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MyHome gets set for launch!

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So here we go, apparently Monday is MyHome Day…..So what can we expect? I have as much of an idea as anyone but if they get the mix right, it could be a giant killer. You can safely say that Domain.com.au will be in their short term sites and you can also bet that any property related TV show will be spruiking the MyHome brand. Talk of a MyHome TV show has already fuelled whispers that major portals are clamouring to get some TV deals done themselves with other networks.

TV rips newspapers apart from a marketing perspective and MyHome will working hard to get vendors asking that question (which REA has done so effectively with News Ltd papers in the past) to agents “are you on MyHome?”

One thing is for sure, it will have maps but not from Google but from MSN (which are excellent also). It will also have exactly the same data as REA property data because franchises would not be adding to their system and testing new fields to export. Will it be a media filled home page or will it be clever, clean and fast? I do not hold much hope for a clean site as NineMSN is a perfect example of treating your guests with contempt. (although updated version is better – but still a pain)

My thoughts on the release is simple. It will be more about the marketing to vendors and placing pressure on agents to join the site. It will also drive another nail in the coffin of newspapers (I know Robert disagrees).

I hope for a nice clean, fast site that is all about property listings. I know they come here and read this blog, but do they listen to the voices that are crying out for something agent/listings focused?

Time will tell – your thoughts?

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37 Comments

  • Simon Baker
    Posted February 23, 2007 at 6:24 pm 0Likes

    Peter

    Interesting analysis

    I am not 100% convinced on the value of TV advertising – remember it does cost a heap. We have invested heavily in TV advertising in Australia and the UK in the past and it doesnt necessarily drive lots of traffic.

    An interesting comparison is primelocation.com in the UK and ourselves (Propertyfinder.com). In Janaury this year, primelocation were spending big on TV (millions of pounds) and we spent nothing on TV. We both had very similar traffic in December (traditionally low month) of 770k unique visitors. (ComScore). At the end of January we had 1.5m UK UB’s (and increase of 770k while they had only 1.4m UK UB’s, and increase of 620k.

    As for Australia and myhome – it will be interesting to see what they do. Our sources are saying they may be doing a weekly 30 min show on a Saturday morning.

    Simon Baker
    MD REA Group

  • Sam
    Posted February 23, 2007 at 6:50 pm 0Likes

    “Our sources are saying they may be doing a weekly 30 min show on a Saturday morning.”

    That was advertised on Ch 9 yesterday and I thought they said it was starting this Sat, no sign of it being advertised further though. Maybe stating next week, no point the TV show being up before the web site.

    Google beats anything else hands down for traffic generation.

  • Simon Baker
    Posted February 23, 2007 at 7:07 pm 0Likes

    Sam

    I agree with you re: google as being a good generator of traffic. However it also depends on how much you want to pay. In the mortgage segment, people are paying over $1 per click – you had better have great processes in place for handling these leads.

    If you have an establishd brand (e.g. qantas) or a logical URL (e.g. realestate) then you are able to generate significant direct traffic.

    Simon Baker
    MD REA Group

  • Sam
    Posted February 23, 2007 at 7:12 pm 0Likes

    Search engine optimisation is what it’s about, for Google only, the rest don’t really matter, but if you’re doing ok in Google you’ll also do ok elsewhere.

    Not practical to go too far dowm that track for a local agent, thats where the portals come in of course.

  • Peter
    Posted February 23, 2007 at 7:21 pm 0Likes

    Thanks Simon, I do understand what you are saying, but we live in a fear campaign climate, many agents will be worried they lose vendors if they are not a part of it, and if there is a weekly TV show you can bet 1/50th of your salary that MyHome will be all over it.

    So an agents sits there and watches it (of course they will) and you can be assured this will make them join……

    I think this (no matter how bad it is) will be a hit – if only for that reason…..smarter agents may wait….

  • Simon Baker
    Posted February 23, 2007 at 7:28 pm 0Likes

    Peter

    Perhaps – but remember they have to pay for the TV space and people wont want to watch a 30 min advertisement.

    For a long time domain was closely associated with location location

    Anyway – dont alot of agents work on the Saturdays?

    Simon Baker

  • Peter
    Posted February 23, 2007 at 7:48 pm 0Likes

    Sam, yes Google is the King, but the majority of web developers have no idea about how to get the most out of Google, Yahoo and MSN.

    So pay per lick PPC) is the best option although PPC real estate advertising is expensive.

    Simon, good point, we both know how consumers hate advertising around something they watch…did not think of that!

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 23, 2007 at 8:08 pm 0Likes

    Whilst we have had no contact with PBL and our properties will appear on their launch. Those that have been privy to seeing a private release demonstration have been most impressed. Monday will be most interesting and I anticipate this site will further light up with commentaries on the pros and cons of this anticipated launch.

    I will be monitoring the leads they generate in our inbox very closely.

  • Robert Anthony
    Posted February 23, 2007 at 9:32 pm 0Likes

    Could I ask an open question to our open panel giving that there is only 24hrs/48hrs before the release of myhome.com.au

    What could myhome.com.au possibley do to make their site more impressive!!!! than rea and domain????? Besides being cheaper!!!!

    Now, this will be interesting to see what we all come up with before there launch on monday.

    P.S I loves you all!!!

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 23, 2007 at 10:03 pm 0Likes

    Robert,

    A very good question indeed you pose. Our Head Office, went to the PBL – “Top Secret” launch in August/September 2006. We were told not to renew our contracts with REA or Domain, as the PBL portal was the best ever developed in real estate history. We were then told that they would have a slow release in later 2006 – that never eventuated.

    So many months later, they are about to release – finally !! I have absolutely no idea what they are about to release (I am not on that panel). All I am aware of is that our properties will be listed as Head Office signed off on PBL accessing their website.

    I am somewhat excited as we were told this is a new revolution in online marketing. It is free to begin with so no complaints there from us – although I challenge their decision to have no contact with us (the agents) who list the properties.

    I will stand on the property podium and say this – I believe that our market has only enough room for two (paid) property portals. If the PBL release is innovative and refreshing for our industry you can be assured of one thing. The newspaper journalist’s will have an absolute field day quoting agents on who jumped ship, if it is as good as what they say.

    PBL, don’t have a newspaper so, I would argue that it is not news worthy to appear on A Current Affair. Advantage Newspapers !! If it is good it will get dirty – the over protective parents Fairfax (who dominate the Sydney market) and News Ltd that have Cumberland Newspapers and an interest in REA will bombard the markets with anti PBL portal stories.

    Monday can’t come soon enough !!

    PS. Even more interesting will be to see which of the smaller agents the PBL site ignores (if any) – or further reason for more aggression. A very different approach with a fuse that could be quite explosive.

  • Peter
    Posted February 23, 2007 at 10:28 pm 0Likes

    Robert poses a simple thing, because he has had no contact and I assume he is doing no different as far as uploads to his parent company then nothing will be different as far as property data is concerned.

    How PBL can claim to have the “best ever real estate portal in history” with the same data as all of the others sites is amusing.

    But REA and Domain know one thing, if it is a clean/simple search and display site that is blazingly fast ……….and they get the majority of agents on board, it will mean that REA and Domain have some serious problems on their hands.

    News and Fairfax will more than likely discredit or at least write “informed articles” on how many listings each site has and visitor numbers will be thrown across their respective articles.

    For agents it will be all about the display and for consumers it will be all about ease of use…..

    So the site has to make its claim with its interface and search……

    Cannot wait….

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 23, 2007 at 10:39 pm 0Likes

    Peter,

    Just a quick point on what you said in your initial post that started this thread.

    “My thoughts on the release is simple. It will be more about the marketing to vendors and placing pressure on agents to join the site. It will also drive another nail in the coffin of newspapers (I know Robert disagrees).”

    People read newspapers and people look at property portals. Saturday Domain, which appears in The Sydney Morning Herald (each Saturday) is presently (I am told) returning their highest ever revenues which otherwise equates to being above budget.

    On the one hand you may see it as being a coffin – however Fairfax see it as being a celebration. Who would have thought that the newspaper is now looking at how they can avert the possibility that the Saturday edition will run out of available pages.

    I love online – however as a business owner with millions invested. It is in my best intersts to keep a foot and eye in both camps. I still remain a strong believer in newspapers and given that I have been an agent for over 20 years – they have delivered many buyers and continue to do so.

    The internet has changed their (newspaper) thought process very quickly. Today – they offer much smarter alternatives. With the current media changes before the Federal Government you need both newspaper and online businesses – as the both will marinate in years to come.

    This further explains why Fairfax is a take – over target as it is the only business that controls both, successfully !!

  • Sam
    Posted February 23, 2007 at 10:41 pm 0Likes

    And it will only be a matter of time before all that clean empty space is filled by 3rd party ads, and the wheel goes round.

    Success will be determined somewhat by how the general public perceive the site, if your vendor wants it you gotta have it.

    With Ch9 pushing it it may get quite a high profile very quickly.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 23, 2007 at 10:49 pm 0Likes

    Yes – however I would want a newspaper pushing it before a television station. Unless it was “Dancing with the agents” lol

  • Peter
    Posted February 23, 2007 at 11:15 pm 0Likes

    Robert

    I understand YOUR sentiments, but you are in a completely different market than 90% of real estate agents across Australia.

    Here is a list of some of your 10 recent sales, ones with sale prices displayed…….(well done)

    Mosman Sold $392,500
    Cremorne Sold $3,700,000
    Neutral Bay Sold $1,250,000
    Neutral Bay Sold $1,600,000
    Mosman Sold $2,200,000
    Mosman Sold $1,850,000
    Cremorne Sold $1,275,000
    Mosman Sold $2,550,000
    Mosman Sold $2,560,000
    Mosman Sold $4,750,000

    I would assume that the owners of nearly all of these properties don’t shirk too much at a $10,000 marketing campaigns. Whilst think about the majority of Australians selling their houses for around $400,000.

    $10,000 marketing………..plus commission is a big big bite out of their investment……

    Also some agencies have a vested interest in continually pushing newspaper advertising because they make good money on that advertising (I am not saying you do)whilst the Internet – well it is hard to charge vendors in such a competitive market place.

  • Peter
    Posted February 23, 2007 at 11:19 pm 0Likes

    Classifieds Advertising across Australia (Jobs Cars Houses) in Newspapers has fallen nearly 10% over the past 10 years……

    So if they are bucking the trend in wealthy suburbs then good for them but overall it is declining as their annual reports clearly show.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 23, 2007 at 11:31 pm 0Likes

    Peter,

    What the current reporting on property markets does not include is that real estate markets consist of varying niche markets – that vary across Greater Sydney. BTW – the sales listed do not include the confidential top – end sales.

    Yes – the majority of house sales involve advertising campaigns greater than $10,000 per property.

    Having said that in many cases we launch properties initially on our database our present online sales sit on $553,624,100.00. (An Australian record). They are also launched on both REA and Domain, then depending on responses they are newspaper launched.

    To premise an agency position in the market – the public still view their activity in the market solely on newspaper activity. Not – online. This will change over the years however it would be business suicide to promote a real estate business solely on online.

    We are a 100 per cent database oriented business and the newspaper/ online mix works very well for our business plan.

    Our business continues to enjoy the “Best” of both worlds !!

  • David Rob Slattery
    Posted February 24, 2007 at 10:39 am 0Likes

    I have never read such HYPE! PBL must be loving this (or getting rather nervous!)

    What can they do that is really so much different to domain and realestate.com.au? If they are smart they will mimic the domain site, and launch with more listings more listing than REA

    As a smaller agent, I will wait, and review the stats. I will not get taken in by the prediction of a ‘giant killer!’ (C’mon Peter).

    They may launch without the ads, but I would imagine that won’t last long.

    By they way – we will assume the site will be fast – it should, its brand new.

  • Peter
    Posted February 24, 2007 at 11:46 am 0Likes

    David. It has been many years since a major media player has launched a site – I don’t include Justlisted.com.au because that is the laughing stock of anyone who knows anything about the Internet – but PBL that is a different story.

    The have the money and marketing muscle to make a difference. I know James Packer personally – so I have to state this from the start.

    Well I don’t know him – but on my power walks from Bondi to Bronte he does sort of nod when I go past him as I see him from time to time. I think I even got a little acknowledgement once….maybe because I wear a ‘Polo Sucks T-Shirt’.

    I did say “it could be” not that it will be a giant killer. I would say beating Domain in visitor numbers/enquiries would be classified as a giant killer.

    The reason I say this is that they have TV, and that is allot more powerful that a newspaper. Why? Well anyone who reads a newspaper knows that there are about 50 articles and 1000 ads in a major newspaper, our eyes are tuned to ignore ads. However TV is what we are watching and if shows like ‘location location’, ‘myhome’ and any property show (including the news)has MyHome all over it then it is a powerful message. I rarely watch commercial TV and especially the news, but I will watch a property related show and so will most agents.

    Having the show on a Saturday as Simon pointed out would show some pretty poor judgement (the more I think about it), but a Sunday Morning Program, now that could be a winner!

    So I think I am quite within my bounds of duty to say it ‘could’ be a giant killer, but I will review my judgement for the launch and will wait and see how it is marketed/results in coming months….

    Peter “The Giant Killer” Ricci

  • Simon Baker
    Posted February 24, 2007 at 12:35 pm 0Likes

    Guys

    Some observations

    1) Alot of hype doesnt always equal great traffic. Zillow in the US is a great example. No online real estate site globally has been hyped as much as them. Yet after just under a year of operations, they have only around 3m UV’s – thats less than REA Sam – and they are operating in a market 15 times the size.

    2) There is a great deal of difference between buying into 2 well established businesses (seek and carsales) and starting a new on from scratch in a well established market.

    3) They cant start with more listings than domain and ourselves as they appear to have mostly focused on the franchise groups (and even then not all of them are playing) – we have around 90% of the content in Australia.

    4) TV can create awareness but will there be clarity in the minds of those viewers that the TV and the website are the same thing? For example in some markets we know that domain as a brand has better awreness than realestate.com.au but in that same market they have less traffic. This may be due to confusion between the print and website. Do they naturally move between offline and online?

    The next little while will be fun. There is nothing like a good hard game!

  • David Rob Slattery
    Posted February 24, 2007 at 5:12 pm 0Likes

    Simon – I agree wholeheartedly!

    It will be ALL about the listings, and they haven’t got my $$$$ until they get any traction from consumers.

    I must say my two reps from REA and domain have handled this well! With a ‘so what’ attitude.

  • Peter
    Posted February 24, 2007 at 5:16 pm 0Likes

    I think you will find all agents will get a free trial period of 90 days – then I think judgements will come in – this is the pressure they will see. If they were smart they would give a 12 months free membership – in my opinion you have to get the listings before you get consumer results, 30, 40, 50, 60% of REA does not make a competitor – that is unless it is a brilliant user friendly site then that may tip to 80/80% and then it is game on!

  • David Rob Slattery
    Posted February 24, 2007 at 5:53 pm 0Likes

    Hi Peter

    I would argue that even if it was a brilliant user friendly site – it won’t get the traction unless it has the listings.

    domain has the better interface (as you have even pointed out) yet REA win the consumer game as they the most listings.

  • Peter
    Posted February 24, 2007 at 6:52 pm 0Likes

    I think I have said the same thing David

  • Sam
    Posted February 24, 2007 at 7:01 pm 0Likes

    Interfaces etc that’s all easy stuff. If My Home uses Ch 9 and NineMSN effectively they will win the day in the end.

    REA doesn’t have even a newspaper to back it up, Rupert doesn’t own one that can advertise real estate properly.

    Domain at least have the newspaper backing to keep them going, the biggest loser will be REA in the long run.

    Don’t think James Packer will give up the chance to take over the real estate online rivers of gold and he has the tools to do it.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted February 24, 2007 at 7:17 pm 0Likes

    REA do have a relationship with News limited whom own the Cumberland Newspaper Group. News Ltd are in the process of acquiring FPC who owns the Wentworth Courier, Northside Courier and Inner West Courier to name just a few.

    In my opinion it will be inevitable that PBL, Fairfax and News muscle all their brands together on a united force as Fairfax have done. One can’t also forget that PBL and News have not yet ruled out a takeover of Fairfax. If News purchased Fairfax they would have to drop The Telegraph and The Australian which PBL would probably then acquire.

    The haystack has many many needles it in at the moment. Not to forget that Fairfax is a digital acquirer also – their CEO David Kirk is a very smart opertator as against the previous guy. Maybe Fairfax will link Domain with RSVP (which they also own) where they can match make more property and people. 🙂

  • Sam
    Posted February 24, 2007 at 8:23 pm 0Likes

    I think it more likely PBL buys Fairfax though Rupert bought a swag of shares recently to block a takeover. If PBL got Fairfax it’s all over rover for REA.

  • Chris
    Posted February 25, 2007 at 1:14 pm 0Likes

    Hello

    Can someone please tell me a website / portal that PBL have ever started successfully from scratch?

    They acquired part of seek, acquired part of carsales and ninemsn is a microsoft standard platform with advertisements on it.

    Am I missing something here?

  • Peter
    Posted February 25, 2007 at 1:42 pm 0Likes

    Hello Chris, yes , this is true, but also true for any of the major media players….it is probably cheaper for them – for somebody else to come up with the ideas, get tractions with content and users and simply sign over a cheque.

    So this will be interesting as to how it plays out, what all of these companies are good at though (well some of them) is making money out of these type of websites.

    So I welcome you Chris to our little place on the Internet and hope to hear more from you soon.

    Regards Peter

  • Chris
    Posted February 25, 2007 at 2:17 pm 0Likes

    Thanks for the reply Peter and for providing the site/blog etc…

    On the question of newspapers and the impact on them…sorry Robert but you are swimming way up stream on this one.

    Newspapers are already suffering (look at the numbers both here and overseas). Perhaps your beloved Fairfax might sell you a different story but that surely suprises no-one on this blog…

    Domain are hugely vulnerable to PBL. PBL will have equal to or more content than domain at launch. Forget the bells and whistles, it’s content that counts.

  • Sam
    Posted February 25, 2007 at 3:08 pm 0Likes

    It’s what’s on TV and also jammed down your throat via NineMSN that counts Chris. Daomain have the Fairfax newspapers to fall back on, REA has nothing unless you count a web site in the UK and another in Italy, all sounds a bit like the bigger you are the harder you fall.

  • Chris
    Posted February 25, 2007 at 3:39 pm 0Likes

    Hi Sam

    Not sure I agree 100% (but hey, that’s what makes blogs fun!).

    Irrespective of what is jammed down people’s throats, you have to have content to back it up. There are many ‘train-wrecks’ over time that sold the sizzle but couldn’t back it up with content. The dotcom world is littered with them.

    As for having newspapers to fall back on, not so sure that this represents a logical strategy as newspapers are losing the battle for revenue to online players across every classified segment in almost every part of the world.

    Time will tell.

  • David Rob Slattery
    Posted February 25, 2007 at 5:44 pm 0Likes

    Guys – see Simon Baker’s comments above:

    3) They cant start with more listings than domain and ourselves as they appear to have mostly focused on the franchise groups (and even then not all of them are playing) – we have around 90% of the content in Australia.

  • Simon Baker
    Posted February 25, 2007 at 5:54 pm 0Likes

    Sam

    Thanks for your thoughts however i would like to fill in some of the gaps.

    Firsly, realestate.com.au has the contract to provide content to ninemsn (http://ninemsn.realestate.com.au) and this does not expire for a little while.

    Secondly, there is more to life than just Sydney. In Qld, News Limited has the Courier Mail, Adelaide it is the Advertiser, Hobart it is the Mercury and so on. Each of these has significant real estate content. In addition to these Metro papers, there are the suburban papers.

    Finally, does anyone know the average audience on Saturday mornings? Even if the show is heavily promoting the website, will many people be watching?

    Love the discussion …

    Simon Baker
    MD REA Group

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted February 25, 2007 at 6:52 pm 0Likes

    Yes, about the newspapers it is heavily in Fairfax’s favour in Sydney and Melbourne and News Ltd have many papers is smaller capitals and regional cities. I know that many agents in my old town of Hobart used to get very upset when nearly every page had an REA banner (back when not all agents were on REA). I doubt you do the same advertising (amount) in Mercury as before, because I can remember nearly every page with REA on it in some capacity.

    As for Ninemsn, is this an exclusive deal? And I did note that you did not mention when it expired – I have no doubt you know? Divulge?

    As for TV and stats (I think you know Simon Saturday mornings is poor), Saturday morning is without doubt a cheap option. I think it makes more sense to have sponsorship deals with all of the property shows (are there any left?), or at least a Monday Night show. I think they still do that pathetic sampling of stats (much much much worse for accuracy that Internet stats).

    I think the statistical model is approved by all networks – so you can safely bew assured they are a set of measurement that they all agree on. Can anyone enlighten me…

    What would be a smarter move would be dumping ACA altogether – it is simply trailer park trash, but the large networks are probably too scared, but this in the long run would be a smart move and in its place a nightly property show, filled with renovation tips, market conditions – quick makeovers..

    Commercial TV these days is simply too boring for me, I watch some sport (always interested to know how Richie Benaud is excited about the upcoming series of Nip Tuck!) and that is about it, but I will watch or record this show every week….

    Would have been smarter to actually have it on when agents are home…..seriously who runs programming on these networks…

  • Sam
    Posted February 25, 2007 at 6:53 pm 0Likes

    I doubt your contract with NineMSN would preculde others being there as well, I have seen Domain adveretising there before. My Home (if they wished, and I’m sure they will) could take significant space there as well as REA.

    Local newspapers blah……not a big fan, lets face it who looks at a local newspaper for real estate ? Qld, Adelaide and Hobart …….well apart from Qld the reat are a non event, volume wise.

    They could move My Home TV to Friday or Thursday night if Sat doesn’t do it’s job.

    We will know in a month or 2 no doubt.

  • Sam
    Posted February 25, 2007 at 7:16 pm 0Likes

    Peter, Simon won’t divulge when their NineMSN contract expires and neither would I, I would (however) have put things in place months ago to extend/protect my place there as much as possible.

    REA is a $500M ? $600M company and I don’t think Ch 9 would mind moving the My Home show around a bit to find the sweet spot and start to erode some of that in their own direction.

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