I got an early tour of the next version of Localism and I like much of what I saw… It’s a clean design that will give real estate agents plenty of opportunities to promote themselves (including by buying and/or creating new local communities). My guess is that this release will be very popular within the ActiveRain community.
Here’s my main criticism: When I put my consumer hat on, the purpose of the site doesn’t jump out at me at first glance. As a new user going to Twitter, I know what I’m suppose to do (i.e. answer the question: “what am I doing?”). As a new user going to Facebook, I know that I’m there to connect with friends and family. With localism, I’m asked to “go hyper local”… but I’m honetly not sure what that means… and it’s not particularly compelling when I get there since, as a consumer, there’s not a lot of ways for me to interact on the site… yet.
So here’s the good news. The ActiveRain team mentioned that (1) they did their SEO homework and they’re convinced these sites will rank really well (only time will tell) and (2) they’re working hard to add more consumer interaction points (text, photo and video upload for non-ActiveRain members). Assuming that at least some of the communities starts to get some serious traffic and the agents involved start to get some leads from the site, then I think they’ll have another winner on their hands.