Riding the OC Wave…

I took a drive last night to meet up with the fine folks at Sellsius and more than a few others at the Rooftop Bar of La Casa del Camino in Laguna Beach. What an awesome spot with an amazing view (unfortunately, I arrived at the bar a little late for getting good photos from the deck and instead you’ll have to suffice with this photo taken directly below the bar to get an idea:


I captured some of the people who showed up in this photo:
(Back row: Laurie Manny of Long Beach, Kaye Thomas of Beach City, Heather, Rory Siems of Laguna Niguel, Joe Ferrara of Sellsius, and myself. Front row: Brian Brady of Amarica’s Most Opinionated Mortgage Broker and Rudy Bachraty of Sellsius)

Some others who showed up (but didn’t make the above photo) included Sarah Washburn of ActiveRain, Tisza Major-Posner of Route66, Loren Nason of Real Estate Technology, Kelly Kilpatricks of Rancho Santa Margarita and Morgan Brown of Blown Mortgage.

I’m a bit late to the game in that most everyone else has covered the event… Suffice to say, I had a blast and heard a ton of great stories! So many of the people in attendance have been living in breathing the RE.net for a while now that they were able to get me back up to speed with all kinds of juicy stories.

Thanks again to the Sellsius boys for organizing the event.

BTW, I’ve added a few more photos from this event on Flickr . 🙂

Interview with Rudy and Joe of the Sellsius Blog

In terms of real estate bloggers, Joe and Rudy are at the top of their game… Follow their blog for a little while and it becomes obvious that these are two guys who are committed to understanding, tracking and promoting the real estate blogosphere. I can’t be the only one to wonder if I’ll ever get a sneak peak at the money-making side of their operation (which was first announced on RCG in August 2005), but that is besides the point because this interview is about blogging and there is no doubt these guys have played a pivotal role in shaping the connections between real estate bloggers as it exists today!

What inspired you to start blogging?

We started blogging very early. As Silver Sponsors of the Inman Connect NYC in January 2006, we attended several conferences on blogging and caught the bug. We were readers of RCG, Matrix, Inman & Property Grunt. Property grunt & Inman gave us positive press and encouragement and you gave us life as vaporware 🙂 We never forgot it. This really inspired us. In the beginning it was easier, since we had no readership to answer to. We felt, heck, no one is reading us so let’s do what we want. So, in a sense we inspired each other. We decided early on we’d break some rules, go our own way and see what happens. We’re still learning.

Are there any special topics or issues that you enjoy covering?

We enjoy marketing , branding, advertising, technology and personal stories. Our business is promoting our members, helping them attract more clients and improving their bottom line. We are always looking for anything new and innovative that can help them.

What have you done to personalize your blog?

Hopefully, our personality comes across in how we write, comment and choose our images. We try to interject humor and put the Sellsius° spin on a topic. We look for the exception to the rule and go against the grain when we feel it’s right. We stand up for the consumer’s right to informed choice, we advocate for professionals and want to improve the industry we love.

Do you have any favorite posts?

We love all our Zillow posts, especially Unzillowable, To Coin a Phrase and Mining The Elusive Unzillowable, where JF debates David G. We are also proud of the Bell Labs posts where we collaborated with Ryan Block of Engadget to save a piece of technology history. We felt like journalists covering a story. We liked Realtor’s Allan Dalton Calls Zillow Carnival Act because we got to create our best Selltoon°. We also like our promo pieces (Mary Kay Gallagher and Willie Williams). We did a Year’s Best Posts so you get an idea of what we liked. We like a lot of what we do because we’re having so much fun.

What are some of your favorite blogs (real estate or otherwise)?

We try to keep up with everyone in the real estate blogos. We would not choose a favorite because at different times we follow different blogs. It depends on the topic discussed. Zillow posts always get JF’s attention. Copyblogger is a must read. We also like Lifehacker, Micro Persuasion, TechCrunch, PronetAdvertising. There are so many more. We still visit grow-a-brain and Joe likes some Russian sites. We find a lot of great writing & commenting on Active Rain.

What tools/websites do you find most helpful in putting together your blog?

Bloglines, tabbed browsing, the Wire Services, YouTube, Wikipedia (often better than Google), Firefox extensions like AIOS & Stumbleupon, Google’s Images, Alerts, & News. Fast Stone Capture for screenshots & resizing images is a MUST. Tiny URL, CoComment & Commentful are useful commenting tools.

How does blogging fit into the overall marketing of your business?

The blog helps build the Sellsius° brand and we will use it to promote our membership. We are big believers in branding. We want the Sellsius° brand to represent trust, honesty, caring, knowledge and PASSION.

What plans do you have to improve your blog over this next year?

We can’t be too specific other than saying we are going to better promote others, including other bloggers. We will also partner with other bloggers for new ideas we have for the genre. We have already collaborated on a consumer facing blog called MyHouseKey.org.

What is the one tool or feature that you wish your site had?

We invented the Blog Surfer to help retrieve archived posts in a new way and increase page views. The blog surfer is a random remote control, a blog post stumbleupon. We would like it to be tag or category specific so you could surf only marketing posts, for example. Our page views skyrocketed with the surfer.
A tool I’d like to see is an automatic Table of Contents Creator where each post title would be sent to a categorized Table of Contents, with a corresponding link to the post. Blogs are like books and a Table of Contents is necessary. But keeping a Table of Contents up to date is cumbersome. If you visit our Table of Contents, it needs updating.

What do you think real estate blogging will look like 3 years from now?

Blogs will be attached to every real estate website. Every blog will have advertising of some kind. That won’t even take 3 years, maybe only 1. More contributing writers. More hired writers. Payment gateways to transact business on the blog. Blogs will be more varied. Skype on every blog. Blogoholics galore.

Thank you both Joe and Rudy for indulging me in this great interview!

Want more? Here are some more interviews with other influential people within the real estate blogosphere: