Clearly I got to Frances with…

my post about Saul.

Frances is not exactly unbiased (she’s a “community manager” Managing Editor at RealTown), but I’ll play along…

She (accurately) quotes me as saying that:

“In the three years that I’ve been watching InternetCrusade, I’m yet to see them do something that tells me they want to be on the leading edge.

and then somehow claims my “facts” are wrong by dipping into stuff Saul did 10 years ago: (i.e. first customizable website for agents, largest online community of real estate professionals, first blog platform, etc.).

I completely stand by my original statement. In the three years that I’ve been watching InternetCrusade, I’m yet to see them do something that tells me they want to be on the leading edge.

Then Frances challenged me to play on the RealTownBlog platfrom. Problem is… I already have and I was not impressed. Multiple agents have given me access to their backend over the past two years in order to help them out with issues they were having. Frustratingly, the issues I was trying to solve were almost always basic problems that were solved long ago with WordPress, like personalizing the theme or using a hosted domains.

Nonetheless, it’s not all necessarily a negative thing in my book that Poin2 picked up Saul. I also standby my other statement which said there are some agents, like Frances, who are extremely devoted “to the InternetCrusade guys because of the great work that they’ve done over the years introducing (softly) Realtors all over the country to internet technologies, which will make it all the more interesting to see what Saul does at Point2.”

34 responses

  1. Dustin,

    You are adorable! …but so much for fact checking!!! I am Managing Editor of, not a community manager. I work with editorial content that is delivered to a host of communities. There is a distinct difference.

    Agents have been personalizing themes at RealTown Blogs since Day One. Agents who were having problems would have been better advised speaking with someone familiar with the platform than asking someone who knew nothing about it.

    The invitation stands.

  2. Title was fixed. 🙂

  3. So, uhm, the incorrect job title and customizing RT blogs is the response?

    What about the far more important point — what’s the leading edge stuff of the last 3 years? Credit granted for the decade old things, but what’s been done recently?

  4. While I agree with you that RealTown has never really been on the cutting edge (at least recently), I have to count myself as one of those who is a supporter because of their past efforts in getting REALTORS acquainted with proven technologies.

    When I was a newbie REALTOR in 2003, reading Kevin Kelly’s “New Rules for the New Economy” as part of the e-PRO coursework really opened my eyes to new possibilities and helped contribute to the path I’m on today.

    I think that most of the criticism of the move is valid, but I’m an optimist and hope that by assuming this new role, Saul will be able to do things that might not necessarily have resonated with Internet Crusade’s existing product set.

    I guess we’ll have to wait and see, eh?

  5. Frances: I’m inclined to agree with Jay… You made a pretty strong accusation that I had my facts wrong, but never followed up to explain exactly what facts I missed. I’d appreciate a follow up from you.

  6. I respect Saul immensely and admire his accomplishments. I have learned a lot from Saul, especially from reading realtalk and epro talk over the years.

    But I have to agree with Dustin. IC has been playing catch up with ‘cutting edge technology’ since I took my epro course. Even the interface for the course was dated when I took it about 5 years ago. I give E-pro credit for realtalk, which helped me to find other agents who really had a better grasp on tech ideas.

    Saul and IC have also been endorsing P2 for years. I believe they had some kind of affiliate arrangement, but I don’t know the facts on that one.

  7. I was around during the debates over R.I.N. (Realtors Information Network) on R.E.X. (Real Estate Exchange, a old compuserve forum). Packrat that I am, I bet I could dig up old realtor magazine articles on RIN, and old forum postings on REX ….. maybe I’ll do that and share them at some point …. Dustin, you’d probably get a chuckle out of them!

  8. My re blogging story in a nutshell…I’m a boomer Realtor(r), got E-Pro in Aug ’07, opened my eyes to blogging, saw that IC didn’t have the state-of-the-art tools needed to get me going. Had been subscribing to, had the chance to meet Pat, met Kevin ( at the same time, joined blogging group, we created the site Homescopes in Sept. ’07, having a blast, getting leads, learning to blog. My story is just beginning. Currently, IC is a good first step for many agents who simply aren’t comfortable with internet marketing yet (and there are many), but it is not there for those of us who want to be truly competitive or cutting edge – I hope they will get there. I have a lot of admiration for Saul and what he has created over the years, but I’m learning to blog – and much more – from Domus.

  9. Have to get my head into that head count of REALTORS who would be no where today without Internet Crusade and John Reilly, Saul Klein and Mike Barnett, to name just a few of the Internet Crusade people who have helped me along the way.

    Not only would I not be blogging without their instigation of same, I may not even be emailing 🙂 Coming up on ten years of being driven into new directions by their influence.

    You may be correct that there are many and maybe even better fish in the sea today with regard to WEB 2.0. But gratitude and loyalty must have their place…no?

    Often I ask myself, do I owe it all to Dustin or Internet Crusade? Luckily I can give equal credit at this point, and don’t have to choose. It would be like choosing between Mommy and Daddy in a divorce.

  10. No need to choose Ardell… I still think that John and Saul have done a really great thing over at InternetCrusade. 🙂

  11. I PDF’d a couple early RIN items ….

    I think it is fascinating to compare where we are now, with where we thought we’d be.

  12. Cheryl: Great stuff.

    On a side note… One of the old-timers at Move (he’s young by most standards, but because he’s been around since the beginning of the company, he’s an old-timer by internet standards) has been throwing into boxes print outs from news items, corporate emails, press releases, etc since almost the very beginning of the company. He has this incredible stash of company (and essentially, internet) history that fills up multiple boxes. At one point, the company scanned the whole stash into PDFs, which made it really easy to scan through. While not always pleasant, Move has a fascinating history.

  13. If IC is cutting edge then why is it that I started a blog before they offered blog platforms? I also have a lot of respect for what IC has accomplished in the past but do not see them as being ahead of the curve.

  14. I started blogging at RealTown almost two years ago. At least that’s when I established the blog even though I didn’t do much with it for seven months until I asked for help and got some from Ardell. That’s where I received the real support for my blogging efforts.

    Once upon a time on Alexa mine was one of the top three blogs driving traffic to RealTown so it’s not as if I was slaving in obscurity. But the traffic driven had less to do with RealTown than busting my own hump to get the traffic.

    Even as I was working on the RealTown platform it was clear I was missing something – trackbacks, pingbacks were foreign concepts to me because they weren’t supported.

    There has been value in what IC has done over the years but I don’t see anything cutting edge in the material. The RealTown platform was far from it, actually. After six months I’d outgrown it, plain and simple, and moved to WordPress.

    I’ve got no prediction as to how Saul will do. All I am saying is that at the time it was designed, ePro likely was revolutionary. Not so much at this stage of the game, at least for anyone who is at least slightly connected to the Internet.

  15. Jonathan,

    IC was not the original provider of ePro, and so they were not involved in the revolution of it’s design. They were appointed by NAR to take over the ePro course after it was already a course and the original provider failed in some way. Don’t remember the whole story, but some have the older ePro designation and some have the IC one.

  16. To both Teresa and Jonathan,

    I don’t think the value of Internet Crusade is in the “cutting edge” issue. Their value is in not being TOO geeky for REALTORS. When all is said and done, we prefer to be experts at real estate vs. technology. Often the cutting edge providers are over our heads and consequently of little value to the majority of agents.

    IC clearly was the best Real Estate Forum via Real Talk since the mid 90s. May still be so, but with blogging I haven’t kept up with it. Perhaps a good time to revisit them.

    Internet Crusade provides the means for many to participate, the social network to reach the many, and user friendly platforms to assist in training. Yes, Jonathan is correct that some may outgrow what they provide, but many do not outgrow what they provide. And something is better than nothing.

    Thomas Edison did not “invent” the lightbulb. He helped turn the original version into a cheaper commercial version that could be mass marketed. That analogy is more indicative of what Internet Crusade is. Not cutting edge necessarily, but the people with the practical solution for the masses.

  17. Ardell,

    Excellent points all.

    For me I’m not a big fan of hyperbole on either side. You’re absolutely right in that what IC provides works for a vast group of real estate agents.

    But it’s also not the end all, be all of real estate technology.

    I’ve always been somewhat amazed at those who choose to defend RealTown, Active Rain, etc. … not for simply choosing to defend the platform, which is fine, but with the zealousness they bring to the discussion.

    Even-headedness such as what you bring is much appreciated.

  18. Dustin, I commend you for seeding such wonderful dialog! This is what blogging is really all about. Good job!

    I have some thoughts that came together in an article I just published … I certainly think it would be prudent to take a closer look at the RealTown platform and consider the important role that Saul has played in turning the tide of opinion among realty pros that sees them embrace new models rather than reject them.

    And stay tuned in the next couple of weeks 😉

    And have a joyful and glorious holiday with your beautiful wife and family.

  19. BTW … does your new blog platform give you an option to let authors of comments edit their posts (to fix typos like the misspelling I just created)? Arghhhhh

  20. Frances: Thanks for the wishes. I definitely with you a wonderful holiday season as well and looking forward to an exciting 2008.

    In terms of the typos, I fixed a few, but I don’t think there is a way for you to do that. 🙁

  21. After all the niceties… Frances wrote a comment on a different post where she said she accuse me of doing anything wrong. Personally, I think accusing me not checking my facts is a pretty strong accusation. Figuring that some people reading this post might be interested, here is how I responded on that thread:

    Let’s start with the title: “Check Your Facts Or Lose Valuable Credibility Among Your Peers”.

    You accuse me of not checking my facts and spread that lie on the RealTown email list, but NEVER even attempt to defend your accusation when it was made clear to you I didn’t get ONE fact wrong in my original post.

    The fact that you can’t defend your accusations in any meaningful way (or correct your post to apologize for being so wrong) means that your credibility is gone in my eyes.

  22. Absolutely saying someone isn’t checking their facts is and accusation! My comment on France’s latest comment:

    Dustin Luther has lost zero credibility in my eyes for his supposed lack of fact checking.

    I find it ironic Fran that you accuse Dustin of not fact checking, then you “share some thoughts” from a RealTown comment that remarked (quite incorrectly) that Dustin is still at

    You implore Dustin to “check his facts” then put that comment here?

    I don’t get it.

    As for saying someone did not check their facts,and then following that with saying you didn’t accuse but “simply reference a slipshod, haphazard, and sloppy presentation” IS an accusation, plain and simple. Tap dance around that all you’d like — that makes YOU lose valuable credibility among your peers.

    By the way Becky, Dustin isn’t just “extremely well respected in the Seattle area for his knowledge and blogging abilities”, he’s extremely well respected across the country. And his job doesn’t “entail Managing the Blog”. Perhaps YOU should check your own facts before publicly calling someone else irresponsible.

  23. “That analogy is more indicative of what Internet Crusade is. Not cutting edge necessarily, but the people with the practical solution for the masses.”

    IC is not cutting edge. That’s kinda what started this whole discussion — Saul Klein is about to head up Point2. IC is not cutting edge, Point2 is (or claims to be. Or at least they used to claim that and at least be moving toward that).

    I don’t want my web solution provider to create a product that is “a practical solution for the masses”. I want, no I need them to be on the cutting edge. And to stay there.

    If Saul or anyone else turns Point2 into a easy solution for the masses, I’ll be finding a new web provider.

  24. Without having read every single entry (I hate being late to the party) I would like to ask Dustin compared to what? I have seen the Worldpress, Active Rain sites, and while they look very cool at first, I am not impressed by them either. Or I would have switched.

    Nothing is perfect in technology, you have to figure out how to get it to do what you want it to do to meet the goals you have for it.

    I think I have done some very cool stuff with my blog/site and I am very thankful that they provide the service that they do here.

    In the next two weeks or so you are going to see stuff on my site/blog that is going to blow the socks off of anything anyone is doing right now or that I’ve done previously!!!

    We’ll see what you think about the IC platform after that.

  25. I think Ardell’s post #16 is the best on this topic. We are Realtors, not technology people (though I was technology in my past). It is great reading everyone’s posts…but please try to edit them before you hit Submit Comment!!

  26. Scott,

    Your SF Condo Blog run by RealTown makes way too easy of a target, so I almost feel bad talking about it.

    But let’s start with URLs… Notice that when you click around your website ( that the URL in the address bar doesn’t change. That’s just HORRIBLE hosting because it means that your URL has been cloaked.

    I’ll give you an example where this may have hurt your business already. Let’s say a consumer comes to your home page ( and then wants to share your “Top 10 Dream Condos” with someone else. Well, when they click on the link to this page, the URL doesn’t change. For most users this is extremely confusing and means that you’ll probably loose out on getting that user to send you free traffic and links to your site.

    Assuming that IC recommended this solution (they’ve recommended it to other bloggers), then it means your hosting provider (in this case IC) is playing off of your inexperience to give you an easy solution that is clearly not adequate. I can tell you from experience that neither WordPress nor ActiveRain would recommend creating such a bad consumer experience for their users.

    I realize that often these solutions where IC bloggers are masking the URL of their websites are not IC fault at all because anyone could cloak any site. However, IC is well aware that their ULR solution is inadequate because their users have been cloaking their websites/blogs for over two years and, as best I can tell, they’ve never provided an adequate solution to this problem.

    Anyway, Scott, I could go into a few other glaring problems with the RealTown Blog blog platform, but I’ll save those for another day.

  27. “Assuming that IC recommended this solution” is another statement evidencing glaring misjudgment … you are doing a serious disservice to your readers!

    IC has never recommended uncloaked or unmasked URLs and we have repeatedly urged bloggers to uncloak and unmask URLs in e-mails, teleconferences, and Webinars.

    Certainly, when bloggers set up their blogs there are things that they forget to do … like unmasking their URLs … and we have a unique ability to reach out across communities with e-mail and other venues … in fact, I just sent a friendly reminder.

    Guess you could say we turned another lemon into lemonade. Thanks for the citrus treat 😎

  28. Frances:

    You’re going to continue to ignore the obvious… aren’t you? You continue to pick at insignificant details without even trying to address the big issues.

    Your blog post accusing me of getting my facts WRONG was so wrong, I’m just about ready to send you to the bathroom so that you don’t stink up the rest of 4realz anymore. Until you are willing to (1) articulate the facts that I got wrong in my original post, or (2) admit I didn’t get any facts wrong, please do not continue to leave comments on 4realz.

    With that said, IC still does not have a good solution for people to host their blogs under their own domains, so of course, agents are going to look for ways around the system. If IC has stopped recommending that agents cloak their domains that is a great start, but clearly doesn’t explain why RealTown hasn’t created a better solution.

  29. Frances,

    I expect I am one of the most notorious for using a pointer that cloaks or masks the “real” domain name, and leads to the obvious shortcomings as a result.

    But I want my blog to be and not a “realtown” url. I separately ping the pointer domain, and my domain does fairly well in the search engines as a result. Though I believe my stats are divied up between the two domains.

    I think that is what Dustin is trying to say. The solution isn’t for the url to turn back into realtown’s url when people get there using SearchingSeattleBlog. The solution is for me to be able to use SearchingSeattleblog as the domain without needing to simply use it as a pointer.

    Is that correct Dustin?

    I think Active Rain is working on an “outside blog” platform where members can use their own domain names. They may already have it. But that blog would be in addition to the regular AR blog, and not in place of it.

    Frances, I think the real meaning of blogging is to create an honest exchange where sometimes you are right and sometimes you are wrong. While that may be counter to your job description, if you can’t sometimes admit the shortcomings, you lose credibility. I say that in an effort to assist, and not as a criticism.

    To be part of Web 2.0, one must by definition accept being less than perfect almost all of the time. As Jonathan Dalton said in comment #17, to always be loyal without admitting shortcomings, defies the basic premise of blogging in the first place. Blogging must be truth vs. loyalty.

    I am exceptionally loyal to RealTown, but not at the expense of truth.

  30. Ardell: Yes. The fact that IC hasn’t figured out how to give you a blog that works under your own domain baffles me. Depending on how they build the IC backend, it really shouldn’t be that hard from a technology point of view. To give an example, I’m using to host 4realz and getting it set up under my own domain took all of $18/year and a few minutes to configure.

    BTW, the breakdown of the $18 is $10/year to the folks to do the domain redirect and $8/year to another host to continue to register the domain name for me. I’m pretty sure that Ardell (and many others) would be happy to pay $10/year (and probably 5X that amount!) to have a blog that worked properly under their own URLs.

  31. “Guess you could say we turned another lemon into lemonade. Thanks for the citrus treat”

    Oh good grief.

    Having to mask a URL so that your domain isn’t “” is crazy.

    “you are doing a serious disservice to your readers!”

    No, he’s not Frances.

    Loyalty is admirable. But even the most loyal of followers needs to be able to see, understand and articulate the shortcomings — they are ALWAYS there. Denying them is just plain silly.

  32. Dustin,

    The point that strikes me as most important in this thread is necessity for us all to honestly address our strengths and weaknesses. Once we are able to address our weaknesses without fear are we able to move forward to correct them.

    Blogging makes it interesting in that we are expected to address our weaknesses in public, which is a whole new way of conducting business.

  33. Jon: Thanks for stopping by. No doubt that knowing our weaknesses are open to easy public debate can make for tricky conversations!

  34. We should have had an event at Connect08NYC with these two squaring off. I would have paid more to see that.

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