Transparent Pat has written his Happy New Year post about Active Rain.
Active Rain is a multi user platform, nothing more, nothing less. Its success is its multiple users. Thousands I would guess. Its failure is because of its success.
Let me explain. The system rewards the conversation. The conversation is the back and forth that can happen from a blog responding to another blog thru commentary, trackback, or a blog post. Or all of the above.
AR rewards you for anything you post. The more you post the more exposure you get. So each post usually gets a ton of comments. Many are obvious attempts at what we in the off AR world would call "comment spamming". It makes for a very retarded conversation.It also makes for a very incestious community of self focused blogging as opposed to consumer focussed blogging.
This is not the only example of a multi-user blog, but AR was the first to come onto the scene (I say scene and not market because a market implies trade of usually dollars) market with its unique ranking system. And true to the predictions of the book "Positioning", being first to market usually wins.
Win what? is my concern. Move.com killed its buyout of AR. Did they figure out that free means no revenues? But I thought free is the new empowerment model that Web 2.0 is all about. I question that one all the time. Its hard to demand restitution from something you never paid for. Pat offers his advice that AR should offer unique blogs as a revenue model.
I agree, and it is wise to have your brand on your own URL as blogs at sites like AR can be used as brand extensions.
The Consumer Asks Why Do You Matter?
When I consult I teach that the web is becoming more and more about proof of your relevance in the marketplace.
Active Rain has created a nice model to incentive agents to create content. These agents are only too happy to comply and create in many cases (not all), junk content. As the icon of agents online, I can only wonder what the consumer sees in the many posts like the screen capture illustrates.
Notice when you pop up the graphic to your right, that the first post is far removed from anything real estate, and is more relevant to an IVillage discussion group. The bulk of comments on this graphic are for this first post. The only post that could be at all interesting to a consumer (other than a consumer looking to confirm the cultural view of a Realtor) is the last one. I snapped this graphic from the front page at Active Rain.
This is what the industry as represented here at AR is saying is their relevance to the single largest asset that the consumer/visitor owns. Can you understand why there is a demand for a Redfin in the marketplace?