My Home it is here – Oh Dear!

Well it is here and MyHome has launched to much fanfare and I am sure allot of backslapping, so what is it like, how easy is it to use, is it the killer site many have promised?

First thoughts: No, not even close, open up the champagne REA and Fairfax, because my immediate thought is this is a dud. I am writing this as I use it, because I think the majority of Australians (agents and consumers) will make up their mind very quickly.

Well my first thought was oh dear me, what a poor excuse for a real estate portal. after all of this time, you would have thought that they would have used a professional interface designer. It really does look like something that was purchased for $50 from a template store.

I cannot express how disappointed I am with this. It really does look tacky. I am sorry but I am really, really disappointed in the look of it….

Deeper: Well it does get better, the search box is excellent and you have range of features here, type in a postcode and a drop list of suburbs appear. You have a number of options for search both from a traditional sense, a map and also an excellent regional search.

Ok, second complaint, I tried to click on Myhome logo to go back home and it does not work! Geez this frustrates me, 6 months of development and this. Just plumb dumb. It takes 2 minutes to do this for the developers….and it immediately takes away from the user experience. Now I am trying to get back to home page and I can’t. I have to clear my cache and reload the page.

Now guess what – I wrote this long article and because I had to clear my cache I lost the article (see I can be dumb too)……………..

Okay, back to writing this over again (less inspired now). After clicking on ‘search’ the results load blazingly fast – excellent work from the developers here. The first thing noticed (apart from the tawdry interface) was a little blue icon which reads “buy now for $399 pw*”, this is a great little feature but it does nothing. However maybe they are waiting for a partner? This is what I called associated 3rd party advertising and what all portals should take note of, users accept advertising that actually enhances out experience. The only fault with this is it does nothing – which sort of renders it a little less than useful.

You also can refine your view of search results from three different views which is kind of neat, although again the default view is easily the best. You can also save results as a PDF and the PDF actually looks great – another excellent feature.

My Scrapbook: The my Scrapbook feature is easy to use, but why they ask you to be registered when the success of this site depends on making this simple for the user from the start. I think a smart choice using web 2.0 technologies would be that you could drag and drop the listings into the scrapbook and then print or email the list to yourself . Something to think about.

View Listing: Again this is lighting fast to load but again it falls down miserably with the layout of the page, the agents contact box is right down the bottom, the images moving across the page are annoying, also the buy for button does nothing.

There is nothing new here and the layout is terrible, the photo gallery is stock standard stuff- although again it does load quite quickly. Unfortunately I am left with a sour taste in my mouth, I still cannot get back to the home page!!! No logo link, no home button, what are they thinking?

It seems like the only people who worked on this are developers, after 6 months of development this is simply not good enough, it is a 2 minute job and shows the site has been rushed without any testing, at least the Adore site from Fairfax actually had a home button.

Mapping: Calling anyone who knows anything about the Internet and mapping? Why didn’t they get the guys from Spyk (or anyone with half a brain) in to advise on this, the map is tiny and even when it says view full screen map it only loads in a small window, the little icons look okay but the slider is straight out of some kind of el-cheapo design school.

Other Pages: This site is simply terrible as far as interface design goes, I am appalled that this actually was allowed to go live. There are so many things wrong with this it is just not funny, you cannot click on images and have to go through the menu links on the left and even then they do not work all the time. I am not even going to bother with the other pages other than…..I thought if the site was delayed it was because they were fine tuning a killer, not wanting to release it unless it was perfect. Ugly sites are fine as long as they are easy to use and this site is definitely not easy to use.

MyHome TV: This page loads a slick TV commercial from a slick presenter. The MyHome TV show will go to air each Saturday Morning at 10.00am, right about the time when any home buyer is inspecting a property and every single real estate agent is either opening a home or selling/leasing one. The scheduling is poor at best and shows a lack of understanding of the market.

Perhaps the show will have to cut its teeth here and if it shows promise it will get moved to a better timeslot. As I look through the TV list (I rarely watch commercial TV any more) I can see at least 20 programs that could be culled or boned if I were to use the more popular vulgar terminology. Maybe it might get squeezed back if 9 also get CSI Idaho? I hope the show is a good one as the industry needs a property show. I hope the show is not full of people spruiking their own products and services and is actually informative. The ad makes some pretty bold claims and being a commercial show I have some reservations. The girl presenter does look the part and speaks very well.

Arghhhhhhhh, I tried to leave that page and try something else and the movie reloaded and now I cannot get out………………………………frustrating – to say the least!

Finally: They really should have tested this site properly, you can understand a small company making these basic mistakes, but PBL? I really think this site is let down so much by poor interface design. There is no home button on the site and this is a catastrophic oversight.

Why didn’t they contract a professional interface designer? This site has to make a great first impression, yet it looks cheap and nasty and has some serious usability issues. The site needs a major overhaul and the people that created this are not up to it, development wise they have done some great things, but from a user and a design perspective this is a train wreck.

Interface Design 101: Interface design is not about making things pretty, yes that can be a benefit, but what interface design is all about is controlling the flow of information, making sure each step in the users process is simple and effective.

The Home Page: Cost $2000: I would clean this up and use colours that are mild, I would also control the elements so everything that can load, does so in a neat professional and clear manner.

Search Results Page: $3000.00: All you need to do is design each page for each property type, so that no matter what data is loaded, it looks clean and professional, everything has a place. If content is not loaded then that space is empty and still looks clean.

Property Page: Cost $5000.00: This is the tougher page, you have to clearly understand what makes the site a long term success. What you need to do is lay out a page as if everything was included (all the possible data) and then give the data defined sections for layout. Headline, Description, Land, Building Size, Price, Address, Photos, Plans etc.

Next what you do is give each set of data an order of importance balancing the site users needs with that of the agent. You workshop this page until you have a nice clean area. agents getting results leads them to go from a free listing agent to a paid listing agent.

Yes Finally: All in all this site has so much potential sitting there – but it is let down through a lack of testing and a clueless interface design. Every single person that visits this site will not immediately think hmmm, looks good, and for 90% of the population that only knows the basics, this will frustrate them endlessly.

The TV show starts on Saturday and they better get a hell of allot right by then…..This is my second write up of this site and this one was allot nicer than the first….

Simon Baker and Fairfax can sleep well tonight – I can almost see them now turning gently in their beds with a littler smirk on their faces.

Footnote: The backend code use Neilson Netratings so it will be interesting to track this months after the initial launch and to see how many people return….

MyHome

SEO For Real Estate
Listing Leads
Agentpoint Real estate

About Peter J Ricci

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

85 Responses to My Home it is here – Oh Dear!

  1. Robert Anthony February 26, 2007 at 7:09 am #

    Peter please,

    What potential? Its down right ugly and does not work.

    I think it could get Red Faces, Bonged. The Footy Show, Goooorn. Edy the CEO, Boned. Yes Peter, REA and Fairfax will party today together and swap big deal stories over lunch with plenty!!!!! of grog.

  2. Peter Ricci February 26, 2007 at 8:10 am #

    Robert, I wrote that at about 1.00am, now the site went live, before then. I would have thought they would be up all night reading fine tuning it.

    I wake up this morning and sections everywhere are not working. This is supposed to be a professional outfit, I am really disgusted with this. As an owner of a business I would not have let this out the door like it is.

    But, it does have some potential, it is not all bad, ugly is something that can be fixed easily, however …………..

    I am sorry, this is a ……………….I really do not know what to say, I am actually flabbergasted……

  3. Sam February 26, 2007 at 9:01 am #

    Huge ad on NineMSN as predicted. Where the HOME button on My Home ?

    Don’t think REA have anything to worry about so far, for one good reason, these people have not got their act together and thus far (early days) it would appear the Packer will have egg on his face over this one.

    It seems it doesnt matter how much money you’ve got if you don’t get the right people on board you might as well flush it down the toilet.

  4. Tom S February 26, 2007 at 9:16 am #

    I had a look at the myhome release article in the FIN this morning. It had a picture of Austin Bryan (myhome CEO) and Martin Dalgleish (PBL Media CEO). Is it just me, or do they remind anyone of Dr Evil and some sort of

  5. Dave Platter February 26, 2007 at 9:38 am #

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

    Peter, great post.

    I don’t want to go negative, because I’ll be accused of just making nasty comments because the site is a competitor.

    May I ask, though, is any one else having trouble with the site on Safari?

    dave

  6. Michael February 26, 2007 at 10:01 am #

    yes – i am having difficulty on safari too – i can lend them one of my mac boxes to do some additional testing πŸ™‚

  7. Peter Ricci February 26, 2007 at 10:02 am #

    Dave, typical elitist – you own a MAC!!!

    I do too for testing, and yes, it is not working on Safari, but it has greater issues than the 3% of people with a MAC! Lets try the issues with the 97% of people on PC’s

  8. Peter February 26, 2007 at 10:14 am #

    Just read the Fin Review article, all makes sense to me, the guys look like they know what they were doing (dark mysterious ooooohh) , but obviously these two are not hands on type operators (not that they should be).

    But they should have asked questions and they should have tested it!

  9. Nick Buick February 26, 2007 at 10:27 am #

    Sure – the interface is REALLY ugly. Backgrounds are cut off, bits don’t match up… and err… put the airbrush back in the tool pallet – WAY too much heavy shading on the site makes it appear overly cluttered. Body copy looks… arrg I looks so bad its not funny – the line-height should be double what it is at least…

    But you said yourself, interface design isn’t about making things pretty.

    You or I can knock out a new CSS template for this site and have it looking A1 in a weekend. So considering the site is less than a day old – this decidedly crap looking design is not even worth mentioning…

    I think, beyond this, the site is an absolute weapon. The scrap book pallet is way cool. The search technology is SUPER fast. Virtually every element on the site can be intuitivly interacted with by the user to configure the site to their exact browsing preference – without needing to stuff around trying to learn some cumbersome portal methodoligy. The initial search is just a postcode box – there’s no ads – and the maps looked ok to me too…

    I think they need to spend a week or so redoing the template and REA may well have one scary mofo contender on their hands.

  10. Paul Krayven February 26, 2007 at 10:28 am #

    I think the site is terrible and they are displaying our companies listings without our permission. Plus they are old listings from last year!!! I think I wrote in another comment a couple of weeks back I have no confidence in this team after dealing with their technical people. Looks like my sentiments are correct.

  11. Dave Platter February 26, 2007 at 11:22 am #

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

    Peter, call me an elitist, just don’t take away my Chiko Rolls!

    Paul, can you give some examples of properties that are old but are on myhome?

    I just found this one myself:

    Raine Horne Neutral Bay
    Prop ID: P0002xic
    $715,000 Balmoral Beach, Mosman, 17/5 The Esplanade

    It doesn’t show up on the rhnb website and a quick call to the agent (Gareth Axtens) confirmed that it should not be live.

    dave

  12. Dave Platter February 26, 2007 at 12:04 pm #

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

    If anyone wants a great townhouse for just $7 a week, visit myhome property id: p000702e.

    Um, we all make mistakes, but this seems pretty bad. Does anyone know what the legal implications are if a consumer insists on buying this property (or one that’s listed but is no longer on the market) on the spot, sight unseen?

    dave

  13. Sam February 26, 2007 at 1:05 pm #

    “Does anyone know what the legal implications are if a consumer insists on buying this property (or one that

  14. Peter Ricci February 26, 2007 at 1:14 pm #

    Yes it seems the developers have not weeded out the property status of some of the XML they are getting. Seems strange to me as they are taking exactly the same data from these portals as REA.

    As for legal stuff, I am sure all agents now have a disclaimer on their sites that points to users having to check property facts for verification from agents themselves.

    Whilst this is a concern, these are things they will iron out, but it is the sites usability and overall look and feel that disturbs me.

    All of my criticisms are valid and I really do hope they get these sorted out, giving press releases and gloating about the site will only do them long term harm.

    I have had many of my clients (who are on my mailing list) ring me and most of them are pretty amused by it all.

    This is not good, I want this site to challenge, because I think it will be good for the industry. I have no doubt the free listings will go well into the rest of the year, they really MUST get the agents involved and happy and then promote it!

    The actual technology is fine – the speed is phenomenal and it does have some features that REA and Domain will include in the coming weeks – however they must get the interface right – and if they do – they will cause some problems for the majors….

    What annoys me is that the problems are a few weeks to fix, they are not substantial from a design or technology standpoint. It just looks like a trailer park release and has massive usability issues – these can be fixed, but a bad impression is not a good start.

    I wonder if all the agents who are involved actually know they are involved, because if they checked out all of their listings only to finds many old ones on their – the switchboard will be lighting up!

    This release should have been put back to the end of the month to get the basics right….who cares if it is late – as long as it is right!

  15. Peter Ricci February 26, 2007 at 1:19 pm #

    Sam, the advertisement says “searching for property just got easier”…………….I tend to disagree!

  16. Sam February 26, 2007 at 1:24 pm #

    I guess the agents who are on there that wish to complain will receive an appology and no further leads from the site – how to shoot yourself in the foot.

    I presume My Home is in for the long haul and these teething problems will fast disappear. I really think REA has to do something to protect itself, a full takeover by News would probably do it if Rupert can be bothered but I doubt that. He could dump his REA shares for a tidy profit and buy Fairfax, there’s more upward potential there.

    Also Rupert hasn’t got the right newspapers or a TV station.

    REA could sell themselves to Fairfax that would at least give them newspapers, but I doubt Fairfax is interested, they just bought Trade Me in NZ for $750M- AUD so they could have picked up REA if they wanted to then instead.

    Perhaps REA should be looking at a deal with Stokes …who knows ???

  17. Robert Simeon February 26, 2007 at 2:11 pm #

    Here is an interesting speculation in http://www.crikey.com.au today

    Tips and rumours

    There have been 40 armed robberies on licensed premises in Sydney since the New Year. Why do they not appear on the police info website? Is there an election about to happen?

    MyHome feeling a bit homeless? Now that only one franchise group (Elders) has signed up to the PBL-backed real estate website, the reality seems to be hitting home for many others. Why have LJ Hooker and others backed out? MyHome plans to go direct to the vendors of agents who use MyHome

  18. Geoff February 26, 2007 at 2:27 pm #

    “Yes it seems the developers have not weeded out the property status of some of the XML they are getting. Seems strange to me as they are taking exactly the same data from these portals as REA”

    I’ve just done a check on the postcodes 7248, 7249, 7250 and I couldn’t find any listings from these agencies:
    – Towns Shearing
    – Harrison Humphries
    – Ray White
    – Statewide
    – Peter Bushby
    – Weedon
    – Professionals

    If myhome is scraping the listings from agency web sites they’ve missed a few.

  19. Peter Ricci February 26, 2007 at 2:32 pm #

    I would reserve my judgements on these types of stories if they can be corroborated with facts. Who knows, this is big business controlling agents advertising and I don’t count out dirty tricks from anyone in respect to spreading rumours and muddying the waters around a launch….

    Robert, you should stand for office!

  20. Peter Ricci February 26, 2007 at 2:37 pm #

    A Google Search for Myhome brings some interesting results – note the Domain advertisement at the top of the page? Homehound are also advertising under this search term as well as Homesite (NewsLtd) and someone has myhomeaustralia.com.au registered.

  21. Dave Platter February 26, 2007 at 2:39 pm #

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

    Robert, so what you’re saying is that PBL is actually suing its future customers to try to get them to use their service?

    I’m not even going to comment on that right now. The reality of it says all that needs to be said, I think.

    dave

  22. Robert Simeon February 26, 2007 at 2:44 pm #

    Dave,

    No I am not saying that. All I am saying is what was said on http://www.crikey.com.au

  23. Mark February 26, 2007 at 2:55 pm #

    I know why we won’t be seeing any Ray White listing on myhome. I got a fax from a Ray White office, obviously by mistake, on Friday afternoon.

    “Dear John, We have been advised by Ray White Corporate to cancel our subscription and the feed authorisation we have with myhome.com.

    This letter serves to verify this and accordingly it would be appreciated if our listing can be taken off your site”

  24. Peter February 26, 2007 at 3:22 pm #

    Mark, welcome, you put the web address of myhome.com.au in your contact details, I assume from your comment that you do NOT work for them.

    Thanks for popping by and making a comment, I look forward to seeing you here again…

  25. Peter February 26, 2007 at 3:24 pm #

    Geoff, good to see you here also, please feel free to talk about any subject that you like and please come back and add further to this and other discussions….

    I am sure there are many thousands of offices not on this sites. I would like to see technical and interface issues addressed. I did not expect them to have a major amount of listings, but I did expect a slick production.

  26. Dave Platter February 26, 2007 at 3:35 pm #

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

    How and why is myhome helping out a company whose mission is to put all real estate agents on the dole? I just found out that myhome is taking ads from GoPrivate, which says this about itself:

    “Our aim is to show you how easy it is to buy and sell property WITHOUT THE ASSISTANCE of a Real Estate Agent.”
    (http://www.goprivate.com.au/index.php?page_id=1446)
    (emphasis mine)

    On myhome, do a search in, for example, Mandurah, WA. You’ll see that many of the listings are from GoPrivate.

    As for the Why of all this…you’ll have to draw your own conclusions about myhome’s motivations. I certainly won’t speculate. Then again, we could ask myhome “Mark.”

    dave

  27. Nick Buick February 26, 2007 at 3:38 pm #

    Any of you guys see RealEstate.com.au 1.0? I’m sure it had it’s fair share of bugs. In fact – they still can’t make their Interest Calculator work properly after how many years?

    I still think MyHome has some serious legs on it – you have to at least take your hat off to them for taking some chances and trying something that’s certainly different. And isn’t what you guys have been screaming for?

    Adore doesn’t impress me – it has a pretty looking skin covering a really basic site. MyHome on the other hand, is a really ugly skin covering an impressively functional search application.

    I know which one I’d put my money on.

  28. Paul Krayven February 26, 2007 at 3:38 pm #

    Dave, realestate.com.au were also going to sue a real estate company a while back, well not realestate.com.au but the company was threatened that realestate.com.au would purse legal options by one of the sales managers after the company director had a change of heart about a signed banner contract.

    Normally yes you’d pursue a broken contact but this particular realestate.com.au sales agent insisted that they would pursue legal action against the real estate company after the directors agreed that they would cease advertising for the entire group which would have lost realestate.com.au around 25-30K per year for the rest of the agencies life. The contract was for less than 6K I believe.

    Commonsense would have thought realestate.com.au would have backed down and tried to keep the director of this real estate group happy and they did back down in the end, but not without a series of threats.

    The company has since mended relations with realestate.com.au and all live happily ever after, but you I thought I’d mention that.

  29. Paul Krayven February 26, 2007 at 3:54 pm #

    Realestate.com.au V1.0 πŸ™‚ according to the wayback machine

    http://web.archive.org/web/19970102122517/http://www.realestate.com.au/

  30. Dave Platter February 26, 2007 at 4:12 pm #

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

    Paul, you raise a very good point. We certainly make our mistakes. Based on what you typed, it seems like our sales manager was way out of line. I’m glad it’s all been sorted out now.

    I’ve said this before on this blog, but it probably needs to be said again. If anyone is involved in a situation where one of our staff is behaving badly, let me know confidentially (dplatter at realestate dot com dot au) and I’ll be sure it get dealts with.

    All that said, there’s a big difference between a wayward sales person behaving badly and an entire company going on the warpath, if that is what myhome is doing.

    Thanks again for your comment.
    dave

  31. Peter February 26, 2007 at 4:57 pm #

    Really do not see any relevance to something released in the 90’s to now. It is funny though, I saw this a few years back and y6ou can see the transformation of a number of sites….

    Dave, thanks for NOT drawing any conclusions…..like the way you have spent your day today…..informing us of all the holes………….of and not drawing any conclusions………

    REA will eventually take on private advertising in some form, it is inevitable….perhaps you will purchase a company on the side, maybe not mix with REA results…but you can never say never on this subject…..you guys like money too much!

    PS: Thta photo is really freaking me out Dave!

  32. Michael February 26, 2007 at 5:13 pm #

    Hey Dave – i’m happy to sign up now….And happy to pay extra….if you are considering

  33. Sam February 26, 2007 at 5:23 pm #

    WOW Michael you’ve got a tram for sale for only $650,000 and in an area hardly anyone has ever heard of, what a bargain.

    http://www.zeroagents.com.au/Search/View-Property.aspx?PropertyID=1077

    You must gets heaps of traffic, your site is so comprehensive with 39 properties for sale in Victoria you are a market LEADER – and no lies either , boy it doesn’t get any better then that.

  34. Michael February 26, 2007 at 5:49 pm #

    Absolutely true Sam – not a market leader at all.

    Would love to visit your website Sam….. seems only fair.

    (and my benefit is – you are probably never going to be a customer of mine unlike the other portals such as Myhome, domain and Realestate.com.au and the individuals whom run those who you like having serves at – see Reference above regarding new CV’s and accommodation – so i can probably give you a fairly honest assessment)

    Why not post it in here – let everyone review it?

  35. Sam February 26, 2007 at 6:29 pm #

    Only pulling your leg Michael, there’s a place for everyone, I would take off the reference to “No lies” though if I were you, people don’t like that sort of unprofessional way of expressing yourself. Be nice and you’ll attract nice clients and perhaps more of them. Good luck.

  36. Robert Simeon February 26, 2007 at 7:49 pm #

    As an agent I must admit that my first glance at myhome.com.au was a mixture of annoyance and disappointment. Despite all the hype and chest beating at best all it could possibly hope to achieve is that of challenging the free portals, with very little chance of laying a finger on REA and Domain.

    Yes, they have developed some interesting features, it loads very quickly, additional search criteria’s, and as I was later pointed out the OFI diary – all smart tools. I like the fact that have copied Domain and with your second search you are immediately transported back to your previous search. Yay !!

    I just hope they take on board the abovementioned suggestions which should not be construed as criticism. They have much more work to do both technically and with design which is a far cry from saying “hey look at me – looking good.”

    I am astounded they don’t have a home button. If you can’t click on home you then click on X.

    The television discussions are interesting as Richardson & Wrench had a real estate show in the late 80’s. It failed as people are simply not at home on Saturday mornings, they even moved it forward to 7.30 am as it was thought that atleast people would be having breakfast then. The series was later boned !!

    Our network uses Commerce Australia and I noticed today that myhome has been added to the bulk uploads. I also noticed that Commerce Australia does not us allow us to bulk upload for REA and Domain. I will look into that one.

    On a previous blog I discussed the problems of portals uploading from head office websites and the myhome portal confirmed these fears. The problem is that some agents don’t remove properties from the head office websites. Myhome, have a property listed that was sold two years ago in Mosman, and also the agent left that agency around that time. I am sure an intending purchaser would be far from impressed to learn this after making enquiries.

    I also learnt today that our staff have only uploaded 3 per cent of our properties on our head office website. So I am correcting that one. Thanks myhome.

    In my opinion Myhome who appear to be very shy as to the best of my knowledge they have had no contact with agents. They should have emailed the agents a list of properties that were going to appear on the website when launched. In this day and age purchasers demand accuracy – 2005 listings is not accurate.

    REA and Domain work very well with the agents and are constantly in dialogue with key personel. Unless myhome start instigating dialogue they will fast follow the path of Just Listed.

    I would love to see competition as our industry needs that. The current myhome launch has let many down as the smiles it brought after the launch also had heads shaking.

    Now it is live – it has two options that will be determined over a very short period of time. Dead or alive !!

  37. Michael February 26, 2007 at 8:20 pm #

    Sam – thanks for the be nice suggestion – i will take that on board – i assume that was also an apology to Dave Platter and Simon Baker πŸ™‚

    As for MyHome – the more i play with it the more it grows on me. I am sure some of the glitches will be ironed out. They appear to be cosmetic predominantly which as Peter says is a really easy fix.

    As for speculation about it’s survival – it will and should survive. The market can easily accommodate all 3 players. As an agent i would want to be on all 3 to ensure i didn’t miss a buyer – and it is still far cheaper to be listed on all 3 sites then to run a one week full page ad in any of the major papers. And probably damn more effective as well.(attracting buyers)

    Homehound is the one that still perplexes me. It is designed with the sole purpose of not letting the “commercial” sites dominate the industry – and probably also developed with an eye on the REA Market Capitalisation and the potential they believe they can generate. What is it’s plan?

    Suggestion to MyHome: I like many others in this forum heard the various rumours about part ownership to some of the Franchise Groups. My understanding of the local situation is that the franchisee in most cases couldn’t care what deal is done Nationally – as it usually doesn’t benefit them and they just want buyers. Why not offer any agency – including independents – a percentage of shares – pro rata based on the actual agency spend over a 3 to 4 year period – with the view to an IPO at that date. This offers an incentive for the people at the shopfront to contribute and benefit rather than the Franchise Groups Head Office. It could address the issue of obtaining content as well – especially if there has been issues with the arrangements as discussed within this forum.

  38. Robert Simeon February 26, 2007 at 8:36 pm #

    One suggestion that I would make to all portals is to get rid of the property “agent speak” on the search pages. If they simplified this page and kept it simple it would be much easier on the eye and further improve the appeal of the portal.

    You can never fit it all in so remove it as an interested party will click on the view button to attain more information. You can make the photos larger, the icons bigger etc etc.

    Nobody actually reads these more often than not vebose descriptions until they actually open the page – so why not try and be different. I very much look forward to the day when a portal dares to be different with this convoluted online eyesore.

    These grabs will never fit the template – so try removing them and you will immediately notice how much more friendly your search page will become.

  39. Robert Simeon February 26, 2007 at 9:00 pm #

    Michael,

    I just noticed tonight driving home my first zeroagent signboard.

    http://www.zeroagents.com.au/Search/View-Property.aspx?PropertyID=1383

    I will watch the marketing campaign with interest. For the record I do not have a problem with your business appearing on any of the portals.

    What I do find interesting is that in a previous post you identify yourself as an agent. Yet, on your homepage it states “zerocommissions – zeroauctions – zerolies !!

    In NSW, we have the Office of Fair Trading that protects consumers from such behaviour. Yes, it does happen and this is in the vast minority of cases as agents who indulge are usually quickly removed.

    However Michael, somewhat ironic that here you state that you are an agent. Yet !! On your homepage your call them liars ?

    Which one are you Michael ? Or maybe a split personality πŸ˜‰

  40. Robert Anthony February 26, 2007 at 9:29 pm #

    Hi Peter,

    You must have been really p……ed with what you saw after midnight. I laughed this morning at you, and with you and laughed at all of us!!!! However you were the only one you poor bugger out of all of us to stay up to get maybe the first look at something special. I am not being cruel or unkind mate. However when you finally put your head on that pillow, you would have said to yourself What …….the………did I do that for and I bet your head was spinning and thinking all night. Sorry Mate.

  41. Robert Simeon February 26, 2007 at 9:38 pm #

    Robert,

    I agree and now we will all have to wait to see where PBL take this sad release. Actually, it reminds me of the NRL Grand Final a few years ago with Billy Idol – where he turned off the electricity.

    Myhome – will now have to turn it back on !! They have missed a great opportunity. Not a One-tel yet.

  42. Peter February 26, 2007 at 9:56 pm #

    Robert, yes I actually got a call from a portal this morning, just before I got this call I was sitting here on my own and I just started laughing thinking about all the workers at the portals today looking at it, eager to get to work – seeing their faces when they first loaded the myhome site…..

  43. Michael February 26, 2007 at 10:11 pm #

    I am pretty sure that i have never posted on this website that i am an agent. Having said that i am a fully licenced agent – and will maintain my licence – so that i am also up to date on legislated issues etc.

    I accept the criticism relating to that statement – and we are in fact changing that on our homepage soon. It’s possibly a touch too dramatic – and we have obviously taken advantage of the public perception surrounding agents.(How did the public get that perception? – guarantee it wasn’t through my marketing efforts)

    Bit like your website claiming Internet Sales $553,624,100 – kind of suggests that it was done online without an agent.(sounds like a good business model to me)

    So was it internet sales – or was an agent required? πŸ˜‰

    And if the internet/database is facilitating so much business i would definitely hope you are not having your vendors spend thousands of dollars on traditional print advertising???

    “we believe no other agency can match or deliver the sophistication of our services” – this is a statement on your website – do you believe this – or is this marketing hype – and what will other agents in the area say about that statement.

    Also some of the formatting on your website – doesn’t support firefox too well.(my statistics say roughly 12.8% of the browser market – though Peter may offer other data) Looks fine on Safari though.

    And this discussion was somehow about MYHOME to start – Sighs

    GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Ok i understand that Real Estate Agents can be troubled by our message – but funnily enough i would suggest i represent a far smaller threat to agents than the real estate office located next door competing against them. People choose whether to sell their car privately or use a dealer – trade in etc. Why can’t it be the same in Real Estate.

    I am involved in these forums because the shape of the real estate industry is of equal concern to me as it is too all involved.

    Now some friendly barbs here and there are fine – some can be downright funny – but people – this is for facilitating discussion and education about the industry – not on taking potshots here and there.

    Some of the comments made towards the Property Portals are downright unfair – and i am yet to see any office website that even approaches the sophistication these portals provide. These portals charge roughly $500 a month – to deliver outstanding exposure and inquiry. Can they do it better – all of them can.

    How about we have good lively discussion about issues without personalising. I won’t sit back and cop it and neither should anyone.

    And as Forrest Gump would say – “and thats all i want to say about that”

  44. Robert Simeon February 26, 2007 at 10:14 pm #

    Short term memory loss Michael

    Your post “As an agent i would want to be on all 3 to ensure i didn

  45. Robert Simeon February 26, 2007 at 10:25 pm #

    Michael,

    Again, yet again you stumble.

    “Michael >> Bit like your website claiming Internet Sales $553,624,100 – kind of suggests that it was done online without an agent.(sounds like a good business model to me)

    So was it internet sales – or was an agent required?
    And if the internet/database is facilitating so much business i would definitely hope you are not having your vendors spend thousands of dollars on traditional print advertising??? ”

    As a business we run what is considered the largest online e-zine newsletter that goes to over 43 countries. Our staff subscribe prospective purchasers (we were the first business to send out an email alert) to our database.

    Michael, from a credibility purpose you would be better served to remember what you post here. One post you state that you are an agent, next you are in denial. Then I have to remind you what you have posted here.

    I think your cape has distracted your vision.

    So as an agent are you a liar ?

  46. Robert Simeon February 26, 2007 at 10:27 pm #

    Next !! Michael is kissing the canvas.

  47. Michael February 26, 2007 at 10:39 pm #

    Sighs

  48. Robert Simeon February 26, 2007 at 10:47 pm #

    Get back – off the canvas Michael or Michelle !!

  49. Tom S February 26, 2007 at 11:30 pm #

    Hi Robert,

    You seem to be quite pumped. 3 blogs in a row!

    Can you list the 43 counties that you email to

  50. Michael February 27, 2007 at 12:03 am #

    Damn – we have to organise a drinks night – it would be a hoot – i’ll even wear my cape πŸ™‚

  51. Simon Baker February 27, 2007 at 12:15 am #

    Tom

    Good post.

    Here is a link to an article in the Courier Mail the other day.

    http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,21274865-5003418,00.html

    This is an interesting quote from the article “Peter Hutton of boutique Brisbane agency Hutton Real Estate says 90 per cent of his buyers are introduced to their purchase via websites realestate.com.au, domain.com.au and the agency’s own site, hutton.com.au.

    “A new listing will normally attract in a week up to 300 visits on realestate.com.au, 100 visits on our website and 20 on domain.com.au. Domain is still worthwhile because it attracts quality buyers,” he says.”

    So, outside of Mosman, there is a different world.

    Simon Baker
    MD REA Group

  52. Tom S February 27, 2007 at 12:24 am #

    Thanks Simon.

    The article in the Courier Mail mentions that realestate.com.au recorded more than 3.7 million unique browsers over the last year. Surely that’s a print mistake.

  53. Simon Baker February 27, 2007 at 12:29 am #

    Tom – here is the full quote from the article …

    “In January, Australia’s leading online property site, realestate.com.au (which is 58 per cent owned by News Ltd), recorded more than 3.7 million unique browsers

  54. Tom S February 27, 2007 at 12:31 am #

    Wow! That’s impressive.

  55. snoop February 27, 2007 at 2:33 am #

    Yawn
    A site developed by a team with no clue about the industry or the web for that matter.
    Downright dissapointing for the amount of dollars thrown at this,and the expectation they built up.
    They should hire some of the commentators on this board.

  56. Michael February 27, 2007 at 8:02 am #

    nah – you wouldn’t hire anyone here – they spend too much time blogging πŸ™‚

  57. Shaun Di Gregorio February 27, 2007 at 8:38 am #

    Hello Peter

    I think you’ve hit the Big Time!

    Page 4 of the business section of Today’s copy of The Age in Melbourne!

    You even get a mention Robert!

    Let me knwow if you’d like me to email a copy of the article.

    Enjoy.

  58. Michael February 27, 2007 at 8:50 am #

    “If you can make it there – You can make it anywhere – It’s up to you – Mel Bourne – Mel Bourne ”

    Comeon everyone sing along

  59. Peter February 27, 2007 at 10:01 am #

    Now why the person in charge of this development should be sacked.

    1. They have the resources of PBL behind them.
    I am not saying unlimited resources but they have have had a team of say 3 or 4 people working on this for nearly 6 months.

    2. It is a tiny site
    People think real estate portals are very large websites. In content maybe, but not in development size – so getting it right over 6 months should be easy.

    This site has maybe 15 main pages to be designed and really only 4 major pages; home, search, search results, and property pages. It is not rocket science!

    3. Think just didn’t work
    I found usability issues in allot of places, think just do not work the way they were intended.

    Now it is not all doom and gloom, everything can be fixed. But here is the thing, I work with designers and developers everyday and they just hate being told they are wrong.

    No Home Page button – “Are these people idiots, there is only one url and they can skip around without needing to go back to the home page.” You see they think someone is dumb because they cannot use what they have built.

    Sometimes when a users gets lost in a site (like when you are on a page where the tv commercial keeps playing and not allowing you out of the page) you simply want to start again or reload.

    If the manager of this site had 6 months to get it right and this is what he came to PBL with and said “we are ready” then throw their butts on the street.

    I doubt (even though it is possible) that PBL said, “I don’t care how bad it is, it has to be released by XX/XX/XXXX”.

    Thats is why someone else has to come in and fix it….

  60. Ralph February 27, 2007 at 10:06 am #

    Saw the article in the Age, good blog.

    When I search then delete all the settings then return to the site, it takes me back to the page I was at with all the old settings, the old search.
    Cookies do this but whats the point of being able to delete your previous search settings if they keep re-appearing ?

  61. Jai February 27, 2007 at 10:13 am #

    Where and how are Myhome accumulating listings?
    A friend of mine works in a Real Estate office in Brisbane and asked if I had heard of Myhome. She hadn’t. She was emailed notification from Myhome that one of her listings (and for some reason only one) had been automatically uploaded to their website on Saturday night. She has given no authority for this and neither had the office that she works for. Is this legal?

  62. Peter February 27, 2007 at 10:14 am #

    Ralph, welcome to our little real estate chat site. Yes, the site needs allot of work, I am trying that now too…

    I am sure many of these issues will be iron out in the coming weeks. I keep finding more issues the deeper I go….

    Please keep coming back and give us your thoughts….

  63. PropAd February 27, 2007 at 8:38 pm #

    you tell everyone that realestate.com.au and domain.com.au have no competition against myhome.com.au, i believe that myhome.com.au is one of the most user friendly sites that i have visited..

    As for the back button “ARE YOU THAT STUPID, THAT YOU CAN’T NAVIGATE AROUND A NEW SITE?”

    I think you need more 21st Century training on how to use a site…

    So in my opinion It’s Going to KICK realestate.com.au and domain out of the water… you just wait….

  64. Robert Simeon February 27, 2007 at 8:50 pm #

    Tsk !! Tsk !! – temper temper !!

    Here is my plan

  65. Peter February 27, 2007 at 9:35 pm #

    PropAd

    There is no doubt I am that stupid – I would not hide from that fact. Thanks for the tips on needing training on how to use the site!

    Maybe myhome can hire caravans to travel around Australia in helping people like me to understand how the site works, or………… and this comes from left field…..maybe just fix the many usability issues on the site and get it right…..2 weeks work.

    They maybe even have some money left over and hire a web designer……!

  66. Peter February 27, 2007 at 9:38 pm #

    Robert, 6 months MyHome had to get this right, so in my mind there are no excuses!

  67. Robert Simeon February 27, 2007 at 9:51 pm #

    Peter,

    Did you read my comment on another blog here that now they have introduced the magic Red X, on a property page search ?

    I remain unsure as to the period of longevity. Rather, when they start charging clients and how many subscribe. Personally, I believe they are a agent public relations nightmare – as we are their oxygen and they don’t contact us.

    As I said before they have a property on their site that was sold some years ago. They called me today about it – and 12 hours later it still remains there. It is two years old and sold !!

    I would love nothing more than to see them make a point of difference. However, at this point of time the only difference is that they have an ongoing mentality of failing to understand the culture of our industry.

    Sadly, for our industry the launch was riddled with technical errors.

  68. Peter February 27, 2007 at 10:09 pm #

    Hi Robert
    This is their problem – all of the data is coming from elsewhere, the must not have a system in place to login and deny certain listings. If they do, the next update it just goes on the site again.

    The problem can only be in 2 places. The XML set up at MyHome’s end or at your companies end.

    Is the listing anywhere in your system?
    Do you get a feed report each day?

    Funny, MyHome never rang me and I would love to chat with them, just as I do with REA, Fairfax, Homehound, Realmap and others!

  69. Peter February 27, 2007 at 10:16 pm #

    It is strange, I speak with so many people in this industry and I enjoy and learn from many of their views..I hope they see my views as constructive, the emotional ones, not so much, but honestly is was so frustratingly bad.

  70. Robert Simeon February 27, 2007 at 10:29 pm #

    Peter,

    You need to post your phone number here for them. As one of the smartest brains is online portals sent me an email stating, “Good to hear from you Robert!

    How funny

  71. Peter February 28, 2007 at 10:17 am #

    Tom, I hope you find pages loading allot faster now…

  72. Tom S March 1, 2007 at 10:58 pm #

    The performance has improved dramatically. Although, you

  73. Robert Simeon March 1, 2007 at 11:07 pm #

    Tom S,

    The readership is well aware of your fondness for wearing dresses. Maybe your Candy S, will make more sense, than Tom S.

  74. Tom S March 1, 2007 at 11:21 pm #

    Pete,

    I think that you are going to have to implement a “hover and view details” feature for the blog posts. When there is 60-70,there is a lot to wade and page through.

  75. Tom S March 1, 2007 at 11:23 pm #

    This post slipped through the Business2 cracks, so I’ll republish.

    “The performance has improved dramatically. Although, you

  76. Peter March 1, 2007 at 11:30 pm #

    Thanks Tom – Added a Caching Plugin and had to tweak it somewhat – did not want to work….

    I will implement more each month, but I am a limited budget……

  77. Peter March 1, 2007 at 11:35 pm #

    Go to MyHome everyday to see if they have fixed some things. I have to say it does hurt my eyes. I really really hate the design, it is just so tacky….

    That aside it is quick, but still too much rubbish everywhere, it just need a makeover to lay everything out cleaner….

    I know MyHome come here each day πŸ™‚

    If they do not fix these issues it just shows how pig headed they are. I spoke to a reporter today and MyHome CEO apparently said that their site is far advanced than any of the others technically……

    Still trying to find somewhere on the site where this actually shows…..

    Still 1995 design is kinda retro I suppose….That seems to be in with furniture….

  78. Tom S March 2, 2007 at 9:57 pm #

    Yeah thanks Robert. I don’t mind the dress so much, but these high-heels are killing my back!

  79. Robert Simeon March 2, 2007 at 10:09 pm #

    Tom s,

    Well tomorrow night is – your night !! Not that I will attending however – if any Business2 bloggers are on Oxford Street please tell which float you will be sitting on πŸ˜‰

  80. Tom S March 2, 2007 at 10:17 pm #

    Is the gay mardi-gras on tomorrow night Robert? Did you manage to get enough feathers and sequins for your costume this year?

    It

  81. Robert Simeon March 2, 2007 at 10:43 pm #

    Well Tom,

    Actually, I am after opens out on my boat for the weekend. Don’t get too excited I said boat not float !!

    For a shock broker you spend so much time on a real estate blog. None the less I will have so much more to announce next week on the real estate industry – hint. A huge industry online award and no, it was not RWM !!

  82. Tom S March 3, 2007 at 1:50 am #

    Is it best costume?

    I look forward to hearing about your revelation. I’m sure that it will be worthy of the build up.

    Enjoy the water Sailor boy.

  83. Danny March 4, 2007 at 6:37 am #

    Just had a close look at myhome.com.au and I really think they have really missed the mark from an agents perspective.

    Some of my observations are as follows:-

    a) Go into any property and there is no branding of the agency – the salespersons name is larger than the agency name (I note that there is provision for a logo – but ours certainly doesn’t appear). I think they need to learn a little on the PR front and do a little research in terms who are the bigger players in each respective area – making personal contact might be a start.

    b) There seemingly isn’t any ability or provision to be linked directly to be agent’s own website.

    c) Even on the page displaying the list of properties from a search, I believe there should be a small agents logo (a la Domain/realestate). I think most agents are proud of their brand and to simply be listed in the same font/colour as other agents in ones area doesn’t do it for me – in my opinion it’s a failure on their part to recognise that not all agents are the same – there is no differentiation and I am sure many agents would feel it undermines their brand.

    d) Do they give anything back to agents that support them? Even under the “SELL” section, one would think that they would at least provide a list of agents in an area that support their website. Ironically, under selling tips they suggest that “you should ask an agent how often they will communicate with you” – perhaps they should adopt this principle themselves.

    I believe if they don’t address some of these these issues the more domimant agencies will cease supporting the site resulting in them being a second tier player competing with the justlisted’s and homehound’s.

    As I have said previously, consumers searching a particular area quickly get to know which portal/s (likely realestate and/or domain)All agents from that area (or the ones that matter) list their properties.

    Why would one visit a site where only 60 – 70% of properties are listed when this market is already well serviced – at the end of the day, is the myhome site that different to realestate or domain?

    Surely all a consumer really wants to know is that they haven’t missed any properties.

    It begs the question whether the dominant and smart agents shouldn’t be the ones being paid to list their properties!

    Afterall, nothing is free in this world.

  84. Kitchen Design March 6, 2007 at 3:38 pm #

    It is clunky and poorly designed but I guess it won’t take them that long to re-organise things.

    I have been using realestate.com.au and domain.com.au to look for property and the most annoying thing that I have found about real estate portals in general is finding a listing that has no pictures of the inside of the property and no location on the Google map. How hard is it!?

  85. michael liu March 6, 2007 at 11:41 pm #

    I think they missed the boat completely by attempting to even bring out a product that isn’t even needed on the market. They haven’t even made an effort to develop something with a point of difference! sucked in PBL for trying to (arrogantly) get in on a gravy train (thought you would have learnt that lesson by now)

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