Localism Q&A: Official Answers

By
Real Estate Agent

Question: I have invested years creating content for Localism, what happened to all of it?

Answer: All of your content is still there! You, and Google, will always be able to find all of your posts on your personal blog page on Localism. For example this is Deborah Burns page http://localism.com/agents/deborahsseattlehomes

Localism now features new and improved blog pages for every region in the US and Canada.  For a post to show up on one of these pages it has to be approved by one of our human editors.  Right now about 10% of all posts submitted to Localism are being approved.

Current Localism editorial review status:

Total photos: 83,687
Photos reviewed: 44,465
Photos approved: 6,409

Total Posts: 179,526
Total Posts reviewed: 7,400
Total Posts approved: 940

Question: I've created a ton of content for Localism but I'm not showing up as Top Neighbor!

Answer: The Top Neighbor scoring algorithm is based on the amount of approved content you've provided to Localism. We are still only a part of the way through reviewing past content so don't worry if you are not ranking for the next few days/weeks.  If you have worked hard to create good content I will almost assure you that your work will be rewarded with a Top Neighbor ranking.

Question: What does it mean to Sponsor a Community, and do I now have to pay to rank high on Localism?

Answer: All of the ways ActiveRain members got their content onto Localism in the past is still 100% free.  This includes: pictures, blog posts, profile information, and comments. Community Sponsorships are an entirely new type of content that we created specifically for the new localism. We realized that the Localism community and city pages would rank much higher with the search engines if they had some component of static content, and after much deliberation we decided that selling sponsorships for this component would be the fairest and easiest way to get this content created. These sponsored area descriptions will still require the sponsor to write quality information and will be subject to editorial approval.

Question: What are the Top Neighbors, and can I pay to be ranked higher?

Answer: Top Neighbors is a ranking of the top content contributors for each region. The Top Neighbors list is completely based on user content contribution and there is no way to buy your way to a higher ranking.

Question: What is going to constitute an approved article on Localism?

Answer: We are still establishing a written set of guidelines.  Right now I am instructing the editors to accept posts that they would find interesting and valuable if they were looking for information on that particular area.  It is important to note that the more granular the post is tagged the less picky the editors are.  For example, a marginal quality post will likely be accepted on a Community blog, but a very good post may not make the cut for the state blog page.  To have a state level post accepted, it needs to be exceptional.

Question: I have noticed some bugs or other technical issues since Localism went live.

Answer: Check out Jorgen's "issues" post here.  He is the "go-to guy" for technical issues.

Question: The content column is too narrow and is screwing up my content.

Answer: Sorry guys. We had to make a design decision and the narrow column is here to stay on Localism. We felt that for many of the social components we intend on launching in the coming months, more room on the right hand side of the page was going to be important. Currently, only posts that are using HTML (such as tables) that is too wide are being affected. The posts that do not use HTML are being adjusted by an algorithm that attempts to resize images and reformat the posts accordingly. While there will be an adjustment period, you can expect something similar with the blog post creation tool in the not too distant future.

Suggestion: Use plain text and photos.  Don't do html editing. 

Question: Can only people who pay contribute content to Localism

No. Anyone will be able to contribute content regardless of whether or not they wish to sponsor a community. The sponsorship will give that sponsor the right to compose only the static text description at the top left of the community page. All other forms of participation will be open to everyone. You will still be able to be a 'top neighbor', you will still be able to contribute blog posts to your community, you will still be able to contribute pictures.

Question: I am concerned about paying to be an expert instead of writing to be one.

Answer: Don't be concerned! If you don't want to pay, no problem. Your Localism blog posts should still rank very high on Google and you'll still receive significant traffic.  The paid sponsorships are just another option for users to generate business.

Question: Where are listings going to be shown? When are they going to be added?

Answer: We don't want to answer this too specifically, but we are working on something. ;)

Question: How do you define a community?

Answer: We decided to leave this up to our members. My belief is that it will start with users only submitting large neighborhoods as communities, but over time the number of the communities will expand as people choose to submit individual buildings as communities.  For example, I could see a school, church, office building, or apartment complex all receiving great benefit from keeping a community blog on Localism.

Question: We still need some more clarifications on sponsorship. In the city of Henderson, NV there are several master planned communities, and many of these have unique subdivisions within them. If one AR member sponsored the master plan, could others sponsor subdivisions within the master plan?

Answer: Each submitted community will be sponsorable. The two main requirements are that the community have a unique name and reside within the geo-graphical confines of a city.  For example one person could sponsor "Queen Anne" Seattle, and someone else could create and sponsor "North Queen Anne" Seattle.

Question: Should I be reposting all of my old content?

Answer: Yes, under two circumstances: 1) If you had some excellent and timeless posts older than six months, and 2) If you have a bunch of ugly or self-serving marketing material on the bottom of your posts and are open to removing it.

Question: How do i post content to Localism?

Answer: If you are a member of ActiveRain you can post to Localism by clicking the "for consumer" checkbox on the blog post interface and then geo-tagging your post. [Geo-tag refers to selecting the state, county, city, and community of your blog post.]

Question: Are the photos still being editing out?

Answer: Yes.  This will be a never ending process. All photos will be manually reviewed.

Question: What will you be doing to promote Localism?

Answer: We believe that in no time Localism will be ranking very high in the search engines; however we still plan to promote localism heavily through search engine paid marketing.

Question: How do I sponsor a city?

Answer: City sponsorships are free to the member who sponsors the most communities in each city.

Question: What if someone else sponsors a community that I want?

Answer: All sponsorships are sold to only one user at a time. If someone sponsors a community where Localism presence is important to you, you may still capture superb community presence through your submission of compelling blog posts, pictures, and high ranking as a top neighbor.

Question: Are you open to reconsidering your pricing model for the Sponsored Communities?

Answer: Absolutely! Our number one goal is to provide the best service to our members. Of course we are a business and need to make a profit too, but if you have any suggestions on how we can alter our model to serve you better please let us know.

 

Additional Q&A

Question: What do you mean by “If you have a bunch of ugly or self-serving marketing material on the bottom of your posts and are open to removing it.”

Answer: Some of the headers or footers people place on their blog posts look bad on the Localism blog pages.  The editors do take this into consideration when evaluating a post. 

I know how important the call to action buttons are for some of our members, so in the next few days we will be creating and providing some button designs for our members to use that will match the localism design.

Question: The new design format is too small; why are you restricting creativity with it?


Answer: The narrow width on the left column is necessary for future feature initiatives within Localism.  I would argue that creativity is not being restricted.  However, if our members can use plain text in their blog posts it will go a long ways towards making Localism be a consistent user experience for visitors to the site, and formatting issues will be resolved across all platforms.  Please continue to upload pictures and videos to the site. 

Question: Why don’t you make the width on ActiveRain match that on Localism?

Answer: We are working on it.

Question: RealEstateShows do not display properly in Localism.

Answer: I am sorry I wasn’t aware of that. We will start to work on a solution to make them display properly on Localism.

Question: I think it is unfair that I have worked so hard on building quality content for my region and you are going to let someone else have an equal shot at sponsoring my community as me.

Answer: I agree. We are all working on a plan that will allow our most active members a chance to buy some communities in a pre-sale event before the offical "land rush".  It is also important to note that we are keeping Localism in private beta and only available to ActiveRain members until after the land rush. We are doing this partly so that all of the ActiveRain members will get a shot at sponsoring their communities before other local businesses can.

Question: Our team's localism posts had been set up for a viewing pane width of approximately 720 pixels. As an aging Baby Boomer with eyes dimming too quickly, I also like to use a font size of 3 instead of the AR default of 2.

With the new localism's encroachment and adverse possession of about 1/3rd of the previous viewing pane's space, our old blog posts are really messed up.

See: http://www.localism.com/blog/wa/vancouver/posts/547109/Vancouver-Washington-Moving-Resources as an example.

1) Will Localism's encroachment continue? If so, what should I do with our older posts (most of them look bad)?

2) Assuming the encroachment continues I'm considering future localism posts to be teaser text, with the main post back at AR, and all internal linking going to AR pages. Make sense?

Answer: The column width we are using on Localism will nearly certainly be staying the same. Your example post would display nicely if you allowed the picture to wrap naturally and display on the next line. I personally would not make the Localism posts teaser posts, but that is your call.

 

New Question July 11th

Question: I don't like the advertisers being displayed in the skyscraper banner on the right side of the page. Can you do something about it?

Answer: I have instructed Jorgen to remove them. I would expect that sometime today they will simply disappear.

Question: Why have you hired editors to review and approve our content? Isn't that censorship?

Answer: One of the biggest complaints we've had since Day One from many of our members is the concern over poorly written content showing up on Localism. Our editors will ensure that only good quality content shows up on the community pages to be viewed by consumers. In addition, we will be providing our members with very specific critiera for what constitutes good quality content, so you'll be better equipped to publish accordingly.

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Rainer
13,329
Andrew Kyle
Royal LePage Foothills - Calgary, AB
Calgary Condo Realtor

Thanks for this info Jonathan.  It answers many of the questions I had. I would urge that the guidelines that editors will be using to determine whether to approve posts be made public as soon as possible. I think that is a key document.  I won't be posting too much to localism.com until that document is made public.

Jul 22, 2008 07:19 AM #249
Rainmaker
407,675
Karen Monsour
Coldwell Banker Fort Lauderdale Beach - Fort Lauderdale, FL
REALTOR, SSRS - Sells FL Waterfront, Short Sale Expert!

I ditto Andrew Kyles remarks. I too would like to know exactly what the guidelines are going to be...as the ones that are now showing up in my area are the usual poster's of info...they don't all look that great.

Jul 22, 2008 10:55 PM #250
Rainmaker
48,441
Brenda Tressler
Crye-Leike Realtors - Clarksville, TN

Great Q&A, this helps me alot. I guess I will need to work on some good post! Thanks :)

Jul 26, 2008 10:10 PM #251
Anonymous
Janice Slaven

I notice that the post written within AR, posts differently and does not align the same on the outside post - which can cause problems. But I am also noticing that these same posts really are skewed on Localism and the article looks NOTHING like what you thought you posted.  Punctuation, pics are all out of alignment. Is it possible to format all three of these so you know what it will look like when you "put it out there?"

Thanks,

Janice Slaven, Prudential GA Realty
Suwanee GA Real Estate

Jul 28, 2008 04:30 PM #252
Rainmaker
178,879
Denise Gentile
Coldwell Banker Associated Brokers Realty - Menifee, CA
REALTOR , Riverside County

Hi Jonathon- Wow- 249 comments.  Not sure if I missed it, but are you not accepting any new photo's to localism at this time?  If you are, how do you go about posting them?  Sorry if you already answered this one.

Jul 28, 2008 11:40 PM #253
Rainmaker
371,439
Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

Jon, will the issues with photos not moving over from AR to Localism be fixed before the public launch?

Jul 28, 2008 11:43 PM #254
Rainer
21,829
Karl Nettgen
Century 21 Agate Realty - Gold Beach, OR

Thanks for the Q+A...I'm sure the bugs will get worked out

Jul 29, 2008 09:23 PM #255
Anonymous
Janice Slaven

Registering for a community:


  • I clicked on "Land Rush Starts Now"
    I logged in with user name/password
    My ONLY state choice is WA; there are no city/county choices available to me
    At the credit card info there is no "submit"

I've logged out and gone back in and get the same thing.

 

Janice Slaven

Jul 31, 2008 03:08 PM #256
Rainmaker
337,656
Gary Bolen
McCall Realty - South Lake Tahoe, CA
CRS - Lake Tahoe Real Estate Information

could not figure out where to go and how to sponsor a community. tried logging in off the log-in link above Deb Bruns page that you linked us to here. and only got the state of washington as a choice.

went to South Lake Tahoe localism, saw us there, tried again, and only got the state of washington as a choice.

tried to see my "account", though have no credit card on file, which it says, but there is no place to go from there to put one on file.

will continue on reading from Rich's list...

Jul 31, 2008 04:38 PM #257
Anonymous
Janice Slaven

The article I wrote: "The Short and Tall of It! Short Sales...What You Need to Know" I posted to Georgia, Gwinnett. I did see it in there, but now it is gone??? I don't see it anywhere.

I also notice posts I have marked for "SUWANEE" are under Gwinnett?????

Janice Slaven, Realtor/Prudential GA Realty

Aug 01, 2008 12:49 PM #258
Rainmaker
240,155
Palm Coast Homes
100 Plus Realty LLC - Palm Coast, FL
Palm Coast/Flagler County Real Estate, The Ross/Co

Help - I have some really great photos of my local area that I would love to post to Localism...but I cannot figure out how to do this...anyone???  Thanks for any assistance...Kristi

Aug 02, 2008 05:53 PM #259
Rainmaker
240,155
Palm Coast Homes
100 Plus Realty LLC - Palm Coast, FL
Palm Coast/Flagler County Real Estate, The Ross/Co

Hi Jonathan,

Thanks BTW for the Twitter follow :-)  sorry I have not been as active on there as I would like lately...crazy busy with customers...most of which I believe find me through AR and my blog posts.

I have a quickie questions for you....Ok maybe not so quickie... :-)

 I have been putting up market reports about our local communities here and get awesome feedback and business from my customers about it.  It even gets picked up everytime by google I notice...but I see it appear on localism and then the next day it is gone.  Is there something wrong with my localism posts...does AT not like them :-(  I do  know that they are a hit with customers....and I love to see them on localism.  If I am doing something wrong to make the AR editors not like my posts...please give me a heads up...I think that AR is an awesome community and I believe is such a huge part of my success over the last 6 months with customers....I am a huge fan or AR and would like any advice or suggestions about how I can create better content for your benefit and mine...I am sad that my post keep disappearing from localism...help????

Aug 05, 2008 08:03 PM #260
Rainmaker
240,155
Palm Coast Homes
100 Plus Realty LLC - Palm Coast, FL
Palm Coast/Flagler County Real Estate, The Ross/Co

To Jon & Bob...Thank you for answering my questions so promptly...looks like the information was under my nose all the time D'of...me bad, lazy   Super Busy,  AR fan...you can read it here in a great post by Rich...

http://activerain.com/blogsview/595254/What-Constitutes-Approved-Content

Thanks again...Kristi

Aug 06, 2008 07:24 AM #261
Rainmaker
1,396,326
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

I gave up on trying to get an answer to my questions about #1 and it is pretty much a moot point for me now... I went ahead and am addiing new content

What about number 2?  Where does the Newest Localsim without an editor stand on the ugly and /or self-serving marketing materials on the bottom of posts?

from this post:

"Question: Should I be reposting all of my old content?

Answer: Yes, under two circumstances: 1) If you had some excellent and timeless posts older than six months, and 2) If you have a bunch of ugly or self-serving marketing material on the bottom of your posts and are open to removing it."

 

Aug 21, 2008 03:21 PM #262
Ambassador
529,825
Rich Jacobson
Keller Williams West Sound Realty - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Maureen: I wish that there were a simple and easy answer to that one. RE professionals are such creators of habit. Old habits are deeply engrained. They have a hard time letting go of old marketing methods and practices. They tend to mimic what others are doing. And such is the case here. Regardless of how many links and profiles we provide, some feel it necessary to add additional blatant self promotion to clutter their content. All that we can do at this point is to simply lead by example, and post articles to encourage them to do otherwise.

Aug 21, 2008 06:56 PM #263
Rainmaker
371,439
Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

Hi Rich, while you are here :).....I've changed my AR signature to just my name, with a very short copyright notice that includes a text link to my site.  That's it.  Does that meet the guidelines for what ya'll are looking for?

Aug 21, 2008 07:00 PM #264
Rainmaker
1,396,326
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

Or maybe those of us who don't spam ourselves on our post  will decide if you can't beat them, why not join them?

Aug 22, 2008 07:48 AM #265
Ambassador
529,825
Rich Jacobson
Keller Williams West Sound Realty - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Maureen:  Now there's an idea that makes a lot of sense. Simply add to the madness? What would you propose would be a realistic resovle?

Lisa:  Less is definitely more. Today's consumers are tired of being bombarded with incessant self-serving promotion. They want valuable information that helps to inform their decisions. AR provides more than enough adequate contact links for consumers to find you.

Aug 22, 2008 11:39 AM #266
Ambassador
529,825
Rich Jacobson
Keller Williams West Sound Realty - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Maureen:  Now there's an idea that makes a lot of sense. Simply add to the madness? What would you propose would be a realistic resovle?

Lisa:  Less is definitely more. Today's consumers are tired of being bombarded with incessant self-serving promotion. They want valuable information that helps to inform their decisions. AR provides more than enough adequate contact links for consumers to find you.

Aug 22, 2008 11:39 AM #267
Rainmaker
1,396,326
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

Rich says "What would you propose would be a realistic resovle?"

Hire Joe Zekas to kick butt?  Where is Joe Zekas when you need him?

No that would be editing...  I quote Rich talking about Joe Zekas:

"One of the points he made in an article entitled, "Ten Things You should IMMEDIATELY Stop doing on Your Blog," was to stop disrespecting your readers by cluttering your posts and comments with your name, logo, and contact info. He further illuminated on the same topic in another post, "Miss Manners says it's like talking about your underwear."

His point in both articles was the meaningless, and rather egotistical redundancy of enclosing all of your contact info, company name, website, phone numbers, logos, etc.. within the body of your blog posts. It was his opinion that such things tended to 'clutter' the writer's article with unnecessary self-promotion. Especially, given the fact that our profiles show up quite predominantly to the side of each of our articles here on ActiveRain."

 

Aug 23, 2008 05:55 AM #268
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Jon Washburn

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