That said, Mary McKnight is still worth listening to. Even if she is a “vendor”

I was pretty hard on Mary McKnight in my last post. That said, I still think she’s a important source for real estate bloggers to learn about improving their craft. I’ve spent almost a year collecting great articles about real estate blogging. In that list, Mary is as well represented as any other. I get annoyed by the hype, but she knows her stuff. The same can be said for Jim Cronin, Dustin Luther, Joel Burslem, and Pat Kitano.

What each of these people have in common is that they aren’t actual real estate agents or mortgage originators. They’re… vendors.

The term vendor has become somewhat of an slur lately. My friend Greg Swann uses it with increasing regularity. It’s his argument that a vendor is under-qualified to advise authentic real estate and mortgage professionals because they lack the experience of walking the walk, so to speak. I most respectfully disagree. In fact, I often think the worst advice of all comes from other professionals in our vertical.

There’s no shortage of “experts” with real estate and mortgage industry day jobs. They employed a few tactics, had some success, and decried their way as the holy grail. They’re missing the big picture. The reality is, blogging is still so uncommon in most cities that even a terrible blogger can do pretty well if they just apply themselves. The mistake many of them make is assuming that just because their advice worked for them, that it’s the best advice, or the only advice.

Vendors on the other hand, have a client base to give them the big picture. They watch their clients succeed, but they also watch them fail. They have a unique perspective as to what works, what works better and what doesn’t work at all. To ignore these voices simply makes no sense to me. Yes, they won’t always be right, but who is?

0 thoughts on “That said, Mary McKnight is still worth listening to. Even if she is a “vendor”

  1. Paul Chaney

    Todd, having been a vendor to the real estate industry, I always felt hampered in my ability to empathize because I wasn’t a Realtor myself. Even though Richard Nacht and I wrote a well-received book about RE blogging (in which you were quoted), I still felt as though I was on the outside looking in.

    As to Mary, well, she is certainly capable of defending herself. However, because I know she and John to be honorable people, in spite of any alleged hype, I believe she has the best interest of the industry at heart.

  2. Greg Swann

    You are characterizing my position, rather than quoting it, thereby misrepresenting it. My positions against particular vendors are nuanced, detailed and very specific, so dragging me into your argument as a generic straw man — a bogeyman — is invalid. Even so, I may write about this soon, because a thick slice of real estate weblogging has come to be infested with exceptionally bad advice all dressed up in spammy, happy-babble zoot suits.

  3. Todd Carpenter

    I certainly don’t mean to misrepresent your position Greg. I didn’t quote you, but I did link to your comments.

    It’s my personal perception that your position on vendors is fairly sweeping. I will go ahead and quote you on another example, and you can explain further if you like.

    In a recent comment on your blog, you’re reply to the RE Tech South Conference was,

    “Their web site totally rocks. It’s a vendor show, so it’s not my kind of thing, but the site is very professional.”

    It appears to me that you’ve dismissed this conference based the premise that vendors make up much of the speaking panel. Am I wrong?

  4. Greg Swann

    All of the speakers at RETechSouth will be vendors. This doesn’t mean that everything they say will be wrong, but it does mean that everything they say will be colored by their own self-interest, and thus must be carefully filtered by the listener — filtered very rigorously for what may seem to be very plausible-sounding FUD. Whatever good advice a weblogging vendor might offer about hyper-local real estate weblogging, for example, that vendor will not advise you to recruit writers and readers face-to-face — bar none the most successful long-term strategy — because they cannot sell you face-to-face recruiting. For that reason, RETechSouth is not my kind of thing, just as Inman is not, and just as most trade shows are not.

  5. REBloGirl

    Thank you Greg; of course, as a vendor I have a self interest of selling my blog platform- the post Todd pointed out didn’t have a thing to do with RSS Pieces’ blog platform. However, Todd clearly does not comprehend the message of what I was saying- which is – I DO NOT SELL SEO but I DO THINK IT IS IMPORTANT. I have read a lot of people saying that it isn’t important and that was my point- I can prove that when you use simple SEO strategies, you can improve your traffic and leads. I used my clients as examples becasue I know what they did and when they started their SEO strategies. So, Todd, I don’t much care what you think and I find these posts amusing.

  6. Greg Swann

    For my own part, Mary, I wasn’t talking about any specific vendor — I hope it’s always clear when I am! — just using weblogging as a hypothetical. Of the vendors Todd cites by name, I would rate you and Jim Cronin as being the best informed, inasmuch as you are both selling a particular product, as against making vast blue-sky pronouncements based on no on-the-ground experience.

  7. Todd Carpenter

    Mary, I understand perfectly that you do not sell SEO and that you thinks it’s important. You’re still peddling hype. That you haven’t addressed my simple breakdown of your extremely distorted math is very telling.

    What you did is an insult to all the work that Laurie does to get those leads. What you did is mislead your readers about what it will take to get those leads themselves.

    I don’t care if you don’t care, I wrote the post for everyone but you. Trying to blow me off with a condescending laugh does nothing to bolster your position.

  8. Tyler

    *True Colors Shining Through*

    That didn’t take long…

    Their ‘service’ is a joke, websites break, and advice is straight ripped from SEOMoz, Coppyblogger, and HubSpot.

    Todd builds better looking sites and offers better SEO advice than ‘Ann’…

  9. Todd Carpenter

    Tyler, Thanks, but I don’t build my own sites.

    To be honest, I read SEOMoz and Coppyblogger, and can’t say she just rips them off. Many times she takes similar ideas, and applies them to real estate. Nothing wrong with that.

  10. Tyler

    Sorry for the sour demeanor, I read ‘Ann’ for awhile until it became obvious that she was slinging regurgitated ‘advice’ to an industry she knows little about. When confronted with tough questions on her blog about her suspect claims, much as you did in your last post Todd, they never saw the light of day.

    She belittles any competition (as you’ve seen), obviously has something against Jim Cronin, Swann and yours vote as an ‘authority’ in a similar space. I can’t remember the specific posts regarding the attacks on the real estate tomato and Cronin, but they are certainly there. Envy is a sin.

    Anyway, thanks Todd for finally allowing me to get thoughts and comments into a forum that doesn’t delete them

    Rembex and the Fiesta rock…

  11. Brad Nix

    wow, you never know what you’ll stumble across when reading blogs late at night. I didn’t even know Greg commented on REtechSouth, much less dismiss it as vendor’s only. I myself am on the Listing Syndication panel and as a broker/owner, I am not a vendor and feel qualified to at least discuss the topic with vendors and mls IT representatives (also speaking).

    Granted, there are many vendors speaking at this event, but I don’t feel they should be dismissed. These vendors may have an agenda, but it doesn’t mean they don’t have good ideas or insight. I constantly give advice to my clients and the general real estate consumer. My goal is to deliver it honestly, accurately and fairly. But there is no doubt that I hope this good will returns to me in the form of business at some point in the future. I only have to assume Greg operates much the same way.

    I’ll hop over to BHB now to lookup Greg’s comments on REtechSouth (oh and thanks for the compliments on our website – I did it with the help of Brian Gardner’s Revolution theme).

  12. Brad Nix

    I just popped back over from BHB only to vent about not being able to ‘search’ the BHB posts.

    @Greg – I highly recommend installing ‘Search Everything’ plugin:

    Anyways, it has been exciting to be a part of REtechSouth. It is truly a testament to the power of web 2.0. I only met my co-host 16 days ago and we have 120+ people planned to be in the same room on Thursday to discuss real estate 2.0 with some talented vendors, mls insiders, local bloggers, real estate agents and even a broker/owner or two.

  13. Joseph Ferrara.sellsius

    Mary McKnight has a proven track record of getting clients actual business, as well as first page Google traffic– call her a vendor or a magician but she gets RESULTS.

    IMO, Greg Swann has yet to declare, in the interests of transparency, how much business BH Realty has obtained using ANY technique he has advocated on BHB, be it Zestifarming, single home websites, or hyper local blogging on Distinctive Phoenix. Go ahead Greg, tell us how many deals you closed last year and how many active listings you’ve taken this year via Distinctive Phoenix or tree peeing (your term) at Zillow. Crickets chirp.

    BTW, requiring sellers to pay you a non-refundable $1500 fee to list their homes with BH Realty is not likely to get many listings IMO if you cannot point to a meaningful amount of sales closed. You might want to rethink that.

    I hope this doesn’t seem too much to ask Greg to disclose his stats–after all, he readily proclaims his traffic. Since he has become a vendor himself with his conference, I think he owes it to the folks paying him their hard earned cash to pony up his numbers. Unlikely.

  14. Bob

    Interesting what you stumble across online surfing from one RE blog to the next.

    Am biting my lip not commenting on this, so I’ll leave it at “Tyler, if we ever meet up, I’ll buy the first round.”


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