For those who don't know, Trulia Voices is an on-line "question and answer" community where (in theory) real estate consumers can pose questions that real estate professionals can answer. Market conditions, requests for local area information, questions on the real estate "process" — just about anything is fair game.
For the real estate consumer, Trulia Voices is a great platform to pose a question to the real estate professional. You will in all likelyhood get more than one quality answer/opinion. Like any such community venue, you're also likely to get some answers that are not-so-swift.
For the real estate professional, Trulia Voices serves two main purposes. 1) You can pose a question to other professionals and gather some good insight and opinion; and 2) you can answer questions and hopefully use the platform to demonstrate your expertise as well as just lend a helpful hand.
Sounds great, doesn't it? And for the most part it is. So why does Trulia Voices (sometimes) drive me crazy?
I often wonder if those responding to questions read either the question itself, or any of the previous answers before they submit their response? I see countless examples of the same answer being given over and over — to the same question. I see someone answer a location specific question that has no clue about the area. Sadly, I even see some downright rude responses from "professionals". How does this help build your credibility and web presence??
A question posed today provides some examples of all of the above. Someone asked what was the fastest way to complete the 90 hours of classroom hours required to get a real estate license. The questioner clearly identified that they were in Arizona, and their profile and the area info posted below the question further identified them as being located in Phoenix.
The first response was no doubt well intended. But it mentioned taking the licensing courses on-line as the best solution. Problem is, the State of Arizona doesn't allow licensing classes to be taken on-line, rendering this answer basically useless. The agent that answered the question is from Louisiana.
I then responed and explained on-line isn't an option in Arizona, and provided a link and phone number to a local school that offers a nine day licensing "crash course".
A "professional" in Long Island then responds with, "Well, in the time it takes to look you could probably complete the class!" Now isn't that a helpful and professional response?
The next answer was from a local agent that added some great additional info on the school I suggested. Kudos to him!
The next response was also from a local agent, suggesting the same school previously discussed in two other answers….
That was followed by another local agent that also contributed some good insight on the previously mentioned school. It's nice to see answers getting fleshed out. But also in this response was mention of taking the courses on-line — which as previously mentioned on that very question, can not be done in Arizona. Now the questioner has two local agents saying two different things, likely lending to confusion on her part.
OK, I'm sure some will see me as being all whiny about this. But I just don't see the point in: 1) answering a question where you don't know the location specific details; 2) being rude; and 3) not reading any of the previous responses and just repeating what's already been said.
No on-line community is perfect. But it takes only a few seconds to identify where in the country a question is coming from and to read any previous responses. I think if we as real estate professionals would take a few extra seconds to read before we respond, then the overall quality of Trulia Voices would improve, and it would become a more valuable tool for the real estate consumer (and hence, the real estate professional).
What do you think? Is Jay just being whiny and needing to simply get over it, or does he have at least some semblance of a valid point?
UPDATE: Jonathan Dalton opines on the same subject. He includes a link to Trulia bestowing honors on those with volumes of Trulia Voices answers. NOTE! I'm not saying any of these contributors don't deserve recognition. I know many of them. But I think Trulia's "ranking" of agents based on the quantity of answers is fundamentally flawed.