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Donna Ferrell…, Real Estate Pro in Los Angeles, CA

Thoughts on the Active Rain Site - User Friendly or Stone Age?

Asked by Donna Ferrell, Broker, Los Angeles, CA Sat Jun 26, 2010

Observation: Not very user friendly, for months now I have been trying to upgrade my Active Rain site, with new photos etc. Well without getting into it ( would not be enough space) they make it impossible to change anything. A logo/pick has to be a jpeg has to be precisely 600x600 pixels, oh my word.... and, help is like a vacuous worm hole. You put a request in, and who knows where it goes. Is it just me?

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By the way --- re-sizing a photo is quite easy.

If you have Microsoft Office, you can right click on the photo file and choose "Open with....Microsoft Office Picture Manager."

Click on the tab that says "Edit Pictures" (this is NOT the same thing as "Edit" on the control bar)

A menu bar will pop up that gives you options on editing

Choose, under "Change Picture size: either:
1. Resize (to make it easier, just enter what % yo uwant it reduced) or
2. Compress picture -- which gives you the option to reduce the size of the file for documents (print flyer, for example), or for web pages. Choose which option you want -- then save the compressed picture as another file while you keep the original as a master copy.

You can do the same thing when editing in Picassa.

Good luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 27, 2010
Hi Donna,

I'm with you: Stone Age. I must tell you, they've got the same 30-35 agents that they constantly feature in their blogs, whether the topic is stupid, horrendous, or simply OFF-topic. Some of their topics are outright offensive. I've noticed that probably 40-50% of their blogs are not even about real estate, just tons of whining and b*tching about this business. How embarrassing, really.

I read more than a few comments from agents that noted that many of the 'stars' and 'top bloggers' on AR are in reality pretty bad at selling/listing homes. One agent said he checked up on a 'rainmaker' agent in his area and saw that the guy hasn't sold or listed a home in a year. They probably have a VERY low following among consumers, whereas Trulia attracts both in droves. AR is really a b*tching forum between agents, a place to vent about how horrible buyers and sellers are and how miserable agents are from their clients.

Stick with Trulia. Zillow is for entertainment purposes only. AR doesn't even rank. I still love CL as a top pick, too.

GOOD LUCK!

Scott Miller
Realty Associates
Boca Raton, FL
Web Reference: http://www.SunnyBoca.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 26, 2010
Donna,
That is one of the delimas real estate folks face, we want to use the 'stuff' but have neither the time or patience to read the volumes of instructions in the 'quick start' guide. :)
We want results with as little intrusion as possible or our most precious resource...TIME.

Of great importance is to understand what the goal of your AR participation is to be? Understanding a real value that can be derived, that truly benefits your consumer facing promotions, is based on the highest ranked search engine rating element. A pretty AR page is not relevant. Understanding AR benefits to you, then leveraging those attributes to benefit your enterprise is essential. Don't get distracted by the internal competition among r.e. folks. Stay focused on what benefits your business....of course if you are trolling for r.e. agent referrals....then AR has another purpose.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 24, 2011
Thanks for the Post and all the answers. Have not pursued Active Rain with any conviction as yet. I will just continue to "bother" all of my Trulia associates!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 24, 2011
The photos you put in your AR blog posts, the embedded videos and their size up to you. You can upload an image, and it gives your the option of resizing, make it word wrap and even how much spacing in pixels. As for logo, profile shot, AR gives you an HD option and you want it to look as good as possible to give professional image in your branding, marketing. Too many fuzzy, cell phone images that are not the look you want right? There are 200,000 members to get help from, just ask. I'll hunt you up and help you anyway I can if you are still blogging on AR. Never had a problem with Bob Stewart of others on AR staff emailing, evening calling me back the same day and I was impressed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 23, 2011
Wow-

Your post really is getting some attention! Active Rain is far from the stone age.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 28, 2010
Hello Donna,

Most of what we learned in regard of SEO (search engine optimization) and web presence development, we learned it from ActiveRain through free webinars and other agents blogs.

Now we are giving back and offering free classes for agents on how to get their online content rank higher in SERP through mainly the LTK strategy.

ActiveRain is truly unique but is not for everyone. It takes dedication and consistency to make it work. I don’t think one can really understand the power of AR until being able to rank on the first page of Google most of their blogs.

As for the technical challenges about the picture, Pacita provided a good solution. I can relate with your frustration as I can get frustrated myself with every day technical challenges but that’s everywhere…

I have added my ActiveRain profile in the Web References-

Thank you again and have a great week-
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 28, 2010
Donna - we can help you. We have folks helping members full-time to assist you with whatever challenges you may be experiencing. We also have an online University where we teach you the ins-and-outs of ActiveRain and Social Media Blogging for free. We'll even come to your city and put on RainCamps to help our members in a "Live" setting. But tryin g to help our members via posts put up outside our network can take time to finds and respond to. You may want to just contact one of our staff directly in the future so we can give you quicker and more efficient support. Feel free to contact me directly anytime, I'd be happy to help. You can reach me at brad@activerain dot com. I am the community manager there and would be happy to see that you get the support you're seeking and deserve. Thanks. Sorry you have had such a challenging time on our site, hopefully we can make it up to you. :-)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 27, 2010
WOW I am sooo sorry you have had problems with Activerain. To me it is one of the easiest blog sites out there .

However with anything based on experience of person using it .

I am one of the top bloggers on A/R authored 870 posts.

TRUST me I have no time "mess with tech problems" if that were case I would have left 3 years ago when I joined.

Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Loan Officer, Credit Repair Advisor
The Michael Group - Dallas Business Journal Top Ranked Realtors
972-699-9111
http://www.lynn911.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 27, 2010
Hi Donna:

Active Rain is just fine. Pacita has given you excelletn advice.

Good luck Donna.

Best Regards
Perry
Web Reference: http://www.ruthandperry.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 27, 2010
Donna:

I find Acrive Rain to be cutting edge, state of the art. Active Rain has changed and is evolving. I've experienced the and am still experiencing the same issue with the 600X600 image. http://activerain.com/mmk ~ Every request for Help has always been handled very quickly and professionally.

Active Rain is a fantastic portal and should be on the top of every real estate or mortgage professionals aresenal.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 27, 2010
AR's pitch to sell premium memberships is not that buyers/sellers will find an agent on AR, it's that blogs produced on AR get better positioning on search engines. I mentioned to their salesman that I do my blog on my WordPress page, he said it's better to enter the blog on AR first, then enter it a few days later on other sites, including Trulia, WordPress, etc. I signed up for AR Rainmaker and looked at the results. When I search my name and "real estate" on Google, references to my web site (which incorporates my WordPress blog) come up first, then Trulia, then AR, then Zillow. Linked In and some other sites also come up on the first page. AR is a great place to communicate with other agents, but I don't believe it's a great advertising channel. While I'm at it.... I've spoken with many top producers regarding blogging - most that blog don't actually blog, they have a staffer or contractor post blogs in their name, just as they have people who develop and place ads.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 27, 2010
Hi Donna,

Active Rain is great as a real estate professional community forum. If you are into that sort of thing and feel you want and need the support. I really like the "Localism" feature to highlight my listings in a Google friendly format. I haven't had any difficulty with navigating the system beyond the initial hunting and pecking that goes along with any new program. I've seen some incredible bloggers there, but like others, I feel like it is more of a "look at me" forum than a true discussion amongst the top producers. And, I have seen some highlighted blogs that made me cringe for myself and fellow Realtors. As a top producer I do not have time to prepare elaborate blogs simply to increase my visibility amongst other professionals/competitors. I focus on service to my clients. I also concur that top bloggers do not make top producers.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 27, 2010
Hmmmm

I saw this question on Zillow, too

My answer is the same: next time you log on to ActiveRain, scroll down to the bottom of your screen and click on the tab that says HELP/FAQ. http://activerain.com/groups/helpfaq

Start there.

You will find a ton of information on how-tos not just on things you can do on Active Rain, but also give you some ideas on what you can do on other sites. That's the first place you should check out.

Stone Age? Hardly!. The Active Rain team and many contributors are so far ahead of the game. With the thousands of real estate professionals (agents, escrow officers, lenders, stagers, attorneys, photographers, transaction cooordinators, etc) there is so much good information to pick up. Maybe you should participate in their Active Rain University, or go to an Active Rain Camp.

You just need to know where to look.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 27, 2010
I like the ability to connect with Realtors across the country. Also, the Localism sites & re-blog function are great for content driven purposes.
In terms of pic sizes, I feel your pain. it seems like I am having to always re-size photos for some site.
Cheers,
Kim
Web Reference: http://kimandkristine.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 26, 2010
I have just started within the last month over there. i have found it not very easy to use and update however some people have figured it out becuase i see some great pages. I just wish they would share it with the rest of us.
Web Reference: http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 26, 2010
I think Active Rain is a great site that has its place in the Realtor's blogging arsenal.
Deborah Bremner
REALTOR, 00588885
(D) 818.564.6591
TheBremnerGroup@gmail.com
Blogging at: http://TheBremnerGroup.com/blog
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 26, 2010
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