BuyMyPlace kicked off Realestate.com.au

In a move that could have massive ramifications, the Private Sale website BuyMyPlace appears to have had it’s access to realestate.com.au revoked by REA last week. This is in contrast to Domain who openly accepted BuyMyplace’s listings last year Domain.com.au Agrees To Upload Over 1700 Private Sellers In One Go.

According to a source close to BuyMyPlace, REA first wrote to the fsbo website several weeks ago and told the company that it’s listings would be removed due apparently to not holding a real estate license. Word on the street is that REA failed to recognise the License which the company was using (through another company called Vertex Consulting) as appropriate for it’s REA account.

Sure enough as the 1 week deadline expired all the companies listings were removed and if you perform an agent search for “Vertex Consulting” they no longer appear in REA.

It’s not known what the reaction has been from the clients of BuyMyPlace, however one can imagine that the clients would have been quite upset, given that they immediately lost access to realestate.com.au, which presumably was the major reason for signing up in the first place.

Interestingly while this was happening some other similar agent assisted sales sites, have at the time of writing, remained unaffected. One such site PropertyNow, retains it’s access pending further determinations and communications from REA. PropertyNow was approached by REA in relation to its business model over 2 months ago and is now awaiting their determination.

I interviewed Andrew Blachut ( the Director of PropertyNow Pty Ltd ) and asked him for some clarification on this evolving story.

Q – Andrew, how is it that you continue to market on REA when BuyMyPlace have been denied access?

A – One can never fully know why REA make the decisions they do, but I believe that BuyMyPlace had a licensing issue in relation to their REA account. Having said that, REA also quizzed PropertyNow about its various licenses as well as its methodologies in dealing with sellers and buyers via its agent assisted system. We were first approached about December 8th last year and have also been under the REA microscope for almost half a decade. We expect clarification from the REA legal team this week, but since we believe that we fully comply with their TOS, it’s business as usual at PropertyNow.

Q – Are you aware of any other companies being looked at by REA in relation to the REA private listing policy?

A – REA are always monitoring not only private sale companies but also agent assisted firms who market on realestate.com.au. They consider whether these firms fully comply with the REA Terms of Service. Certainly right now, REA are looking at the service offerings of at least 3 other companies who are similar to BMP. In relation to whether those companies comply, it is of course a matter between REA and themselves. As mentioned, our own company has gone to extraordinary lengths to comply and yet that still may not be enough – time will tell.

Q – Andrew, what are the bones of contention in your mind, that REA scrutinise when assessing a clients compliance with the REA private listing policy.

A – I can only go on their stated TOS and also the questions they asked of us which included – how we handle enquiries, how me manage negotiations etc.

Q – Andrew, how far reaching is the action against BuyMyPlace ( and the potential actions against other companies ? )

A – You know Ryan, it would be hard to overstate the potentially massive consequences that could spring from this action. I know for example that if our own service was limited or interfered with unreasonably by REA, we would likely seek a Federal Court Injunction. The ramifications of a legal battle about the rights of companies like PropertyNow and ByMyPlace to market their clients on REA, are truly staggering. Such an action , where it to occur would no doubt be looking at potential perceived breaches of The Trade Practices Act. In particular Section 46 of the ACT which very clearly speaks about the misuse of Market Power. It also speak to the rights of competitors to enter a market fairly. Other issues could involve a debate as to whether there had occured a Third Party Forcing upon companies such as our own, in which it was dictated by a third party as to the level of servicing that the clients want…..or indeed are forced to have. For example if a PropertyNow client was “forced ” to obtain and have ProeprtyNow supply a service which they categorically did not want ( lest they not be listed on REA ) then one might call into question the legality of that stance by REA. I am not a solicitor but my legal advice has always been that it is likely to fall under the heading of ” Third Party Forcing ”

To be blunt Ryan, I don’t believe it’s any exaggeration to say that this could change the entire industry in Australia. I cannot see BMP just lying down over this and not seeking to get back on REA. Given the huge investment they have already made. Of course their situation may be different from our own and they may choose not to proceed to courts and such. I certainly hope that we don’t need to look at those options and certainly we perceive that we will not need to do so.

However if several of these types of companies are removed from REA it’s conceivable that REA might face an almighty backlash from thousands of disaffected sellers, several damaged companies and the media. It’s a story with legs and as mentioned Ryan, it’s one that could potentially and irrevocably alter the real estate landscape in Australian forever.

To my knowledge BuyMyPlace is the first private selling/agent assisted company which is a casualty of REA’s Private Listing Policy launched in mid 2009. Although I’m an advocate of all real estate related web businesses and don’t agree with REA’s Private Listing Policy, I’m impressed with the fact REA have pulled their head out of the sand and made it clear where they stand. Up until now, their Policy was to tell traditional real estate agents they were not allowing these companies yet at the same time they hadn’t banned these companies and were continuing to accept their properties and monthly fees.

This will be a very interesting space over the coming months, as Andrew has pointed out their could be legal ramifications for REA in relation to the position they have taken, and certainly you wouldn’t expect the BuyMyPlaces of the world to go down quietly.

BuyMyPlace were not available for comment yesterday. Andrew Blachut can be reached on 0408 000 552 or sales@propertynow.com.au

agent assisted websites, Buy My Place, BuyMyPlace, buymyplace.com.au, owner assisted website, Private Selling Policy, private selling websites, PropertyNow, propertynow.com.au

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About The Insider

Ryan has been involved in the real estate industry for a number of years. During this time he has operated web based real estate businesses along with provided consulting to the real estate software development industry. Ryan operates Agentpoint.com.au and is actively involved with the design and development of real estate systems, software and web sites in the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

156 Responses to BuyMyPlace kicked off Realestate.com.au

  1. James February 23, 2011 at 10:04 am #

    REA is well within it rights to adopt a No Private Sales policy, the issue is that companies like ByMyPlace and PropertyNow sometimes operate under very different structures to the traditional real estate agent that cannot be easily defined.

    Another issue is that they sometimes purport to be an actual agent and operate as an agent yet it is interesting when you call the number for the open for inspection it is actually the owner.

    To me this could be seen to be misleading to the consumer.

  2. forsaleforlease February 23, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    Ryan where do you think they stand?

    If companies like mine list on their site under our own company name, hold all the necessary licences and comply with their private listing policy are we still ok? I’m still not sure and I like Andrew are in constant communication with them. The REA needs to comment on the exact reasons Buy My Place has been removed. Is it because Buy My Place is not transparent to their clients about where the enquiries are generated from? Is it because BMP believe they can become a portal in their own right. Is it because they use another company

  3. Stephen February 23, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    Congratulations to Realestate.com.au for removing fsbo site buymyplace from their site. REA have always maintained that they are an industry site for Real Estate agents and not for the general public. It is in the best interests of the industry to ensure that only registered real estate agents can list on the largest portal site in Australia.

  4. Ryan O'Grady February 23, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    Michael, as i’ve indicated numerous times on business2. I do not agree with the policy REA has in relation to businesses like yours.

    Sites like yours will help some vendors sell their property but a large number end up using an agent because they don’t know how to price their property, negotiate or perform other functions of the sale. So all you’ve done is condition the vendor for a traditional real estate agency (no threat to them here).

    For a new real esate agency, offering this type of service will not only help pay the monthly susbcripotion costs but will most likely lead to a conversion into a few full agent listings.

    I do beleive they have made a stance, they’ve proven they will suspend private/agent assisted selling business models if they breach their T&Ss

  5. Jason February 23, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    Ryan, this is what you said: “Sites like yours will help some vendors sell their property but a large number end up using an agent because they don

  6. Naomi L Sweeney February 23, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    Mr R O

  7. Robert Simeon February 23, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

    Bugger – sent from the field and suspended awaiting the findings of the judiciary?

    If all the listings have been removed it appears to me that the decision has already been made?

    What is the difference between suspended as against revoked/cancelled? Maybe you should have inserted the word *DELETED*

  8. forsaleforlease February 23, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    Ryan

    What part of the REA’s private listing policy do you disagree with? At least it is a basic set of rules to follow. Are you sugestiong its to onerous or to soft? As long as compliance is enforced equaly i will work with it. What was BMP doing that breached these terms is what i want to know.

    “Sites like yours will help some vendors sell their property but a large number end up using an agent because they don

  9. Robert Simeon February 23, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

    Our agency sells 95 per cent of our listings so of course it is above the industry average! Nice plug – hardly newsworthy 🙂

  10. Vic February 23, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    Naomi,

    Wish you would read Ryan’s post correctly. He never said that Andrew Blachut was connected to Buymyplace. I can only assume that you are attributing the “source” of the information as being Andrew Blachut. Is this what you are saying?
    Ryan was also quoting the 1700 to Domain from a previous article on B2. Although I must ask why do you want this statement retracted ?- I would think it works in your favour- unless of course you do not have any listings on Domain- which is clearly not the case.

    Private sellers have a right to advertise with whomever they want. REA needs to be careful that they have not breached the laws here and are discrimating in favour of real estate agent listings. I have no doubt that their legal teams have looked very closely at this aspect and believe that they have a right to processess that are written into their T&C, ToU’s documents. The courts however may have a different view and it would be up to byMyplace to take the first step.

    BMP will consider their legal actions in the light of statistical data post “suspension” by REA.

  11. Ryan O'Grady February 23, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

    Jason, some vendors become emotionally attached to their property and lose perspective of its market value. This would be a major reason.

    Thanks Naomi for your comments and clearing up the suspension/revoked issue. What is certain though is that your vendor

  12. forsaleforlease February 23, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

    Ryan I agree the REA should not get involved in comlianace but they have. Businesses like mine are required to hold licences in WA and QLD to list on REA in these states yet the legislation in these sates does not require it if you don’t have an office in that state, conduct ofi’s or run a trust account. This is irelavant to the REA.
    Robert “nice plug” back at you.
    Naomi “Realestate.com.au is not the major reason why vendors choose to list their property with buyMyplace.com.au” Get serious. This is an insult to your current vendors intelagence. You are reliant on the 7 million plus visites the REA provides your clients other wise they will run a very real risk of underselling their homes. Care to share the uniquie visiters your site recieves in comparision.

  13. Gemma Watson February 23, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    It’s hard to have any sympathy for BuyMyPlace. The FSBO scetor has zero lobying power in Australia, and this is thanks mainly to the small mindedness of BuyMyPlace, who spends considerable time and effort lodging complaints against and trying to create problems for other FSBO sites, rather than engaging in constructive dialogue.

    For BuyMyPlace to now find itself without the real support of any friends, and the fact that they will now have to foot the legal bill on behalf of all of us, seems like poetic justice.

  14. Vic February 23, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

    REA do not get 7m unique visitors per month, nor do they get 5m nor 4m.
    I’m really getting weary of seeing these wild claims.
    These figures are highly questionable when compared with the large sites in US and Europe which at best claim 2/3m uniques.

  15. Glenn Batten February 23, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

    Naomi’s interpretation and response to Ryan’s article and Andrew’s comments seem to me the best indicator of why they are finding themselves in trouble. Even though they are coming from a similar position Andrew’s comments show clarity of position whereas Naomi is missing whats been said.

    Vic, REA stats have been discussed a fair bit on here and the Neilsens rep even chimed in recently and distanced themselves from the “Property Seekers” stats. The monthly uniques are as you pointed out only a fraction of what the marketing dept would try to have us believe.They are extremely misleading.

    Right now REA are apparently looking to change their stats capabilities because the discrepancy between the front end stats and the back end stats are huge and they cant explain them.

    Property View, emails to vendors and the back end reports will give you all different numbers for the same property. Last time I looked at their code they were loading 3 or 4 different stats packages..

    In short.. IMHO any agent should question anything they say regarding statistics.

  16. Glenn Rogers February 23, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

    I don’t agree with portals that make their living from agents allowing sale by owner listings on their site in any way shape or form.

    The portal should support the agents at every turn , that shows loyalty, promotes trust and in turn leads to more agents listing with you.

  17. forsaleforlease February 23, 2011 at 9:40 pm #

    Vic
    These stats quoted are provided by Neilson that include the REA’s competitors. The exact methodology is I agree questionable particularly considering our population. The % difference between REA and Domain vs. the rest is not. If you want enquires online in SA, TAS, QLD and WA the REA is all you need. In VIC and NSW you should have both. The closer you are to the CBD of Melbourne and Sydney the more important Domain becomes. Rental enquiries REA is even more dominant. All the other portals provide minimal additional leads at present and ad minimal real value.
    I always get a laugh from this blog with all the negative sentiment towards the REA particularly considering how hard they fight to protect average agents so that they can continue paying subscription fees. The BMP deletion is exactly this. The REA has to be at saturation point as far and possible new subscriptions goes in Australia, 10,000 agents $1200pw how will they ad value for their shareholders if the agent numbers drop when they are already whining about the current costs. They need to protect the numbers to maintain revenue.
    I would suspect most agencies profiteer from their internet advertising charges. So why complain, it

  18. Glenn Rogers February 23, 2011 at 9:51 pm #

    REA should look outside the REA web site to make money, by charging more they risk their position and undermine agent loyalty.

    Ideally they should find another related business to run with that might allow them to ….wait for it to… lower the prices on REA.

    They have to think laterally, use their imagination and be creative.

  19. forsaleforlease February 23, 2011 at 10:32 pm #

    Glen
    Quote “I don

  20. Glenn Rogers February 23, 2011 at 10:57 pm #

    Sorry I wasnt aiming my coment at you, if you’re offering agent sales at lower prices thats fine as long as the agents who are the main money spinner for REA don’t compalin.

    Price fixing ? Don’t know about that . if I were running REA and your model was in conflict with my main client base I’d take the tack that I only take listings from licenced agencies not a web site that has a licence but offers a cheaoer service. Not that full service agents have complained, I wouldn’t know if they had.

    I think agents being creative is a different subject to REA being creative, agents will always charge as much as they can, there’s nothing wrong with agents charging less to get more business, your model may be seen however as challenging the basis of mainstram agency and therefore the basis of REA’s income stream so you might have a battle there.

    Individual agents charging less is one thing, a whole web site taking listings as an agent but charging less is another, I see your point, but no matter what I wouldn’t allow anyone to undermine my income stream or upset my clients.

  21. Greg Vincent February 23, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    Michael, you said “I am an agent, as are my other compeditors in this space we simply dont conduct the open for inspections.”

    I’m curious??? How does that sit with the General Terms and Conditions for Residential Subscriptions to http://www.realestate.com.au 2.1(e) http://www.rs.realestate.com.au/cgi-bin/rsearch?a=v&t=ao-wel&id=1481 which states (e) you are providing the full range of agent services (as set out in our Private Listing Policy)?

    Private Listing Policy
    http://www.rs.realestate.com.au/cgi-bin/rsearch?a=v&t=ao-wel&id=1466&cat=ao:Terms%20and%20Conditions&ag=&cu

    Where part C includes… c) Managing and responding to enquiries from potential buyers or renters.

    There are lots of buyers who just turn up to Open Homes without contacting the agent prior to the inspection…

    Does that then breach Part C of their Private Listing Policy?

  22. Peter Ricci February 23, 2011 at 11:59 pm #

    One thing we all have to remind ourselves of and I want to make this clear, FSBO is a business model and it is not going away, in fact it will grow and grow over time.

    An average person, on an average street, with an average home will find it more and more appealing to sell privately as time goers by (and as property prices rise)

    The common argument agents have is that they could sell for more, which cannot be measured, it cannot be proven – it cannot be disputed and it cannot be tested. Therefore scientifically – it is a very weak argument.

    For years I have been telling agents to get over it – and to come up with a testable argument based on the power of what they do compared with a FSBO.

    Today real estate agents sell in a wide variety of ways, some sell strictly by commission, some by a set fee and some act as a conduit (similar to a FSBO) – the point is there are already hundreds if not thousands of agents that are changing the way agents do business.

    For me only the top end of town will be spared. I see many more people with average homes under $700k at least trying to sell privately at first. So be smart and look at ways you can capture the ones that are unsuccessful.

    I have said this before also, you will eventually see a Aussie Home Loans or Virgin entering the market with FSBO in the future and that is something you are going to have to be prepared for. A big company with massive reach and deep pockets may be all it takes and if your only argument is “we would have sold it for more” you will probably lose.

  23. James February 24, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    To put this whole agurment in perspective, can anyone actually provide statistics on the number properties sold by FSBO.

    As for some of the comments made by those with obviously vested interests, any business (within the bounds of Trade Practices) can place whatever conditions or terms they wish on the services they provide. Don’t you all have terms and conditions associated with your businesses to protect your business interests?

  24. forsaleforlease February 24, 2011 at 10:50 am #

    Glen R the only complaints my company has received is from other agents, who struggle to rationalise the additional $12,000 charge to their vendors for conducting a few OFI’s. I have not had a single complaint from a vendor or purchaser who have used this service. This poses the question why the REA scrutinise businesses like mine yet exclude traditional agents from this scrutiny. Are they really just trying to provide a consistent experience for their users? How many traditional agents use the REA logo

  25. Fiona February 24, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    1. REA represents itself in Italy and Germany (the same way it does Australia) HOWEVER approximately 50% of it’s listings are non-agent listed or FSBO properties. Why does it have a problem doing the same thing in Australia?

    2. Why is REA acting like a “governing body” and not an advertising website?

    3. Is everyone aware that Sam White and John McGrath are on the board of REA. Both of these men run the most lucrative agencies in Australia based on the old traditional commission based method of sale.

    4. Can’t everyone just see that the real estate industry is the last to evolve into the modern day way of utilising the internet to obtain outcomes? The travel and car industries have both proceed it thus far.

    5. Using an “Agent” in any capacity doesn’t guarantee anyone of anything.

    6. REA is very fast becoming irrelevant to the property buyer if people can’t see ALL Australian property “for sale”.

    7. CONGRATULATIONS to http://www.domain.com.au for remaining non-discriminatory. 10,000 agents v’s 25 million Australians choosing to be smart with their money.

    As far as Im concerned, the traditional real estate agent industry thinks it can hold the ocean back with a teaspoon…lets just wait and see.

  26. Glenn Rogers February 24, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    Forsaleorlease – I think your model is great, I was playing devils advocate saying that if I were REA I would steer clear of you as you harm my traditional clients.

    Your model and business would be of interest to the media as they like anything that saves people money and rocks the traditional boat.

    Fiona – Australia is different …real estate agency is very well established here and it will take a big player to change the system but it will happen and when it does if REA aren’t ready for it they will suffer most.

    I find it extraordinary that REA is capitalised at $1B – it’s a collection of code and images ??? BUT it has a virtual monopoly – if they don’t diversify while the money is rolling in I think they may have problems in the future, perhaps near future.

  27. Sam Davies February 24, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    Michael,

    I was interested to read your advice to Glen to “man up and compete”. A true competitor does not feel the need to undermine their fellow competitors with cheap shots as is consistently done by forsaleforlease.

    Forsaleforlease’s lack of professionalism is evident in each of its posts. I would like to make a comparison to the professional response posted by Naomi Sweeney which addresses the relevant issues without the need to besmirch the character of others within the industry.

    Is forsaleforlease to be taken seriously as a “compeditor”? I find it quite ironic that you don’t wish your “intelagence” to be insulted.

    Forsaleforlease’s time would be better utilised in representing their client base rather than engaging in smear tactics.

  28. Greg Vincent February 24, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    Michael, I’m not the one asking the questions about why BuyMyPlace.com.au’s listings were deleted.

    Sending purchasers across to an Open for Inspection conducted by the seller isn’t a new concept. Lawyers Real Estate does it too yet they charge a lot more than you do.

    The fact is that just like BuyMyPlace, you need REA for your business model to work and it will be interesting to see how REA perceive these type of business models moving forward.

    With regards to training, trying to get agents to add/substantiate value for money represents about 80-90% of what I teach because that’s the higher ground that real estate agents need to move to.

    Those that rely just on REA for their online marketing will struggle to survive in the years to come.

    PS: Fiona, Iove the holding back the ocean with a teaspoon concept.

  29. James February 24, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    When it comes to Domain it is not a matter of being non-discriminatory, it is a matter of revunue, content and the link between their web site to their publications.

  30. Vic February 24, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

    Unfortunately this thread has gone way off track. Peter R. put some very good perspective behind the issue raised by Ryan’s post.

    So I’m going to go to what I think is another implication:

    The property sale numbers have dramatically reduced since GFC but notwithstanding this fact I have not seen any real change to the way properties are brought to market place (the consumer/buyer)

    I would like to restate my sentiment of the state of portal industry in Australia at the moment. It is in a state of flux.

    This latest move by realestate.com.au adds to the flux. Here we have one large FSBO suspended by REA, raising the questions as to who is next and why are they really doing this? Would it be that REA is positioning itself to a takeover strategy. Is ReVIEW on the shortlist. May be a long bow that I’m drawing, but if REA is endeavouring to ingratiate themselves with their client base, the agents, and ReView is struggling to make a dent on the market leader- does this mean a soft target.

    I make a point again, that I made after googlemapsre exited the market place, that the portal industry is ready to be shaken up and a smart cashed up operator (or group) could take advantage of the “state of flux”

    And I’m not suggesting the Virgins or Aussie Homes of this world but a totally new technology launch, by investors from within the industry, that will, if done right, will make the old portal models redundant.

  31. Vic February 24, 2011 at 4:16 pm #

    I add to my point above- the new technology will not follow the old portal models, made famous by REA, but will come closer to what google was trying to do, but trying to do it without the benefit of knowing what the provider(the agent) and the consumer (the buyer) were really looking for.

  32. Journo February 25, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    This message is for “Gemma Watson”. I am a past vendor, successful seller of the buyMyplace real estate model AND journalist for a very prominent media company . Judging by your one and only post, you are obviously a disgruntled FSBO company director. Were you upset when buyMyplace published the fact that they have no relationship with you? They have every right to advise all readers of this article if they so wish. My suggestion is that you stop calling journalists (Like Ryan O’Grady etc) in the hope of riding on the coat tails of buyMyplace and their current situation. Your accusations: “buyMyplace spends considerable time and effort lodging complaints against and trying to create problems for other FSBO sites, rather than engaging in constructive dialog…” is merely evidence of your psychological transference. Fact is, according to google research, you have been in this industry for more than 5 years now and spend more time promoting yourself than you do in providing an honest FSBO service. In the public’s opinion, it is your company that should have been kicked off REA before buyMyplace. It is no secret that you have linked 100 (maybe considerably more) fictitious websites to your main site to obtain a higher ranking than http://www.realestate.com.au. Is that even legal? How about the fact that you are giving away free subscriptions for real estate agents to advertise on your site? I don’t see buyMyplace competing with REA or trying to be a spin-off version of REA nor do I see an online petition against REA on their website? Perhaps “living by the philosophy of The Secret” isn’t working for you darl.

  33. Wayno February 25, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    Anreps? also if you look at Canada they say that 70% of houses are sold privately

  34. mike February 25, 2011 at 10:55 pm #

    Understand REA’s rule on sales – my issue is with rentals. Years ago I could place an ad in the newspaper and receive many enq to rent my property privately. Now with the move to web, newspaper ads are not as effective. However I can not advertise my property for rent on the largest realestate website! Surly it would be extra revenue for REA to accept private rental ads.

  35. Peter Ricci February 25, 2011 at 11:58 pm #

    Journo: Your message may or may not be accurate, but one thing I am quite sure of – is that you are not who you say you are. I think I can guess what type of company you work for and even narrow it down to – dum dum dummmmmmmmmm – one!

    We welcome your comments, but be very careful as I will out anyone who pretends to be from somewhere they are not – it is clearly in our terms…. and you are clearly not who you say you are.

    If you have a beef, get your boots on and tell it how you see it. The message would have been so much more profound if you had been honest about who you were.

    Now as for privacy – you can of course comment away in private and keep your identity private – but dont pretend to be someone you are not – or we will out you !

    Happy days 🙂

  36. Peter Ricci February 25, 2011 at 11:59 pm #

    Mike: Start a business! You just found a gap in the market 🙂

  37. PropertyNow February 26, 2011 at 2:58 am #

    My name is Andrew Blachut of PropertyNow.

    I would like to advise this forum that REA legal team ( realestate.com.au ) have now also written to PropertyNow and stated that all 4 of our REA accounts are pending cancellation.

    To the best of my knowledge, this now brings the number of companies so affected in the past 3 weeks to four, and counting.

    It is my belief that REA have now let the genie out of the bottle and may now be about to find themselves in considerable trouble.

    It is also my opinion that REA solicitors may well know that they may be in breach of Trade Practices law, however they may have played the ultimate bluff card in the belief that no one will take them on. I also think that in the fullness of time this may not be the case at all.

    PropertyNow contacted the ACCC today and unlike the previous two years, was today given a very fair and reasonable hearing.

    A full and lengthy report is now being compiled by PropertyNow for the ACCC to examine early next week. It is my perception and that of significant others that REA has been acting towards some companies in a manner more befitting a regulatory body. I look forward to seeing what an actual regulator will make of that.

    Whether this matter is dealt with by the courts, the regulators or indeed the media and court of public opnion, one thing is certain and that is that the status quo regarding Australian property sales has already begun to change.

    Now, when the law is involved nothing is ever certain and I do not wish to exhibit false bravado, but even the most cursory reading of the TPA would indicate that REA may be on extremely shaky ground ( in my opinion and the opinion of my legal advisor )

    It is utterly breathtaking that REA thought it wise to potentially destroy several companies who have invested a lot of money and considerable time and effort for many years. Do they suppose that is a clever decision after several years operation of these businesses and our own. Do they suppose the companies will simply lay down and go away?

    Time will tell and I may well be proven wrong, but I think REA have embarked on a course of action from which they may never fully recover. They cannot easily now ever put this genie back into it’s bottle.

    Companies who have been locked out will not be able to do a work around , given the nature of what has occured. Those companies therefore will now have little choice than to toe the line and risk their businesses ….or else take REA on. Companies such as BuyMyPlace, PropertyNow and ForSaleForLease cannot rebrand nor simply present a different face to REA. Nor in my opinion, will there be any point whatsoever in trying to comply with the ever moving goal posts that have become the REA Terms of Service.

    The affected businees can only accept the new model or fight the decision. There appears no prospect of any middle ground and in any case it seems far too late for that.

    The greatest loser in all of this is most definitely the Australian public. Fair competition for real estate marketing has now been obliterated with several thousand people ( my estimate ) now officially dumped from REA. I would hate to have to sell the onerous argument that REA will have to make – that the public interest is being served.

    PropertyNow alone could potentially have 600 people post on this forum to attest to the fact that they feel their rights have been destroyed by REA. No doubt the other companies would have similar numbers of angry clients.

    I have spoke with several portal owners recently and it seems that there is a feeling that little anger at all is directed at the agent assist services BUT rather that all the anger is directed at REA. Certainly that is the feeling of our PropertyNow clientele and rightfully so.

    Competition towards “normal” real estate agents is a commercial reality and has been for 5 years at least. Should real estate agents be concerned? Well I don’t believe so, but clearly they are as evidenced many times within this forum.

    The motor vehicle industry has no problem in co-existing with both private sellers of cars and also hybrid servcices such as exist in my city of Coffs Harbour. The real estate industry is vastly out of step with the changes in real estate sales that have long been occuring. I also believe that REA have seriously miscalculated public sentiment in the matter of the REA actions towards our businesses.

    My own experience is also that real estate agents by and large are unhappy with REA and are looking for alternatives. Why else would 300 agent market on PropertyNow?

    The rapid rise of realestateview is another strong indicator of this dissatisfaction.

    PropertyNow is delighted in promoting over 300 realestate agents on it’s website and I have had the pleasure of speaking with at least 10% of those in the past few months. The dissatisfaction they have exhibited to me in relation to realestate.com.au has to be seen to be believed.

    Given the public are also about to be enraged by the REA actions towards agent assisted companies and the fact that many agents are already wishing and hoping for a viable alternative, it places REA in a very interesting environment indeed.

    No one has a crystal ball and it still may be that the massive power of REA may well win out in all of this OR we may all be witnessing the beginning of a paradign shift taking place in online real estate marketing within Austalia.

    My sincere best wishes to the other legitimate companies such as our own who have been dealt with by REA. As mentioned in an earlier post I take no pleasure in their difficulties and I at least admire them for trying to provide a better deal for the Australian property seller.

    I would ask the agent assisted companies to all change their sites ( as we have already done ) to reflect that realestate.com.au is now unavailable to their clients. I feel that anyything less would be irresponsible.

    Since PropertyNow is now 5 years old we believe we can weather this latest storm and we look forward to seeing justice served and the wants and needs of a great many of the Australian public respected.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow. Coffs Harbour.

  38. PaulD February 26, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    Hey Andrew, The buying public couldn’t care less where they see a property on a website. Further, they couldn’t care less what agent has it listed. They look to suit themselves. I doubt that you will see “The public enraged” as you put it. They can search on Google for the town they want ie. Real estate Coffs Harbour, and there are approx 20 alternatives, 3 of which are realestate.com.au sure, but they are not the only game in town. I noticed that propertynow is on page 2. So if you don’t like REA you are free to leave, conversely, if they don’t like you or you don’t fulfill their ToS- they are able to terminate your agreement. That’s the way life is. I guess if you want to take them on in the courts, you are able to do that too – isn’t this a wonderful country. You had better have deep pockets, and of course your legal advice says you have a chance. It’s a win-win situation for them, they win if you win and they win if you lose. Did I just say that ???? 🙂

  39. PropertyNow February 26, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    Thanks for your comments and for engaging in the discussion Paul.

    Paul please remember always that I have a vested interest in all I say. A vested interest in my own company and also an equal vested interest in the rights of our clients.

    You are quite correct in saying that the buying puiblic couldn’t care less about where they see a property – however we are talking specifically about the – selling public.

    The selling public most definitely does care.

    If I were to survey 100 of our clients and ask them where they want to be seen on the net , 100 would say realestate.com.au.

    By any conceivable definition realestate.com.au is a market power.

    If they can prove to the ACCC’s or a courts satisfaction that they are

    1 Not a market power
    2 Have not misused their market power.

    Then it is possible that they will have nothing to worry about.

    There will be many other issues to be dealt with including REA pretending to be enquirers and duping our clients and those of other companies.

    There will be the fact that REA have known and accepted our model for several years. There will be the fact that they have accepted our subscriptions for that time also, in full and complete knowledge of our business model. These things themselves may be sideline issues however, compared to the main game.

    By their own admission they are a market power and of course we all agree on that. If they are saying it themselves is there any need for further debate? Therefore all that remains may be the question of misuse. In the opinion of my company ( and possibly several other leading agent assist companies ) real estate.com.au may in our perception be guilty of

    Third Party Forcing
    Refusal to Supply

    Paul you state that REA can do as they please and they can sack whomever they want but that is an extraordinarily narrow field of view.

    People and companies cannot just do what they want. They can only do so if it’s legal.

    My initial advice from ACCC 2years ago and even last month mirrored what you suggest however my latest advice is far more encouraging.

    Market forces are more powerful than anything else and the public will want the option to be on REA either with a Licensed agent using a different model or in their own right as individuals. REA will know this and they will know that it is purely a matter of time as several commentators have said on this forum already.

    Their latest actions have simply meant that whatever change is coming has now been accelerated by REA itself.

    Do we need deep pockets to take on REA? I don’t think so. What we need to be is legally correct and nothing more. Everything else will sort itself out.

    REA will now have an immense headache and with respect Paul, you are not privvy to the email correspondences I have had with REA legal team over several years now. All records have been kept of the conversations and the changes in TOS and the interferences etc, including the most recent when REA posed as buyers to our sellers.

    If I were a lawyer I would hate to have to defend REA’s position and yes you are right , the money REA have is daunting. But it is not so daunting as to allow several legitimate businesses to be destroyed nor for the public to be so blatantly be disregarded. That is far more scary to me than fighting REA.

    Apart from any legal challenge we may launch, others will no doubt do the same. I would imagine that BuyMyPlace, ForSaleForLease etc would already be talking about that ….although I want to be clear that I do not speak for our competitors. Some companies may choose the easy option of waiting for others to take up the fight with REA and to then reap the rewards. That may not be wise.

    REA will no longer be putting out spot fires. It will instead be fighting fires on several fronts. They have now done the worst they can do to my PropertyNow business and therefore along with my outrage at the audacity of telling a real estate agent how to run his business, I have a great sense of calm about the issue and pending conflict.

    It may well become an issue of money versus morality, we wil have to wait and see as this unfolds in coming weeks..

    If the public get their way REA will be forced to change. If REA get their way the status quo will remain for the moment.

    Thanks again for your input Paul – Andrew

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow
    http://www.propertynow.com.au

  40. Tatiana Mijalica February 26, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    Just found this in my Google Alerts: http://www.newsmaker.com.au/news/7352. They are sidestepping the real estate portals all together and are advertising on The Trading Post website.

  41. Glenn Rogers February 26, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    http://www.noagentproperty.com.au has a hideous map, screams amateur.

  42. PropertyNow February 26, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

    I would imagine that The Trading Post is an extremely poor means to advertise sale properties in, Tatiana …and really I don’t know why they would bother.

    Its all about value perception in the clients eyes I suppose, so long as actually selling the property is secondary.

    As for the map Glenn, I actually don’t mind it.

    There old one was indeed hideous however, so lucky you didn’t spot that one.

    The quoted stats on search volumes are so absurd as to be laughable. As they have few useful rankings they must be spending many thousands per month on cpc and even then it would not approach the stats quoted. the numbers are easy to verify but newbies will believe every word and part with their money as a consequence..

    On the plus side , the site has been around a long time and without the benefits some have enjoyed.

    Andrew Blachut
    http://www.propertynow.com.au

  43. Vic February 26, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    Glen,
    It’s all in the eye of the beholder. I like the site. It’s functional and quick.

  44. Glenn Rogers February 27, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    Vic – That style of child like coloured map went out over a decade ago.

  45. Vic February 27, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

    But the sellers love it and the buyers are going to it. It’s a bit like those “ridiculous”- “but wait theres more” ads. Ugly, stupid but highly effective.

  46. Glenn Rogers February 27, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

    Sorry Vic, I don’t believe that, people want something that looks professional not like it was done by a kid.
    If they’re getting traffic good luck.

  47. Glenn Rogers February 27, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    Andrew B yes the stats are miraculous considering it has a PR of 4 and 12 backlinks and what’s with the Kookaburra “you’ll be laughing” ?????????

    If they were making any money why would they have Google ads on the site ?

  48. Vic February 27, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    Alexa Rankings report for Aust

    noagentproperty 6582 39 links
    propertynow 6806 277 links
    weekend.com.au 7189 9 links

    What are you talking about Glen?

    For a site concentrating solely on FSBO it is not doing too badly.
    Google ads- why not?

  49. Glenn Rogers February 27, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

    Vic – Alexa is useless, it only gets stats from their own toolbar, if you install their toolbar you can increase your stats within 24 hours.

    I only use the Google toolbar for backlinks though Yahoo site explorer shows a different perspective.

    http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/

    The visitors stats they show on their site are clearly bulldust, 160,000 visits so far today ?

    Anyway thats all from me.

    • Peter Ricci February 27, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

      It went into spam Glenn because of the link you used.

  50. Glenn Rogers February 27, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

    I put a reply in but it disappeared for some reason.

    Alexa is useless, it only takes stats from it’s own toolbar.

    Install that and you can boost your site through the roof within 24 hours.

  51. Glenn Rogers February 27, 2011 at 9:18 pm #

    no problem Peter

  52. Vic February 27, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

    Your arrogance never ceases to amaze me Glenn R.

    Noagentproperty may not be your kettle of fish but it has good traffic ratings for the amount of content it has, is easy to use and its “retro” map appeals to a lot of people.

    And because the stats don’t favour your argument the source is “useless”- give me a break.

    And their google ads – why not? – they help to pay the rent. Are these ads beneath you?

    Say something nice or if beyond you, something constructive:)

  53. Glenn Rogers February 27, 2011 at 9:47 pm #

    Don’t get personal Vic, Alexa is useless ask some one else who knows everyone in the business knows perhaps you should check around.

    I’ve got no gripe about the site but 160,000 visitors today ?

    Other comments about the map were constructive Vic what would you like me to say, ohhh the map is lovely ?

    Is it your site ?
    You are overreacting somewhat.

  54. Vic February 27, 2011 at 10:57 pm #

    Tatiana kept the thread going on the issue of FSOB and made a good point about noagentproperty using the trading post web site for advertising their properties.

    If you, Glen, did a little bit of research on what noagentproperty are doing you would notice that they are offering the trading post as a special feature,
    If you then bothered to look at the trading post web site for real estate you would notice that noagentproperty forms the greater majority of TTP’s private sale listings.
    So at this point every searcher that looks at the trading post for private real estate sales, will find a noagentproperty listing. The traffic stats for TTP are not inconsequencial.
    If you bothered also to try the search functions, as if you were a visitor to the site, you would find that it is fast, clear and functional. The three criteria for a good site.

    I have no interest in the site nor do I know its owners. I just can see a good thing going here and good business acumen to go with the trading post. As you may be aware TTP is owned by telstra and if not already dropped their print paper, will do so shortly. They intend make their online presence felt during 2011 and as such it is a smart move to be with it.

    There are far too many of the old time techs/on line people who have their heads in the proverbial 2000 style business models.

    By you restricting you comments to the “look” of the site is unworthy of a “professional” critic and does nothing to further the discussion started by Ryan..

  55. Glenn Rogers February 27, 2011 at 11:05 pm #

    I’ll comment on whatever I like and don’t need instructions or advice from you. So go do some reaseach of your own Vic you might learn a few basics like how Alexa works before you shoot off your mouth.

  56. Glenn Rogers February 27, 2011 at 11:27 pm #

    I’ve looked at the search.

    You have to choose from a large list of suburbs by scrolling down them, thats rubbish there should be a search input box that throws you to that suburb in the list.

    The search button underneath the list look like an input field, it should look more like a button at least.

    The quick search box is up to the right away from the list it should be more noticeable.

    They seem to have plenty of listings though.

    There is that constructive enough?

  57. Glenn Rogers February 27, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

    Had a look at the Trading Post, I can’t even find real estate on there, Click on the real estate link which is hidden and you go to washing machines and other stuff.

    Anyone who goes there looking for real estate is seriously lost.

    They do get a lot of traffic so if their listings are on there it would filter down somehow.

    Found it, hopelessly small link in a thin line above all the other white goods ads and links – I can see where they get their traffic from but I doubt it’s the numbers they quoted as was mentioned earlier by Andrew.

  58. Vic February 28, 2011 at 12:14 am #

    I agree it isnot easy to find on the site.

    The trading post has always had real estate for sale in its print media so it had a ready user base for its web site.

    I use the google searchbar with “real estate tradingpost” Takes you to their home page which has menu items RENT- SHARE ACCOM – FOR SALE etc.. Don’t need to go to the small writing list at the bottom of the site.

    No doubt as more use the site for real estate, trading post will make it easier.

    Point is it’srelatively new, it has traffic and noagentproperty has taken the initiative to get onto a growing site- that’s probably why the kookaburra is laughing because maybe that 160,000 is right after all..

  59. Vic February 28, 2011 at 12:29 am #

    Glen,

    http://www.alexa.com/company will give you all the guff on Alexa. It does more than just search its own toolbars. It been around for 10+ years and is owned by Amazon.

    Goodnight for now.

  60. Glenn Rogers February 28, 2011 at 7:00 am #

    Instead of pointing to the bulldust on the Alexa site just Google and see what you get, here’s a couple that just confirm what anyone in the industry knows – or should know………. read the whole posts, you need to.

    —————————————————-

    Alexa.com no good
    Thursday, November 29, 2007 – 16:41
    Alexa ranks are finished. Since i dont have the toolbar for firefox anymore the ratings on some of my sites has gone down. It just shows you that alexa is so unacurate that you can make a rating all by yourself with the help of no one. Installing the alexa toolbar and visiting your own site can get you the alexa rating of at least 200 000. I have checked it out. While I was making and designing a site it had no alexa rating, but when I finished even though I was the only person on the site it had a alexa rating of about 300 000. Shows you.

    —————————————————-

    How Accurate is Alexa?
    Alexa (www.alexa.com) is a company owned by Amazon.com which offers various services to web users and developers. Alexa is widely known for their toolbar which includes a search function, website information and a popup blocker.

    Alexa’s main “point of difference” is their traffic monitoring. Users who have the toolbar installed transmit information about the sites they visit to Alexa, which compiles the results into publicly-viewable traffic statistics. You can visit the Alexa website and see how much traffic a site is getting, how it compares to other sites, etc.

    At least that’s the theory. The reality is that Alexa’s method of monitoring traffic is deeply flawed. The example below illustrates this point. The first graph is taken from the Alexa.com website and shows the overall traffic trend for http://www.mediacollege.com from July 2003 to June 2004. The second graph is from our own statistics for the same period (see also update below).

    Note: The x axis on the Alexa graph indicates a ranking in the top 100,000 sites monitored, so a lower number is a better score. The x axis on the second graph shows the number of unique visitors to MediaCollege.com. Although these graphs represent different things it doesn’t matter – it’s the trend that we are measuring and comparing.

    As you can see, there is a significant disparity. Alexa claims that MediaCollege.com had negligible traffic during this period except during September-October 2003, when it saw a massive surge in traffic and performed quite well. This traffic then disappeared as quickly as it arrived. In their detailed statistics, Alexa showed MediaCollege.com declining further towards the end of the period, at the same time our statistics were showing a very strong increase.

    How did Alexa get it so wrong? Here’s how…

    During September and October and 2003 we ran a test. We installed the Alexa Toolbar on one computer and used this computer to visit http://www.mediacollege.com once per day. This single daily visit was enough to propel the site from absolute obscurity to a very respectable position. When we removed the toolbar and stopped the test, our Alexa ranking vanished and we plummeted to a position worse than 200,000.

    This clearly shows that the Alexa rankings have no statistical validity.

    There are also more factors which further decrease the accuracy of these statistics, such as the fact that only certain types of Internet users are likely to install the toolbar in the first place.

    Summary
    The Alexa website traffic monitoring system is so inaccurate as to be worse than useless – it is very misleading. Perhaps most concerning is that it is trivially easy for website owners to manipulate their own rankings. We recommend that you do not take Alexa seriously.

    Update – 2007
    To be fair, the accuracy of Alexa’s results has improved a little since the test above. As our traffic climbed above 10,000 visitors per day we started noticing a slight improvement. Please note that we emphasize slight

  61. Glenn Rogers February 28, 2011 at 7:15 am #

    Trading post doesn’t appear in at least the first 10 pages on Google for the search terms real estate or for property, I doubt it’s in there at all.

    Nobody searches real estate trading post – I think it’s fair to say the only visitors to their real estate section are those lost between fridges and air conditioners.

    They have a lot of work to do and it’s doubtful they will get anywhere as they have to have the right people up top who know enough to get the right people on the ground to make it work and thats not easy.

  62. Naomi Sweeney - buyMyplace February 28, 2011 at 10:26 am #

    Peter Butterss and I are quite perplexed as to why Newslimited’s executives and directors would endorse the decisions being made by the team of REA.

    Newslimited is a media company that trades on advertising. That being said, why would the directors and managers of REA suspend buyMyplace’s subscription to advertise property? Evidently there are several other

  63. Glenn Rogers February 28, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    I’d say it’s fairly obvious Naomi, someone has complained that vendors may be tempted to list with you rather than them and there are more agents than you so you lose out.

  64. Vic February 28, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    Glen,
    First point:

    Thanks for that rather old 2004 data on Alexa , seems to prove prove your point, eh? – even the commentary in 2007 suggested that the results were getting better……………..and that is 4 years ago.

    I’m sure that Amazon has learnt some lessons since 2004, or are you going to tell me you know that they haven’t.

    Second point:

    The people that visit Trading post for real estate are the same ones who were looking for “PRIVATE SALES” in TTP’s old print media. Is this so difficult to understand?

    I will however say that 160,000 visits per day seems too high. I wonder if anyone from Noagentproperty could clarify this…looks more like they are tracking hits.

    This is getting tiresome Glenn and I will not comment further on the TTP/noagentproperty issue:)

  65. Glenn Rogers February 28, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    Alexa is just the same as it was then but by all means use it because you know best.

    Here’s one from late 2010, you can find these things on Google it’s a search engine ask around it’s very good, you should try it some time.

    http://www.epiki.com/alexa-site-info-is-useless-and-incorrect

    I’m done with this too …over and out.

  66. Baden Cameron February 28, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

    I am a vendor who listed with BMP and am extremely disappointed with the REA decision to no longer permit listings for private sellers. My reason for trying a no-agent sale is first, I know the property better than any agent, I have the skill and ability to negotiate with possible purchasers and the level of commission charged is too high for the amount of effort made by an agent. I do hope that the ACCC takes on this case and determines that the REA monopoly should be challenged.

  67. Peter Mericka February 28, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

    Hi Naomi Sweeney,

    I think the problem for BMP is that it seeks to interpose itself between REA and consumers, nudging REA’s clients (the real estate agents) out in the process.

    By listing properties for private individuals on BMP, you effectively make BMP a form of http://www.realestate.com.au for the listing of properties, but you have only one REA membership.

    Perhaps if REA were to charge on a per listing basis you would have more of an argument.

  68. Peter Mericka February 28, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

    Baden, I don’t think that will happen. REA could offer private listings itself, but it would lose its revenue stream from real estate agents.

    If REA allows BMP to do this, it could open the floodgates for any number of similar websites to do the same thing.

    Maybe BMP is hoping that REA will swallow it up with a big cash deal.

  69. Naomi Sweeney - buyMyplace February 28, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

    Hi Peter,

    We have said very little about what has really happened to us over the last two weeks.
    Most of what I have read about us is simply wrong.

    FSBO (For Sale By Owner) is huge in most parts of the world; REA ‘s own company in Italy has at least 50% Private sale or FSBO as content. That will happen in Australia too. REA knows FSBO will be huge in Australia and they are simply ensuring their position forward is clear of competition.

    REA/News Limited are media/advertising companies. Content and Revenue remain king. Why would you actively remove content and associated revenue? If you had shares in either company, how would you feel about them actively reducing content and revenue? I know how I

  70. John Anon March 1, 2011 at 6:13 am #

    The FSBO’s should throw some cash together to fight REA’s decision, instead of sniping each other on this site.

    Maybe Peter would even consider donating some discounted legal time 🙂

    Anyway – a question for the web-old-timers on here – what company named themselves to Alexa? From memory, there was a really evil company that did web stats via spyware around 10 years ago, they renamed themselves to Alexa because their reputation was so bad. Who was it?

  71. Peter Mericka March 1, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    Naomi, it seems to me that real estate agents are like cats, in that they hunt alone and prefer to scratch each other’s eyes out rather than working together. This is why REA was able to take the agents’ shopfront windows, place them online, then charge agents to join as members.

    We have seen RealEstateView adopted by the various REIs around the country, but herding the cats and having them act co-operatively is a seemingly impossible task. As I have said previously, all that’s needed is for real estate agents to collectively dump REA and Domain, and simultaneously adopt RealEstateView.

    Would BuyMyPlace be permitted on RealEstateView if it became the leading real estate portal? Probably not.

  72. Vic March 1, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    Naomi,

    Is it likely that News Ltd will set up a separate site for FSBO? This will clear their conscience with real estate agents and at the same time deal directly with the public and cut you out. Is this what you are alluding to- and if not, is it a probable scenario?

  73. Glenn Rogers March 1, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    News Ltd own a large cut of REA don’t they still ?
    So why would they bother with an FSBO site that only undermines their investment in REA.

  74. Vic March 2, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    Anything is possible with REA- interesting to see them running http://www.property.com.au with a different search function and without (unless I’m missing it) agent only ToU.

    The world is changing.

  75. Glenn Rogers March 2, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

    REA has always run duplicate content using property.com.au, under normal circumstances Google would recognise this and penalise them in the search results but I guess Googles rules have changed also.

  76. Nick March 2, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

    John Anon, there were some notorious ones like Bonzi Buddy, but none of them are related to Alexa. Alexa was set up in 1996 before being bought by Amazon.

    Vic, REA’s main brand is realestate.com.au. Creating a new brand just for private sales wouldnt be too useful unless the listings also appeared on realestate.com.au.

    I think they bought property.com.au at some point and now just use it for tinkering with new stuff rather than using it seriously. You cant subscribe to property.com.au – it uses realestate.com.au listings.

  77. Vic March 2, 2011 at 3:36 pm #

    Nick,
    So do you see a use for Alexa?
    (My view is that for all its bugs, it still represents value if you trend use it over time and measure against your competitors, over time.)

    I respect your view.

  78. PropertyNow March 3, 2011 at 12:03 am #

    Quick update on the PropertyNow struggle against REA.

    The ACCC now have our fully worked complaint, which refers to REA’s effect on our company during the past few years.

    I am told the ACCC has other individual company complaints already. The case id at ACCC for the PropertyNow complaint is – 1068428.

    Also today PropertyNow contacted the office of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, David Bradbury, whose portfolio responsibility the ACCC falls under.

    We hope that the ACCC will find the same meaning and weight within section 46 of The Trade Practices Act, that we do. Elements of Section 45 which talks about understanding or arrangements that may limit competition may also be scrutinised in the process.

    The text of section 46 seems very clear and thus far I cannot find an individual or solicitor that reads it in the negative ( that REA have no case to answer )

    But in the same way that everyone has an opinion on buying a house, its only when people reach for their chequebook that it matters, so it may also be…. when the conduct is truly tested.

    Beyond TPA, Propertynow and other companies have made complaints that REA has used very unusual and lets say colourful tactics in collecting its evidence for their claimed breaches of TOS by several companies.

    I note comments in this thread which ask why the affected companies have not banded together against REA? Some discussion on that level have taken place already in fact.

    I notice other comments also which consider that REA may be positioning to come into private sales. This appears at least a strong possibility and yesterday I wrote to REA Legal Counsel Paul Gordon, to let him know that if this is the case, the destruction of several businesses is not the way to go about that.

    There is no need to be a conspiracy theorist to hypothesise that REA might rather it were forced to accept private sales by a third party,instead of making that decision itself. Would it not be easier to then send a message to their almost ten thousand agents, that it was not their fault …but never mind…. because we are going to list these properties and so control them better? Have I been drinking too much coffee or is that not only perfectly plausible but indeed logical?

    As always it is impossible to discern the motivations of REA. It is difficult enough to ascertain anything at all since REA legal team have steadfastly refused to take phone calls from PropertyNow for a year. Lately they also no longer respond to emails. Consequently we now send duplicate copies of emails to the relevent authorities so there is at least a record of the lack of negotiation or harm minimisation by REA legal team.

    Andrew Blachut
    Director
    PropertyNow
    http://www.propertynow.com.au

  79. Glenn Rogers March 3, 2011 at 8:43 am #

    I guess Andrew the question might be when does a company lose the right to refuse clients.

    Can you refuse to put your competitors ads on your site ?

    Can I advertise on Stayz ? …..I wish.

    Anyway this will be interesting and full marks for having a go, good luck with it and thanks for posting the update.

  80. PaulD March 3, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    Interesting Andrew, that you want to rub their noses in it, so that you can get back on their website. Makes for an interesting relationship in the future if you manage to get up. There will be a few people (notice I didn’t say “a lot”) who will be mildly interested in the outcome. In the scheme of things, it’s not as
    earth shattering as you seem to think.

  81. John Anon March 3, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    “Can you refuse to put your competitors ads on your site ?”

    Or, can the dominant market player suddenly refuse clients after servicing them for years? EG, Yellow Pages/WhitePages (owned by Sensis) refuse to advertise Optus’s call center phone number because Telstra asked them to.

  82. Glenn Rogers March 3, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    John Anon – it’s a matter for the ACCC but I would be fairly and righly angered if it became law that I had to help promote a potential competitor.

    Your analogy of Sensis isn’t a good one as they would only harm themselves by excluding important phone numbers – with real estate who cares if sale by owner listings aren’t on REA

  83. Naomi Sweeney - buyMyplace March 3, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

    Hi John, buyMyplace, Propertynow and the others are not competitors to realestate.com.au; we are licenced agents legally operating under the laws of Australia.
    We are however competitors in the general agent community; in deed we suspect our agency assisted model is causing a problem because we do not charge a commission.
    We have a small truck load of proof clearly showing that pretty much every agent in Australia does NOT adhere to REA’s terms and conditions.
    Hi Glenn, Who cares if for sale by owner properties are not on REA? The shareholders of News ltd and the millions of Australians searching for property, that’s who.
    The shareholders should be extremely angry given the reduction in revenue and the Aussies searching for property because approximately 1500 new properties per month WILL NOT BE advertised of REA. Don

  84. PaulD March 3, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

    A question Naomi. Do buyMyplace and the other FSBO or agent assisted businesses only pay one account fee each month for the whole of Australia ?

    If so, buyMyplace’s absence would only be one agency fee not paid to REA for the whole of Australia. If that is the case, does it not become obvious, that your presence on realestate.com.au is of absolutely no consequence to REA ?

    Again, if that is the case, I would have thought that the forgone fee would not even be a blip on the radar of the monthly income and expenditure statement of REA.

  85. Vic March 3, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    I’m with you on this score Paul D. It seems ridiculous to argue the case on loss of income to shareholders.
    From a commercial view the retention and goodwill of agents has more significance to the bottom line,

    And if the buying public really want to search out FSBO, they’ll find it through google search or domain.com.au- so I can’t see it affecting them.

    Naomi, seriously good luck with your case, but if it is based on the arguments you have put forward on this blog, you’ve got mine and buckleys of winning.

  86. Glenn Rogers March 3, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

    Agree with the last line absolutely but I digress.

    What I meant about people not caring, I don’t believe the public care, those who aren’t involved or are listed as FSBO, the vast majority look through traditional agencies and I don’t think they care.

    An agency who only carries assisted FSBO listings, I see the conflict better now. It still is not in the interests of the traditional agencies to have those agents on REA and if it’s not in their interests it’s not in REA’s interests.

    They might have to rewrite their conditions to exclude those agencies if they want to make their position clear and airtight.

    So there’s sites that carry owners properties direct.

    Sites that carry agent assisted sites

    Are there FSBO portals that carry agencies who only deal in assisted FSBO properties, like REA but don’t have full agencies as members ?

    I could Google areound but it’s quicker to ask you.

  87. Glenn Rogers March 3, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

    I was replying to Naomi – took a phone call and others posted before I could.

  88. forsaleforlease March 3, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    Glen
    John Anton’s analogy of Sensis is more accurate than he may know. Greg Ellis was the previous managing director of this bully boy monopoly he then moves to the REA in the same role. Touchable

  89. Glenn Rogers March 3, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

    “refuse to advertise Optus

  90. Naomi Sweeney - buyMyplace March 3, 2011 at 8:51 pm #

    Hi Paul,
    Some agent assisted groups pay multiple subscriptions and some don

  91. Naomi Sweeney - buyMyplace March 3, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

    Hi Glenn, sorry i missed your last point about the agents having a source of business.
    About 25% of fsbo customers had been with an agency before using us. About 10% of our customers request information from us about who might be a good agent. The smart agents already work with us.

  92. Glenn Rogers March 3, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

    Just had a look at your site Naomi, very professional.

    Could you transform into a portal carrying not only vendors listings direct but the FSBO listings of agent assisted listings ?

    Sorry if I missed anything but your site appears to only carry your own clients.

    I think there’s a need for an REA of FSBO

    REA might do one as a separate exercise but it’s catch 22 if it’s successful it wil undermine their client base even though it’s on a separate site, so that leaves YOU…….go get it 🙂

  93. PropertyNow March 4, 2011 at 1:04 am #

    Guys, at the core issue are two things only . Arguments about revenues will have nothing whatsoever to do with the outcome.

    The two key considerations are –

    1 Thousands of Australians want to be on realestate.com.au without paying a huge commission. REA forbids this possibility to occur ( through the effect of its TOS.) This is unargauble – and about as black and white as penguins.

    2 REA either has or has not misused its market power to substantially damage a competitor.

    I invite anyone in this forum to argue that REA has not substantially damaged a competitor through misuse of its market power. Perhaps they have not. Perhaps you would argue they have in fact been benevolent?

    All other issue make interesting reading in this thread but they will have nothing to do with the outcome.

    Paul you said ” a few people will be mildly interested in the outcome” – Unless you call a few thousand a few, then you are factually wrong already.

    Furthermore, the number who would be interested if we could survey Australia would be an order of magnitude greater than thodat.se few thousand.

    To suggest that anything about this is mild or insignificant, demonstrates a stunning lack of insight and depth of knowledge about this issue.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow
    http://www.propertynow.com.au

  94. Glenn Rogers March 4, 2011 at 7:54 am #

    You say REA have misused power to damage a competitor but could it not also be argued that REA have only moved to protect the interests of their clients ?

    FSBO seems to be bigger than I thought, before this thread I never gave it a second thought and always considered it to be a fringe activity at best.

    Certainly agent assisted FSBO would seem to have a lot of merits as prices increase, but people generally do not have the confidence to handle the sale of what for most is their biggest asset.

  95. Naomi sweeney March 4, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    Hi Andrew, yes we already understand misuse of market power and that will be dealt with among several other issues.
    The point i am making, for the last time i promise; is how utterly stupid REA’s approach is to agent assisted advertising.
    Normally if you were going to miss use your market power, it would be because it gives you an advantage in the short and long term. Nothing in REA’s thinking/actions here shows much useful strategic thinking.
    Last point andrew: its absolutely about revenue and profits.

  96. Vic March 4, 2011 at 8:25 am #

    Andrew, Michael and Naomi and all other FSBO owners viewing this blog, I would find it difficult to argue that REA has damaged your business, at this point. Maybe with the benefit of tracking data over the next few months (without a presence on REA) and taking into account the rapid slow down in the market you may have a point.

    However, at this point in time it is purely academic. I would say that from the comments of most posters to this blog they all wish you guys well.

    The only thing I can hope for is that the ACCC investigates and comes down with a ruling, or ahead of this you and REA can work out your differences, before everybody becomes to embittered that the forest can’t be seen for the leaves.

    As Glenn has just discovered, the FSOB market is quite significant and if you can believe the anecdotal evidence of say Italy, where it is said 50% of the market is FSOB and Canada, 20%, then your main issue is not with REA but with the new entrants/competition you will be facing into the future.

    I make the point that I made earlier, that REA think tank people are aware of this threat and will do something about it themselves. How they do it only time will tell, but do it they will or they will lose market share to Domain.

    If you want to or need to be part of REA, why not petition them as a group, to be reinstated, with logical arguments about the threats to their own portal dominance. Could save a lot of money, angst and REA might like the idea.

  97. PaulD March 4, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    Andrew there are 20 million people in this country. A few thousand. ok lets say 5 thousand – that represents 1 third of 1 percent. I would call that a few people !!!!

  98. PaulD March 4, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    Apologies – the number I said was WRONG. it is actually 0.00025 – 1 third of one percent is 0.003 – it is in fact one tenth of 1 third of 1 percent, if you round it up to 0.0003 – It think I am still right, it is a very few people.

  99. Glenn Rogers March 4, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    If FSBO has as great a future as some suggest the ONLY answer is to launch a FSBO portal to cover all aspects, assisted sales and owners who want to try their luck alone.

    Trying to hang onto the coat tails of REA won’t do you any good it will only empower REA to take control of the FSBO market and charge you at whatever level they like.

  100. Vic March 4, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    I’m still trying to get my head around whether the FSOB’s consider themselves portals or real estate websites and whether the defintion of their sites has anything to do with REA decision?

    And I don’t think an answer to the question of how much do you pay to REA as a subscription. One agent fee, one for each state you operate in, or a special deal based on number of listings? Were your private sales excluded and only those as real estate agent assisted included?

    Was it Paul D, that suggested if it was a single agent fee, if correct then REA shareholders are not interested in supporting your case.

  101. PaulD March 4, 2011 at 10:11 am #

    Andrew,
    I just would like to see you reply with a number – that’s all.

    On the PropertyNow website there are 212 pages for NSW.
    There are 10 properties per page, so it looks like you have 2120 properties listed. After you take out the real estate agents listings, and the literally dozens of listings that have been doubled up, and tripled up ( assuming to make the website look like it has a lot of properties) I even found one instance of a property that was on your website 7 – yes, seven times. The number I’m looking for is EXACTLY how many listings in NSW does Property Now actually have ?? You see Andrew – credibility is reasonably important in business, you may not have discovered that yet, so if you don’t answer my question – guess what happens to your credibility ?

  102. PaulD March 4, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    Vic, I didn’t suggest they paid a single agent fee – I asked whether they paid a single fee.
    The answer I got was ” Some agent assisted groups pay multiple subscriptions and some don

  103. Vic March 4, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    Sorry, bad grammar on my part Paul D, I didn’t mean that you had suggested. But the question still needs answering to help solve the puzzle and help lend some credibility to their arguments.

    If they had managed to “slip in” with the one fee for hundreds of property listings then they shouldn’t gripe about their suspension/cancelation.

  104. PaulD March 4, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    Vic, that’s why I asked for how many listings PropertyNow has in NSW, in their own right. I’m guessing it’s less than 100 despite the website numbers. I think that Andrew is punching way above his weight. He expects to be able to be considered some kind of a major player, with less listings than many single agents in NSW alone. REA has more than 4,000 listings (how many more, I have no idea) in NSW and that’s just residential. When you take into account the fact that there are rural and vacant land sales included on the PropertyNow website, we are again talking about miniscule numbers in comparison to the market. I have other issues with REA that I have discussed on this blog, so never let it be said I am trying to back them up, but in this case the facts are the facts.

  105. Nicholas Rait March 6, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    I have just launched a real estate business – The Real Estate Helpers in Melbourne.

    One of our core services is called HelpSell. Its tailored to assist people who want to sell their own home privately.

    In structuring the business we paid extreme attention to the terms of service of both domain.com.au and realestate.com.au

    There are three key requirements from realestate.com.au in particular

    1.
    The advertiser must hold a valid real estate license (& therefore must be a real estate agency, no matter if you have cleverly positioned yourself as a for sale by owner business)

    2.
    The agent must have a signed authority to sell the property

    3.
    The agent must provide the following full range of services:
    a) Market appraisal of property.
    b) Marketing the sale or rental of the property (eg copywriting; signboards, booking print and online advertising, letterdrop, etc).
    c) Managing and responding to enquiries from potential buyers or renters.
    d) Negotiating or brokering the key commercial terms of the transaction between seller/lessor and purchaser/lessee and solicitor/conveyancer.
    e) In respect of a sale of property, organising the auction or tender of that property (where relevant), and facilitating the sale transaction between the purchaser and the seller when the property is sold.

    Any business that seeks to leverage realestate.com.au for advertising therefore must have salespeople on the front line. Primarily to help appraise prospective properties for sale AND assist in the negotiation.

    This is what my business does. We still perform all of the vital requirements. The only thing we don’t do is show buyers through the property.

    Its a compromised position between full agent service and for sale by owner, but it really does deliver great outcomes for sellers at a saving.

    If you are going to build a business leveraging heavily upon another business (ie. realestate.com.au) then doesn’t it make sense to pay extreme attention to their terms of service?

    Buy my place enjoyed a great run. And in the interim they had a great competitive advantage because they didn’t have to employ a force of face to face sales people & provide the requisite range of services.

    But this is not a case of realestate.com.au moving the goal posts. They’ve always been there.

    -Nicholas Rait
    http://www.therealestatehelpers.com

  106. PropertyNow Real Estate March 6, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

    Paul. You seem infatuated with my search for credibility.

    I don’t think about that at all, but you spend an inordinate amount of time on it in the latter part of this thread.

    But just to appease you… and so that the argument can advance – here we go Paul – just for you……

    PropertyNow has 150 clients ( you can figure out what percentage of australian listings that is Paul…because it is completely irrelevent to me and to the facts ).

    The reason that we don’t have more listings ( such as BMP or ForSaleForLease, I am guessing ) is because we do …zero… paid advertising and also because properties come and go every month. Take paid advertising away from almost any website and see what occurs. The results based on 100 % free advertising are nothing short of amazing. No paper, no radio, no tv, no google adwords (when all our competitors use that medium.) Just word of mouth of delighted clients and Google ….

    Another fact is that we support over 300 real estate agents free of charge and help them make sales via our enquiries generated.

    Still another fact is that we receive about 12000 visitors per month to our site ( thats unique visitors not the millions of hits that others express…our hits are also in the millions but who cares? )

    Our system has marketed to sale 600 properties – and saved 2 million dollars so far to everyday australians. Other agent assisted sites may have even bigger numbers because they are currently far better resourced. We have a staff of two including myself.

    We marketed the 600 sales from a garage Paul. We are not a large corporation and I have never hid from that fact.. as you seem to intimate with your “punching above weight comments”

    While speaking on the topic of punching above weight however and since you raised it Paul – it is a fact that PropertyNow has been on the front page of Google for the largest search phrase in Australian real estate for 3 years.

    It is also a fact that we outrank every single real estate agent website in Australia including Ray White and LJHooker. But you still consider that punching above ones weight apparently. In any case you are comparing aples to oranges.

    Another fact is that there are around 150 written and about twenty additional audio testimonials on the PropertyNow site from the very kind of people being affected by REA’s decision.

    Paul, what you fail to understand through looking at the topic so superficially and engaging in personal attacks instead of arguing the facts properly, is that private sales and agent assisted sales is an enormous emerging market. Glenn and Vic have told you this, I have told you this….accept the fact and move on.

    You have also been told that in other countries fsbo and similar systems are between 20% and 50% of sales. Why do you not get the picture ?

    In my opinion REA are seeking an excuse to say that the ACCC or a bunch of agent assisted sale companies forced them to accept private sales…so they have an excuse to bring them on board without upsetting agents.

    Right now Paul, I care about the perfect rights of our 150 clients being eroded. You don’t care apparently, as that number to you is inconsequential. What number do you deem important?. Is it 1500 or 15000? And when did God quit and appoint you as chief accountant?

    On the subject of listings and enquiry, we note and can prove that every single month PropertyNow generates far more enquiry directly for our own clients than those same listings on HomeHound, MyHome, RealEstateWorld and RealestateView put together. I know this because myself and one other staffer answers all those enquiries.

    I have commented earlier that all the agent assisted portals combined will instantly see a few thousand people summarily dismissed from REA and that is significant in almost anyones eyes. If those people decided to launch a class action along with the thousands of others so discriminated against…and if they won, then a damages case of millions would have effect.

    As to the question of damage to PropertyNow and to others such as ForSaleForLease and BMP….. our figures show damage already and no doubt all the companies are the same.

    At the end of your post Paul you stated ” the facts are the facts” – what you should have said is – “your opinions are the facts”

    At least now Paul, I have probably answered every question you posed and I hope you will do the same if I start asking some of you. Meanwhile, you can keep your head in the sand if it feels comfortable there….

    Glenn …the idea of all FSBO’s getting together is a good one but it may be as difficult as getting all agents to co-operate. It is really only in recent times that agents have helped each other, with realestateview and the like being supported well. But that was after years of agents feeding the very monster that most agents complain about to me.

    Vic, I don’t understand your March 4th post but you can be certain that the definition of our site and others, is totally irrelevent to the facts of what is occuring right now with REA. The REA simply do not support private sales nor agent assisted sales – it really is that simple. The reasons why they don’t are equally simple.

    Before closing this post, I want to complement Michael Atwell of ForSaleForLease for his courageous pursuit of REA thus far. Whether or not his grievances and mine are in vain, it will never change the fact that we are seeking a far better deal for the Australian house seller…..and that is one of only two reasons for having competition within a market.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow Real Estate
    Coffs Harbour. NSW.

  107. Property Now Real Estate March 6, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    Vic, sorry, I failed to address your quite relevent and proper question in my last post.

    PropertyNow has 4 REA accounts and was adding new ones over time and as we obtained accounts in each state as required by REA. Certain portals definitely held one account only, no question of that.

    To be fair an LJHooker or Raine and Horne agent, could also have one account and yet list 500 properties…if they had them to list in an individual office. But again as I mentioned we paid for 4 separate accounts to a value of about $3000 per month. Hope that answers your question Vic.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow
    http://www.propertynow.com.au
    Coffs Harbour

  108. Vic March 7, 2011 at 6:39 am #

    It’s interesting that when Paul D asked the hard question how all went quiet. Is Paul D correct or is he so far off the mark that Andrew finds it a waste of time and effort to answer?

    It was a simple question and an answer could have put some perspective to the issues raised in this thread.

  109. Ryan O'Grady March 7, 2011 at 7:46 am #

    PaulD I just jumped onto Domain and there are 172 across Australia. Looking at the listings across the Australian map http://www.domain.com.au/ore/public/AgencyProfile.aspx?agencyUrl=australianrealestate&mode=buy&agid=10282&pgsection=forsale&s_iid=agentprofile%3abuy around 50% would be in NSW.

  110. Vic March 7, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    Thanks Andrew,

    The rhetoric was interesting reading, and amongst it you gave the answer.

    We must get together and share some views on where the opportunities lie with small low resource portals.

    Give me a ring on 0363345822 when you have time.

  111. PaulD March 7, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    Andrew you said —
    “Paul, what you fail to understand through looking at the topic so superficially and engaging in personal attacks instead of arguing the facts properly,”

    Please point out exactly where I made a personal attack. In my list of priorities Andrew, you don’t even rank. I made a couple of observations and you come back with a rather manic reply. PropertyNow doesn’t even rank on page one it it’s own home town. All the best Andrew, you and your garage, don’t call me I’ll call you.

  112. Propertynow Agent Assisted Sales March 7, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

    Indeed I shall give you a call Vic….my pleasure. Will phone you today.

    Paul, my turn to ask you a question. Who do you support in this argument? The Australian public or REA?

    Regarding your point as to us not ranking for real estate in Coffs Harbour….this is why Paul…

    Google external keyword tool results

    real estate – searches per month – 450,000 searches per month

    Coffs Harbour real estate – searches per month – 1600 searches per month

    We are not interested in ranking for the term and have made no attempt to do so. Furthermore, I do seo work for a friend and do not want to compete with thim.

    In any case the numbers above clearly answer your question and now I trust you will answer mine Paul.

    Now unless you are trying to determine every single thing about the PropertyNow business model , please stop asking unrelated questions that are non relevent to the thread. I have been a good sport but please keep your manners and stay on topic.

    Andrew Blachut

    PropertyNow Sales
    Coffs Harbour. NSW
    http://www.propertynow.com.au

  113. Vic March 7, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    There has been quite a bit of anecdotal stuff on REA’s leads to agents in recent times and the picture does not look so hot. I would be interested to know from agents to what extent the leads have fallen off from REA and whether, if the drop off is significant, it is to do with the current market activity or with REA itself.

    Domain on the other hand, and I only say it is anecdotal again, seems to be the flyer with leads.

    If this is the case why not just concentrate on Domain and let REA slip away into the sunset?

  114. Robert Simeon March 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    Vic, interesting timing in that our subscription with REA expires next month so at last week’s sales meeting I suggested that we don’t renew given we would be lucky to get 2 online enquiries a week – compared to 80+ from Domain.

    Whilst it was agreed that REA (in our instance) are hopless and vastly inferior to Domain based on consumer responses – I was overruled and we will stay for another 12 months.

    The main reason they wanted to stay was that all our competitors are still with them so leaving could damage our brand. In a nutshell: that is the value of REA to our business today.

    Forget the sunset REA have already fallen off the property radar!

  115. PaulD March 7, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

    Andrew, in answer to your question, I agree with Vic & Robert. I have kept detailed response rates since 2003, and the easiest thing to do when it is glaringly obvious that what you are saying to your customers is complete BS is to change your methods of measurement, so there is nothing to compare with.
    I love the term “engagement” and all those other metrics they have invented to hide the fact that the enquiry rate has fallen off the table. They need to trot out almost useless statistics to justify cranking the cost up regularly. By the way Andrew, I love the way that in this thread, you claim firstly that you outrank every single agent website in the country, and also claim two posts later, that “We are not interested in ranking for the term (I assume that is time)and have made no attempt to do so” Time to come out of the twilight zone, and read what you post before you hit submit.

  116. Coffs Harbour Real Estate March 7, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

    Paul, you are surely the only one confused by my comments which are not remotely at odds.

    I am not interested in pursuing the phrase – Coffs Harbour real estate – and I most definitely am interested in pursuing all key phrases.

    What on earth is hard to understand in that?

    Please stop jumping to conclusions and forcing me to continually correct you as its getting embarrasing. I do seo for a living Paul and it is clear from these really silly questions that you do not. Since you persist, I hyperlinked the phrase above as a salutory gesture to this mindless communication on irrelevencies. By the way you do realise there are thousands of towns and cities in Australia and the only website on the frontpage for every single city phrase will be REA, which is kinda my point isn’t it Paul?

    Vic it was nice talking with you this morning.

    Andrew Blachut
    ProeprtyNow real estate
    Coffs Harbour
    http://www.realestate.propertynow.com.au

  117. Vic March 7, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    Thanks Robert,

    Brand is important and I guess that around $10,000 pa would pay you to maintain it, but other agents with smaller commissions per property may not see it valuable for branding. Particularly the western suburbs and the like.
    I guess the point I’m trying to make is: Does the value of REA to an FSBO, and for that matter an agent, site come in branding or lead numbers.

    From an FSBO perspective I would think the value clearly comes from leads and from franchised agents the same. I’ve always thought that the branding of agents business was well and truly covered by their franchisor.
    Non franchised agents would get branding value from REA.

    There definitely is a case for a united FSOB body for marketing purposes, particularly if the size of their pie continues to grow at the anticipated rate.

  118. PropertyNow March 8, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    It’s definitely crucial for leads Vic. I rarely give a thought to any branding benefits. Together realestate.com.au and domain would account for over 90% of enquiry in our business and PropertyNow,homehound,myhome,realestateworld and realestateview amount to the other 15%.

    Andrew Blachut

    Coffs Harbour. NSW
    http://www.propertynow.com.au

  119. PropertyNow March 8, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    oops , sorry about the typo . The 15% is 10% of course
    Andrew

  120. Vic March 8, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    Andrew,

    You could have 100 “people” enquiring on the same property. 90 coming via REA and 15 coming from say Domain etc- so it need not add to 100 to be correct :)- but your point is taken on the value of REA to you for leads generation. Obviously with the amount of angst coming from other FSBO/agent assisted site owners, it is the same for them. Leads not branding. I wonder whether this is how the traditional agents see it. Leads, Branding or a combination?

  121. Naomi Sweeney - buyMyplace March 8, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    Nicholas,

    The structure you have set up your new business under will indeed adhere to REA’s Terms and conditions.
    Unfortunately Nicholas REA’s terms and conditions have since changed; i have this in writing from them.
    Changes include:
    1, Exclusive authority…Seller must not have property listed with an Agency Assisted or FSBO company.
    2, Property estimate must be conducted
    3, Open for inspections must be attended by the agent or agents rep.
    4, other services must be conducted
    REA legal told me personally he will be policing all this. He actually called himself a Policeman.

    Buymyplace provided REA with a new model that would adhere to the new terms and conditions. Their response was silence first and then deletion of 520 properties later that evening. After we all went home…how courageous!
    This debate is very simple. REA and the agents want to kill agent assist/ FSBO in Australia. They believe they have a right to do so. The only question now is if that is legal or not. I don

  122. John Anon March 9, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    BMP (and most other FSBO’s) are in a bad place without REA.

    I’d expect BMP hire lawyers to deal with it.

  123. Naomi Sweeney - buyMyplace March 9, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

    Hi John

    I guess it looks that way at this point in time however:

    1. If you were looking for a property “For Sale” do you:

    a) “look for”; and
    b) “only buy” agent listed property?

    2. If you had your heart set on a house in your street, would you only buy it if John McGrath or Ray White had listed it For Sale or would you buy it regardless of how it is being sold?

    3. Would you look for real estate on http://www.realestate.com.au knowing that they do not advertise ALL property For Sale in Australia right now? Perhaps you will over the next 12 to 24 months but consumer opinions of http://www.realestate.com.au will change and people wont be bothered going to a multiple of sites to find what they are looking for.

    Regardless of REA’s current T&C’s for advertising, buyMyplace is called daily by vendors whose “authorities to sell” have expired with their agent however, their agent continues to advertise their property on the REA website “as a favour” to the vendor when they haven

  124. Monique March 9, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    Interesting thread! And I would like to ask about a point raised by Fiona. She mentions that John McGrath and Sam White are on the board of REA.
    Not being an expert in this field, but it looks to me like there could be a serious conflict of interest here?
    I think it was Naomi that makes the point that getting rid of a number of subscription fee paying agents and the associated properties surely isn’t in the best interest of REA’s shareholders. On the other hand, it appears to be in John McGrath’s and Sam White’s interest to get rid of their competitors who are undercutting their traditional revenue model. So assuming that the board is driving this initiative, don’t these two directors potentially have a conflict of interest?

  125. Vic March 9, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    Andrew B,

    Great to see you getting into it on the ABC. Would this harm any action you are taking legally or from the ACCC?

    Mate of mine lost hundreds of thousands when a PR company took his case to the press……. paid the PR company and the barristers and lost the case.

  126. real estate March 9, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

    That is exactly what I am expecting them to do Vic and I strongly believe dooing so would compound the great many errors they have made already.

    I have more than 2 years worth of correspondences between Paul Gordon, Nicole Birman and Heidi Vesper ( all REA legal counsel ) and myself, that REA will not want shown in court nor media. I also had a great many converstions on this topic with Bill Russell who was state manager of REA at the time ( 5 years ago ) and who ended up even higher up. Bill told me precisely why REA take the view which they do on our company and it is very telling. Imagine that….. we have been doing this for years…. and in their full knowledge.

    You also must realise Vic that they are already destroying my business, so whether they try to bankrupt me one way or in another way, is not particularly concerning me. It amounts to the same thing. I weighed that up months ago when I saw this day coming. The plan at present is to have the ACCC administer the solution and some justice first.

    REA would also be well aware that ACCC can walk into their offices and take any records they want.

    Apart from Section 46 of the ACT, what about Section 45 which speaks of arrangements or understandings that limit competition?

    I hope the arrogance of the past 5 years will bite them ( REA ) in the bum.

    They ( REA ) have acted like a regulator towards honest agents and honest businesses such as For SaleForLease and PropertyNow,. In addition we sought mediation and negotiation and we tried many times to comply with REA. In the end they made compliance with their TOS impossible.

    Furthermore those same TOS are not being policed with mainstream agents, nor developers, nor builders, nor the private rentals they have on their own site as we speak.

    The only way they get out of this is through sheer size, money and influence ( in my opinion ) and that may well be all they need. But meanwhile we intend to go down swinging and at the least we will make certain that REA suffers collateral damage if they are allowed to kill our business. Our clients at least deserve that much.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow
    Coffs Harbour
    http://www.propertynow.com.au

  127. John Anon March 10, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    Naomi,

    I didn’t care who I bought from, however I did search REA & REV, and to a lesser extent Domain continuously for a couple of months.

    Searching the 3 portals is frustrating because you get duplicates between sites.

    I did not know “that they do not advertise ALL property For Sale in Australia right now” – and didn’t really care. There was enough property to choose from .

  128. Vic March 10, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    STOP PRESS- I just got a phone advice from the MERCURY (a news corp paper) saying that they will not place my ad (requested by email) for private sellers in their classifieds because- wait for it- it will conflict with their interests in reaestate.com.au.

    I am waiting for written confirmation of the refusal and my fellow director is also following up seeking a reason- what do you reckon our chances are of getting a written response?

  129. Vic March 10, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    Just also got a phone call from the Examiner, (northern tassie paper owned by Fairfax)- to knock back our ad request to them on the basis of http://www.watersidepropertysales.com.au being in direct competition with DOMAIN.

    So much for freedom of the press- lets now hand over all power to vested interests.

    I see where all you FSBO site owners are now coming from.

    And again no written response.

  130. real estate sales March 10, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

    Vic, we have been refused by newspapers dozens of times. Its exactly the same sort of behaviour being exhibited by REA and its flat out wrong. You will get a written response but they won’t sway. You will have to rewrite and restructure ads.

    This kind of bullying only exists because we allow it to. People never do something about an issue until their level of discomfort in not acting is more than the level of discomfort they experience with the status quo.

    REA made life unbearably uncomfortable and forced the hand of the various companies. Before that we were just a manageable problem for REA. I still believe they are happy to lose this fight and it might actually be their preferred option.

    Good luck with the newspapers Vic and I can see that you have had that epipheny we all get when we come face to face with the fact that we only think we live in a society of fairness and equity in Australia.. It was as much a shock to me when we were told we could not run our newspaper ads, as it was to you. Welcome to our world mate….

    Andrew Blachut
    Propertynow
    Coffs Harbour

  131. Glenn Batten March 11, 2011 at 12:53 am #

    Realestate.com.au just mass emailed agency principals on this subject. This just arrived in my inbox.

    ************************************************************

    Dear Principal

    You may be aware of some discussions in the media this week regarding realestate.com.au and our policy towards private listings.

    We don

  132. Ryan O'Grady March 11, 2011 at 7:34 am #

    Clearly there is no doubt now, they’ve made a stand and declared war against private sales.

    Vic, would you be allowed to place an ad which simply promoted Waterside Property Sales and made no reference to Private Sales?

  133. John Anon March 11, 2011 at 8:41 am #

    This is not about REA/Domain’s internet sites. This is about print media. The monthly subjection fees for REA/Domain subscription per month property is cheaper then 1/2 page in the average suburban paper for an average 4 week campaign. With the REA/Domain subscription, you get to advertise all your properties for the same fee.

    The public is starting to realise that they no longer need print based advertising. RealEstate Agents the only ones that are really pushing print based, vendor funded advertising and they do it to improve the agency profile to get more listings.

    Under the FSBO model, your advertising only need to consist of a REA/Domain accounts. If the FSBO model is successful then the RE sections of the newspapers shrink and The Age, SMH, Herald Sun, etc can no longer to afford to stay in business.

    This is about protecting a dying industry.

  134. Vic March 11, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    Ryan,

    The issue with both Examiner and Mercury was that our SITE was in competition with their advertising business. Both their print media and their web business.

    Both paper’s ad staff encouraged me to lodge the ads and when I did, “management” handed down the decision, through the two staff I was dealing with. Both staff apologized to me and said they had not been aware of the policy before. Either nobody had tried to advertize this type of web site before, or the policy was new.

    So, I can’t say that it was directly related to the private sale component of the ad.

    ps. Scrolling through Domain.com.au shows a couple of google ads for “advertiser” sites which are not subsidiaries of Fairfax nor Domain. wonder whether these come down over the next few weeks.

    It would not pay me to do brand advertising on print media.

  135. Naomi Sweeney - buyMyplace March 11, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    So what we have are Australian home owners that are happy to pay for marketing and advertising tools in order to sell their homes BUT whom do not wish to ALSO pay a commission to an agent, yet, they are being blocked from the major classified online sites and print media companies.

    buyMyplace has full paying vendors that are happy to spend between $500 to $30,000 for marketng and advertising in order to attract a buyer to their property and they know full-well it is the marketing and advertising that attracts a buyer to a property, not the agent and his expertise. Therefore, they want to save as much money as they can by not paying the hefty agent commissions as well.

    Ive said it before and Ill say it again, FSBO and/or Agent Assisted vendors are very happy to pay for advertising. In fact, in my experience, they are prepared to pay much more than they would with an agent that hits them up for both marketing and commisssion costs because then can play with the money that would have been allocated to the commission element of their sale.

    Leave your pipes and slippers at home gentleman and get on the phone and call me to work out how we can work with you – I have oodles of vendors ready to pay!

    Naomi L Sweeney
    buyMyplace – No Commissions, Lot’s of Help!

  136. Robert Simeon March 11, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    Leave your pipes and slippers at home gentleman and get on the phone and call me to work out how we can work with you

  137. Greg Vincent March 11, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    I just saw this come through on Property Portal Watch that realestate.com.au plan to suspend other sites http://www1.propertyportalwatch.com/2011/03/realestate-com-au-suspends-more-sites/

  138. Adrian Douglas March 11, 2011 at 3:54 pm #

    After hopping across to Property Portal Watch, reading the second comment has prompted my reply here, which I have been sitting on so as not to upset the FSBo debate.
    Regarding builders, here in my area Maryborough / Hervey Bay Qld, one building company in particular abuses the REA system constantly. I have emailed the REA complaint dept, when I get the standard reply: send us proof, so I have done, and there is no further comment.
    Specifically, many homes at the same address, multiple uploads all at once, reloading, and particularly ” various blocks available” which is specifically verboten.
    The subscription appears to be from the head office in Brisbane, with various regional sales agents misusing the agents contact field to show the local name and number.
    If i was a local agent ( used to be) I would want to kick up a big fuss, but I know from experience that as soon as you do, REA start picking faults with your advertising.( a bit like if you were to complain to Fair Trading about another agents conduct).
    So while REA are keen to chase down one group of advertisers, they are happy enough to let a large franchise builder swamp the “for sale” pool in this area (4650 4655, have a look yourself), strangely, they haven’t pushed them to start a separate subscription for each area to actually increase income.
    In a way, builders/ developers are a bit like FSBO’s anyway, wanting to use REA, but not wanting to use an agent / pay commission.

    Either way, if REA are to show they are being fair, they need to call in everyone who is misusing the product whether they be a FSBO assist agency, Builders/ developers, licensed real estate agencies, or lawyers.

  139. Tony March 15, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

    To all of the whingers, sages and experts.
    Wade through the stuff below. You’ll find all of the FSBO sites are now riding on our back. Until 1996 you hid in the shadows and then blossomed like mushrooms. You all claim to have private sellers interests at heart. Ha, Ha.

    As an interesting aside we were one of the first companys to put private sales on realestate.com when they were new boys on the block, and they happily took our money for a number of years until guess what? We were unceremoniously dumped without reason or apology. We approached the ACCC who weren’t in the least bit interested. So get used to it guys, if they don’t want you, change your line of work or start up your own website.

    This is the true story of the founders of private sales in Australia. It was written in 2007 so a bit of water has gone under the bridge since then and we have moved on.

    It

  140. private sales March 16, 2011 at 1:20 am #

    So Tony, let me get this right – you started private sales in Australia and you are now delighted in the fact that private sale companies are getting clobbered by REA and Domain?

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow Coffs Harbour
    http://www.propertynow.com.au

  141. Tony March 16, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

    No Andrew.
    I’m just surprised that everybody is carrying on like pork chops. What did all the private sales companies expect? Who’s interests do you think REA represent? Certainly not private sellers. When businesses are built on shifting sands don’t be surprised when the goal posts move. It’s time you guys worked out who the enemy is.

    Private sale companies with strong business models that offer a worth while service will attract sellers. Just saying “we’ll get you on REA” is not a business, not anymore anyway.

    Now if you want to form a consortium to take them on, I’m in. Pigs might fly as well. Too many egos out there.

    As an aside I see that legal adcice may be taken. All I can say is good luck. We estimate that our battles cost us in excess of 5m with no result either way.

  142. real estate sale March 17, 2011 at 11:45 pm #

    Yep, fair enough Tony.

    I agree with your shifting sands theory also…always felt that throughout the 5 years we have used the REA website.

    It’s not a bad business decision to use the leading websites however and I am a bit more optimistic because thus far no one has convinced me that Trade Practices has not been broken. I believe this is the first time the question has been seriously asked of ACCC and the TPA legislation is both clear and potent.

    I am up for discussions about a group site Tony, while we put REA’s arrogant and hopefully illegal behaviour in the public spotlight. A group site is being canvassed with a few of us

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow
    httpa;//www.propertynow.com.au

  143. Vic March 18, 2011 at 7:59 am #

    Tony,

    Great story which kept my interest throughout my reading.

    However, I am having some difficulty understanding where you are coming from, particularly after your comment that the costs to fight was $5m.

    Your site shows very few listings, around 70 sales listed by a couple of agents and even less rentals. You seem to be an agent site. This number seems hardly likely to make the business viable. And if, the current numbers is a reflection of your trends over the years,

    1. why would the REIA believe you to be a threat ?
    2. why would you spend $5m in defending such an unspectacular business?

    My quick arithmetic calculation shows that you would have spent an average of nearly $200,000 annually over more than 20 years in defence of your business. I fail to see how you could have managed to financially maintain the fight over so many years.

    BTW-Your site looks good and feels good to use.

  144. Lawrence March 29, 2011 at 5:50 pm #

    Some of the comments from Buymyplace seem somewhat emotional and I guess understandably given they have had the steam pulled out of their business. However there are a few things we should all try and get across before we make comments;

    REA Italy does not have 50% private listings. If they do they hide them well. A simple check of their website and search by suburb will show a private listing less than 1 every 10 pages, in most cases. Maybe they do have 50% private listings however we can’t see proof of them. Where did these so called facts come from?

    FSBO is growing, however the fastest growing market overseas in realestate happens to be low cost agencies, rather than fsbo websites. It is a kind of an alternative to both and it seems to be working well. This trend has been around for a while.

    Buymyplace can go to the ACCC and every other major government body in Australia and unless they have ooddles of cash you are in for a long fight that will more than likely drain you of valuable marketing marketing and operational dollars. Once finished, and if you are successful, the other fsbo’s that are smarter enough to sit back and wait, conserving their marketing dollars, will be the real winners. They will be ready to market their businesses – pockets full. If Homesales is smart and there is no doubt they are, they will let you fight for them and sweep in and take the lead.

    And if that is not enough, if you somehow do become successful in challenging REA all REA need to is open their doors to private sellers and given their marketing dollars and technology platform, you will be unlikely to have a viable market share left to sell too. Not too hard to work that out just ask the average Joe who Buymyplace is? Most responses you get is ‘who?’ ask the same question about REA and the response is quite different.

    Any investor in the Buymplace business must be asking why would you rely so heavily on a tenuous advertising link like REA to build a business? The chances of you remaining and even listing on REA have been slim and you must have known for sometime that you were running close to if not outside their terms and conditions (arguably). I would probably be less worried about what REA investors think and more worried about your investors. You built a single point of failure in your business – or at the very least a significant one.

    REA has had good growth programs in place for some time, well before fsbo’s hit the market. They can get more growth out of these in one day then they will get out of fsbo listings on their website. However keep your head in the sand on this and when you manage to grow the market they’ll happily open their doors and then the game changes against you very fast. I mean isn’t it obvious?

    No website I have seen has all the property listings in one place. Consumers are more than happy to look at more than one site. In fact technology is becoming such that looking at multiple sites is now easier than ever. And this will continue I am sure. Particularly given that sites are now becoming more and more vertically focused on specific market segments.

    Fact is buymplyace would not have grown the way it has without listing on REA. A fact they have not been to open about. Buymyplace stop beating your chest on these matters and let your actions in court do the talking. It’s got to the point where you are taking this almost arrogant position and I am not sure you are entitled to it yet – you haven’t done anything – yet.

    And I guess I keep asking the same question in my own head over and over again. If this was such a promising and market changing idea why hasn’t it been more successful quicker? Voucher sites have taken the world by storm – literally.

    There is no doubt that this market needs a change, however how it will change is still very much open. FSBO is far from the only alternative. And lets face we don’t have enough fact to about the success of any fsbo to really know the truth, yet some seem to talk from absolute authority.

  145. Tony March 30, 2011 at 6:39 pm #

    Hi Vic
    Thanks for reading the story. It’s all absolutely true. In fact that’s only the half of it.
    Just a quick response to a couple of your questions. Why would REIWA feel threatened?
    About 3 years after start up we had just over 600 hundred clients at any time. Then Channel 9 popped us on air nationally and gave us a good review and not a very good one to REIWA.

    Within a few short months we had franchisees from Perth to Cairns and all stops in-between. Getting the idea now Vic? Suddenly it was big business.

    Why did we defend what is a pretty ordinary today? There are several reasons, the main one was we believe in principles. We started something that we were passionate about and a lot of people became involved. Not just sellers who were relying on us but others that invested in the business in all states and had suddenly came under threat.
    Ever found yourself under an enormous attack by other businesses and Governments for 6 years? Our franchisees were terrified they would lose the shirts off their backs not to mention their homes. We had a responsibility. These people trusted us. That’s why we poured money into a bottomless pit to make sure they didn’t go under. Not good business perhaps, but I sleep OK.

    Sorry Vic, your arithmetic is too simplistic. When a business goes from hero to zero you not only count the dwindling bank accounts but also lost business over a number of years, keeping lawyers on watch in each state, allowing franchisees to become autonomous so that if worst comes to worst they won’t be affected and so on ad infinitum.
    Our legal advice was to go for a holiday. Not an option for me. So all in all it would have been considerably more than 5 mill. I was being very conservative. Throwing that figure out was to show it ain’t just taking somebody on in court. Bit long winded, sorry about that.

    Wait till you see the new site in a week or so!! Tell me if you like it

    In response to Lawrence I do speak with absolute authority on fsbo’s, at least in Oz. You should have worked out by now that fsbo’s popularity goes with the economy. When it’s down everybody tightens the belt and of course they let out a notch or two as things get better
    Anytime you want the facts just let me know. After 20 odd years of sitting down with them in their homes and in our offices listening to the same old stories, coaching and god knows what elseI know exactly what they need. But this doesn’t necessarily coincide with what they think they need.

    Where are we going?
    The biggest reason the majority of sellers have an agent is the fear of not getting the best price. Notice the word fear. It’s the biggest driver in the universe, closely followed by greed. Another big reason is laziness. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard “I can’t be bothered” but that will change.

    With the instant information available to consumers, who needs a real estate agent? No one is the short answer. Who needs a trained negotiator in real estate? Everyone. And I believe that is the way we will go, at least in residential sales.
    Skilled negotiators with a high degree of real estate knowledge will be the new agent if you will. (Look out for the entrepreneurial lawyers).

    We might end up with a cross between an agent and a fsbo. It’s the path I’m taking

    There is another alternative which is generally being ignored by the industry and that is, online offers and auction sites. They are cheap for sellers to use, and very simple to operate. Sellers can do nearly everything, even to loading the site. I know because I have one. geewizauctions.com.
    With a bit of help with disclosure documents they won’t even need a negotiator. Once the public become aware of how well they work……..who knows

    Andrew, I’m happy to talk anytime about a group site, but it must include agents listings otherwise it won’t work. It needs a strong constant population and it must be free. Going it alone is not an option. Forget about calling REA arrogant. They are just running a very successful business they way they want to. It won’t last forever, nothing ever does.

  146. Lawrence March 30, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

    Tony my comment was not referring to your statements. However your comment that you have been in it for 20 years does not really qualify as fact.

    My reference was to what Naomi (from buymyplace) claimed about REA in Italy. Let me refresh you;

    “REA

  147. Tony March 30, 2011 at 9:14 pm #

    Sorry Lawrence, perhaps I gave myself too much credence with longevity in the game.

    Between you and I, who gives a monkey how real estate is sold in Italy. Different country, different culture and I can’t remember the last Oz/ Italian doing a fsbo here. Talking about countries and culture, the Brits are all for fsbo’s in WA.

    Trust me the economy has everything to do with fsbo’s. Remember I go back into the eighties and have been through all the cycles.

    Can’t possibly agree that agents work harder in tough times to get a sale. They simply don’t get one unless it fits the buyer. On second thoughts perhaps he does work harder………………..Getting the price right.

    But coming back to a tough economy and fsbo’s. Sellers get desperate. They want to sell but they don’t want to lose money. Mummy and Daddy said “you can’t lose money in bricks and mortar” and by golly they are not going to.

    They try the agent for a while. The agent can’t sell at the price they need so they hunt for alternatives. The actual words used are “I’m weighing up my options”. They know they have a chance of being more competitive in price without a commission to pay. Meaning a quicker sale. They also know that being competitive means being on mainstream websites. If they can’t get on them they are still likely to try, just in case.

    Isn’t that where this blog started? Kicked off!

  148. Vic March 30, 2011 at 9:15 pm #

    Tony,

    I find it hard to put myself in your shoes. Too much history, too much pain, too much disappointment. But I must say I admire your persistence and can only wish you well in your move forward.

    I must say that I do not agree with you that any new cooperative portal for FSOB MUST have agent listings.

    Unless you can get as many as REA, REIWA in WA, All Homes in Canberra and Domain in Sydney, the users wont come across and leave what they already have.

    Free to list sites must gain content fast and be absolutely comprehensive in its listings otherwise like Homehound, My Home and The Home page they will never become top of mind, and the free listings will do absolutely nothing for you.

    My view is that a cooperative FSOB portal should operate like a marketing agency.

    Cheers

  149. Naomi Sweeney March 31, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

    ‘Laurence’

    Sorry, I don’t give my time nor do I take anyone seriously when they don’t have the balls to reveal who they are on a blog.

    ‘Credibility’, as you put it, goes both ways and you my friend don’t have any whilst commenting under a fictitious name.

    You sound like an evangelist on the real estate industry and yet no-one knows who you are or what qualifications you have to comment on this forum.

    Stop wasting everyone’s time dear.

  150. Tony March 31, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    Now there’s a girl that could’ve won my heart1

  151. Vic April 1, 2011 at 8:38 am #

    Naomi,

    Irrespective that Lawrence wishes to stay anonymous, the question still hangs out there: What are the facts behind your assertions that 50% of REA Italy are FSOB?

    Opinions are one thing but when you come onto this blog, or any other, you really do need to substantiate that which you put forward as “fact”.

    A simply question.

  152. Naomi Sweeney April 1, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    Actually Vic, the argument is about http://www.realestate.com.au being a classified advertising site that is conflicted. Conflicted because it chose to nominate 2 positions of it’s board to 2 real estate agents that will only only ever consider a full commission real estate sale. With their greed comes the appointment of like-minded execs of their franchise offices – so the vicious cycle continues and the innocent vendor gets ripped off in the process.

    buyMyplace has been massively targeted by agents and the majority of those agents are agents from the Ray White offices – you do the sums. I have had many clients call me saying that their local Ray White Agent is stalking them and harassing them for privately listing their property.

    Call me new age, but Id prefer to WIN a debate based on honest competition. And by honest competition I mean keep FSBO on http://www.realestate.com.au and let’s play ball. Fact is, if FSBO doesn’t work then it won’t work even if we are able to advertise on http://www.realestate.com.au.

    In my opinion, the crooked real estate agents are being protected by the respectable real estate agents – http://www.realestate.com.au‘s advertising terms and conditions are ensuring that.

    HeyTony, thank you for the complement. Ive always been one to call a spade a shovel! I want to wish you vall the best with your business.

    That’s it from me.

  153. Naomi Sweeney April 1, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    Actually Vic, the argument is about http://www.realestate.com.au being a classified advertising site that is conflicted. Conflicted because it chose to nominate 2 positions of it’s board to 2 real estate agents that will only only ever consider a full commission real estate sale. With their greed comes the appointment of like-minded execs of their franchise offices – so the vicious cycle continues and the innocent vendor gets ripped off in the process.

    buyMyplace has been massively targeted by agents and the majority of those agents are agents from the Ray White offices – you do the sums. I have had many clients call me saying that their local Ray White Agent is stalking them and harassing them for privately listing their property.

    Call me new age, but Id prefer to WIN a debate based on honest competition. And by honest competition I mean keep FSBO on http://www.realestate.com.au and let’s play ball. Fact is, if FSBO doesn’t work then it won’t work even if we are able to advertise on http://www.realestate.com.au.

    In my opinion, the crooked real estate agents are being protected by the respectable real estate agents – http://www.realestate.com.au‘s advertising terms and conditions are ensuring that.

    Hey Tony, thank you for the complement. Ive always been one to call a spade a shovel! I want to wish you all the best with your business.

    Im really tired of the ridiculousness of all of this.

    That’s it from me.

  154. Vic April 1, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

    Naomi,

    If you cannot clarify/prove your assertion that 50% of all REA Italy listings are FSOB, then you are not credible in anything you say.

    There are no degrees of honesty.

    And “that’s it for me” ?—- aw leave me alone with the hard question.

  155. Lawrence April 5, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    Naomi I am far from an expert on realestate websites or even technology for that matter. You last post has done nothing more for your cause other than make you look like you have been exposed and are now running away.

    All that I asked was for you to prove some of the facts you have been throwing around. I did nothing technical other than do a search on realestate Italy and it did not show the large percentages you claim as part of your argument for FSBOs.

    It’s a basic question. Is it true or did you guys make this up?

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