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A blog to sell your house as told by two journalists

If you want to sell your house, you can ask a real-estate agent for help. But, as some U.S. individuals are successfully doing it, you also can start a blog to promote your beautiful garden or the presence of a nice school in your neighborhood. I wanted to tell you about this particular usage of blogs by very small companies — yourself — for a while now. But today, I’m wondering how two different journalists have found and interviewed the same person with almost exactly the same words. You’ll find below the first paragraphs of an article published by the Los Angeles Times in July 2005 and of another one published today by the Wall Street Journal. UPDATE (October 11, 2005): Raymond Hennessey, the editor of Tara Siegel Bernard at Dow Jones Newswires, assures me that she found and interviewed Mesha Provo independently. The fact that the details are similar comes from the source, not from the journalists.

Here is the beginning of an article by Jeff Bertolucci, published by the Los Angeles Times issued on July 24, 2005, “On bloggers’ turf” (free registration necessary).

When Mesha Provo and her husband decided last March to sell their 1,350-square-foot home in El Sobrante, a Bay Area suburb, she saw green in her garden. A self-styled “fanatical gardener,” she recognized the potential draw of her labors — and she hoped to find a buyer who would appreciate her garden’s beauty.

So in addition to hiring an agent to list the property, Provo started an Internet Web log — blog for short — and told her real estate agent to include the Web address on her home’s Multiple Listing Service information.

Each day, she wrote about and posted photos of her daisies, jasmine and roses to entice prospects.

“I had this idea that I would first tease them with pictures of the garden,” said Provo, 52, who is the national sales manager for Ballentine Vineyards in Napa Valley. Later, she added shots of the home’s interior and exterior.

Her clever marketing appeared to work. The house sold for $612,000 — $43,000 more than the original asking price — to another gardener who read her blog.

And now is the beginning of an article by Tara Siegel Bernard, from Dow Jones Newswires, published today on the Wall Street Journal web site, “Home Sellers Turn to Blogs To Make Properties Stand Out” (paid registration necessary).

When Mesha Provo, an avid gardener, decided to sell her home in El Sobrante, Calif., she wanted to showcase her property — with its arbor blanketed with wisteria — to appeal to other plant lovers. She started a blog detailing her garden’s story through passionate postings and vibrant close-ups of her flowers, and eventually added pictures of the house.

A gardener found her blog — through a flyer put together by a real-estate agent — fell in love with the house, and ultimately paid $612,000 for it, $43,000 more than the asking price.

“What the blog did was take a buyer, before he walked through my door, and sold him on my house,” said the 53-year-old Ms. Provo, national sales director of Ballentine Vineyards in Napa Valley.

As you can see, Tara Siegel Bernard has used exactly the same example as Jeff Bertolucci. The only difference is that Mesha Provo is now one year older than in July But of course, we’re in October now.

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Roland Piquepaille
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