– A company is started to provide a free blogging platform and community for Realtors, lenders, stagers, etc. The company and its founders create a successful product.
– Realtor.com/Move.com (the aging dinosaur fighting for relevance) see that this “blogging” thing is popular, so they do what Google do and seek out another company that has already started what they intend to finish.
– In what appears to be great naivete, Active Rain gave up the whole kit and kaboodle before the final contract was signed.
– Move backed out after they had seen all they wanted to see, and started their own ineffective community.
– Active Rain sued.
– real/diaBlog has one of the best summaries out there.
Techcrunch brought the story well beyond the real estate blogosphere, and Kevin responded in typical articulate fashion. Contrary to what the Techcrunch story says, the only Realtors involved are the customers.
My thoughts? Generally, if you’re going to blog, do it on one of the established platforms such as Typepad, WordPress, WordPress.com, over which you have control. The thought that my content may “belong” to someone else isÂ … the words escape me.
What does this mean for the real estate consumer? Very, very little.
Active Rain is/was a great concept that was dependent on the community. The product wasn’t revolutionary, it was evolutionary. What was unique was the community – the members, the camaraderie and the trust. My perception is that Active Rain betrayed that community by not being transparent in their goals – to build a product and sell it. Unfortunately, that product is the unwitting community.
There are two morals to the story – The only way you control the content is if it’s your content. (and even then, with Google, that’s not a guarantee) and, if you step outside your arena of professional expertise (such as negotiating a buyout with a much more powerful entity) get professional help.