Introducing the 4realz Hotlist

I’ve had this idea for a long time about how cool it would be to open up a blog to the general public with only minimal moderation to keep out spam, but I could never put all the pieces together until the wonderful folks at WordPress created a twitter-like theme called Prologue.

It was at that point that I knew I had to move 4realz.net to a self-hosted environment so I could realize this long-held dream and open up the site to the rest of you.  Well, after messing with the code for a while to get the site to operate just how I wanted, I’m ready to release what I’m calling the 4realz Hotlist.

4realz Hotlist Screenshot
4realz Hotlist Screenshot

So, here’s the idea…   Once you register with the Hotlist you’ll be able to submit articles to be published on the site.   And because I’m going to be very liberal in what I let get published on the Hotlist, it just became quite trivial to give yourself a link from the 4realz.net domain.

Here’s one way to think about the 4realz Hotlist.   After you write a blog post that you know is great, think to yourself: why did I write this post?   If you can sum it up in one sentence, then publish that one sentence as your 4realz mini-post along with a nice link back to your site.

With that said, don’t limit your activity to simply promoting your own stuff.   You can also use the Hotlist to promote just about anything interesting you find on the web.  And if you check out how I’ve been using the tool over the past few weeks, you’ll see that I’ve been embeding YouTube videos, photos, and generally linking out to anything that catches my eye.

But here’s the catch, I really want to encourage clever, interesting and/or insightful mini-posts.  So to put the incentives in the right places, I’m going to publish the highlights each week here on 4realz.net (Carnival of Real Estate style) AND include the highlights in my weekly emails that go out to many of the most influential people in online real estate.  This means that a clever one-liner is likely to get you some great traffic, some nice inbound links, and in front of some interesting people.

But enough about the tool… You really have to try it out to get a feel for how cool it is to publish a blog post from the homepage a blog, so get over to the Hotlist, register for an account and start posting!

How to use Flickr photos in a blog post

I just got question in an email from a real estate agent, and I figured my answer could probably help ore than a few people.

“I have been on Flickr and found some great photos from my area.  How do I know if these pictures are the ‘creative customs’ license?  Can I just use them?

From what I’ve seen work in practice, there are two good options to know if you can use a Flickr photo in your blog post:

  1. Someone has uploaded and licensed their photo on Flickr under a creative commons license.
  2. Someone on Flickr has allowed other members to “blog” their photo, which works regardless of the license they set for the photo.

Here’s how to work each option:

Option #1:
On the bottom right panel on the page of any photo, there is a section that describes the “permissions” for the photo. If something is creative commons, then the text will say “some rights reserved” and links to a creative commons license.  These are photos you can use as long as you give attribution back to the photographer by providing a link to the Flickr page with the photo.

If it is *not* creative commons then it will say “All Right Reserved”, and you should avoid using these photos on your blog.

Here’s an example of a photo that uses a creative commons license, and here is an example of a photo where all the rights are reserved.

Also, Flickr makes it easy to search ONLY creative common licensed photos by using their advanced search and checking the boxes at the bottom of the page.

Option #2:
If you are logged in to the service (and only if you’re logged in), then Flickr makes it easy to tell if someone won’t mind if you blog their photos.  All you have to look for is the text above the photo that says “blog this”.  If someone include the “blog this” button above the photo, then it means they’ve agreed to let any Flickr member use their photo in a blog post, regardless of the license they put on the photo.   Here’s an example of that type of button:

And here is what a photo will look like if you use Flickr’s “blog this” tools:


Grin., originally uploaded by :. G l o r i a .:.
Hope that helps!