5.19.2007

Blogging with Crayolas

Imagine this article in the voice of Stewie Griffin (and imagine Rusty Lindquist is Peter "turning a blind eye" to the issues)- I think he is the most suitable narrator for this article.

Last week, Jay wrote about a la mode's Rusty Lindquist's comments about a la mode's vision of blogging, noting the sole function is to capture leads. Ol' Rusty opines that if you blog for any reason other than lead generation, you must suck. Well my mature response is "no, Rusty- you and a la mode suck," and here's why:

I have first hand experience with a la mode; my husband's firm uses a la mode for their website. They are normally quite innovative and their back end is incomparable, but they released this blog tool (like a year or two late) and their philosophy of lead generation is disgustingly obvious. Although you can subscribe to the blog, the tools are so lacking it makes you question if it is even an actual blog tool. On a la mode's blog platform, the following is missing:

There are:
*no trackbacks,
*no RSS feed,
*no ability to have live content (maps, live rate charts, buttons such as Blogflux),
*no ability to add a blogroll,
*you can't add contributors or have multiple authors (it all goes under one single name),
*thus no contributor archiving ability,
*no tagging (SERIOUSLY),
*no word verification option which forces moderation,
*and no blog linking ability (well, unless you are linking to another a la mode site).
My husband noted on Jay's site that the a la mode tool is the equivalent of being "in timeout blogging with Crayolas so [he] can “capture leads” per Lindquist’s envisioned blogosphere." The transparent Real Estate practices that we all work so hard to promote are squashed by a la mode's premature release of their blog platform.

Admittedly, a la mode is normally responsive and offers great customer service- that is unless your call has anything to do with their blog tool where suggestions seem to evaporate. Let's say you're like my husband and you want to take action... each time you note a missing tool (or if you notice you don't even have tools inside your shiny red toolbox), you call a la mode and make a request. First of all, it's ridiculous that ANYONE should have to call a tech company to make a freakin' tech suggestion. The response is always that they will pass your suggestion along to the tech department. "Can I speak directly with the tech department?" No, they'll pass your suggestion along. To date, no suggestion has been taken seriously- he's still blogging with Crayolas. When asked how long it will take, they provide a canned response quoting policy about promising dates- so you don't know if/when you can load a simple RSS feed, but you'll pass it along? I imagine a 19 year old call center operator reading from a script, writing down a message for the boss and handing it to him with a pile, noting "this one isn't important."

So if you've wondered why you don't have my husband on your feed reader, it's because a la mode believes a blog is exclusively for lead generating- you're just out of luck if you don't want to subscribe to an email drip. If a la mode can't produce results in a timely manner, Wordpress is becoming a sexy alternative. For the amount of money a la mode asks users to blow, they shouldn't force Realtors to have an off-site blog simply because their beliefs are antiquated (and ignorant, stupid and selfish). All Ol' Rusty has to do is (1) give the tools to his clients and let them decide which THEY need so that any philosophy regarding lead generation can be used (for or against), or (2) simply affirm clients that the tools are being developed OR that they are not and will not be developed- "I'll pass it along" never comforts a client.


Everyone will know when the site is not a-la-mode-suckey or when it's been put on Wordpress- I promise, there will be a parade, a press release and we're working on talking Goldblum into putting it into soundbite form for us. For now, a la mode blows- they are ignorant, they play dumb and they aren't listening to their clients... they are in danger of losing some of their biggest clients. For how excellent SOME of their functions are, it would be sad to watch them crumble.

8 comments:

Jeff Brown said...

I'm curious as to why your husband has put up with this so long. The switch to Wordpress is a no-braner, as is hiring a pro to set you up and provide both design and the needed tools and widgets.

This current set-up sounds like Knott's Berry Farm representing themselves as Disneyland with a straight face.

Jay Thompson said...

I loved your husbands comment on my blog. Thank him for me.

Clearly a la mode doesn't get it when it comes to blogging. I'm sure gutting your current site and starting all over is the last thing on your mind. But if it comes to that, you should look at Point2 Agent. That's my site provider and they recently added a blogging platform. Though it's still in "beta", it at least provides basic functionality such as RSS feeds, though it is lacking in a few others. For now. P2 is *very* responsive to customer input and quite innovative.

Having an "off domain" blog isn't ideal, but it can certainly work. That's how I'm set up...

Austin Realtor's Wife... said...

Yeah, we've spent 3 months testing it waiting for the features we've asked for to be added, but to no avail. That's why we're speaking out.

The REST of the a la mode site is incredible, but the blog platform SUCKS.

BR said...

Jeff,

we have new services under construction atm and software under beta. we expect to roll out mid-summer. I simply hoped xsites a la mode would listen to us and respond but they have not. they rolled out their spring catalogue mailer a few months ago that bragged about the blog software they were adding as a feature, my guess it they rolled it out before it was finished. however, on the backend, rss feeds are available for the rest of the site leading me to belive they think we want to keep out fans in a box- however, I really want to feature you guys so I am taking matters into my hands now. I'll let you all know when it rolls out.

Jay, you're welcome- have you directly requested a la mode come on and blog? Just wondering...

Derek Burress said...

I'm sorry, but "a la mode" sounds more like a pie than some sort of blogging software.

Derek

AUSTIN REALTOR'S WIFE said...

You have no idea...

The rest of the site is amazing, but again, the BLOG piece of the pie is awful! Great observation DB!

kris said...

Wordpress doesn't even require "hiring a pro", it is so user friendly (unless you are the Bawld Guy). :) Do it! As for the off-site nature, you can adequately cross-contaminate IMO, so this is a minor issue.

BTW, still don't know why my email doesn't like yours, and assure your husband I didn't moderate his comment - It just vaporized!

BR said...

realtorgenius.com is up and you're all invited.

Our site coming this summer will be a complete platform but wordpress will do for now!

BR