Wednesday, November 28, 2012

M Squared Real Estate responds regarding its Bloomingdale Facebook page

Okay, so a collective shame on Bloomingdale for not setting up its * own * Facebook page.  
The Bloomingdale Facebook page established by Georgetown realty company M Squared Real Estate started posting about a year-and-a-half ago.  
See this Email that I received this afternoon from the Co-Founder/Partner of M Squared Real Estate. 
I don't hate these people.  Frankly, another realty company would have come along and done the same thing if M Squared hadn't.  I don't plan to make a big deal out of this, in any event. 
What do you all think?

From: Dominic Morrocco
Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 1:17 PM
Subject: Bloomingdale Facebook Page

I noticed your scolding post regarding our Bloomingdale Facebook page and wanted to take a moment to share with you why we created this presence (along with many others) and how they are used. 
Content for these pages come from multiple sources, with some neighborhood pages having more sources than others.  It does appear that the vast majority of content on the Bloomingdale Facebook page originates from your blog.  This is not the case for all of our social presences, some share content from dozens of blogs, some only a few. 
Our complete social network is comprised of 32,724 friends and followers as of November 28, 2012.  The vast majority of these people are from outside the Washington, DC area, with future plans to become a resident of Washington, DC, or just a desire to learn more about the city’s eclectic and exciting neighborhoods.
We’ve never scraped or stolen your content, nor have we hijacked any of your traffic. These presences are of no traffic or search engine benefit to our firm.  They are simply a resource for our clients and visitors to use, to learn more about neighborhoods of interest.  Every share, links to its original source. Absolutely none of your traffic is redirected to our website, period.  This month, we’ve shared 140 posts on our Bloomindale presences, that were clicked by 850 people, averaging 6.1 clicks per post.  Each click was directed to the original article/posting, on the original website of publication. With regards to our Bloomingdale presences, your blog captured 91.8% of this traffic, most likely retaining new, repeat visitors along the way.  The manner in which the content is shared is no different, than if I, as a visitor to your site clicked ‘share’ and shared a link with my friends.  We just disseminate to a much larger, targeted audience.
Moreover, we pass UTM variables to the publishing site for every link clicked.  This enables you, using your analytics software to see, firsthand, the traffic you receive from our presences, as well as signup conversions, should your site allow for user registration.
The purpose of the network is to share real, original neighborhood news and information to an audience outside of Washington, DC.  Sometimes the news is positive, sometimes it’s negative.  But it’s a much better snapshot of what life is like in a neighborhood than real estate agent puffery, which is usually all that’s offered.  As our friends and followers click links, they discover new websites of interest.  Our network is a megaphone, reaching a new, different audience.  That’s all.
We started this network over a year ago, and we’ve received much praise from our clients, web users and the publishers of content we share.  Alas, it’s time for some criticism.  I am more than willing to remove your content from our Bloomingdale Facebook & Twitter presences.  Or we can amend the ‘about’ section of all our presences to include a full list of content sources we share, with links.  If we have been remiss with regards to social media transparency, I am more than willing to make the changes necessary to satisfy any issues of concern you have.
Dominic Morrocco
Co-Founder / Partner

M Squared Real Estate
1010 Wisconsin Ave, NW
Suite 200
Washington, DC 20007
t: (202) 684-8724
f: (202) 204-0404


  1. Feh.
    Maybe if you bad mouthed some properties, or go out of your way to challenge zoning variances, like I'm prone to do, Realtors will not steal/borrow/make a Facebook-RSS feed page of your stuff.

  2. What he explains is reasonable, but as a professional in the social media and communications space, if I were doing what they are I would have done two things: 1) asked you for permission, even if it is just a courtesy as the blog is in the public domain and 2) been more transparent about it in the descriptions of the pages.

    I did notice they have lots of pages for lots of neighborhoods, and that's fine. But here is the "About" on the Bloomingdale page:

    "Bloomingdale, Washington DC neighborhood news, arts & culture, entertainment, dining, events, opening & real estate. 100% Spam-Free!

    Bloomingdale is a neighborhood in Washington, DC. This page posts Bloomingdale, Washington DC neighborhood news, arts & culture, entertainment, dining, events, opening & real estate. 100% Spam-Free!"

    In my opinion, there should be more transparency on the purpose of the page, similar to what Dominic describes above in his letter. The way it reads now it sounds like it is run by someone in the neighborhood and you have to make an effort to understand it's about a real estate company providing a service.

    It's great he's driving traffic to your blog, that's certainly a win for you and the neighborhood. Imagine the goodwill reciprocity if they actually approached content owners and said, "this is what we'd like to do, here is why, do you mind if we use your great content to help accomplish this?"

    In that scenario, I'd be likely to say, "Hey, those M squared folks are pretty cool, maybe I should check them out." In the current scenario it just seemed a little shady to some.

    Agreed, not a big deal, but the social space is all about connection, collaboration and transparency, so assets shared in the space should be done so in that spirit.

    My two cents.

  3. Oh, and for reference, looks like there was an attempt at a BdaleDC FB page:

    Maybe a neighbor with the time to volunteer would be willing to build it out and maintain it? Looks like maybe Elle (@evoque on Twitter) is an admin? Just guessing on that, I'll tweet her.

  4. Yep, Em Hall (@emilyhaha) and I noticed that M Squared had decided to squat a bunch of custom URLs on Facebook, so we decided to try and have original content instead of whatever was being scraped and reposted. If anybody else would like to help with administration of the Bloomingdale-DC FB page, just message me on Facebook!

  5. Em! If you want to scrape and repost stuff, that is fine with me. At least you live in the neighborhood and would be upfront about it.