Category Archives: Personal

Why I’m in the Real Estate Industry

From circa 2009, Lucky Strikes Social Media Club, NYC

From circa 2009, Lucky Strikes Social Media Club, NYC

The following is entirely personal, and unlikely to offer any sort of insight into the burning issues of the day. I thought to write it because I was presenting at a meeting just this past week, and as is often the case, the attendees usually fly in the night before and have a chance to hang out.

One of the people I met is Sherri Meadows, the new President of the Florida Association of REALTORS. We got to talking, and somehow, the topic got into why I’m in the real estate industry at all. I told her, and she suggested that I tell that story publicly, to all of you. So I will. Thanks, Sherri!

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In Which I Further Engage Ben Caballero of NAREP


In this episode of “As The Blog Turns” we learn that our protagonist — your humble scribe — finds even more amusement in the responses from Mr. Ben Caballero, of HomesUSA and of NAREP.

For those missing out on the soap opera, here were my questions to Mr. Caballero, and then here are his answers, which I’ve posted in full, without editing. I now turn to those answers to perform a full-on fisking.

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Ben Caballero Responds

As you may have read, I asked Ben Caballero of NAREP a number of questions. He has responded, and authorized me to post his responses, as long as I did not edit it or add anything else to what he sent in.

In accordance to his wishes, I post his response in full. Any modifications are cosmetic only, to help legibility, and because Microsoft Word text has to be formatted for WordPress platform. If a response is needed, I will do so in a separate post.

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Twenty Questions for Ben Caballero of NAREP

Recently, I’ve had the occasion to be taken to task personally by one Ben Caballero, the co-founder of an entity called NAREP. Here are the relevant tweets in question:


Then in the comments to the Unintended Consequences post, Mr. Caballero posts the following:

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Now, I’m pretty used to disagreements, arguments, and being told I don’t know a thing because I’ve never sold real estate, or any variety of amusing ad hominem stuff. Seeing as how I enjoy debate and argument, I’ve managed to pick up a pretty thick skin over the years. But I gotta say, being accused of being on Zillow and Trulia’s payroll, and then hiding that… well, that was a new one. I mean, damn… if I could get two of the biggest tech companies to write me checks for blogging, I rather think I’d be more inclined to boast about it, in the hopes I’d get other guys to write me checks too.

But that whole deal got me wondering, who the heck is this guy throwing rocks in my direction? I mean, I sort of knew that Ben Caballero was behind something called NAREP, because I wrote about them earlier. But beyond that, I didn’t really know anything about the man and why he seems to have such a grudge against me.

So I went looking. And oh boy, have I got some questions for Mr. Ben Caballero. Twenty of them in fact. Some of what I found, I think, is relevant to an overall discussion about industry practices, and certainly, NAREP has been on the forefront of the syndication issue. So while I’ll admit to a bit of ah… personal interest in these matters, I ask these questions on behalf of inquiring folks who may want to know.

[UPDATE: Mr. Caballero has provided answers, which I’ve posted in its entirety.]

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The Notorious ROB Design Touch-Up

If you’ve been to Notorious ROB before, you will have noticed the design update to the blog. Most of the major changes have been under the hood, but I’m generally satisfied with it. I will likely keep making some design tweaks going forward, but wanted to tell you about two major changes.

Premium Content Changes

First, the premium subscription service has been replaced with The Store. Premium content, instead of being a web page, has been converted into downloadable PDF’s, so you can keep a copy for yourself. All existing subscribers will be emailed a copy of the report they purchased, and Annual Subscribers will be emailed a 100% discount code good for the remainder of 2013. Please look for that next week.

Relatedly, I’ve dramatically increased the price on every Black Paper. For the past few months, I’ve been trying premium content as an experiment of sorts, to see what sort of demand existed for detailed analysis and reporting on four public companies: Zillow, Trulia, Move, and Realogy. I do plan to expand coverage into RE/MAX as well, as it looks likely that they’ll go public. But quite frankly, most of you don’t particularly care. :) Which is fine, as I don’t write the Black Paper series for most people — it’s a very small audience I’m aiming at with those.

So, my take on it is, the elite few of you who care to pay to read my work on those public companies aren’t particularly price sensitive, and my time remains valuable. These reports aren’t fun blogposts; they’re actual work to produce. If you’re that rare reader who really wants access to the Black Papers, but have some reason for financial reticence (e.g., you’re a student, you just quit your job to do a startup, etc.), contact me.

Advertising on Notorious R.O.B.

The other change is that I’ve settled on a program for advertising and sponsorship. Over the years, I’ve had people wanting to advertise to the unique audience that this blog draws. It’s not a big audience, but it is an influential one. You ought to know this, since you’re reading it, and you know who you are.

Plus, I upgraded the hosting to improve speed and I plan to make some further changes to make the site easier to read.

But getting advertisers is no small task. Doing sales calls and bizdev type stuff for my blog is not a focus for me. Plus, there is the matter of trying to put price on such a thing.

The solution: Ebay Auction!

Basically, sponsorship to the blog will be sold on a monthly basis, during which time you are the exclusive and sole sponsor of the finest, most powerful, most influential blog in real estate. (Well, at least according to my mom, it is.)

Whoever wins the auction is the sponsor, and the winning bid is the price. For that month. Every post is covered. The exceptions are static pages and The Store.

For more details, please visit the Sponsorship page.

Okay, that’s the update. We now return to regularly (un)scheduled programming. Thanks!