How can major real estate portals improve?

Many on this site like to get stuck into realestate.com.au and domain.com.au from time to time. Love them or loath them, they are the dominant forces in residential real estate in Australia and will continue to be so for at least the next 3 years.

So how can these sites improve? Improve for who? Well there are 3 main areas that they all can improve…….

1. For Agents.
2. Consumers.
3. Shareholder Returns.
In my opinion these are all related. Some good things have happenned over the past few years by forcing agents to comply with minimum guidelines. As an example each property on realestate.com.au must contain a main image and also a headline.

So I will start with Agents. How can portals improve their relationships with agents. There are a number of ways.

1. Member packages: Make these packages clear and with clear benefits. We all know agents need to be seen to be doing as much as their competitor acroos the way (getting vendors) but really one level to the next and a few thousand dollars extra annually for your logo to appear next to a listing is just money grabbing.

2. Realestate.com.au and Commercial listings: Making residential agents pay extra just because they have a few commercial listings is all about money, make it so residential member agents can have a maximum of 10 listings per membership at any one time (per office)

3. Agents Data comes first: On property pages agents data should come first. Having other advertisers all over the place confuses users of the site.

4. Smart Advertising: Stop this pop over, pop up, pop under nonsense. This just shows a complete disregard for your users. Look at how Google do it, clean, efficient and clearly defined.

Also for the love of whoever you believe in, build your own advertising platform that is at least clever and at most clean. If a block of land is advertised, then having builders, surveyors etc advertising alongside makes sense and will also attract more advertisers.

We call this targetted advertising. Don’t just throw any junk up there. Also build the advertising system so it is regionalised, so that smaller businesses that want to advertise alongside listings in particular suburbs can do so. This will bring you untold wealth and triple your advertising revenues and also be good for the consumers.

5. What price my Inbox?
If I want to know how much my house is worth then I will contact an agent, all these other nonsense businesses that just annoy and deceive people are not clever businesses to partner with and will soon be seen by the public for exactly what they are, deceitful for both agents and the general public. Dump them….NOW!
6. Innovate: Open your development teams to new innovations, set up an arm of your company that just comes up with ideas, implements them on test sites and then make quick decisions on these developments. Innovation with mapping systems, user interfaces etc will make a big difference in the future.

Remember that there are so many companies baying for your blood and one of them just might (doubt it) come out with something from left field and catch you unawares.

7. Domain.com.au: Simple, 5 images per property (including floor plan) is not nearly enough, get with the program. Realestate.com.au allow up to 26 images per listing.
8. Remember that agents made you, without their listings you would be useless, visitor numbers would plummet and your advertising revenues would dry up. So get personal with them, let them know you are listening, doing the right thing by your major customers more often than not results in long term customer loyalty.

I am sure there are other things, so let me know your thoughts on my thoughts, good or bad!

Domain, REA

SEO For Real Estate
Listing Leads
Agentpoint Real estate

About Peter J Ricci

Peter Ricci is the Director of Agentpoint.com.au, Business2.com.au, Ginga.com.au and ZooProperty.com and has been involved in designing and developing real estate systems and websites since 1997. In July 2001 Peter founded Business2.com.au to help real estate agents better understand the power of the Internet and the real estate landscape in Australia and New Zealand. Since then he has penned over 300 articles on a variety of subjects in the real estate technology industry. Business2.com.au is now the leading real estate technology site in Australasia.

7 Responses to How can major real estate portals improve?

  1. Paul Krayven October 4, 2006 at 6:22 pm #

    Whilst I like the ‘forced’ must have a main image on realestate.com.au We didn’t like forced headlines. Our agency doesn’t use headlines for marketing (they are considered tacky by our advertising people) and to force us to use them we felt we were being dictated to on how our vendors spend their advertising dollar. We’ve gotten around this though. Also we use a nice professionally designed graphic to advertise land and we had realestate.com.au call us up and tell us off asking us to remove the images we use for land advertising immediately. Hell I’m sure they may think the barren landscape at the lot is beautiful but our vendors do not.

    Other than that realestate.com.au would be great if it wasn’t for all the advertising plastered all over the place.

    Domain.com.au is stuck in the dark ages I’m afraid they can’t even get their google maps right, they ignore support calls and are heading the way of property.com.au if they are not careful.

  2. Peter October 4, 2006 at 6:35 pm #

    Good point Paul, headlines are a bit mysterious, but I think it was more for search results, rather than the listings. Placing a transparent image or overlay over your photos should not be a problem. This could be a copyright notice or a link to your web page for more information.

    What kind of thing were you doing for land images? You will notice that only JPEGS are supported for images (floor plan is a gif image under 100k in size….beats me why 100k size is the limit though)

    I understand why gif files are not supported as you can carry stuff like animations on there.

  3. Phil October 10, 2006 at 9:26 pm #

    The major portals could improve by looking for growth by increasing membership by lowering prices not simply putting fees up each year.

  4. frank October 11, 2006 at 11:22 am #

    Paul,

    Regarding your comments on the land image. A ‘Land’ sign does not acurrately represent the land. The graphic you used may be beautiful, but is absolutely usless to the consumer. When looking for land, consumers like to know if the land is ‘barren’ or not.

    I know sales agents do not care about how they trick people into enquiring, as long as they get the so they can hook them in with the sales magic, but people visit the property websites with the intention of finding out as much as they can on the first visit. Consumers are important aspects of the property search remember – does it hurt to look after them also?

  5. Paul Krayven October 13, 2006 at 10:45 am #

    I respect your comments frank but we do also load up the actual images of the property/land as well. We use the land graphic as image 1 only. It’s more of a landbox than anything else showing the physical dimensions of the land, something our developers appreciate.

  6. frank October 13, 2006 at 5:34 pm #

    hi paul, if the image provides some information that is at least relevant and informative to the site visitor, then you should not have a problem, it is useless placecards that are not permitted

  7. Peter October 13, 2006 at 8:51 pm #

    I personally think that a bit of freedom of expression with listings should be allowed. Yes the main data should be the same, but I do think that agents should be able to express themsles in other ways on the Portals, to differentiate themselves….however as newspapers become less and less of a marketing medium and much of it goes online (I think one day letterbox drops junkmail will also be illegal with local governments and possibly state/federal goverments)

    So then it will come down to your website for differientiating yourselves, through videos, mapping and smart tags

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