greg probably approves .)  But I still think they should set an example for their 100k + associates worldwide and at least hook up a respectable Twitter presence. It’d really cost virtually nothing in time or resources.

    I mean, come on y’all! Even Twitter.Com/Weichert has 900 or so followers on on 37 tweets.  Yeah, Remax brethren. Yellow-Ass, Balloonless Weichert is hip… and we’re not! (Ok, I guess maybe we shouldn’t feel too bad.  Thriving competitors like Sotheby’s, Era, Coldwell Banker, and C21 are all also missing corporate twitter profiles from what I can tell…)

    I guess maybe I’m going a bit long here and could probably cut off my first post as a pup with that last little rip, but man this is just too much fun!

    So here’s just a little more…

    Open letter to “The Man”

    Dear Dave,

    I mean… Mr. Liniger Sir,

    (I really do think you’re the man despite the ribbing above…)

    Allow me to lend a helping hand.

    Let me show you how RE/MAX International can spend almost nothing and help its franchisees recruit hundreds, maybe thousands of nervous Realogy-heads while spurring on a modest, though profitable spike in traffic to corporate web projects like remaxbeta.com.

    Step 1. Smack me down and claim Twitter.Com/REMAX. It’s yours–email me for the password, login, and take control. I’m too nervous to really use it anyway.

    Step 2. Tie the “Dave’s Blogstreet” feed to your new Twitter Profile using a service like twitterfeed.com.  For better or worse, more syndication will make you more famous (as I’m guessing I’m about to find out firsthand.)

    Step 3.  Every morning have your secretary tweet this: “JoinRemax.Com. We Cool, and We Ain’t Got Bankruptcy Rumors”.  Thousands of nervous realogy Twitterers will find the controversial link.  I’m guessing a good number will happily jump on the balloon after realizing they’ve spent years being pimped out for ridiculously low commission splits.

    Step 4. Tweet something weekly like: “Psst.  Peep RemaxBeta.Com. What do you think? Pretty hot eh?” Even use proper English if you’d like. Just be sure to link back to a RE/MAX Web entity early and often. The resulting traffic from promoting RE/MAX related sites will eventually translate to a bunch of 1% blips for international. Trust me, this stuff just works.  And the bigger you are, the more profitable 140 characters a day is likely to become.

    Step 5. And now that you’re having fun, please forget about Twitter. It’s primarily a time waster for most of us, and really isn’t worth any more of your attention. Dare I even say you can delegate the tweets to a pretty Denver twit (er..er..?)  Instead, buy a ticket to Phoenix and head to Unchained for the good stuff in late April. We’ll all be psyched to meet you there.  You’ll be an honored guest amongst this merry band of bawldguys, wanna-be vendorsluts, and  hacker bloodhounds!

    (Man that was a whole lotta fun! Thanks Greg, for the opportunity…)

    Related posts:
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  • 23 comments

    What’s Mu? Pulling unforeseen results out of BloodhoundBlog.net

    We launched BloodhoundBlog.net just a week and a day ago, and already WordPress-MultiUser is changing my approach to everything in the weblogging world.

    First, just as a caveat: It’s a bear to set up. Because of BloodhoundBlog, we have an enormous amount of server horsepower, but I think it matters a great deal that we live on a dedicated server. We can customize the host to live the way we need it to live, and we command a lot of tech support attention from Hostgator.com — which has been invaluable.

    But as with the discussion of FeedWordPress, living in the Mu universe leads to different ways of thinking.

    An example: We’re wrestling with domain mapping right now, but, once we get it working, we will be able to put our affiliated vendors into their own blogs, running under their own domain names, in two wags of a BloodPuppy’s tail. If you think about the agony of setting up unique WordPress.org blogs, the upfront effort of getting WP-Mu to run will be handsomely repaid.

    Likewise, both WordPress (dot org) and WP-Mu were upgraded to version 2.6.5 tonight. I already upgraded the BloodhoundBlog.net weblogs. And sometime between now and Sunday, I will get to upgrade a solid dozen WP.org blogs. Between now and the new year, most or all of those will be moving to a new WP-Mu installation.

    Here’s the best bet: The ability to set up clone weblogs on demand will permit a very granular kind of hyper-local weblogging. This suggests to me one or two more WP-Mu installations, strictly for real estate purposes.

    And here’s a great big what’s more: Give me another week with this software and let’s see what else I can come up with…

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  • 9 comments

    Weblogging without weblogging: If syndication be the food of love, feed on — I crave excess of it!

    I am playing with syndication on BloodhoundBlog.net. You can ignore me, although I’m sure I’ll have more to say soon enough.

     
    Later: Okay, here’s what I’m up to. That’s a BloodhoundBlog.net weblog that uses the plug-in FeedWordPress to create an automatically-updating weblog built from the RSS feeds from the home weblogs of six different BloodhoundBlog contributors.

    These really are different feeds. Eric Blacwell came in with RSS 0.92, Teri Lussier with RSS2, Cheryl Johnson and Chris Johnson came in from Feedburner, Geno Petro supplied a Blogger.com feed, and I took Brian Brady’s ActiveRain feed.

    Yes, you read that right ARbeings. You can syndicate your AR and Localism content to your “outside” blog.

    Do please note: If you do not own the feeds you are syndicating, you are stealing. Don’t do that.

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  • 15 comments

    Introducing BloodhoundBlog.net, free WordPress weblogs for real estate professionals

    Say hello to BloodhoundBlog.net, free WordPress Multi-user weblogs for real estate professionals.

    We talked about doing this in Orlando, at the scenius on Swallow Hill Road. Where we started was with the idea of WordPress blogs for the CyberProfessionals to practice on.

    We saw that the right system could serve the same function for any novice bloggers — including all of the folks on Active Rain looking to make the leap to WordPress weblogging.

    And BloodhoundBlog.net can also be a space for BloodhoundBlog Unchained instructors to help their students get their homework together before coming to Phoenix.

    Will this be your last word in real estate weblogging? It can be, but that strikes me as a poor idea. What we’re offering is a free weblogging platform where real estate professionals can learn and grow, ultimately to go off and set up their own WordPress.org weblogs.

    And you had better know this is an Unchained weblogging world: You can import content from a host of blogging platforms, and everything you do on BloodhoundBlog.net is easily exported when you’re ready to move on.

    If you want to go ahead and get started, just go to BloodhoundBlog.net and set up a new blog. It’s fast, easy and fun.

    Still here? Who should set up a BloodhoundBlog.net weblog?

    • Stone newbies. If you want to learn to weblog, you might as well start with the best software, among people who can help you develop the best possible practices.
    • Intermediate bloggers. If you’ve been toying with Active Rain or with real estate forums, it might be time to put away childish things. The work you do with us will transfer easily to a full-blown WordPress.org weblog.
    • Kindred spirits. If you want to build a community of like minds, the price of doing so here can’t be beat.
    • Adhocracy activists. A weblog is the perfect means of coordinating, for example, the Wine-Tasting Realtors of Biloxi.
    • Teachers of lessons profound and arcane — starting with the slave-drivers of BloodhoundBlog Unchained in Phoenix.

    How can we do this? We have the horsepower — dawgpower — that’s how. Even so, we’re not letting you all the way off the leash. There are plug-ins, but only at the macro level. You won’t be able to install you own, although I’ll listen to appeals for good plug-ins that work well in the WP-Mu environment. Same for themes. We have about 15 to start with, but you should feel free to recommend more. They’re not risk-free — Brian Brady has already crashed one — but they’re less risky than plug-ins. In a BloodhoundBlog.net weblog, you’re limited to naming your posts Bloodhound-style, with numbers. When you move your content, you can do what you want, and keyword-based naming should help you beat your old posts in the search engines. Finally, you’ll be constrained by our Terms of Service, which basically say, “Don’t be a jackass.”

    We’ve talked about starting a forum, and this is something we may do, eventually. But a weblog creates its own management structure — “for each one spot shall prove Beloved over all” — plus we think it is the best kind of social media marketing most real estate professionals can do. BloodhoundBlog.net is a place where you can learn to do it for free.

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  • Introducing Hank Miller, Atlanta Realtor and Appraiser
  • BloodhoundBlog.net can map domains: Your free real estate weblog can look just like you’re hosting it yourself

  • 40 comments

    Prequel to Speaking in Tongues: Displaying Author Images in WordPress

    Several months ago, Greg described this process in Project Bloodhound speaking in tongues: To whom am I speaking?

    At the time, I had no need to implement author images in a WordPress multi-author blog, (and I already knew the technique for TypePad), so I didn’t work with the process until just today.

    As I set up what will become a company blog for our incoming agents, I realized that the average WordPress user might need a little more background information to put Greg’s code to use.

    First of all, you need to find all your authors’ ID numbers.  Unfortunately current versions of WordPress do not show author ID numbers.  The easy solution for me was to download the Reveal IDs for WP Admin plugin.

    Once the Reveal IDs plugin is activated, when you go to the Users page, you’ll see each author’s ID number displayed beside their username.  All ID numbers, that is, except your own.  The only way to see your own ID number is to create a new separate admin username and login, then login as that new identity, and find your old self on the list.

    Next step:  Obtain images of each author.  Resize each image (I decided on 52 pixels in height, and 50 pixels in width as appropriate for the design I am using.)  Each image must be named simply by the author ID number.  For instance, my lovely image here on Bloodhound Blog is titled 34.jpg.

    Upload all the newly resized and newly renamed images to your blog’s root directory.

    Now you are ready to rock and roll.

    Open your Main Index Template file (index.php)

    I simplified Greg’s code for now to only display the author’s image and name

    <img src=”http://www.bobtaylorproperties.com/blog/<?php the_author_ID(); ?>.jpg” height=”52″ width=”50″ align=”left” hspace=”10″>
    Posted by <?php the_author() ?> <br>

    And I placed it under the PHP code that inserts the post title.  Here’s the complete snippet:

    <?php if (have_posts()) : while (have_posts()) : the_post(); ?>
    <div class=”entry”>

    <h1><a href=”<?php the_permalink() ?>” rel=”bookmark” title=”<?php the_title(); ?>”><?php the_title(); ?></a></h1>

    <img src=”http://www.bobtaylorproperties.com/blog/<?php the_author_ID(); ?>.jpg” height=”52″ width=”50″ align=”left” hspace=”10″>
    Posted by <?php the_author() ?> <br>

    <span class=”meta”><?php the_time(‘F jS, Y’) ?> <br>
    Posted in <?php the_category(‘, ‘) ?> <?php edit_post_link(‘| Edit’, ”, ”); ?></span>

    <br class=”clear” /><br />

    I’ll add the email link code when l actually have live people posting. :-)

    UPDATE: Reading the comment stream suggests that a footnote might be indicated:  If you copy and paste the above code, you might want to first paste it into a plain text editor (Windows Notepad, for example), save it, select and copy it again from the text editor, then paste it into your index.php file.

    Why?  Because your browser might copy in rich-text format, changing straight quote marks to curly quote marks  …  And code won’t run with curlies.

    ( Screen shots available at Queen of Kludge )

    Related posts:
  • Speaking in tongues: Presentable PHP in WordPress
  • Appendix A: Linking to Author’s Profile in Multi-Author WordPress Blog
  • Project Bloodhound speaking in tongues: To whom am I speaking?

  • 8 comments

    Introducing RE.net’s Hottest Bloggers Contest

    In an effort to increase subscriptions and ad revenue, I have devised an ingenious new contest to identify the hottest bloggers on the real estate net. If there is one thing we can learn from People Magazine and the Republican Party – substance is secondary – most important: there is nothing that a “hot” headshot and $150,000 or so bucks can’t do to increase popularity and a list of the sexiest “insert your own category”.

    Let’s put those bloglogs to good use! Start scanning your Twitter followers – clearly there are some hotties in the mix. Why not nominate a few – heck, why not nominate yourself?

    Content you ask? What content? Kids – this ain’t about what you say or think, it’s all about how you look – and Billy Crystal nailed it – “it’s not how you feel, it’s how you look – and you look marvelous!”

    You want to drive ad revenue to you site? Listen – sex sells. Adorning your blog with the “Hottest Blogger in the RE.net” will drive the kind of subscription traffic you’ve been longing.

    Oops – gotta run – my stylist just called. She’s bringing over Armani for my photo shoot. I’m doing a series of new headshots for my avatar. We’re going to shoot a few – you know – the “too hot to handle” look – the “come hither” look. I’m banking on the “I’m too sexy for my content” look.

    Money in the bank.

    Related posts:
  • The “Win a BloodhoundRealty.com Tee-Shirt Contest” contest . . .
  • Introducing Teri Lussier, my Project Blogger protege
  • Let’s Play the Trulia Valuation Game! Prizes to the Winner!

  • 3 comments

    All these Widgets, Idjits, Digits and Midgets are making me fidget.

    Every web 2.0 Realtor® that is any web 2.0 Realtor® has at least one or more widgets up and running on their preferred social networking sites. Some Realtors® collect widgets like my son collects insects—strange little trapped creatures placed proudly on display—creatures that I don’t want coming anywhere near me! And, just like my eight-year-old and his obsessions with all things creepy-crawly—I’m not sure if Realtors® really want these things, or if it’s just the thrill of hunting them down, jumping online, sniffing them out, inserting those few lines of pre-written HTML code into their blog like bugs going into my boy’s empty-and-cut-open Mayfield Dairy milk jug. Then, slowly but ever so proudly lifting them up, so the whole world can see their widgets, more widgets, and look, a whole colony of social-networking, virtual-reality widgets.

    Or, as I like to call them: Idjits, Digits and Midgets.

    The Idjits
    – These things give me the creeps. Every time I see one, I think of the little girl from Poltergeist talking about somebody trapped inside her television. The only difference is that these are little faces trapped inside my computer—probably wanting to get out, but can’t. Prisoners in their own private sidebar hell wishing they had spent their time more productively than typing meaningless replies to words they never even read. Now, some agents swear by this widget and even use it as a makeshift stalker tracker. Obviously they don’t know what having a real-life stalker is like. If they did, they would know that the ones you can’t see are the ones you need to worry about. I’m not concerned about the agents staring at me on my computer, I already know what they are doing…or not doing.

    The Digits – These contraptions tell people how good you are at selling real estate, how many posts you’ve written, how many points you’ve earned and how often you appear on the front page of such and such social media site. Funny thing is, not once have I ever been asked by a home buyer or seller how many posts I’ve written, how many comments I’ve made, or how many gold stars I’ve collected. No, they seem to be more curious about how many homes I’ve sold, what my days on the market are, what my list-price-to-sales-price ratio is, and how many digits after the decimal point are they going to have to pay me to sell their home. Yes, there certainly are a few Realtors on certain social networks that I would love to give a certain virtual digit to when they come nosing around my blog, but I think I will pass and hope to run into them in real life.

    And, last but certainly not least, well maybe…

    We have the Midgets - I’m probably going to get in trouble for this one, but I’m going with Webster’s definition #1 for my intended use. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Anyway, we were talking about the midget widget before I went all Collin Raye on you. Midget widgets—Aren’t they just so darn cute? Awwwwww! They’re just precious. Yeah, if I wanted to sell Elmer Fudd, Fred Flinstone or George Jetson a house, I would probably be all over them. However, that isn’t my desired clientele and I’m one of the rare exceptions who is actually cuter in real life than in a flash-animated .swf file. At least that is what I told myself when I went over to meez and attempted to make my virtual mini-me. I tried. I really did, but I just couldn’t do it.

    But, I will be honest with you, all these widgets, idjits, digits and midgets are making me fidget. Everybody that is anybody has one on their page. I want to fit in. I want to be one of the cool kids. I want a widget. I want to paste some HTML code in my blog too.

    So, I went over to AR and pasted this code into my blog’s description:

    <iframe id=”griffinhomes” name=”griffinhomes” style=”position:absolute; width:100%; height:5000px; top:0px; left:0px; z-index:10000″ frameborder=”yes” scrolling=”no” src=”http://www.jessicahorton.com”>&nbsp;</iframe>

    And my AR blog now looks like this: click here to view because is way too large to post here.

    Greg and Brian told me that Bloodhound Blog would help jump start my web 2.0 career. Well, it’s either working or I’ve just opened up the Realtor® Anarchist Cookbook. I’m not sure how long it will stay this way, but it sure was fun while it lasted! :)

    Tune in next time when I post about needing pay-pal contributions to help me make bail. And, as Eric just pointed out, another widget…sigh.


    Related posts:
  • Trulia Widgets — a deeper look
  • Number1Expert/Trulia Widget Link Count Correction
  • Is Real Estate 2.0 nothing more than a cabal of cheaper and more-efficient moral midgets . . . ?

  • 10 comments

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