REW Dollars - Rewarding members for participation, community spirit and spreading the word

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I have wanted to set up this system for a while, and with the impending launch of REW Blogs V2 - I think it is a great time to start brainstorming and establish a dialogue with the member regarding the finer points of the system.

What is REW Dollars (Name may change)

Basically - it is a ratings / points system that actually rewards the members as opposed the Active Rain points system where they basically play upon the members competitive spirit and ego's to want to have the most points and bragging rights.

Now don't get me wrong - REW Dollars can be bragged about as well - but the major difference is that they can actually be used / redeemed for products and services that real estate agents / brokers etc require to run a successful  business.

Things like

  • Real Estate Websites
  • IDX Solutions
  • Web Hosting
  • Graphic Design
  • SEO Services
  • Custom Programming
  • Copywriting / Editing
Any of these services will be made available at a dollar for dollar value with REW Dollars.

So my challenge then becomes how does one earn REW Dollars?

Well there are some obvious ones, probably most obvious is inviting new quality members to our community (Blogs or forums)

But how does one quantify a quality member? Well that can be tough, but definitely members who sign up and don't ever post or contribute are of less value (Actually no value at all) vs members who become active participants, sharing information, and using our technologies and community to their advantage in terms of increasing business generated online.

So what I was thinking was a bonus system of some sort - IE tie bonuses to the inviting member based on landmarks or values achieved by those they invite.

Something like this (These are by no means my final numbers just used for example purposes)

Let's say the invited member joins up at both REW Blogs and the REW Forum - that may be $5 REW Dollars for each, so $10 REW dollars total. Not to bad, you get a free $10 just for doing what you would likely do anyway, and that is invite your friends and colleagues from around the country to join us in a group effort to better the online side of our business.

But now, let's say this person buys into the system as well and goes out inviting new members, helping them get their feet wet, encouraging them to post, participate etc - They will begin to earn their own REW Dollars.

My idea is once the REW member that was invited earns a certain amount (How about $100 REW Dollars) the member that invited them and encouraged them also gets credited $100 REW Dollars. $1000 REW Dollars earned by an invited member earns the referrer an additional $1000 REW Dollars etc.

Now obviously I have to think really long and hard about the criteria for earning these dollars, and put measures in place to enforce rules, and discourage gaming of the system, because basically every REW Dollar used comes directly out of my pocket - (If they weren't using REW Dollars for their services, they would be paying real dollars) - but I think we can come up with something really great, it may take some time, but hey why not - it's no secret that the larger REW becomes, the more benefits I receive in terms of exposure of my technology, showcasing of my teams abilities etc - so I am certainly willing to spend some money to make this thing happen.

Now the way these things tend to work, is you end up with two kinds of members earning points, rewards, dollars whatever they end up being - We have touched based on the recruiters (Those that invite others, show them around, encourage them to participate "For their own good" and encourage them to invite others) but there are also those who would rather earn dollars through actual participation (Helping others in the forum, posting great blog posts, etc)

So I need to figure out how to reward the participation side:
100 forum posts = $100 REW Dollars
1000 forum posts = $1000 REW Dollars
100 REW Blog posts (Of a certain level of quality) = $1000 REW Dollars
1000 REW Blog posts (Of a certain level of quality) = $10,000 REW Dollars

That sort of thing. But how to weed out the good from the bad? Me two posts are certainly not going to get rewarded, but what about the "Welcome to REW" posts - I mean those are helpful even if they take no time or effort, because they make other new members feel welcome. How to come up with a system that is at least semi automated to deal with that.

Same thing with blog posts - how does one determine the merit of a blog post - This one I was thinking of using the rating system (For this to work, we would need to encourage members to rate and / or comment on each others blogs)

This post is getting quite long, so I will stop here for now - please comment if you have suggestions, comments, feedback - I will also be post a thread in the Blogs Forum for discussion of this topic.

Comments

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Annie Maloney

I think that this is a great idea. I also think that Joe Lane is going to break your bank :>) jk. How about reporting SPAM? Actually I would still do that for free. Can't stand the SPAMMERS!

Morgan Carey

Did you notice the "Report Abuse" button on REW Blogs now? Check out just under my bio and picture on the right hand side :) - Makes it easier to spam bust.

Annie Maloney

Nice. I knew you were working on it, just didn't realize it was live yet.

Paula Smith

Hey Morgan, I love the idea. I do not care for the tentative name...maybe come up with something more creative. I know....REWards ?? My comment would be, do not pay "per post". I have recently joined AR and what I can complain is that so many people just blog for points. Irrelevant posts...telling about completely unrelated Real Estate matters. I LOVE the REW forum because it is so closely monitored and truly relevant. I like the rating system idea. Possibly get a small credit for actually voting and more credit to the person receiving a "great blog" vote. Possibly run a risk of losing points for posting irrelevant blogs?? REW would be perfect with additional QUALITY members, but keep in mind it's quality, not quantity. This is what makes REW so awesome in its current state. I know you will come up with a great idea.

MLS Update

Maybe base the points in blogs on how much traffic comes in? Combine that with weight for inbound links, and hide the actual numbers from our members, like Google hides how they decide the rankings for a term, and I think it might become quite a fun way to REWard our members.

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