Sidepanel Reminder!


I’ve been doing my best to add any and all updated real estate blogs to my sidepanel, but I’m positive I’m still missing some great blogs. If you think you belong on my blogroll, leave a comment to let me know!

And while we’re at it, why not use this as a reminder that it is time to add 4realz to your sidepanel!
4realz Technorati ranking

In about a month and a half of existence, I’m proud to have earned inbound links from 55 blogs and over 14K total links to the 4realz.net.  However, this is only scratching the surface of what’s possible and with your help I plan to get my Technorati authority over 100 before the end of the month.  😉


42 responses to “Sidepanel Reminder!”

  1. Nothing to be ashamed of! For the most part, Technorati shines when you want to see how has linked to you recently. They continue to build out more social tools that let you explore interesting content, but I rarely venture there (or outside of my feed reader for that matter!).

  2. I think it was Real Estate Zebra that commented by saying that you don’t need to use “all” social tools to develop yourself in the web 2.0 world…just use the ones that work for you.

  3. Dustin – Just wanted to let you know – I saw you speak at NAR – walking out of your session I resolved to finally add blogging to my business model. Up and running now – thanks!

  4. Dustin,

    I’ve been enjoying your blog for a awhile now. I’m pretty sure it is on my blogroll (I update the blogroll every couple of weeks with blogs I am currently reading). Feel free to drop mine on there, http://www.LaneBailey.com. It is a split between Gwinnett County (near Atlanta, GA) real estate info and stuff for auto enthusiasts…

    Keep up the great blog.

  5. > And while we’re at it, why not use this as a reminder that it is time to add 4realz to your sidepanel!

    If I said something like that, it would herald the end of the world.

    FWIW, if you’re running a consumer-focused weblog, think twice before blogrolling weblogs like 4realz or BloodhoundBlog. I’m arguing counter to my own interests, but your best interest is best served by not clouding your marketing message.

    And: Dustin, your master plan would have a better chance of paying off if Technorati were actually working. It’s persistently broken, and the shake-ups in the executive suite seem not to have changed anything.

  6. Greg: Thanks for the help! LOL!

    For everyone else, I totally see where Greg is going that you don’t want to focus on national issues or industry talk if you’re trying to reach consumers. However, I don’t agree that you need to shy away from these conversations and ONLY focus on local or niche topics.

    On RCG we cover a ton of “industry” topics and yet the site still generates a healthy stream of leads for the contributors. Having talked with people who eventually use our services, they inevitably say they were attracted to the honest dialog that they saw happening around the real estate industry. They didn’t necessarily want to participate, but they were happy to be a fly on the wall while they were in the proces of learning about real estate.

    Ardell makes a great case study. I’ve heard from multiple sources that based on her writings on consumer representation, they decided to use Ardell because they knew she would do her very best to represent their best interest.

    While I think the holy grail for most agents is in covering local topics, I think there are plenty of agents who will excel at demonstrating their commitment and expertise within a community of real estate professionals and pick up a lot of clients in the process. I differ from Greg’s opinion in that I think a few links to that community could go a long way to demonstrating that you’re more knowledgeable and engaged in real estate issues than the typical real estate agent.

    And if your outbound links result in some inbound links to your site from some relevant real estate sites, all the better!

  7. > I differ from Greg’s opinion in that I think a few links to that community could go a long way to demonstrating that you’re more knowledgeable and engaged in real estate issues than the typical real estate agent.

    Say what? I wrote the book on linking into the local community. It’s linking out to national, industry-oriented weblogs that I think is probably a bad idea for niche-based, consumer-focused weblogs.

    If y’all want to do it, go ahead. My take is that you should have a tightly-defined objective for everything that you do on a commercial weblog. I don’t love the flavor of corporate blogs, but they don’t send traffic to mission-irrelevant destinations. Neither should you.

    As Dustin says (and this is a pocket lesson on why characterization and paraphrasing are invalid moves), management by self-indulgence may not hurt you. But how is it helping you? If the answer is a shrug, what you’re doing might be fun, but it ain’t business.

  8. Greg, I used community in a way that was obviously too vague… I was thinking of the RE.net community in that context… As in “our community”.

    And if you’re looking for a reason that joining the RE.net community can help, it is because there is a lot of value in our community for sending around real estate related traffic juice. I’ve done test before with new blogs and within a week of a link from the homepage of RCG, they are often doing much better in real estate related searches. There’s a clear value that goes way beyond a shrug.

  9. Dustin, I’ve structured my blogroll similar to yours in that I have a category of authoritative blogs where I just added yours today residing with Bloodhound, RCG and others and I have a category called “blogs I read daily” which is more consumer oriented. I believe both should be of interest to my readers. Like many of us, I have to get around to updating and adding many more blogs that I’m currently enjoying reading.

  10. > I’ve done test before with new blogs and within a week of a link from the homepage of RCG, they are often doing much better in real estate related searches. There’s a clear value that goes way beyond a shrug.

    Urf. Except that search engines are suboptimal as a source of traffic for niche-based, consumer-focused weblogs. They’re going to get their long-tail searches anyway, but search-engine borne visitors are loosely-motivated and rapidly-bouncing. The objective should be to build relationships with future clients and to forge alliances that will result in even more of those relationships. Done right, the weblog doesn’t need search engine traffic — and the practitioner is immune to competition.

    Professionals learning from experts is a great idea, which is why BloodhoundBlog is what it is. Professionals chatting with each other, as with Active Rain, is more than anything a pleasant diversion, a plausibly harmless waste of time. Professionals sending their prospects off to BloodhoundBlog or 4realz is a poor marketing strategy.

    I’m sorry, Dustin. You’re simply wrong about this. It is to my benefit that so many locally-focused and hyperlocal weblogs blogroll BloodhoundBlog. But it almost certainly is not to their interest, nor is the conversation among such weblogs, nor is the incestuous cronyism among the webloggers — at least not on those weblogs. Flying fish don’t actually fly, and there is no rational convergence between fish and fowl.

    Inadvertently, this becomes a commercial for BloodhoundBlog Unchained. We won’t teach you how to have fun publicly noodging other weblogs from what should be your office on the internet, but we will show you how to run a commercial weblog as a business.

  11. > And while we’re at it, why not use this as a reminder that it is time to add 4realz to your sidepanel!

    “If I said something like that, it would herald the end of the world.”

    …and if I said that, they’d put me on the stage with Dustin.

    Don’t look now but you just wrote a “call to action”.

    I’ll have my blogroll up soon; it’ll probably be like the BHB one; BIG, detailed, and off the front page with a link. I’ll e-mail you when finished

  12. Greg: I’m gonna stick to my guns here and say you are wrong from both a theoretical and practical point of view. And if your approach dismisses the value of organic search engine traffic then it is probably not worth my time to continue the discussion. Search engine traffic has done wonders for driving leads to RCG. It may not be your perfect blog, but it certainly delivers results.

    And while I agree completely that creating a locally-focused site is the best approach for many agents to take, it is not the ONLY tool as you suggest when you say my approach is wrong. Your theory does nothing to explain how someone like Ardell who writes very little “local” content gets more leads from blogging than any other real estate agent in the industry.

    There’s lots of ways to find success in real estate blogging. Among many other benefits, reaching out to the RE.net community can do wonders to bring in search engine traffic and add credibility to an agent in the eyes of consumers.

  13. > I’ll have my blogroll up soon; it’ll probably be like the BHB one; BIG, detailed, and off the front page with a link.

    You can inherit BHB’s in real time — 341 blogs right now, but yours will grow as mine does — with this code:

    <?PHP
    include (“http://bloodhoundrealty.com/BloodhoundBlog/REBlogList.php”);
    ?>
    This is surely of benefit to the linked weblogs, where their linking back to BloodhoundBlog is good for us, but might or might not be good for them.

  14. Do you want to debate this? Everything you say is based on a presumption of enduring first-mover status. That may well apply to RCG. It does not apply to grunts on the ground. Doing this work in the way we’re pioneering — not just the weblogging but the whole package — will work, where the position you have laid out here is a diminishing return at best. You’re arguing from the past. I am building a strategy for the present and future.

    > Your theory does nothing to explain how someone like Ardell who writes very little “local” content gets more leads from blogging than any other real estate agent in the industry.

    I’ve written about Ardell at length:

    As a good counter-example, consider Ardell DellaLoggia, who writes on her own weblog and on Rain City Guide. Ardell gets most, possibly all, of her new business from real estate weblogging. How does she do it? With an empathy that seems to me to be infinitely maternal. You have to be careful when you read her, because she is often talking to industry junkies like me. It’s when she’s talking about true justice for the consumer that she forges client relationships. It’s not so much what she says, nor even the way she says it. What matters is that her readers believe that she believes in the high standard of customer service she upholds.

    So is that what you should be doing? Ardell is sui generis, non plus ultra, as fundamentally convinced of her internal rectitude as St. Jeanne d’Arc. If you regard what she is doing as schtick, a performance, you won’t be able to pull it off. Ardell glows from the inside out, and so must you to follow your own sword into Holy War.

    Even ignoring all that, inducing lead-seeking weblogs to link to 4realz is certainly of benefit to 4realz, but the countervailing benefit to the linking weblog — if any — cannot be regarded as being of equal weight.

  15. I’m jumping in to the discussion.

    Dustin, I think the danger of linking to an “industry” blog from a local weblog is that it dilutes the marketing message. I’m pretty careful about my outbound links to other mortgage professionals. Dan Green, Rhonda Porter, Bob Ashby, and Tony Gallegos get plenty from me; that’s about it. Two reasons:

    1- We are judged by the company we keep.
    2- We don’t want to eclipsed by the company we keep.

    Any one of those four originators could potentially compete with me…but don’t. If any of them did business in my marketplace, they wouldn’t get links. Why? I don’t want a consumer seeing them (eg- Dan Melson)

    Equally as important is that the outbound links go to people whom are MORE competent than I am.

    Now… Greg’s point (I think)- BHB is a confusing place for a consumer; it’s insiders talking to insiders. While I agree with your belief that consumers shouldn’t be treated as “dumb”, what value is there (other than organic search) to direct a potential client to an industry site?

  16. Greg: I’m not sure where you’re going with the first mover advantage logic… Ardell was clearly not the first in the space and certainly won’t be the last person to find success on the internet by blogging. If you think there’s not a place for anyone else to do this, then I think you’re seriously wrong. And my take is that someone will likely show up on the scene this year who comes out of no where to surprise us all. It’s happened to me every year.

    What you’re talking about is a theory that is probably a relatively good one and will help lots of agents find success by blogging (although your theory loses all credibility in my eyes when you say that search engine traffic doesn’t matter). However, I’ve never once argued with your theory. What I have a problem with is your continual insistence that other agents are not going to find success by engaging with the RE.net. That is where you are wrong.

  17. Brian:

    I prefer to give my consumers the best information possible in order to earn their trust, but if you’re not ready to make that leap of faith, then don’t sweat it. I’m sure that many consumers do a google search on your name before engaging you and have no problem figuring out the company that you keep (which is a good one by the way!).

    I credit a lot of my early success to throwing away the standard “RE Prof” logic and linking to the best information I could find on the internet. I remember when I used to pleasantly surprise Seattle real estate professionals by linking to their good blog posts. Pretty early on I set the tone of RCG as the place consumers could come for unfiltered real estate information about the Seattle market and not just information from some pre-selected, non-competing professionals. It was a leap of faith that I think has served the consumers of Seattle real estate information well…

  18. > when you say that search engine traffic doesn’t matter

    Which of course I did not say. And which is why I keep needling you about characterization and paraphrasing.

    What I said, quoted:

    Except that search engines are suboptimal as a source of traffic for niche-based, consumer-focused weblogs. They’re going to get their long-tail searches anyway, but search-engine borne visitors are loosely-motivated and rapidly-bouncing. The objective should be to build relationships with future clients and to forge alliances that will result in even more of those relationships. Done right, the weblog doesn’t need search engine traffic — and the practitioner is immune to competition.

    > What I have a problem with is your continual insistence that other agents are not going to find success by engaging with the RE.net.

    Nor did I say this. What I said:

    It is to my benefit that so many locally-focused and hyperlocal weblogs blogroll BloodhoundBlog. But it almost certainly is not to their interest, nor is the conversation among such weblogs, nor is the incestuous cronyism among the webloggers — at least not on those weblogs.

    Quoted verbatim, none of this is even remotely controversial.

    The larger topic is interesting to me, though, so maybe I’ll write about it. There is an extent to which the RCG model does a disservice to the idea of real estate weblogging. I make a point of telling our readers that what BloodhoundBlog does is not what they should do. Many of the major RE.net weblogs are modeled on RCG to greater and lesser extents. BHB was until December of 2005. That kind of hybrid might have made sense at the time, but it makes less and less sense now. We elected to go all industry. Some of those early weblogs have opted to go all consumer-focused. Most of those relatively few survivors are straddling the line. If it works for them, that’s fine. But the point about first movers is that it will be less and less likely to work for new entrants. And, all other factors aside, it is certainly a less-that-ideal strategy for actually forging client relationships — not leads, relationships.

  19. Added a couple weeks ago- for me it’s not about my message being clouded, it’s about linking to good places.

    You’ve created a new (to me at least) way to blog, and title your posts and it’s great.

    You are the grandfather, er… I mean the godfather of real estate blogging. And FYI you didn’t just get a haircut- you became a different person.

    You could have been entering the federal witness protection program if it weren’t for, you know, the thousands of people you communicate with every day and the events you attend and all that stuff.

  20. Let’s start with the linking issue… I said that one of the benefits of engaging the RE.net is that you can get inbound links which will build up your search engine traffic. You shot that down my logic by saying that search engine traffic was “suboptimal” and “not needed” which clearly implied these links were not important. Based on the exact comment you quoted, I don’t think it was unfair to characterize your statements as saying that you believe that search engine traffic is not important.

    However, if you are going to concede that search engine traffic is important, then these links from the RE.net matter because, in many ways, the RE.net represents the community of real estate professionals who link to each other. The reality is that new real estate blogs that get links from sites like RCG and Bloodhound do much better in all searches (almost immediately)… ESPECIALLY in long-tail searches.

    If someone wants free search engine traffic that amounts to more than a few dozen hits a day, then they will need to do more than write about niche topics for six months. They will need to get inbound links.

    In terms of it not being in the best interest of the RE.net because of the incestuous cronyism… I just don’t see it. I know many agents (thousands) who have learned to be better agents and be more efficient in their internet marketing thanks to their engagement with the RE.net. And while I follow the logic that bloggers tend to congregate in self-referential groups that can amplify minority opinions, that’s certainly not an excuse to think the ideas are wrong and should be avoided (again, I’m paraphrasing, but if I was convinced that something was full of “incestuous cronyism”, then I’d definitely avoid it!)

    If you disagree with my characterization of your comments that you think “agents are not going to find success by engaging with the RE.net”, then you don’t get it both ways. Either some agents will find success engaging with the RE.net (my point) or they won’t. And you don’t get engagement without links.

  21. Dustin, the cure for misrepresenting what someone says is not to misrepresent it again, but simply to quote the text you disagree with and then express your disagreement. Yet again:

    Except that search engines are suboptimal as a source of traffic for niche-based, consumer-focused weblogs. They’re going to get their long-tail searches anyway, but search-engine borne visitors are loosely-motivated and rapidly-bouncing. The objective should be to build relationships with future clients and to forge alliances that will result in even more of those relationships. Done right, the weblog doesn’t need search engine traffic — and the practitioner is immune to competition.

    Do you have any dispute with these actual words? If not, we can let the Straw Man sit out the next round.

    > The reality is that new real estate blogs that get links from sites like RCG and Bloodhound do much better in all searches (almost immediately)… ESPECIALLY in long-tail searches.

    And again:

    Except that search engines are suboptimal as a source of traffic for niche-based, consumer-focused weblogs. They’re going to get their long-tail searches anyway, but search-engine borne visitors are loosely-motivated and rapidly-bouncing. The objective should be to build relationships with future clients and to forge alliances that will result in even more of those relationships. Done right, the weblog doesn’t need search engine traffic — and the practitioner is immune to competition.

    If you really don’t get this, you might ask me to explain it. This is important. Inlookers: It is taken up in detail at RealEstateWeblogging101.com, and we’ll be taking it to the next level at BloodhoundBlog Unchained.

    > If someone wants free search engine traffic that amounts to more than a few dozen hits a day, then they will need to do more than write about niche topics for six months.

    This is the Fallacy of the False Dichotomy, and falling for it leads to a very poor strategy for promoting consumer-focused weblogs and the businesses they are built to sustain. Random, over-the-transom search-engine-borne traffic can turn into business. But actively engaging the community of potential clients face-to-face, with collateral material, by engaging other weblogs focused on those people, etc., is far more likely to result in actual cash-money business now and enduringly.

    I am talking to the inlookers here, and I’ll take this up again at BloodhoundBlog, although we’ve discussed issues like this many times before. Your time and marketing budget are limited. Focusing your marketing efforts on other real estate webloggers may be fun, and it may make you feel like you’re in with the in crowd, but it is a less that optimal use of finite resources.

    Your time is much better spent engaging your actual clients, past, present and future. To the extent that weblogging and weblog-promotion fit into that strategy, these, too, should be focused on actual, real, live, known-and-identified individual people.

    Your weblog will attract a certain number of strangers no matter what, but marketing consists of selling real things to real people, not cavorting with other people in the business as a means of attracting unknown people in unknown locations with unknown motivations. A blind pig finds an acorn every now and then, but — if you’re not blind — why wouldn’t you keep your eyes on the acorns all the time?

    > If you disagree with my characterization of your comments that you think “agents are not going to find success by engaging with the RE.net”, then you don’t get it both ways.

    I don’t want it both ways. Attempting to look in two directions at once is an error. Attempting to service your clients while entertaining your buddies is an error. Commercial weblogging grew out of recreational weblogging, but they’re not the same thing. I’m grateful for everything I’ve learned from you, Dustin, but I’m grateful, too, for the things that I understood were wrong from the beginning.

  22. ok reading all those comments made my brain hurt. I love it.

    I agree with Greg Swann more than Dustin here. A hyper-local real estate blog should be linking out to blogs about what they are writing about (the neighborhood, town, whatever) MORE than linking to industry blogs.

    But, linking to industry blogs doesn’t hurt that much.

    The biggest problem I have with a lot of these “new hyper-local” blogs is that it’s only or mostly listings.

    As a real estate consumer I don’t give a crap about your listings, i can find them anywhere. Give the good 411 about the neighborhood. Government issues, restaurants, schools, speed traps, hiking, biking, pictures or the area, and more.

    A great real estate blog will have more community information that it will Real Estate information. It will look more like a great community blog than an RE industry blog.

    Loren

  23. I’ve been enjoying this debate all week, and I love it.
    You are on my blogroll and I would be pleased if you would add me.

    http://AnnArborRealEstateTalk.com

    Honestly, I just don’t see where the two opinions aren’t both valid, what’s wrong with good outbound-inbound links and speaking locally to your community. It doesn’t need to be either or. IMO

  24. Dustin, I just added 4realz to http://www.nelalive.net …. I note you have managed to forget me in your side panel. 🙂

    I understand where Greg is coming from; but I agree with Missy. I’m just not an either/or kind of gal.

    On the other hand, I really should pare that blogroll on Nela down a bit. There are blogs on there I can’t even remember who they are.

  25. Dustin, forgive me for butting in here – you’re both right. National issues have arrived in Seattle, therefore not addressing them would make you appear dishonest and in denial. A market that has weaknesses need to be delt with otherwise all of the marketing in the world on your site will not save your credibility which would account for the leads you’re getting- you guys are simply good at what you do.

    Greg is correct in that I would not discuss drama in the Florida market in Austin – that’s just stupid. Discussing the internal issues of ABOR or NAR on our local blog only clouds the sky with crap when the main point for being there is to talk buying & selling.

    So, you’re both right, and I can honestly add that this isn’t an opinion, its pretty much the reality.

    Oh yeah, blogroll, check.

  26. I link to inform.

    I link to endorse.

    I link to bless.

    I link to praise.

    I link to advocate.

    I link to promote.

    I link to provoke.

    I link to share the love.

    I link in order to receive a link in return.

    I link, therefore I am.

  27. Marlow,

    How about :

    I link to learn

    I link to teach (the old teacher in me).

    I also agree with Missy, Dustin and Greg both have valid points.

    The key reason I blog is to present an online resume to my clients and to the neighborhoods where I work. People know far more about my knowledge and expertise when I walk through the door than most any other Realtor.

    By the way, Dustin:

    http://www.eastsiderealestatebuzz.com
    http://www.kirklandhighlandsrealestatebuzz.com

  28. I have followed RCG since its inception and have known it to routinely address industry issues — which, by extension, affect local issues which concern a bloggers’ potential clients, if he or she can apply insights to draw the two together– a point entirely missed by Greg Swann. And if RCG has gotten clients/calls by the quality of those insights, then that is proof to me that any local blogger can do likewise. (The fact that Greg Swann blogs on industry topics, has numerous inbound links, Google juice, and yet gets no clients is not proof of anything other than perhaps his inability to connect with consumers). Methinks Greg has built himself a nice excuse for lack of clients by saying he blogs on industry issues which do not attract consumers/clients. Methinks that may be hound crap.

    We do not live in a black & white industry vs. consumer issue world, unless you would believe consumers are stupid and don’t understand the industry issues and how they impact and affect them— this is intellectual arrogance & condescension and, frankly, typical of a Greg Swann line of thought. His assumptions, and they are only assumptions since he has never, to my knowledge, offered any empirical evidence in support of his arguments, do not make a case for or against a manner of blogging. The ability to put words together is not the same as putting facts and empirical evidence together to support a conclusion, Greg. Where’s the beef?

    It is propagandists like Greg Swann– and I use the term because of his concentrated efforts to stifle (read censor/blacklist) contrary thought, usually based on any number of logical fallacies which he routinely misunderstands and misapplies(but that’s another comment)— who cause bloggers to second guess how they should blog. God help those bloggers who ingest this Kool-Aid. IMO, it is the blogger of strong convictions, of intelligence, of practical knowledge, of humor, of passion, of compassion, of open-mindedness that wins the day and the client. And it is achieved as much by Google traffic to your voice as by inbound links as by comments as by promotion of one’s work to others and any number of other ways. You can have all the inbound links you can bait and all the Google juice you can bottle but if you are an a**hole, you will probably not get much business. Just my opinion.

    Furthermore, unlike RCG, Greg Swann has not demonstrated any ability to draw ANY real estate business from his blog, as far as I know (I think he’s shooting for another career and will bail on real estate at the first opportunity– mark the words). Yes, of course he will say “I do not seek any RE business, I blog on industry issues and thus, do not do follow what I do” — as I said earlier, it sounds like a cop out to insulate himself from accusations that he is the one who doesn’t “get weblogging” for business. Yet, he will have you sign up for a course to explain how you can “get weblogging” and business. Ahem.

    Consequently, I find it comical for him to debate your real life experience with RCG with theoretical speculation born of a limited blog life (just over 1 year, according to his count). But, as usual, I have come to expect Greg Swann to be on the wrong side of many issues he champions and be more than willing to fall on his own sword in its defense. Noble indeed but not sufficient to convince me he knows anything about HOW to convert blog traffic to sales or how to blog for real estate clients.

    As to Greg Swann’s Weblogging 101, I can only say that any blogger whose seminal post is premised on the fact that he can identify which bloggers “get weblogging” is reason enough to avoid his advice, as one would avoid stepping in a pile of shitake mushrooms.
    http://www.bloodhoundrealty.com/BloodhoundBlog/?p=1487
    Don’t follow that post’s advice unless you enjoy dancing on bridges that you are burning.

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