I was going about my normal pursuits online today, when I ran across an interesting thing. The Real Answers API, provided by RealtyBaron.com, gives you the ability to ask and respond to real estate questions across many partner sites across the web. There is a WordPress plugin called Real Estate Answers for this tool, which I tried out today.
The tool utilizes WordPress widgets to display information based on particular cities that the webmaster chooses. Users can then click to see which questions are out, and getting answered. They can also ask questions from your site, which then gets passed through the Realty Baron network to get answered. Further, if you as the site owner ask or answer a question, then that will be syndicated to the network, with links back to your site.
While this is a pretty cool feature, there are a couple of things I really don’t like about the plugin, and thus deactivated it from Mega Mastery. First, the plugin must be used in a sidebar. As I would prefer it to load on a particular WordPress page, this is an issue for me.
Second, the plugin seems to be a bit clunky, loading a little slow, and not playing nicely with W3 Total Cache, which I use to decrease the load time of this site, consequently improving the user’s experience, which Google loves.
Third, an the deal breaker for me, the plugin automatically posts a “Powered by” link at the bottom of the listings shown in your sidebar, as well as on the question and answer pages that are produced for your site. This is not cool, and is in fact a violation of WordPress.org policy. There must be a way to turn that link off, which is not provided without hacking the source code.
So bottom line, Real Estate Answers is a good idea, but they still need to improve on some of the coding of their WordPress plugin if I am going to use it.