Mapping and Advertising

Elizabeth raised a wonderful question in regards to advertising and mapping. She is worried that a mapping site will just be covered in advertising. Firstly we need to look at the current market leader realestate.com.au.

I am going to ignore the celebrations going on on realestate.com.au’s site (site pretty much shuts down in Firefox browser until balloons finish loading – 10% of visitors)

I have marked out in pink all of the advertising on the home page of realestate.com.au and this is not including pop ups!

The home page is about 420 kilobytes in size, which takes around 15 seconds to load with basic broadband and 6 months (about 80 seconds really) on a 56k modem.

Realestate.com.au's Home Page Advertising Areas

So in answer to Elizabeth’s worry about mapping sites being free and using an advertising model that carries too much advertising, I think we can safely say that they will not go to this extreme.

There is no model for success in this area as it is totally new, but I will let everyone know what I think they should be like for the user.
1. Large Resizable Map: The map must resizable both horizontally and vertically. This is the most important thing for the user in my opinion. Bothy domain and realestate.com.au have it in a small box, which in my opionion is useless for the user. Also why should people with larger monitors suffer because a section of the population (less than 24% have small 800 x 600 monitor sizes? This way it suits everyone. 1024 + is becoming the norm (+60% of users have this size or larger) and many people have much larger monitors these days as prices have plumetted over the past 2 years.

2. Main Header: This should carry logo and contact information of the portal and other links to portal pages.
3. Search Header: Below the main header should be the search header, is could pop down using AJAX and it should carry all the tools the users need for searching.

4. Information Layers: Above the footer should be information layers that carry additional information that the user may find useful such as local schools shopping centres etc

5. Footer: Carries other pages and policies, terms of use etc and also contact details.

6. Advertising: Each property pop up would carry only 1 advertisement and it is short a brief and non intrusive.

So this in my opinion should be the norm for this kind of development. It still can be sexy, but it must be functional for the user.

Getting agents on board is another thing altogether, but services like HubOnline, Portplus and my company Agentpoint export to many different sites and I am sure that the new Realmap site will be added to their export list.

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18 Comments

  • John
    Posted September 23, 2006 at 2:58 pm 0Likes

    Hi Peter,
    I have also seen the realmap system http://www.realmap.com.au and I think it’s brilliant. Do you think Hubonline will add that portal when it has the potential to take business away from their own portal?

    The other advantage of the new style mapping system is that it drives traffic back to the website of the agent. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds when realmap launches in October.

  • Peter
    Posted September 23, 2006 at 4:15 pm 0Likes

    Hi John

    I dont know, that is the worry I think with Hubonline. Realestate.com.au purchased this system so that they could make more money per office as they are reaching saturation point with residential agents on their site.

    It is a smart move to go into this system. However, a couple of things are important here.

    1. They will add realmaps I think, but only if there is demand from agents, but they will not do it, if there is no demand.

    2. They will charge agents per month for exporting to this site, which basically means it is not free.

    I think they have more problems with the purchase of Hubonline. I have to be careful what I say because they are a competitor of mine, so I do not want to be seen as putting them down , but in the future Hub Online will have to redo nearly all of the sites that are built in frames (which is nearly all of them) as they are terrible for search engines and they look cheap.

    I think realestate.com.au will go into competition with Console, Brightfox and other real estate office and trust management systems.

    So they have alot of work to do. I have used HubOline and it has some great features, however there website design and development leaves alot to be desired compared to other companies that supply these services.

    Realestate.com.au’s website design and development has come along way in the past two years so if they could combine the two they could do very well.

    However their biggest hurdle will be trust. Can agents trust to have all of their software and systems with a company that is driven by revenue growth year in year out?

  • Elizabeth
    Posted September 23, 2006 at 5:04 pm 0Likes

    So the good news is that there is going to be a free portal out there – not controlled by the franchise groups (with $ and listings going to their hands).

    Brilliant!

    I have already signed up for beta testing, thanks for the tip Peter!!

    Now you raise some interesting points regarding trust. And as you will no doubt have picked up by now – i do not trust Franchise Groups to be in it for “the Industry” when what they really want is more $ from the industry…

    So I looked around…

    Realestate.com.au has Hubonline

    Domain has My Desk Top

    Premises has AU1

    realestateview evidently has something.,..cannot figure it out online…

    The question which remains is which backend this new myhome will use/buy…. one cannot look past the obvious contenders… LJHooker, or Century21 .

    This should sound Alarm bells to other independent agents!

    At the end of the day, results, efficiency and ownership of MY listings and contacts are what I look for. I do not use Hubonline, as it just looked a bit clunky for me, plus I wanted trust accounting. So I am not concerned too much about Hubonline.

    I think the challenge now is to get a clear picture from everyone about TRUST!

    Peter where can we see these policies regarding ownership of listings and contact data ( i.e. ‘Trust’)?

    (Ok, I admit that from the success of asking my last question, that this one is now loaded in anticipation of you doing more investigative work).

  • H R
    Posted September 23, 2006 at 5:29 pm 0Likes

    A few points – Hub Online will not do the web sites over again, do you really think they could care less if the sites aren’t search engine friendly ???????

    They DON’T WANT the agents sites to be search engine friendly they want the agents to be totally dependent on realestate.com.au for ALL their traffic.

    ALSO – If any agent is stupid enough to use a realestate.com.au product for office and trust management they will get what they deserve, higher costs than they ever realised. Realestate.com.au willwant each agent to be totally dependent on them so they can charge at will – don’t let that happen.

    Can agents trust them ???????? You must be kidding, there is no such thing as trust with these people ansto even suggest otherwise is naive in the extreme.

    And as for you Elizabeth – don’t worry about the franchise groups they already own a large chunk of realestate.com.au

    It’s better agents control these things as their level of greed and cold blooded calculating to take your dollars is NOTHING compared to the “friendly” team at realestate.com.au

  • Peter
    Posted September 23, 2006 at 7:18 pm 0Likes

    Elizabeth: Realestate.com.au should have a Terms of Use in the backend, if not ask them why.

    I think Trust Accounting should be a separate issue from systems we develop, the reason for this is that Trust Account packages have been around for a long time (means experienced developments) and for security you would want that information stored (client side) at your end securely. I would never think of doing such a development server-side. Realestate.com.au may buy a Trust Accounting Company.

    I think the future will see a spread of advertising across many different sites and on worldwide portals/classifieds sites.

    Al of the sites you have mentioned want control which to the = big dollars.

    HR: You make some valid points an I think time will tell if you are correct. I would hope you are not, sometimes in business doing the right thing by your client stands above all else and usually means long term loyalty.

  • Elizabeth
    Posted September 24, 2006 at 10:05 am 0Likes

    H R – I do worry about the franchise groups.

    I was reading a former entry of Peters about the death of franchise groups, and it is all really starting to make sense.

    With the internet, and applications like Hub, Portplus etc… where is the need for paying top dollar for franchise licence, and then paying someone in a luxurious office in Sydney a % of my annual turnover?

    I think that they must be in trouble! Are they losing market share?

    But I do agree, you have to be wary of everyone! I would be naive to think that only I am in business to make a profit.

    But where is the logic in paying a quassi franchise fee – when I am an independent?

    Bring on the free sites…

  • Darell Stephens
    Posted September 24, 2006 at 10:15 am 0Likes

    Geez all of you guys need to get real, how about newspapers? $2000 dollars week for fluff that only makes us feel good and does not get buyers. Realestate.com.au’s fees are nothing compared. Oh and we make lots of money from the enquiries which nearly all come from websites.

  • H R
    Posted September 24, 2006 at 12:40 pm 0Likes

    Elizabeth – now try to focus – forget the franchise groups, got that ? You dont have to join any of them and non of them will ever control a web site thats of any importance.

    If you’re worried about paying big fees to people in fancy offices look no further than the main portal out there today.

    And Darell, when did you ever pay $2000 for an ad, never, it was always your clients wasn’t it. yes of course it was and most of your future enquiry will come from the web and at an inflated price to what it should be.

    You seem to have swallowed all the proaganda about how much cheaper it is than print but not mentioning it is so much more expensive than it should be.

  • John
    Posted September 24, 2006 at 11:09 pm 0Likes

    Elizabeth, you should have a look at a website called http://www.irean.com.au which is basically a buying group for independant agencies.

    They get discounts for members for all kinds of services and it’s only $25 per month. Don’t worry I don’t get commission. 🙂

    Seems to me any independant group can save money with them.

  • Tom
    Posted September 25, 2006 at 3:15 pm 0Likes

    I find H.R

  • H R
    Posted September 25, 2006 at 6:14 pm 0Likes

    Tom, agents don’t get kickbacks from the media any more, it’s illegal in case you didn’t know.

    Internet ads dont always come out of the agents pocket either, the vendor still pays as they should. It’s YOUR property they’re selling not their own and if you want to sell your house yourself you can… then you can brag about saving the agetns commission while underselling your house by many times that much. Clever you.

  • Peter
    Posted September 25, 2006 at 7:10 pm 0Likes

    Tom – Agents going on about costs is not the issue, what is at stake here is an opportunity for agents to take control. Across Australia in just about every area there is one controlling newspaper that has the property market sewn up. Now agents just pretty much have to pay whatever fees they wish to charge, because they have no choice.

    If this continued today across to the Internet in 10 or 15 years, if one media empire controlled it they could do what they want and charge what they want, now this is not good for consumers and definately not good for agents.

    One of the reasons for this site is to hopefully waken all agent so they understan what is at stake, it is fine for realestate.com.au to be successful, but it would be dangerous if there were no other choices.

    News Limited is a company that makes no excuses about making money and realestate.com.au is a listed company that must make returns for their shareholders – and it must grow, that is why they are expanding into overseas markets.

    There is room for revenue growth here in Australia and so far rates have been rising by 8% each year.

    In my opinion the only thing that will change the market here in Australia is an entry by Google into real estate listiongs and search.

    It would be 100% free for all agents so all of their revenue would come from advertisers. Realestate.com.au and domain would have no choice but to eventually make their site free also.

  • Phil
    Posted September 25, 2006 at 9:02 pm 0Likes

    That would destroy realestate.com.au, their worth would plummet overnight.

    Thid could happen they are very vulnerable to new entrants into the market.

    Remember Alta Vista ?

  • Elizabeth
    Posted September 26, 2006 at 7:05 pm 0Likes

    The latest Crikey Article on the Subject –

    PBL’s online real estate rethink

  • H R
    Posted September 26, 2006 at 7:48 pm 0Likes

    If the idea of the new site will be to force the franchise agents to advertise there exclusively then James Packer should stick to poker machines because he knows nothing about real estate.

    No agent in his right mind would go for that.

    They will have to give the site away FREE to the franchise agents and if the coverage is good enough others will come on board.

    They could then ramp up the revenue by add ons rather than direct fees until they are ahead of realestate.com.au

    If what you say is true it’s just another example of fools and their money ala Just Listed.

    I was hopeful there for a mimute that there was someone out there who knew what they were doing for a change. guess not.

    This doesn’t mean realestate.com.au is sake, remember Look Smart ?

    The online landscape can change overnight.

  • Michelle S
    Posted September 27, 2006 at 10:01 am 0Likes

    HR

    Well we were all fooled before by realestate.com.au and their alignments to our real estate institutes…..but I do quite well out of it, nearly 80% of my enquiries come from realestate.com.au, it is their ever increasing pricing that is getting to me. I need to budget for everything and I do not mind paying, but this is the Internet and it is supposed to be cheaper, easier etc….

    I just dont want to be held to ransom by another big player, after all newspaper advertising (which I rarely do now) was always way to expensive.

  • H R
    Posted September 27, 2006 at 7:49 pm 0Likes

    Michelle,

    Most of your enquiry will come from the Internet in the future. Don’t think that realestate.com.au are resonsible for this, it’s just that at the moment they have the upper hand.

  • Paul
    Posted September 27, 2006 at 9:46 pm 0Likes

    Elizabeth, realestateview’s system is called Fast Tracker and is propriotry at the moment. They didn’t buy it as it was developed in house and isn’t yet as involved as the other systems.

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