Notes on this morning’s presentation to Charlottesville Realtors

Despite trepidation about speaking to my competition about the benefits of blogging, I accepted the invitation to do just that.

– Only 7-10 of approximately 100-125 in the audience have read the excellent VARBuzz. Hopefully, more will after today’s presentation.
– Many Charlottesville Realtors blog, several on ActiveRain. Matthew expressed great thoughts about AR last month.
– A near majority of the audience read blogs.
This is a post I wrote last year that explains blogging

– I was criticized for my opinion that having an “about page” is sufficient disclosure. DPOR, the regulatory body in Virginia, considers all online Realtor stuff to be “advertising.” I respectfully disagree and am of the opinion that the Commonwealth is behind the times and that readers are generally intelligent enough to figure out who’s a Realtor and who’s not. As Realtors, we operate under at least two sets of rules – the NAR Code of Ethics which states:

Standard of Practice 12-9
REALTOR® firm websites shall disclose the firm’s name and state(s) of licensure in a reasonable and readily apparent manner.
Websites of REALTORS® and non-member licensees affiliated with a REALTOR® firm shall disclose the firm’s name and that REALTOR®’s or non-member licensee’s state(s) of licensure in a reasonable and readily apparent manner. (Adopted 1/07) (bolding mine)

The Commonwealth of Virginia says:

For a web site, either the firm or the licensee must include disclosure of their status as a real estate licensee in a prominent place, or have an easily identified link to such a disclosure if the firm or licensee owns the webpage or controls its content.

For emails, blogs, and bulletin boards, disclosure should be provided at the beginning or the end of the email. (bolding mine)

I wrote a well-received post about whether real estate blogs are advertising last year. The short answer is that it depends. One size does not fit all. You can’t fit a square peg into a round hole. Insert your cliche here. Blogging remains an evolving medium.

– I was reminded that I am supposed to have Realtor in ALL-CAPS with the ®. Sorry.

All in all, it was a good experience. If anyone wants to pay me to talk about blogs, I could do that, too. Free is good; getting paid is better.

If you want to do it professionally, do it. If not, please don’t clutter up the web.

Blogging is like getting a real estate license – it’s ridiculously easy to start. Being successful is an entirely different matter.

Three years ago the thought of standing in front of 100+ people terrified me. Now, notsomuch.

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  1. Missy Caulk March 6, 2008 at 15:38

    Very good, Jim All that talk on twitter loosened you up.

  2. Waldo Jaquith March 6, 2008 at 19:26

    Nothing says “don’t trust a word of what I’m saying because it’s really all marketing speak” quite as quickly and efficiently as writing “REALTOR®.”

  3. Charles Woodall March 6, 2008 at 22:07

    “If you want to do it professionally, do it. If not, please don’t clutter up the web.”

    I hope the agents you spoke to take this to heart.

    I really don’t believe we will ever see a great proliferation of real estate blogs. It is becoming a fad right now, but it will fade in a hurry once they realize the amount of work involved. The vast majority of REALTORS aren’t up to the challenge. And many if not most of the majority don’t want to pull the curtains back and let the public see inside.

    Not that this is a bad thing mind you.

  4. Dave Phillips March 7, 2008 at 16:01

    Jim, Nice job with the presentation at CAAR. One of the best things about REALTORS in Charlottesville is that they are willing to share. Despite Waldo’s comment above, we have great REALTORS (you included) in our area. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Jim Duncan March 7, 2008 at 17:16

    Thanks, Dave.

    Regarding the Realtors thing, I just can’t do it. It’s a battle that, for me, is not worth the battle.

    Charles – I truly hope so.

    Waldo – agreed.

    Missy – Thanks.

    /ActiveRain-like comment.

  6. Pavel March 7, 2008 at 20:18


    Sorry I missed the event, but I heard from others at my company that you did an outstanding job. Thanks for sharing your insight and knowledge.

  7. Ben Martin, Va Assn of REALTORS March 7, 2008 at 21:45

    Thanks for the kind words about VARbuzz. As you know, we’ve been absolutely overwhelmed by the response. Hopefully we picked up a few more subscribers on your endorsement.

  8. Matthew Rathbun March 8, 2008 at 18:45

    Ok… the trademark Realtor thing. I am one of the most anal folks I know about these types of things, but I just haven’t the effort to cap Realtor and add the copyright sign as often as I have to type it out. It’s like the “how do we pronounce it” issue, who does it really effect? Will we really loose public respect if we correct every on these issues? I’m good either way. I’ve got real battles to fight, elsewhere….

  9. Daniel Rothamel March 9, 2008 at 11:06


    I’m glad that the presentation went well. Hopefully, you reached some people.


    I use “REALTOR” as opposed to Realtor. I’ve used it both the critcize and to praise. The way I see it is this: it’s the trademark, thier trademark. They allow me to use it (technically, I pay for its use). I completely disagree with the seemingly arbitrary way in which they have defended it at times, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t use it properly when I can. I do so out of respect for trademark law, not necessarily out of respect for the organization.


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