As a real estate agent focused on getting business through the internet – I’ve had one eye on the real estate industry and another eye on SEO (search engine optimization) for quite a few months now. One thing both industries have in common are frequent conferences. One question that comes up is are conferences worthwhile?

I’ve wanted to go to a ReBar camp for a while – they are one-day conferences where conference “attendees” organize the topics – they call it an unconference. Of course like many real estate events – many of the people who volunteer and travel to the conferences have some sort of product or service that they are selling but in the real estate world outside of NAR and related association staff – it’s kind of expected. Outside of learning about technology and how to use the internet as a tool for the average agent’s business, one of the most valuable reasons to attend is to network with like minded agents.

Last week there was a ReBar Camp in Denver. A few of my friends were there. There is supposed to be one the day before the NAR convention in Novemeber – maybe I’ll get to that one.

One conference I know I’m not missing is the Real Estate Webmasters Summit. Yeah, I guess since REW is sponsoring the conference there will be information about their IDX and also how to best optimize their websites for search engines and more importantly web users – but after attending last year – the most valuable thing and I’ve talked about it before, was the friendships. I know I sound like a broken record – but there are relatively few real estate agents/brokerages who are building their real estate practice through primarily IDX lead generation.

Nanaimo harbour

Nanaimo harbour


If you are on the fence about the REW Summitt, it’s not super easy to get to Nanaimo, British Columbia, takes a little planning – it’s on an island – but it’s beautiful – really the location was one of the reasons the conference worked so well. The size was also a factor. Last year was a fairly intimate event which made it a very cohesive group. There was also a sense that what happens in Nanaimo stays in Nanaimo – not that we were talking about how to game the search engines or our competitors directly, just a sense of sharing of what worked for different people and their business without wondering who was lurking in the background.
Yeah, if you are active on forums and pay a bit of attention to the SEO world, much of the actual conference material MAY NOT be new, but there is value in face to face interaction and that IS the reason to make the trip. I’m looking forward to meeting again the friends I made last year and hoping to meet new ones. This is different than a lot of conferences in that most all attending do have similar goals. Even if you don’t have a REW website – meeting the people who are attending would make the trip worthwhile.


9 Comments

  1. Posted August 12, 2009 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Just now coming across this post! Wish you would have made it. I’m not sure I’ll be headed back up there or not…

  2. Posted July 12, 2009 at 4:42 am | Permalink

    Summer has arrived in full force here in Nanaimo and the days are warm and clear with lovely views of the snowcapped mountains just across the Strait of Georgia on the mainland. We Nanaimoites are eagerly awaiting the influx of North American real estate agents for the Real Estate Webmasters Summit at the end of July and we’ll all do our best to make them very welcome. It’s an event not to miss!

  3. Posted June 28, 2009 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Yep, whether you are talking about the real estate business or increasing your SEO knowledge, attending conferences is a great way to network and to improve your craft!

  4. Posted June 14, 2009 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Ok , next year will be the year for the REW conference. My wife is not going to let me leave her with the 3 month old for that long. That and Canada won’t let me in because of those old unpaid parking tickets. ;-)
    I am very jealous that you are going and I can’t make it. Have fun.

  5. Posted June 9, 2009 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    My website is a REW website and I can tell you first hand they are an excellent company. They help in anyway that they can. I will also be attending the conference. Cant wait!

  6. Posted June 5, 2009 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    These camps are a great place to learn and share. I highly recommend giving it a try. It’s fun and educational at the same time.

  7. Posted June 5, 2009 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Collaboration and networking…always useful if you can find the time (and money) even with advancement in technology there is truly no replacement for the opportunity to interact face to face.

  8. Posted June 3, 2009 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the kind words Carolyn… I agree that it takes “a little planning” to get here, we don’t have an international airport in Nanaimo itself (yet!) and the extra hop on a plane, floatplane or ferry makes for an interesting trip.

    Everyone in the office is very much looking forward to meeting more of our customers and members in person, as well as seeing some familiar faces from last year. The conference is going to be great, and the revised format is much more conducive to break-out sessions and collaboration.

  9. Posted May 25, 2009 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    Barcamps (or in this case REBarcamps) are exciting on so many levels! You get to meet people face-to-face that you otherwise interact with online on a daily basis. Secondly, they’re very *very* resourceful events! You have the potential to learn so much in a collaborative environment from your peers…

    Anyway, I just think that attending conferences is a great way to stay educated and ahead of the game.

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