Remember Dustin's Project Blogger Apprentice?

Million Dollar Listing

Million Dollar Listing

Back in April of 2007, Dustin chose Madison as his Project Blogger Apprentice.  My Apprentice, Kevin Tomlinson of South Beach Luxury Condo Fame (also very hot), clued me in today on Madison’s Cover debut on PlayGirl Magazine.

Madison is also one of the stars of Million Dollar Listing

Madison Hildebrand Million Dollar Listing

Madison Hildebrand Million Dollar Listing

Your Mama of The Real Estalker reported a few posts ago about one of the other stars of the show being released on $100,000 bail.  If you are into “hard core real estate porn”, I highly recommend The Real Estalker.  It’s a fast paced great read, and one of Kevin’s Favorite Blogs.

Someone wanted to do a “Where are the Apprentices?” a year later, but I don’t think anyone would have guessed “On the Cover of Playgirl Magazine” 🙂

The new (2nd) season of Million Dollar Agent airs Tuesday Night, August 5th on Bravo.

REALTOR (R) Magazine Welcomes Web 2.0

REALTOR (R) Magazine’s March issue has as it’s cover story: “Welcome to Real Estate 2.0”.

0308 cvr toc 1 2 3 4 5 6 7The article gives an overview of Web 2.0 and how a few innovative people in the real estate world have been on the leading edge of applying the new technology in effective ways. A few of the many well regarded real estate bloggers are mentioned including ARDELL DellaLoggia and Dustin Luther, and Rain City Guide as being one of the sites for promoting Web 2.0. Congratulations Dustin and ARDELL!

More leaders in Web 2.0 are highlighted such as St Paul Blogger Teresa Boardman of and Matt Heaton of the Real Estate Social Networking site ActiveRain in Bellevue. Some of the others also mentioned are Frances Flynn Thorsen (Realtygram Blogger) Jeff Turner (Turner’s Perspective ) and Daniel Rothamel (Real Estate Zebra blog)

A few large companies are joining in on the conversation, Coldwell Banker with Second Life, and is also joining with Scripps Networks (who owns HGTV) with their

Definitely exciting times in real estate with so much going on, and the Web 2.0 conversation (party!) is only just beginning!

Like a Virgin

Ever since I started my own blog, I feel like a virgin. It’s like I’m blogging for the first time. I feel so shiny and new. Although, there’s one thing I haven’t quite figured out. Perhaps the multi-bloggers out there can chime in. You see, I’m not quite sure where my blog begins and Rain City Guide ends. Right now, I try to keep the geekier stuff on my blog and the more general interest stuff here. Of course since Rain City Guide has such a large audience, there’s always the temptation to post everything here (even if it doesn’t belong here).

For example, I’m getting ready to start work on the next version of Zearch (codenamed: NIMITZ). I’m thinking about putting my design ideas & implementation notes on my blog. Does it belong there? Well, I think I’ll cross-post things that pass the floor wax and a desert topping test. If it’s geeky and real estate-y or blog-y (BTW – are those real words? It’s so much easier to add a -y than spell out real estate related or blog related) I probably should post on both, but keep the meat on my blog (kinda like what I did with my blogging with Word 2007 post).

I’m sure many folks who participate on ActiveRain face similar dilemmas. The Queen of RE blogging has given me her advice, but I figured more advice is better than less advice. Besides, I don’t have as much dirty laundry to air as she does. I guess I’ll just do what Madonna would’ve done. I’ll just get into a groove and post where it feels so good inside. Ooh baby… Yeah!

Survivor! – The Active Rain Edition

[photopress:survivor.jpg,thumb,alignright]I have spent the last seven days in the Alter-Blogosphere known as the Active Rain Network. Dustin had a few days off and “knocked on my door” and said “Mr. Harris, Can ARDELL come out and play?” and off we went, hand in hand to Active Rain.

Now I am not a big fan of the Survivor TV show, and so I need some help here from those who are. Basically the “Active Rain Island” permits participants to knock out their “competitors”, and I am stumped at what to do about it. I can’t seem to get any good advices from within, because the sabotaging of my efforts is not transparent enough for me to deal with on my own, and the kind people who are trying to help me have never seen this kind of behavior enacted toward them. So I’m at a Crossroads.

When Dustin and I started out over there, we studied the “rules”. OK you post five articles a day. You get 200 points for each article, 25 points for up to 10 comments on other people’s blogs per day, so forth and so on.

OH, and before I forget, I got 600 starter points for putting a message in my own blog’s sidebar saying “I am a PROUD MEMBER of the ActiveRain Real Estate Network.” Time to pop that baby out of my sidebar, unless someone can explain to me what is going on in better definitive terms.

For seven days I jumped through all the hoops, as far as I could ascertain what and where the hoops were, like a video game. I climbed from #11863 in the Network to #227 in just 7 days. From #644 in the State of Washington to #19 and in King County from #264 to #9. In an other than straight points format, I was up to NUMBER 4 in the State! I was a proud member, I was happy, I was working my butt off in true Survivor Style!

And then the other participants, or a few of them, can’t tell who or how many (though the administrators of the site can apparently see who is doing it and what they are doing) started whacking down my points! Holy Crap, Batman. What is THAT! Now I wish I had watched the Survivor show…I’m more like a Trump’s Apprentice type where you give it your best and the chips fall where they may. You try different images, different article styles, spent the week experimenting when all of a sudden I noticed something.

Twice I read “You get 200 points per article and that score rarely goes down, but it does grow upward based on poplularity and comments”. I’m looking at the hard work I put into my five articles a day and watching the points on most of them drop from 200 to 179 to 142 to 128…what the $*^%$)(*% is that! It’s Survivor tactics. Apparently “the system” permits some mean spirited people or some overly competitive people the opportunity to steal away my points. Not quite sure how, and I was assured they were being warned not to do that, and was further assured it would be corrected the next day…but, I wouldn’t be writing this if that were the case.

Not really sure what all this point stuff is about. But I am sure that I am NOT a PROUD member today. Question is, “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” I hate to give them the satisfaction that they got the better of me. But by the same token it is almost as much work as the freakin’ Sellsius 101, and in many ways even harder, especially with people pushing me down while I am climbing up. Do I want to be involved with a group that permits such petty and nasty activity?

Not sure what to do. Maybe a show of hands will help me here. Thanks.

10 Great Conversations

Just for fun, I started recording notes on real estate conversations I enjoy following and I decided that when the list hit ten, I’d hit publish:

  1. David Smith has a great (no wining allowed) article about the housing bubble. I only wish David interacted with the real estate blogging community a little more because his stuff is great but easily missed…
  2. Continuing on the bubble topic, Dan Melson puts on a great effort describing why renting really is for suckers (and what yo do about it). For me, this is a great example of why real estate professionals should not write about the bubble (David Smith being the exception! 🙂 ) It reminds me of the “fool“ish investment advice so popular in 1999/2000 that said it didn’t matter what price you bought a stock at as long as the company was good, you would make money in the long-term. Here’s my problem with this argument… If rents are cheaper than the interest payment (i.e. both of these being the completely sunk costs) and home prices go down slightly in the near future (which doesn’t seem inconceivable for selected markets in the country), then no amount of number juggling will replace the fact that if a potential home owner would be best served waiting to buy until the prices bottom out. I realize there are more than a few “ifs” in my statement, but my goal is not to say that it is a bad time to buy, only that a blanket statement “it is always a good time to buy” falls on deaf ears.
  3. On a related note, it is timely that the NYTs notes that rents are rapidly rising across most of the US (with Seattle being a highlighted area!).
  4. Greg shows off his custom signs. I think these are brilliant marketing moves and every agent should look for ways to market themselves through their listings. Beautiful stuff…
  5. And talking of beautiful ideas, Claudia Wicks mentions a very simple marketing idea ($1.50 simple) that could go a long way… There’s a beauty in simplicity (and it reminds me of an idea that Anna and I were batting around a while back…)
  6. And if you really want beauty, Fraser Beach takes staging to a new level by hiring actors (beautiful ones!) to play house during an open house
  7. It takes a certain level of confidence to have fun with your previous mistakes. (Kris is clearly a confident agent and I like that!)
  8. ActiveRain is getting some hype from both the Real Estate Tomato and the Future of Real Estate Marketing. I definitely think that Matt Heaton is onto something interesting, and he doesn’t get particularly phased by either Greg or Joel, which I think is a great sign.
  9. Because I’ve been there
  10. Greg (Linden this time!) creates a list with (nearly) all the Seattle start-ups and their associated Alexa rankings. It is a list that is definitely worth checking out as you might be surprised at the massive activity within the Seattle start-up community! For those interested, the rank of the real estate sites were: Zillow (976), Homepages (21,720), Redfin (22,117). RCG was not included in his list, but we are ranked at 75,844. You might also be interested to know that despite the fact that we’re not ranked as high as some of the other sites, our reach is right up there with HomePages and Redfin. (not bad for a site with no paid staff and $120/year hosting fees!). And since I mentioned ActiveRain earlier (and they are based in Kirkland), I think it is interesting to note that they are seeing awesome growth in the number of pageviews that is blowing away all the local real estate sites save Zillow. Considering their Alexa ranking is only 108,655, they are obviously creating a sticky user experience.