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What Realtors can learn from sale of the Huffington Post

Creative Commons License photo credit: smemon87

On February 7th, Arianna Huffington announced that AOL is purchasing the Huffington Post for 315 million dollars.  The Huffington Post, also referred to as HuffPo, was founded on May 2005 by Arianna Huffington, Kenneth Lerer, and Jonah Peretti and features various news sources and columnists and contributors. The site provides news coverage of media, politics, business, entertainment world news and comedy among others. Over the years, HuffPo has grown to be a monster in the news and blog world, attracting over 26 million unique visitors per month.  I am a business development manager for a national title insurance company, I help real estate professionals-real estate agents and loan officers-get found online.

HuffPo grew at an astounding rate largely in part because of thousands guest bloggers-contributors. If it wasn’t for these contributors, the Huffington Post would not have had anywhere close to the articles, videos and other content that led it to becoming one of the most popular sites on the Internet, with more than 26 million unique visitors per month. Contributing to the Huffington Post was a win/win for both parties.  The Huffington Post got traffic (visitors), a lot of traffic and the contributors got valuable back links to their own websites as well as name and/or brand recognition.  Not a bad deal huh?  Here’s the rub- once the contributors post on the Huffington Post, the content then ceases becoming property of said contributor and becomes the property of the Huffington Post.

All was fine and dandy, everyone was happy UNTIL the Huffington Post announced it was being acquired by AOL. This is where the lesson begins.  There is an argument being made that the contributors, the thousands of people and brands that helped build the Huffington Post, should be entitled to at least a part of that money.  Whether they are or not is not my concern, what is my concern and where the lesson to be learned is where real estate peeps are posting their content.  There are certain companies here in the Phoenix metro area that would have real estate peeps, actually-all peeps believe that they don’t need a website, that facebook is all they need.  They site impressive stats like, “facebook has over 500 million users” and “facebook is now the #1 destination on the web” and that “consumers spend more time on facebook than any other website.” The stats are true, the conclusion is far from it.

Facebook is an excellent community to meet people, clients, and to spread the value of your brand.  But-using facebook as your only HUB, could be a huge mistake.  Question-what happens if facebook is sold? What happens if facebook changes their terms of service?  What happens if facebook is eclipsed by the webs next BIG thing? Remember MySpace?  Exactly.  What happens to all of your content?

You have heard the old saying “don’t put all your eggs in the same basket”. What that saying should have probably said is “don’t put all your eggs in the same basket-unless you own the basket and the eggs!” I am sure, the contributors that helped make the Huffington Post what it is had considered the possibility that it could be sold and what that would mean to them but I bet they didn’t think it would happen so soon.  The contributors are now going to be at the whim of the new owner-AOL.  What they do with the Huffington Post remains to be seen.

Takeaway-While Facebook and ActiveRain and Trulia are great websites to draw traffic, we don’t own them.  Things change, they always do-I use my website/blog as my HUB.  I choose to pull consumers and real estate peeps (my target audience) off of sites like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, ActiveRain (that I don’t own or control) to my website-which I do.

I’m not telling anyone to stop using facebook-lord knows, I love me some facebook.  What I am saying is, any content you provide should be posted on your website and linked to facebook, facebook gets bought by China-you still have your content.

And now you know, and knowing is half the battle.


Hi I'm Stephen Garner, I'm just a guy in the title industry {in Phoenix} trying to change how real estate agents market themselves and their services. To that end, I teach my clients HOW TO leverage sales technologies like WordPress, Content, Video, Camtasia, Final Cut X, iMovie and indexable IDX solutions to convey value and help your ideal client find you online when they are most interested in learning about you and your services. I work for escrows. Hire me!

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