Google launches real estate map search Australia

At 3.00pm today Google launched their new real estate search mapping tool which allows real estate agents to publish their listings for free and the public to browse listings.

The site has a number of new features. Users of the site can search for listings in a particular suburb and then refine the listings down using the various option, the map reloads and only the listings appear with your search (as little icons on the map). Users can then review property information via map pop ups and then go directly to the agents listing from there.

Currently there are a number of listings driven from Homehound, Harcourts and other groups, however Domain and have yet to send their listings through the free service from Google.

Google Real Estate Mapping

You can send feeds via the API or from a variety of Feed types and research this by clicking here. Talk to your feed provider about getting your listings on Google, its free and it should bring your business some pretty good leads as Google Maps has some pretty good research tools already built in. will write a review in next few days. Below is the press release from Google Australia.

Google today announced the addition of a real estate search feature to Google Maps in Australia. The new feature allows real estate agents, franchise groups and portals alike to upload their listings directly to Google Maps at no cost, making them more easily discoverable by the millions of Google Maps users in Australia.

Increasingly, people are starting their search for a new home online – Nielsen research shows that 87% of Australian home buyers use the internet to research properties*. Google saw more than 35% growth in real estate-related searches from Jan/Feb 2008 to Jan/Feb 2009**.

“We know that many Australian home buyers already use Google Maps to help their house-buying and renting decisions, especially driving directions and Street View, and by making real estate listings available right in Google Maps we can drive qualified buyers directly to listings,” says Andrew Foster, product manager, Google.

“It’s a simple and free way for real estate companies to make their listings even more discoverable, and have them seen on an easy-to-navigate map.”

Real estate agents can visit to find out more information about how to work with Google to have their listings appear on Google Maps.

The new feature lets potential home buyers enter a city or suburb and see available listings represented by markers or small circles on the map. They can then refine their search by price, type of property, bedrooms, bathrooms, and parking. The map will automatically update with relevant listings when panned or zoomed to another suburb, and when the search criteria is changed. Clicking on a marker or a small circle will provide more information about the listing, as well as the contact details of the listing agent and a link to their website.

President of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia, Rob Druitt, said agents and property managers in WA would welcome the opportunity to have their listings searchable on Google Maps.

“The real estate profession, perhaps more than many others, has become strongly focused around IT and the use of websites over the last decade. The evolution of the internet has transformed the sector, such that buyers, sellers and renters are much better informed and have easy and quick access to images and contacts. Indeed, this is now the high expectation with property consumers.

“Agents are keen to embrace this, as they are always looking for new and different ways to increase exposure of their listings without runaway expenditure. The opportunity presented by Google can only help in this regard,” Mr Druitt said.

The original Google Maps prototype was invented by four engineers in Sydney: Lars Rasmussen, Jens Rasmussen, Noel Gordon and Stephen Ma, all of whom still work in Google’s Sydney engineering centre. All over the country, Australians use Google Maps to find addresses and local businesses, see satellite imagery, obtain driving directions, and create and share personalised maps, making it the most popular online maps site in Australia according to Nielsen NetRatings (May 2009).

Note: Google Australia will answer all reasonably related questions if you clearly include them in comments below., Google, Harcourts, Homehound, Maps,

SEO For Real Estate
Listing Leads
Agentpoint Real estate

About Peter J Ricci

Peter Ricci is the Director of,, and and has been involved in designing and developing real estate systems and websites since 1997. In July 2001 Peter founded to help real estate agents better understand the power of the Internet and the real estate landscape in Australia and New Zealand. Since then he has penned over 300 articles on a variety of subjects in the real estate technology industry. is now the leading real estate technology site in Australasia.

98 Responses to Google launches real estate map search Australia

  1. Shane Dale July 6, 2009 at 3:28 pm #

    Anyone on myhome will already be on the google maps right now, as we are loading to google. It will be interesting to see who ranks highest when google receive the same listings from several loaders.

  2. Peter Ricci July 6, 2009 at 3:31 pm #

    The user will choose which site they want to view – to see all property data. So Google will provide links to all listings origins and let the user decide over time which site they like best.

  3. Rachael Lord July 6, 2009 at 3:35 pm #

    This is fantastic news for smaller independent real estate offices like ourselves. Yet another way to level the playing field and take some demand away from the two major real estate portals (who charge high subscription fees despite our small office’s low level of listings).

    Google, you are great!

  4. James July 6, 2009 at 3:48 pm #

    It is important that Google get this right as they hold the key to providing the agents in Australia with a cost effective alternative to online marketing compared to the likes of Domain and more to the point

    One of my concerns though is the REA as an example will get on the bandwagon (assuming Google let them) and will use this feature to obtain even more traffic to their site, in turn for which they will use to charge the agents even more for their subscription. Let me assure you REA is worried about Google and what it may do their subscription revenue.

    My advise is to get behind this initiative and to start tracking where your enquiry is coming from and what you are paying for this enquiry on a per lead basis.

    Good Work and Good Luck Google.

  5. Robert Simeon July 6, 2009 at 3:49 pm #

    This is just too funny for words – given some of the market authorities up until just hours ago maintained that this impending release was rubbish and a nonsense. Just goes to show how little they actually know about the real estate industry.

    Congratulations Google – very much looking forward to working with you. My preference is to upload direct from our website so we get the SEO as against via a third party carrier. Looks like the previous rules of online engagement have just changed 🙂

  6. Robert Simeon July 6, 2009 at 3:59 pm #

    love to be a fly on the wall at REA and Domain to see if they will stand-alone or play on Google. Obviously, one would want to be first because if you can’t beat them – join them.

    Decisions decisions decisions and not a time for mistakes.

  7. Damien McDonald July 6, 2009 at 4:03 pm #

    Any offices currently listing on appeared on base as soon as it was launched as we have been working with Google since July 08 on the upload process.

    At, our emphasis was to provide linkage from Google base directly back to the listing offices own website to facilitate SEO for our subscribers.

  8. Greg Vincent July 6, 2009 at 5:20 pm #

    Good to see Google making a move.

    I wondered why Ray White Group sold its complete shareholding in the REA Group late on Tuesday & News Corp allegedly decided not to invest further in the REA Group Ltd. Google’s plans for Real Estate in Australia may be closer than we think.

  9. Charlie July 6, 2009 at 5:33 pm #

    All good news, all round. Loads of people have been loading up to Google Base for years; now some content is there, they have released the 1st look real estate search. Nice.

    What happens to updates? What if the same property is on various sites (being fed across from where it is originally entered) and then the property is archived/deleted – will Google update easily/quickly? It’ll be great if it all works efficiently and well – some sites/systems update better than others (usually this is the case). Could there be a mess created? Who is going to be supporting this at Google’s end if the property data is out of date/wrong?

    A few random, rambling thoughts… any ideas anyone?

  10. Glenn Batten July 6, 2009 at 5:45 pm #


    Every major portal and real estate group has been talking with Google since July 08. What is interesting now is how those real estate groups that chose to sit on their hands and not have a solution to upload properties from day one are going to explain to their members….. and even more so…. how those members are going to explain to their clients of why they are not on there.

    I expect that over the next few months one of the killer statements at listing presentations will be “but unlike the other offices you have spoken to we can get your property listed on Google Real Estate by this afternoon”.

    Congrats for jumping on board, I am sure you will be rewarded for doing so, as will Shane @ myhome.

  11. Shane Dale July 6, 2009 at 5:54 pm #

    Well, remember Google is a search engine, not a destination – they connect people to information they want. Certainly the site is important, but it has not killed portals elsewhere yet either. Its simply an important piece of the puzzle.

  12. Shane Dale July 6, 2009 at 7:24 pm #

    Well, remember Google is a search engine, not a destination – they connect people to information they want. Certainly the site is important, but it has not killed portals elsewhere yet either. Its simply an important piece of the puzzle.
    BTW I love your blog!

  13. Glenn Rogers July 6, 2009 at 8:05 pm #

    This is the thin edge of the wedge, Google will gradually reduce the effectiveness of the portals and the agents need tp spend big on them.
    It will take time and the portals will probably evolve and change their revenue models slightly.
    Good news for agents, the monopoly is now broken.

  14. Glenn Batten July 6, 2009 at 9:09 pm #


    The problem with REA and Domain sending them listings is that whilst they leverage the impact it could make on their traffic, they also would guarantee they have all property available and they would serve up some legitimacy to it.

    On the other hand if they hold back and it turns out to be a success the miss out on the initial traction and real estate agents realise that they can get increased enquiries without their involvement.

    The best scenario of them is they stay out it and Google fails to get the smaller real estate groups and independents involved and therefore it loses its flavour with the public because they still have to go elsewhere to make sure they get to see all available properties.

    Google can turn this up very quickly though by integrating the results into their standard search. They have done this in the other markets around the world so it should just be a matter of timing. This means if you type in “Nerang Real Estate”, before you are given the typical responses you are offered to view “Real Estate For Sale in or around Nerang” first. This would mean even without the majority of listings, that the Google properties would quite often get the first look.

    It will be interesting to see what the stock market analysts have to say about Google’s move. Any nervous holders of stock tommorrow…. Ray White certainly isn’t ?? wonder why 😉

  15. paddy July 7, 2009 at 12:32 am #

    Two things have me thinking at the moment.

    1. What does it mean for REA if one of their largest investors sells out, and the majority shareholder is not interested in acquiring those shares – yet days latter, the operating market of REA changes dramatically?

    Is this the first sign of ‘no confidence’ in REA by News Corp?

    Further, are there potentially any laws which have been broken by Ray White?

    2. I wonder what the REA and Domain marketing teams will produce by way of Statistics to justify price increases?

    REA we have more UB’s than g g g … no

    REA, we have more property searches than g g g … no

    REA, well at least we are better value than g g g … um NO..

    Some interesting conversations to be had with the Domain and REA Sales Team… but not this week.. the REA bods are at a resort at the Sunshine Coast in QLD.. at least someone is enjoying the Subscription Prices REA Charges.

  16. Terry July 7, 2009 at 3:24 am #

    This sounds great , is there any indication on when this maybe released into NZ

  17. snoop July 7, 2009 at 6:32 am #

    Just searched my area
    Rea and domain had far more listings in a much nicer UI.
    All agents are doing is giving google more content for them mto wrap ads around.

  18. Peter Ricci July 7, 2009 at 7:13 am #

    Terry: The system is already available in New Zealand.

    Snoop, do you think it is possible for anything to launch with the same amount of content as REA or Domain?

  19. Craig July 7, 2009 at 8:28 am #

    This development is a great thing for agents and buyers. The key now is for agents to be patient and persist with support by uploading their properties. Don’t expect to see major changes in the next 3, 6 or even 12 months with regards to it’s effect on you, even in internet land things can take several years to get momentum. For example, this years internet sensation, Twitter, has been around for 4 years already, slowly biding it’s time. The same with Facebook. So be patient. There is an old saying, it can take 10 years work to become an overnight sensation.

  20. Alistair Helm July 7, 2009 at 8:29 am #

    I applaud the Australian sites that have embraced this move in partnership with Google. Here in NZ with we have been readying alongside Google for this simultaneous launch, and as an industry owned site embrace and support this move.

    The earlier comment from Shane – Google is not a destination, it is a search facility – a very powerful one, is so true. We are confident of our value to our users and customers.

    Here are my thoughts shared with NZ real estate agents and the public on the Unconditional blog.

  21. paddy July 7, 2009 at 9:35 am #


    Sometimes what we think are good UI’s, really are just what we are used to.

    Craigs list and Soufun both have ugly UI’s, yet have tremendous UB’s and revenue streams.

    With Homehound, myhome, realestateworld, REIWA and others all sending listings to the site – there would be a good chunk of content there for consumers to be interested.

    Once agents and IT suppliers realise the extra SEO benefits of having their listings on google, then I would anticipate the growth in listing and participation will set a new record in the AU market.

  22. Leanne July 7, 2009 at 9:47 am #

    Well I just searched my suburb – and what do you know? It’s completely out of date. Google are advertising a property that sold in May. Like google, it’s a search engine. And as new information gets uploaded, the rest just pushes back to pages 9, 10 & 32 etc. It doesn’t drop off. So what we’ll be left with is similar to junk mail. Sure, as vendors, we’ll use it because it’s free. But are we expecting a result? No.

  23. Glenn Batten July 7, 2009 at 10:07 am #


    You said “All agents are doing is giving google more content for them to wrap ads around.”

    Umm.. you obviously have not had a good look to compare the two services:-

    Firstly lets look at advertising links on the pages of both solutions..

    Real Estate Home Page Ads: = 50+
    Google = 0 (but sometimes 1 I think)

    Real Estate Search Page = 7
    Google = 1

    Individual Property Page = 35+
    Google = 0

    Secondly, I don’t think any agent could complain about Google’s ads… as its much better than letting REA wrap ads around it AND charge a monthly fee don’t you think?

    Seriously.. the Google is just going to wrap ads comment is pretty baseless don’t you think? Maybe might start realising that less is more. Google can run the whole service on just having one two ads on a couple of pages and ONLY getting an income when somebody clicks on that ad.

    It sounds like a bloody good deal to me!!!

  24. snoop July 7, 2009 at 10:11 am #

    Of course
    Well if we kept the debate here on non incumbent portal bashing ,which seems to dominate this forum,and focused on whether google can provide value to the industry and the customer.
    Most of the web experts on this site would agree that optimal efficiency is a single click approach.
    It looks like the poor old consumer who mostly have limited attention span have to click three times to get to the real source of the listing,thats hardly elegant.
    Great for google who can serve ads in each of those panels though.
    Secondly if REIWA supply listings arent agents better off sending thier own listings direct to google,I dont get reiwas strategy.

    Re soufun …its a chinese thing!!! all their sites are incredibly busy content wise.

  25. Robert Simeon July 7, 2009 at 10:32 am #


    Can’t agree with you on this although I do agree that the display of listings needs more work.

    Given that more than a few knew of this launch I guess it is just a coincidence that the Ray White family dumped their holding of REA shares on June 30?

    This announcement will see the two major property portals drop a one off annual subscription for a pay per listing model as they stand to lose thousands of agencies given that Google has arrived.

    Previously a per per listing model was rejected as it means less revenue for the portals so how can this not be good for the smaller agencies (which I am not).

    You mention non-incumbent portal bashing – well you are not an agent nor do you pay monthly subscriptions so from that perspective you are far from being in a position to criticise agents from stating their perspectives.

    Other property website blogs were dismissive of this Google launch right up until it was launched yesterday afternoon at 3.00 pm. Where just as interesting some of the most out spoken market commentators have been lost for words as they believed that this launch would never come to fruition.

    It will be interesting to see REA and Domain do where I suspect they will not participate with Google in the interim. Also they spend huge amounts positioning their respective portals on the Google search engine with Adwords. Now Google is taking them on at their own business so I would certainly not dismiss this tactical move into the Australian real estate market.

    Finally, this launch is one of the biggest announcents that the Australian real estate market has ever seen. Given that with online this is an alternative and Google is the online behemoth.

  26. Glenn Batten July 7, 2009 at 11:06 am #


    Your having a go at AGENTS for commenting on something new for the REAL ESTATE industry on a website targeted fairly specifically to AGENTS and others inside and associated with the REAL ESTATE industry about the topic of REAL ESTATE news and technology.

    Bah!.. you took a swipe at the Google solution based on the fact that they have a tiny text based ad on a couple of pages yet you forgot that ads are plastered in every spare space over every page.

    I quoted facts in response to your comments and your only defense is to make it personal and claim we are REA bashing. I am interested in your opinion on the issue but you might want to stay on topic.

  27. Glenn Batten July 7, 2009 at 11:19 am #

    Peter said Google will be monitoring the comments and respond to questions… so here goes..

    Firstly before the questions some Issues for Google

    Property listed twice at the one address rather than once with both options listed under web pages tab. See

    Prices are not being handled ok although this is probably in how the different portals provide the data to google. Many of the properties are being listed with the wrong prices. Using the example of the two 16 Castagno listings in the above example. The listing provided by has no price, but when you click on it there is a price range $330,000 – $350,000. The listing provided by LJ Hooker has a price of $330,000. Yet when you click on it it clearly shows a price between $330,000 to $350,000

    Neither of the examples shown display a true representation of the price. I am sure they are not trying to misrepresent the value, but the way it is currently handled buyers will feel misled. The portals have a display price which is actually a text value but it seems that Google’s must be a numerical value so portals and agents will have to ensure that in these sort of cases they send the higher of the two prices in a price range or fear the backlash of buyers and the government bodies.

    Now for Some Questions for Google

    Even though a property can be sent by the original agent and a range of portals Google selects one of them to be the default source. How is the default source for a property selected?

    Is there a way for an agent to verify that they are the original source and that they should be the default source for more informaiton or maybe even the only source?

    When your website and the portals don’t handle videos is there a way to attach one manually to an existing listing?

    Have you any intentions of including Open For Inspections into the mix? Allowing agents to use a search panel to select all houses open between 1:00pm and 2:00pm on the next Saturday would be very nice.

  28. Robert Simeon July 7, 2009 at 11:27 am #

    It is so important that the respective real estate agents direct the search enquiry to the respective websites as against a Head Office or property portal page – claiming your individual traffic is crucial to collect (what I call) property SEO frequent flyer points with Google.

    We will now individually withdraw properties from these websites for 24 hours and just leave them up on our website so Google then takes the relevant search to our website which is excatly where it should go.

    Can’t stress how important this is to agents/agencies.

  29. Craig July 7, 2009 at 12:57 pm #

    I have another slightly more technical question for Google (if they visit this forum). Reading the various web pages it appears the whole Google Maps Real Estate is powered by the Google Base. Using the Google Base API though it seems many of the properties that are on the Maps are not listed. It is very easy to query the API quickly using this tool for an example.

    An example is Taylors Lakes in Vic. Querying the API returns only a couple of properties at most, but the Maps has many more.“Taylors%20Lakes%20VIC”%20%2B%203mi]

    Is there a reason for this difference?

  30. PaulD July 7, 2009 at 1:06 pm #

    I like the way you can search an individual street, and it comes up, and shows you all the properties nearby as well. This will be a fantastic resource.

  31. Misc July 7, 2009 at 1:25 pm #

    Craig – Google Base items can be opted in or out of the API, so you may not see every listing available, via the API.

  32. snoop July 7, 2009 at 2:33 pm #

    Consumer behaviour will tell.
    The Portals have significant revenue to protect and will be foreced to provide more useful ,engaging and educational content,
    Sure Google will build the search result functionality into the main search screen but it will only be incremental clicks.
    I dont know if i was a buyer if i would search google for property for sale in Mosman….on google but hang on it might be better than getting a page of overly made up faces grinning at me.
    Time will tell but I would get too excited about it.
    I suspect the big two have enough brand equity in the consumers minds and a cleaner UI with more contextual content should win out.

  33. Wendy July 7, 2009 at 4:06 pm #

    Does anyone know how to manually upload listings to this? Unfortunately my provider will NOT arrange for a direct feed… please help!

  34. max July 7, 2009 at 4:20 pm #

    Is that it?
    Thats google’s property search?
    I am still dismissive of it as it not even close to a solution.

  35. Charlie July 7, 2009 at 4:32 pm #

    Thanks for getting some answers back from Google Peter – excellent job. Like u, I’m not convinced about how they are going to ensure accuracy of info, which is so crucial with property and the changes can be so swift (false advertising and all that..). But let’s give them time, and things may settle? They’re bright, so no doubt can sort this out if they’re serious about being in this space.

    I have another question though if you’re listening Mr/Ms Google (or any other web techie guy or gal who knows the answer) – Google insist on prices on all properties for them to be upoloaded – much like – however unlike REA there is no way to hide the price from showing. Auctions, and quite a few other properties, may not want the price to show on the property (it’s OK to be in the back end database so that the listing comes up appropriately in the search, but forcing it to be shown… not appropriate for everyone). I know the answer from some would be “hey show the price on all things dumbo!” but life’s not as simple as that. There needs to be a solution to this – is there?

  36. Glenn Batten July 7, 2009 at 6:51 pm #

    snoop on July 2nd, 2009 3:24 pm @ you said “Google realestate is a joke”.

    Only a few days ago too.. Guess you were wrong Snoop!! 🙂

    Your position has not changed, and if its for genuine reasons based upon what you see now and its not just to protect your previous statements then I respect that. Maybe you will be right this time.. maybe not.. only time will tell.

    One this is for sure, I can’t believe so many of you fell for that troll so close to the release.

    You say you would not use google to look for property. Maybe your not the typical consumer.. I mean there are a few people that don’t use them.. not too many in Australia though.

    Google will not put any portal out of business, only their own actions will do that, but the gameplan has changed. Its taken the last 24 hours for Simon to accept that but what I find really interesting is his reference that if REA come on board they will expect preferential treatment BECAUSE of their adwords spend.

    Coming late to the party an expecting to be named Queen of the Prom just because her big Daddy dropped a few dollars in the past.

    Adwords are an auction based system. If REA ads are not at the top of the pile, another will be. Expecting special treatment might just end in dissappointment!

  37. Andrew Foster July 7, 2009 at 7:54 pm #

    Thanks for all the interest in the real estate search feature in Google Maps.

  38. Ian Andersen July 7, 2009 at 8:14 pm #

    I’m not associated with Google in any way but I have spent the day looking over the documentation and I think some answers might be found there, from what I have seen anyway. My take from the docs:

    Glenn Batten Asked: Have you any intentions of including Open For Inspections into the mix?

    The Google Base Housing format has the data node “open_house_date_range” which is a start date or range.

    Regarding the different pricing on similar listings, the pricing model looks a little different/foreign to me. I would guess that different providers are sending through the data differently hence the different behaviour on the display. They have the following data nodes relating to prices:

    Price – This is the fixed price or the upper price if a “price_lower_limit” is not set.
    Price_Type – (auction, starting, negotiable, buyers guide)
    Price_Lower_Limit – Lower value in price range.

    On another note, the fact that there are out of date listings on there is no surprise to me, have a look at REA or any portal and tell me there aren’t out of date listings on there, garbage in-garbage out. If providers do the right thing, including using the “Experation_Date” parameter, delete the listing when appropriate then it shouldn’t be too bad, the tools are there though.

    As I said, I’ve only been looking at it today so I’m no expert.

  39. Simon Baker July 7, 2009 at 8:22 pm #


    Do i think the game has changed, not yet. I think the game will change when:

    1) Google gets a majority of the listings and works out how to keep them up to date and deal with some of the vaguaries of the real estate world (e.g. hiding prices for auctions)

    2) Google drives significant traffic to the real estate section or incorporates it into their main search results. This would be an interesting decision for them as it would impact their PPC (adwords) revenues from the likes of domain,, realestateview, developers and some agents.

    3) Agents stop using and to drive traffic to their sites. This is probably the truest test of all that the game has changed. Even long time antagonist Robert Simeon has said “we have no plans to cancel either contract with REA and Domain”.

    I clearly remember how Sensis backed justlisted and Packer backed myhome were “game changing”. We all know what happened to them …


  40. Glenn Batten July 7, 2009 at 11:52 pm #


    I cant remember anybody but MyHome claiming they were going to be game changing, and we know how that turned out. Again, I dont recall anyone claiming that Sensis was going to alter the way real estate is handled online. In fact I cant even remember one success Telstra has done online.

    On the other hand Google were that quiet about the release that many including yourself were claiming that it was not going to happen even the day before the launch. Your long time antagonist provided enough rope and look what happened!!

    I dont think agents have to stop totally using the subscription portals for the game to be considered to be altered. That is raising the bar a bit high, and not something that is realisticlly going to be acheived anytime soon..

    However.. why I believe the game HAS changed is

    They are not a portal and if I am right they are going to play a major role in real estate online in Australia for many years to come either directly or indirectly. Till now that has been the sole domain of the major tier one portals.

    Exactly how big that role will be is still to be fully determined and you have certainly suggested n your opinion it will not be quite so large…. on the other hand others including myself believe it will be a significantly more.

    In its current format it has enough potential but there are a couple of things that will increase that potential dramatically ….

    Integration into the standard web searches.
    Mashup specialist portals using the listing data to create small niche portal sites so popular in the US.

    I believe that the success of and to some extent Domain has been based soley on the security of the data. Another portal just cant get access to the listing data to effectively offer up competition. Just look at what a botch job MyHome did with the data and that plagued them from day one.

    Google on the other hand not only provides a fairly decent competition straight away with agents, portals and real estate groups clambering over themselves to list their property, but that data will be released to mashup sites as well.

    This freedom of listing information is what the MLS market has created in the US and is why even the industry market leaders still only command a small percentage of the online traffic. Googles involvement I believe will result in one thing and thats the fracturing of the Australian real estate online marketshare to a point that the major players will only represent a fraction of that traffic.

    I reckon I could probably offer points both for and against why that would be good for the industry… The main part will be breaking that absolute unquestionable reliance on the subscription portals.

    Despite your claim in your recent article I dont think anybody is predicting the fall of or domain. What you may be confusing is the industry rejoicing at what may be a genuine player not based on the traditional subscription model.

    I dont think even someone as big as Google could if playing fairly (and lets face it, they do play pretty fairly) topple from the top of the tree in the immediate future but I do see a pretty good chance that their marketshare will be reducing significantly over time..

    But how do we KNOW the game has changed….??

    Myhome entered the market employing a band of salespeople out there flogging the site and struggled to get the signups. They stuggled to get good listing data from agencies and even resorted to scraping data to fill their database.

    With Google, the industry has chased them and for many on the other side of the fence that has probably been humbling to see. Sure they spoke with the heads of the major groups but that was about facilitating the data transfer, not “selling” the solution to them. If you did not want to send them your data it was no skin off their nose. I know of one company who has had the feed written in their back end just waiting for it to be activated for over two years. Some groups got that anxious they even uploaded their properties to the US version of Base getting it all ready for the Australian version..

    The subscription model will stay valid, but the players in that section of the market will need to be innovative to justify their charges. Being innovative is about a lot more than just claiming your an innovative company as has been trotted out till now. The time has come for the subscription services to start concentrating on quality rather than quantity. Tools, training and systems to allow agents to extract better enquries and more sales from the same or less traffic. Thats were their value will lay.

    Thats my opinion based on what I know now and its going to be interesting to look back a couple of years from now and see what really happened 🙂

  41. paddy July 8, 2009 at 12:45 am #

    Glen – I love this quote from you – (Simon B and other REA boffins past and present may not)

    “Google will not put any portal out of business, only their own actions will do that, but the gameplan has changed. Its taken the last 24 hours for Simon to accept that but what I find really interesting is his reference that if REA come on board they will expect preferential treatment BECAUSE of their adwords spend.

    Coming late to the party an expecting to be named Queen of the Prom just because her big Daddy dropped a few dollars in the past.”

    What I love about this, is that REA suddenly finds itself on the same footing which it (REA) puts on some of the franchise groups in Australia.

    Only franchise groups which were either bought, or signed up willingly to REA in the early days, have a discount in place.

    In recent years, other groups such as C21, LJH etc… who have the majority of their networks on REA – are without a discount.

    We have questioned this many times on this website, which several anonymous posters have stated that it is REA’s right.

    So there really should be no crying over spilt milk on REA’s behalf now should there?

    Embrace and participate – or take a stand off stance. Either way, it does speak volumes that Google managed to get a decent amount of content to launch with, without the assistance of REA nor domain.

    Simon B – I think what you need to realise – is that from all the searches on Google for property – that source of UB’s which REA and Domain value and do all they can through SEO and SEM – has just gotten that little bit harder.

    Now – people who search for property on Google, may take a little longer to come to REA. Over time, this may mean less UB’s, less leads, and perhaps less content, as agencies find the cost per lead metric cheaper through google than REA or domain.

    Whilst not an over night portal model killer, the google entry still has a fascinating effect on the market.

    Now agencies will be more focused on their own site. Perhaps they will spend more on SEM, and have better websites.

    This activity, and change in attitude, results in far less reliance on the established media portal models.

    What is the ROI for taking out a platinum subscription and depth products on REA, compared to the ROI for increasing your own agencies SEM?

    A very exciting time for the online space.

    An interesting time for the traditional media portals.

    Should you sell your REA shares Simon? Probably not right now… but who knows what GEMS lie in the REA Group financial results.

    Ray White sold out didn’t they?

  42. paddy July 8, 2009 at 12:50 am #

    Simon to make it easy for you…. seeing you like comparisons…e.g.

    “I clearly remember how Sensis backed justlisted and Packer backed myhome were

  43. Sal Espro July 8, 2009 at 1:10 pm #

    Sensis schmensis and Myhome schpyvolme! C’mon Simon, surely you can do better than that, or is your share-holding getting in the way.
    The proof will be in the consumer, puddin’.

    All the breast,
    Sal 🙂

  44. Greg Vincent July 8, 2009 at 1:24 pm #

    Simon, you mention ‘This would be an interesting decision for them as it would impact their PPC (adwords) revenues from the likes of domain,, realestateview, developers and some agents.’

    I see that Google’s move will simply increase PPC revenues because the real estate related keywords will become even more competitive.

    REA, Domain, etc will need to find ways to by-pass the traffic away from Google Maps so they can keep their subscription fees & advertising rates up.

  45. Robert Simeon July 8, 2009 at 1:56 pm #

    Greg, you make a very valid point there and I agree that PPC revenues will increase. It also raises another issue about agents organically building SEO so they don’t need to resort to PPC. We certainly will never require PPC simply because we started construction ten years ago.

    What I do find ironic is that many years ago REA and Domain allowed Google to scrape all their online listings. No Google has joined their business model and REA and Domain have denied access to their listings.

    This is where it gets interesting because I believe Simon, REA and Domain have their respective heads in the sand. The agents pay the property portals to display a property and now the property portals refuse to display the listings (agent paid) on the competitor Google.

    The agents all rush to have all their properties on Google Maps because the portals have denied access. So before the release the portals worked with the agents and now after Monday’s release they are now blocking their right of access.

    All this says to me is by blocking they are afraid of Google Maps (they will say they aren’t but to me it certainly looks that way – where there message is crystal clear.

  46. snoop July 8, 2009 at 3:47 pm #

    Well i guess the measure of success will be watching the Neilsens and Hitwise reports and seeing if the Homehounds,Myhomes and REIWAS are getting meaningful traffic.
    Great news for Web developers servicing the Agency industry as this is a great incentive for agencies to put more useful and engaging content on their own sites rather than the usual vanity photos of their agents.

  47. Greg Vincent July 8, 2009 at 3:49 pm #

    Robert, I just did a Google Search on Real Estate Sydney & it was interesting to see that a PPC ad for was in the top position.

    Good luck outranking Google on Google REA & Domain.

    One things for sure, the major portals won’t remain off Google Maps for too long.

    3 things that will make life interesting with Google Maps.

    1. The SEO puzzle & how an agent can get listings to be ranking as A, B, C, D, etc is going to be interesting.

    2. Consumers using the ‘Write a Review’ function is going to be really interesting to watch.

    3. (Future) Will Google eventually integrate the time period search into the Mapping so people can search the latest listings or latest updated listings by Any time, Recent results, Past 24 hours, Past week, Past year like you can on their normal search?

  48. Robert Simeon July 8, 2009 at 4:00 pm #

    Too funny – Google are driving this map model hard. Just as interesting is that REA and Domain pay an absolute motza to Google for PPC – so will this change? I don’t think so. I certainly don’t believe Google would stop allowing REA and Domain to take out PPC either.

    Which ever way you look we always end up back at Google – so you can also rule out REA or Fairfax setting up their own search engine either LOL

  49. Robert Simeon July 8, 2009 at 4:11 pm #

    Actually – I just checked the other real estate pages and they have taken the same position for all the real estate search pages.

  50. Glenn Batten July 8, 2009 at 4:47 pm #

    They will run it for awhile until knowledge of the service builds and it gets accepted. They do it with all their product launches. It’s only natural that they would promote their own solution using their own vehicles.

    Expecting them to do anything different would be crazy.

  51. tony MY July 8, 2009 at 4:59 pm #

    Just food for though here and open to discussion.

    So Google are a supplier of a search product in Australia, a market they pretty much have a monopoly over. Its customers are both agents and and REA/Domain. Now they are taking the information that would have normally been REA/Domain’s and using their own service to outrank them to consumers.

    Is this predatory or just cutting out the middle man?

    Makes me wonder what would have happened in the 80’s if yellowpages set up real estate agency and gave it the best places in the book…

    Anyway, you get my point.

  52. Glenn Batten July 8, 2009 at 5:35 pm #

    Ok, the first results are in. I have access to a few Google Analytics accounts for a agents in Queensland and NSW. Those agents have provided me access in the past so I can help explain those reports that GA provides.

    I went through 5 of those agencies and looked at the traffic generated by referrals from and came up with some interesting observations. Remember, this is only 1 and a half days worth of information..

    The city agents seem to have had the biggest impact with the highest market share a Brisbane office with just under 20% of their website visitors coming from Google Maps. This company is a subscriber to only.

    Other city offices have ranged from around 5% to 15%

    The couple of non major city offices both sit around 4% to 8% of all traffic.

    Early days, but it is certainly generating some traffic early even after only a days exposure. End of month information is going to be probably the best indicator.

  53. Craig July 8, 2009 at 7:03 pm #

    For some reason the first 50 comments in this entry are no longer visible??

  54. PaulD July 9, 2009 at 8:13 am #

    Tony MY, The only difference is that Google are not charging to put the listings on their site. I would have thought that is, however insignificant, a slight difference. And who said that information was “REA/Domains”

  55. tony MY July 9, 2009 at 2:06 pm #

    Good points PaulD…

    But surely Googles business model wont be to become the dominant number 1 and never charge for it? It cant be a massive commercial sucess for them in current form….cant be number one and free with no massive suplimentry adspace at the same time – that would be very counter productive for google.

    So, they will either:

    1) keep it just as a little side project and just another service to consumers
    2) start to charge for listings
    3) keep it free to list but flood the site with adplacements

  56. Craig July 9, 2009 at 2:14 pm #

    tony MY, I think the answer is going to be partial 1 and partial 3. They won’t charge for listings.

  57. tony MY July 9, 2009 at 2:35 pm #

    craig, so do I.

  58. Craig July 9, 2009 at 3:09 pm #

    I don’t think they will flood the site with advertisements though, a quick look now and I saw 3 advertisements already there. I think the next step will be to integrate advertisements directly into the maps.

  59. Glenn Batten July 9, 2009 at 3:29 pm #

    Google’s revenue model for this is based on the ads they sell. Because it is PPC advertising there revenues scale with the traffic.

    Essentially more views equal more money. They will try to get more users viewing property through their solution as long as it follows the Google mantra.

    Not only does more views equal more clicks as there are more eyes viewing these ads they become more valuable to the advertisers .. demand goes up and then so does the cost per click.

    What this solution does is provide more views on the Google network for specific keywords that people can advertise on.. Businesses like Building inspectors, financiers, pest inspectors, removalists etc etc now have an excellent opportunity to target geographic advertising based around their locations.

    They get exposure to potential clients who have a better chance to be ready to purchase there products and they only when the ad actually results in an action.

    It’s all about the ads… forget the properties, forget the searches.. Google makes money from ads. The more they can put in front of people the more they make. Because of their amazing economies of scale they can make it profitable with only small text based ads based on what your looking for. They know if they dont make the ads intrusive and over powering, and then they make there solution easy to use you will keep coming back. And if you dont click on an ad today, you just might tomorrow, or the day after.

    They will not plaster any of their solutions with ads. You will find other sites have multiple adsense boxes, but their solutions are always quite sparse. Most of the times only one ad block.

    Neither is this a side project for them. As REA and Domain tell you every month… property attracts significant views every day on the internet… and on each of those views they can display an ad. THEY WANT THOSE VIEWS !!! Want they dont care about is where you go once they have sent you one your way. If you end up on an agents site or a portals site they just dont care.

    Do the maths yourself.. Look at every property view that REA and Domain claims. Lets say Google gets just 10% of that traffic.. then lets say they just get a 1% click through rate on their ads.. and they only make 10c per ad thats clicked on.

    Thats a lot of money.. What about if they get just 20% of the market…. what about they get a 2% click through rate and they make 50c per click (real estate keywords are often way over the $1 mark). That ads up to a lot of money…

    The have the business of internet PPC advertising down to a fine art and this is big business for them.

    Since Real Estate was launched in Australia by Google they have rolled out the same interface throughout the world to other markets. They have even announced their own Operating System which will get people on the net faster and easier than the clunky operating systems that exist now that take you many minutes just to start up.

    The committed to giving money money to the firefox browser for years to come and launched their own browser all in the same week to keep the browser wars going and reduce Microsoft’s market share as their search engines are not installed as default on Internet Explorer by default.

    Agents are just a data source for Google. They want our listings so they can serve that data up to searches… all so they can tack on a little ad.

  60. Glenn Batten July 9, 2009 at 3:35 pm #


    Google maps already have the ability to show adverts in them.. at the moment they are just not being triggered.. If you type in the right words into a google maps page you will see an ad at the bottom of the map. For me right now..if you type in “brisbane real estate ” into Google Maps you will see an ad for

  61. Glenn Rogers July 9, 2009 at 4:46 pm #

    61 replies ? I can only see 11 – and that took 10 minutes to load.

  62. Robert Simeon July 9, 2009 at 4:55 pm #

    I am missing the earlier posts too – not sure where they went. I’m sure Peter will find them 🙂

  63. tony MY July 9, 2009 at 5:22 pm #

    Glen, thanks for PPC 101…. but some of you points are totally valid.

    My point is, if its going to be more than a side project the sum of the advertsing revenues they make needs to be greater than money they make from the portals right now.

    I would argue that 20% of the market fits into the side project category for google.

  64. Glenn Batten July 9, 2009 at 6:59 pm #


    it would be a side project in the same way that every one of there non web search solutions are side projects. Each one would represent a small percentage of total revenues so in your definition would also be considered as a side project.

    Image Search
    News Search
    Local Business
    Video Search (which is obviously tied to the next one)
    Blog Search
    Books (although they are planning a seperate revenue model over and above ads on this one as they will sell)
    etc etc etc

    Each one is just a different way to display the ads… each one just delivers ad impressions which is their core revenue and search is just one vehicle for their ads.

    Unit sales for our agency may only represent 10 to 15% of all turnover but since our business is selling real estate it is still part of our core business.I understand your point but I guess it just depends upon which way you look at it. The perspective matters how you define it, not the actual thing itself.

  65. Charlie July 10, 2009 at 12:05 am #

    Also interested in seeing the missing posts and if anyone had found the answer to my earlier questions…

    1. Google RE requires price to be added, and show prices on SOLD properties (but will not show it as sold = bad)… same for under offers. We’ve had to delete the solds and under offers. Looks like they only offer for sale or for rent as property status types.

    2. We’re not loading auction properties, POA, EOI, etc, as agents here in the West don’t want prices showing on these, and there doesn’t seem to be an option to hide price?

    However the upload was easy and we’re now all over GRE like a rash in Perth. Shown it to some clients and they are impressed.

    We’re going to load up from the agent sites too, so they get a guernsey, not just the portal link. 2 bites at the cherry.

  66. Glenn Batten July 10, 2009 at 1:10 am #


    In one of the missing posts a Google rep comments on the ability to hide price.. Effectively you just put $0.. but the side effect is that it will not come up in price filtered searches.

    I had a quick look at the feed specification and you can also indicate a price as a buyers or buying guide if that helps in some circumstances although I know many are recommending you dont even give a guide for an auction anymore.. (but thats another discussion).

    Peter provided a link in the article to Google section on all this but here is the direct link to the spec.

    Maybe the Google rep (sorry, cant remember his name) can comment on how under contracts and sold properties are to be handled. There does not seem to be a status field.. so how does google know when to remove a listing..

    I guess they set like a timeout so that if it is not updated within that time it is removed.. They obviously pass the visitor off to your site so they must be expecting that the visitor would get the latest update at that point if there was any recent changes.

    Interesting your double biting at the cherry.. had that discussion with someone today and nobody knew if it was allowed. Effectively your doing one feed as yourself, and doing another on “behalf” of all your clients?? I hate reading T&C’s so try to avoid it unless I have to. Let us know if you get a confirmation if its ok or not..

  67. Ryan O'Grady July 10, 2009 at 7:26 am #

    Hi All,

    The issue with comments not showing has been resolved. They were still there but the first 50 were showing on a different page. Also, back by popular demand we have added “Recent Articles” to the sidebar so you can easily locate a recent post you have viewed.

    We welcome any other feedback and keep up the great discussion.

  68. Charlie July 10, 2009 at 9:29 am #

    thanks Glenn! now the previous posts are up, I can see the earlier Google reply. Will get onto it today, and let you know how we go…

  69. Louise July 10, 2009 at 10:59 am #

    Is there going to be a retirement category built for google maps? Or would these properties come under general realestate?

  70. Tania Gibson July 11, 2009 at 10:15 pm #

    The new Google feature will be fantasic for buyers however it will be hard for vendors to choose an agent to sell with.

    In a time when listings are at an all time low, I have noticed that there is no agent branding on any of the listings.

    Some do come up with the agents website, others come up with as the agent website.

    Researching for an agent to sell with will be more difficult and time consuming than even going through REA or Domain.

    Somehow I think Google has just prolonged the life of print.

  71. Robert Simeon July 13, 2009 at 11:36 am #

    What I am finding out to be quite fascinating is the number of offices that are allowing third parties to grab their SEO. Obviously, they don’t understand this and good luck to those parties that taking advantage of this opportunity – I see Ray White Head Office is being very proactive 🙂

    We will actually now just launch our new properties exclusively on our own website and once it correctly appears at Google – then a second feed to the third parties.

  72. Warwick July 13, 2009 at 1:39 pm #

    It would seem that REA’s efforts to eliminate private sales from have in fact created a new type of website that does not list the properties on their own websites but list the properties on only.This of course makes it so much harder for REA to control what private sales are slippimg through the net.
    Previously REA could go to the listing company websote and do a remdom spot check but now they have to trail through at random on their own website , which I cannot see happening.
    An example of the above is
    Now lets be fair dinkum with a website name like that how can REA say that this is not a private sale.
    This company also appears to be listing all over Australia which means that they must also be licenced in each state, wonder if anyone is checking that also.
    C’mon REA show some leadership and sort out the ambiguity in private sales on

  73. Shane Dale July 18, 2009 at 1:20 pm #

    Private sellers will be the bane of google real estate as far as agents are concerned – I suspect the major beneficiary will be all the private selling sites loading to google, and finally outflanking the blockage at REA and myhome and others.

  74. Robert Simeon July 20, 2009 at 11:29 am #

    I have been closely watching the Google Maps in our area and have observed (that for some strange reason) that Google is only scraping the Head Offices, MyHome and Homehound websites (I missed a few) and none of the independents or franchise websites that have individual websites.

    We deliberately pulled our listings on MyHome, Homehound and Head Office as I want that traffic. Seems a bit strange that they are missing out on plenty of listings because of this error.

  75. Sal Espro July 20, 2009 at 11:35 am #


    I think this forum has put to rest any real worries that agents have with private listings. i.e. The % is extremely small and they can be a good source of new listings due to unrealistic owner vendor price expectations.

  76. Sal Espro July 20, 2009 at 11:36 am #

    BTW Shane, as a group with a model based upon ‘eye-balls’ to sell ads, do you think Google Realestate is going to increase your traffic quality ?


  77. David July 27, 2009 at 6:35 am #

    Not sure how this REA/Domain spat will affect Google’s plans

  78. Craig July 27, 2009 at 4:45 pm #

    This is a pretty lame threat by REA/Domain. They get over 50% of their traffic from Google, they need Google more than it needs them. Do REA seriously think if they stop spending with Google so will the rest of Australia? There will be plenty of people to take up the advertising if they pick up their ball and go home. REA doesn’t like the fact that it is no longer the big boy in town who can do the bossing around.

  79. David July 27, 2009 at 4:57 pm #

    Craig, you maybe right but you can see the paradox where REA/Domain fund the free Google Map product that might eventually break their business model.

    There is a fair amount of money at stake and Im guessing it might extend to other Fairfax/News Corp websites that amount of money at risk is something that would worry the team in Google Australia.

    I would have to say that REA/Domain’s market in Australia is strong enough at this point to be able to throw their weight into the argument.

  80. Craig July 27, 2009 at 7:22 pm #

    David, REA/Domain don’t fund Google Maps. They choose to use a Google product to generate traffic to their site. If you don’t want to do that in future they are free to go elsewhere, there are plenty of people waiting in line to spend their money with Google.

  81. David July 28, 2009 at 2:22 am #

    Craig, I agree that there are a few real estate agents who would be happy if they didnt have to bid against REA/Domain on Google Adwords.

    I think you are incorrect in your understanding of Google’s business model, as most of Google’s revenue comes from Adwords.

    Anyone who spends money on Adwords also contributes to support/develop other Google products: Chrome, Google Earth, Google Pack, Picasa, Sketchup, Google Talk, Blogger, Google Gears, Google Toolbar, Gmail, Google Apps, Google Reader, Google Latitude, Google Maps, YouTube, Knol, Orkut, Android, App Engine, Google Trends, Google Search…

    So you are incorrect in the idea that REA/Domain don’t also fund products like Google Maps, and they both need each other.

  82. Craig July 28, 2009 at 8:14 am #

    REA/Domain fund them indirectly because they are customers of Google and Google is using it’s revenues to build new products. But when you say fund, it sounds like you are saying REA/Domain are investing in Google. They are not investing in Google, they are buying Google’s products.

  83. MC July 28, 2009 at 10:27 am #

    Think about this in terms of your own business.
    The vendor is the ultimate customer paying for everything.
    When push comes to shove, I will back a relationship that is directly with the ultimate paying customer against any type of relationship with intermediaries The real estate portals are simply being superseded by a new model. ‘The portal is dead. Long live the portal’.

  84. Mike July 29, 2009 at 1:42 pm #

    I found good article regarding this topic,
    They are talking about Fairfax Media and News Ltd pulling out ad campaigns from Google.
    I am happy that Google creates competition for Google.
    Few interesting points were mentioned in the article :

    “Nearly half a million people visit property websites every day, according to Nielsen, with realestate and Domain accounting for nearly 90 per cent.

    But almost a third of their traffic comes via Google, Hitwise reports, which raises the question of who needs who more? Google has 92 per cent of the search advertising market and this year is expected to book revenues close to $1 billion.”

  85. Shane Dale August 7, 2009 at 3:18 pm #

    Sale, we are just reviewing the quality of leads from google to – Its too soon to say any detail, but its a nice chunk of traffic to the site from google. Time will tell. I have heard several clients casually mention extra enquiry from google then myhome. Its worthy of a study when i get time.

  86. Ryan O'Grady August 12, 2009 at 1:41 pm #

    We have created a wordpress plugin which sends an agent’s property listings to Google we will happily provide it free to any agent with a wordpress website.

  87. Robert Simeon August 13, 2009 at 10:53 am #

    Thanks Ryan, it is working brilliantly 🙂

  88. TomS October 27, 2009 at 10:36 pm #

    Greg Vincent

  89. Craig October 28, 2009 at 8:11 am #

    TimS, everyone’s a genius in hindsight.

  90. Glenn Batten October 28, 2009 at 2:08 pm #


    TomS is no genius at any time. I did not make a “call” as he claims. He is in the business of making “calls” on shares and I am sure if I made a recommendation he would be whinging about it. Interesting I questioned what analysts would be saying about the move yet he said nothing at the time yet chose to speak up now. He is simply trying to imply a hidden meaning to everyone’s comments.

    TomS has long been a supporter of REA stocks for quite a while now. He use to regularly post providing good news stories of REA

    As an example.. here is one of his classic style posts :

    “The article in the Courier Mail mentions that recorded more than 3.7 million unique browsers over the last year. Surely that

  91. Robert Simeon October 28, 2009 at 2:39 pm #

    Gee – Toms, I don’t get a mention 🙂 Maybe the sudden turnaround in the REA model and share price has something to do with this statement by the new CEO Greg Ellis –

  92. John D | Business Review November 24, 2009 at 7:00 pm #

    I just went through google real estate and noticed that they have listings from etc. Google’s approach to real estate is much more userfriendly than that of other websites. It’s much easier to start with a map and then look for houses that are available in that area.

  93. snoop November 26, 2009 at 9:32 am #

    I think the big issue for google will be
    What use is a map based search when many agents dont want to display the address of the property or have the property identfied??
    Inherently the portals will always have more listings.

  94. Peter Ricci November 26, 2009 at 9:38 am #

    Possibly, but hopefully this will mean fewer properties with street address and features hidden.

  95. Pandora console March 15, 2010 at 4:22 am #

    Google is providing lots of useful services and even this service will be helping users and the real estate agents. Users will be able to get property search at ease and real estate agents will be able to post the property on the map with all the details with pics and videos.

  96. Mobile Mojo May 19, 2010 at 12:50 pm #

    This is great from an end user point of view. Now instead of printing off an itinerary of places to check out every Sat morning, a prospective buyer/renter can just cruise into the suburb of choice, fire up Google maps on their iPhone and just pop in at whichever properties look good. A neat convergence of the property market with the Internet and mobile devices.

  97. ipad aus September 22, 2010 at 8:22 am #

    It has been more than a year since the time Google introduced their real estate service into Aus and the result is not that impressive. For the Base API, many agents dont bother to update their listings and consequently query results are out dated. People talking about the future of open Web developers developing google based portals but I havent since any of them being a good candidate to balance out or yet. Look at for an example, many of listings in its search results (directly from googlebase api as the site claims) are already expired when you follow the original links.

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