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Is Domain winning agents over?

2 minute read

Each week I receive news and correspondence from various portals (thanks to all), sometimes I do not think it is news worthy, but there are others that pique my interest. One I received today did interest me.

It seems Domain is hard at work winning over agents – possibly their belief is that the better their site, systems and service are, the more agents will warm to them.

Now this email I received today is interesting for a number of reasons. One – it not not about who is better, has more visitors, and how great they are (although some may construe some of the questions as just that) and two – its seems that this survey would be harder to fudge results than some of the others that have crossed my desk.

Now… only Domain know the exact results and I trust that they would have no problems releasing all these figures on request – minus the names and addresses of agents for verification of course. But if these results are true and are taken from a wide area (not just locations they are popular in) , it seems that they are well on their way to challenging REA.

Domain Survey

I would like to see an independent survey that compares Domain against REA. Do you agree with these results? How do your results compare…….and Robert do not too excited…..I am sure REA could do exactly the same survey and get similar results – or maybe not!

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72 Comments

  • Simon Baker
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 6:09 pm 0Likes

    Peter

    Thanks for sharing this
    Of course it does raise some questions (as all surveys do)

    1) What were the questions asked and what were the possible answers?

    2) Who actually answered the questions – was it principles / agents / receptionists?

    3) Where were the agents who answered the questions? Were they all in areas like Robert or were they spread out around the country?

    4) How was the survey conducted – was it online / email / phone calls / paper based etc …

    Simon Baker
    MD REA Group

  • Peter
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 6:14 pm 0Likes

    I agree Simon:

    A Question could be:
    Are you: Not Satisfied, Satisfied, Extremely Satisfied with Domain.com.au that gives 2 out of 3 for Satisfied…

    But it does seem that Domain are working very hard on the agents, rather than consumers, it seems like a good long term strategy.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 6:30 pm 0Likes

    Peter,

    I can add some light on this as I participated in this survey which was conducted in the latter part of 2006 (I had actually forgotten about it – to tell the truth). There were also a few GPS machines as if you participated you went into a draw. No – I did not receive one.

    Now to Simon’s questions.

    1. Domain asked participants to rate them on either a 1 – 10 or a 1 – 5 basis (I forget now which one) on a number of issues where a few are listed above.

    2. I received my survey at our info@ address so I answered it – nobody else in my office participated.

    97 per cent satisfaction – I bet they love that response 😉

    3. Unsure what market demographics received the survey.It does say that over 1,200 agents participated.

    4. It was an online survey where you ticked boxes and it took about 3 – 5 minutes.

    Personally, I liked the concept as it allowed measured responses for those who participated an opportunity to be totally honest with their responses. You could be as brutal or complimentary as you wanted on a range of questions.

  • Michael
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 7:16 pm 0Likes

    No i disagree Peter with a strategy that works more towards agents then consumers. Sure the agents are the customer and therefore GOLD – but at the end of the day the agent wants to be advertising where the buyer inquiry comes from. The influencing factors will always be where the traffic is (though this can be localised) and which sites Vendors “expect” to have their properties advertised on. Of course nice agent interface etc is great too.

    I completed the survey as well – but it will not re-open for me to post the actual questions in here –

    ” The Survey has concluded ”

    The Survey you attempted to access is now closed and no additional submissions
    can be added. If you have any questions, please contact the
    Survey sponsor directly.

    Satisfaction does not indicate delight! I can eat a truckload of KFC and be satisfied – yet not necessarily delighted (though i still think it’s finger lickin good on occassion)

    I expect that Domain is making in-roads but i don’t think it would be at the expense of REA (especially based on record traffic of 3.7 million visitors) I think you would find agents across the nation are probably expanding their use of portals and selecting to advertise on both. Particularly if they are using portal pushing software.

    If you asked me which i would prefer to use it would be domain – if you asked me which i would rather be advertised on it would be REA. I am sure there are local issues and Brand loyalists out there, but i would assume most people would respond similar.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 7:53 pm 0Likes

    Michael,

    Just a point I would like to raise in that agents (well I do) measure online results with our property portals. Whether it be monitoring online enquiries and individual property measurements from each portal per property listed.

    I can’t agree with your comment that- “Sure the agents are the customer and therefore GOLD – but at the end of the day the agent wants to be advertising where the buyer inquiry comes from. The influencing factors will always be where the traffic is (though this can be localised) and which sites Vendors

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 7:54 pm 0Likes

    Good response Michael.

    I agree and I am sure that if you could advertise on REA you would clamour to do so. Most (not all) of the agents I speak to prefer REA for the amount of enquiry it does bring these agencies, but it does depend on where you are.

    As an example Tasmania is dominated in the south by REA and this is because the News Ltd local paper the Mercury has domination in Hobart and surrounds.

    However the North of the State has 2 newspapers one in Launceston and one in Devonport/Burnie, both of these papers are owned by Rural Press (soon to be Fairfax). The Mercury hardly gets a run in the North, so it will be interesting to see how after the purchase Fairfax do in the North.

    All in all with PBL into the fold and pushing their show on TV it will be interesting to see how many of my agents actually enquire about joining.

    I have halted exporting until my next system is finished, and hopefully by March 31st all of the issues will be ironed out.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 8:47 pm 0Likes

    Peter,

    On a few occasions you have commented on my fondness of newspapers – which I don’t deny. I believe your abovemntioned comments re-inforce my positioning on this exacting point. Yes, it will be most interesting to see what happens to the online markets when Rural Press become Fairfax owned, especially in Tasmania.

    I have no doubt that both print success and online are very much aligned and share a twin connection moving forward. Yes, I agree that in years to come this will change with the aggressive forward motion of online.

    However, as I have stated before that in 2007, which is where our business operates at this point in time. Property markets still have a love affair with newspapers.

    Everything changes over time. Just that for us newspapers still play a timely role in property marketing. One can also never rule out that newspapers too, won’t also change with the times.

  • Elizabeth
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 9:05 pm 0Likes

    Gentlemen,

    Interesting subject, and once again all the old themes are coming out.

    Paper vers online.
    Domain vers REA.
    The casual throw to PBL and TV – which has to remain casual for the moment.

    I too participated in the survey, and i can now see how my results would have contributed to domains statement. but remember, I have almost the exact opposite stance to Robert, based on leads and service, in the REA vers domain arguement.

    So not too sure that surveys are a good thing to market, particularly seeing that this one was not independently audited.

    But having said this, they do provide a good service.

    What is interesting to read in another post however, was Robert saying that REA was ‘bad’ for registering some domain web addresses.

    But what really makes me think is, why was domain not making sure these were registered in the first place? It seems to me that there is a lack of an online strategy there. Imagine building a website, and not buying the address which reflects your name…

    It sounds like a school yard piff – two little boys are in the play ground. There is a bright big red ball to play with just sitting in the sand. both boys see it, but only one goes up and plays with it.

    The second boy, who now sees how much fun it is, goes up to the teacher and complains that he wanted it first.

    At the end of the day, one of the boys ends up in tears.

    But the question is, was it the right one?

    E

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 9:19 pm 0Likes

    Elizabeth,

    One would assume that the only reason why REA registered (before Fairfax) the http://www.domainnorth.com.au, http://www.domaineast.com.au and http://www.domaininnerwest.com.au was to increase traffic.

    It is my understanding that all have been returned back to Fairfax. I would further argue that these actual domain names are print products and not, online iniatives. So an online business grabbed a print iniative.

    To further put this into perspective this happened under the past online management team. The current team are the ones who have brought about the present Domain look and feel.

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 9:20 pm 0Likes

    Domain has stated to me that they would be quite happy for me to view results. I would love to send a survey to agents across Australia to see a Domain vs REA assessment. The questions would have to be very carefully constructed as to not favour one over the other.

    Robert: I am not drawing any conclusions but to my knowledge the agents that are pushing newspapers are making money out of them through vendor advertising

    I am not saying this is wrong as we all have to butter the bread, but you are in a very different market from the majority of Australia. You have gained the trust of many over the years and just by the prices of properties you market you can see that this works very well for you.

    However newspapers are not at all useful for properties in the median range in Australia, it is just too expensive when you add commissions and taxes into the mix.

    For a $400,000 home, it just makes no sense to advertise in newspapers. Take out agents commission, advertising, taxes and the margins just are not there for the benefit.

    I agree that newspapers provide a great bang, but I still maintain it is a dying medium for the majority of companies….

    Newspapers will keep losing market share in classifieds, there is really nothing they can do about it.

    As an example , in the US magazine and newspaper subscriptions cost money for the owners. I can pay $15 for Wired Magazine here in Australia or $50 AUD for a years subscription airfreighted (Fast Company, Business2 and Wired you can get for less than $20 a year.They have to get subscriptions up to get advertisers in.

    In Australia I think we will see prices like this for newspaper subscriptions in the not too distant future.

    Another thing, young people just don’t read newspapers.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 9:38 pm 0Likes

    Peter,

    I agree with your comments – all I have done is simply adjust our business model to ensure that we operate to our full potential. It works for us, and it does not work for others.

    It makes for interesting debate, as do online surveys. Congratulations to Domain for their transparency in offering you the opportunity to view their results.

    Once you have I look forward to reading your commentary.

    I agree that young people don’t read newspapers – they do however read magazines. Which still consist of paper. As they get older so do mentalities and habits change.

    I am sure that the Fairfax “brains trust” are monitoring this very closely. Although, I would argue that having both a print and online business is a best of both worlds – as it allows them to marinate and experiment with both unique brands.

  • Paul Krayven
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 10:16 pm 0Likes

    I don’t even recall getting the survey. It’s quite possible I wasn’t the recipient but generally I am passed these as I deal with the portals almost exclusively. I’d say it was an email survey but with the amount of email we all get nowadays I even admit I don’t read them all, Realestate.com.au newsletters included.

    Domain are trying I give it that but both Domain and Realestate.com.au are still too slow in my opinion in answering tech calls. 😉

    note: When I try to edit i keep getting 500 errors. If I refresh the page I can edit but then get more errors in a yellow box after the edit.

  • David Rob Slattery
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 10:23 pm 0Likes

    I think this is one of the more interesting comments I have read lately – and one that is interesting for agents:

    “If you asked me which i would prefer to use it would be domain – if you asked me which i would rather be advertised on it would be REA. I am sure there are local issues and Brand loyalists out there, but i would assume most people would respond similar.”

    Can we discuss this point please Peter? I get the same feedback from my clients, yet REA have the audience .

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 10:35 pm 0Likes

    David,

    I will have a guess in that consumers prefer the Domain second search back to previous search return is a huge hit. So much so that myhome have copied this. It is not rocket science and given the REA third party advertiser contracts they won’t follow soon.

    Abundantly clear that consumers want to bypass the third party homepage.

  • Dave Platter
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 11:08 pm 0Likes

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

    I think the survey made for a nice marketing email, but it’s not really worth taking seriously. (So here I am discussing it. I know, I’m inconsistent.)

    It’s interesting to me that you, Peter, constantly bemoan the use of statistics that are audited by an independent third party and communicate concrete reality–such as the number of unique visitors to a site.

    Yet, you are willing to happily dedicate a huge amount of time to discuss statistics thrown together as a marketing device. You also would seem to be inconsistent.

    Domain may need to seek professional help. I think they are in the first stage of grief: Denial. They relaunched their site but still can’t close the yawning gap in user preference with realestate.com.au. Adore is Adud. And now they have to worry about Candy/Katrina/Melissa and the rest of the myhome folks as well as our new property.com.au.

    Since domain may be in denial, it’s not surprising they choose to ignore the statistics that really matter, like agent subscriptions and unique visitors. Instead, they seem to have pulled together some debatable numbers that make them feel good and are hanging on to them for dear life.

    Peter, I’ll be very interested to see how carefully you look over the survey, if/when they show the results to you.

    Robert, with the greatest respect, you may very possibly be in a state of domain denial, too. However, I get the sense that after I post this, you may well progress to stage 2: Anger. 😉

    dave

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 11:34 pm 0Likes

    Dave,

    Not at all – what your post identifies is arrogance!! You assume that the Doamin survey speaks or identifies dishonesty. They have offered Peter full access to the transparency of their claims.

    The simple fact of property portals is that REA have sold their homepage to third party advertisers. The current user identification happy process is where searchers are now taken back to their previous page search. It works Dave !!

    REA – sold out to their own financial gains. Never in the spirit of the agents whom support the site.

    Now, you have Domain and myhome returning searchers to their previous search, and REA have to appease third party advertisers by starting at their Pitt Street homepage !!

    This is a classic example that REA have been caught with their pants down.

    Advantage Domain and myhome.

    REA sold out on the agents for their own gain !!

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 11:48 pm 0Likes

    Dave, these were not statistics, it was a survey, I took interest in it because they seem to be going in a different direction. Not because of the statistics but the type of statistics.

    As for dedicating a huge amount of time – it took me 20 minutes. I write for this blog during my lunch break each day….

    Domain may ( and I do not know) feel that there is some dissatisfaction with REA amongst agents.

    I know the wording of these surveys are easily skewed to produce results to their liking.

    Also Dave, I have better things to do than look over survey results. I was happy they offered but I do not have time to do these things. I will chat to them tomorrow about these stats, but really I pointed this out as an interesting piece of marketing – a direction I think they may concentrate on more in the coming months.

    I would however be happy to create a questionnaire for you to send out to your clients comparing experiences between the two major portals and would extend the offer to both Domain and your company.

    Maybe they cannot compete on visitor numbers and agents listed, but they may try another angle….

    Get some rest Dave, it is ok for me to write something about Domain every now and then 🙂

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 11:51 pm 0Likes

    I will ask Domain for the list of questions tomorrow………

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 11:56 pm 0Likes

    Dave,

    You have overdosed on chiko rolls – LOL

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 12:15 am 0Likes

    Peter,

    I think that Simon is on the mobile addressing staff on what they can, and can’t say here on Business2. Congratulations, on your non sugar coated approach and/or opinion. Afterall, this is not all about REA. Rather the entire online business functionality.

    Yes, many facets are broken – however they can be fixed. First home call should be myhome. Their business plan is seriously ill.

  • Tom S
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 12:26 am 0Likes

    Michael and Robert,
    Did you each mention 3.739934 million unique visitors and 8113 subscribing agents for REA? No? OK then.

  • Dave Platter
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 4:06 am 0Likes

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

    Well, perhaps you’re right and I have overdosed on Chiko Rolls. (I’m up now with Chicko-indigestion.)

    Still, our strategic decision to have ads from third party advertisers means that consumers can get everthing they need at a single place when they are homehunting. After doing it successfully for some time now, it’s our opinion this helps make our site the one that consumers prefer most.

    That benefits agents in the form of more leads: 580,000 last month vs. 410,000 a year ago. In the end, serving our customers is what drives us. As stated here, we hope and believe that results are what agents want, and results is what we try to deliever.

    Gotta go (literally)…

    dave

  • David Rob Slattery
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 6:11 am 0Likes

    “ADORE is ADUD”

    Is this the quote of the week??

    Peter I think you are right – domain are taking a different approach, sensing that agents are getting a bit sick of the arrogant approach that REA have (we’re number 1 etc etc etc – so what)

    I participated in the survey, and I appreciated the fact they wanted my thoughts on their service. I told them I look forward to regular surveys. Can’t recall my print reps giving a damn about my thoughts.

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 8:30 am 0Likes

    Dave

    I must say I do have a laugh when you talk about the consumers and your advertising. I do not doubt for one second the benefits agents get from REA over Domain, you are number one and will continue to be so for quite some time.

    David
    I do not think REA have an arrogant approach, if Domain or PBL were number one they would be doing exactly the same thing. I however love the fact that REA come to this site and provide feedback day after day after day – whilst some other portal come to this site and say nothing.

    What is more arrogant?

    As for Print – You will find that agents who make money from their vendors will more than likely push and push print as far as they can.

    I am not talking so much about Robert because he is in a different market to most agents but any agent in middle class areas that pushes print over online in my opinion is in denial.

  • Dave Platter
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 9:49 am 0Likes

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

    Thanks, Peter. I do appreciate the forum you provide here. Think about it, where else can agents, the portals, other vendors like yourself and consumers all share a dialogue on a daily basis?

    All best.
    dave

  • Michael
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 7:46 pm 0Likes

    The different markets (meaning more affluent) are probably higher users of internet – i suggest it’s more a branding issue in those markets – the place to be seen – rather than delivering inquiry. Plus i bet the other agents are doing it – so if i don’t do it – what will they think.

    Now REA and Domain – (though i know domain are absent from these forums) would have GEO data – i would suspect the viewing habits for “Cremorne” online with REA or Domain wouldn’t be too different to say Eastern Suburbs – Sylvania – Epping etc.

    Wonder if REA can provide any viewing habits profiling for Sydney (forget No of Visits – just whether there is noticeable differences between regions of Sydney)

    Watch Kofi Anan jump onto this with the support of his 43 countries

    (I agree TOM – real inquiry wins – unless i make money selling PRINT – oops can i say that in here – and nice website TOM – doesn’t work nice with firefox though 🙂 )

  • David Rob Slattery
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 7:48 pm 0Likes

    Dave Platter – your photo is alarming, and you’re always on here.

    What is your job at ‘REA Group/realestate.com’

    I agree Peter – how about we get some domain people posting on here? Is Fairfax preventing them? Peter – get them on board…

  • Paul D
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 8:37 pm 0Likes

    I am intrigued by the reference to “making money selling print” I have posted here a couple of times, and am an agent in regional NSW. I know I may be somewhat naive, however it would be of interest to me to discover how exactly that works. Please forgive my ignorance on the subject.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 8:47 pm 0Likes

    Paul,

    An excellent question – for the moment I shall sit back and read on with interest ;-)The online guys will enjoy answering this question.

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 9:05 pm 0Likes

    Ok. I called an agent I speak to quite often….He sent me an email like thus. Agent buys certain space per annum in newspaper guide. He/She then charges each vendor a certain fee depending on the size of the advertisement they want. Once all space if filled he/she makes money on the advertising and also gets to brand their company on the pages. Even if they break even the branding for their company is priceless.

    Now, my point is that agents have had more trouble on selling online advertising in packages. Maybe sites like Adore will help make this easier.

    Possibly because many years ago online advertising was just so cheap.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 9:15 pm 0Likes

    Peter,

    Not sure where this agent is located. That is certainly not the way that we operate and have never before seen such a proposition. We buy space individually each week – never ever in bulk as it makes no commercial sense to me.

    You Peter have hit the nail on the head in that online started off cheap. Fundamentally, because nobody at that time understood it and print was the bible.

    Online got certain agents thinking (lightbulb)

  • Dave Platter
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 10:25 pm 0Likes

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

    OK, OK, I’ll change the photo. Peter, my photo aside I don’t think the whole Gravatar idea is really taking off with your readers.

    Did anyone see Crikey today? The title should get your attention:

    “Fairfax / RSVP caught manipulating Google results”

    The item also ran here:
    http://www.towersystems.com.au/fhn_blog/

    If this is true, it does make one wonder about what Fairfax might be doing with its other sites. Do you think we’ll see a statement from them clarifying the situation?

    dave

  • Dave Platter
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 10:28 pm 0Likes

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

    David Rob Slattery, I do PR for the REA Group, so I’m lucky enough to get to post here and call it work. PR is a great job, I have to say.

    What do you do and where do you work?

    dave

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 10:49 pm 0Likes

    Dave, Dave, Dave,

    I have been reading Crikey and been a subscriber in all probability longer than you. It is based on speculation and innuedo – sometimes they get it right and more often they are incorrect. The source of the article was –

    “Newsagency owner and founder of dating website 3loves Mark Fletcher writes:”

    No wonder Domain don’t join this discussion group as REA like to on whatever occassion put them down at every opportunity. Domain, dominate many suburbs, as do REA. How about REA try and improve their market positions in the suburbs where they fail to impress consumers.

    Neil Jenman – gets on his high horse and attacks the real estate agents however, the market rejects him.

    Dave, with respect the last time REA announced an innovation to their website John Howard was half way through his term. “If you can’t say anything nice to say – don’t say it !!”

    Your comments just show that REA is petrified of the Domain progress – 97 per cent client satisfaction. Dave, go and get a quote from Neil Jenman.

    All I see sometimes from REA is that you attack, however you never innovate !!

  • Dave Platter
    Posted March 2, 2007 at 3:06 pm 0Likes

    Robert, I see that the item in Crikey and News Agent blog about Fairfax allegedly manipulating Google results has really hit a sensitive nerve with you.

    Don’t shoot the messenger. I didn’t claim that Fairfax was manipulating Google numbers. I just pointed to an item in two well known locations that said so, and asked about it.

    Tell your friends in the Fairfax executive suite they should take the opening to issue a clear statement on what’s happened. If Fairfax is not manipulatingg Google results they need to tell people about it. Google has apparently already started researching the issue and this could ricochet out of control pretty quickly.

    If it is true, they should also say so and get it behind them as fast as possible.

    As for the battle to be innovative, I assume you’re talking about technical things like search, and design and so on. I’m confident that we hold our own in this area, but I’ll leave that sort of judgement to smarter folks than me.

    Instead, I’ll focus on the innovation that really matters. Our big innovation is:

    ___Creating a lead machine that drives 580,000 leads to agents each month.

    It could be (and will be) better. Still, that’s pretty darn good. And a lot better than our competitors. We hope you’ll continue to take advantage of it as well, because we have an interest in your success and that of every other agent in Australia.

    dave

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted March 2, 2007 at 3:59 pm 0Likes

    Dave, I do not know enough to comment on. I do know that Google do take this kind of things seriously.

    Here are some tips to stay clear of trouble from Google…..

    1. Install Google Sitemaps on your website: This should take your developers around 2-3 hours to complete depending on the structure of your website and its size….

    2. Do not subscribe to any program that creates link farms back to your site, might give you some good results early but if Google find out…

    3. Here are some details to look up with your site in Google, be sure to change my URL with your own…..just simply type in the data to the right with your url…

    site:www.business2.com.au
    link:www.business2.com.au
    cache:www.business2.com.au
    info:www.business2.com.au
    related:www.business2.com.au

    4. Check out the Google Guidelines
    http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35769

    In short, it takes a bit to get caught doing the wrong thing, but your competitors may alert Google if they find out.

    For a major part of your business it is best to just stick to the basics (90 % of sites fail in this regard)

    Your Search Engine Optimisation should be built for the long haul, so if you potential web developer says this:

    Oh we know the Google secret and we will get you up into the top results…………well they are lying……

    If they say this.

    “We build our sites to open standards and all of our sites comply with Google Sitemaps which Yahoo and MSN Search comply with for indexing in search engines. We cannot promise you top position but we can say to you that every step is taken to ensure your website has as much search engine visibility as possible” then you may well be on a winner…..

    To get booted from Google (Domain REA or any other portal/site) would be catastrophic for their respective businesses.

  • Paul D
    Posted March 2, 2007 at 4:24 pm 0Likes

    Talking numbers Dave, 9.3% of our emails from REA last month were duplicates. By that I mean we got the same email twice. I guess the person sending hit the “Send Agent Email” button twice. This seems and extraordinarily high number to me. There should be a function that once a “Send” button is hit, that’s it, you cannot send the email for that property again, unless you leave it and come back. I try to keep meaningful statistics, but once you have the numbers, to then have to do further analysis, is not good enough, and the numbers are not realistic in any case.

  • Elizabeth
    Posted March 3, 2007 at 8:39 am 0Likes

    Good Morning,

    So the waters get even more murkey – Dave being in PR will of course alert us to anything untoward with a competitor – and bless no mention of those figures.

    This one seems interesting though. Particularly in light of the survey results just released. Once again I use the term Independent Auditor, as this seems to be fair all around. This way both domain and REA would be on a level playing field – which only seems fair. Further with independent auditors, there will be no avenues for cheating the system.

    Now I do sympathise with Robert, as fairfax are leaving all the commenting and contribution to this blog to him. But I doubt their absence has to be because REA Dave is here.

    Do they even know about this blog? If not how could you operate in the real estate industry and not know?

    If they do know about it, then why aren’y they here talking with their customers?

    I do not think it is the latter, as my domain reps all provide me with great service. I will have to ask them to pass the word up the chain and see if we can get someone from domain on here to give poor Robert a rest.

    Whilst I am on the subject of representation, where are the myhome people? Now they are some people I would like to hear from! Tell me more about this site which is supposed to be the new darling for the real estate industry.

    Where is Homehound? what are they up to?

    Who is running this new REINSW website? Did they come from a major portal? IF not, then I am not sure that they will have any ideas on how to grow a portal and deliver results.

    There are 25 minutes to go until the myhome TV show, I am waiting with baited breath to see what morsels are carved up on the screen.

    E

  • Peter
    Posted March 3, 2007 at 9:07 am 0Likes

    E

    We had our first comment from Domain…………………

    My Stats tell me that REA are number one visitor followed by Fairfax, News Ltd, ACP (PBL) Sensis, and many private companies……

    In the past 3 weeks we have been edging towards 1000 visitors a day….

    I want more to comments, here is the one from Domain…………
    http://www.business2.com.au/2007/03/02/want-to-build-a-real-estate-portal/#comment-11284

    Yippeeeeeeeeeeee.

    I want PBL to comment as well as it will do their PR no end of goodwill. Perhpas they are not too happy about my comments, but I hope they take at least some of them on board….

    Maybe they think they have created a monster 🙂

  • Chris
    Posted March 3, 2007 at 10:48 am 0Likes

    Hello

    I am a former agent (commercial finch freeman and residential S & L) who retains a keen interest in the industry.

    Robert

  • Elizabeth
    Posted March 3, 2007 at 2:08 pm 0Likes

    Peter,

    The comment from domain… that was it? That was all they had to say?

    It is a start. But I might get my domain rep on here, she is always good for a laugh and does not tow the company line.

    Did anyone else watch the myhome tv show this morning?

    It seemed like a half hour infomercial where the only thing they pushed was the website. not sure if the ‘Tips’ from the lass on the screen were her ideas or not. She certainly had the classic channel 9 open shirt, feathered hair and cheesy smile.

    Just what is this show supposed to be about?

    E

  • Barry
    Posted March 3, 2007 at 6:36 pm 0Likes

    Elizabeth –

    “It is a start. But I might get my domain rep on here, she is always good for a laugh and does not tow the company line.”

    Perhaps if she did, domain might have some more listings……

  • Peter
    Posted March 3, 2007 at 6:43 pm 0Likes

    Barry – Good start mate! ……Elizabeth is no pushover though as many have found……

    Tread carefully early 🙂

  • Barry
    Posted March 3, 2007 at 10:15 pm 0Likes

    AH Peter, she’s just dropped her Eastern Suburbs sales rep in it, who I bet domain pays a fortune.

    Bet she takess Elizabeth out on the company card as well…

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted March 3, 2007 at 10:33 pm 0Likes

    Chris – Anon,

    I am a former agent (commercial finch freeman and residential S & L) who retains a keen interest in the industry.

    Robert

  • Simon Baker
    Posted March 4, 2007 at 7:18 am 0Likes

    Robert

    You often talk about innovation and claim that realestate.com.au is not being innovative. We can debate that another time – you know my view – it is about generating more results and more leads – more than it is about aesthetics!

    I have a challenge for you – i would like you to be innovative and try online only marketing campaigns. You constantly talk about the volume of leads that domain (and realestate.com.au) drive as well as your own marketing database. So – why not do online only marketing campaigns?

    As previous posts have pointed out, it is already working for other agents. Dont just take my word for it – check out this artcle

    http://www.news.com.au/sundaymail/story/0,,21275004-5003418,00.html

    And if it works, you could save over $1m of your vendor’s money!

    Simon Baker
    MD REA Group

  • Michael
    Posted March 4, 2007 at 7:58 am 0Likes

    BUT – Simon – the issue is – the online marketing campaign would work – but it doesn’t really help generate new listings – by having great branding in the paper.

    I actually think that is the issue the online sites have – you work when people are actually buying or researching property – but the papers work for that Saturday Coffee – when i sit and read – and oh look Mary down the road has her property advertised with Robert.

    The papers create that “Branding” whilst online just does the job – but it is an issue you guys have to deal with if you want the spend from agents to be re-distributed.

  • Simon Baker
    Posted March 4, 2007 at 8:25 am 0Likes

    Michael

    Very good point

    However, should the marketing cost to generate new listings be bourne by the vendor or by the agent themselves?

    As for online sites generating vendor leads? Well in January there were 561,000 searches for an agent (ie in the find an agent search area). Buyers dont search for agents – so potentially these are vendors or other agents

    Just because it is not big and glossy doesnt mean it isnt generating vendor leads too.

    Simon Baker
    MD REA Group

  • Danny
    Posted March 4, 2007 at 9:06 am 0Likes

    I think I’ve found my niche in this site:-

    Our last 50 sales have resulted in an average Vendor spend of around $2,000 at an average sale price per property for our office being around $1m.

    This includes photography, floorplans, sign, web, economical print media as well as our weekly magazine – all highly professional.

    It is my view that it is almost at the stage where print media for any serious buyer is merely a vehicle to double check an open time or as a cursory check to make sure they haven’t missed any property. It also covers the 10% (and falling) that may not have internet access.

    Any serious buyer gets to know the major agents in their area of choice and will seek out their Saturday advertisement as a double check.

    That said, I would further add that buyers also get to know which agents in their area of choice are efficient at ensuring all properties/times are up to date on the web, thereby only resulting in the neccesity to spend the $2.20 on a Saturday morning to check what the inefficient agents may have.

    As such, it’s our view the size of a media advertisement is almost inconsequential provided the basics features of a home are incorporated in the advertisement.

    The notion of an Inner West property attracting a buyer form the Eastern Suburbs with a full page advertisement outside of our area is almost fanciful – our research suggest some 85% of buyers come from within a 5km radius, and those from outside the area have already identified our area as their relocation choice.

    So how many buyers are we missing out on? Few if any.

    Agent profile/ego has a lot to do with the big advertisements, but it has been our experience that nothing beats sold by boards scattered throughout an agents neighbourhood for profile!

    I always have a wry chuckle when we see properties that failed at auction having had full page mid week ads everywhere during the initial campaign, only to be never advertised in those expensive publications post auction.

    So the agent believed in those ads during the auction campaign – but they no longer seem to believe in them after the failed auction?

    The cynical might say that there is only so much advertising money one can get from a vendor … hmmm

  • Chris
    Posted March 4, 2007 at 11:51 am 0Likes

    Ah Robert, once again you

  • Peter
    Posted March 4, 2007 at 12:42 pm 0Likes

    Danny

    A brilliant post, very very thought provoking and also detailed in its analysis. Great to see the effort put into your thoughts…

    Christine…..very good!

  • Danny
    Posted March 4, 2007 at 5:29 pm 0Likes

    Christine … take it easy on Robert… you know what those Mosman boys are like!

    If you are in any doubt … take a look at the http://www.adoreproperty.com.au video suburb profile on Mosman (“Harbourside Villages”)! I’m sure viewing it will assist in understanding the mindset of those Mosman boys.

    http://www.adoreproperty.com/neighbourhoods/home.aspx?theme=harboursidevillages

    Please, please Robert tell me you Mosman boys are not all like those featured in the video! Makes the suburb look like it’s full of a bunch of pretentious w#*@kers (I hope the guy featured isn’t your best mate).

    Just kidding Robert …. but having watched that video it does make one wonder where the world, or some people think the world is heading … Have we really stooped that low?

    I’m at Hunters Hill and the adoreproperty.com.au effort in portraying the suburb I reside ain’t much better!

    (ps: previous post meant to say regards to Mr Patrick – had the wrong Steve in my mind at the time)

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted March 5, 2007 at 9:07 pm 0Likes

    To be honest Danny,

    I had not viewed this until you mentioned it – my response is that I would agree with you on your assumption as it is in direct contradiction on how I would perceive the suburb.

    It will be interesting to watch which direction Fairfax Digital take this as my understanding is that the Domain team played little to no part in its creation.

    Having said that I have been chatting with Barney lately and we will soon be launching video podcasting which is an exciting new direction for our industry.

    Nothing ventured – nothing gained. This will be an off – shoot of Virtual Realty Media.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted March 5, 2007 at 9:48 pm 0Likes

    Just scrolling back and I noticed a challenge from Simon Baker, so here is my response:

    Author: Simon Baker
    Comment:
    Robert

    You often talk about innovation and claim that realestate.com.au is not being innovative. We can debate that another time – you know my view – it is about generating more results and more leads – more than it is about aesthetics!

    I liked what Domain sent me today.

    Australia

  • max
    Posted March 8, 2007 at 9:35 pm 0Likes

    Oh.. they have taken down that Mosman video!!! If you didn

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted March 8, 2007 at 10:07 pm 0Likes

    Max,

    Many were not happy on how our suburb was portrayed. My understanding based on communications with Fairfax Digital, is that the model is being further expanded and experimented with whereby, they are testing and exploring new markets.

  • Craig
    Posted March 14, 2007 at 10:19 pm 0Likes

    Well let me start by saying that as an agent that Dave Platter
    (I work at the REA Group/realestate.com.au) and his comments match the realestate.com.au arrogance perfectly.

    Simon to have a guy on here talking everyone else down does you know good at all and reinfiorces why agents are looking at how to get away from your site and over the top and incresing fees.

    I also challege the so called big numbers Dave talks up 3.7 million ok so if you took out the agent websites you host, Ray White, Raine & Horne etc traffic what is the true number?

    Just like the Sienfield famous DOUBLE DIP going on here Dave. Bet you dont show these true stats.

    Bottom line is that internet is working.

  • Elizabeth
    Posted March 15, 2007 at 8:22 am 0Likes

    Good morning,

    Craig, my point to you is that whilst you may not agree with what people say, the very fact that the CEO of realestate and it’s PR person are regular contributors to this blog speaks volumes about the lack of participation from the other portals, Institutes and the likes of Charles Tarby.

    Craig you may wish to source other blogs on this blog (oh dear I think I am lost in this online jargon again) regarding figures and how they are reached. To my understanding this is an external company who conducts regular audits much like the Audit Bureau which conducts the Australian Census. So your number question is for this company, not any of the portals who all use this company

  • Craig
    Posted March 15, 2007 at 8:48 am 0Likes

    Good Morning Elizabeth

    A good point you raise of lack of understanding.

    Yes the stats do come from an external source this is true. However how can we ever trust these stats

    eg you visit http://www.raywhite.com.au and search for property, the properties are served out of realestate.com.au where you aware of this?

    So that means if i view a property or send and email it counts as traffic for realestate.com.au – NOW did i go to realestate.coma.au NO i went to Ray White website.

    When realestate.com.au want to beat their chest about big numbers thats fine but what is the true number of traffic that goes to their site directly and not using other major sites to draw traffic from and claim as there own.

    I cant speak why they other major portals are not on this website that is up to them, maybe they are off developing more things rather than blogging.

    Leads a very good point. i use both sites in Qld and both deliver me the same amount of email content however domain can tell me how many people have called my office which is even better than emails.

    Perhaps you may like to re read your own last sentence that you posted to me as i hope i have helped you to understand how the stats work and are flawed.

  • Peter
    Posted March 15, 2007 at 9:05 am 0Likes

    Craig, I believe that for a number of years now REA have removed Neilson Netratings from these results so they do not count. Ray White has their own code anyway for their own results.

    At the same time I hate this on other agents sites. It makes it very hard to monitor their own traffic flow.

  • Craig
    Posted March 15, 2007 at 9:16 am 0Likes

    Hi Peter

    Thanks for the reply. Do you know if they also remove the small agent websites that use realestate.com.au to power their backend?

    Reason i say this as i used to use rea to power my website and when i print out a report it would show me total stats and their was no split of the property views and emails between what came through my www address and theirs.

    So i dont see how they can claim to be able to split that data?

    Agree totally with you that agents should have their own stand alone website to get a true understanding of traffic to their website. It gives me a better understanding of what my other advertising is delivering to my website.

    Thanks

    C

  • Peter
    Posted March 15, 2007 at 9:36 am 0Likes

    Craig, I have been given assurances by REA about this and this was conveyed to me by Simon Baker a number of years ago. I wrote about it on this site many moons ago. I think this came about because agents started to understand that they 10’s of thousands of dollars a year spent on marketing their own website was in fact marketing a portal.

    I think there are over 2000 agents still using REA to do this…..baffles me….

  • Peter
    Posted March 15, 2007 at 9:38 am 0Likes

    I must say as an agent web developer – that I benefit from the above comment if agents come to me and want to get rid of this from their site. Just a footnote..

  • max
    Posted March 15, 2007 at 9:51 am 0Likes

    Craig,

    You are barking up the wrong tree mate. I know this because when I work as an agent in adelaide I work for a group who were anti REA from the top down. Eventually I got the business owner to listen but I had to get all the facts first. Sounds like you have been listening to your domain rep too much.

    I actually found REA the most open an honest with the stats. They will, or use to at least, give you a state by state break down – no one else including the franchise group I worked for would do this but there where ways you could get a rough idea.

    In my time with this group I could not get over the way head office spoke about the portals. I am pretty sure most of the offices in SA are on REA now and realize how much money it cost them over the years not being on REA. I don

  • Craig
    Posted March 15, 2007 at 9:52 am 0Likes

    Peter perhaps then Simon may like to answer why agents are unable to get a breakdown of what view and what emails come from their own website and what comes through realestate.com.au?

    I have spoken to other agent website portals when changing from realestate.com.au and they all told me that their is no way for rea to give a true breakdown of where the traffic comes?

    One thing i will say is that internet providers love to talk up the big numbers, as an agent the thing i want is quality leads and sales.

  • max
    Posted March 15, 2007 at 9:58 am 0Likes

    EG. Classic quote from franchise group meeting I went to back then…

    “realestate.com.au talk about having 2 million people looking at their site… well we have 2.5 million visits!”

    At this stage REA did have about 2 million individual browsers but the franchise group head was quoting 2.5 million property views as the same thing – IT NOT EVEN CLOSE TO THE SAME THING. I would imagime that both portals had 10’s of millions of property views back then.

  • Peter
    Posted March 15, 2007 at 10:13 am 0Likes

    Still I still see so called news reporters quoting ‘hits” which is every single file, image, slice and link on one page, as an example ONE visitor to REA’s home page (only home) would give it over 200 ‘hits’ just for looking at one page…

    Thankfully this is going out…

  • max
    Posted March 15, 2007 at 10:20 am 0Likes

    “I have spoken to other agent website portals when changing from realestate.com.au and they all told me that their is no way for rea to give a true breakdown of where the traffic comes?”

    Told ya you have been listening to you domain rep too much.

    So why then, could the other portals not even supply me with state numbers yet they can make comments about REA?

    Honestly henny penny, dont hate the big guy just because they are big…

    mind you I hate Telstra, the big banks etc etc… I think its an Australian thing.

  • max
    Posted March 15, 2007 at 10:29 am 0Likes

    Peter,

    exactly, I think one of the REA boonies said something about the measuring tool they use now (UV) the went “its not an exact science but it is the industry standard”

    All the other conspiracy theories aren

  • Craig
    Posted March 15, 2007 at 10:30 am 0Likes

    HI Max

    As much as you make me out to be pro domain i cant help but feel a pro realestate view from yourself and thats ok. Just for the record i am only after the true facts so i can make sound business decisions on where to spend my money. As an agent we cant mislead the buyers and sellers so why should anyone else be able to?

    Its not a matter of hating the big guy, sure they will give you the stats when then are big but my question is are they true stats?

    Not hard to work out who you worked for that was anti rea and domain – hey as an agent you should be on both sites as they are excellent lead generators. So Max are you on both sites now? if not are you still losing out on coms?

    I hear in SA that Fairfax have a new real estate mag with the independant weekly how is that going?

  • max
    Posted March 15, 2007 at 10:40 am 0Likes

    Hi Craig,

    I am not in SA or an agent at the moment but I did hear about the Fairfax mag.. I think it will be very good for SA.

    Yeah I guess I am pro REA but I guess that was because Domain WAS weak back home.

    For the record, the house I live in (melbourne) at the moment was found on Domain.

    And yes, if I were a business owner I would be on domain and REA. It goes against basic economics and marketing not to be on them both.

  • Craig
    Posted March 15, 2007 at 10:50 am 0Likes

    HI Max

    Good chatting with you and could not agree more with your view about smart marketing on all websites that work.

    Regards

    Craig

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