C Tann-Starr's Outside Blog


A Perception Of Value Revisited: The Active Rain Rate Of Return vs Cyber-welfare

On November 6, 2008 a few snide comments inspired me to write "A Perception Of Value." Now I find that I am inspired to revisit the concept once again. This time it is not in defense of myself but in defense of this Network. No one is perfect, but as far as businesses go, AR has been pretty transparent about most things they had no obligation to disclose. This company has continually given us insight into what they believe is best for their business model. We have been a quasi-non-voting-blog-partner from day one. Collectively, we may even have become somewhat accustomed to influencing a tremendous amount of their decision making because they were always kind to ask for feedback and input from the members. Problem is, some writers are confusing the concept of influence with the concept of right. We have no right to force these people to adopt an unprofitable business plan because the concept of a firm making a profit by adapting it's business model to survive, prosper and grow is unpalatable to some who have the cyber-welfare mentality that they are entitled to everything free. The Active Rain Real Estate Network is a business and we, regardless of our personal preferences, should never once forget that fact. If it fails, we failed it because its business is to service us THE MEMBERS USING THE SERVICE and we either value their work or we don't.

There are some people who claim they understand this concept; however their comments give me reasonable cause to believe that they do not. You don't have to take my word for it. Go read Active Brad's post and see for yourself. There are plenty of unrealistic gripes for you to chose from so I don't need to quote a single one. Choose your own and go write your own blog posts. In direct response to all, I am going to briefly put a few of you in remembrance of some simple accounting principles regarding the argument at hand because I believe if I just stick with the facts then the majority of you will have very little to attack me for. However, I do expect to be attacked which is why I'm writing this in B-switch mode. Yes, some of you flipped it. If you don't like my attitude simply stop reading and move on. I am not here for everyone, I am here for some. I have never been here for everyone, I am not that type of writer. You will not get an apology from me for what I have to say, and I mean every word of it in spades.

I learned my lesson from the previous "Localism" and "Land Rush" lynchings so I will not go down that virtual road again. The Vigilante of Nay Sayers are back and I absolutely refuse to join that crowd because the fact of the matter is you speculating people have no idea what other people are willing to pay or not pay for a valuable service. Of course there is value here. That's why some of you are so angry. People sometimes have no respect for free simply because it is free and the lack of monetary value sometimes diminishes any sense of urgency. As a direct result some people failed to make the best use of the tools at hand while they were available at no cost to the user. My private e-mails reveal that some members leveraged themselves into a comfort zone under the erroneous belief they had "all the time in the world" to eventually use the AR tools they were taking for granted. Why don't you people deal with the fact that you were slow to set up and maximize your accounts. You now realize that you blew it and hypothetically you, from the words coming out of your own mouths, are turning people away from the very vehicle that served so many so well. Rather than being hell bent on poisoning potential new bloggers minds with your vehemence in opposition to the pricing scheme you may have to partake of, why not just politely ask them to consider a discount for the unintended tardy or look for Group Founders who are recruiting writers for their Team Blogs? I have 36 writers and I don't charge them anything. Go Google the term "Club Chaos." Our Team Blog and our Active Rain Group are both on page 1. My writers are being discovered by people who are not even looking for us and they're sticking around because we fascinate them. They never know what they're going to get when they tune into either home page. Life is more than market reports, people. The goal of blogging is to be found and Active Rain gives us global exposure.

I am a REMAX agent. I have a REMAX website I pay $30 per month for like clockwork. It sure as hell does not let me syndicate a damn thing and has generated less viable leads than Active Rain. Meanwhile, my AR dashboard lets me re-blog my friends and total complete strangers, lets me send posts to Localism, my individual Outside Blog, my Team Blog and any 5 groups of my choice out of 5,287 available and you think $29 is too much? We also have Active Rain Channels at our disposal that each run with its own level of Topic SEO and you want to bail or discourage someone from joining? Seriously... I am sooooooo deleting my potty mouth thoughts about you right now... 

It's time for your accounting lesson my negative friend and I am going to start by quoting Wikipedia:

"In finance, rate of return (ROR), also known as return on investment (ROI), rate of profit or sometimes just return, is the ratio of money gained or lost (realized or unrealized) on an investment relative to the amount of money invested. The amount of money gained or lost may be referred to as interest, profit/loss, gain/loss, or net income/loss. The money invested may be referred to as the asset, capital, principal, or the cost basis of the investment. ROI is usually expressed as a percentage rather than a fraction. ROI does not indicate how long an investment is held. However, ROI is most often stated as an annual or annualized rate of return, and it is most often stated for a calendar or fiscal year. In this article, "ROI" indicates an annual or annualized rate of return, unless otherwise noted. ROI can be used to compare returns on investments where the moneys gained or lost are not easily compared using monetary values. For instance, a $1,000 investment that earns $50 in interest generates more cash than a $100 investment that earns $20 in interest, but the $100 investment earns a higher return on investment. * $50/$1,000 = 5% ROI * $20/$100 = 20% ROI." You can read the entire explanation in the Wiki article here.

The Significance of the Active Rain Rate Of Return:

Basic Membership (Members Only) = free access to 135,115+ professional members to learn from and network with (but not being able to syndicate into the public time-line where consumers and non-member businesses can discover you).

$29/Month = potential access to 2 Million Public hits per day x 30 days (60+ Million consumers and businesses for pennies on the dollar daily)

$79/Month Team Blog / AR Links (10 friends @ $7.90, 5 friends at $15.80, or pick a ratio of your choice and split the fee = potential access to 60+ Million consumers/businesses)

Ability to be re-blogged by multiple crazy people like me with mad Google juice to an individual and team blog (priceless)

Being in the position to accept an invitation, or multiple invitations by the owners of team blogs to be a contributing writer for free or reduced fee (priceless)

Having your blog linked to by Inman and other reputable companies because of something you wrote on AR (priceless)

Having the press quote you as an authority (priceless)

Having a member of the public retain your services because they like your Active Rain blog (priceless)

Getting to write the fees off on your taxes because you are advertising and marketing your business means it really didn't cost you much in the end, now did it? Still want to bitch about having to pay a nominal fee? Seriously? Cool. Stop whining and walk away. More Google juice for the rest of us who appreciate everything AR has done and is continuing to do to help us grow our businesses together. The people not complaining understand the value of the business model at hand. We think enough of ourselves to borrow the $7 dollars a week to make it happen if we have to.

I feel better. My mini-rant is done. Carry on with your squabbling if you must. Free Speech is a right but running their business into the ground is not.




Disclaimer: Any comments and contributions provided on ActiveRain.com (or other electronic or print media) does not establish an agency relationship with any third party. Blog posts are intended to be informational only. Please be advised that real estate practices vary in regions and from state to state and market to market. The information contained herein does not constitute legal advice. All parties in need of legal, accounting, tax, or real estate guidance are directed to consult with the licensed professional of their choice. Please seek specific guidance from a retained professional in the specific field(s) required to service your interests. I and/or team blog writers make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this web site and its associated sites inclusive of but not limited to CarolynTannStarr.com MySpace/TannStarr 46486 NY Working Moms Examiner ActiveRain Group Club Chaos ClubChaosAgents.com CyberMinions.net CTannStarr Outside Blog CTannStarr Localism Blog TannStarr.net UberMental.com

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Comment balloon 35 commentsC Tann-Starr • February 16 2009 11:00PM


Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!  (Standing ovation!)

Posted by Jeannie Kontis over 11 years ago

Ok, I had to stop reading in paragraph 2 because I laughed at "I am going to briefly put a few of you.."  Your arguments are generally rational and well presented, but I'm pretty sure the word 'brief' would not the forst adjective that comes to mind:)  Ok, I'll go back and read some more now. 

Posted by Erik Hitzelberger, Louisville - Middletown Real Estate (RE/MAX Alliance - Louisville REALTOR-Luxury Homes) over 11 years ago

Done.  I hate to say this, but you are wasting your breath energy.  Those who are complaining do not understand the power of the network and won't get it.  Those who get-it are signing up for the new blogs and getting ready to unleash holy-seo on the RE blogosphere.  Regardless, there will always be a group who thinks they are entitled to that which everyone else worked to obtain. 

Posted by Erik Hitzelberger, Louisville - Middletown Real Estate (RE/MAX Alliance - Louisville REALTOR-Luxury Homes) over 11 years ago

C - I'm going to be brief -- which is very difficult for me -- just ask my friends....LOL

Very Well Said!!!  If they don't listen -- If they don't Understand -- OH Well....

Posted by Judi Morgan, San Antonio, TX Real Estate (RETIRED) over 11 years ago

Hey, Thanks for this post! We took a few punches today and it always feels good when our members have our back.

I wanted to comment because we reduced the price of the Group Blogs today by bringing that functionality to the Standard Blogs. So now everyone with a $19 individual blog actually has the full functionality of a group blog!!  So the ROI is actually better than what you spelled out above. ;)


Posted by Jon Washburn over 11 years ago

Jonathan, that is Spanking-A AWESOME! You guys ROCK and you are very welcome. :-)

Judi, there is a reason why Susan Mangigian coined the moniker Wordy C (LOL). I had to "sit on myself" to stop writing. :-)

Erik, I cracked up as soon as I read your e-mail (LMAO). Brief indeed... as compared to a Meme perhaps? :-)

Jeannie, my love, thank you. :-)



Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 11 years ago

C Tann- Got any buttered popcorn?  TLW has been teasing us all night and never showed up.  Now, here I am, WIDE awake, as you seem to be, craving buttered popcorn.  Dang it.

You know, you hit the nail on the head with your post.  It amazes me how many negative people are raising their heads about the NOMINAL charge.  Good Lord.  I could not live without my Active Rain blog.  I'm too technically challenged, lol.  AR has been such a wonderful tool for me and made my transition when I relocated much easier.  I'm SO thankful and grateful for the dollars Active Rain has put in my pocket, that's for darn sure!

Love your "tell it like it is" attitude!  You go girl!  Now, find TLW and have her pass us some popcorn :)

Posted by Elizabeth Cooper-Golden, Huntsville AL MLS (Huntsville Alabama Real Estate, (@ Homes Realty Group)) over 11 years ago


I love free speech, and yours is particularly blunt and refreshing...!!! :) Thanks,   Fran

Posted by Fran Gaspari, "The Title Man" - Title Insurance - PA & NJ (Patriot Land Transfer, Inc.) over 11 years ago

C,  I understand having to "sit on myself" to stop writing.  I have a problem being brief -- my friends are always teasing me -- sometimes getting impatient with me".  HAHA  We've never talked on the phone -- we'll have to schedule a day -- a full day -- when we have that conversation!!!  LOL

I'm so grateful to AR, the AR Guys and all the friends I've made here.  I could never leave AR - I'd miss all of my friends -- not to mention all I have learned here -- Real Estate, Marketing, Technology and the list goes on -- I've grown so much here both as a person and as a Real Estate Agent. 

PS...Could you please pass the popcorn??? 

Posted by Judi Morgan, San Antonio, TX Real Estate (RETIRED) over 11 years ago

ERCG,  I am wired (LOL). Hubby is playing World of Warcraft and my e-mail is off the hook. Who knew this was going to be such a hot topic? :-)

Fran, thank you. Sometimes you have to call a spade a spade (LOL).

Judi, we are sooo gonna have fun when I go stay with Melodious later on. Blogging from TX with the gang is gonna be sweet! We are gonna be chattering like magpies over there. Before then we have got to play phone tag. ;-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 11 years ago

BTW, consider the popcorn passed (LOL). Looking forward to catching up with and following around TLW. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Carolyn, there seems to be quite a mixed bag of feelings about AR's charging for new members. I did notice that there was an increase in membership yesterday. One of the silly stats I follow...

Your building consultant in the Spring Hill, TN area - Michael

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 11 years ago


I think that you have summarized it quite well.  This is a great opportunity and AR is truly getting better each day IMHO.

Posted by Don Rogers, Realtor, Broker, CDPE, GRI, OnullFallon MO & St Charles County MO homes (Keller Williams Realty Chesterfield) over 11 years ago

C, thanks, as always for the great information.  I think they reduced outside blogs to $19.  I haven't signed up yet because I simply can't spend anymore money right now, but I will, in time.  Especially now that your picture shows up in your comments, but only if you pay!  So, it's pretty obvious who pays and who doesn't.  I love it here, and I want their business to be profitable so that we continue to meet and exchange ideas and a few smiles every day.

Posted by Susan Mangigian, Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches (RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A) over 11 years ago

Michael, seems to have picked up even more this morning (LOL). Now I find myself watching the numbers as well. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Thank you, Don. I can't imagine not being here. I love this place. All of my friends are here. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Carolyn, I can't believe I read the whole thing!! LOL but I did and you are right on the money. I'm a newbie and I get that it's about investing in my business.

Posted by Barb Szabo, CRS, E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes (RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio) over 11 years ago

Great post!  I agree and I am also with Susan on this one.

Posted by Melody Botting, You Deserve The Best (Broker Associate PenFed Realty) over 11 years ago

Right on the money!  I don't think there is anything more to be said...you have said it beautifully and completely.   

Posted by Susan Haughton, Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results. (Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545) over 11 years ago

Susan, my lovely, I am looking forward to seeing your lovely smile everywhere in cyberspace. :-)

Barb, everyone has been joking with me about my version of being brief (LOL).

Thank you, Melodious. I'm looking forward to seeing what you're cooking up as well. ;-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Thank you, Susan H. I appreciate your kind words. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Carolyn, good explanation. I think this will work and support the decison. As one who has been here a L O N G time, I would have paid. I will still recruit and just change my recrutiting technique.

"now you can join free, blog members only, learn from the smartest agents in the industry and then if you like it, (we all know they will, if they participate) and then join.

Once folks "get it" like Twitter they will gladly pay the 29.00.

Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) over 11 years ago

As a former starving artist, I know the value of a dollar and can stretch it more ways than Sunday. I have always been totally appreciative of being on AR and I'm amazed we have all been here so long reaping the benefits for free. I agree with you baybay.

Posted by Lizette Fitzpatrick, Lizette Realty, Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes (Lizette Realty - Richmond KY) over 11 years ago

I was going to mention the 79.00 group blogs are no more, they're 19.00 now, but then I saw Jon was here and stole my thunder!  lol~  Thanks Carolyn for taking the time to share your take on this.  

As a member on AR before being an employee here, I would be grateful that AR is doing something to remain a force long into the future so that I could continue to benefit from being a founding member here. 

I know that the greatest percentage of our Active members wants us to be around for a long time, and with this new membership model, this makes it much more likely and possible that we will be. 

Why is that a bad thing or so hard for some folks to understand?  Maybe they just don't understand what it takes to run a network like AR including the costs.  Either way, we will press on and we WILL succeed.  :-)

Posted by Brad Andersohn, ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876 (Executive Director of Education at eXp Realty) over 11 years ago

I just keep saying there is no such thing as a free lunch.  It will be interesting to see what these change mean to the quality of people and number of members signing up.

Posted by Josef Katz, {Marketing Maestro} (Digital and Direct Response Marketing) over 11 years ago

Hi C - You are always a refreshing read.  I have been away a few weeks and see that I have missed much.  Um, I didn't know about the pricing.  Well, I will go investigate and keep an open mind.  Thanks!

Well, I just read Active Brad's blog & got caught up a bit.  DUH.  At least I was only a day behind...  Just goes to show - miss a day on AR, miss a lot!

Posted by Margaret Mitchell, Seacoast Maine & NH Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Yorke Realty) over 11 years ago

Carolyn, Very well said, as usual.  I am in for the long haul and don't mind paying the fee at all.

Posted by Sidney Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula, Realty Works Temecula (Realty Works Temecula) over 11 years ago

Carolyn - Thanks for the information and for your sharp, as usual, perspective.  I especially agree that, when compared with other services and tools on the web, active rain is a real value. 

Posted by Jim Valentine (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates) over 11 years ago

Josef, I've changed my recruiting strategy, but I am still determined to get more people in my office on Active Rain. We need to dominate our targeted areas on Google and this is a major part of my business plan (LOL).

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Margaret M, I know exactly what you mean. I log in at breakfast, run around like crazy, log in for lunch and dinner and things are constantly moving and shaking over here (LOL). I love this place!

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Jane, I am constantly juggling accounts. My girlfriend inspired me one day when I went to take her out for lunch. She told me that when times are tough she fasts a meal. She has a special box she pits the money in. It has paid for several vacations.  People have no idea how much they really do spend on their habits until times are tough...

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Jim, I wasn't sure what to do with it the first time I stumbled across this place in Google. I lurked, I read, I thought it was neat but I didn't join. It really took a while for me to talk myself into blogging. Now I can't imagine not being here. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 11 years ago

C-When I read your more "enthusiastic" blogs I think I can actually hear your voice in every word (even though we've never spoken). Excellent post--I've been on a long project, so not on AR a whole lot the past several days---I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do!

Posted by Susan Gonzalez Faux painting murals atlanta (Marietta Mural & Decorative Design) over 11 years ago

Brad, I am looking forward to hanging out in Active Rain as a card carrying member of the cheer-leading squad (LOL). We're working on building up a few new groups and we've been scoping camera upgrades and film software. We have a lot of plans for Little Minion TV on AR. The kids are totally into the electronics now and ham it up constantly. They fight over the cameras every single day and shoot out of the windows while I'm driving around (LOL).

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Thank you, Susan G. :-)

Lizette, my love, been there as well (LOL).

Thank you, Missy. It's just a matter of time. I think the quality of posts will improve as well because there will be a different type of competition fostered from the next generation... :-)


Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 11 years ago

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