I have about 250 real estate blogs in my feed reader. As such, I read a LOT of real estate blog posts. They range from pure brilliance to not-so-swift.
Today Carol Hian with Redfin in San Diego, posted what has to be the most asinine blog post I’ve ever read.
Carol starts off her diatribe with, “I am not a big fan of “competitor” bashing” and then proceeds to do nothing but that.
Her target is Kris Berg, an agent in San Diego. Kris wrote a post about Redfin’s shift to providing more buyer side service, and apparently Ms. Hian felt compelled to respond.
If you can call her post a response.
Calling Kris and her husband Steve “Barbie and Ken” sounds shockingly similar to something you might hear on a pre-school playground. Oh well, those of apparently limited intelligence are prone to such childish attacks.
What really strikes me as asinine is Carol Hian’s assault on the food drive that Kris and Steve headed up over the weekend (See “Time to Give Back” for details).
Hian writes nonsense like:
Anyone can organize a canned food drive, but without can openers, a cook top and plastic ware, what good does it do? Isn’t that pretty superficial?
Uhm, hello? How is collecting 3/4 of a ton (and counting) of food to be donated to a food bank “superficial”? What good does it do? Try asking the people that get food on their tables and can now feed their children what good it does.
Comparing a drive to replenish a food bank to a party Redfin throws for clients (and paid for no doubt by their venture capital investors) is just utterly ridiculous. And it is a slap in the face to not only the Berg’s but to every man, woman and child that donated food and worked on collections.
According to Hian’s bio, she once specialized in housing rehabilitation and affordable housing construction — noble causes indeed. She claims, “Her background in social housing gives her an eye for the human aspect of real estate and its effects on our society.”
You’d think that would make her a little more compassionate toward something like a food drive, and toward the people that organized one, donated to it, and gave their time to ensure its success.
Carol Hian, in my opinion you are a fool, a hypocrite, and a disgrace to the real estate profession.
UPDATE: Glenn Kelman, the CEO of Redfin apologized sincerely for Ms. Hian’s post. Glenn may often be maligned in the real estate blog world, but he’s a stand up guy. Ms. Hian no longer writes for Redfin. Kudo’s to them for doing the right thing all around.
BawldGuy Talking says
Jay — As I said in my comment to her, if Glenn finds out about this he'll be embarrassed.
Jay - The Phoenix Re says
As well he should be Jeff.
Google never forgets. Within 15 minutes of posting this, it ranks #4 and #5 if you search for Carol Hian.
If a few more people were to happen to link to it, who knows where it would rank.
And people do Google names. Every day.
Jay – please don't sugar-coat your feelings. Tell us how you REALLY feel. 😉
I agree completely. As you know, I'm not an agent. Heck, as a "consumer" I even LIKE the Redfin model.
But Carol Hian's post was WAY out of line. Sadly, though it shouldn't, it makes all real estate agents look like whiny petty idiots. And you guys don't exactly have the best rep…
It makes Redfin look even worse. Wonder what Glenn Kelman thinks about it?
Robert Luna says
Bawldguy, Glenn did comment
Glenn Kelman said:
This post makes me physically ill. It is not consistent with how those of us at Redfin who have met Kris Berg feel about her or her charitable activity. Kris is a wonderful human being and a credit to our profession.
We have a clear policy that the contractors who contribute local posts about the real estate market should focus only on the real estate market, not on competitors. We are clear with everyone with whom we work that Redfin works as a partner with other real estate brokers, not as an antagonist.
Had we known that Ms. Hian felt this way about Realtors, we would not have commissioned her to write for Redfin at all.
As much as we would like to, we cannot take the post down because it would be sneaky to do so. But we will take steps to ensure something like this never happens again.
I apologize on behalf of Redfin for this post, both to Kris Berg and to the real estate profession.
Mesquite Realtor says
I always find it amusing when someone says "Im not going to bash then proceeds to do exactly that.
Thanks for bringing this to everyone's attention Jay, I Blogged on it, The Zebra Blogged on it, and the comments throught the community have been unanimously in the Berg's favor. It was great to see the true power of social networking at work!
Wow. Asinine is too weak a word for this. Professionals need to be professionals – no wonder the industry has a reputation problem. I'm glad Glenn apologized for Redfin.
Jay – what a shame to have such a wonderful project be turned into something ugly. Prepared food lasts a very short time, while canned foods last much longer. Congratulations to Kris and Steve on truly fantastic execution of the food drive. I did read the particular blog post and have to wonder what the author of that post thinks about the food drive that the US Postal has or for that matter contributions to victims of natural disasters.
Finally I am very happy that my neighbors and fellow real estate agents have a very different view of helping the less fortunate.
Charleston Real Esta says
Jay, I would think you can now cut one feed from your reader. It is just amazing that someone could write this about Kris and Steve. And as we've both said on previous occasions, think before you hit the enter button.
So do you feel bad for getting Carol Hian fired?
Chris Shouse says
Wow that is just sick and I am glad that Glenn Kelman took a stand right away. I did not hear about this until just awhile ago but I was thinking what a nice person Kris Berg is. I can not believe some one could attack her that way and then attack a cause that is so sorely needed right now. Glad everyone took up the gauntlet for her and for all real estate professionals.
Jay - The Phoenix Re says
I didn't get Carol Hian fired. She got herself fired when she sat down at the keyboard this morning and fired off a baseless attack — smearing the name of a well respected real estate blogger and her employer, and someone I consider a friend. All I did was express my opinion (strongly, and maybe that was a mistake, but I stand by it). I'm pretty confident that Glenn Kelman didn't say, "Well, she sure pissed off Jay, let's fire her".
Jay - The Phoenix Re says
I actually heard about the post on Twitter. I've got the corporate Redfin blog in my reader, but didn't have the San Diego flavor there. I can't see adding it, even though the blogger in question no longer writes there. Believe it or not, I'm actually trying to cut down on my feeds! (or at least keep the total under 500. It's gotten ridiculous…)
Marsello Oentoro says
I think Carol Hian owes you a lot for putting her as the most notorious RE person of the day, your post has gone viral in Technorati and now a lot of people knows her name.
Faina Sechzer says
I could hardly believe it, when I read Kris's post and then the Redfin post. The "Barbie" and all the rest of it was in such poor taste. It was hard to reconcile with Ms. Hian's bio. Kris is a a great blogger and she has truly a good friend in you.
Ricardo Bueno says
Like I said before, I don't know Kris Berg personally but I don't need to know her personally to see that she's well respected in the RE.net community and within the Real Estate profession in general. To see everyone stand up for her the way they did (Twitter, Facebook, the overall blog-o-sphere) is simply amazing and speaks volumes as to the ability of the online mediums to gather a community together.
Carol Hian's comments were unprofessional and unnecessary! Quite simply it's not the way to do business. I'd like to say poor Redfin, but judging by the aftermath, it's more like poor Carol (or not). She got what she deserved and I'm sure glad Glenn didn't take the post down. It's been blogged before…you're responsible for managing your reputation both on- and off-line. Carol mis-stepped here and she should be held responsible and accountable for her actions and lack of professionalism.
I'm ashamed that she stands amongst fellow professional Agents but it's also kind of pride inspiring to see how the whole community gathered around her in support. As for Glenn, I gotta say, I like the way he handled it.
Jamie Geiger says
The fact that she attacked anyone, trying to help the less fortunate is horrible. The less fortunate need food and assistance year round, not just during the holiday season. I think it was a great contribution to their community and should only be admired.
Ryan Horne says
Good for you calling out this hippocrite. It's people like this that sometimes make the world a tough place to live and people like you that make it a little more bareable. There was absolutely no sense in anyone making comments like that. Keep up the good writing.
Dining Room Set says
Jay, your response to Anonymous is great. No, your response was not express your opinion too strongly and there is no need to be apologetic about it. I must also express my admiration for glen's comments.
Toronto realtor says
Wow..very interesting story told..Another exemple how one's saying without thinking over? She certainly doesn't bring any credibility to the real estate profession..
Wade Young says
I do not think the original post was appropriate, but the backlash is also out of proportion, in my opinion.
Las Vegas High Rise says
I can't believe someone would have the total lack of class to attack someone doing charitable work. Steveo is absolutely correct. It damages the industry and Redfin even more. Glenn's corrective action should help alleviate some of the damage, but as Jay says, Google has a long memory.
Austin Real Estate B says
Jay thanks for bringing attention to this. I love how fast the net is with getting attention on certain issues. On the one hand its good the ceo of Redfin publicly apologized. But at the same time the blog in some respects falls in line with redfins constant attacks on other realtors in the industry. So instead of treating this as an isolated incident I would have preferred if this caused Redfin to do some soul searching on how to deal with their competitors in a professional manner.
Texas Mortgage Banke says
Competitor bashing is a sign of one's own weaknesses.
It is also the kiss of death, as many recognize it for what it is!!
Kevin Tomlinson says
Some blogger need to learned the term "business blogging." Though I may want to do some good-old-fashioned bombastic blogging…..but what would that achieve for my real estate career? Obviously, for Hian's career it may be the end.
Kevin Tomlinson says
oops mistakes above: *bloggers *learn
Bill Lublin says
Jay – I think you were right on with your response to the Barbie blog and I don't think you were too passionate- but there is a part of me that says that any corporate blog that does not moderate posts before they are made is not transparent, its just asking for trouble – Its one thing when a blog is written by the owenr of the blog and they can bear the responsibility for what they say (as you and I do) but in a corporate situation, there is (I think) a responsiblity to check out the contents prior to publishing to avoid a post that is not representative of the company position. To disown a blog like this is like trying to unring a bell
I know this goes against the grain of sacred transparency, but I don't think that type of a blog really is the same animal as a personal or wholly owned blog – and I don;t think that allowing this kind of vituperative writing is any kind of moral high ground – What happened here that is good? Except that Glenn at Redfin has taken a high moral ground by firing someone for writing a hurtful blog that he could have easily prvented, or made suggestions that would have led to perhaps a more thoughtful post which would not have been so nasty-
If you ask someone to post, and allow them to post whatever they wish, how transparent is it to terminte their voice "after the fact" when they write something inappropriate which they believe in (though I hasten to point out that my opinion of the blog in question was the same as yours) After all, isn't the host reponsible for what he or she lets happen at their party?
Alex in San Diego says
I love how I made a comment on Redfin’s blog about this post and they choose not to publish it. It wasn’t even a negative post directed to any particular agent, I just wrote a different perspective from a clients point of view but of course they don’t feel it would be a benefit to post the comment!
Rick Belben says
The comments were really a sad commentary. It is unfortunate that people think they need to knock other people. Perhaps she should take a good look in the mirror. It appears she has paid the price .
read that one! uh… it was really one of the most assassin real estate blog.
myrtle beach condos says
awesome – colleague bashing at its best
[email protected] Software says
Agents should focus on their clients and not on bashing other professionals. Everybody is out there to win business, but bashing just makes you look childish.
**Aaron´s last blog post..Small Business Economic Bailout Plan</abbr></abbr>
Laguna Niguel Real E says
Gosh! This a great post… Really one of the most assassin real estate blog.
davao city says
I’ve found that sometimes a good visual can make all the difference to a blog post, so I’m always sure to include at least one. They brighten the place up a little too.
[email protected] Re says
Well, on my datacenter this post is ranking #3 for Carol's name. I wonder what the postscript on this drama is. Perhaps a topic for follow-up blog entry.
**Colleen´s last blog post..Great Story Of Hope</abbr></abbr>
Golden Lenders says
I didnt realize some were so unprofessional. What drama in in the business.
Nikki Simon says
It is truly sad that a realtor has to resort to this type of behavior. There is a time and a place for such nonsense and professionals should not be posting personal attacks on other agents. You are so right….it is very juvenille…..
**Nikki Simon´s last blog post..CAUTION – OVERLY OPTIMISTIC REAL ESTATE NEWS</abbr></abbr>
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Wow. Asinine is too weak a word for this-no wonder the industry has a reputation problem. and one of the best blog. Sherwoods Independent Property Consultants
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