An Introduction to M Realty and HomeQuest

Hey Folks,

Just want to write this post and introduce ourselves to you – the Rain City Guide community. M Realty is an up and coming brokerage with strong roots in Portland Oregon. The brokerage was created by Garron Selliken on the back of our real estate software: HomeQuest. HomeQuest has been around for over 5 years, serving 6 MLS’s including Seattle -NWMLS.  The property search on this site is a new version of the HomeQuest search which will evolve over the coming weeks.  HomeQuest is spearheaded by Chris Lynch, a name familiar to most HomeQuest users in Seattle. We have been active members of our technology community here in Portland for several years, attending and sponsoring local events as well as hosting our own.

Hopefully we can become involved and get to meet all of you at upcoming seattle events like REbarCamp, Wordcamp and beyond. Our team is made up of the following people:

Garron Selliken, Founder – @garrons
Chris Lynch, Co Founder, Ops manager – @chrisinptown
Haley Baroody, Project Manager – @baroody
Simon, Site Manager / SEO – @simonHQ
Tyler, HQ Support – @whitesidet
Toby, Development Team Leader.
And a host of other contributors.

Feel free to add us on twitter or facebook, We’d love to get to know you more!

Some of the things you may have noticed on the new look RCG:  Obviously the biggest change was the addition of an IDX Property search. Although most of you wont ever use this aspect of the site, both Dustin and Garron believed it to be an important feature to have as over 60% of the visitors to the site are actually consumers, we also thought it best to separate “Industry talk” from the information consumers are searching for. We achieved this with the new top level category system, allowing easier navigation for all types of visitors without any dramatic changes to sites overall feel.

We also tried to add some new functionality to make it easier to see where the hot conversations are happening, with the introduction of a comment count per post, displayed under the post titles.

We are a long, long way from finished with the new rain city guide. What makes this site an incredible resource is the immense feedback and interaction among all the contributors  and we hope that never changes! Give us the good, the bad or the just plain ugly, we want to know exactly how we can improve this site for everyone who uses it.  We really appreciate the comments and feedback so far and hope you are as excited as we are to be working on making Rain City Guide the ultimate Seattle web resource for everything related to real estate and the local community.

@simonHQ

PS

Here are a few of the other sites we are currently working on:

portlandoctopus.com – a site about the things we do in our local neighborhoods in portland
mportlandhomes.com – corporate site for M Realty
homequestgroup.com (and realestate-idx.com)  – sites about the software we make

Comments

  1. I have been out of town for 2 weeks. What happened to RCG? The format was just changed a few weeks ago and the site looked better then ever. Now it looks like a big advertisement for M Realty? Or this site is now owned by M Realty?

    I’m sorry just my opinion. I’m still not back yet but hopefully Dustin has made the right decision.

  2. Hi Simon,

    Welcome to RCG. I mentioned this in private. It seems a bit misleading when you go to the home search and see the average price for Bellevue (as example) as over a million dollars. While that may be technically correct, the average sold price in Bellevue is more like $595,392 in 2009 and the median sold price (we tend to use median vs. average) is $485,750. A far cry from over a million dollars.

    I am concerned that people from out of the area will come here and think the average person living and buying in Bellevue is paying a million dollars or more, and that is simply not the case. Local people may know that and disregard it, but then we lose the credibility we have worked for many years to achieve.

    Of the 608 homes sold in Bellevue in 2009, only 62 sold for over a million dollars. So stating over a million as the average price, seems misleading…though technically accurate as to “average price of homes for sale”. I’m singling out Bellevue there…but the point holds for the other areas as well. That one just sticks out as being disingenuous to those who live and work here and know the area.

    Since it is the first in your face thing you see when you hit the property search button, I would urge you to come up with something that is more reflective of people’s everyday truth as to home prices. I would suggest median sold price.

  3. Hi Simon,

    Welcome to RCG. I mentioned this in private. It seems a bit misleading when you go to the home search and see the average price for Bellevue (as example) as over a million dollars. While that may be technically correct, the average sold price in Bellevue is more like $595,392 in 2009 and the median sold price (we tend to use median vs. average) is $485,750. A far cry from over a million dollars.

    I am concerned that people from out of the area will come here and think the average person living and buying in Bellevue is paying a million dollars or more, and that is simply not the case. Local people may know that and disregard it, but then we lose the credibility we have worked for many years to achieve.

    Of the 608 homes sold in Bellevue in 2009, only 62 sold for over a million dollars. So stating over a million as the average price, seems misleading…though technically accurate as to “average price of homes for sale”. I’m singling out Bellevue there…but the point holds for the other areas as well. That one just sticks out as being disingenuous to those who live and work here and know the area.

    Since it is the first in your face thing you see when you hit the property search button, I would urge you to come up with something that is more reflective of people’s everyday truth as to home prices. I would suggest median sold price.

  4. P.S. Median asking price of $796,000 is another option, but not $1,136,000 when the median sold price is $485,750.

  5. I agree it looks much more like a “slick commercial site” than a real estate community now, but maybe we should cut them some slack. This is their first roll out for RCG and one of the sweet features of WordPress themes is the ease of transforming them.

    Ardell – I agree the ‘average sale price numbers are totally bogus. $849K average price in Seattle? Give me a break! But so far they have yet to define Seattle as anything more than a few central neighborhoods, according to the map. And I’m surprised to see anyone using averages instead of medians. It’s so 2007ish and WAY misleading!

    Let’s see where they take this. I spoke with Garron earlier this week and he is a very sharp guy. I think we should give him a little time and see if he can get his team to adapt to and blend with the culture of RCG we all know and love.

    jim

  6. Simon HomeQuest says:

    Hey Ardell :D

    Thanks for the feedback! I’ve already sent that information to Chris when we spoke about it previously and he’s in the process of updating all of the “avg price” and their calculations across the board for the next version of the map, We’d love to have you take a look over them once we push them in the next release which is due soon.

    As for the design and “M Realty branding” – as per MLS rules when having a property search / IDX on a site, the brokerage information has to be clearly visible and above the fold, we have taken on board a lot of great feedback from one of Dustin’s earlier posts regarding the release of this version RCG and we have some significant design changes in the works.

    We’re also working on some other really, really cool features – contributors currently have the ability to “map a blog post” every time they write one here at RCG, this will allow us to add a host of awesome WordPress features to the interactive map and make browsing / interacting with RCG, its content and its contributors even cooler!

    Jim, you’re right about Garron, he’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever worked with and as we roll out new features, designs and ideas, it will be you guys who get to see them and play with them first ;)

    Obviously we’re not going to get everything right first time but we are absolutely committed to RCG, its users and its contributors. We take all feedback on board and we’re striving to get this right and become a part of your community!

  7. Simon HomeQuest says:

    Hey Ardell :D

    Thanks for the feedback! I’ve already sent that information to Chris when we spoke about it previously and he’s in the process of updating all of the “avg price” and their calculations across the board for the next version of the map, We’d love to have you take a look over them once we push them in the next release which is due soon.

    As for the design and “M Realty branding” – as per MLS rules when having a property search / IDX on a site, the brokerage information has to be clearly visible and above the fold, we have taken on board a lot of great feedback from one of Dustin’s earlier posts regarding the release of this version RCG and we have some significant design changes in the works.

    We’re also working on some other really, really cool features – contributors currently have the ability to “map a blog post” every time they write one here at RCG, this will allow us to add a host of awesome WordPress features to the interactive map and make browsing / interacting with RCG, its content and its contributors even cooler!

    Jim, you’re right about Garron, he’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever worked with and as we roll out new features, designs and ideas, it will be you guys who get to see them and play with them first ;)

    Obviously we’re not going to get everything right first time but we are absolutely committed to RCG, its users and its contributors. We take all feedback on board and we’re striving to get this right and become a part of your community!

  8. Thanks for the feedback about the price display on the map. We will definitely look into the calculation and display of data on that list.

    In reading some comments on this post it appears there is some definite confusion about the navigation of the map. The large areas displayed when you first land on the map are just that – areas. The size of them roughly matches the cities (or major regions of the metro) that are named or known locally by a name. In Portland for instance we have NE, SE, NW, SW for the core metro as that is how it works here. Its different in every market where we have developed the map.

    Our map is divided geographically into 3 levels for the market – Metro Regions (Seattle Metro, North Seattle, South etc) , Areas (Bellevue, Ballard, North Shore etc), and Neighborhoods (Medina, Clyde Hill etc). The current version of the map on this site requires you to use the google zoom functions to zoom in and out to expose the different boundaries on the map. Previous versions zoomed automatically when clicking the map and we will end up with a hybrid of sorts on this one.

    The boundaries on the map were all created by us in collaboration with active agents in Seattle and surrounding areas as needed to fill it out. The search works entirely by geography and uses the listing address to place it on the map rather than any neighborhood or city fields entered in the listing data by the agent. We depend on local people in the NWMLS coverage to shape the map so if you find that some boundaries are odd let us know. The process has been different for each market but in general the idea is to try to represent the name and boundary of an area that is commonly used by locals (agents or not) rather than a technical boundary defined by a neighborhood association or zip code etc.

    The NWMLS coverage map that we have created consists of 9 Regions, 70 Areas, and 716 Neighborhoods. The coverage follows I-5 from between Snohomish and Clark Counties. The map interaction on this site will evolve with the rest of the content.

  9. Thanks for the feedback about the price display on the map. We will definitely look into the calculation and display of data on that list.

    In reading some comments on this post it appears there is some definite confusion about the navigation of the map. The large areas displayed when you first land on the map are just that – areas. The size of them roughly matches the cities (or major regions of the metro) that are named or known locally by a name. In Portland for instance we have NE, SE, NW, SW for the core metro as that is how it works here. Its different in every market where we have developed the map.

    Our map is divided geographically into 3 levels for the market – Metro Regions (Seattle Metro, North Seattle, South etc) , Areas (Bellevue, Ballard, North Shore etc), and Neighborhoods (Medina, Clyde Hill etc). The current version of the map on this site requires you to use the google zoom functions to zoom in and out to expose the different boundaries on the map. Previous versions zoomed automatically when clicking the map and we will end up with a hybrid of sorts on this one.

    The boundaries on the map were all created by us in collaboration with active agents in Seattle and surrounding areas as needed to fill it out. The search works entirely by geography and uses the listing address to place it on the map rather than any neighborhood or city fields entered in the listing data by the agent. We depend on local people in the NWMLS coverage to shape the map so if you find that some boundaries are odd let us know. The process has been different for each market but in general the idea is to try to represent the name and boundary of an area that is commonly used by locals (agents or not) rather than a technical boundary defined by a neighborhood association or zip code etc.

    The NWMLS coverage map that we have created consists of 9 Regions, 70 Areas, and 716 Neighborhoods. The coverage follows I-5 from between Snohomish and Clark Counties. The map interaction on this site will evolve with the rest of the content.

  10. Funny!

    The site map hasn’t been working for me. The stats are odd.

    I like the magazine style and it seems pretty stable.

    Whatever you are doing with the site I can’t imagine.

  11. Funny!

    The site map hasn’t been working for me. The stats are odd.

    I like the magazine style and it seems pretty stable.

    Whatever you are doing with the site I can’t imagine.

  12. Simon et al, welcome to RCG.

    I’m not sure if I’m welcoming a fellow co-contributor or an owner of RCG with the prominence and placement of M Realty on the site.

  13. Simon et al, welcome to RCG.

    I’m not sure if I’m welcoming a fellow co-contributor or an owner of RCG with the prominence and placement of M Realty on the site.

  14. Hi Simon,

    Dustin has been basically pretty quiet as to the business relationship between him and MRealty/homequest. Maybe that was a non-verbal way of saying that it’s none of my business.

    There has been no explanation as to what the current and future strategy will be so I’m left wondering what will become of the site.

    The contributors presence on the site have been dramatically reduced. I’m pissed off about that having spent several years providing long tail content for the domain. Yes I know author info shows up inside the article.

    I would like to see the contributors presence on the home page revert back to a prominent place. If this is not going to happen, I would appreciate a formal, public explanation as to why.

    Contributors are owed transparency and honesty.

    This no longer looks and feels and acts like a community blog. It looks feels and acts like a corporate blog for M Realty. If that’s the strategy, I understand. Could somebody please just tell us? What’s the strategy: Community Seattle area blog or corporate blog for M Realty, or ?

    Feedback on the search function:
    In one particular area of Edmonds, homequest/mrealty/rcg shows 6 listings and Redfin shows 35.

  15. Hi Simon,

    Dustin has been basically pretty quiet as to the business relationship between him and MRealty/homequest. Maybe that was a non-verbal way of saying that it’s none of my business.

    There has been no explanation as to what the current and future strategy will be so I’m left wondering what will become of the site.

    The contributors presence on the site have been dramatically reduced. I’m pissed off about that having spent several years providing long tail content for the domain. Yes I know author info shows up inside the article.

    I would like to see the contributors presence on the home page revert back to a prominent place. If this is not going to happen, I would appreciate a formal, public explanation as to why.

    Contributors are owed transparency and honesty.

    This no longer looks and feels and acts like a community blog. It looks feels and acts like a corporate blog for M Realty. If that’s the strategy, I understand. Could somebody please just tell us? What’s the strategy: Community Seattle area blog or corporate blog for M Realty, or ?

    Feedback on the search function:
    In one particular area of Edmonds, homequest/mrealty/rcg shows 6 listings and Redfin shows 35.

  16. Hi Jillayne,

    I believe Dustin has covered most of your questions formally over on his original post explaining some of the changes at RCG.

    I’d like to try also :)

    Its important to understand, RCG has not been sold in any way. This is still Dustin’s blog and its emphasis / mission will remain exactly the same. The biggest changed most of you have commented on is the “branding and corporate new look of the site” Dustin’s goal was to add an IDX portion to the site, in order to do this, it needed to display, very prominently, the brokerage associated with the listing/IDX portion. Hence the M Realty logo and address, above the fold in clear view.

    After reading hundreds of feedback comments from earlier posts, we have already taken on board several change requests which include:

    Displaying the contributors more prominently not only on the main page but on the main navigation also
    Tone down the “M Realty” integration above the fold, but remain within the rules and regs of the MLS
    Fix some aspects on the map which may not be accurate, or contain wrong / outdated information

    These changes are already in the works, along with some more functionality we will be adding once appropriate testing has been done.

    We are also in the process of developing, and adding a wealth of community news and information in support of the new interactive map through a network of contributors, mls data and more.

    Rain City Guide is and always will be a community blog, even through branding, sponsorships, ad’s, whatever means of monetizing traffic, the focus will remain unchanged. We have added an IDX in support of traffic that comes to this blog actively looking for a property search. We have also helped separate the top level navigation so new visitors can hopefully find what they are looking for more easily and effectively.

    The switch to the new design was clearly jarring for a lot of the regular readers and contributors, like i said in the original post, we wont get it perfect first time but we’re committed to Dustin and his Rain City Guide – we will do whatever it takes to ensure it remains the ultimate Seattle hub for everything community and real estate related. if there’s anything you would like see change / fixed / moved just let us know. This site has evolved through feedback from you and it will continue to do so, I just hope I can help in anyway, its a amazing site with some awesome folks attached to it :D

  17. Hi Jillayne,

    I believe Dustin has covered most of your questions formally over on his original post explaining some of the changes at RCG.

    I’d like to try also :)

    Its important to understand, RCG has not been sold in any way. This is still Dustin’s blog and its emphasis / mission will remain exactly the same. The biggest changed most of you have commented on is the “branding and corporate new look of the site” Dustin’s goal was to add an IDX portion to the site, in order to do this, it needed to display, very prominently, the brokerage associated with the listing/IDX portion. Hence the M Realty logo and address, above the fold in clear view.

    After reading hundreds of feedback comments from earlier posts, we have already taken on board several change requests which include:

    Displaying the contributors more prominently not only on the main page but on the main navigation also
    Tone down the “M Realty” integration above the fold, but remain within the rules and regs of the MLS
    Fix some aspects on the map which may not be accurate, or contain wrong / outdated information

    These changes are already in the works, along with some more functionality we will be adding once appropriate testing has been done.

    We are also in the process of developing, and adding a wealth of community news and information in support of the new interactive map through a network of contributors, mls data and more.

    Rain City Guide is and always will be a community blog, even through branding, sponsorships, ad’s, whatever means of monetizing traffic, the focus will remain unchanged. We have added an IDX in support of traffic that comes to this blog actively looking for a property search. We have also helped separate the top level navigation so new visitors can hopefully find what they are looking for more easily and effectively.

    The switch to the new design was clearly jarring for a lot of the regular readers and contributors, like i said in the original post, we wont get it perfect first time but we’re committed to Dustin and his Rain City Guide – we will do whatever it takes to ensure it remains the ultimate Seattle hub for everything community and real estate related. if there’s anything you would like see change / fixed / moved just let us know. This site has evolved through feedback from you and it will continue to do so, I just hope I can help in anyway, its a amazing site with some awesome folks attached to it :D

  18. Simon,

    I’m very glad I took the proactive approach and jumped on a train the minute I heard the news :) So much easier for me to relate to the site having spoken and met with you all, and having seen it in advance.

    To Chris and Simon, I think if those opener numbers showed “median asking price” and “median sold price” it would be a valuable tool! “Average prices” just doesn’t work in most of our areas, because we have mega million homes and low priced homes near each other. So averaging the two together just clouds the issue.

    As to the whole idea of the site changes…well, first and foremost I support Dustin in anything he does. He has always given me the ultimate respect of not micro-managing me…and he deserves no less from me. If I can be of any assistance, please feel free to ask anytime.

    I tried one of those “geographically identified” blog posts a week or so ago, and it worked like a charm. I didn’t even need instruction :) Pretty user friendly. I’m heading to L.A. for a week to visit my girls, but I’ll try to post some things before I leave and while I’m away.

    Thank you all for your hard work on our improvements.

  19. Hi Simon,

    Actually there wasn’t really much information given in Dustin’s original post or his emails to contributors which is why I’m asking questions.

    So to paraphrase what I’m reading to make sure I understand things:

    This is Dustins blog and it is in no way owned by M Realty.
    The long term strategy is for the site to remain a community blog and not become a blog for M Realty and/or its agents.
    Contributors pictures, names and contact info will move back on to the home page.
    The business arrangement between RCG and M Realty is none of my business and I should stop asking for transparency.

    Right now what we SEE on the blog doesn’t match what we are hearing you and dustin say.

    I am willing to wait and watch what happens for awhile. I have a tendency to not believe people’s words. Instead, I watch what they do.

    • Jillayne,

      To answer your questions as honestly as humanly possible:

      1) correct.
      2) correct, though m agents (and me!!!) will be contributing also
      3) not sure on this one, I don’t recall seeing contributors pictures/bios/contact info on the homepage with the last 2 designs (actually, I do, i just forgot how it looked, sorry!) I do remember there being top level links to contributors profile pages which we are converting to the new theme and adding back sometime next week. along with sidebar contributor love :)
      4) not really for me to say, feel free to DM Dustin or @garrons on this one ;)

  20. Hi Simon,

    Actually there wasn’t really much information given in Dustin’s original post or his emails to contributors which is why I’m asking questions.

    So to paraphrase what I’m reading to make sure I understand things:

    This is Dustins blog and it is in no way owned by M Realty.
    The long term strategy is for the site to remain a community blog and not become a blog for M Realty and/or its agents.
    Contributors pictures, names and contact info will move back on to the home page.
    The business arrangement between RCG and M Realty is none of my business and I should stop asking for transparency.

    Right now what we SEE on the blog doesn’t match what we are hearing you and dustin say.

    I am willing to wait and watch what happens for awhile. I have a tendency to not believe people’s words. Instead, I watch what they do.

    • Jillayne,

      To answer your questions as honestly as humanly possible:

      1) correct.
      2) correct, though m agents (and me!!!) will be contributing also
      3) not sure on this one, I don’t recall seeing contributors pictures/bios/contact info on the homepage with the last 2 designs (actually, I do, i just forgot how it looked, sorry!) I do remember there being top level links to contributors profile pages which we are converting to the new theme and adding back sometime next week. along with sidebar contributor love :)
      4) not really for me to say, feel free to DM Dustin or @garrons on this one ;)

  21. Rhonda Porter says:

    Somthing that has not quite yet been answered from Dustin’s orignal post is a point that Tim Kane brought up… how will contributors deal with the appearance of endorsing M Realty by writing for a blog that looks like it is more “M” than RCG?

    This has been weighing on my mind (and obviously Tim’s). As small as this may seem, some agents may decide not to work with me if they feel I’m endorsing a brokerage.

    • Rhonda,
      The design will be changing shortly based on the immense feedback we’ve already received (the m logo that keeps being referred to is 63px by 83px – Dustin will need to check in with the nwmls to see the rules for how small we can go with this [unless someone already knows this?] and where it can be placed) and as far as I can see that, with the address, and very top level “about M” page is the only mention of M on the entire home page. (the search listings / property search “ad” etc is not branded M) we tried to keep this as minimal as possible.

      Each contributor gets a full authors box on their post page with links back to their site, contact information, and any other important info they should be sharing with their readers. if you’d like more fields in this area, or would like the contributor info to be displayed else where to make it more obvious, please let me know how. (contributor info will also be added to the static sidebar sometime next week)

      We will be bringing back the authors profile pages too, the problem was with the original top level pages – they didn’t behave very well with this new custom theme, they are being fixed and will be back shortly :)

  22. Rhonda Porter says:

    Somthing that has not quite yet been answered from Dustin’s orignal post is a point that Tim Kane brought up… how will contributors deal with the appearance of endorsing M Realty by writing for a blog that looks like it is more “M” than RCG?

    This has been weighing on my mind (and obviously Tim’s). As small as this may seem, some agents may decide not to work with me if they feel I’m endorsing a brokerage.

  23. The search feature is cumbersome. Will that be changing? There is also mention of M Realty contributors which Ardell seems pretty OK with. Will she be joining the M Realty team?

    It seems odd that Jilyanne and Rhonda, along with Tim, are taken by surprise.

    The owner of the site does have the privledge of taking the site in any direction. My feeling has always been that this was a discount Brokerage site. What kind of structure is M Realty and what are the qualifications of the agents?

    • David, Dustin can do what ever he wants with Rain City Guide…it is his blog to redesign, add features, contributors, sell ad space or what ever.

      I can’t speak for Tim and Jillayne but I was surprised to see a brokerage added to the site and as I’ve expressed here at RCG, I have concerns on how the appearance of endorsing a real estate brokerage may have negative impacts for my business. I am receiving feed back from some real estate agents that it appears I’m working for and/or supporting M Realty.

      Right now when I look at RCG, M looks like they are co-owners and possibly a majority owner of RCG because of the placement of the logo and because on the “about” bar on top of the site, M comes before RCG.

      This is all still new so at this point, I’m waiting to see what adjustments might be made to RCG.

      I really liked Jillaynes suggestion of (something along the lines of) “home search powered by M Realty”. If this is the true purpose of adding M, then let’s make that more clear.

  24. The search feature is cumbersome. Will that be changing? There is also mention of M Realty contributors which Ardell seems pretty OK with. Will she be joining the M Realty team?

    It seems odd that Jilyanne and Rhonda, along with Tim, are taken by surprise.

    The owner of the site does have the privledge of taking the site in any direction. My feeling has always been that this was a discount Brokerage site. What kind of structure is M Realty and what are the qualifications of the agents?

    • David, Dustin can do what ever he wants with Rain City Guide…it is his blog to redesign, add features, contributors, sell ad space or what ever.

      I can’t speak for Tim and Jillayne but I was surprised to see a brokerage added to the site and as I’ve expressed here at RCG, I have concerns on how the appearance of endorsing a real estate brokerage may have negative impacts for my business. I am receiving feed back from some real estate agents that it appears I’m working for and/or supporting M Realty.

      Right now when I look at RCG, M looks like they are co-owners and possibly a majority owner of RCG because of the placement of the logo and because on the “about” bar on top of the site, M comes before RCG.

      This is all still new so at this point, I’m waiting to see what adjustments might be made to RCG.

      I really liked Jillaynes suggestion of (something along the lines of) “home search powered by M Realty”. If this is the true purpose of adding M, then let’s make that more clear.

  25. David,

    The site is not “moving in a new direction”. I am not joining the M Realty team, but I did jump on a train to go check them out. Nice enough people. As Jillayne points out, what we do supports them (and one another), so we do like to know who we are in a group with. I have tried to personally meet most all participants to RCG, so meeting M and the tech guys who are working on the site is pretty much the same way I have treated most anyone on RCG in the last 3 1/2 years.

    All of the participants got the same notice, as far as I know. I just happened to be the one to jump on a train to Portland to see who these people were. I like Simon a lot :)

    There is no such thing as “a discount brokerage”, David. For something to be a “discount”, then there has to be a set fee established mutuallly by all brokerages from which they “discount”. Since it is illegal for brokerages to band together to set a fee, there is no “discount” from that set fee.

    The stated mission of RCG has always been to be “the best resource for real estate information in the Seattle area.” Hard to be that without a property search function. The mls made the rules as to how RCG can have a search function, not Dustin or Simon or M or me. They’re just trying to comply with the rules.

    David, I’m OK with anyone with an open mind who tries to move things in the right direction, whether that hinders or helps me, I support that. If what is best for the Country, and consumers, is for our industry to turn upside down or belly up…I support that. If we can’t be what people need us to be, we don’t deserve to be. I don’t think things have gotten that bad, but some people do, and those people deserve their shot at reinventing the wheel.

    RCG has always been open to contributors from other brokerages. Why should M be any different than Courtney or Reba or Jim or Chuck or Ray…we are not “a band of agents” who work together. Never were. We have always welcomed new contributors. If they start talking smack, well I may come down a bit heavy handed in response. Craig and I duked it out a few times and people learned something by our back and forthing. Eventually we learned to accept each other as we are.

    I’m of the mind that no family is too big, and I welcome more and many to the RCG Family.

    • “RCG has always been open to contributors from other brokerages. Why should M be any different than Courtney or Reba or Jim or Chuck or Ray…we are not “a band of agents

  26. What’s odd is that people have contributed to the site for 31/2 years then one day the site changes. It is always the owners prerogative to take the site into any direction they chose. They own the site. The contributors are there for content and controversy, that’s what gets the eyes.

    Will another web based Real Estate business model catch eyes the way redfin or Zillow have? Who knows. The fact is I do like the magazine style and have learned a lot about the blogging business from the way Dustin has done things.

    As I said these changes seem in keeping with my thinking about the site, so it seems good to me.

  27. What’s odd is that people have contributed to the site for 31/2 years then one day the site changes. It is always the owners prerogative to take the site into any direction they chose. They own the site. The contributors are there for content and controversy, that’s what gets the eyes.

    Will another web based Real Estate business model catch eyes the way redfin or Zillow have? Who knows. The fact is I do like the magazine style and have learned a lot about the blogging business from the way Dustin has done things.

    As I said these changes seem in keeping with my thinking about the site, so it seems good to me.

  28. Reporting another bug:

    If I type text into the reply box to make a comment, and then scroll back up the site to read more, I cannot come back down and continue to type into that same comment box.

    I have to start all over again by re-loading the page. The cursor won’t click back into the text box. I’m using the latest version of internet explorer and please don’t tell me to use firefox.

  29. Hi Ardell, “We have always welcomed new contributors”

    Yes this is true.

    When I joined as a new contributor, my company logo did not prominently appear at the upper right hand corner of the blog with my business address.

    This change is different from adding a contributor.

    I understand the need to comply with NWMLS rules. I understand wanting to add a search function. I agree that change is good.

    Ardell and Dustin, are you open to listening to the concerns the prominence of the M Realty logo has on the contributors?

    • Jillayne:

      And I didn’t mean to be silent on this thread… My only excuse is that I turned off my computer for the weekend in order to take part in a mini-vacation, so I’m just now getting around to reading the comments here. :)

      I totally see your point about the logo… We can’t remove the logo for if we’re going to keep listings on the site (and I really really want to keep listings on the site as I’ve always felt that was such a missing piece of providing a great resource for seattle real estate information), but I’m working with Garron to revise the site in two ways: 1) we’re working through a design that will bring the authors back on to the sidepanel and 2) changing the display of the logo so that it still appears on the site, but also conveys the reality that RCG is much larger than their company. Any ideas for what you think might work well here would be much appreciated!

      • Dustin, with the new design and with M’s logo appearing co-branded/co-ownership with RCG; I’m not sure that I can have my photo on a side panel–especially if it’s under M’s sign. I’m concerned that it would really appear as though I work for and/or support M.

        I feel like a broken record, but appearing to support a brokerage is harmful to my mortgage originating business. Jillayne’s all ready expressed this point as well.

        It’s a conflict that I hope we can figure out–you’re a creative person so I’m waiting to see what you’re able to develop.

  30. Hi Ardell, “We have always welcomed new contributors”

    Yes this is true.

    When I joined as a new contributor, my company logo did not prominently appear at the upper right hand corner of the blog with my business address.

    This change is different from adding a contributor.

    I understand the need to comply with NWMLS rules. I understand wanting to add a search function. I agree that change is good.

    Ardell and Dustin, are you open to listening to the concerns the prominence of the M Realty logo has on the contributors?

    • Jillayne:

      And I didn’t mean to be silent on this thread… My only excuse is that I turned off my computer for the weekend in order to take part in a mini-vacation, so I’m just now getting around to reading the comments here. :)

      I totally see your point about the logo… We can’t remove the logo for if we’re going to keep listings on the site (and I really really want to keep listings on the site as I’ve always felt that was such a missing piece of providing a great resource for seattle real estate information), but I’m working with Garron to revise the site in two ways: 1) we’re working through a design that will bring the authors back on to the sidepanel and 2) changing the display of the logo so that it still appears on the site, but also conveys the reality that RCG is much larger than their company. Any ideas for what you think might work well here would be much appreciated!

      • Dustin, with the new design and with M’s logo appearing co-branded/co-ownership with RCG; I’m not sure that I can have my photo on a side panel–especially if it’s under M’s sign. I’m concerned that it would really appear as though I work for and/or support M.

        I feel like a broken record, but appearing to support a brokerage is harmful to my mortgage originating business. Jillayne’s all ready expressed this point as well.

        It’s a conflict that I hope we can figure out–you’re a creative person so I’m waiting to see what you’re able to develop.

  31. Simon,

    Adding contributors to the right hand sidebar is going to be a problem if my name, picture etc, will show up anywhere near the M Realty logo.

    In my opinion, it’s a waste of time and money to make changes without first asking for feedback from the contributors.

    If my pic is near the M Realty logo, it sends a visual message that I work for M Realty.

    I teach thousands of Realtors each year and I do not want to appear as though I am blogging on behalf of a real estate company.

    Is it possible to move the M Realty logo someplace else other than the sidebar where the contributors names and pictures will appear?

    Maybe you could do something like this:

    “Rain City Guide with search function provided by M Realty” and NO Seattle area address. When I go to Windermere, JLS, and CBBain websites, there’s no address on their home page.

    If the truth is: M Realty is just providing a search function and the logo has to be at the top due to MLS rules…why not just state the truth to the viewer?

  32. Simon,

    Adding contributors to the right hand sidebar is going to be a problem if my name, picture etc, will show up anywhere near the M Realty logo.

    In my opinion, it’s a waste of time and money to make changes without first asking for feedback from the contributors.

    If my pic is near the M Realty logo, it sends a visual message that I work for M Realty.

    I teach thousands of Realtors each year and I do not want to appear as though I am blogging on behalf of a real estate company.

    Is it possible to move the M Realty logo someplace else other than the sidebar where the contributors names and pictures will appear?

    Maybe you could do something like this:

    “Rain City Guide with search function provided by M Realty” and NO Seattle area address. When I go to Windermere, JLS, and CBBain websites, there’s no address on their home page.

    If the truth is: M Realty is just providing a search function and the logo has to be at the top due to MLS rules…why not just state the truth to the viewer?

  33. Dustin & M Realty Staff,

    This is a long response but here you go on more thoughts with the changes.

    I don’t blog as much as others and our primary market is not Seattle per se, so the impact on our small business is probably less acute than the Brokers and Rhonda that contribute more, but I completely agree with Rhonda in the sense that the negative perception is real. The real estate world is big and very small at the same time.

    RCG provided a neutral place where all contributors could start discussions, but when M Realty came in to play, the game changed. I’m uncertain that Dustin et al. understood the ramifications of the system that lending and escrow has to work in from a compliance standpoint, never mind the issue Rhonda brings up about perception that we are now a conduit for M Realty. In my mind, it has to do with receiving a tangible “thing of value.” That “thing of value” is clear advertising benefit. When there is no Broker involved the water is clear: zero conflict. Now there is a Broker and the water now very murky. It has nothing to do with receiving kickbacks or under the radar referrals for work between contributors. None of that is occurring. But, when you move into the Broker field, it changes the ingredients in which a couple of us or so have to be sensitive about.

    The benefit of neutrality is that it eliminated the potential conflicts of interest that escrow firms and lending folks (at least those of us who take it seriously) have to work within. Our playbook is not governed by NWMLS. It is governed by RESPA, DFI and Escrow Agent Reg. Act, among others. All that aside, the framework in which this site currently resides would be like me being a contributor on Rhonda’s husband’s title firm, or Rhonda being a contributor for Golf Savings. Incredibly awkward.

    Placing contributors on a sidebar with clear delineation of whom we work for is fine, but it does not eliminate the issues raised nor the perception that Rhonda brings up that is bad for business.

    Adding the search is a great idea, but the only way to do that is via IDX through a Broker. When that happens, Jim & Chuck and others have to be ok that the perception is that they are endorsing M Realty, intended or not. With RCG as the conduit for traffic going to M Realty, RCG appears to be just a domain name (although the benefits of M Realty riding the long tail of RCG domain speaks for itself.) That’s not a bad thing, it’s just that it alienates some of us because we cannot be associated with or perceived to be endorsing M Realty, nor receiving anything of value (we do).

    It’s just a pickle and I don’t know how to fix it without removing me as a contributor and then just being a commenter, or RCG going back to a community blog. Or, maybe you should just charge me to contribute to eliminate the potential conflicts and to remove the receipt of “thing of value” implied from free advertising when you are now a Broker or affiliated with a Broker. I don’t know, just throwing ideas. I don’t believe I was a contributor when you were affiliated with KWilliams, I just commented. If you were a broker way back then, we wouldn’t have this conversation because I would not have asked to be a contributor and I think others would also share my sentiment in that same regard. They would not have been contributors.

    Nothing against your passion to improve the site nor joining forces with M Realty. I think that’s great.

  34. Dustin & M Realty Staff,

    This is a long response but here you go on more thoughts with the changes.

    I don’t blog as much as others and our primary market is not Seattle per se, so the impact on our small business is probably less acute than the Brokers and Rhonda that contribute more, but I completely agree with Rhonda in the sense that the negative perception is real. The real estate world is big and very small at the same time.

    RCG provided a neutral place where all contributors could start discussions, but when M Realty came in to play, the game changed. I’m uncertain that Dustin et al. understood the ramifications of the system that lending and escrow has to work in from a compliance standpoint, never mind the issue Rhonda brings up about perception that we are now a conduit for M Realty. In my mind, it has to do with receiving a tangible “thing of value.” That “thing of value” is clear advertising benefit. When there is no Broker involved the water is clear: zero conflict. Now there is a Broker and the water now very murky. It has nothing to do with receiving kickbacks or under the radar referrals for work between contributors. None of that is occurring. But, when you move into the Broker field, it changes the ingredients in which a couple of us or so have to be sensitive about.

    The benefit of neutrality is that it eliminated the potential conflicts of interest that escrow firms and lending folks (at least those of us who take it seriously) have to work within. Our playbook is not governed by NWMLS. It is governed by RESPA, DFI and Escrow Agent Reg. Act, among others. All that aside, the framework in which this site currently resides would be like me being a contributor on Rhonda’s husband’s title firm, or Rhonda being a contributor for Golf Savings. Incredibly awkward.

    Placing contributors on a sidebar with clear delineation of whom we work for is fine, but it does not eliminate the issues raised nor the perception that Rhonda brings up that is bad for business.

    Adding the search is a great idea, but the only way to do that is via IDX through a Broker. When that happens, Jim & Chuck and others have to be ok that the perception is that they are endorsing M Realty, intended or not. With RCG as the conduit for traffic going to M Realty, RCG appears to be just a domain name (although the benefits of M Realty riding the long tail of RCG domain speaks for itself.) That’s not a bad thing, it’s just that it alienates some of us because we cannot be associated with or perceived to be endorsing M Realty, nor receiving anything of value (we do).

    It’s just a pickle and I don’t know how to fix it without removing me as a contributor and then just being a commenter, or RCG going back to a community blog. Or, maybe you should just charge me to contribute to eliminate the potential conflicts and to remove the receipt of “thing of value” implied from free advertising when you are now a Broker or affiliated with a Broker. I don’t know, just throwing ideas. I don’t believe I was a contributor when you were affiliated with KWilliams, I just commented. If you were a broker way back then, we wouldn’t have this conversation because I would not have asked to be a contributor and I think others would also share my sentiment in that same regard. They would not have been contributors.

    Nothing against your passion to improve the site nor joining forces with M Realty. I think that’s great.

  35. Good Morning!!

    My comment about the tear drops of Christ was deleted. I think that happens a lot here, anyway that’s been my experience with the site. There is a lot of controversy thrown in with the content. It may be an eyes only thing, but it has made me question the value of Real Estate blogs in general.

    What is of absolute interest to me is that the comments here by contributors have been left hanging while you chose to comment on Ardell’s post. That’s a reference back to the tears of Christ.

    I began negotiations about two months ago to take over a blog unrelated to Real Estate. This along with Seattle Bubble, 360 Digest, and BloodHound Blog have been the models I look at. This format change was a great thing.

    My interest is self centered and you have shown me that I do need to be much more specific with the terms I use before contributing to a blog.

    • This is a lesson for people who contribute on a panel blog–unless you’re THE owner, you have no control over the site or the future use of your content. This is one reason why I’ve continued to write on my own mortgage blog (which I had created prior to RCG) and also why I don’t contribute or post much on other sites where I’m not the owner (such as AR).

      RCG (prior to the M adjustment) felt a little more innocent and I never thought of changes such as this ever happening… I do feel a little foolish for not seeing something like this coming and I don’t blame Dustin for making what ever changes he wants to with his blog.

      As I’ve stated before, I’m trying to give this some time to see what additional changes are made and how this will evolve. I cannot afford to lose a base of my business because of the assumption I’m supporting a brokerage…and really, if I’m writing for RCG, my content IS support M Realty…they get the benefit of my “google juice”. Honestly, I’m having a tough time figuring this whole deal out…I’m actually writing this while I’m on vacation.

  36. Good Morning!!

    My comment about the tear drops of Christ was deleted. I think that happens a lot here, anyway that’s been my experience with the site. There is a lot of controversy thrown in with the content. It may be an eyes only thing, but it has made me question the value of Real Estate blogs in general.

    What is of absolute interest to me is that the comments here by contributors have been left hanging while you chose to comment on Ardell’s post. That’s a reference back to the tears of Christ.

    I began negotiations about two months ago to take over a blog unrelated to Real Estate. This along with Seattle Bubble, 360 Digest, and BloodHound Blog have been the models I look at. This format change was a great thing.

    My interest is self centered and you have shown me that I do need to be much more specific with the terms I use before contributing to a blog.

  37. Jillayne asks: “Ardell and Dustin, are you open to listening to the concerns the prominence of the M Realty logo has on the contributors?”

    Jillayne,

    The issues there can be complex, and that is why I think it will take a bit of time. Also mostly out of our control, as the mls giveth and the mls taketh away (the right to have a search function).

    I leave it to Dustin, and Dustin to a large extent has to leave it to M, as M is the fine-able entity. Remember M can get a $5,000 fine if they get it wrong, so taking it down to the lowest possible and yet acceptable level, is easier said than done. The minute you cross the line, and the line is often as clear as mud, you get a cease and desist and a fine and sometimes a fine for every day you are not in compliance. So I do ask you to take into consideration the liability aspects of that for M. You can go the least obtrusive method and build up to the minimum standard…but that could rack up some hefty fines in the process. I don’t think it’s fair to ask M to take on that kind of risk.

    I’ll give you the benefit of my thinking. When a company site has a search function, the rules for prominence of the company seems to be a higher standard than for an agent site within that company. That is why when we had the search function before, Anna as an agent for the company did not have the same prominence issues as Elaine would have had as the Broker or if it were “the” Company site. The whole idea that this would have been Anna’s site, but other agents were participating, was very confusing to the mls, for good reason.

    I think as M establishes a presence and a Company site in the area, their ability to downplay the logo here may increase…so time is likely a considerable factor. When an agent of M is a contributor, that might or might not help with this issue. At present it is likely viewed by the mls from the standpoint of M as a Company site vs. M as an agent site. So the fact that it looks like that is likely beyond anyone’s control at the moment.

    The search function can be bought through HomeQuest direct, and many agents from many different companies can have that search function. My 2nd thought was to have a site with the same search function for continuity purposes, but it’s just a little too soon to go further than perfecting it here first, with broad latitude, and then fine tuning it.

    That’s how I see it at present. The mls services around the Country set restrictions on an mls feed for good reason. Complying with those restrictions is often difficult, as not as many try to push the envelope as much as we do and Redfin does and the rules vary from mls to mls and State to State. So being innovative can lead to getting your head chopped off. The basic rules are based around the majority, who are not attempting to push the envelope.

    What M does in Oregon and the Portland area may have to be modified to convert to our mls and the Seattle Area. I say we give them time to work within the new booby traps, without ending up with a fine for having listened to us and our concerns, more than having listened to the mls and their concerns. It’s a juggling act, and I think they have to err on the side of caution and safety from their company’s position.

    I hope those potential huge cost factors help you see this in a slightly different light.

  38. Jillayne asks: “Ardell and Dustin, are you open to listening to the concerns the prominence of the M Realty logo has on the contributors?”

    Jillayne,

    The issues there can be complex, and that is why I think it will take a bit of time. Also mostly out of our control, as the mls giveth and the mls taketh away (the right to have a search function).

    I leave it to Dustin, and Dustin to a large extent has to leave it to M, as M is the fine-able entity. Remember M can get a $5,000 fine if they get it wrong, so taking it down to the lowest possible and yet acceptable level, is easier said than done. The minute you cross the line, and the line is often as clear as mud, you get a cease and desist and a fine and sometimes a fine for every day you are not in compliance. So I do ask you to take into consideration the liability aspects of that for M. You can go the least obtrusive method and build up to the minimum standard…but that could rack up some hefty fines in the process. I don’t think it’s fair to ask M to take on that kind of risk.

    I’ll give you the benefit of my thinking. When a company site has a search function, the rules for prominence of the company seems to be a higher standard than for an agent site within that company. That is why when we had the search function before, Anna as an agent for the company did not have the same prominence issues as Elaine would have had as the Broker or if it were “the” Company site. The whole idea that this would have been Anna’s site, but other agents were participating, was very confusing to the mls, for good reason.

    I think as M establishes a presence and a Company site in the area, their ability to downplay the logo here may increase…so time is likely a considerable factor. When an agent of M is a contributor, that might or might not help with this issue. At present it is likely viewed by the mls from the standpoint of M as a Company site vs. M as an agent site. So the fact that it looks like that is likely beyond anyone’s control at the moment.

    The search function can be bought through HomeQuest direct, and many agents from many different companies can have that search function. My 2nd thought was to have a site with the same search function for continuity purposes, but it’s just a little too soon to go further than perfecting it here first, with broad latitude, and then fine tuning it.

    That’s how I see it at present. The mls services around the Country set restrictions on an mls feed for good reason. Complying with those restrictions is often difficult, as not as many try to push the envelope as much as we do and Redfin does and the rules vary from mls to mls and State to State. So being innovative can lead to getting your head chopped off. The basic rules are based around the majority, who are not attempting to push the envelope.

    What M does in Oregon and the Portland area may have to be modified to convert to our mls and the Seattle Area. I say we give them time to work within the new booby traps, without ending up with a fine for having listened to us and our concerns, more than having listened to the mls and their concerns. It’s a juggling act, and I think they have to err on the side of caution and safety from their company’s position.

    I hope those potential huge cost factors help you see this in a slightly different light.

  39. Jillayne asks Simon: “Rain City Guide with search function provided by M Realty

    • Ardell, I’m not sure if you or Dustin are “getting” the concerns that (IMO) Jillayane, Tim and I are sharing. As business people where some of our business comes from real estate agents recommending our services, it’s a difficult for us to appear as though we are supporting or endorsing ANY real estate brokerage. Over the last 10 years, if I were to peg which brokerage has probably directed me the most business, I’d have to say Windermere…BUT you will not ever find me blogging for Windermere (or JLS, CBB, ReMax, Redfin…etc).

      Dustin’s move, whether intended or not, endorsed M Realty.

  40. P.S. to all – the reason I support this is RCG has a mission statement that has not changed since inception, as far as I know. How much do we as contributors pay attention to Dustin’s stated mission and try to “make it so”?

    I see the options as adding a search function OR changing the mission statement. One or the other. At present what we do does not fit that mission. Dustin and I have discussed that. Most often we are not talking about property in the Seattle area or even Seattle specific things, due largely in part to other mls rules prohibiting our talking about homes listed by other companies.

    I ask other contributors to look at the RCG mission statement posted on the site (which has not changed) as I think it may shed some light on this conversation vs. the current “who moved my cheese” discussions.

  41. P.S. to all – the reason I support this is RCG has a mission statement that has not changed since inception, as far as I know. How much do we as contributors pay attention to Dustin’s stated mission and try to “make it so”?

    I see the options as adding a search function OR changing the mission statement. One or the other. At present what we do does not fit that mission. Dustin and I have discussed that. Most often we are not talking about property in the Seattle area or even Seattle specific things, due largely in part to other mls rules prohibiting our talking about homes listed by other companies.

    I ask other contributors to look at the RCG mission statement posted on the site (which has not changed) as I think it may shed some light on this conversation vs. the current “who moved my cheese” discussions.

  42. Hi Dustin,

    It took me a while to figure out where your comment was. I prefer the comments lined up as they come in so I dont have to hunt for new comments.

    If there can be some clarification on exactly what the relationship between M Realty and RCG is to the viewer, that would be appreciated. If the M Realty logo said something like this: “Providing Real Estate Search for Rain City Guide” now the viewer has an understanding of the relationship. Without the explanation, the prominence of the logo makes the RCG domain look like it’s M Realty’s Seattle Brokerage website.

  43. Ardell you’re missing the point. We all understand that change is good and adding a search function brings good things to the site. We get that.

    There are inherent problems in blogging under the headline of one broker’s name for contributors who need a neutral domain. This is a real issue for current contributors and any contributors Dustin brings on in the future.

    The mission statement is meaningless because all real estate websites have more or less the same mission as RCG: “to be the best resource for r.e. information.”

  44. Ardell you’re missing the point. We all understand that change is good and adding a search function brings good things to the site. We get that.

    There are inherent problems in blogging under the headline of one broker’s name for contributors who need a neutral domain. This is a real issue for current contributors and any contributors Dustin brings on in the future.

    The mission statement is meaningless because all real estate websites have more or less the same mission as RCG: “to be the best resource for r.e. information.”

  45. I fully understand your concern Jillayne. I just know how hard it is to get permission from the mls to run a property search on a group blog that has no one single brokerage entity backing it. We are becoming something else…a hybrid of website with a blog component…or a blog with a website component. I wouldn’t have jumped on a train if I was not concerned. Could be all the bloggers will have to be M-Realty agents or affiliated businesses. Property search functions are normally limited to brokerage sites, and trying to be a blog with a search function is a difficult problem.

    I can only repeat my mantra that I will do everything I can to support Dustin’s wishes. Because it’s Dustin, not because it makes good sense from my personal vantage point for me to do so. For years Dustin allowed us to move in any direction we pleased, I think a fair amount of time trying to support a direction that pleases him is in order.

    There are very few places like RCG. Trying to be different and a front-runner and trying to conform to a lot of rules all at the same time is, in many ways, who we are more than the mission statement is who we are. Dustin is not treating the M component any differently than he has treated us. Dustin clearly doesn’t impose a lot of rules on anyone, none unless he has to. In this case the desire to have a search site coming with a lot of compliance rules, is just beyond his control. Those rules are not as clearly defined as they might be, if we were not a pioneer of this effort. Being a pioneer comes with some level of uncertainty and yes, even some unpleasantness and a huge amount of uncertainty.

    I do not think the mission statement is “meaningless” because it is not meaningless to Dustin. That gives it meaning. Hard to be “the best resource for real estate information” with no information on the keystone of “real estate”…property specific info.

  46. A few comments as just a reader of RCG:

    1. The “About M Realty” link in the upper left corner (where typically either a “home” link or a general “about [this site]” link is found) contributes greatly to why the changes make it feel like RCG is now owned by “M Realty.” It’s not just the text, it is the placement of that text.

    2. Many sites have “search provided by ” and “more about ” to make it clear that the site is not owned by .

    3. The RCG logo is now in white on blue(ish). This happens to be a similar color scheme to the background image for the site. The RCG logo tends to… blend into the background.

    4. The M Realty Logo is orange. This is one of the link colors, and a header (“Popular Posts”, etc.) or “highlight” color. This makes M Realty much more prominent.

    These “simple” things, when combined with their size and placement, make it feel like the M Realty is the owner of the site – or at least that it is more important that the community.

    I’m also pretty surprised that major contributors to the site (ones who seem to post more than the owner at times) were not given a “preview” of the new look at feel (or if they were, they were not given much time to respond to it). It is great to see the discussion above take place is public though – that gives me some hope that some decent compromises will be reached.

    Good luck!

    • You make some great points about how important the design elements were to the site… I talked with Garron for at least an hour this evening and we discussed a few changes that I think will make a difference. now we just need to get them implemented! ;)

  47. A few comments as just a reader of RCG:

    1. The “About M Realty” link in the upper left corner (where typically either a “home” link or a general “about [this site]” link is found) contributes greatly to why the changes make it feel like RCG is now owned by “M Realty.” It’s not just the text, it is the placement of that text.

    2. Many sites have “search provided by ” and “more about ” to make it clear that the site is not owned by .

    3. The RCG logo is now in white on blue(ish). This happens to be a similar color scheme to the background image for the site. The RCG logo tends to… blend into the background.

    4. The M Realty Logo is orange. This is one of the link colors, and a header (“Popular Posts”, etc.) or “highlight” color. This makes M Realty much more prominent.

    These “simple” things, when combined with their size and placement, make it feel like the M Realty is the owner of the site – or at least that it is more important that the community.

    I’m also pretty surprised that major contributors to the site (ones who seem to post more than the owner at times) were not given a “preview” of the new look at feel (or if they were, they were not given much time to respond to it). It is great to see the discussion above take place is public though – that gives me some hope that some decent compromises will be reached.

    Good luck!

  48. Cam Solomon says:

    “Could be all the bloggers will have to be M-Realty agents or affiliated businesses.”

    If that’s true, my guess is that this site has outlived it’s usefulness for me, and many consumers like me. Rhonda and Jillayne, and their relatively unbiased point of view are well over 50% of the reason why I visit, and I’m guessing I’m not the only consumer who feels that way.

    IMHO, destroy that and you stick a stake in the heart of this site. I recommend you be very careful with how you handle this going forward, Dustin.

    • Thanks for the feedback Cam… I totally agree that Rhonda and Jillayne are a huge reason that the RCG community rocks! ;)

      Just to be super clear… Garron (of M Realty) and I are both completely on the same page that agents from all brokerages and businesses will always be welcome as contributors to RCG (assuming, of course, they have something of value to add to the community). There’s no plans to require businesses to be affiliated with M Realty or RCG because that simply won’t happen.

      I’m trying to word it so that there’s no wiggle room in my phrase, but feel free to let me know if it’s still not clear!

      • Dustin, how many “outside” agents will want to write for a blog that endorses M Realty?

        • Rhonda,

          Not sure how to answer that because I don’t know.

          For the majority of the site’s life, we’ve always had the logo of Anna’s brokerage in the sidebar… and probably more relevant in terms of competition, we’ve had a home search tool at the top of the sidebar of RCG for the majority of the site’s life that led directly to Anna’s IDX page hosted at annaluther.com (Including when all of the most active contributor’s started blogging).

          I guess I don’t see much changing in that RCG’s endorsement doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot compared to the endorsement of the readers. Despite the search box in the top-right panel, Anna got a fraction of the clients that Ardell did because she simply wasn’t as compelling of a writer (nor nearly as prolific!)

          As others have noted, if someone’s writing compelling content, then they’re the ones more likely to pick up the readers as clients. That’s always been the case with RCG and I’m positive will continue to be the case going forward… If agents write posts that are compelling to consumers, they’ll get clients on the site.

          I hope the M Realty folks won’t be too surprised to hear this, but I don’t see them being able to out-compete the existing crop of contributors to RCG. You guys are simply too darn good! :) The main place I could see them helping out RCG (and the only place I really see then earning clients) is on creating focused landing pages that do well in the search engines. Those pages, which for the most part are out of the flow of the blog, could tap into a huge audience of people we currently don’t reach (because we’re simply not relevant with a good IDX search) and will (hopefully!) bring even more people into the blog.

          I could definitely be wrong about how effective this strategy will be, but I honestly wouldn’t do it if I thought it was something that would be bad for the existing contributors.

  49. Cam Solomon says:

    “Could be all the bloggers will have to be M-Realty agents or affiliated businesses.”

    If that’s true, my guess is that this site has outlived it’s usefulness for me, and many consumers like me. Rhonda and Jillayne, and their relatively unbiased point of view are well over 50% of the reason why I visit, and I’m guessing I’m not the only consumer who feels that way.

    IMHO, destroy that and you stick a stake in the heart of this site. I recommend you be very careful with how you handle this going forward, Dustin.

    • Thanks for the feedback Cam… I totally agree that Rhonda and Jillayne are a huge reason that the RCG community rocks! ;)

      Just to be super clear… Garron (of M Realty) and I are both completely on the same page that agents from all brokerages and businesses will always be welcome as contributors to RCG (assuming, of course, they have something of value to add to the community). There’s no plans to require businesses to be affiliated with M Realty or RCG because that simply won’t happen.

      I’m trying to word it so that there’s no wiggle room in my phrase, but feel free to let me know if it’s still not clear!

  50. Hi folks,
    I’m just another IDX vendor who tries to watch what Dustin and others are doing. The new search has some really cool features – kudos to the developers.

    However, Simon mentioned they would, “Tone down the “M Realty

  51. Hi folks,
    I’m just another IDX vendor who tries to watch what Dustin and others are doing. The new search has some really cool features – kudos to the developers.

    However, Simon mentioned they would, “Tone down the “M Realty

  52. Hi Jan,

    To address your points, the design changes will reflect the brokerage information on the actual map search hopefully before the end of the week.

    The second point just isn’t the case. What we are doing is increasing the overall traffic to this blog through conventional methods (SEO, pr, external marketing etc) which will in fact *increase the overall visibility of the contributors. *

    Something no one has commented on this the ability to geocode your contributed blog posts. These posts will show up on the IDX map, right next to listings. if someone comes to this site, browses listings (imagine a Google search “search seattle homes” or something similar) whilst browsing the IDX map, they interact with the contributors post in a neighborhood they are interested in, that’s incredible value to the contributors (well, the real estate agent contributors anyway)

    We are creating more exposure for all the contributors and giving everyone an even playing field in terms of map exposure, with very minimal reference to M realty (that’s going to be even less shortly) not to mention the contributor profiles, profile pages in the top level nav, and contributor info soon to be on the main page….

    If someone chooses not to contribute that is absolutely their prerogative, I have yet to see a single community website of a real estate nature that gives more back to its contributors than Rain City Guide – what M Realty and Homequest is doing will benefit ALL contributors to RCG in terms of exposure, visibility and new interactions that wouldn’t have been possible pre IDX.

    • Increased traffic doesn’t matter a lot to me as a contributor. I don’t write for that. It’s a side benefit.

      Contributors to RCG seem to have lesser value with the changes made over time. Jillayne and I have been writing here about three years…I know Ardell has a bit longer. Back when I first started contributing there was a sidebar with our photos, links, etc. It was an honor to be on the side bar as a “featured contributor” to RCG. With the magazine style that Dustin changed to prior to the M move…some of us were pegged as “editors” and put on an upper rung on the bottom of the blog with other contributors on the next rung and those who write less frequently linked on the bottom.

      We’ve been swiped from the site now. Yes…we have links…but our “presence” has been reduced dramatically.

  53. PatentGuy says:

    I visit RCG from time to time, and have on occasion joined in the comment threads. I am honored to be a part of the comment thread of one of your “most popular” posts regarding Realtor commissions. I enjoy the posts of most of your contributors (free content!), but the reader comments are where the action is. Ardell is brilliant, and at her best when she can “duke it out” with a foil or two in the comments (thank you, David L for stepping up when Kerry K left).

    BUT, cheese-moving change happens. The best of blogs, like the best tv shows, eventually jump the shark, and maybe RCG has run its course. I don’t blame Dustin for trying, as Simon delicately states, to “monetize” his blog traffic while it is still happening. His contributors have had the chance to promote themselves in exchange for generating the traffic for Dustin, and so it’s not wholly unfair to them, at least from my viewpoint. If I want a realtor in Seattle, I would call Ardell. If I want a loan broker, I would call Rhoda. This does not put any coin in Justin’s pocket.

    Justin’s a smart guy, and if he believes converting RCG into something more like Redfin (who has, IMO, an excellent search engine and an absolutely pointless blog) will maximize his monetary return, God bless him, this is still America (for a few more years, anyway) and he should go for it. Sometimes the only way to get your hands on a few golden eggs necessarily kills the goose.

    Jillayne, Rhoda, Ardell (you, too, Craig, Tim), thank you for the education and entertainment. By the way, Ardell, your daughter is a hottie, although I admit I am old enough to be her father, and I’m not much into tatoos (We don’t need to tell Mrs. Patent Guy that I mentioned this …).

  54. PatentGuy says:

    I visit RCG from time to time, and have on occasion joined in the comment threads. I am honored to be a part of the comment thread of one of your “most popular” posts regarding Realtor commissions. I enjoy the posts of most of your contributors (free content!), but the reader comments are where the action is. Ardell is brilliant, and at her best when she can “duke it out” with a foil or two in the comments (thank you, David L for stepping up when Kerry K left).

    BUT, cheese-moving change happens. The best of blogs, like the best tv shows, eventually jump the shark, and maybe RCG has run its course. I don’t blame Dustin for trying, as Simon delicately states, to “monetize” his blog traffic while it is still happening. His contributors have had the chance to promote themselves in exchange for generating the traffic for Dustin, and so it’s not wholly unfair to them, at least from my viewpoint. If I want a realtor in Seattle, I would call Ardell. If I want a loan broker, I would call Rhoda. This does not put any coin in Justin’s pocket.

    Justin’s a smart guy, and if he believes converting RCG into something more like Redfin (who has, IMO, an excellent search engine and an absolutely pointless blog) will maximize his monetary return, God bless him, this is still America (for a few more years, anyway) and he should go for it. Sometimes the only way to get your hands on a few golden eggs necessarily kills the goose.

    Jillayne, Rhoda, Ardell (you, too, Craig, Tim), thank you for the education and entertainment. By the way, Ardell, your daughter is a hottie, although I admit I am old enough to be her father, and I’m not much into tatoos (We don’t need to tell Mrs. Patent Guy that I mentioned this …).

  55. Hey Guys,

    We have a revised homepage for you to look at and give us your feedback.

    Changes so far:

    Resized M logo considerably and moved into overall header graphic (now much smaller than rcg logo)
    Removed a lot of the map imagery and emphasis
    Freed up space for new sidebar functionality (feedback please!)
    Reordered links on top nav so “about rcg” is first

    Would love your feedback, we won’t go live with this design change until everyone has had a chance to see the potential changes and give feedback / opinions / ideas. :)

    • To clarify, the changes to the navigation at the top of the page have already gone live and are not represented in this mockup.

      *update* we made the changes live as they are not structural and difficult to to gauge without the actual RCG content contained

    • Totally looks like this is now an M Realty site (not “Search provided by M Realty”). Even if you go to the “About RCG” page, it doesn’t mention that M Realty just provides the search. No, it doesn’t say “M Realty owns the site” – but that is the impression I get from them now being in the site header…

      Gene

  56. Hey Guys,

    We have a revised homepage for you to look at and give us your feedback.

    Changes so far:

    Resized M logo considerably and moved into overall header graphic (now much smaller than rcg logo)
    Removed a lot of the map imagery and emphasis
    Freed up space for new sidebar functionality (feedback please!)
    Reordered links on top nav so “about rcg” is first

    Would love your feedback, we won’t go live with this design change until everyone has had a chance to see the potential changes and give feedback / opinions / ideas. :)

  57. Thanks Patent Guy,

    I’m having a really hard time writing in teaser text format for many reasons. That change happened a little before M arrived. I’m having a hard time keeping a meaningful comment conversation going without their being in chronological order and numbered. The current positioning of comments and how they are intro’d shows a clear lack of understanding as to why RCG was what it was.

    Figured best I can do is help with “ooh, pretty site with lots of colors”, so my daughter and her tattoos of many colors seemed most appropriate to the changes here :)

    Hoping to find a toe hold sometime, somewhere. But as to RCG…yeah, It’s pretty much “Bye, Bye Miss American Pie” time on that one.

    Thank you for your many contributions to date…we’ll keep trying for as long as we can to get our mojo back. If you see a hint of it anytime in the next 60-90 days, give me a holler as a sign of encouragement. You may be one of the only ones capable of spotting it amidst all the noise.

  58. I hate having to hunt for new comments to this blog post. Here’s what the reader has to do. First, she has to figure out that the “recent comments” section has moved from the sidebar all the way down to the bottom. Then I have to hover over the few words and look down and to the left to figure out if those few words were in a blog post that I’m following. Then when I get here I have to hunt for them.

    I vote for comments to be lined up as the come in and to make it easier on the visitor to figure out where the conversation is currently happening. It’s not always inside the top story, and to have the current conversations appear as before, in the sidebar with more than just three words. Thanks.

  59. Hi Guys,

    I see the new homepage top banner.

    Question: Is it possible to say, underneath M Realty: “Search Provided by M Realty” Thereby clarifying the fact that RCG and M Realty are not the same company?

    I’m still getting a visual that there is a strategic partnership or a joint venture of some sort with both logos at the top, giving them both equal weight.

    If it is true that the ONLY reason why we have M Realty here is because of NMLS rules, as stated by Ardell and Dustin, then is it possible to clarify this to the web visitor?

    Also, if contributor pictures are added to the sidebar, our pictures would be under the M Realty logo which is definitely not going to work for me.

    I’m sure the M Realty folks are all great people, but I need a neutral platform that does not connect my blog posts to one specific brokerage.

    Thanks to being open to feedback.

    • I’m with Jillayne where I’d like to see more clarification. The adjustments made to the site still indicate some sort of partnership with RCG and M that I am not a part of.

      I might have to make a statement similar to Craig’s, in the beginning of every post I write at RCG to make it loud and clear that I am not affiliated w/M Realty.

    • Jillayne:

      I’m not meaning to be elusive on your questions, but I’m not sure I have a great answer to your question at the moment. In order to have IDX listings on RCG, the site needs to be a “brokerage” site, so much of our phrasing is to ensure that the M Realty broker, Garron, feels comfortable we’re not only within the “text” of the rules, but also within the “spirit” of the rules… You might find this comment I just left to respond to one of Rhonda’s questions both relevant and interesting.

  60. Hi Guys,

    I see the new homepage top banner.

    Question: Is it possible to say, underneath M Realty: “Search Provided by M Realty” Thereby clarifying the fact that RCG and M Realty are not the same company?

    I’m still getting a visual that there is a strategic partnership or a joint venture of some sort with both logos at the top, giving them both equal weight.

    If it is true that the ONLY reason why we have M Realty here is because of NMLS rules, as stated by Ardell and Dustin, then is it possible to clarify this to the web visitor?

    Also, if contributor pictures are added to the sidebar, our pictures would be under the M Realty logo which is definitely not going to work for me.

    I’m sure the M Realty folks are all great people, but I need a neutral platform that does not connect my blog posts to one specific brokerage.

    Thanks to being open to feedback.

    • I’m with Jillayne where I’d like to see more clarification. The adjustments made to the site still indicate some sort of partnership with RCG and M that I am not a part of.

      I might have to make a statement similar to Craig’s, in the beginning of every post I write at RCG to make it loud and clear that I am not affiliated w/M Realty.

    • Jillayne:

      I’m not meaning to be elusive on your questions, but I’m not sure I have a great answer to your question at the moment. In order to have IDX listings on RCG, the site needs to be a “brokerage” site, so much of our phrasing is to ensure that the M Realty broker, Garron, feels comfortable we’re not only within the “text” of the rules, but also within the “spirit” of the rules… You might find this comment I just left to respond to one of Rhonda’s questions both relevant and interesting.

  61. Simon can you explain to me what you mean…..”M Realty is an up and coming Brokerage”?? With all the difficulty Zip ,Red Fin, and all the large name Brokerages closing their doors what makes you up and coming?

    What will you offer me to drive customers to OUR model. You know the story of LEDR formerly SOLD. They are sucking cash quicker then I eat the Shrimp at the Bellagio Buffet.

    What will you be offering the consumer that will drive people to M Realty?

    Will people use the search engine here provided by M Realty? Heck, even ours (IDX) is not used too often by clients. We find most consumers have already driven by or know their market area then they come home and use Google, John L Scott, and Red Fin search to find out the price and more pictures. All of them are great.

    I just don’t know what makes any Brokerage offering a conventional model of real estate up and coming.

    Enlighten me please.

  62. Simon can you explain to me what you mean…..”M Realty is an up and coming Brokerage”?? With all the difficulty Zip ,Red Fin, and all the large name Brokerages closing their doors what makes you up and coming?

    What will you offer me to drive customers to OUR model. You know the story of LEDR formerly SOLD. They are sucking cash quicker then I eat the Shrimp at the Bellagio Buffet.

    What will you be offering the consumer that will drive people to M Realty?

    Will people use the search engine here provided by M Realty? Heck, even ours (IDX) is not used too often by clients. We find most consumers have already driven by or know their market area then they come home and use Google, John L Scott, and Red Fin search to find out the price and more pictures. All of them are great.

    I just don’t know what makes any Brokerage offering a conventional model of real estate up and coming.

    Enlighten me please.

  63. Crickets……

  64. PatentGuy says:

    Sorry Rhonda. I meant “Rhonda”, but I see that I typed “Rhoda….” My bad. I give you credit for our jumbo loan that we recently obtained from PenFed. They were a PITA to deal with, but the terms were outstanding and fit our needs perfectly. All’s well that end well, etc. You, like Dustin, worked commission free on that one. (next time, be licensed in Hawaii …).

    Ray, phrases like “strong roots” and “up and coming” are just realtor speak. Similar to “proven results,” “unmatched service,” etc. Just hot air conveyed by keystrokes. What would you expect them to say?

    • PatentGuy I was just teasing you… you can call me anything…just don’t call me late for dinner. ;)

      I wish I could have helped you with your loan in Hawaii….I’m still licensed only for homes in WA state…I am honored that you considered me…and ditto that you appreciate our contributions at RCG.

  65. Hi Dustin,

    “For the majority of the site’s life, we’ve always had the logo of Anna’s brokerage in the sidebar… and probably more relevant in terms of competition, we’ve had a home search tool at the top of the sidebar of RCG for the majority of the site’s life that led directly to Anna’s IDX page hosted at annaluther.com (Including when all of the most active contributor’s started blogging).”

    In the past, the visitor who wanted to search for homes clicked through and went to annaluther.com

    I wasn’t blogging under the domain name annaluther.com

    If you are trying to say that things haven’t changed, then along that logical thought process, today a web visitor who wants to search for homes would click through and would be taken to M Realty’s website on a different domain.

    But that’s not what’s happening here. This is radically different.

    Raincityguide.com has become MRealty’s website.

    Dustin says, “I honestly wouldn’t do it if I thought it was something that would be bad for the existing contributors.”

    I’m an existing contributor. This is bad for me and my company.
    I am endorsing, promoting, contributing to and working to support M Realty when I blog here.

    My plan is to fade back and watch what happens over the next 30, 60, 90 days.

  66. Hi Dustin,

    “For the majority of the site’s life, we’ve always had the logo of Anna’s brokerage in the sidebar… and probably more relevant in terms of competition, we’ve had a home search tool at the top of the sidebar of RCG for the majority of the site’s life that led directly to Anna’s IDX page hosted at annaluther.com (Including when all of the most active contributor’s started blogging).”

    In the past, the visitor who wanted to search for homes clicked through and went to annaluther.com

    I wasn’t blogging under the domain name annaluther.com

    If you are trying to say that things haven’t changed, then along that logical thought process, today a web visitor who wants to search for homes would click through and would be taken to M Realty’s website on a different domain.

    But that’s not what’s happening here. This is radically different.

    Raincityguide.com has become MRealty’s website.

    Dustin says, “I honestly wouldn’t do it if I thought it was something that would be bad for the existing contributors.”

    I’m an existing contributor. This is bad for me and my company.
    I am endorsing, promoting, contributing to and working to support M Realty when I blog here.

    My plan is to fade back and watch what happens over the next 30, 60, 90 days.

  67. If a consumer uses the search feature provided by M Realty and would like to arrange to see a property, who will contact the potential buyer and show them the property?

  68. I’m wondering if M Realty has any relationship/affiliations with mortgage, escrow or title in Portland or Seattle?

    I love to have an answer to Linda’s comment above.

  69. I’m wondering if M Realty has any relationship/affiliations with mortgage, escrow or title in Portland or Seattle?

    I love to have an answer to Linda’s comment above.

  70. I’m not sure who is supposed to answer that question. Simon (the post author) is a tech guy. :) I don’t know the answer.

  71. Sorry for the delay, been working on some cool upgrades to the Seattle map (like the walkscore heatmap!)

    To answer some of your questions -

    No, we are not affiliated with any mortgage/title companies in either Portland or Seattle, Linda – the request showings from the IDX map will go to M Realty agents associated with the site. There will also be several places people viewing the map can contact the authors and contributors directly (if they have placed relevant content on the map)

    There is nothing stopping any agent, from any brokerage writing a blog post on rain city guide (providing it has value to the readers!) which would be displayed on the map along side MLS listings.

    I could go into a whole host of reasons why any agent, from any brokerage would see massive value doing this (regardless of site branding, where req showings go etc) but i’ll just list a few:

    no one else has the ability to map blog posts next to mls listings within neighborhood and area boundaries (or polygons)
    if the blog post is of good quality or directly resonates with the reader – the reader will contact the author directly, not the generic 1800# displayed (we have tested this extensively)
    we’re putting a lot of time and effort into promoting RCG and the map, even on a national level, its good exposure for everyone no matter how you look at it (including m realty)
    you have the ability to show your local knowledge off as a Realtor (or contributor of any kind) in a unique and intuitive way that visitors love. “meet more people” well, I honestly cant think of anything better as a real estate agent than having my blog posts and local knowledge show up right next to the mls listings a potential home buyer is viewing – happening thousands or even tens of thousands of times a day. if your a kick ass realtor and know absolutely everything about a specific neighborhood or area there is no better way to show off that expertise, and create a rich informative user experience. everyone wins.

    “Google Juice” from your blog posts will not help M realty in any way what so ever. The long tail and specific search terms used are either bouncing away or consuming the info they need and leaving. As Dustin has already mentioned – we are creating unique landing pages and entry points specifically for the very targeted search terms related to our property search.

    RCG does currently get some of this traffic and pre – idx it bounced (thats leaving the site after ~10 seconds). Now, instead of just leaving, they have a property search tool and could “potentially” intersect with any number of agents (M or not) who have blogged and mapped posts in the area the visitor wanted to search for property.

    Its quiet brilliant really… though obviously I’m a little biased. ;)

    I seriously could talk about our map and its potential to anyone for days. I’m obsessed with the idea of transparency – complete visibility to site visitors….. which agents are active in this neighborhood? what are the local restaurants and cafe’s like? are there any kid friendly parks in the area? whats the market looking like for this neighborhood? all of these questions and more can be already answered and you could be resonating with your potential clients before you have even spoke with them.

    oom=1#

  72. Sorry for the delay, been working on some cool upgrades to the Seattle map (like the walkscore heatmap!)

    To answer some of your questions –

    No, we are not affiliated with any mortgage/title companies in either Portland or Seattle, Linda – the request showings from the IDX map will go to M Realty agents associated with the site. There will also be several places people viewing the map can contact the authors and contributors directly (if they have placed relevant content on the map)

    There is nothing stopping any agent, from any brokerage writing a blog post on rain city guide (providing it has value to the readers!) which would be displayed on the map along side MLS listings.

    I could go into a whole host of reasons why any agent, from any brokerage would see massive value doing this (regardless of site branding, where req showings go etc) but i’ll just list a few:

    no one else has the ability to map blog posts next to mls listings within neighborhood and area boundaries (or polygons)
    if the blog post is of good quality or directly resonates with the reader – the reader will contact the author directly, not the generic 1800# displayed (we have tested this extensively)
    we’re putting a lot of time and effort into promoting RCG and the map, even on a national level, its good exposure for everyone no matter how you look at it (including m realty)
    you have the ability to show your local knowledge off as a Realtor (or contributor of any kind) in a unique and intuitive way that visitors love. “meet more people” well, I honestly cant think of anything better as a real estate agent than having my blog posts and local knowledge show up right next to the mls listings a potential home buyer is viewing – happening thousands or even tens of thousands of times a day. if your a kick ass realtor and know absolutely everything about a specific neighborhood or area there is no better way to show off that expertise, and create a rich informative user experience. everyone wins.

    “Google Juice” from your blog posts will not help M realty in any way what so ever. The long tail and specific search terms used are either bouncing away or consuming the info they need and leaving. As Dustin has already mentioned – we are creating unique landing pages and entry points specifically for the very targeted search terms related to our property search.

    RCG does currently get some of this traffic and pre – idx it bounced (thats leaving the site after ~10 seconds). Now, instead of just leaving, they have a property search tool and could “potentially” intersect with any number of agents (M or not) who have blogged and mapped posts in the area the visitor wanted to search for property.

    Its quiet brilliant really… though obviously I’m a little biased. ;)

    I seriously could talk about our map and its potential to anyone for days. I’m obsessed with the idea of transparency – complete visibility to site visitors….. which agents are active in this neighborhood? what are the local restaurants and cafe’s like? are there any kid friendly parks in the area? whats the market looking like for this neighborhood? all of these questions and more can be already answered and you could be resonating with your potential clients before you have even spoke with them.

    oom=1#

  73. I talk to him on Twitter We may have to have someone want to see a house to find out that answer LOL!

    Simon and likely some M Guys will be at REbarcamp in Seattle on 9/8. Maybe Jillayne should come.

    Simon works for HomeQuest, not really M. M is a subsidiatry of HomeQuest (I think that’s how it operates)

  74. wow, that was such a lengthy reply and all I wanted to do was scratch the surface, I’ll be writing a comprehensive blog post shortly about how contributors new and old can benefit from the recent changes at RCG, and more importantly (IMO) how the changes will greatly enhance the user experience across the board.

  75. Rhonda Porter says:

    the request showings from the IDX map will go to M Realty agents associated with the site

    so I write a post as about mortgage related (or even one of my existing established posts) which attracts home buyers to RCG… they then check out the cool map/home search tool and then possibly wind up with an M agent.

    This is where I get into trouble with the agents I have been working with for the past 20 years and agents whom have yet to decide if they want to work with me.

    My blogging efforts are feeding M agents. Google juice or not–a buyer is not going to use me to write their contract or show them homes since I’m not a real estate agent. I only do mortgages.

    “There is nothing stopping any agent, from any brokerage writing a blog post on rain city guide”
    This isn’t totally true. RCG is not free for anyone to post, I believe that Dustin approves the contriubutor (at least that how it used to be pre-M).

  76. Rhonda Porter says:

    the request showings from the IDX map will go to M Realty agents associated with the site

    so I write a post as about mortgage related (or even one of my existing established posts) which attracts home buyers to RCG… they then check out the cool map/home search tool and then possibly wind up with an M agent.

    This is where I get into trouble with the agents I have been working with for the past 20 years and agents whom have yet to decide if they want to work with me.

    My blogging efforts are feeding M agents. Google juice or not–a buyer is not going to use me to write their contract or show them homes since I’m not a real estate agent. I only do mortgages.

    “There is nothing stopping any agent, from any brokerage writing a blog post on rain city guide”
    This isn’t totally true. RCG is not free for anyone to post, I believe that Dustin approves the contriubutor (at least that how it used to be pre-M).

  77. Simon why did you not answer my question? 342647??

    Other then giving Dustin more traffic….Which I even question………What will you offer the consumer.

    When clients get kicked to your “kick ass” agents what will they be offering Dustin’s visitors???

    “if the blog post is of good quality or directly resonates with the reader – the reader will contact the author directly, not the generic 1800# displayed (we have tested this extensively)”–Then why feed the M Agents? Has Dustin interviewed your Washington State Agents and approved their professionalism/track record/ anything? because in the end they were FED to you from RCG (Dustin). I hope he has!

    The fact is this Zillow crushed HouseValues.com (LEDR) with a superior product. Dustin’s attempts at increasing traffic flow through a “kick ass” search tool will prove very futile. People bring people and when you offer a COMPLETELY NEUTRAL SITE like Seattle Bubble you will find yourself on King 5, Kiro, Komo, and be far more successful in the end!

    Dustin you have made a mistake.

  78. Simon why did you not answer my question? 342647??

    Other then giving Dustin more traffic….Which I even question………What will you offer the consumer.

    When clients get kicked to your “kick ass” agents what will they be offering Dustin’s visitors???

    “if the blog post is of good quality or directly resonates with the reader – the reader will contact the author directly, not the generic 1800# displayed (we have tested this extensively)”–Then why feed the M Agents? Has Dustin interviewed your Washington State Agents and approved their professionalism/track record/ anything? because in the end they were FED to you from RCG (Dustin). I hope he has!

    The fact is this Zillow crushed HouseValues.com (LEDR) with a superior product. Dustin’s attempts at increasing traffic flow through a “kick ass” search tool will prove very futile. People bring people and when you offer a COMPLETELY NEUTRAL SITE like Seattle Bubble you will find yourself on King 5, Kiro, Komo, and be far more successful in the end!

    Dustin you have made a mistake.

  79. It’s all so very “The King is dead; long live the King”, except without any tribute to the dead King first.

    Jillayne and Rhonda, it has been my great pleasure to be part of something with you that we could all be very proud of. I know that you devoted much of yourself to the greater effort of Rain City Guide. I for one will always appreciate your commitment and devotion to RCG, and totally understand how this happening “to you”, without any consideration of how it will affect you, is a huge slap in the face.

    Simon,

    Please don’t be offended that we need to mourn our great loss. The more people act like there is no great loss, the more insulting that is to those who have given years of themselves to making something that is now gone. I mourned the loss of RCG when we went to magazine format, so I feel less of it now.I’ve always been able to read the handwriting on the wall. Rain City Guide is indeed dead, and there was no funeral or gold watches. It is very, very sad and we deserve the right to mourn that loss.

    Perhaps what is now in its place can and will be a good thing for Dustin, and so I wish him well with it. But there is no way it will be “Rain City Guide”. It can’t be. The motivation for the change is in direct conflict with who we have been to date. The more you expound on the monetary and lead generating and lead capture benefits, the more painfully true you drive home that point.

    We have never contacted a person as a “lead” here, even though we knew everyone’s email address. We did not blog to capture people…in fact we blog AGAINST capturing people and doing things for lead generation purposes. The mere fact that this is the great “selling” point of the change, is the reason why it is no longer “Rain City Guide”…M brand or not.

    I hope you can understand that and give us a moment to mourn our loss without feeling attacked by our need to do so.

    Ray…I jumped on a train to get the answer to your question. All I can say is “Toto, we’re not in Portland anymore” on that one.

    • Ardell, you hit the nail on the head. I think I have been mourning the loss of RCG as I’ve known it for the past three years.

      I’ve been very torn about the changes that have been made.

  80. It’s all so very “The King is dead; long live the King”, except without any tribute to the dead King first.

    Jillayne and Rhonda, it has been my great pleasure to be part of something with you that we could all be very proud of. I know that you devoted much of yourself to the greater effort of Rain City Guide. I for one will always appreciate your commitment and devotion to RCG, and totally understand how this happening “to you”, without any consideration of how it will affect you, is a huge slap in the face.

    Simon,

    Please don’t be offended that we need to mourn our great loss. The more people act like there is no great loss, the more insulting that is to those who have given years of themselves to making something that is now gone. I mourned the loss of RCG when we went to magazine format, so I feel less of it now.I’ve always been able to read the handwriting on the wall. Rain City Guide is indeed dead, and there was no funeral or gold watches. It is very, very sad and we deserve the right to mourn that loss.

    Perhaps what is now in its place can and will be a good thing for Dustin, and so I wish him well with it. But there is no way it will be “Rain City Guide”. It can’t be. The motivation for the change is in direct conflict with who we have been to date. The more you expound on the monetary and lead generating and lead capture benefits, the more painfully true you drive home that point.

    We have never contacted a person as a “lead” here, even though we knew everyone’s email address. We did not blog to capture people…in fact we blog AGAINST capturing people and doing things for lead generation purposes. The mere fact that this is the great “selling” point of the change, is the reason why it is no longer “Rain City Guide”…M brand or not.

    I hope you can understand that and give us a moment to mourn our loss without feeling attacked by our need to do so.

    Ray…I jumped on a train to get the answer to your question. All I can say is “Toto, we’re not in Portland anymore” on that one.

    • Ardell, you hit the nail on the head. I think I have been mourning the loss of RCG as I’ve known it for the past three years.

      I’ve been very torn about the changes that have been made.

  81. What I don’t understand, Rhonda, is why did I feel that when the magazine format came in, but you and Jillayne did not seem to back then? Why is M getting the brunt of this, when RCG obviously did a swan dive before they entered the scene?

    • I didn’t like the magazine style change either…but I did not understand your degree of disappointment until this.

      I wasn’t big on the last change however, it was the same recipe of contributors and at around that time, Dustin had appointed us (you, me and Jillayne) as “editors” of RCG…which I took as a “thank you” for contributing and as a little extra responsibility to the site with regards to moderating/fishing comments out of spam.

      I really don’t like how now we cannot really see the comments–in my opinion this format does not encourage dialogue. Trying to keep up with comments if someone replies mid-thread is not fun and takes up too time.

      The latest adjustments to RCG have more of a potential negative impact on my mortgage practice.

      • Rhonda: In terms of the new comment issue you’re having, I noticed that the theme was just updated a bit (I think it was updated because it was an issue for me a few days ago) so that the comments anchors now work. In other words, when a comment is made (you can click on one of the recent comments below for example) it should take you directly to the comment. Does that help?

  82. “RCG has always been open to contributors from other brokerages. Why should M be any different than Courtney or Reba or Jim or Chuck or Ray…we are not “a band of agents

  83. Hi Jillayne,
    Ive been testing all the IE 8 machines I can find. Can you tell us what operating system you are using (windows xp, vista etc)? I havent been able to reproduce the issue yet.

    Thanks

  84. Ardell, I’m not sure if you or Dustin are “getting” the concerns that (IMO) Jillayane, Tim and I are sharing. As business people where some of our business comes from real estate agents recommending our services, it’s a difficult for us to appear as though we are supporting or endorsing ANY real estate brokerage. Over the last 10 years, if I were to peg which brokerage has probably directed me the most business, I’d have to say Windermere…BUT you will not ever find me blogging for Windermere (or JLS, CBB, ReMax, Redfin…etc).

    Dustin’s move, whether intended or not, endorsed M Realty.

  85. Increased traffic doesn’t matter a lot to me as a contributor. I don’t write for that. It’s a side benefit.

    Contributors to RCG seem to have lesser value with the changes made over time. Jillayne and I have been writing here about three years…I know Ardell has a bit longer. Back when I first started contributing there was a sidebar with our photos, links, etc. It was an honor to be on the side bar as a “featured contributor” to RCG. With the magazine style that Dustin changed to prior to the M move…some of us were pegged as “editors” and put on an upper rung on the bottom of the blog with other contributors on the next rung and those who write less frequently linked on the bottom.

    We’ve been swiped from the site now. Yes…we have links…but our “presence” has been reduced dramatically.

  86. Rhonda,

    Not sure how to answer that because I don’t know.

    For the majority of the site’s life, we’ve always had the logo of Anna’s brokerage in the sidebar… and probably more relevant in terms of competition, we’ve had a home search tool at the top of the sidebar of RCG for the majority of the site’s life that led directly to Anna’s IDX page hosted at annaluther.com (Including when all of the most active contributor’s started blogging).

    I guess I don’t see much changing in that RCG’s endorsement doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot compared to the endorsement of the readers. Despite the search box in the top-right panel, Anna got a fraction of the clients that Ardell did because she simply wasn’t as compelling of a writer (nor nearly as prolific!)

    As others have noted, if someone’s writing compelling content, then they’re the ones more likely to pick up the readers as clients. That’s always been the case with RCG and I’m positive will continue to be the case going forward… If agents write posts that are compelling to consumers, they’ll get clients on the site.

    I hope the M Realty folks won’t be too surprised to hear this, but I don’t see them being able to out-compete the existing crop of contributors to RCG. You guys are simply too darn good! :) The main place I could see them helping out RCG (and the only place I really see then earning clients) is on creating focused landing pages that do well in the search engines. Those pages, which for the most part are out of the flow of the blog, could tap into a huge audience of people we currently don’t reach (because we’re simply not relevant with a good IDX search) and will (hopefully!) bring even more people into the blog.

    I could definitely be wrong about how effective this strategy will be, but I honestly wouldn’t do it if I thought it was something that would be bad for the existing contributors.

  87. PatentGuy I was just teasing you… you can call me anything…just don’t call me late for dinner. ;)

    I wish I could have helped you with your loan in Hawaii….I’m still licensed only for homes in WA state…I am honored that you considered me…and ditto that you appreciate our contributions at RCG.

  88. I didn’t like the magazine style change either…but I did not understand your degree of disappointment until this.

    I wasn’t big on the last change however, it was the same recipe of contributors and at around that time, Dustin had appointed us (you, me and Jillayne) as “editors” of RCG…which I took as a “thank you” for contributing and as a little extra responsibility to the site with regards to moderating/fishing comments out of spam.

    I really don’t like how now we cannot really see the comments–in my opinion this format does not encourage dialogue. Trying to keep up with comments if someone replies mid-thread is not fun and takes up too time.

    The latest adjustments to RCG have more of a potential negative impact on my mortgage practice.

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