Blog Wars: It's everywhere.

The last month has been educational for me in a lot of ways about our industry and confirmed a lot of my thoughts, both good and bad. There is a lot of passion out there in the blogosphere and out in the work place. The one nugget I always come away with is that the real estate industry is full of very independent people who are fierce in the way they do business and in the manner in which they convey their positions on issues. Both in the work place and blogging, some are professional, others make fools of themselves, intended or not.

One common denominator I see is that people genuinely want to improve our industry, its function and image. The problem is, how can that happen with such fragmented independent practitioners that all play a part in this industry? There are so many moving parts with industry specific (lending, title, escrow, Realtors, consumers) internal self-serving issues. Perhaps this fragmentation of independent real estate practitioners is a core reason why the industry and associated moving parts has suffered from image and credibility problems for so long. Just take a recent look at all the folks that were operating under the radar over the past two or three years with criminal records.

Recently, I don’t know how many times on local or national blogs and forums, I’ve seen the quote from agents and loan officers, “sure be glad to see (insert any practitioner here) get out of the business,” or “I’ll be happy if there are less (insert practitioner) here as this market shifts,” and so on. Again, the problem is, everyone is saying it. It’s like each team praying to God…..”and help us beat the other team.”

Passion and Blog Wars extend far outside our real estate industry. That’s what is so interesting to me as a small business owner involved in the real estate industry and blogging. I know this is foreign for many of my friends and colleagues in the real estate business, but here goes anyway: The world does not revolve around real estate. The Blog Wars extend into every crack and corner of our society: soccer mom’s, politics, economics, Church, professional sports and the “Holy Land of Blogging” known as the technology and software industry.

32 thoughts on “Blog Wars: It's everywhere.

  1. I came to the Rain City Guide blog because I read about it in the book Realty Blogging. I am a Real Estate agent in Charleston, SC and am in the process of setting up a blog and new website. WOW, what a day to tune in. Tim, I would like to know what type of business you are in and why the hostility toward Real Estate agents?

    Please enlighten me as I am embarking into an area that is new to me. Perhaps your feedback may help me understand what NOT to do!


  2. Tim, I read that article over my coffee and toast this morning and it kind of cracked me up. We do become so focused on our industries…perhaps because we do blog about it. This is a nice reminder for when we butt heads with differing opinions that a majority of those participating (writing and commenting) on blogs are passionate about what we believe in.

  3. Cindy,

    Sometimes “kicking and screaming” is what is needed to initiate real change. So If Tim’s post appears “hostile” to you…hang on to your hat! It is NOT! If you want to write cute little posts about “how does your garden grow”, and we all do from time to time, but never talk about where the industry needs to change, then RCG may not be the place you want to “learn from”.

    There are many kinds of real estate industry blogs, and very few that are about change in the industry and digging deeper into it’s dirtiest places. Don’t be disheartened. Just go find another blog to emulate.

  4. “The problem is, how can that happen with such fragmented independent practitioners that all play a part in this industry?”

    When there is one little thing that needs to be tweaked, you can have a calm meeting of industry insiders to resolve the issue. When 100 years of Tradition is being challenged, you can’t get enough people in the room to agree on the big changes needed.

    There was an issue a couple of years back that caused Kim and I and three other Brokersto be in a room. It was by each Broker’s standpoint a clear cut issue as to resolution. Each and EVERY Broker in the room however, ALL FIVE, had a different take on it.

    That is when I realized that Glenn Kelman’s “it’s broke” was quite correct. How to fix it will take a lot of bloody wars, and at the end we may only have a 5% to 10% change 🙁 It’s because no one was able to make the small changes for the last 15 years that were needed. So now they have accumulated into a huge problem and too many want the status quo of 20 years ago.

    In the aftermath of that Broker Meeting I reference, agents approached me and basically said, “Kill him! Get his license taken away! We’ll help! What do you need us to do?” But when the issue which invoved consumer confusion and agency issues was discussed, NONE of them knew anything about that. They just wanted their toughest competitor’s license taken away. I was flabbergasted and withdrew the complaint. If the real result that would benefit consumers was not going to be addressed, I refused to make this one agent the scapegoat to the glee of the agent’s competitors.

    I reported the issue and continue to write about that issue to try to change the system. But I refused to deliver the agent’s head on a silver platter for the wrong reasons and to the wrong result.

  5. Woops, I guess the post came out the wrong way. That’s blogging. The main point I was trying to convey was that Blog Wars are going on in so many industries outside of real estate. The Seattle Times article I linked to inspired my writing. And yes, I know I’m lousy at writing and putting my thoughts in my brain into text. It took me like over an hour or so just to do this small missive. 🙂

    Yes Rhonda, my article also cracked me up, because I got a picture of a cartoon in my brain with two real estate agents or LO’s blogging at their PC’s typing the exact same thing: “I’ll be glad to see less agents (or LO’s).”

    Sure, a lot of the topics are difficult to work through, but I think that if there was one thing Lynlee and I wish to convey is that we are trying to drop hints to the very good people in the industry about how they are perceived by their peers and very own customers. It is not always the easiest thing to hear, but constructive.

    Escrow is very unique in that regard. What goes on in closings, the conversations escrow staff hear (wherever agents and lo’s close) is fascinating.

    PS. If you ever want to see what goes on in escrow offices and how customers, loan officers and agents react to very stressful situations, feel free to ask ANY of the tenants in our office building up stairs or down the hall from us. What happened last week would have made any of the Real Estate Reality TV shows. Where’s the live streaming Web-TV when we needed it, lol!

    Cindy, since you asked, I’m in the business of paying off utility bills, some taxes & lots of credit cards. Teasing of course!

  6. Tim, I think I read your post as you meant it to be…maybe that’s because of reading the article this morning! I loved the images, too. I think I need a Mrs Potato clip for a post so I can be a common-tator (the images kind of reminded me of a cross between Mr Potato and Mr Bill from SNL). 🙂

  7. Here’s the problem; Real Estate is a financial decision we all have the right, privledge, or are entitled to make in the United States of America. When you talk to people from other countries they will tell you that is what makes America great. The American Dream is of creating wealth on your own terms. Real Estate is one way of creating wealth. It is perhaps the most common way anyone can build wealth. The key words there are “any one.”
    In the past five years Real Estate prices have gotten out of control. The term Cheer Leaders of Real Estate has become a common phrase. The Board of Realtors, Master Buiders Association, along with Banks, and Corporate Lending Institutions drove a political frenzy at Home Ownership. George W. Bush made a series of speeches about Home Ownership. It was a campaign where a whole bunch of people made money and every government agency collected tax dollars.
    There was so much money floating around a snake oil salesman began promoting an internet company called rodfun. He went to Congress about it and my tax dollars were spent promoting this ridiculous swindle of the American public. You can now buy a house, get a loan, and have it insured without leaving your computer. The madness really began when people began taking this seriously.
    Today we have thousands of Home Owners in deep financial trouble. Our government is scrambling to figure out how to prop up our economy. Banks are closing, the stock market is reeling. The dollar is devalued and we are talking about a blog war.

  8. David, you bring up many issues. Yep, the excesses of yesteryear are coming home to roost and, for some, we don’t like the consequences. So, instead of facing the challenge head on we postpone it or do other things like devalue the dollar which has its own set of thorns. You kind of put it all in perspective, thus, one of the reasons I suggested that “the world does not revolve around real estate.” For example, (not to change the subject) Pakistan unraveling. Sadly, a friend of mine could not point out Pakistan on a map. My friend’s world is very closed. A country in political choas with nukes is not good regardless of where one is on the political spectrum.

  9. Hi Tim,

    I read your article this morning, and then went out for a walk and thought about it for awhile. Now that the day’s over, it’s interesting to see what people think about the blog wars.

    Taking a step back and looking at, for example, real estate blog wars from a sociological perspective. Humans have always been at war with each other in one form or another. Go back hundreds if not thousands of years. We, as humans, don’t have a very solid track record on “always agreeing with each other on everything.”

    I think the world would be a pretty boring place if we all agreed. Like a Stepford world. We’d all be robots. Instead, we think and feel and sometimes feel very passionate about what we believe.

    Likewise, blogging is very boring if everyone just does “attaboys” for comments, which is why I never really understood the draw to ActiveRain, which rewards bland comments.

    Blogging wars are nothing but conflict, inherent in human nature.

    Morality exists to control conflict (I didn’t say that; I think Nietzsche said that.) So we have rules, like attack the argument, not the person, because flaming is nothing more than launching a grenade using words.

    Conflict is also an opportunity to learn more about the other person. I’ll never forget the first time I was attacked with words by the seattlebubble readers. I couldn’t figure out why they were doing that. Then I started reading seattlebubble and I really began to understand them as a group…and I realized I had more in common with them than I thought.

    Blog wars = dynamic, conflictual dialogue.

    Blog peace = boring, happy-happy, polyanna talk.

    I’d rather read and play blog wars.

    Well, I always did like playing war with the boys in the neighborhood when I was a kid. I bet you would have never guessed that.

  10. Jillayne,

    I guess for me, the interesting thing was that blog wars (debates) are entrenched in so many venues and topics outside of r.e. I was reading the Seahawks blog last night and same thing, people carrying on and on. It’s everywhere.

    As you mentioned, I’ve heard about that similar sentiment about Active Rain too.

  11. Personally, I prefer a healthy debate over a “blog war”. 😉 Actually, when I write a post, 90% of the time I’m trying to help inform consumers and hopefully shed some light about the mortgage industry. My blog reward is when a consumer says “thanks, I understand” or “this info helps”. I don’t receive the same satisfaction when I have a post with tons of comments due to a “blog war”. There’s a difference between a healthy debate and blog war.

  12. Ardell,

    Are you related to Tim??? I was open and honest with my inexperience in blogging and was sincerely curious as to what I perceived as “hostility” toward the business. I am looking to start a blog related to a particular area and market that will be information for consumers. Not really geared toward the business of Real Estate and what needs to change. Your suggestion to find another RE blog to imulate was offensive. Not sure what is going on in your market, but around here we are still looked at as professionals who service a particular need to our consumers. My blog may be full of consumer information to assist in the sale and purchase of homes…and yes, I may even have a few cute quips on “how does your garden grow?”. Thats the culture we have here.

    Ya’ll have a good day! 🙂


  13. LOL Cindy,

    Tim and I are not related. One of the most common issues when one moves from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 is that they perceive hostility in “the conversation of Web 2.0”. It’s part of the learning curve.

    As you were open, honest and sincere in your question, I was equally so in my suggestion regarding emulation.

  14. Jillayne: Right on, girl. We are gonna fight – always – it’s humanity to the core. The only variables are what’s the subject, whose the “we” and “they” and how high is the heat.

    Tim: What I really love about blogging is that people ARE reading and writing instead of just watching the tube. I’ll bet more people can find countries on the map now than before blogging because folks WANT to be literate and aware. Just listening – well reading – posts and comments and seeing how well thought out some positions are is inspiring.

  15. Ardell,

    You have brought up very valid and interesting points in your comments. Giving Cindy a bit of a reality check on these topics is greatly beneficial.

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