Question Details

Worldtraveler, Home Seller in Washington

Is Trulia Going To Put Realtor.Com Out Of Business?

Asked by Worldtraveler, Washington Tue Dec 15, 2009

This site is so much cooler. You get to ask so many questions

Help the community by answering this question:


Dan I gave you a TU. Please do the same for this post which, while useless, not informative or even entertaining, is at least more honestly selfish in its stated purpose.

Going for that level 2, baby!

5 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 19, 2009
Well let me address the Realtor .com vs Trulia question again as it pretty much sums up my current feelings... of course has it issues, most of them IMO seem to be their relations and pricing to place properties on the site for Agents....

But it is what it is...Listings from Agents and FSBO's listed thru Flat-fee services. If a Consumer goes to chances are the property they are looking at is actually for sale and because Agents wish to sell the the info, pictures, prices ect.. are most likely updated and accurate.

It is a site Consumers can use with a certain amount of confidence and they know it's a Realtor oriented site from the name..(I know who actually owns so let's avoid that debate). My point is they can ignore the Pro-Buy stuff because they are there to find properties.

In my opinion as long as works on it's relationship (Pricing ect.) it is here to stay and because it provides the most accurate listings of home actually for sale deserves to be #1 in that category...

Part 2 comment below
4 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 29, 2009
My head is spinning. It seems like all this counting stuff should be pretty straightforward but its making my brain hurt. Of course it may have to do with that extra glass of wine at the office party today...
Can't we just let the answers, comments, whatever, speak for themselves? Do consumers really give a darn about all this?
I think I need an another glass of wine.
Maybe then all this will become clearer.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 23, 2009
Louis, i would highly recommend a "forum" section on trulia where there are looser guidelines.

While agree that in an arena such as this one many comments may be inappropriate, I have bonded and enjoy bonding with members here on trulia -and offline- and it provides a camaraderie fo all involved.

It would allow for conversation and sport between members from all walks of life and, imho, it would be a great asset to your site.

The fact is that some of these conversations have created "real life" contacts for myself.

Though I generally delete comments that are "off topic" because I don't want them in my Q&A's in my profile to be judged by them by a potential client or by a Realtor who may refer business to me, I feel that at the time the comments were made they were appropriate and called for.

If there would be a forum format where we could all unwind a bit I think it would be beneficial to all.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 29, 2009
I agree with Dunes that anything that encourages empty repetitive postings/blogs is counterintuitive to maintaining a quality website. I find it ironic that you take issue with people repeating the same answers over and over (one of my stated pet peeves, by the way) yet your VIP system encourages that very thing.
If there is someway of rewarding quality answers and discouraging That Which Has Been Said Many Many Times Before, then I say go for it.
The way it is set up now isn't it.
I respectfully say, go back to the drawing board and keep trying.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 29, 2009
I get it...Post a lot of silly questions, meaningless blogs and answers and presto,,VIP3.......

Maybe I'll give it try since Thumbs up ect.. are meaningless (get as many points for posting an 1 sentence answer like I agree with as you get for a TU which many hardly ever get).

It's all about post post post

Maybe that's why when you google Trulia VIP you see a lot of "Become a Trulia Voices VIP! Here's how: Contribute Often It only takes 5 contributions per week to become a VIP! Strive for Quality ..."…

Really sounds like striving for Quality lol
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 29, 2009
I just read through this entire thread.(Took awhile cause I was riveted by my comments)

I applied my new Ranking system for my comments..You know 4 points for rude, 2 points for grumpy, 20 points for coherent, 1,000,000 points for creating a Profile, -20 points for commenting on Blogs and divided it by how many TU's Alan has and compared it to the 2008 Home sales stats....

I discovered that sometimes I may have been rude 2.16%, Tumultuous 47.9%, Too Anal litical 97.2% and correct 184%...All % are rounded to the nearest % and may not add up to exactly to 100%

So to the Mayors I apologize (Still have reservationssssss) but you were civil and took time to respond so thanks also...

To you Non-Mayors I apologize if I was grumpy and sarcastic and I admit sometimes unfair......

@ Joan..Please check my Profile ;)

The VIP Rankings...I'm still Right despite my Tremulousness (I really like that word)

#1 Grumpy Guy
Civil is just a word
3 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 21, 2009
Hi Debbie,

Thanks for your question.

Patrick - glad you made it to 110.....but I thought only 1 credit was given per answer - multiple answers on the same thread don't count - am I right or wrong?
Oh I won't be wasting time posting to the same question anymore. I'm going to get a nice repertoire of responses and then going to town on the questions. Seems like it works for some.

I'm going for the badges, buttons, ribbons, tiaras, crowns and cowboy hats. No................better yet.........I want that pointed hat the Pope wears. Yeah that's nice. Stands a little higher than a crown, tiara or cowboy hat.

Oh yeah, I just wanted to add one pet peeve to the list.

There------as in a place "It's over there"

Their-------as in belonging to "That is theirs"

They're----as is "They are...."

Tomorrows lesson..............Your and You're (Yore doesn't count for those playing at home)

Just had to get that in.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 20, 2009
I thought about replying to the useless banter here. Then I remembered I would probably not get a thumbs up for it and decided not to.

Then I realized I get a few points for posting drivel so I reconsidered it again.

Maybe I can catch up to a VIP level 3 this way.

I bet your NJ snow makes it to Maine. Please keep it all down there. I hate plowing and shoveling.

Debbie said "PS............ for the record - I'd be here doing this even without any badges, ribbons or bows...even without a total count showing how many responses I gave.................I am here because I enjoy adding my 2 cents, trying to be helpful..........learning a little bit along the way......and....... and schmoozing (sp?) with my trulia pals!"

That is basically the same reason I am on here. The only difference is I do not have an office for someone to contact me at. I bet almost all of those who post useful information would say the same thing Debbie did.

(I never got a tiara)
(I would prefer a cowboy hat)
3 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 19, 2009
Does it really matter?

The purpose of this site is to provide information and interaction – to build a meaningful online community. So far it’s worked just about like any large family gathering – there are the responsible adults, the bratty kids and then a few whacked out cousins who showed up cause they’re in the family and we couldn’t figure out a way to keep them away …

Anyone with any amount of sense can tell the difference between those who are simply answering ‘cause they can and those who put some thought and knowledge into their answers.

Alan, from our discussions you know that we didn’t ask for these badges (or even go looking for them), we didn’t suggest to anyone that we be Mayors (who knew), and haven’t been writing our comments to get kudos, a fancy badge or some cosmic blessing from somewhere – we do it because it helps people who need answers and it helps our clients. My blog is written to answer real questions my clients have, and if anyone else reads them, that’s OK too.

And, gosh darn it, it makes us better people at the end of the day as well …
3 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 18, 2009
By the time Emily gets back, Louis B should have his vip 1 badge. Happy New Year.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 31, 2009
Hi Worldtraveler,

It appears the question you asked has caused quite a fury among readers. If your question was rephrased, "Is this site going to stay in business?" then I think you would have gotten a resounding YES from nearly all respondents. Comparing this to is like comparing apples to oranges... they're both good, they both serve the public (internet users) and they both have a lot of content for everyone to enjoy. Still, YOUR question caused too many to compare and then far too many more to start analyzing the content on Trulia and judging the staff here at Trulia for their system of ranking contributors. I believe their system needs amending over time but you must remember that all input (contributions) are written... judging their value or worth is purely subjective. Who can say my answer has any more value than some other answer? Who can say long answers have more value than short answers? A less than good writer will say blah blah blah with 3 times the number of words than a skilled writer can say with just blah. Additionally, some are very gifted writers; others aren't. All in all, the Q&A and Blogs on Trulia give this real estate search site some true value in a world seeking the greatest consumer value... indefinitely. Trulia will make changes over time to increase its value and we will help make those changes happen with our input and contributions.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 30, 2009
[part 2 of 2]

[@Dan] "I think all of the above ignores the real question. WHY does the list exist? How can it really help consumers? Does it reflect other real estate agents opinions of other realtors outside of their area?"

Find a Pro is intended to be a tool for consumers to find real estate professionals in their area. There are a lot of professionals who use Trulia -- Find a Pro is how we let someone see which of those work in the areas they care about. As noted, I think the current "best match" search results "need work" (good thing I work here, I guess) -- ideally, we'll be able to help anyone using the tool by adding those who contribute the highest quality content in their region to the top. There are also lots of members who don't participate on Voices -- Find a Pro is really the only way to read what they say on their profiles to see if it's someone you'd want to work with. As to whether "it reflect[s] other real estate agents' opinions of other realtors outside of their area," I suppose it does, in that many of thumbs-up votes on the site are made by professionals, who could be from another area. There's certainly a lot more we could be doing on Voices to ensure local contributions (answers, members, etc.) get more focus -- I hope that any work we do to that effect will make its way into how we sort results in the directory.

@Dunes: "Were my 15-20 invalid post which I reported and ask for assistance with considered Blocked posts?"

Nope. That was some sort of bug. I don't remember if we tracked it down. Our "bad word" list has some oddities, for sure, and that's often the problem. (Aside @Dan: "scr-w" is indeed on our "bad words" list. We'll probably remove it from the list the next time we update the site.) If it happens again, feel free to send it to me, too -- I can usually track down what's happening and fix any problem.

To be clear, we distinguish "blocked" and "deleted" posts, with "Delete this answer" being a "deleted" post. Only moderators can block a post. (If you asked a moderator to remove one of your own posts, we'd probably mark it as "deleted." Only "blocked" posts get you those prized -30 VIP points.

"I had 23 answers and 71 TU's for the week...Then Trulia has a glitch and I see I've gone from 30-40 TU's more than the next person to 15 TU's for the week..So I posted this question to Trulia."

So, what happened there was we call "an issue between the chair and the keyboard." (-; I removed the code which counted everyone's daily, weekly, and monthly contributions a day too early, literally forgetting that it was in use on the live site. (a.k.a., Louis B., Idiot at Trulia.) So, those counts were unreliable for the remainder of the day.

At the same time, while doing final prep on the VIP system, we discovered a bug where we were still counting thumbs-up votes by users who'd been blocked in certain cases. I don't believe this affected your total thumbs-up (I can check if you like), but I know it affected a number of other members, some quite dramatically. As the votes shouldn't have been counted, in the first place (and wouldn't have added up if you went through all the answers you've made and counted the thumbs-up), we didn't really mention it publicly, and have handled specific questions one-by-one.

"Why is this Thread Monitored? Monitor this Thread but Spam by Agents floods the Forum unmonitored...Go figure"

See above -- this was really just poor diction on my part. "We're monitoring this thread" = "I'm reading all the responses on this thread because I'm curious what you all think, want to answer your questions, and will share the best responses with the rest of the Voices team." Another person has moderating the rest of Voices in her "spare time" -- no small feat, even on a "quiet" week like this one. (@Dan, I'm looking into the post you mentioned that was removed.) Should I be reading all of the posts on Voices? Sure, but that means I won't have time to fix Find a Pro. (-:

For good measure, I'll repeat the party line here: please help us remove the bad stuff by reporting any posts you see which are spam/abusive/etc. There are a lot of contributions on Voices every day -- flagging helps bring the bad ones to our attention more quickly.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 30, 2009
Louis, you said " but the thread has taken several turns into mere joking. "

What is wrong with that? In case you did not notice it before (here goes my 30 points) the people who have been posting in this particular thread LIKE each other. They respect each other, Most would even recommend each other to someone who asked.

This is set up as a COMMUNITY. Not just a ask annoying questions, get tons of duplicate answers site.

When the people who participate and contribute get to be friendly, joke, and are at ease with each other you are seeing the results of something great. People from all over the country (maybe even from canada) who are working together trying to be helpful. And somehow in the process found others they enjoy being around. I would far rather see a site where people joke and kid each other in a good natured way instead of attacking others (which I have also seen here to others <and had happen to me> more than once). I basically ignored that. Some get upset by it. Some even leave <to soon to say short or long term> because of being attacked. To say that joking around should not happen is plain wrong. (yup, down 30 points for sure)

I have had some people say I am anti-realtor. I am not. I am anti wasting money on overpriced assets. I have even recommended a few realtors on here.

I made a well thought out careful response in the link below. I got 2 thumbs up for it. I had 2 realtors reference my reply as being good. Yet somehow it mysteriously disappeared. I have seen a few other answers also go <poof> Why?…

I have been here for just about 3 months. I have posted many very long answers trying to help. An occasional one liner gets through. Should I be a vip member? I do not know. I try to look at things from <gasp> a consumers point of view. I try to think what does it mean if you do... Sometimes my response is nothing more than to ask a question. In a few case a pro came along and answered the question I posed so I believe that helped the original poster to get a quality reply. I try to show people parts and pieces they may have missed. Unlike most of here who post I do not make a profit from anything I do here. I will not find an investment property. I will not sell a property. If I am very lucky I may have my saved searches from other sites find a house I would like to buy and stay in forever.
I know one thing for sure. I am not what Trulia had in mind when they set up the site. Perhaps they should have. Perhaps the ability to see things from a very different perspective (as dunes, rockin and others) is as important as what the agents show. The greater the angle of view we are exposed to the better our ability to make a wise choice becomes.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 29, 2009
Trulia rolled out this program at the end of the year so I find using that as an reason for the slow tweeking a poor one...Did you get feedback from anyone besides Marketing? The Mayors? Anyone? Who thought this VIP thing was a good idea? You? Marketing? Pete Flint? The Mayors? some secret consumer survey?

I just don't think you (Trulia) really considered anything beyond rolling out this post a lot program and getting as many agents to post as possible in return for ribbons and placement on the Find a Pro page (competing with post a lot to get there)

Tell me the difference between this ranking system and "Top Contributors" beyond removing the ability of Consumers to see the people ranked high post a lot to be placed there...You just added more places they could post to be a "Top Contributor" (comment on Blogs, ask questions ,write a Spam blog,ect. and try to make it appear legitimate with a silly point system)

Answer a question is worth the same amount of points as a Thumbs up? Duh!

You have not once addressed the issue of the inability of Consumers viewing the Find a Pro page or the rankings to know why people are Level3 or ranked.....Deceptive IMO and intentionally so since no on wishes to explain that little detail...

"but the thread has taken several turns into mere joking. " I've been here a while, again give me one example of where people joking in threads at Trulia has ever been declared an issue by Trulia or comments have been threatened to be deleted.....

Your deleting post comment comes across to me as nothing more than a veiled threat that Trulia frowns on those who disagree with your VIP program and will take action by deleting their comments...Again give me one example of Trulia doing this on any other thread for anything except insults...


It's about the VIP Program and people stating it's not Good for this Forum in their opinion...That's why you are monitoring this thread in the first place and why now you're threatening to delete comments...

" We spent a lot of time trying to mitigate gaming while keeping it simple;"
Now that's a joke and should be deleted....

Why is there any need to monitor this thread? Why aren't you monitoring Spam or post a lots instead?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 29, 2009
Hi Worldtraveler,
I don't think Trulia will put out of business. Trulia has become Politics (mayors, stars, and maybe some other titles I haven't seen yet) , PRO s (I guess they mean professionals--or maybe just people who pay a subscription), and vip ribbons for posting a bunch of junk. It used to be interesting and somewhat informative.

No vip for me??? I better get busy, "Wait another year to buy", "Wait another year to buy", "Wait another year to buy". That is the correct answer to every question...and probably the best advice...wait another year to buy, prices are still declining. Good Luck.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 29, 2009
Thanks Dan, I appreciate your vote of confidence. Fortunately, Trulia has generated some new connections for me in such a short period of time. It's really hard to believe. Kudos to the owners for creating such a user-friendly Q&A forum.

I will continue "not blowing smoke" because that would, as you say, deter business.

I regret not finding this site earlier. Besides for the financial gain i get when a potential buyer or a Realtor calls (I have already closed Trulia deals), there are times that I post an answer and within an hour a Realtor might call from Chicago or a mortgage broker from Wisconson with questions. I never bonded like this with people from all over the country.

Of course nothing beats threads like these and the regulars who post useful-sometimes very comical- information all around Trulia. I thought I knew a lot about real estate before I found this site, but I learn new things every day here.

Having said that, I apologize if I was being too mushy. It's totally not like me. I guess I don't know how to handle a compliment :)

About the points thing-don't sweat it-I'll just have to start tu-ing your good answers a little more often. That should resolve your issue---------
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 24, 2009
It was tough waiting for a tiny lull in the conversation to get a word in edgewise ... :-)

First, yes I agree that thumbs down would be a bad idea. Clearly, this is in my own best interest. Speaking of which, I'd like a few TUs ...

I also like the idea of a TUBA oriented system but based on total posts (as opposed to total answers), divided by TU and BA (treated at x2 or better value). Also deleted answers are not removed from total answers, so those inclined to try and "game" the system are punk'd from the start.

The system can just calculate the score once a day, off-peak. Computers do that really well, so we shouldn't worry about a few extra computing cycles. Technically, they only really need to calculate the last day against the previous baseline, should they do it that way.

Well we're at 240 answers and rising all the time. But if we took Dunes out of the thread, we'd only have 31 answers :-)
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 22, 2009
He was "reading or following this thread that much" enough to immediately give a yes Thumbs up for a no Thumbs down comment so I would give a Thumbs down to his Thumbs up if Thumbs down were possible like Thumbs up but he gave me a Thumbs up so since there is no Thumbs down I'll give Alan a Thumbs up for the thumbs up for the no thumbs down on the thumbs up.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 22, 2009
Sorry not reading or following this thread that much, but thumbs up to no thumbs down.
and thumbs up for being sorry for not reading this thread much, with thumbs up for the no thumbs down on the thumbs up.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 22, 2009
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
@Dunes, re: "They’ve been monitoring this post and everything here will be factored in as we go forward. This whole topic is most certainly on the agenda for the next Mayor’s meeting and many other internal meetings as well."

We are, indeed, paying attention to this thread, as we are to the revived discussion about TUBA. We've taken customer feedback into account with how we display popular questions and posts, "best match" results in Find a Pro, and will do so for VIPs on Voices.

I'll be the first to admit that none of those are perfect, by any means. We're constantly making tweaks to how all of those work, though, and feedback from you, our customers, helps us prioritize what to address


Louis B.
Engineer at Trulia
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 21, 2009

Thanks for your kind words but the truth is as far as knowledge Rockinblu, Jefferson, Dan, Dp2, Barbara and many other non-realtors have more than I (I've never claimed expertise after all it's just a word ;)...

Sometimes I have accidentally said something relevant often I just share my opinions and observations that stem from my obviously disturbed and tumultuous personality...

If I'm going to be ranked or Badged then I want it to be because I possibly contributed something of substance not because I can find my keyboard....


You have summed up my contention and I believe your observations to be relevant and accurate...If everyone thinks about it you have always been known for being fair, looking at both sides and not expressing an opinion without something to base it on...I thank you for sharing...


You make a valid point and it has been discussed but the discussion now is Why should consumers have to wade through the "post a lots" comments because a Ranking system is created to encourage "post a lots"

Does this help Consumers? Does this help the Professionals? ....... Who does it help?
Al says he profits from providing quality responses to the Consumer and my contention is the Consumer also Profits....

That's what should be rewarded, the Consumer Profits so someone tell me how the Consumer profits from this Ranking system.....They do not because it is not about the Consumer, it's about giving Badges and certificates to as many Agents as possible in exchange for posting 20/40/60/80 times a month.....and Trulia gets Site Traffic and more Agents to pitch PRO at....and Google is watching ;)....

Exspurts Galore Inc.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 21, 2009
There seems to be a few Mayors active in this thread....

So what does a Mayor do to justify a Badge? Given for past accomplishments? Current Accomplishments?

Wasn't there a rumor of representing Agents, a voice for the Community? I remember the part about doing PR for Trulia.......

What input or voice did you have in this new VIP Program? Has there been any official Mayor input with Trulia about anything and if so what? Is it a secret?

Why does one where (that was for Patrick I know it's wear ;) a Mayor Badge what's it's significance....

The Badge stands out what have the Mayors done since getting them that Stands out?

I know you are all honored to have one and you did not ask for the honor but now that you have it does it mean anything beyond having it?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 20, 2009
Thanks for your question

I can help you with that.

I don't know anything about what you are talking about but I'm going to answer anyway

Call me even though I'm 7 state away and I'll run right over and show you those houses

No you can't

Yes you can

I charge this much

Did I miss anything? That's seven answers I could get credit for LOL.

Didn't really have anything to add here, just wanted to make the number of answers go to 110. Do you get points for that?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 20, 2009
Wow...this is like de ja vu. I certainly remember lively discussions about ratings on Trulia quite a while back. There's never going to be a way to please everyone on this subject. Whatever the system is, there will be people who will game the system.

I have not reviewed a list of the Trulia VIPs (and I am not one.) If I did read the list, I would probably find many great posters with a a handful of gamers interwoven. Then, I could go through the answers of each, and, with little effort quickly recognize quality from fluff. Many people can do the same with very little industry insight.

Contrast this to my review of an industry list of the "The Top 100 Influential People in Real Estate" or "Top "x"" I have seen a few of those lists contain people who were very fluffy.

Fluffmeisters will, can, and do invade all lists. Yet, publishers, paper and print, regularly allocate time and energy on "Top whoever" lists...because readers and participants are drawn to look and read.

Trulia is not a real estate company, but rather an online media company....that happens to publishes in and on the real estate industry. Trulia is not doing anything differently than every other online and offline publisher does. Publishers do this, because consumers want it.

While Trulia's rating system is flawed, as is EVERY rating system, it surpasses others. The invasion of the fluffmeisters is far more pervasive on other lists versus Trulia's. With other lists, the only way to identify the fluffmeisters is by having intimate knowledge. On Trulia, just spend a short time reading and the truth surfaces.

Thank you to my friend, Maya, who recently taught me the word fluffmeister.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 19, 2009
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ
Hopefully it's the content of the answers that will impress those who ask the questions and read the posts. I think that those reading the posts can figure out who actually has something to say and who is just blah, blah, blahing. Should they choose to accept the blah, blah, blahers answers or contact them, then so be it. Buyers and sellers will choose whomever they want to work with and will make their own decisions.

There have been a couple of examples used here that clearly are just blah, blah, blahers and it's obvious that that is exactly what they are doing. Unfortunately it's those blahers that make the rest of us look bad. For those of us who actually are here to help, keep doing what you are doing. Your answers and help will stand out on it's own merit.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 18, 2009
There's a certificate?

I agree, that the system that allows Lynn911 to be a top contributor with her pablum responses is mightily flawed. Also, am I the only one that thinks the badges are backward? Shouldn't the #1 ribbon be the highest, and the #3 ribbon be the lowest??

We used to have Thumbs up and Thumbs down... and that system was gamed by many.

I'd much prefer to see a system that relied more on TU's and BA's... kinda like Barbara Q was talking about...
Total number of answers, divided by TU's, + BA's... = 95%... and that, at least, would be some small indication of quality over quantity.

I do like, however, the concept that Trulia is beginning to recognize that it's not only Realtors who are making a contribution to Trulia voices, and the badges are open to consumers... Dunes and Rockin' truly deserve badges that indicate they are MVP's, but because of the structure they've followed to hand them out... Dunes feels they are totally of "no value", and based on the formula they're using...

... yes, even as a Mayor... I'd have to agree.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 18, 2009
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
Thanks Dunes,

Your views and comments are just as important here as anyone else who contributes. Your non-professional point of view is very important to those of us that are in the profession. Sometimes the so called professionals loose track of what the public feels or has to say, and I can always count on you to bring it back around and give cause for thought. (You know how I hate it when you do that, it makes my head hurt).

You may not like your new badge, but your presence here is important and quite helpful and I continue to look forward to your comments.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 17, 2009
I've got a one-fingered salute for Trulia, I want no part of their newest "post a lot" and you have value ranking system......

Check out Lynn she's a VIP3 a Top VIP.....Absolute crud!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 17, 2009
Debbie - In response to your question: Do numerous inane responses impress anyone?
Evidently NOTSOMUCH!

1,014 Answers 62 Helpful = 6% Helpful
895 Answers 853 Helpful = 95% Helpful (Rockin's stats)
I believe that you are above 75% Helpful. (That's not too shabby!)

So although the numbers may be bloated...when you look beneath the surface... the numbers don't lie.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 17, 2009
I am sure that the staff at Trulia is thrilled to hear your comment! And, there are many of us who are Realtors and other real estate pros who appreciate hearing that our efforts through the Trulia site bring value to people. Thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts.

Deborah Madey - Broker
Peninsula Realty Group - NJ
732 530-6350 Direct
732 530 7755 Front Office
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 15, 2009
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ
I don't think will ever go out of business. Where would brokers place their exclusive properties?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 30, 2009
Wow, is anyone actually selling houses anymore or are we just arguing on social networking sites?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 30, 2009
@Dan: the post you mentioned shouldn't have been blocked. It has been restored. Thanks for mentioning it.

@Mack: We don't pay anyone to make up postings here. (Some of our employees -- myself included -- post here, but only to answer questions. We try to identify ourselves, either with our "STAFF" badge or in the comment, itself.) Regarding your point, I'm occasionally horrified by the grammar and spelling of some folks on Voices.


Re: VIPs: clearly, the VIP system rewards those who post a lot on Voices. It also posts those who post less frequently but receive thumbs-up for their responses. Consider it an incentive to give a thumbs-up to posts you like. The system is not perfect. Trulia doesn't need to make a decision here -- we already did. It may change, it may not.

Re: engagement: look around -- most of the people on this thread are great, active members of Voices, and are VIPs. Not all VIPs are exemplary contributors. Many exemplary contributors are VIPs.

Re: the thumbs-up bug, one member had >600 thumbs-up from a single user. We'd traced that user to the same IP as most of that member's answers. That person lost >50% of the thumbs-up votes for her contributions.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 30, 2009
[part 3 of 2… oops]

@Dan: "Trulia needs to have a check box to NOT INCLUDE listings from certain listing sites or agents when doing a search."

For what it's worth, you can exclude all RealtyTrac listings -- just uncheck the boxes for foreclosures on any search results page. Currently, all of the foreclosure listings Trulia displays are provided by RealtyTrac. The idea of more ways to exclude certain providers is a good one -- I'll mention it to the folks here who tend to listings.

In case I don't chime in here again before Friday, Happy New Year to all!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 30, 2009
Hello again, all. Clearly, you all are right about conversations like this on Voices. I shouldn't have mentioned the specific posts I blocked, instead just following up with the author and letting conversation continue. Sorry. As most of you know, I'm not usually a moderator here -- I tend to lurk behind the scenes making things work, but have been following this thread ("monitoring," mwa ha ha ha *cue evil grin*) while the lovely Emily has been on vacation.

Speaking of great ideas from this conversation, having a forum area, like Dan suggests, would be really great for things like this. My thumbs-up vote has been duly placed on that one. (-:

Replies to some of the questions below, from oldest to newest -- this is post 1 of 2 due to our post length constraint):

@Dan: "Does the [VIP/Mayor] badge have any real meaning? How does the [Find a Pro] sorting work? Why are people chosen [to be in the top of results]? ... Will lack of badges take people from the first page? Will only those who have VIP 3 be allowed on page one? Will people be listed according to VIP level, best answers, most posts, best answers or what? ... Will VIP badges still be irrelevant? I think all of the above ignores the real question. WHY does the list exist? How can it really help consumers? Does it reflect other real estate agents opinions of other realtors outside of their area?"

All great questions, many of which I'll try to post specific answers for when we push the new ranking system live. (I won't go into too many specifics right now, though, because I assume at least a few specifics will change.) In the mean time, here's a first stab at each question:

"Does the [VIP/Mayor] badge have any real meaning?"

Clearly, a badge differentiates one poster from another, particularly on posts where only one "top contributor" replies. Does it mean anything? Obviously, it means that whoever has the badge met the criteria necessary to earn it. Mayor badges are certainly more exclusive than VIP badges, which makes them more meaningful to some. As Dunes correctly notes, this isn't as clear as it should be for someone unfamiliar with Voices. (As noted, the VIP system certainly has its share of flaws.)

"How does the [Find a Pro] sorting work? Why are people chosen [to be in the top of results]?"

The current system is based on a composite index of volume (Q&A only), quality (best answers/thumbs-up), and recency (activity in the last week). (It's been pretty much unchanged since its days as "Member Search" in late 2007.) A few flaws of the index include [a] its lack of integration of blog content (posts and comments), [b] it favors new members with lots of recent activity a bit too heavily, and [c] it doesn't handle "stale" accounts very well (e.g., Halley S.). People at the top of the results are simply ranked highly by the index. (Often, too highly.) As it's going to change Any Day Nowâ„¢, I'll refrain from going into a more in-depth discussion of the current algorithm. As I said, I'll try to post something when the newer ranking system is in place.

"Will lack of badges take people from the first page? Will only those who have VIP 3 be allowed on page one?"

I assume that the top members in Find a Pro results (professionals or otherwise) will be some sort of VIP -- VIPs tend to be the most engaged/helpful members of the community. However, "best match" results won't simply show the VIPs from Voices. If I have my druthers, the list will promote those members who have consistently provided well-regarded contributions on the site (read: quality over quantity) -- many of those will be VIPs, of all levels. My assumption is that some VIPs won't show up on the first few pages of "all locations" results -- especially those with low quality (e.g., TUBA) scores.

"Will people be listed according to VIP level, best answers, most posts, best answers or what?"

For "best match," we'll continue to use a composite index of quality, quantity, and recency, and will probably throw in a bit of secret sauce for good measure. We recently added the ability to sort results in Find a Pro by most helpful answers (i.e., total thumbs-up), best answers, and VIP status, so that information is available if someone wants to slice and dice results differently. (If there are other sorts you'd find useful, I'm monitoring, I mean... listening.)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 30, 2009
Since Dunes brought up RealtyTrac I have to agree with him. Their listings are a waste of space. Trulia needs to have a check box to NOT INCLUDE listings from certain listing sites or agents when doing a search.

I have looked at RealtyTrac's listings. They were either bogus, phony, outdated, or not available. When I look at a real estate website like trulia (is supposed to be) I expect to find <GASP> actual listings with real prices, real addresses, and real details in the listings. RealtyTrac does NONE of the above.

Trulia once explained how RealtyTrac's listings were not bogus. Only their results were because of how things work. Wrong answer. Delete the problem, do not explain it. (did I lose 30 points yet?)

Now if I see a listing saying "RealtyTrac" on it I ignore it completely. There are some agents who always have outdated unavailable listings also. has the advantage of not having RealtyTrac on it. It has the disadvantage of having a flash based system. It hangs up my computer so I asked for daily updates and ignore the site completely now.
Trulia, I use for a different reason. I keep looking at the Q&A section. I am both trying to help and researching here. In the past I have found, liked, enjoyed, and become a part of different sites. Those same sites had some problems, would not address them, and I left. I have no long term allegiance to any web site. If one gives me something I like and or need I will stick to it. If instead it gives problems it is easily replaced. There are far to many options online to stick with anything that is not working well. I would look at more now if it did not make my computer freeze up.

Trulia has to ask themselves one question. Do they want those who can and are willing to help, or do they want those who will pay to spam-a-lot? I have given some very good ideas to both consumers and to Trulia about some things that could be improved.

Is Trulia willing to listen, or are they going to monitor this thread and delete my replies? I enjoy trouble shooting problems. I think most of the genuine posters here do. Trulia through its employees now has to make the decision. DO they want to troubleshoot the problems here that matter, or do they want to remove those who try to help because their ideas are not in synch with some in the RE world think.

I once said that a certain group of people was arrogant and egotistical. They had to be to survive in the environment they lived in. I am a member of that group. I was told that exact same thing by someone who was talking to a group of us in a class trying to help us with some issues we had in common. My ego is in check. I am not the best one on here. I am arrogant enough to say if I am insulted or pushed I will reply to that as has been shown here. I am also kind enough to post 3 messages to one person because I could not put all the information they needed in one chat window. I also go back and look hoping (usually in vain) to see that the person said they appreciated the help or things went well for them.

Trulia, realtor, zillow, united country, many other sites could be listed here. Each has plusses and minuses. Who wins ultimately will be the one that makes it easiest on the consumer and helps them find what they need: property or information the easiest. When it comes to being able to ask questions the forum is only as good as those who reply.
If the non-realtors are pushed away and the good realtors get insulted and leave who will fill the void?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 29, 2009

Trulia has created an image of being a site for Consumers..Hey we got listings, info, statistics and you can ask questions....It's all about you Consumer...

Yet a large number of it's listings are bogus..Foreclosures from RealtyTrac lol, Homes that are not even for sale but place in the mix anyway, and many outdated listings...They just throw it all together with the legit listings and call it good...If you're shopping for a property I personally do not consider Trulia very high up on the list to consider and have said so often. Not when you can use the internet to look at local MLS's, FSBO sites ect..

Then their info/statistics when compared with reliable sources seem to not be comparable for whatever reason..The data provider they never name who knows why that is so, but the fact it is so is enough to not be high up on the list for Consumers to consider IMO...

Blogs..They speak for themselves, just look and a consumer see's what they see..I have never seen the Blog area full of Consumers because I think they agree with me it's mostly just SPAM...

The Q&A..The one thing that makes Trulia different for Consumers was it claim of actual assistance/info...Instead they find Spam, best time to buy, hire me, FSBO's are stupid don'tl ook at them and we deserve more money..

I always felt Trulia would see that when Agents like the many fine Agents we are aware of here at Trulia gave quality answers, actual assistance, discussed options and how Consumers reacted to that they would see that type of interaction benefits Consumers, Agents and Trulia...They apparently have not...

Instead they promote this area to Agents as a Lead generator and attract Agents by implementing misleading reward programs, ribbons and placement on Find a Pro. misleading the Consumer while doing so....The Q&A is far more about providing a large number of Agents a place to spam and fish for clients...The Best Contributors IMO are pushed to the side (Agent and non-Agent) for this to happen....

TU's were not easy to get and many agents seldom got very many compared to a large number of non-realtors..As far as many agents were concerned this was bad for business...This is their Forum and they are the experts....I've been here one year and I'm 5th all time in TU's, many Agents do not like that..I had more TU's every month and pretty much every week I was here than anyone...Not good.
.Rockinblu, Dp2 and other non realtors always ranked high when the TU rankings were used. The first ten places were pretty much half Agents and half non-agents..IMO that's why they did away with it and moved to ranking post a lots...Look at their TU's...mostly nil when compared to many others...Those who contributed quality did not post as much simple as that.

Look at the Forum now...Subtract the old questions dug up by Agents, the questions asked by Agents or Trulia staff and how many consumers are actually using the Q&A? Yes some but many? ...No the Forum is not overall a Consumer friendly place now and has been headed that direction since "Top Contributors" was introduced IMO and it actual value to the Consumer has decreased dramatically..

It's not about awards it's about is this site a useful tool for consumers to use. The answer because of the above stated opinions is Not as much as it was 6 months ago and less today than yesterday....
If it's not a good tool for Consumers why should they use it? There are a lot of Quality Agents here who contribute but they become buried in the post a lot tsunami and yes answers can be judged for their content but what Consumer is going to dig through the muck to do that?

This is about is the Consumer going to matter not awards or points or did an agent post 70 times this month.

Trulia has no chance of competing with for #1 at this time because in my opinion they have nothing to compete with.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 29, 2009
I have decided one thing: Since posts will mysteriously disappear I am going to save my posts for a few days on my computer. If I find a post disappears mysteriously I will ask a question.

"WHY Was this post removed? What is wrong with a simple reply?" Then posting what I said. Will it cost me a vip badge? Who cares. If trulia and its reps remove a posting for cause they should be forced (by trulia policy) to first copy the post and then email it to the offending poster explaining WHY it was removed. That way there is accountability for all involved. And if I (or anyone else) did something wrong I can learn from it and not make the same simple ( unintended ) mistake again.

Dunes, the banned word list here is strange. Below I posted and had accepted " I just saw the <screwiest> thing in the VIP lineup. " Yet if you type out the word without " iest " on the end it says it is pron (misspelled) and can not be accepted.

I want a vip 2 badge. After all, I have been on here posting replies since oct 2nd 2009. I deserve it. Nah, I want a vip 4 badge, why settle for what everyone else can get?
On second thought, make me a mayor, No, there are 5 of them. Maybe becoming a governor would show how spishael I am.

Until about a week or so before I got my vip badge I never saw a mayor badge. I was surprised to see one. I was not surprised to see a couple of the ones who got it. I think it is safe to say those who posted being helpful never considered receiving a reward from trulia. I spent several years trying to help a lot of people ( and doing so successfully) in chat rooms. It had nothing to do with RE. I never expected to be noticed or receive recognition there, I did not expect anything here.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 29, 2009
Hi Dunes,

Sorry if I didn't answer your questions directly enough.

We could be doing a better job explaining badges on the site (VIPs, mayors, staff, etc.), as well as how we determine "best match" for results in Find a Pro. So, we're going to come up with a cleaner way to do that going forward.

Until then, a consumer can click on a badge to see what it means. It's not perfect, but at least it's pretty transparent.

We are not content with the order of results in Find a Pro. So, we've basically rewritten the engine that sorts results in its entirety, and will be rolling it out once we've had a chance to verify its quality internally. (Things move slowly around the end-of-year because many staff are on vacation.)

Ideally, the top results in Find a Pro results will be the best according to whatever Trulia knows about them. It's not trivial to have this "just work" for hundreds of thousands of users, clearly.

The VIP system is not perfect. We spent a lot of time trying to mitigate gaming while keeping it simple; perhaps we could have spent another few weeks refining its criteria, but I'm pretty sure that there would be passionate discussions about who should or should not be a VIP. At the end of the day, some people answer more questions than they should; some of those end up qualifying as VIPs, despite their lack of thumbs-up / best answer / etc. We'll still make iterative improvements going forward, just as we do for everything on Trulia.

Lastly, re: moderation, "we've been pretty lenient" as in: many posts are technically off-topic, some are basically duplicate posts. I think it's important to talk about these topics (be feedback positive or negative), but the thread has taken several turns into mere joking.

To reiterate: if you have specific questions [or comments] about the VIP system or Find a Pro results on Trulia, feel free to ask [or share them] here, but please take the time to read the existing 300+ answers to see if we've already covered it.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 29, 2009
yeah... I don't get it, Louis.

Halley "games" the system, by asking 367 questions... (all the generic questions, that Trulia suggests to potential question-askers)... never comes back to any of her questions... (cause she just doesn't care whether they're answered or not)... luring in lots of agents who respond to her questions.

... all in the name of trying to get over the system... and it WORKS!!!

This is exactly why the current system just doesn't work. It rewards volume.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 28, 2009
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
I just saw the screwiest thing in the VIP lineup.

Halley S. home buyer is 2nd on page 2. She asked 365 questions. She has 3 helpful answers and 2 answers. ( Contributions: 2 Answers365 Questions )

She did get best answer. But how can someone who has only 3 helpful answers be on page 2 of the best ones on Trulia?

I am sure Halley is a nice person. But does asking a bunch of questions and having people reply trying to help make you a top contributor here? It appears at least in her case it does.
Alan May is 3 steps below her (now) and his contributions follow.
Contributions: 1,241 Answers11 Questions18 Blog posts61 Comments

I saved the webpage if anyone else has a hard time seeing the same thing I could email it to you.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 27, 2009
Al, I do not know if those real estate agents will follow that advice. But it is a good line.

I have seen several of your posts on here recently. Based on those I expect some from here will call you. You seem to have a good grasp on what you are talking about. I do not see any blowing of smoke. And best of all, you give no spam. That is the kind of reply I would respond well to if you were in my area offering a service I could use. I am sure many others will soon realize the same thing.

I saw you posted a reply to a question with my name in it. You gave good ideas of comparing buying to renting. I always appreciate seeing people given thoughtful considerate replies giving things to look at before making a decision.

Regarding the VIP badges, I wonder how many more useful or useless posts I have to make to get to level 2. There is nothing I found saying I have 3,845 points and I need to get 6,000 points to be level 2 so I need to post to 1,155 more questions to arrive.
I wonder if that is to slow down the useless posting, or an oversight.

(post 325 in the thread) Are we on the "popular question" yet?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 24, 2009
Yes, happy holidays to all!

Dunes, I scored the real points by sending holiday cards to all my Realtors and clients. In the cards, I used a new line that I learned here on Trulia..........

1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 24, 2009
Dunes it all makes perfect sense when you think about it.

Take the author of this post. His point total is about 15 (14 views plus one point for posting the question).

Had he posted this as a blog ( 5 points per blog comment recieved plus 2 points per blog view ) he would probably own the company in short time.

See, if you ask a question and get 1000 comments, you get one point. Post the same question as a blog and you have 5000 point plus 2 points for each view. VIP 3 status earned fair and square.

Do you understand now Dunes? It all makes perfect sense when you put effort into understanding it.

Could you show me that formula again?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 24, 2009
Dunes, since I think that is the third time you have posted that particular post, it would seem that you feel this hasn't been addressed yet.
I think what you are saying is that the ranking system (or whatever it is) is purposely convoluted in order to lead the consumer to think that it is an accurate measure of a contributor's value to this website?
A person's postings speak for themselves, much louder than the ranking which might lead someone to investigate a contributor further.
As it is virtually impossible to come up with a perfect ranking system, I think it is okay to tell Trulia: keep trying because this isn't working.
I don't think there is some plan (plot?) by Trulia to purposely keep people in the dark. I really see no purpose to that.
I just think they are simply trying different things and hopefully will consider the input of people such as yourself in tweeking the system.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 24, 2009

I was able to steal a copy of the instructions Trulia used to build the VIP program here they are and I hope they help.....

Step1. 栖楝楬♂♪>5쿴뾑뼴뾌뼮뿭쁬쁽쁟쁟&⅞↓Ω⅜‰±7

Step 2. Ř»®=4....傚兄僭兌價僩

When you see it all laid out like this it makes more sense...Hope this helps
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 23, 2009
Joan, Yoda speak, time it takes. Perfect it you could. Try you will, succeed you might, not all attempts right will be.

Dunes, what a grasp of the obvious. The realtors talking about the lenders. The sad thing is, I missed picking up on it until you mentioned it. <smacks head>
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 23, 2009
Al, the trick is to say the same thing many different ways.
For example:
Speak with an attorney
Speak with a lawyer
Seek advice from an attorney
Seek advice from a lawyer
Confer with an attorney/lawyer
Go see a person who is a legal expert and has hopefully passed the bar exam in your state
Discuss this legal matter with a person who attended law school, passed the bar exam and hasn't committed any felonies and by the way, is a real estate attorney, lawyer, barrister, expert in law.

And Dunes, I think I"M the one who owes YOU. At least 3 cents.
Its all I have these days.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 23, 2009
Dan, what you fail to realize is that it takes alot of thought for some people to come up with something as sharp "speak to an attorney".

Now imagine trying to come up with that ten to twenty times in a day.

Not an easy task.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 23, 2009
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