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There’s always something to howl about

Active Rain + Trulia = ?

Before everyone goes off on me here, let me state CLEARLY that I have no confirmed knowledge of the two joining forces. No marriage license, no paparazzi photo of one proposing to the other. No formal announcement arriving in the mail. So is there a wedding? Shacking up?

Who knows…only the two people involved.

I have no “scoop” here…but enquiring minds want to know. ;-)

Jon Karlen reported some interesting happenings here. That was a while ago. So AR is looking to pick up MLS feeds.

Then a thread popped up a couple of days ago at Real Estate Webmasters here.

Read the links in there on Active Rain as well. You will see what’s making people think that at a BARE minimum, there’s some reason to believe that something is going on.

From my vantage point, I can see benefits to both entities if they were to tie the knot, shack up, or form some kind of alliance, either publicly or just a backseat (so to speak) sort of thing. From their point of view it would be great. They are certainly each primping themselves for the date described in the REW post.

From a REALTORS vantage point, and from those who have written content for months and years on AR or Trulia, would this be a good thing? My guess is the REALTOR community would say a resounding NO. From an Search Engine perspective, I’d agree. Big time.

Two questions. To AR & T execs: Are you in talks? To REALTORS: Does it matter to you?

I have far more questions than answers, and I think it will be interesting to see it play out…

More (if) as this develops.

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  • Active Rain- Happy First Birthday

  • 27 comments

    27 Comments so far

    1. Charles McDonald January 22nd, 2009 6:14 am

      humm….
      As a long time contributor to Active Rain it does make me wonder. I think I will park here and see what others think…

    2. Eric Bramlett January 22nd, 2009 6:42 am

      Hmmmm…. Here are my thoughts on this:

      1) Trulia can easily run that promotion w/o AR’s blessing. “If you have XX AR points, you’ll get $XX off your premium subscriptions!!!” Making someone think that they’re getting a good deal b/c of their past hard work is a great marketing tool. IMO, this is just a Trulia marketing tactic.

      2) I need to look into how AR is “packaging and reselling” IDX data, but if they’re simply doing that, they’re retarded. It’s against pretty much all boards TOS to repackage the feeds in any way. Do you have a link to their program?

    3. Jessica Horton January 22nd, 2009 7:31 am

      Sure, Trulia could run it without AR’s blessing, but why would they? Why would they call attention to another company/blogging platform/social media outlet/mutual admiration society – when they can just promote their own?

      Does it matter to me if they are merging or forming some sort of alliance? Not really. Unless what they are doing violates the TOS for my MLS (not saying they are…)

      I clicked on a link with their “listing router” (I think that’s what I clicked) and it took me straight into Justlisted.com. The whole site seems to be the minister of propaganda for pimping HouseValues (whatever their name is now) products.

      Why would I spend hours of my time posting, inputting stats, listings and local information into another company when I can do it at my own? SEO for another company for consumers to find me at? I know what their policy is now. I’m not sure what it will be in the future. I would rather stick with something where I have complete control of the policy. I’m not very fond of being given all the chips and then having them slowly, but surely taken back.

      Why would I then turn around and pay a company like House Values (or, whatever they changed their name to) just to get leads off the very information that I provide? Again, I don’t think so.

      My web 2.0 project is brand new (thank you BHB members & others for all the help) Got a few under contracts and I’m going on listing appointments (2 tomorrow) and working with about 10 or so fully qualified buyers/investors. All from MY website. All in less than 6 weeks.

      I don’t work and play well with others. So, I will stick to my yard and do what I do best.

      More power to them…

    4. Eric Bramlett January 22nd, 2009 8:07 am

      Why would they call attention to another company/blogging platform/social media outlet/mutual admiration society – when they can just promote their own?

      Because they’re not really competitors, and it helps them get paying customers.

      Even if you do view them as competitors, it still benefits Trulia. Once you’ve paid for something (albeit, with a discount,) how much more likely are you to pay attention to that something (and in this case, spend time blogging/contributing.)

    5. Jessica Horton January 22nd, 2009 8:38 am

      Eric:

      I see your point, but think something is probably up. I wish them nothing but the best while I concentrate on my little piece of the web 2.0 world.

    6. Eric Bramlett January 22nd, 2009 8:44 am

      Something’s always up w/ AR. They’ve been trying to sell for almost 2 years now. Housevalues bought a portion, and that’s why you see the ads. If Trulia will throw enough money at them, you’ll see them there, as well. Problem is, I don’t think Trulia has the cash – VC’s drying up, and they sure as hell aren’t turning a profit.

    7. Dylan Darling January 22nd, 2009 9:43 am

      I could see Trulia and AR hooking up. In the long run, both are in it for the money. AR has experienced agents visiting and posting daily, while Trulia doesn’t have the reputation (at least in my area). Trulia would offer AR members another way to connect to buyers/sellers.

      Personally I could care less what AR and Trulia do. Since the housesvalues transaction, I haven’t participated on AR.

    8. Spencer Rascoff January 22nd, 2009 10:43 am

      Remember that Housevalues is a significant owner of Active Rain — they bought $2.75M of Active Rain a year ago yesterday.
      http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/venture/archives/129954.asp

    9. Rich Jacobson January 22nd, 2009 1:26 pm

      Obviously, someone has entirely way too much time on their hands.

      Jon’s article that you reference is completely misleading and has no factual basis.

      I tried to comment on the REW post, but the painfully long process to register took away any such desire.

      So what exactly is wrong with a little friendly collaboration? Have we gotten so defensively territorial that we can’t help one another from time to time? Personally, I think our industry would be much stronger and effect greater positive change if we would all stop being stop being so protective, and critical, and worrying about what everyone else is doing or not doing.

      Jessica, I wish you all the very best in your little piece of Web 2.0

      Spencer: Minority investor, not owner

      REBarCamp Seattle Friday Feb. 13th at Zillow Headquarters. Greg Swann & Brian Brady are putting on some great sessions the day before, starting at 1pm at Zillow.

      http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/event.php?eid=18490944963

    10. Jessica Horton January 22nd, 2009 1:34 pm

      Rich:

      Why thank you! That was most kind. I really appreciate it.

      “Obviously, someone has entirely way too much time on their hands.”

      Just remember, if that were not the case then you would be out of a job! ;)

    11. Mana Tulberg January 22nd, 2009 1:35 pm

      Hmmmmmm:
      Have not visited the Rain site lately, but this is some interesting news. I wish all involved in the transaction (if any) the best.

    12. Cindy in Indy Marchant January 22nd, 2009 3:49 pm

      I have entered the SEO world just recently (about six months ago) and know so much more than I did then, but still only a smidgen of what there is TO know. I am a fan of Active Rain, not for the juice…but for the knowledge base and the sharing that occurs there. I am also a Trulia fan; if you compare the views you get on Trulia versus Zillow it is apparent who the leader is on listing exposure.
      As for as a “merger” or whatever the term is; there is always a lot of “issues” that have to be overcome and if it is in dialogue, I’ll probably be retired before it is a done deal.
      I think the best source of Google juice is content and consistency in blogging and a few links here and there. But, I guess I’ll need to look into the Web 2.0 Yet again, I’m in awe of what other people know that I do not!

    13. Kevin Tomlinson January 22nd, 2009 6:46 pm

      If they did merge, how would it affect any of us?

      My guess is not too much.

    14. Joey Ross January 22nd, 2009 7:52 pm

      I have been using AR since it’s launch. Have meet lots of great people, and the realtors are more than helpful.
      AR is a great source as a lead generation site, and a great soap box to promote my brand. As long as Trulia adds value and more exposure to realtors, then I am all for it.

    15. Joe January 22nd, 2009 7:55 pm

      It’s funny how the rumor mill can start running. First it’s a collaboration, then it’s an ActiveRain sale. Colleen (wife) is subscribed to a thread at ActiveRain and someone made a point then concluded his point with a “when ActiveRain sells…” Bob Stewart jumped all over that one.

      ActiveRain is a business. If they want to join forces good for them. Many (probably most) real estate agents have a conservative bent to them, however, when ActiveRain (or Trulia, or whoever) take a step towards making money, many complain about the free ride they might be losing as a consequence of someone else’s entrepreneurial and/or capitalistic creativity.

    16. J Boyer Morristown NJ January 22nd, 2009 8:39 pm

      I don’t like the sound of this at all. AR is already in bed with Housevalues.com, bad enough, but put them in bed with Trulia as well makes it even worse.

    17. Eric Bramlett January 22nd, 2009 9:03 pm

      It’s funny how the rumor mill can start running. First it’s a collaboration, then it’s an ActiveRain sale.

      Joe…c’mon. You’ve been around long enough to know that they’ve had a for sale sign up since they grew a sizable enough user base.

      many complain about the free ride they might be losing as a consequence of someone else’s entrepreneurial and/or capitalistic creativity.

      No one’s complaining about a free ride going anywhere. People complain about colleagues helping collectively build new competitors.

    18. Eric Bramlett January 22nd, 2009 9:28 pm
    19. Joe January 22nd, 2009 10:52 pm

      Eric,

      I don’t see any for-sale signs up at ActiveRain, but if they do sell, more power to them. Wouldn’t you sell your website if the right price came along? Btw, friends do not let friends lie. :o)

      Regarding the “colleagues helping collectively build new competitors.” Let them. I see our industry shifting back towards more relational marketing, than online marketing. Trulia will not be able to compete with the agent who has a solid connection with their local community through Twitter, Facebook, etc.

    20. Eric Bramlett January 23rd, 2009 8:54 am

      Btw, friends do not let friends lie. :o)

      Not sure what that’s all about…

      Regarding the “colleagues helping collectively build new competitors.” Let them.

      Bring it on, huh? They’re our competitors, so I see nothing wrong with competing against them by educating the people that are unwittingly help them become stronger.

      I see our industry shifting back towards more relational marketing, than online marketing. Trulia will not be able to compete with the agent who has a solid connection with their local community through Twitter, Facebook, etc.

      Relational marketing never became less relevant. There are, have always been, and will always be agents who work 100% by referral (I know lots personally.) Facebook, twitter, etc might become tools those agents use to facilitate their referral generation, but I don’t see those tools taking away from advertising methods that work. Bottom line is, it’s all about who gets the buyer/seller on the phone first (and who’s competent.) People who look for referrals also search for “city real estate” before they’re hooked up with an agent.

      Regarding AR and the for sale sign. My point is that they tried to sell out to move.com & settled for much less from Housevalues for a 35% stake. Chances are, they would still happily sell the 65% they have left. This is relevant b/c their membership has contributed thousands of hours building the site up, and they’re worried about who gets that data.

      Please don’t accuse me of lying again.

    21. Joe January 23rd, 2009 9:45 am

      I was joking about the lying thing Eric, and I wasn’t accusing you of lying. It was the tail end to “Wouldn’t you sell your website if the right price came along?”

      I’m not going to get into a pissing match with you Eric. All I know is ActiveRain is a great community. If the leadership “sell out” to whoever, I doubt things will change much. Rich, Brad, Bob, and the rest of the leadership there will continue to contribute regardless of who owns the site. The community makes ActiveRain what it is, not who owns it. The leadership just so happens to be a part of that community.

    22. Eric Bramlett January 23rd, 2009 10:38 am

      No pissing match here. It sounded like you called me a liar, which I don’t take lightly.

    23. Joe January 23rd, 2009 11:01 am

      I hear ya Eric. I assumed whenever friends don’t let friends is used a joke is implied. Plus, you and I have been on the phone and email several times these past few days, so I thought our relationship was such that you would know I wouldn’t call you a liar. Enough said on that.

      The Trulia, Housevalues, the sale of ActiveRain (if happening), is what capitalism is all about. As real estate agents, we need to adjust. I know these big companies are not going to compete with me (or my local real estate competitors) for phrases like "pasco home across from bateman island" or whatever longtail phrase we know to blog or write articles about.

    24. Eric Bramlett January 23rd, 2009 2:15 pm

      Cool…sorry if I was touchy.

      The Trulia, Housevalues, the sale of ActiveRain (if happening), is what capitalism is all about. As real estate agents, we need to adjust.

      Absolutely. And part of our adjustment can be treating them like the competitors they are and/or being cognizant of where we invest our time, and who we build up in the process.

    25. Richard Stabile January 24th, 2009 1:37 pm

      The activerain boys pretty agressive. It would change things some what. However, trulia has a blog, and maybe it would be a conbination of sorts.
      I think activerain has something special. They could do an intergrated listing feed on their own. Their bloggers have enough of them. The only other thing is their bloggers like it the way it is. Sometimes it should not be intergrated too deeply.

    26. Alex January 26th, 2009 4:39 pm

      I’ve noticed trulia is offering affiliates programs through Commission Junction. AR might be getting a good cut for every pro agent sale.

    27. Bob February 3rd, 2009 7:56 pm

      Since trulia has resorted to cloaking, it seems to me they’ll compete where ever there is traffic.