Consumer Militancy enhances Transparency

I don't fit the ranting blogger profile, but I secretly admire the blogging consumer activists, or the more strongly worded militants, who add their collective voices to force change or redress from wrongs, real or perceived. These voices provide the checks and balances for keeping politics, industry and media on a less slanted playing field, given the natural assumption that those with power will try to suppress dissenting opinion.  And militancy makes great copy!

For real estate, I think consumer militancy, perhaps in the form of a rant forum, can be useful in correcting perceptions and establishing expectations about the transaction process. I haven't seen a consumer-facing advocacy forum in any of the real estate communities, perhaps we'll test that out in MyHouseKey. As RE bloggers, we should experiment with ways to stimulate dialogue with the consumer, perhaps even converting them to blogging, like Kyle at TourSheet

Here are three recent examples of consumer militancy  in action:

Jet Blue's Consumer Bill of Rights

Jet Blue's well publicized woes a week ago forced their PR machine to pre-empt a consumer militant strike with the announcement of their "Consumer Bill of Rights". I'm a big JetBlue fan and user... if this Bill of Rights were in effect retroactively over the past two years, I would guess I would be recompensated about 2 round trips... frankly, it's a great passenger satisfaction guarantee policy and should be adopted by other airlines.

From the Economist: Why an Online Petition has caused trouble for the government (by subscription, this is an excerpt):
IN POLITICS, as in life, good intentions are not enough. In pursuit of two perfectly decent ideas—the need to tackle traffic congestion by some form of road pricing and the desire to make itself appear more open to consultation—the government has created nothing but trouble for itself. The immediate cause is an “e-petition” on the 10 Downing Street website that by midweek had attracted nearly 1.5m signatures. The petition demands that the government abandon proposals to establish a national vehicle-tracking system that would be used to tax motorists every time they drove their cars. Through exaggeration and distortion the petition has rather brilliantly united the motoring, anti-tax and civil-liberties lobbies.

When the deadline for signing the petition is reached on February 20th, it will be politely rejected—Tony Blair has said he will send an e-mail to every signatory—and the newspapers which helped drum up support for it will rant about the government's arrogant disdain for public opinion.

The rising popularity of social networking will spawn more of the online political activism most notably started by If you've never checked MoveOn, see how easy it is to sign the e-petitions that are forwarded to members of Congress... grassroots politics will make an intense comeback in 2008 (yes, it did disappear... look at the voter statistics of the past few decades) because the internet has made it easy to participate in politics from your armchair.

From Pardon the Disruption : Restauranteur declares Blog War on New York Times

In the Web 2.0 world, when you get angry with the mainstream media, you have some recourse.  You can blog to communicate your unfiltered message.  But how do you equalize the audience for your message with the audience for the outlet that wronged you? 

If you're Jeffrey Chodorow, known to some as Rocco DiSpirito's business partner in the NBC TV reality show "The Restaurant," you declare a blog war on the New York Times.  In a costly full page ad in today's paper, Chodorow savages restaurant critic Frank Bruni and the rest of the crew in the food section.  He announces that he's started his own blog to shadow their work (and presumably ridicule them).

Here's an example of "push comes to shove" - powerful restauranteur takes on powerful media... Chodorow's blog is a good example of what is possible when money and intent take on issues that are almost personal in nature... and Chodorow just may have a point about the quality of NYT food reviewers. Frankly the NYT should be relishing the controversy as a way to boost readership and to keep their reviewers on their toes.

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  • 2/25/2007 11:51 AM Kyle Else wrote:
    Hey a big thanks for the nod, it's been a while since my last blog post... Why? Mostly my reason is frustration, I also met the same challenge of how to "stimulate dialogues with the consumer" - In fact all but one of the comments I've received are from licensed Realtors. What gives? I ask~!

    Maybe the opportunity for "sticky" dialogue with RE consumers can be achieved through a niche content focus of investors or relocations? As I see it, the home buyer or seller dealing with a primary residence is on the internet for facts, ideas, warnings, tips, and/or answers without the bread-crumbs. They understand the benefits of transparency into the local needs of a consumers RE transaction, and are somehow trying to get a clear understanding of how to control the (search, evaluation, hiring, marketing, negotiating, monitoring, executing) parts of the transaction - while still gaining the economic benefits that would otherwise be received by market intermediaries.
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  • 3/7/2007 7:13 AM Edward Lohmann wrote:
    You are providing an outstanding service. I am a Realtor in Northern Virginia and new to the blogging phenomenon. Any suggestions you may be willing to share to help improving my RE biusiness would be gratiously appreciated. Oh, by the way, my blog handle is realtyhamburger. Thanks in advance Ed
    Reply to this
    1. 3/7/2007 8:45 AM Pat Kitano wrote:
      Thank you Realty Hamburger, may I introduce you to Real Estate Tomato? I'd be pleased to assist new bloggers any time, just meebo me (that's the chat box) or email pkitano (at)

      Reply to this

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