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How to build a successful portal!

4 minute read

So PBL wants to play with the big boys of real estate!

I may be a small voice, but I think I have some experience with these things. If I were given a job of building a portal for success and money was no object, here is what I would do.

1. Free for Agents FOREVER . Agents are the only reason any portal would have a chance to be successful. Agents = content (listings) , content = consumers, consumers = advertisers. This is how Google do it and it is the model for the 21st Century.

2. Clean User Interface: Create a clean professional interface that caters for users of your site, and helps them find what they are looking for in as fewer steps as possible.

3. Include Resizable Mapping: Include a great mapping system for property searches. Mapping will be the king of searching for just about anything in the future. But make sure it takes up the majority of a users screen – in other words it can be resized to fit any size!

4. Allow imports from all XML Providers and listen to them for feedback. Send XML providers back information to place in their systems, such as property views, email enquiries. As more and more portals and websites become available XML providers are going to be in high demand. Hubonline, MyDesktop, Console, Portplus and others need to be become partners of these sites. Realestate.com.au provide great service to their providers as do Domain and Homehound, and just about all major franchises have their own system.

5. RSS Ready: Make sure that you site is fully RSS compliant. Allow users to subscribe to just about any listing type, from any area.

6. Consumer Rating System: Give them tools that mean something to them. Allow them feedback and possibly ratings systems that can be seen by agents only. Maybe a rating system (1 – 5 stars) that tells the agent whether the information provided was informative, the images were helpful and allow them to provide feedback to agents. Lifting the standards of listings is something realestate.com.au has done successfully over the years but it still needs to go further.

7. Advertising:
Make advertising complimentary, allow small business advertisers to be able to advertise on the sites in specific areas. Builders, bricklayers etc should be given the opportunity to advertise in selected suburbs for a fee.

8. Media Centre PC’s: Create tools for consumers to be able to subscribe to and have data sent to their Media Centre PC’s so they can sit down in their living rooms and view the latest listings.

9. Open up your database.
Create tools for developers to display your listings (with specific guidelines) on their websites, web logs etc. Create plugins for Firefox, IE7 etc

10. Non Compete Clause: Make a clause that locks in a deal with agents that they are all going to be treated equally in search results, no silver, gold or platinum deals that just squeeze extra dollars out of agents. WOW! if you go to a gold membership (only an extra $220.00 per month) you get a logo next to your listings!

Building something like this is not rocket science, but it does take time, I would have a team of maybe 5 developers and 1 interface designer. I would then focus on testing for about 3 months. If someone could build something like this (less than $500,000) then I think it would be a great start for a successful portal.

Then comes the hard part, getting it out there!!!! $$$$$ But I can tell you, $30 million dollars would cover it (Sensis and justlisted)

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7 Comments

  • Tim R
    Posted September 14, 2006 at 10:04 am 0Likes

    I agree and think the future is free for agents and charge other advertisers. Someone may do it one day if they have the vision to see beyond their own greed qnd truly understand the Internet.

    Bean counters take note, if you had the courage to go this way the financial rewards would be greater and more secure in the end, but you wouldn’t understand that …would you.

    Enjoy your temporary success and get set to trade the Porche for a Ford Festiva in due course.

  • Peter
    Posted September 14, 2006 at 10:40 am 0Likes

    Whats wrong with a Ford Festiva, I am looking to trade up to one!

  • Elizabeth
    Posted September 14, 2006 at 11:04 am 0Likes

    You big city Fat Cat Peter!

    I have a Vespa – cheaper still and eye-catching in my patch.

  • Paul
    Posted September 14, 2006 at 11:55 am 0Likes

    I agree with this article. Very well thought out. you have some good ideas Peter.

  • Peter
    Posted September 14, 2006 at 12:08 pm 0Likes

    Elizabeth, I have a 1971 VW Convertible if you look at About Business2 on the right menu you will see it. I have had it for 13 years, does about 5 kilometres a month. I prefer to catch taxis and public transport, or better still just stay in around the Eastern Suburbs!!!!

    I have dreams about a Vespa!!!!

  • Max
    Posted September 20, 2006 at 3:59 pm 0Likes

    Me thinks nearly all of the $30mil on Justlisted was spent on its botched newspaper and not on its website where it should have been putting money i.e. into the future – not the past

  • Phil
    Posted October 12, 2006 at 6:15 pm 0Likes

    Open 2 View is a free Real Estate website for Agents. with a lot of the facilities you mentioned in your article.

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