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How MyHome can work…..

3 minute read

Let me make one thing clear from the outset.

I am not really interested at all in deals done to other franchises, all of the portals do deals everyday that are different from one office to the next. To me ownership has nothing to do with its viability. It may well do in the future.

What I want is real competition, because that my friends is the only things that keeps prices low and drives innovation for agents and consumers. Look at the two major portals, they may not say it but they are no doubt obsessed with one another. One as the leader and one as the wanna be leader.

It seems to me that what the industry needs is something clean, really slick, really fast and professional. A national portals success amongst heavy competition is where it places the listings on the user tree.

Yes, MyHome is a dud today, but it will survive and it has to evolve and fast, the PBL’s of this world will not go away, they are not going to go into a corner and surrender……

Here is my plan……………
1. Get a Website Manager, whoever you have got, get rid of them, I am not being nasty. I am just being honest….the person in charge of getting this to market should be ashamed of themselves. If it is a family member, move them into a more ‘important role’. A website manager does not have to be a technology expert or a design expert. They just have to know how a website should work and just as importantly know how to deal with people (current developers)….

2. Hire an Interface Designer: Do not use an ad agency, they are clueless when it comes to the Internet, get an independent first class Interface designer. They are not hard to find and you will see results fast. (4 weeks and all will be fixed….)

The next thing to do is shelve all marketing until the site is ready. I have had at least 20 calls today, from other portals, clients and competitors. The time for sniggering and laughing is over. I want this site to work and it is 4 weeks away from being the great site it should have been today.

So here is my message to MyHome – You have 2 options.
1. Dismiss all criticism because you are PBL and because of this you know you are right…
2. Get on with the job at hand, admit you stuffed up (even if only to yourselves) and get about fixing things.

Before you can do any of this get a ‘home’ button this should take the developers around 5 minutes to successfully achieve (why is this not still done?) …then sit down and search the Internet for an Interface Designer and make sure you see his/her work before proceeding.

All of the issues with the site will come out over the next 4 weeks, so please listen…..

Then we might have something to crow about…..

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57 Comments

  • Tom S
    Posted February 26, 2007 at 10:35 pm 0Likes

    Hi Peter,

    While we’re on the subject of web sites making improvements, the business2 site take about 20 seconds to load from a commercial grade network. Take this as a constructive criticism. I think back to your old site, and can’t help but to make a comparison.

    On the subject of myhomepage, they botched the launch, there was nothing ground breaking on the site and they broke the cardinal sin of online media – displaying stale data.

    I’m not sure if I can believe the Crikey article about bypassing the agents system. Where would the revenue streams come from?

    Your desire for more competition makes perfect sense, but if you think it will come from the myhomes, aggregators and DIYs in this space, you will be terribly disappointed.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 26, 2007 at 10:45 pm 0Likes

    Tom,

    I look forward to reading Peter’s response. However, I believe that in the short term newspapers will factor in online spends with print expenditures.

    Naturally, the myhome launch is disappointing as it failed to blow a single candle out. I will stand by my thought that unless you have a newspaper(s) – you will not be a serious player.

    At this point in time I much prefer print over television.

  • Peter
    Posted February 26, 2007 at 11:33 pm 0Likes

    Tom < I do understand the speed issue and this weekend we will be optimising all images and this is something I am addressing, I have just made it so that only 3 articles load from home page instead of 10, so this may speed things up somewhat.I disagree wholeheartedly about Robert and newspapers. Newspapers each year become more irrelevant.Robert, if you make money from newspapers that is great, if you sell your clients packages and make money from that also, that is fine - but newspapers are irrelevant in the online mix.Newspapers/TV help yes, but it expensive - but all of the biggest online companies in the world have had no help whatsoever from newspapers - so this statement in my opinion holds no water.The only hope newspapers have in the future is by being free, already online advertising in Australia has overtaken radio, newspapers are next....All they have to do is workout how to sell if out to newsagents....

  • Catrina F
    Posted February 26, 2007 at 11:34 pm 0Likes

    First time poster here. Couldn’t help but notice the myhome discussion.

    Exactly what URL would a ‘home’ button link to Peter? As far as I can tell, the site is always poised at http://www.myhome.com.au

    This is brilliant, it gets me back to right where I left off if I’ve gone somewhere else, or closed the window. The whole thing feels like a program rather than a bunch of stuffy web pages jumbled together filled with ads. It’s really good how it remembers what you were doing last.

    I’m just a simple property investor, and this has a lot of appeal as I can use it as a tool. I only know a little bit about design ( well, what I like anyway ). But the design is actually subtly brilliant, I don’t even have to look at the words, just pay attention to the colours.

    I know you fellows are all into building these sort of sites, but from a user perspective ( like mine ) myhome wins, looking forward to more innovation from them, but I don’t know how they would make getting to property info any quicker, it’s simply awesome. oh and I love switching views when looking at the results box, really handy.

    And yeah I found another bug on this Business2 site similar to Tom’s. The navigation will disappear if there is a really long post?? Strange. I use firefox.

  • Tom S
    Posted February 26, 2007 at 11:41 pm 0Likes

    Peter,

    I can smell an ‘outing’ coming on!

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 26, 2007 at 11:50 pm 0Likes

    Tom – where are you going ?

  • Tom S
    Posted February 26, 2007 at 11:52 pm 0Likes

    Robert, that was very funny. Keep ’em coming.

  • Michael
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 12:00 am 0Likes

    pmsl

  • Peter
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 12:01 am 0Likes

    Hello Catrina

    Thank you so much for joining in the discussion on this site. Look forward to hearing more from you.

    A couple of things…….

    The Home Page is what takes you back to the start of the site. Just because content is loaded without the URL changing does not mean this should not happen, it is a basic thing that takes no time to program in. Another disadvantage is all of the title, description and keywords are the same as you go through each page – not ideal for SEO optimisation.

    As an investor, I am sure that you would appreciate being able to see all of the listings in your area. Or as your email states you are from the UK, maybe you would be helped from trying realestate.com.au or domain.com.au as they have about 500,000 more listings, makes it easier fro you to get the most out of your investment.

    As for the bug, I have tried to replicate it. I am a sole operator of a business and do not have teams and $$$$ to spend on testing, everything from design, development and testing is done by myself. I would love for you to send me the URL you are having these issues with and I will try and replicate the problem and fix it immediately.

    As for me being into building these sites, I make no demands or claims to do this, I do not promote my business at all on this sites articles and if I do I always mention my competitors.

    By all means criticize what I do, I love it, it makes my site a better experience for all users. As an example Tom was not happy with the speed, I quickly made the site only have the latest 3 articles on home page and also optimised the header image to 50% of its original size.

    This site is for good people like yourself to comment on whatever subject you want to touch, it is not for promotion.

    As for the sites brilliance, I do wish you well on your investment strategies. I hope you do well with your property investments and look forward to hearing back from you in regard to the issue with my site.

  • Simon Baker
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 12:25 am 0Likes

    Robert

    In a previous post you stated:

    “What does resonate through our business are these statistics.
    http://www.rwm.com.au 342
    http://www.realestate.com.au 446
    http://www.domain.com.au 1104″

    One simple question – how many leads does your (or is it your vendor’s) > $1m spend in papers generate?

    Simon Baker
    MD REA Group

  • Melissa L
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 1:23 am 0Likes

    I am with Catrina. I came across your blog tonight because I was interested in all of the hype surrounding this site. I did a search on Google for MyHome and found your site. I then went to MyHome and had a look around, it is a great site, filled with everything I need to do a search.

    I read your article with interest and noted that you are a developer too, maybe it is just jealously that you missed out on the work or maybe you are one of these people that like taking snipes.

    I really enjoyed the tour of the site MyHome and found it far easier to use the the jungles on the other sites, I will definitely be book marking that site in the future to do all of my property hunting and will definitely watch the show on TV.

    I am a member of the general public and this is the kind of site I have been looking for….

  • David Rob Slattery
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 4:49 am 0Likes

    Do we have an outing Peter??

  • David Rob Slattery
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 6:40 am 0Likes

    I have just re-read your posting Peter – do you think you were being harsh with the recommendation of sacking the web leader? They could get it right shortly….who knows.

    So far no-one is threatening REA and Domain as the leades. Fairfax put out that silly adore site though, so they may be taking their eye off the ball.

  • Simon Baker
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 6:49 am 0Likes

    Peter and Robert – you are famous

    In today’s Age newspaper in Melbourne, Mark Hawthorne wrote the following

    Premature party
    JAMES Packer’s myhome.com.au has finally gone live after weeks of speculation. But not everyone is a fan. Outspoken property industry blogger Peter Ricci lets fly on his Business2 site claiming the site has some basic usability
    problems. “Open up the champagne, REA and Fairfax, because my immediate thought is, this is a dud,” he says. “It’s like having a housewarming partywhen you are
    only at lock-up stage, ” agrees Sydney agent Robert Simeon, who claims one listing in his Mosman patch is out of date by several years.

    Peter – well done – the world is watching your blog.

    And Robert – there is life outside of Mosman!!

    Simon Baker
    MD REA Group

  • Catrina F
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 8:11 am 0Likes

    I think you missed my point, Peter. There is no homepage. You just continue from where you left off.

    I think it’s good to be different, why would they want to be like the rest? They don’t work.

  • Peter
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 9:09 am 0Likes

    Catrina, I am sorry but it makes no sense. So basically you want to re-train every single person on how to use the Internet? So if you know any one who works there, just get them to do it, it is so bad that it is not there, I am still shaking my head.

    Catrina your argument that they others don’t work is harder to understand, combined they bring in over 5 million (are we seriously this obsessed with property?)

    Simon, they only wrote that because it suits their position to bag MyHome. It is not really something I would like to be known for and that is bagging the site. But in my opinion they need to fix up the issues on the site.

    David, sacking the web leader is a little harsh, actually no it is not. I doubt the person is young that did this – more on this in another comment. As for the designer, if the person is say 30 years old and that is the best, blending, shading, gradients he/she can come up with in photoshop then being forced to find another job in another industry will serve them well.

    My guess is that there is no designer and a developer did the design.

    Now Melissa…………………………….
    A few things straight. I approached PBL 3 years ago and met firstly with Ninemsn and then with two gentleman from PBL and they were all professional. I tried to convince them to go into the real estate portal market. At the time PBL had a property magazine in NZ with an older (much older) demographic and I was told that they were not interested in building a portal at that time.

    This time around I was not contacted and heard through the grapevine that they had purchased a company called Surroundpix (maybe you are familiar with them)

    If your argument is that I am jealous, then I am sorry that you feel you need to make this judgement on your first visit. However you are free to do this. Just as I am free to dismiss it. My job is design and development of real estate websites/portals (you can see all my competitors to the right) and blogging platforms.

    Like any business, I miss out on projects all of the time and having been in this industry for nearly 10 years this is just a commercial reality. Some of competitors have done outstanding work and some designers who create one off sites also do a great job.

    Welcome to my site and I look forward to hearing more from you…

  • Peter
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 9:10 am 0Likes

    David, an outing, no………..benefit of the doubt in this case….

  • Catrina F
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 6:33 pm 0Likes

    “Catrina, I am sorry but it makes no sense. So basically you want to re-train every single person on how to use the Internet?”

    To answer your question. No.

    What you’re saying doesn’t make sense, as it would defeat the purpose of getting what you last saw when you return to the site.

    I think what you’re trying to articulate, is the need for a reset button. But all you have to do is clear your properties to start again.

    Myhome get bonus points. I can set up my favorite areas that I’m interested in buying in. Set my preferences. Every time I come back to the site, I’m getting exactly what I want. You can’t convince me otherwise that that isn’t cool.

    What you’re suggesting is every time I enter the site, I have to redo all my hard work. I don’t want to do that, Peter. Not anymore anyway, now that I don’t have to 😉

    Everyone has their own opinion I guess. If you’re anything like me I just want things instantly…

    I think you’re right that there is a little bit of a apprehensive feeling when first using it, but that’s the case with any new website you go to.

    So that’s my opinion, I like it.

    P.S. Thought about having a forum? I’m sure that Agents, Property Investors, Sellers, would love to be able to post their own topics.

  • PropAd
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 6:48 pm 0Likes

    Peter, Myhome.com.au i can do a search for a property all around Aus, and not have to navigate a map of australia, myhome doesn’t need a “HOME” button as all the information is in one page, i still don’t get why you think it is so appauling bad.. overall its one of the most user friendly websites compared to the other real estate websites out there…

    Got to Say to PBL… i think you have drawn on a new era in real estate property websites!! keep up the great work PBL!

  • Peter
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 6:57 pm 0Likes

    Catrina

    Yes I have checked out the features you have talked about and yes, I admit they are quite good. I am afraid that this site still has just so many issues and as far as a bang goes, it was a fizzer to begin with. As an example I got 3 of my developers to actually try and get to grips with the site in a few minutes. Within a could of minutes they were asking, how do I do this and how do I do that. This is not a user experience I would fancy going through for the majority of Australians.

    The Home button would refresh content and allow people to start again. I am sorry but this is a site where you have to sit and guess what to do. This is not wahat web 2.0 is supposed to be about. New technology and tools are supposed to be seemless and easier to use.

    I am happy that you like the site and I have never said that it didn’t have potential.

    If you look at my first article, I decided to write it as I was using it and it was terrible. As an example the reason I wanted a home button and realised it wasn’t there was the damn tv commercial kept playing over every page I tried.

    And Catrina, as a property investor (are you from Victoria?) you would want to be able to view as many listings as possible to find the right listing.

    As I have said previously, this is what this site has to do, get 10, 20, 30, 40, 40, 60, 70% of the listings (REA and Domain) for it to be a site I would use to find my next property.

    The site has a long way to go and if it does not address serious concerns it will end up like the Sensis Search site with less than 1% of the market.

    A forum is something I am considering, however this site is a technology awareness site for real estate agents, investors and portal owners and I do not want it to get off track from its intended purpose….

    Having said that I have a forum ready to go, but I will wait until my visitor numbers get consistently above 1000 before I do this – also these forums have to be moderated as tempers do flare and I still want to have some control over what is being thrown up here.

    Without moderation my worry is that ‘fakes’ will get involved and muddle the integrity of the site.

    Thanks for the feedback and for your continued involvement.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 7:37 pm 0Likes

    Peter,

    I was just looking at http://www.myhome.com.au and noticed that it looks like they must be reading Business2. If you do a suburb search and then click on a property in the top right corner you will notice a red X. When you click on it the page closes and you go back to the original search page.

    I missed this before – or maybe it has been a recent site improvement. If it is good on them that they are eliminating site faults.

    Still more work to be done !!

  • Catrina F
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 7:48 pm 0Likes

    Yeah, I want myhome to have as many listings available because it’s so much nicer to use. I’m sure they’ll get there too.

  • Chris
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 7:51 pm 0Likes

    Hello again peter

    As a passive fan of business2, i must say the PBL team are out in force!

    To catrina and melissa, (they are your real names of course) I admire your courage and opinion in the face of the bleedin’ obvious.

    Keep up the optimism…you’ll need it.

    Over to you Peter….(outing time?)

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 7:57 pm 0Likes

    Catrina,

    I am sure they will get there faster when they continue to absorb and correct their design faults. The constructive criticism that Business2 offers is priceless to any online business. Also, great to see the myhome team joining the blogs.

    Cheers

  • Catrina F
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 8:28 pm 0Likes

    Aren’t people allowed to post about their experience? Isn’t that what this is for? I’m not affiliated with any portal, I just use them.

    I prefer REA over Domain. REA have been really good for the last couple of years. However I think they could be better. I think myhome will push them. Peter, agree?

  • Peter
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 8:35 pm 0Likes

    Hi peeps, I prefer to give people the benefit of doubt –

    Look………… I know the site has some great features, but it has a long road to travel. This kind of release could be expected by someone without the money and expertise/testers at hand and I would be harsh if I criticized small company, but someone who seriously wants to challenge the big end of town – well this is not acceptable.

    Once the site has fixed all of the usability issues I think you will find it will be just fine, then it is all about the listings.

    Catrina, you are free to say what you like, you will get some criticism if you are completely from left field, but stand your ground! This is what thnis site is about, everyone saying what they feel.

    Melissa, that is another story folks….. 🙂

  • Sam
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 8:50 pm 0Likes

    I’ve just heard nineMSN have decided to offer REA a platinum subscription upping their fee from $1.5 to $3M P/A this will be followed by a double super duper titanium subscription in 12 months time, this is excellent value . What’s that you say ? My Home will be on the same deal so you wont get any benefit ? Welcome to my world.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 9:08 pm 0Likes

    Catrina,

    Without wanting to sound rhetorical with my welcome to the myhome team – I was actually referring to their support team of happy clients. If I was alluding to you being an employee I would have stated that.

    I am sure that their (employed team)staff would derive much comfort from your support. From an agents perspective and at the end of the day we are the ones who drive the site – I believe that they need further improvements to make their portal highly competitive.

    I would love nothing more than to see them compete and/or dominate. Just that in my opinion their launch failed miserably.

    If the agents don’t like it – you will find it has no longevity. They called me today about my comments in The Age regarding listings that are a few years old. I told them the property and guess what ? It is still live !! That was at 9.30 this morning – before this call I had received absolutely no contact from myhome.

    In my opinion they have still mave much ground to cover.

  • Catrina F
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 9:28 pm 0Likes

    🙂 Boys I’d love to have an all gloves off discussion, but on this forum – I feel I would be the one left with the most bruises.

  • Peter
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 9:31 pm 0Likes

    Catrina,

    You are free to express your opinion. I can tell you Robert, Sam, Elizabeth, Dave Nick and the rest of the bloggers will definitely stand for what they believe and so should you.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 9:34 pm 0Likes

    Nah !! You Go Girl !! Please please please please speak your mind – afterall this is what this site is all about.

    I have some great debates with Simon Baker and his best friend Tom S 😉

    You also like REA – Domain deliver my clients superior results. Actually today we sold a semi in Neutral Bay. A staff member told me that the buyer came from a property portal. I immediately phoned him and asked which portal (not to be confused with which bank !!).

    He told me Domain !! Simon, I will also give you his number if you want to challenge this.

    Catrina, fire up !!

  • Candy
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 10:21 pm 0Likes

    I stumbled on to this site accidentally (oops!). I am a member of the general public like Melissa L. I am a virgin poster girl, and I think that myhome is the bestest site in the world. It has such pretty colours and you can read about houses for sale. It really feels like a

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 11:05 pm 0Likes

    I was asleep when Simon posted this – as I like to be on the beach at sunrise.

    Simon Baker
    Feb 27th, 2007 at 12:25 am /
    Robert

    In a previous post you stated:

  • Simon Baker
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 1:47 am 0Likes

    Robert

    Thanks for the response

    Still – you didnt answer the question.

    How many leads does your (or is it your vendor

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 7:39 pm 0Likes

    Simon,

    I was not avoiding the question as I had called a number of agents to get their feedback on this question and they all responded that they thought this is near impossible to measure.

    One of the reasons being is that when the agents first list a property they mine their respestive databases by means of email alerts. Next the properties appear (in our case) Domain North then The Mosman Daily. The week finishes with Saturday Domain not to forget that also appear on the property portals.

    As a result of a marketing saturation for a respective property to consumers with the combination of print and online. What we are increasingly finding is that when we ask consumers where they first saw the property advertised they simply forget.

    Recently in a marketing campaign for a home in week one we had 21 inspections at the first open for inspection. In week two the property was featured in Saturday Domain “Three of the best” – that Saturday we had 39 inspections. What we noticed was that the “Three of the best” had a different price quote and we had many ask what is the actual price.

    Print does allow agencies to better showcase their property portfolios. This attracts potential vendors as they see which particular agency is talking to the most purchasers in any given price range.

    We have anecdotal evidence that when we are strong in print – our new listings significantly improve as a direct result of this. It should also be noted that prospective vendors are mindful of agencies that run intelligent online strategies.

    I trust this information assists you.

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 7:57 pm 0Likes

    Well there you go, I spoke to my Dad about MyHome this morning and he actually quite liked it.

    I have actually spent an hour or so on it today and it really does have so much potential sitting there. There are still some pretty horrible usability issues as you go deeper.

    Will reserve my judgement for final assessment on March 31st.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 8:11 pm 0Likes

    Peter,

    I fielded a few calls from local agents today, about myhome and some are not very happy. As I stated earlier many knew absolutely nothing about this portal and he has four properties listed that were sold from 2004 – 2006. He called myhome and was told that they would get back to him. No contact as at 6.00 pm today. I spoke with a Neutral Bay agent and his office also has a few old/sold properties listed.

    Given that myhome decided not to contact any agents rather head offices (who don’t list properties) as each office is independently owned and operated – tensions are running rather high (from those who I spoke with). They called me on Monday to ask which property I mentioned in The Age was a few years old ? I told them and guess what ? It is still there !!

    The site may have potential however, given the agent feelings this could very well prove to be their achilles heel. They are off on the wrong foot – week one !!

  • Elizabeth
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 8:44 pm 0Likes

    Good evening Gentlemen and ladies,

    First up I have to say it is great to see other women on this blog, but I just have to question who they are.

    Melissa I find it strange that you were so caught up in the HYPE about myhome, yet had to do a google search for it, then just happened to stuble across business2. What you and the other two girls are talking about goes against what everyone else on this blog is saying, and I have to say, also goes against what this old girl is saying too.

    Lets face it, there are many problems here, and there just should not be with the almighty PBL behind it. When I read what others have written that PBL have bought into successful online sites, I wonder why they suddenly changed strategy and decided to build something themselves.

    Thankfully, unlike some poor other agents, none of my listings have been illegally taken from my site and placed here. I will decided when I put my listings up on this site, and that time is not now.

    As an agent this site does nothing for me, no branding, no chance to showcase my premium stock, and apparently, no guarantee that my listings will be displayed correctly.

    I gave the site address to my sisters to tell me what they thought. They could not get to where they wanted with any ease at all. only one of them managed to signup to this Myscrapbook thing, but that was after 3 attempts.

    however my nephew did say that ‘ajax is cool, just not like this’.

    Out of the mouths of babes!

    So how can myhome get better?

    do some research – talk to agents (independents please!), talk to consumers (my sisters and nephew certainly have some ideas), and start again.

    How much has this site cost so far?

    I ask as this is probably the amount of money that they hope to get off me and mine in the first year.

    I think this time Robert S and I can agree – they are off on the wrong foot – at week one, from the very beginning.

    E

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 8:52 pm 0Likes

    Welcome back Elizabeth 😉

    I think this time Robert S and I can agree.

    Wonders never cease to happen X

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 9:08 pm 0Likes

    Elizabeth lives and breathes, just back from the Academy Awards where she came home empty handed.

    PBL purchased a small outfit called Surroundpix who specialise in VR Tours and Print Media, they have actually produced some excellent things in the past. But a print designer is NOT a web designer. So lets say they have 6 staff and each earns around 100k a year – that puts the price on about $300k.

    However real estate portals – now lets concentrate on search and display are in essence small sites.

    You have: Search Pages, Results Pages and Actual Property Pages. So there are actually 3 pages, but a few variants of each.

    Then you have to think that they had to build an XML Service to retrieve and store the data (database)from the various agencies.

    They also have built some extra services that are pretty darn rough but nonetheless have great potential.

    The site could have been built on a competitive quote for around $75k.

    They will have to build a system for agents who want to list with them also and then a distribution system for agents that want to advertise on REA and Domain and the many other sites.

    Robert tells me that he does not get daily feed reports, which they should build for every single agent. Agents should not have to trawl through listings to see if there are any old/obsolete ones….

    REA and Domain both supply excellent feed reports each day with a list of errors if any.

    PBL should build one that sends an email to agents every time a feed is accepted and within this should be links to all the listings on the PBL site.

    They have some work to do and I hope they are doing it….

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 10:19 pm 0Likes

    I think that the PBL – myhome team would be better served by first introducing themselves to the agencies. As against, annoying some by hosting properties that sold years ago.

  • Dave Platter
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 11:23 pm 0Likes

    (I work at the REA Group/realestate.com.au)

    Peter, I think you’re probably seriously underestimating what PBL has spent on their real estate site. Just because you and could do the site for less than $500,000 doesn’t mean they could.

    Plus, don’t forget the marketing costs.

    The papers estimate they’ll spend $30 to $50 million on the site this year, from what I remember. That’s closer to the number they’re going to want to extract from agents like Elizabeth.

    If they had hired you (or us) to build their site, I guess they would have saved a bundle! (And they may have gotten it right, as well.)

    It seems like the best strategy for an agent is not to commmit to paying myhome anything. Sure you say you want the competition, Peter, but do you want agents to be paying for a third site if it ends up not doing any better in traffic than homehound?

    As I understand it, myhome will be raising prices on a schedule, rather than when/if they generate the traffic and leads to justify it. So even if they don’t get their act together and get some traffic, agents who commit will be forced to pay the higher price.

    dave

  • Dave Platter
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 11:26 pm 0Likes

    (I work at the REA Group/realestate.com.au)

    http://www.news.com.au/business/story/0,23636,21276995-462,00.html

    From their half year results, it looks like myhome isn’t the only PBL business to run into problems. Gaming, magazines and TV are all down.

    dave

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 11:33 pm 0Likes

    Okay Dave

    I was asked a question of how much it would have cost them, I gave an estimate on what I thought the SITE would have cost. Not marketing and other things like paying CEO’s and the like.

    Don’t forget that the newspapers (owned by Fairfax and News Ltd) love to peddle as what they can to discredit MyHome, they took a small sample of an article I wrote to justify as stance. They mentioned nothing of the huge potential.

    REA stand to lose just as much as Domain if MyHome becomes a success, raising prices by 8-10% per annnum will stop at some point in time and if MyHome do get things right then both Domain and REA will have to start to compete better on price.

    MyHome need to address some serious issues, but when they do they will have a TV and magazine empire to build its profile.

  • Simon Baker
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 7:37 am 0Likes

    Robert

    From your posting above, it appears that you are suffering the same problem that most business people face when asked about their marketing – “i know half my marketing is working – the problem is i dont know which half”.

    However, i also think it is important for any business operator to put in place some measures to get a better understanding of how well their vendor’s marketing is working. Statistical sampling would make sense.

    Here is how some of the US larger groups do it.

    Firstly all initial customer contact is handled centrally. All emails, phone calls, sms’ etc are directed to a central call centre. Depending on the media used, the phone calls and emails are sent to different addresses / phone numbers. E.g. an ad on realestate.com.au would have a differnet phone number to call and email address from one on domain. These guys then track everything and know to the cent by channel where the leads are coming from and how much they cost.

    Imagine if you didnt charge your vendors 2% commission $10k marketing contribution but instead charged them 2.5% commission, would you still spend $1m in print? In this scenario it would be a true cost to your business not just a pass through to your vendors.

    Regards

    Simon Baker
    MD REA Group

  • Simon Baker
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 7:45 am 0Likes

    Peter

    I recently wrote up on my blog (http://blogs.realestate.com.au/ceocorner) about a vendor that managed to secure a price significantly above their reserve price at an auction and they only advertised online.

    Here is the entry (http://blogs.realestate.com.au/ceocorner/2007/02/who_needs_newspapers_the_inter.html)

    So to what extent are agent relying on print because it delivers results or because it is the way they have always advertised?

    I would love to hear other stories from your readers about how internet only campaigns have delivered results for the vendors at low marketing costs.

    Simon Baker
    MD REA Group

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 8:34 pm 0Likes

    Simon,

    Your raise some interesting points. We have a relatively clear idea on what is working and what is not. However, far from a precise measure. The most accurate neasure is obviously online simply because it is an electronic measure.

    In the top – end suburbs it is actually the vendors who have the final say on advertising expenditure, in our area they love newspaper advertising. I have one at the moment who insists on a $5,000 brochure, yet questioned a $1,000 video.

    With expensive property they like expensive campaigns. Having said that it is interesting to note that across Greater Sydney the property records were usually achieved without placing a single advertisement in either medium. Off – market still remains very strong and will probably even get stronger as it provides greater confidentiality.

    With regard to commissions many vendors with top – end properties have agents on performance based commissions. This is now becoming even more popular, especially if an agent is known for their strong negotiation skills.

    I don’t have the exact details however, I am aware that Domain North, Domain East and Saturday Domain are well up on this time last year in terms of pages.

    I have no doubt that vendors like to showcase their properties in newspapers.

  • Paul D
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 8:56 pm 0Likes

    Interesting reading how the big end works Robert. I am an agent in regional NSW and to me the vendor suggesting how he would like the property marketed is a bit like the tail wagging the dog. If a vendor suggested to me how he would like the property marketed, I would say ( nicely of course) that we were the marketing experts in our area, and show him evidence of that. I have found that practically anything that comes out of a computer is considered to be much more credible that anything an agent can say. Our advertising expenditure has dropped considerably in the last several years whilst our sales have increased enormously.

    I advertise on both Domain and REA and interestingly Feb was our biggest month ever on REA and 4th biggest on Domain. I put this down to more and more people having access to the internet, and it being an easy way to explore their options. I guess in your area the vendors like to see their properties in the paper, and that’s fine, but in the middle of the bell curve, they just want to get it sold, and not spend a whole lot doing that.

    I’m wondering if Feb was the biggest month because the numbers from property.com.au are being added in ?? Just to give you some perspective in Feb ( a 28 Day month) we had 17,362 unique visitors and 118 emails from REA. When we started on REA 4 years ago it was 2000 per month and 10 emails. I came back and edited from Here: Interestingly the ratio of emails to unique visits has remained about the same at around .5% In other words it takes 200 unique visits to get 1 email response. I wonder how we measure up on that statistic.

    And as far as how MyHome works, well we will jsut have to wait and see I guess.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 10:06 pm 0Likes

    Paul D,

    “I

  • Tom S
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 10:49 pm 0Likes

    That’s very comendable Robert. I would be keen to read the results of your comparative analysis of the property portals for February. Simon may finally get some closure on some of his recent question regarding leads per advetising media spend.

    As far as your assertion that “nearly half are friends, family and neighbours”. I think that the figure would be more like 10%.

    Lastly, I notice that you keep banging about some “central database”. As the person “in charge of IT” at R&W, it discredits you when you mention it. I started in IT in 1986, and even at that time databases were “run of the mill”. It’s like bragging that your car has got fuel injection or a CD player.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 10:52 pm 0Likes

    Tom S,

    You don’t like “central database” ?

  • Peter
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 11:02 pm 0Likes

    Well just don’t call it a ‘Middle Eastern’ one, at least not around the current government/media….

    Just on that – I noticed on my monthly invoice for insurance I am paying a $9 a month for a Terrorism Fee” What they hell is that?

    Can I have Shark Protection with that? Maybe Lightning Strike fee, whilst wearing metal ‘speedos’ fee…………..

  • Tom S
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 11:07 pm 0Likes

    I’ll help you think of a better name or description if you can tell me a little more about what it provides you.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 11:13 pm 0Likes

    Ok Tom,

    The biggest problem in real estate is that individual agents maintain their own database. So when a prospective vendor lists their property they do not have access to all potential buyers. We run a database where all staff combine purchasers for the benefit of our new vendors. The difference is that we share all amongst staff – one of the few in Sydney.

    However I was the first to send out an email alert, first to change a URL to letters, and last but not least first to design an e-zine. I rest my case.

  • Tom S
    Posted March 2, 2007 at 9:54 pm 0Likes

    I think I get this now. R&W Mosie records all prospective vendors and purchasers in central DB that is made available to all staff. I would have thought that this was a must in this days and age for an agency. Surely it can

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted March 2, 2007 at 10:07 pm 0Likes

    Tom s,

    Again you failed to inform the readership of the waxing of your mono brow !!

    Tsk Tsk !!

  • Nick Buick
    Posted March 11, 2007 at 1:46 pm 0Likes

    Hahaha Robert – that little dragshow was pissfunny 😉

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