Some thoughts on the Brooklyn real estate website
I took another look around the new website ( https://www.watchtowerbrooklynrealestate.com/ )
first they have two properties listed here 124 Columbia and 85 Jay street. These have to be worth a LOT of money. My overall impression, having done a lot of commercial real estate, is that it is a professional effort. Since none is listed, I assume they the are not using an outside broker. I'll guess they conned some dub with experience to handle this for them.
They no doubt control all variations of the domain name, which means setting up websites for properties in Seattle or Timbuktu or whatever are much easier, probably also using the same template.
I think that we may be seeing the launch of a real estate investment group disguised as a religion. If that is the case, it may explain some of the current antics with begging for money, insisting everything is fine and cutting back expansion. They're starting the rebranding the business end of the religion. They're asking for money and cutting back to solve a short-term problem while the new org comes on line.
They may not be successful at this, I've watched more than one outfit turn a big pile of money into a little pile of money in a hurry doing this. Nevertheless it would explain a lot.
There are clues in documentation that they are adept at burning through piles of money. The only thing that will rescue them financially is if they impose a 10% tithe. They've tried to with the kingdom hall funds money grab and stipulated monthly donation. But congregation members feel no binding requirement to drop money in the box. This will be an interesting conversation a decade from now.
a real estate investment group disguised as a religion.-- Is there a bridge included in the Brooklyn portfolio? there is a panda petting paradise soon, not later than 2075 in the religious goodies for sale.
If they keep a moratorium on KH builds for too long, it will come back and bite them eventually. The whole scene relies on the assumption they will resell the halls in time, keep the proceeds, and build another with donated labor. If they don't resume the new builds, they will be left holding the aging buildings and maintenance. Some are lost thru fire and disaster too and they don't carry insurance.
It's like the joke about how to make a million dollars in the airline industry. It's easy, you start with two million dollars.
I wouldn't be surprised if they suddenly had "new light" about tithing. It would be a hard sell because so many JWs are barely making ends meet as it is, but they may be desperate enough to try it. They may feel a smaller organization with more hard core followers would give them a better return on their investment. So much has changed in the last few years that nothing would surprise me at this point.
I thought they were just getting rid of properties. Is that not the case?
JeffT, I agree with your OP.
It is clear from an outsider's view, that the sweeping changes being made, (including that of the sale of a portfolio of premium NYC properties), is part of both a business strategy change, along with an even larger effort of rebranding. They cannot make money selling printed literature anymore, so an alternative finance source is being sought. The "product", (whatever they offer on their website or in the KH), is basically "free", while their business is to be financed by the perpetual investment in, and resale of properties over time. Time will tell if this actually works or not.
The rebranding effort is about the product being offered. That has to be attractive enough to keep members in, and keep them donating to the "world wide work", (aka real estate fund). This is the tricky part, since unlike Google or another web service with broad reach and enormous amounts of advertising money as the financier, the WTS somehow needs to keep members' interest enough to want to donate. On the face of it, that does not appear to be a recipe for success. There are no historical examples of this being done quite this way to my recollection.
Very few active JWs read the Watchtower and Awake! magazines from cover to cover, but they still felt compelled to donate for the piles building in their closets. Now the mags are smaller and fewer. Less donations. Just as few JWs read the mags and other publications, few actually go to the website for anything either. In fact, ExJWs know more about what is going on at JWOrg many times over compared to active JWs. Since there is no physical product, JWs will donate even less the more everything is transferred over to digital.
Just as few JWs read the mags and other publications, few actually go to the website for anything either. In fact, ExJWs know more about what is going on at JWOrg many times over compared to active JWs.
Soooo true. I am astonished how ignorant they are of the religion in which they (supposedly) try to get new recruits. The only thing they are more ignorant about are their doctrines -- past and present.
Dumb. Just dumb.