2006 – My Awards

Here are some awards on the real estate portal market in 2006!

BEST REAL ESTATE PORTAL
Realestate.com.au has proven time and time again they are the leaders. they know agencies habits and have built an empire around this knowledge. The site is far from perfect but it is the best there is. It sees threats from ideas and adds them quickly and efficiently to their mix. It knows that it cannot get too much more money from agents, so it looks to new markets to increase its revenues. Added Hubonline and is now heavily promoting this tool to agents to further strengthen its relationships and revenues. Will be tested in 2007 but will still remain the market leader. Look to see further acquisitions in 2007 to strengthen its already commanding position.

BEST NEW INNOVATION
Have to say that Spyk came out of left field with a great little innovation where it grabs data much like and search engine and publishes the results using Microsoft Mapping. A great showcase of the talents of these developers. Mapping is the number one tool going forward and we will see even more offerings in 2007 from the likes of realmap.com.au and others.

DUMB & DUMBER AWARD
Justlisted again has sat on the worst real estate portal from a major company perhaps ever! The listings have no information for property hunters, the system for agents is just terrible and has so many faults that need fixing. They seriously must be doing a new website or they are finished. The company 30 months ago sprouted a national site and still nothing!

PARIS HILTON AWARD
For releasing more press releases telling us how wonderful they Realestate.com.au and Domain.com.au cannot be separated. They are both now using different metrics and publishing results to suit themselves. Clearly realestate.com.au lead, but really who cares at the street level, agents can judge for themselves and informed property hunters who are spending millions of dollars just don’t go to one site!

PERSONAL RANT AWARD
For becoming increasingly irrelevant in the world today, newspapers and commercial television news media win this award. News is not a friend of a friend of Brad Pitt nor is news Ian Thorpe’s latest underwear range (what men would wear his clothes, cologne etc?) or whether Harry’s girlfriend has accepted an invitation from the Queen to a freaking Christmas party at Sandringham. If I want my news I go to SBS or ABC for television or Google News on the Internet! Just another reason why traditional media is done!

THE KYOTO AWARD
Yellow Pages See those Yellow pages books in that picture on the right? Count them, if your maths are as good as mine you will count 10. These were delivered a month ago. We have 12 apartments. Next week like hundreds of thousands of housholds across Australia these will be in the paper bin for recycling. So next when you get told how great the Yellow Pages are by a sales representative from Sensis – try this little equation 12 minus 10 = 2. Still it is only about $15,000 a year for half a page in Sydney! (don’t know this for sure)

FORREST GUMP AWARD
Stupid is as stupid does. Truelocal and MyLocal are two great reasons why companies with lots of cash should not be allowed to spend it on technology without getting approval from their parents. These local search directories are useless fodder that get little to no results for businesses! Fees range from $700 per annum up to $800 per annum, but if you were one of the lucky ones to get in early you might have saved around $50 of your wasted money. One client of mine has paid $795.00 and had 4 visitors in six months ……oh…..and I was one of them!

So tell me your awards for 2006? The best and the worst!

Awards

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.

28 Responses to 2006 – My Awards

  1. Dave Platter December 19, 2006 at 3:03 pm #

    Very funny post, Peter!

    Now, I’m probably an idiot, but am I missing the reference with 12-10=1. Shouldn’t it be 2?

  2. Peter Ricci December 19, 2006 at 3:06 pm #

    lol, I actually did that by mistake to start with and the thought I would leave it there for someone to pick up!

    Well done Dave. We all know you boys and girls at REA never miss a beat!

  3. David Slattery December 19, 2006 at 5:01 pm #

    Well I must say ‘surprise suprise’ about Real estate winning your award Peter.

    Make sure your REA Christmas Bonus includes enough $$$ to keep the family going next year.

  4. Peter Ricci December 19, 2006 at 5:06 pm #

    David

    Do you have any thoughts as to who should have won this very prestigious honor? Have I got it wrong? And Why?

    Thanks for the comment on the REA $$$ too, I am flattered that people think this way as I do give them a battering every now and then!

  5. Mark December 19, 2006 at 5:19 pm #

    Hi Peter,

    Rave About It is an Australian website that aims to provide an enjoyable way in which users can search, rate and discuss what they think of services in their local area and beyond. We feel that word-of-mouth is the most accurate representation of how well a business services their customers and it also provides a level playing field for small and large businesses alike.

    Some of the following Real Estate related industries will be included for reviewing:

    * Real Estate Agents
    *Mortgage Brokers
    *Conveyancing

    See the below listing for an example:
    http://www.raveaboutit.com.au/business_listing/Richardson—Wrench-Chatswood/21036-21040-3052.html

    Regards,

    Mark

  6. David Slattery December 19, 2006 at 5:38 pm #

    I was just hoping you may surprise us all – this website is littered with realestate.com.au folk praising you and your opinions, so as discussed really not surprised.

    To me, domain has finally stepped up to the plate this year, and become a lot more aggressive in the marketplace. A new wider less cluttered site (which my clients consistently prefer); pretty sure they were the first to release maps; vastly improved search, and a heck of a lot more customer collatoral for me to pass onto my clients relating to their leads.

    Domain have offered me two new online products in the last 3 months; realestate none. This is what my clients want – not google lab imitations! And how is a site in Italy helping me??

    Justlisted have spent quite a lot of time improving and optimising their site so that it ranks in google well. I also know for a fact they don’t have the freedom that the other portals have (being owned by sensis).

    I enjoy your posts, but we just thought you may surprise us Peter.

    Looking forward to a great new year debating myhome.

    Signing off.

  7. Peter Ricci December 19, 2006 at 5:58 pm #

    Thanks Dave – That is the sort of critique I am after – not just simply telling me I am paid by REA.

    Now how did I come to this decision? Well firstly it is all about growth and domination – yes Domain has released a new site and to be honest I was disappointed. I think it is minimal yes, but to say they have done this because they think more about the user experience – that does not wash with me.

    As for Italian portal – yes there will be little to no benefit to you – but it is an aggressive push and one that should be applauded!

    As for the first with maps? Well they were the first of the two major players with them and both are far from perfect.

    I agree 1024 pixel width is the way to go and yes realestate.com.au are infatuated with revenue growth and their site i9s full of rubbish advertising but – the numbers speak for themselves – even if you allow for some mucking around with figures. Consumers vote with power and where realestate.com.au trump Domain is 3 x visitor numbers and double the listings I think that warrants some credit.

    If you take a look through the site I am always onto each and every portal – this site is for agents not for me or any preferential treatment to portals.

    In my opinion Domain have allot of work to do in 2007 because MyHome will be working towards being number 2 by the end of next year and with the power this company has through marketing on TV and Internet they will be a formidable rival. Pressure will come from vendors and that is who they will target and for an agency to lose a $15,000 commission because they refuse to be a part of it – does not make good business sense.

    I receive many press releases from allot of portals and I ignore most of them, but I read each one with Interest.

    As for just listed, I upload for clients (manually) and use their system every week and it is just terrible. Stuff just still does not work and this is unacceptable for a company with large resources like Sensis.

    As for surprising you – I wish I could sit here and say someone else is better – that is not my role though, it has to be based on many factors and if I weigh them all up – then REA come out on top – again in my opinion.

    Thanks for the critique and please get stuck into me any time you think I am wrong!

  8. Robert Simeon December 19, 2006 at 11:10 pm #

    Hmmmm – best real estate portal ??

    I would ask what have REA introduced this year that would propel them to this position ? Absolutely nothing !! The home page is still the same, otherwise confused as a finance portal. Their navigation is appalling – as they have to rely on outside real estate support to compete. This further complicitates this defining issue in that why boast the most complicated home page that is user un-friendly ?

    Domain, did beat them to google mapping. And their search criteria absolutely smashes them in so far as functionality !!

    Peter, let me pose a question as a business owner : why would property portals insist on contracts with agencies ?

    The FPC contracts are an absolute joke in the Eastern Suburbs and under investigation from the ACCC.

    Print do not insist on contracts (unless you are with FPC), which explains why they are selling out !!

    We will sign contracts for specific placements with property portals, however we will not sign contracts for ongoing participation where we do all the work, in that we supply all the labour to upload properties at our cost on their portals.

    Property portals simply host our properties – they up – sell on our behalf (for their personal gain) and we do all the work.

    Their will be a huge sting in 2007 – and just remember where you read it first πŸ™‚

  9. Robert Simeon December 19, 2006 at 11:12 pm #

    Their, opps *there πŸ˜‰

  10. Peter December 20, 2006 at 8:44 am #

    Robert. I have to be honest and tell you the contracts thing is done because agents are simply dumb and fragmented. Contracts are like money in the bank and are offered mainly in areas where there is only one property guide. This is how they do it, set a ridiculously high casual rate and then a high contract rate, agents mostly go with the contract rate. Wonder what you would get if they had an association that negotiated on their behalf?
    This will change however as newspapers will only be used as a promotional puff piece and rates will go down. But to me newspapers are over and as soon as the vendors know this (and many already do) then agents will not have to worry so much about it.

    As far as the sting goes – it seems that newspapers will self destruct anyway. They are all working to lower costs (trying to merge delivery) and increasing revenues. There only hope for long term survival is for the papers to be free!

    But they will still be full of crap!

  11. Elizabeth December 20, 2006 at 9:12 am #

    Ah yes – more contraversy.

    So lets set a few things straight before we all rant and rave.

    Domain FOLLOWED Homehound in getting aerial maps – who in turn FOLLOWED portals in the US and UK.

    Domain launching all these products in 3 months – how about the 2 years of dead results that preceeded it?!

    realestate being the number one? hmmm too much advertising, but still that is where all the listings are.

    and finally…. Robert Simeon first BAGGING PBL and his ‘dead office’… now gleefully (and in an ‘all knowing manner’) .. spruking of what is to come in 2007.

    It would appear that PBL have indeed contacted Robert… and I would take a further guess at predicting that Robert has secured more than just listings incentives.

    So at this time of year – more than ever before – lets be honest, lets stick to the truth, and for once in the year 2007 can agents around Australia make an informed decision rather than being all emotional.

    I am a female I am supposed to be irratic and emotional, but I tell you there are some men in this industry who leave me for dead in those respects.

    BTW my number one would be Spyke – if for nothing else than the simplicity and the lack of undue hype in which it emerged.

    E

  12. Peter December 20, 2006 at 9:30 am #

    It seems I get a lot of stick for saying anything nice about realestate.com.au. Did I say they were the greatest site ever? No I have many articles on here on how they can improve both in terms of usability and in responsibility! I also write many articles on here having a go at them.

    Elizabeth – I like Spyk but just couldn’t give them they nod because they really just spawn listings from other sites.

    To me Domain may well do a good job on customer service, but unless I do a Roy Morgan Poll (why do people bother with these things?) I will never know unless agents inform me and to be honest most of my conversations with agents complain about customer service. I cannot wait for a portal to offshore their customer support call centre to Mumbai

    Kevin from Sydney in deep Indian accent: ” Hello Peter this is Kevin from Sydney”, where are you located?

    Peter: Bondi Beach!

    Kevin: Is that in New South Wales?

    and this has happened!

    And yes Elizabeth you are a female, but females generally do a good job at making their points in a clear and precise manner and are excellent at throwing things when we repeatedly forgot the said points 3 minutes later!

  13. Peter December 20, 2006 at 9:31 am #

    and I have a scar on my head to prove it!

  14. Dave Platter December 20, 2006 at 12:16 pm #

    (I work at realestate.com.au)

    Robert, you certainly are provocative this week! As to which is the best site, there are all kinds of ways of coming at it.

    But, basically, it’s really just a question of knowing your ABCs:

    A. more Australians use realestate.com.au than any other site to search for homes and agents

    B. realestate.com.au drives more leads to agents than any other site

    C. more agents rely on realestate.com.au than any other site to build their businesses

    Have a happy holiday, everyone. Peter, will you continue to post next week, or are you taking a break?

  15. Peter December 20, 2006 at 12:47 pm #

    Hi Dave, thanks again for your input. I will be posting again next week, a general what to expect in 2007. Or as Nine would put in Business2 is 2007!

    Seems to me you should go back to kindagarten!

    A: more Australians use realestate.com.au than any other site to search for homes and agents

    B: realestate.com.au drives more leads to agents than any other site

    C: At the moment agents have no choice but to be with realestate.com.au for marketing their listings and pay the fees that realestate.com.au set out. The future may be different and you guys will need to look at your whole approach because more Australians watch TV than read ads in newspapers!

  16. Peter December 20, 2006 at 12:48 pm #

    Have a great XMAS Dave!

  17. Robert Simeon December 20, 2006 at 10:15 pm #

    Dave,

    I am always a paying client who shoots from the hip !! Please tell me what REA did with their property portal in 2006 – that improved on the 2005 website for consumers / and or, paying clients.

    Elizabeth, to the contrary I have had absolutely no dialogue with any representative from PBL . The only thing that I have secured in 2007 is priority placements on Domain in both Mosman and Cremorne. Which was conducted in a fair and transparent application process.

    The reason being is that we receive a traffic flow of 66% from Domain to 33 % REA, fact !!

    However, I do have prior knowledge many in recent times are of the opinion that property portals have been resting in recent years on their laurels. In that it is broken – however no point in trying to fix it as it costs money.

    Aside, from the introduction of Google Mapping I have not identified any other changes to the REA website – please correct me if I am wrong.

    What I do know is that if I am searching Mosman, Domain will take me there much faster than a REA search, again please correct me if I am wrong on this assumption of search functionality.

    This site allows us to keep you buggers honest – now Dave please respond – and without chiko rolls and eggnog !! πŸ˜‰

  18. Dave Platter December 20, 2006 at 10:19 pm #

    Peter, we take our job of helping agents very seriously. It’s like a religion around here!

    Now, somehow, I think we went to different kindegardens. Did you have that nice lady Mrs. Short? Here’s some more of the alphabet as she taught me:

    C. In an ideal world (perhaps the afterlife?) everything would be free

    D. But we’ve got bills to pay, too.

    E. So we have to charge a fair price for our services.

    F. Luckily for everyone, our performance rockets forward while our costs only walk.

    G. That means each year we deliver much more than the year before but only have to charge a little more.

    H. For example, last year we delivered:
    ++89% more leads to agents than the year before (411,000 vs 283,000)
    ++34% more unique visitors (3.1million vs 2.3m)

    I. You may be surprised to know that our biggest cost is not bandwith or technology. It’s people.

    J. The technology could almost be free without making it much cheaper to deliver our services to agents.

    K. Yes, it’s about clicks not bricks, but it still takes people to run the show.

    And finally…

    L. Love the blog and have a great night.

  19. Dave Platter December 20, 2006 at 10:34 pm #

    Robert, I was just about to sign off and consume chikos, but you just managed to catch me.

    I have to point out that one of Domain’s new products is just a rip off of something we’ve offered for about 18 months. What they call “don’t miss” advertising is what we’ve long called “guaranteed top spot.”

    I don’t believe you’ve tried GTS but it sounds like you’re going to give their product a go. Could that be one reason you personally get better results from them?

    If you took a full page ad in one paper, and a 2-inch ad in another, you couldn’t fairly blame the second paper for not delivering the same results.

    Now I’m signing off. So, have a good night and hoist those chikos!

  20. Robert Simeon December 21, 2006 at 12:27 am #

    Dear Santa,

    These are our November statistics, calculated before we signed off on the Domain rip – off December, GTS, otherwise referred as “Guaranteed Top Spot”.

    REA 14,908 Emails 81

    Domain 39, 367 Emails 127

    My apologies Santa, as I pay REA to provide my business with consumer contact. They do their best, however Santa they fail to match their competitor Domain. Obviously, all suburbs vary however Santa, we decided to pursue Domain as they provide (prior to GTS) a better relationship with perspective clients.

    Santa, I wish in 2007 that REA can match and even better the results that Domain deliver us.

    Also, Santa can you tell me what REA have done to their website in 2006 that has improved client relationships ?

    Santa, finally, I have been a good boy and paid all my property portal bills on time !!

    I hear that the Domain rip – off (GTS) is over subscribed, yet the REA (GTS) is under subscribed – otherwise known as empty in Mosman.

    Santa, what point am I missing ?

    I promise to be a good boy in 2007 !!

  21. snoop January 4, 2007 at 8:00 am #

    I think the problem lies with the agents.
    How quickly and how often do the email leads get followed up?
    As a consumer I emailed several agents in QLD over the break and not one follow up email or phone call.
    I think many agents dont have the back end process in place to ensure the customer gets the attention they are looking for.
    The internet stands for instant gratification.
    I dont fell gratified.

  22. Elizabeth January 12, 2007 at 8:25 pm #

    Hello and a Happy New Year to you Peter and readers/participants.

    Peter, I hope (and believe me this is certainly not my wish for your site) that your site is experiencing a ‘bug’ which has culled some of the entries… when I left for my holiday I remember quite a few more entries in this particular category.

    Why I am concerned – is that my retort to Robert S’s criticism of REA, and later Roberts entry/disclosure that he essentially ‘works’ for Domain – are two such entries missing.

    Is this a bug – or are you editing submissions to the site in 2007?

    E

  23. Peter Ricci January 12, 2007 at 9:14 pm #

    Elizabeth, anything from the 23rd until the 26th was wiped due to an idiot programmer, I have copies of all comments though and have to add them manually, only this site was effected.

    So no, I do not edit comments unless they are offensive!

  24. Elizabeth January 13, 2007 at 3:33 pm #

    How could I ever of doubted you Peter? πŸ˜€

    I think that your idiot programmer must be related to a former front receptionist of mine whose job it was to load listings onto the internet… somehow she managed to wipe all my listings rather than update them.

    I feel your pain!

    E

  25. Robert Simeon January 16, 2007 at 7:04 pm #

    Happy New Year Elizabeth,

    Just to clarify an earlier point you made in that I do not ‘work’ for Domain.

    Thanks

    Robert

  26. Tom S January 18, 2007 at 11:28 pm #

    Robert, I’m interested to know what your affiliation is with Domain, besides being a client.

  27. Robert Simeon January 19, 2007 at 7:45 am #

    Tom,

    I pay exactly the same as every other agency to post our properties on their portal. When they roll – out new innovations they do consult me with regard to constructive feedback. Domain have a what they call “Discovery Team” which I participate in which involves a few meetings on an annual basis.

    I receive no financial remuneration from Fairfax Digital for any time and/or advice that I offer with regard to their brand. My involvement with Domain is solely aimed at helping to deliver a better and smarter search option for our clients.

    Having said that I also meet with REA on a vice versa basis.

  28. Robert Simeon January 19, 2007 at 10:05 pm #

    Tom S – your silence on my response is golden !!

    Given my transparent response I ask you to explain your involvement in the property industry.

    Aside from your initial posts where you directed your direction to REA – despite your white shoe wardrobe where do you stand ?

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