Localism2.0 Launches

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.

7 responses

  1. Dustin, Thanks for the review!

    You make a very compelling point about giving the consumer clear direction about what they should be doing on the site. We will make sure to address this blocking issue before we open registration up to consumers.

    As you alluded to above, it’s all about iterating the site forward.

  2. Hey Dustin,

    Nice review mate. But uh… aren’t you kinda skipping over what probably is the biggest flaw of Localism from a consumer standpoint?

    Namely that all of the posters are real estate agents.

    As a consumer, my early warning radar goes up immediately when I notice that. And you can’t help but notice that.

    Yeah, as industristas, you and I might know that most real estate agents are honest, knowledgeable people, but as a consumer… do you really think people are going to trust a TV review site with reviews written only by TV salespeople?

    Maybe once the popular image of the real estate agents has been changed, but in the current environment, color me skeptical.

    The strategy needed to have been, from the start, consumer-centered, consumer-focused, and then use agents sparingly as “experts” — kinda like raisins in raisin-bread.

    My $.02 anyhow.


  3. Rob: I’d agree that the consumer (or lack of consumer) interaction is clearly the weak point. However, from the point of view of meeting the needs of their core (i.e. agents), they really only need to provide a website that is going to attract consumer eyeballs… not necessarily consumer content. Looking at the site, it doesn’t scream “realtor” to me in the same way that AR does… so I’d give them the temporary benefit of the doubt to see if they got enough of their SEO, design and content right to get consumers to show up.

    However, it’s also quite possible that I’m a bit biased in that RCG is run by agents, for agents, and yet is still a valuable community resource that drives considerable leads, so I see a lot of parallels.

  4. Great SEO will kill Localism quickly, as great marketing always kills bad products.

    Consumers will go there, see that it’s a hill of Realtor-generated garbage and never return.

  5. We will have to see how it works. I have my own blog and site so would have to wonder if it would do much for me. I was an early member and moderator and am glad I got my start there. I know it works from people finding the blogs rather than localism home page. Most of my blogs are local. I think its got a great future and wondered why it took so long for the owners to figure that real estate is indeal local for the consumer.

    Lets hope it does not compete with me.

  6. Not impressed. All the blog and website links go back to their own internal site. So you get no SEO juice for your own website. In fact, you become your own competition.

    All the good cities (in Seattle area) are tied up with just a few people. I doubt if this will go very far. From what I’ve heard, Trulia intends to take them down at all cost. Should be easy for them.

  7. to educate some of you, localism is only in beta at the moment and still competing with realtown’s entire site. Don’t forget that it’s PARTOF Active Rain, not meant to be used as a standalone site. Last but most important; part of Active Rain’s idea is to allow realtors to provide content to their niche (community) but once localism comes out of beta, then the site will be open to everybody. So please don’t spread around garbage that the site is only intended to be used for realtors, that’s simply not true. Here’s a direct quote:

    “It’s where neighbors and local merchants share what’s happening in their community.”

    To the Trulia fanatic boasting that it will be SOOOO easy to bring down localism. First of all trulia can’t compete with localism in terms of content as it’s primarily a hub to find properties. If anyone will do it it will be Zillow who is just now starting to integrate similar features BUT neither of those sites have content that is reviewed for authenticity and i don’t think i need to remind anyone here that Zillow’s homeprice predictions are completely wrong and tha’ts putting it nicely.

Leave a Reply