Can Packer owned MyHome take a bite?

So it seems the PBL owned new real estate portal www.myhome.com.au will launch in January 2007, but more than likely they will be in no rush to market and it may be a few months later that it actually launches.

The alignment of Century21, LJHooker and Raine & Horne seems on face value to be a smart move, however rival groups majority owned by newspapers are making a very big deal of this and for good reason.

Judging by the response here, many agents do not want to be seen as lining the pockets of major franchise groups whilst supporting yet another major portal to their success only to see rapidly rising fees coming at them down the track. Ray White has been a major beneficiary of Realestate.com.au‘s success, but many agencies did not know this until recent times.
Now…..what of all of the other major franchise groups? Were they also approached. Which ones were? Which ones weren’t? If I were a director of another franchise group, I would be miffed if I was not given the opportunity to be an initial investor and would be loathe to support something that was only going to make my competitors stronger.

What about the owners of these franchise offices, do they get a share, or does it all just go to head office?

And finally, what about privately owned agencies? Time and time again they are not considered in any portal building plans, but they are the very thing that makes them truly successful.
It just strengthens my case for a private agency association to come to the fore in Australian real estate. Then you would see the major media groups wanting to deal with you first!
I consider the best real estate agencies in Australia to be ones owned privately, I am sure there are many exceptions but in all of my dealings I find many privately owned agencies to be the best at marketing vendors listings. The quality of some private agencies listings and advertising materials is outstanding.

The success of myhome.com.au will come down to many things, but the one major factor will be the spread of listings.

Major companies in Australia have a habit of big fluffy launches with no backbone and in this case backbone means listings. If I were a consumer I would want something different with all of the listings and this is something myhome.com.au will not have at launch or any time soon after.

So they must make a case for me to visit, it may be pretty, it may be fast, it may be user friendly but if it ain’t got what I am looking for and can find elsewhere there is little reason for me to return.

Over the years I have seen many flops because of the above paragraph, firstly they tell you why they are the best and why you should visit and how it will change your life!

Here are some examples.

Sensis Search – A favourite flop of mine, possibly the worst search engine I have ever come across, spent 10’s of millions on marketing and must be the most ‘visited once only’ website in Australia’s history. Spoke of the power of local search and didn’t they all seem so chuffed at launch, beaming that they had the next big thing and taking a swipe at the major search engines. Two years later less than 1% of the search engine market!
True Local, My Local, Whatever Local – What a great plan, let’s create a local search directory, contact every local business and tell them that if they get in early they will save a packet on subscription costs. Costs ranged up to $750.00 per annum and yes I have 3 clients who fell for it!

Total clicks from users visiting my clients sites so far = 13 for the year and yes that would be counting someone testing it and more than likely the agents clicking on it as well.

Oh and by the way, that is the combined visitor numbers of all 3 agents…. only $173 dollars a visitor!
“For less than $63 a month, xxxxxxxxx.com.au is the most cost effective way of getting your business in front of these potential customers.”

Or you can spend the same amount on Google Adwords and get thousands of visitors – your call!

Homehound.com.au – Not so much a flop but really not many people outside of inner Sydney know about it and it is supported by many of the same franchise groups as My Home. So it will be interesting to see what the marketing power of PBL can bring to the party in terms of the new portals success!
So how can myhome.com.au make a dent?
1. Channel Nine – Still a powerful force in television, despite every other media company trying to pull the down. They will also sponsor property (maybe a new unique show) shows to put pressure on vendors to ask agents to make sure they agency listing their property on the myhome.com.au website.
2. They will offer free trials, but free trials are tough if agents don’t get results during that trial period. Maybe first 3 months free on a 15 month subscription.

3. They will market the site across their other major Internet sites including Seek and Carpoint.

4. Magazines – Promoting the site through the powerful magazine market they own….

What positive effect could they have?
The first thing is bringing online real estate to more home across Australia, secondly they will, if successful put downward pricing pressure on other portals, which to me is a good thing.

Competition is a good thing, and realestate.com.au takes competition very seriously so if myhome.com.au launches with any unique (and good) you will see it added to realestate.com.au very quickly (as we have seen with mapping)

Your thoughts?

Show CommentsClose Comments

65 Comments

  • Rob
    Posted December 2, 2006 at 11:18 am 0Likes

    I agree that lack of listings will be their major downfall in the eyes of consumers.

    Excuse what could be a silly question but couldn’t they just pull in property data from the other major sites to show on their own?

  • Peter
    Posted December 2, 2006 at 8:18 pm 0Likes

    Hi Rob and thanks for your comments. No questions are silly, however, on your second point – creating a directory that carries limited information and then links to a major portal would not be a problem (as this is what search engines primarily do) but sucking all of the data and carrying would set forth a legal cavalry from the majors that not many could afford, it would be fun trying though!

    The lack of listings is what most fall down with, a massive launch, telling everyone how great thou art and then users go and have a look and nothing……

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted December 2, 2006 at 11:14 pm 0Likes

    As a director of the number one Richardson & Wrench franchise I too remain some what mystified about the pending new property portal. We have been advised the Head office (Richardson & Wrench) too, has been involved with PBL and their online release. The proposal is that (my understanding) PBL will upload all properties that appear on the head office website.

    Whilst, those expected to subscribe (agencies) have had absolutely no contact with PBL – in my opinion they are barking up the wrong street !!

    The point being that the offices pay not Head Office – so why place the paying subscribers on ignore ?

    Whilst I acknowledge that I know very little about this new portal – I do acknowledge that we run one of the smartest online businesses in Australia.

    Unless PBL are about to re-educate the property portals with their new release – I still formulate the opinion that they will be just like Just Missed It.

    Given that once they hit the desired number of listings – I question as a business owner that great Telstra advertisement – “Why didn’t you call … ?”

    At this point in time, I stand of the opinion that they are cruising for a bruising !!

  • Peter
    Posted December 3, 2006 at 9:12 am 0Likes

    Robert, valid comments, whilst all of the major franchises do major deals and reap benefits, it is the franchise owners that get no returns and pay all of the costs.

    We live in world completely dictated by $, PBL, Fairfax, News Ltd know that agents will pay good dollars and as most of these have always been able to make a fortune off the back of real estate agents in newspapers, they want the same returns from you in an online world, the best thing to happen would be for all 3 (and more) to all be competitive because that will lead to lower fees and a nervousness to increase fees.

    But for me the best thing to happen will be when Yahoo, Google and MSN enter the market. You can be sure that it will be 100% free for agents then and that will all but decimate the fees that these companies pay.

    Will that time come? Yes, I a 100% sure that at some stage one of the above will enter the market and if one goes, recent trends has show they all go!

  • Peter
    Posted December 3, 2006 at 9:15 am 0Likes

    Just a footnote, as many of you would be aware, the link to myhome.com.au does not work, but I have placed it here for future reference.

    regards Peter

  • Tom S
    Posted December 3, 2006 at 5:23 pm 0Likes

    Homehound (aka son of PropertyPage.com.au) has been a dismal failure for the likes of Century21, LJHooker, Raine & Horne and Ray White. Luckily for Ray White, Brian White had the vision to purchase Macquarie

  • Peter
    Posted December 3, 2006 at 5:58 pm 0Likes

    Tom yet another well thought out and articulate article. I must distance myself from inner meetings between partners as I have no idea what people say in board rooms but I do realise that this is sometimes transferred to transaction in the real world.

    On the difference between advertising online and in newspapers. I have to be honest and say that I am sick and tired of hearing this continually being racked out by portals in claiming the difference between the two as far as costs go.

    Print is excessively expensive compared to online, however the costs are dramatically different in running the two operations. Agents weigh up other things with print as well – such as branding and exposure, it may not give them the results as online, but it still has that feel good factor and will more than likely always be a part of the advertising mix.

    I think print is useless for marketing listings – it only has a feel good value, but it is useful when considering differentiation.

    The costs of running an Internet company such as realestate.com.au are the same with wages, office space, marketing etc but running systems and distribution are so much smaller that it does not warrant a comparison.

    If a real estate portal wants to raise fees and my portal salesperson told me this “Peter, this is a small increase in monthly fees over last year and when you compare it to newspaper advertising it is so much better” then he/she would pretty quickly receive a verbal backlash like they have never heard before.

    My company has not increased annual fees for 5 years and has no plans to do so any time into the future. My job is to increase my software’s scalability and to find new ways of increasing my companies revenues.

    Realestate.com.au is the best there is at the moment, it is doing everything right by its shareholders, it is far from perfect but is always looking over its shoulders, its ‘innovation’ is questionable, it really doesn’t do anything amazing, it just does a solid job in all areas.

    Thanks for the comments, you obviously have a good grasp of the industry!

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted December 3, 2006 at 8:26 pm 0Likes

    I have always been a firm believer that print and online compliment one another. With any successful marketing strategy it is all about maximising the exposure to reach vast audiences all over the world. In 2006, we spent well over $1,000,000 in print and based on that, I could not be happier with the returns in terms of our sales results and market share, which thankfully continue to increase each year.

    I believe that today, one of the strongest electronic alternates (that many seem to forget) is the power of agents running an intellectually smart database, which is all about bringing together the right people, to the right properties at the right time.

    For some strange reason the most likely purchasers should be on the database before the property is listed – so an agency that offers database / email alerts, actually beats both mediums as the first point of contact. Newspaper and property portals then in many cases become a secondary, that further promotes the property – which hopefully then promotes buyer anxiety.

    Forget the continued huff and puff – of which better exceeds expectations. Yes, the online landscape continues to evolve and that is exciting and progressive.

    However, a property owner when going to the market wants to make sure that their biggest asset reaches the largest buyer demographic to ensure they maximise their return on investment.

    In recent years we have seen the cost of print to consumers reduce – thanks largely to online and smarter new print alternatives.

    Both print and online today, remain joined at the hip whether they like it or not. What is needed today, more than ever before is to combine these unique synergies that each brings to the table – and develop a product that simply offers the consumers a one stop shop !!

    Then I believe that consumers will well and truely have their expectations exceeded.

  • redsfan
    Posted December 4, 2006 at 9:25 am 0Likes

    No one likes to give credit to the market leader, but this month I have to say hats off to realestate.com.au.

    Domain has just relaunched its site back in Aug, but hasn’t gained traction.

    I just saw the latest numbers (don’t tell anyone I have access, I don’t want to lose my in). Realestate.com.au gained (3.129 m to 3.293 m) in Nov while Domain lost (1.694m to 1.608m).

  • Tom S
    Posted December 4, 2006 at 11:25 am 0Likes

    That’s impressive – 5.2% up for Nov, and interest rates went up. And Domain is 5.1% down. It looks consumers are shifting from domain to realestate.com.au although there doesn’t appear to be any new growth. Perhaps we’ve reached a plateau for the Australian market.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted December 4, 2006 at 11:41 am 0Likes

    As a paying subscriber I view traffic differently – much the same as I do with clearance rates they are not specific to an individual niche market.

    Our November figures with REA & Domain

    Page Views Total Email Enquiries

    Domain 39,367 127

    REA 41,711 81

    Interesting when the very same statistics are broken down a different landscape appears.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted December 4, 2006 at 11:52 am 0Likes

    Correction I was just looking at the data and I noticed that the REA figure is a carry over from previous months.

    REA 14,908 Emails 81

    Domain 39, 367 Emails 127

    My apologies

  • redsfan
    Posted December 4, 2006 at 1:51 pm 0Likes

    I think it’s great that domain is so good for Robert Simeon. If I lived and worked in mosman I probably would get like results.

    But, since I live in the 99% of Australia that is outside of Mosman, realestate.com.au performs better in my suburb.

    Maybe one day that will change but after seeing realestate.com.au’s stock run up recently I’m kicking myself for not having bought earlier.

    I will probably go ahead and still buy now. I will cry all the way to the bank.

  • Sam
    Posted December 4, 2006 at 3:24 pm 0Likes

    You probably will cry all the way to the bank when PBL ramps up and you lose your money. REA are very vulnerable from a lot of angles.

  • Peter L
    Posted December 4, 2006 at 4:36 pm 0Likes

    My enquiries and views are equal from domain and realestate.

    My issue is I never contacted by domain sales agents! realestate are in my face. I prefer the new domain interface as do my clients – in fact my clients ask to be placed on domain as it suits their market. And yes I am from Melbourne, not Mosman.

  • Larry Forby
    Posted December 4, 2006 at 4:45 pm 0Likes

    Agree with R Simeon…quite often domain outperforms realestate. The difficulty is that domain marketing never appears anywhere and I find realestate more aggressive.

    Last month for our agency:

    Domain 12,672 124

    REA 11,694 86

    I have many clients preferring to be on the domain website, there has been a vast improvement. domain did nothing for years! I find the sales experience easier with realestate though.

    I will be wary of PBL.

  • Tom S
    Posted December 4, 2006 at 4:45 pm 0Likes

    It you asked me 5 years ago, I would have said that REA were vulnerable. Now they are a well oiled machine, hold a commanding lead in the local market and are developing overseas opportunities.

    As far as the share price, the horse has probably bolted by now. Still on a peer valuation to SEEK or WOTIF, they are still cheap.

  • redsfan
    Posted December 4, 2006 at 4:45 pm 0Likes

    You might be right, Sam.

    But realestate.com.au’s stock has soared lately despite the news about PBL’s new site.

    The market is saying PBL isn’t too much of a threat.

    I agree PBL might do super.

    But, the only matchstick to burn would be domain’s. They are a weak number two.

    They actually lost market share in Nov! With a new site! (Shaking head sympathetically.)

    I think two sites can coexist successfully. If I buy realestate.com.au stock then I hope they will be one of them.

  • Anthony Dilly
    Posted December 4, 2006 at 5:04 pm 0Likes

    Market share amongst the current top 2 doesn’t seem to have any relationship to agency value. Maybe it’s a quality versus quantity thing??

    I hear that stats in the sector are about to get interesting when Nielsen release a more reliable metric – representing actual users rather than computer cookies which are perhaps manipulated by the no. 1 in the category??

  • David Slattery
    Posted December 4, 2006 at 6:56 pm 0Likes

    We (agents) need to remember that all competition is good.

    If domain falters, realestate.com.au will increase $$$ in a second. They have the people, so PBL will simply be behind the 8 ball from day one, playing catch up.

    It will come down to marketing, and who has the most influence. Packer is the key player but we all know rea is smarter and quicker.

    By they way Peter, what do you make of the talk that this site paid by realestate.com.au?

  • Sam
    Posted December 4, 2006 at 7:14 pm 0Likes

    I’m sure REA have already worked out a way to manipulate that one, too much money at stake to let the truth get in the way.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted December 4, 2006 at 7:54 pm 0Likes

    I think that it is clear that demographic areas that have strong Fairfax newspaper followings ie The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age see this continue through to their property portal Domain.

    Rupert Murdoch would give plenty to have a Saturday Domain in his stable.

  • Elizabeth
    Posted December 4, 2006 at 8:17 pm 0Likes

    Peter what an exciting forum this one is – the Domain and REA supporters are out in full swing.

    But lets get back on topic – the big franchise groups and PBL are launching a site.

    So lets predict what they will say:

    “This is the industry site”

    What? – Like homehound? like propertypage? (which the franchise groups have turned their back on) Like what the institutes keep on saying they are going to do?

    No – this is a pure money grabbing attempt by both PBL and the franchise groups.

    Why? Well Franchising is dying!

    The portals now represent a quasi franchise.

    In the old days (think back to the 90’s) – the franchises could offer ‘Systems’ , ‘Marketing power’, ‘Brand recognition’, ‘referal systems’ – blah blah blah… and these gave many ordinary mum’s and dad’s the opportunity to start their own business.. to that end they served a purpose.

    But with all the products that the portals are now offering – WHO NEEDS A FRANCHISE?

    Thanks to domain and realestate.com – there has been a reduction in cost and dependancy on Print – now we also don’t need to pay 7% yearly revenue commision to get a Gold Jacket ( I hear Charles Tarby just bought an entire building in the centre of sydney – that is a lot of Gold Jackets!)

    So with the real estate franchise system in Australia on the nose – and no need to use their outdated systems, out of touch marketing (If I see that blonde haired littke something on the door of another LJH office… oh hang on .. that is the LJH CEO’s daughter), …. Enter the Portals who provide access to cutting edge systems, a larger pool of properties and opportunities online… lets face it… WHAT IS THE POINT OF FRANCHISING?

    Guess what – the Franchisors all know it – and they are doing something clever – they are launcing their own Quasi Franchise…. now they stand to take a ticket from every hard working Independant Real Estate Agent in Australia.

    That means MORE Gold Jackets and even MORE Blonde Haired little somethings on agency doors.

    Robert’s story actually highlights this perfectly…. his ‘Head Office’ of Riccie Wrench has done a deal… but no one has contacted him!

    Let me get this right – it is Roberts Listings, Roberts Market Share, Roberts Business – yet his ‘Head Office’ has been contacted and done a deal… but Robert is yet to hear from someone… and when he does he will get the “This is the industry site… and this is how much it will cost”

    ‘Ok’ says Robert – he puts his listings up… then comes the bill to PBL… so he pays it… then comes the Riccie Wrench Franchise Bill… so he pays it…..

    But then Robert will realise that he is paying ‘Head Office’ TWICE!

    (too many wines Peter – I am on a roll)

    So what does PBL really mean?

    It means we have the chance once and for all to really determine the destiny of OUR industry. That is the Real Estate Industry and NOT the Franchising Industry.

    If you are a franchisee, do you really want to pay your franchisor twice?

    And if you are an independant, do you really want to start paying money to a franchisor?

    I think everyone should use this as an opportunity to tell realestate and domain what we want… but lets not get sucked in by the multi million dollar PBL launch…

    At the end of the day… someone is going to have to pay for all the marketing spend PBL will put into it…

    Guess who that is!

    (Robert, we have never met, and I have made a few assumptions to make my arguement – forgive me if you are not going to be sucked in on all the PBL Hype)

  • Peter
    Posted December 4, 2006 at 8:25 pm 0Likes

    Well Elizabeth, I am having a tipple now too, but you raise many good points. Agents have to think about why they do things, in the past they have been roped into many things without thinking and I hope this site creates a forum for people to raise their views in a considerate manner.

    I am really pleased with the way this has bee going, more and more thought is placed into arguments and this is a good thing…..

    Keep em coming Elizabeth!

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted December 4, 2006 at 8:40 pm 0Likes

    Thanks Elizabeth,

    I agree on nearly all of assumptions.

    You are correct that PBL will hijack our listings from Dead Office, oops I meant Head Office. At this point when PBL have reached their quota to charge agents for their *guest property appearances* – we will almost certainly depart their stage. Unless, their business plan is an absolure revolution to our industry – or just another copy cat portal from our perspective we will withdraw immediately.

    What annoys me most is their assumption that because head office likes it – no need to hit the footpaths and instigate a meeting with agents. I would suggest that they are highly under staffed and don’t have the soldiers to sing their anthem in tune.

    We are a fortunate franchise that we don’t pay head office based on turn – over, rather just a monthly fee to use the name. With the modern day exception of Way Right the industry has not produced an administrator in a Head Office that followed a successful career as a real estate business owner. Rather, quite the opposite they failed in business then adopted to wear the attire of a Head Office employment parachute.

    As for PBL, already many agents are of the collective opinion that they are on the nose. History has shown that you take the agents on at your peril. Maybe agents are already pointing the “bone” at it !!

    Time will tell – enjoyed your comments !!

  • Elizabeth
    Posted December 4, 2006 at 9:19 pm 0Likes

    Robert – I have a feeling that someone from PBL will be contacting you very soon 🙂

    I have a question for you though – has your Dead Office (I love that!) got you a discount with the portals?

    I have an REA discount through the REINSW – nothing for domain – but I can barter with them 🙂

    Just curious to see if your Dead Office has looked after you with the existing portals already?

    If they haven’t – my arguement just becomes so much stronger.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted December 4, 2006 at 9:31 pm 0Likes

    Elizabeth,

    I would argue that Head Office, have had no dialogue with any representatives from REA or Domain, as they have nothing to bring to the table.

    Today, my understanding is that property portals and newspapers now deal direct with the agents as they pay their wages not head offices.

    We pay market rates to both portals – we are members of the REINSW. However I was unaware that a discount existed to member agents. Maybe, a REA representative can expand on this, in this forum.

    We prefer to look after ourselves and not use Head Office. Head Office, would not even be in office without the effective abilities of the offices which are independently owned and operated.

    Many franchise operators would successfully argue that the reason they pay them is to keep out of negotiations with suppliers.

  • Elizabeth
    Posted December 4, 2006 at 9:39 pm 0Likes

    The Race is on – who will contact Robert first?

    REA or PBL?

    Robert you have to let us know who wins…

    But funny how Dead Office have no dialogue with domain nor REA – yet here they are with PBL. I hate to say I told you so… but something definately smells here.

    Good night gentlemen …

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted December 4, 2006 at 10:03 pm 0Likes

    I wait with baited breathe !!

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted December 4, 2006 at 10:16 pm 0Likes

    “Tom S Says:

    December 4th, 2006 at 11:25 am
    That

  • Peter
    Posted December 4, 2006 at 11:17 pm 0Likes

    # David Slattery Says:
    By they way Peter, what do you make of the talk that this site paid by realestate.com.au?

    Well I can categorically say I am not paid a cent for this site from any company. I own and operate my own software development firm for the real estate industry and it has become a passion of mine.

    Yes, I have discussions with many people from many of the major sites. And I definitely do not favour one over another. I am concerned with agencies only and I think my views reflect this.

    However, people are free to make assumptions. You will find that these assumptions are made because of one or two favourable comments to a particular site and usually from their competitors.

    In all of my articles I hope my first thought is the effect on agencies themselves.

    I do a few speaking engagements from time to time and they are all based on agencies understanding the Internet better for their own benefit.

    I f I mention my company or link to my companies services I also list and link to my competitors in the same article and I provide links on the right hand side to all of my competitors under “agents websites”.

  • Tom S
    Posted December 5, 2006 at 1:11 am 0Likes

    Hi Robert,

    I take it as a compliment that you believe that I am an REA employee. I just clicked on my Id – ‘Tom S’, and curiously enough you are right – it does divert to the REA site. Peter, please explain!

    Richard, I assure you that I am not a REA employee. However, I have followed the evolution of the online real estate media industry since the Netwide days (1996) and take much interest in this space. My background is in broking and IT. I am not masquerading, although like you, I can not help but be suspicious of some of the bloggers on this site and who they may work for. But that’s the beauty of a forum like this. You can usually weed out the conflicts of interest quite quickly.

    I am surprised that you would think that Peter maybe on REAs payroll. I know that this is not in fact the case. But his site is fantastic as you get some genuine grass-roots exchanges of opinions and ideas, and the odd bit of gossip.

    Back to Elizabeth’s comment re Franchisors becoming redundant in the new age, you’ve hit the nail on the head and I can’t believe that it did not dawn on me earlier. You

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted December 5, 2006 at 6:21 am 0Likes

    Tom (and others). When you post you are required to give your email address and name, you have the option of including your website address (optional) as well. I think you might have thought that because you were talking about realestate.com.au you placed that link in your contact details. You do not need to do this and if you do this it will link your name to your website. As an example Robert includes his website address with his name each time.

    Doing this is a good thing. From time to time people do post on here pretending to be someone else and this is a good way to verify where you are from, and it also promotes your website!!

    Hope this clears this up!

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted December 5, 2006 at 6:26 am 0Likes

    And another thing, the system logs IP addresses and yes, one person posted from one of the major portals here yesterday pretending to be an Agent and quoting figures……quite funny to witness let me assure you

    Yes I know who you are!!!!

  • Dave Platter
    Posted December 5, 2006 at 7:40 am 0Likes

    Full disclosure: I am a representative of realestate.com.au

    In response to Sam’s and Anthony’s comments, the internet advertising business is so well measured that there is no room for fudging the numbers.

    The group that audits our numbers is part of the company that also audits TV audiences, and no one here has challenged Channel 9 on their audience size. The group is Neilsen//NetRatings. Feel free to contact them to double check our numbers any time.

    http://netratings.com/
    Elvira Lodewick
    Director, Marketing and Communications
    Asia Pacific and Latin America
    Tel: +61 (2) 8204 5823

    Our competitors see the same numbers, so if we tried to fake it, they’d point it out. (That recently happened in New Zealand; a competitor made false claims and was busted by the local advertising authority.)

    We’ve been claiming to be the most popular real estate website in Australia since Oct. of 2000 and domain hasn’t challenged it once. That’s because the claim is accurate.

  • Peter
    Posted December 5, 2006 at 8:12 am 0Likes

    Dave – Thanks for the disclosure.

    I do agree that the Internet is alot more accurately measured than TV audiences but there are many ways to measure audiences and to work your way around these figures. Neilson Netratings includes all of the sites that are members. NOT ones that are not and as there are only 15 real estate portals (or close enough to it) that are members it is hardly accurate past the first couple.

    Newspapers as an example provide figures from what I believe – not on total of amount of papers printed and then returns deducted, but on how many people on average read one newspaper, terribly inaccurate!

    Does anyone remember ads in newspapers unless they are looking for them?

    Television again is not very accurate as they provide a small sample an then scale this data. Again not accurate.

    In all cases the Internet wins out hands down. But there are always ways in which companies can cheat and history has shown that many do when such large advertising revenues are in play!

    There is no doubt about the lead in real estate portals in Australia, but I urge agents to look at their own results, because that is what counts.

    However, I will say this, improving your real results is easy as taking the time to improve your vendors listings information.

    Getting 50 email enquiries a month asking for photos or more information that could have been provided in the first place is NOT getting results and those that think “yeah but we get contacts” well I think you get frustrated contacts and that is not a good way to start negotiations.

  • Dave Platter
    Posted December 5, 2006 at 10:28 am 0Likes

    Full disclosure: I am a representative of realestate.com.au

    Regarding Anthony’s comment about the new measurement system for real estate traffic, I believe I know the system he’s referring to. I’ve talked with one of its creators (again, independent auditors).

    The new system is not necessarily more accurate in my underdstanding. It just measures from a diffferent perspective. In the new system like the old, realestate.com.au is the favorite website of Australians.

    I’m glad about that, because our customers rely on us to do well for them. (Pls don’t flare me for saying that. I know it sounds corny, but it’s my feeling.)

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted December 5, 2006 at 9:26 pm 0Likes

    “Elizabeth Says:

    December 4th, 2006 at 9:39 pm
    The Race is on – who will contact Robert first?

    REA or PBL?

    Robert you have to let us know who wins

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted December 5, 2006 at 10:01 pm 0Likes

    “Peter Ricci Says:

    December 5th, 2006 at 6:26 am
    And another thing, the system logs IP addresses and yes, one person posted from one of the major portals here yesterday pretending to be an Agent and quoting figures

  • Peter
    Posted December 5, 2006 at 10:12 pm 0Likes

    Robert, I personally did not name the portal, because I think the owners would be quite upset,. More than likely a lone smarty! I just thought I would send a warning shot across the bow!

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted December 5, 2006 at 10:31 pm 0Likes

    Peter,

    I acknowledge that – just that as a person who thrives on undressing IT, then trying to work out the next wardrobe. It is frustrating that some throw in wardrobe malfunctions. I was just venting my frustrations as what this site offers is interlectual debate, discussion and discovery.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted December 5, 2006 at 10:37 pm 0Likes

    Spelling error – that would be intellectual !!

  • Elizabeth
    Posted December 5, 2006 at 11:49 pm 0Likes

    Thanks for the follow up Robert… although I was half expecting a domain person to contact you first thing this morning to get some kudos…

    Can you expand more on what it was that you and Bill Russell talked about that had your hair standing on end?

    It is late – I am a simple girl (lady if I am honest about my age).. and Roberts 2nd last entry has me confused about my wardrobe and IT…

    So I am unplugging the LCD in the bedroom – closing the wardrobe doors – and sleeping in the lounge.

  • Cornelius
    Posted December 6, 2006 at 4:49 pm 0Likes

    I’m not sure the strategy of promoting a real estate site on Seek, CarSales and Channel 9 is going to work. It doesn’t work for News Digital Media’s carsguide or CareerOne. This is because anyone looking to move house at the same time as buy a new car at the same timne as starting a new job only needs one thing: therapy.

  • Paul
    Posted December 6, 2006 at 6:22 pm 0Likes

    So, I’m a day late after the foregoing comments. I am an agent in regional NSW. I thought I’d “have a chat” as well. All the comments regarding the ownership of the various real estate websites are quite interesting – but that’s about all. What most people are failing to see, is that the general public could not care less which website their properties are advertised on – AS LONG AS IT SELLS !!

    And Elizabeth, you seem to epend an enormous amount of energy discrediting the franchise agents, and indeed franchisors. PEOPLE DO NOT CARE who they buy off, they expect good service and honesty. If the agent has the right property, gives them good service, and they have a hassle free experience, the purchaser could not care less whether the sales person makes a million dollars a year or 10,000 a year. The people search the property first – they don’t search the agent.

    Once they become repeat customers – that’s a whole different ball game.

    They become repeat customers not because of who the agent is, but because of their previous experience with that agent. If a website is successful, as realestate.com.au is now, then the agents will use it. The agents, for the most part couldn’t care less who owns it, as long as it works for them. Competition will keep advertising affordable. The newspapers’ “rivers of gold” are now in a permanent drought because of websites like seek.com and carpoint.com. and real estate is heading the same way.

    As the next generation moves through into both positions of buying and selling and being the agent as well – goodbye newspaper. That is happening as we speak. The next generation will be in those positions within 5 years. In terms of access to the internet, (and these figures are a year old) 60% of Australians older than 65 have access to the internet now. 83% of people 50 to 64, and the other 3 age categories below that are all 93% or higher. It’s not going to happen – IT ALREADY HAS.

    So thinking about who owns what, and who’s trying to do what to whomever, is pretty much a waste of time. the X generation hasn’t got time for all that, they’ll go with whoever gives them a positive result in terms of instant gratification v competitive price. Worrying about what is going to happen to the franchise groups or whether homehound was a failure or any of the other small stuff is a waste of time. Give the public what they want, and turn them into a repeat customer, and you will be about to see what happens in any case.

  • Peter
    Posted December 6, 2006 at 7:06 pm 0Likes

    Paul, thank you for your comments. You make some very valid arguments.

    I think it is important for agents to care and this forum obviously has shown that many agents across Australia do care.

    This is why we all should care.

    Portals are owned by media companies that make money. They are rewarded for making more and more money, newspapers have always made money because they are in many cases monopolies in the classifieds realm.

    I can guarantee this. If there was only one real estate portal in Australia and that was all – and it was owned by the largest media player in the world and agents had no choice but to be on it, for lets say $100,000 a year, who do you think would pay for it? Agents or consumers?

    Both and yes they would care……

    So…………in saying this, caring about it now, is better than saying ‘oops’ later!

    News Ltd, Fairfax and PBL are in the business of making money and two of them have made a fortune off-line from agents for decades, the reason for this is monopolies, each pretty much has had a protected area for years in classifieds.

    So I think it is everyone’s interest to be informed and to care…

    As for franchises everyone has an opinion, but I do not think any franchise could claim a strength in today’s market like they could of in the past…….

  • Paul
    Posted December 7, 2006 at 10:10 am 0Likes

    Yes Peter, I agree with you. We NEED to care. I have just taken a step down off my very small soap box 🙂
    I do think however that because we are living in a market economy, that healthy competition will keep the price affordable. If it doesn’t, then someone will come up with a cost effective alternative. These days, the only thing permanent in life is change.

    We are able to adopt new technology far quicker than in the past, and inevitably there will be new delivery methods of advertising.

    The big advertising providers need to make plenty, so that they can keep changing direction, as the technology advances. So in a sense, they are competing against each other for our benefit. As long as there is a viable alternative – hopefully that will mean affordability.

    On a completely different note, yesterday was the first time I came across this website. It’s a fantastic forum for comments from some first rate people. I will watch with interest.

  • Dave Platter
    Posted December 7, 2006 at 11:32 am 0Likes

    (I work for realestate.com.au Ltd.)

    Bravo, Cornelius! I love the joke.

  • Mark Duffett
    Posted December 7, 2006 at 2:18 pm 0Likes

    Another dumb question. Why do the real estate portal sites charge agents a flat annual/monthly/weekly fee, rather than something like so many cents per clickthrough?

  • Peter
    Posted December 7, 2006 at 2:28 pm 0Likes

    Well this is how they started and they all just follow with the same business model.

    My preference would be by email enquiry. This would force agents to actually provide all of the information for each property and make this the key component of a real estate portal.

    Will not happen just yet, but a per listing fee will be just around the corner, especially for agents who have one office spread across a large area, which will happen more often in the future.

  • Peter
    Posted December 7, 2006 at 3:02 pm 0Likes

    By there way , there are no dumb questions! Only Dumb answers and they are usually provided by good self!

  • Brett Hayton
    Posted December 7, 2006 at 3:28 pm 0Likes

    Good luck to myhome.com.au

    Success is dictated by the number of eyeballs and there is only one winner realestate.com.au with domain.com.au a distant second.

    Consumers have voted and PBL is just too late to make any difference.

    as Jack Welch of GE said
    “be number one or number two in your market, [ because] when you’re number four or five in a market, you get pneumonia when number one sneezes.”

  • Mark Duffett
    Posted December 7, 2006 at 3:34 pm 0Likes

    Thanks, Peter. Payment per enquiry would seem to make eminent sense from the agent point of view.

    My only experience of the real estate industry is that of a client (buyer/seller), but I’ve found this experience frustrating due to the rudimentary nature of the online search tools currently available. If I ever get serious about hankering to start my own business, and/or the portal sites don’t get their act together soon, I’d be developing a site that does property search properly. Even the likes of realmap.com.au are only scratching the surface of what’s possible.

  • Peter
    Posted December 7, 2006 at 3:43 pm 0Likes

    Mark this is true. My advice is if you are to develop something do it in your area and expand as you get success, There are too man companies trying to be national.

    So what do you suggest as for searching?

  • Mark Duffett
    Posted December 7, 2006 at 5:16 pm 0Likes

    That would be telling, wouldn’t it! Suffice to say that my thought process goes something like this:

    What are we always told makes a good property? Location, location, location!

    So what makes for a good location? Show me a list of those criteria, and I’ll show you a list of what it should be possible to search on.

    How would this be done? GIS. It means a lot more than pin symbols on a map, but noone in the real estate industry seems to have twigged this yet.

  • Paul
    Posted December 7, 2006 at 6:07 pm 0Likes

    So you are only going to sell properties in good locations ? What if someone asks you to sell a property in not a great location. Not everyone can have a property in a great location !

  • Sam
    Posted December 7, 2006 at 6:51 pm 0Likes

    Don’t you get it ? Any property Mark is asked to sell will be in a good location by default.

  • Elizabeth
    Posted December 7, 2006 at 7:21 pm 0Likes

    PAUL SAYS: December 6yh, 2006 at 6.22pm.

    “And Elizabeth, you seem to (s)pend an enormous amount of energy discrediting the franshise agents, and indeed franchisors. PEOPLE DO NOT CARE who they buy off, they expect good service and honesty”

    Hi Paul, we may have got off on the wrong foot.

    My arguement is not with the franchisees, it is with the Franchisors.

    Quite simply – I am an independent agent and proud of it.. I have built my own reputation and client base. I have been approached by franchisors in the past to join their network and I have said no.

    Why would I keep doing what I am doing – just to give them a kickback?

    So now – when I see that they are in bed with PBL – I think that this is just another way to try and get some money out of me.

    Simple equation. That is my take on the Business side of our industry.

    Now as for Agents which people can trust… and eg would be LJH House of Horrors?

    That is a harsh example , and certainly a minute percentage of the ENTIRE industry.

    But I can just tell that the ‘darling little something’ on the front of every LJH office is saying “I see dead people”.

    You are right – consumers will go where they find the best service and products.

    As a business woman I have to think carefully about whom I do business with.

    Just my opinions.

    This is a terrific place to get everyone in our industry talking… you must pleased Peter! 🙂

  • Mark Duffett
    Posted December 12, 2006 at 10:07 am 0Likes

    Thanks Paul and Sam, I appreciate the feedback, which highlights an aspect I hadn’t thought of. I guess I shouldn’t chuck in my day job to pursue my idea just yet.

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted December 12, 2006 at 11:13 am 0Likes

    Mark, the major’s in my opinion have the national market sewn up, however I think there will be a rise in local/niche real estate portals, targeted at specific area or national portals targeted at niche area such as waterfront properties.

    Remember, to build a national portal may only cost around $50,000 systems around $150,000. If you know programming you can work out the hours, most (not all) decent developers cost around $125 + per hour.

    So it is not a big initial investment, but it must be done right.

    don’t ever think it cannot be done!

  • Liam
    Posted December 27, 2006 at 4:17 am 0Likes

    I find it amusing when agents cant do anything everytimr REA increase the price. They are content owners for god sake.

    If every agent just takes the listing off REA and puts on HomeHound I am sure REA would die instantlly and Homehound would be 90% as good as REA currently is and to homebuyers and agents the effect is minimal.

    And yes, I can build REA listing system for even less ~ $30,000.

    Peter, what is your take on a meta-search for properties? I personally think REA or Domain will not like it.

  • CRaig Pontey
    Posted January 28, 2007 at 5:57 pm 0Likes

    I agree with Robert.

    As the number one Ray White Office and having had some newspaper experience thru the Eastern Express days it is about not just communicating with head office but all stakeholders.

    It will be interesting…………

    Stay tuned

    Reagrsd

    Craig Pontey

  • Peter
    Posted January 28, 2007 at 6:52 pm 0Likes

    Welcome Craig, I hope to see you here again adding value to debates. It will be an interesting year!

  • CRaig Pontey
    Posted February 8, 2007 at 2:29 am 0Likes

    Thamks Peter

    Go the Real Estate market

    Have a great year

    Craig

  • Vic
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 5:40 pm 0Likes

    Peter,
    What an interesting set of commentaries when looking back at predictions from 2007 and looking at todays outcomes.
    Some of you got it spot on. And yes we have started a niche portal, but have gone one step further in the paradigm shift and made it free.

    Wonder whether anyone else will pick up the commentary as at 15/7/2010.

Leave a comment