The real estate community is still reeling from the loss of real estate blogger Laurie Manny last week. Facebook is awash in a sea of sunflowers, with real estate agents and bloggers across North America trading their online avatars for "Queenie’s" (as she was known) pet blossom. Sorrowful discussion threads are weaved in tears and poetry.

Laurie Manny’s death was the second major loss to the real estate cyber community this summer. Earlier this month fellow blogger and friend Joe Ferrara succumbed to brain cancer.

Laurie reflected about personal and professional loss following Joe’s death, mourning his loss and the end of an era for his popular Sellsius blog, where she was ranked a Top Woman Real Estate Blogger in 2007.

Editor’s note: The following is a guest perspective.

By FRANCES FLYNN THORSEN

The real estate community is still reeling from the loss of real estate blogger Laurie Manny last week. Facebook is awash in a sea of sunflowers, with real estate agents and bloggers across North America trading their online avatars for "Queenie’s" (as she was known) pet blossom. Sorrowful discussion threads are weaved in tears and poetry.

Laurie Manny’s death was the second major loss to the real estate cyber community this summer. Earlier this month fellow blogger and friend Joe Ferrara succumbed to brain cancer.

Laurie reflected about personal and professional loss following Joe’s death, mourning his loss and the end of an era for his popular Sellsius blog, where she was ranked a Top Woman Real Estate Blogger in 2007.

Laurie’s own blog, Long Beach Real Estate, is one of the most highly trafficked Realtor websites in the country. Her slow days brought about 3,500 unique visitors to her website, with peaks of about 7,000 unique visitors.

Laurie understood the Web and digital attraction at a cellular level. She drove colossal traffic to her real estate website before "SEO" (search engine optimization) and "the long tail" became common words in the realty tech lexicon.

Long Beach Real Estate blog was born Jan. 29, 2007. By mid-summer, traffic to the site soared past 2,000 visitors a day. Her public declaration of the traffic drew scorn and skepticism in the RE.net, though she doused detractors’ ridicule with a third-party review of her claims.

A blog survives its creator. Laurie knew that and she asked her best friend and fellow blogger Colleen Kulikowski (in Buffalo, N.Y.) to be caretaker for her Laurie Manny blog in the event she died.

Two weeks later, a grieving friend recalled a comment by Laurie, "When I die, make sure I get lots of backlinks!’

"She was a good friend and the unofficial ‘coach’ to many, many people who were in the real estate biz and who were blogging," said Mary Pope-Handy, a Los Gatos, Calif., Realtor/blogger.

"I remember more than once she said to me, ‘Now listen, I’m going to teach you something!’ I knew to shut up and let her talk — it was always worthwhile."

Laurie was a tenacious client advocate and her spunk and fearless blogging won the respect and admiration of local Long Beach press. Don Jergler, Long Beach Press reporter, said Manny "drew some criticism from some in the real estate industry after one of her blogs, which drew coverage in an LBPOST.com article, offered a treatise of sorts warning condo buyers to beware before purchasing.

"Despite angering some real estate agents who claim that negative news only hurts housing sales, Manny said she wrote the blog because it was the ‘honest thing to do.’ "

Laurie summed up her recipe for success in an AgentGenius comment in August 2007: "Long Beach Real Estate Home is dedicated to the niche market of Long Beach. There are few if any posts written to the blogging or Realtor community, unlike most other Web blogs.

"The focus on the community, combined with keyword-rich text and titles, relevant tagging, excellent automated SEO provided by RSSPieces.com … apparently make for success soup. I place my posts on an assortment of other relevant highly rates sites … This has been very effective, not in driving industry traffic, but at driving consumers."

Laurie’s last Twitter post, on Aug. 4, lamented Ferrara’s passing with the shared comment: "Long live the king."

Long live the Queen!

Memorial Services
Two memorial services are planned:

  • New York: Villages Chapel, 67-67 Eliot Ave., Middle Village, N.Y. 11379, (718) 458-3000, calling hours: 2-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 2, and Friday, Sept. 3. Funeral Services will be on Saturday morning, Sept. 4, with a time to be determined.
  • Long Beach, Calif.: Thursday, Sept. 9, Parkers’ Lighthouse, Shoreline Dr., 5-8 p.m.

Online tributes to Laurie Manny:

Frances Flynn Thorsen is a social media and blog coach based in Tucson, Ariz. She appeared on the Sellsius Top Women Bloggers 2007 list with her friend and fellow blogger, Laurie Manny.

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