Okay, a couple of things have really been getting up my goat lately and I think agents should address these with their next sales representative meeting.
Cheaper than newspaper advertising: I am getting sick and tired of hearing this argument from portals sales representatives, comparing newspaper advertising with online advertising is ridiculous. You don’t have be Einstein to understand the bleeding obvious. Yes it is cheaper and so it should be, they are completely different models.
Advertising: David made a valid point – a point that seems to be rolled out by the majors these days and that is that advertising alongside your listings is a ‘harsh reality” of the online world. This is complete and utter rubbish. It is a reality for companies that just try to make more and more and more money each year out of real estate agencies listings.
Advertising next to listings should be complimentary and should not affect the agents content coming first, this is a 100% benefit to the users of the site – users that go to these sites to look at property listings – not to have ugly banner advertising disturb their viewing and pop ups, pop unders and any other rubbish get in the way of the very data they are looking for.
Premium Listings: This is another feature that continues to grate me. Some agents pay a premium to have their listings appear higher than their competitors. The difference between two agencies is more about the quality of the data, whether it be information text, photos, tours or videos than where their listing appears in search results. So what happens when the majority of agents in your area are premium subscribers? Correct, you are all back to square one and you all have a higher price to pay! If you want to set yourself apart from your competitors, concentrate on the quality of your data and that will be the only difference you need.
Price Rises: No doubt REA will increase fees this year again. Why? Because they can. Small companies cannot do this and I hope competition does bite and a price increase is placed on hold. Think about this, the price of running servers, bandwidth etc have dropped by about 500% over the past 5 years, yet prices continue to rise from the majors.
If prices rise, then show us what more you are doing for agents and consumers to warrant the price increase. Simply raising fees for no other reason than satisfying shareholders is no longer good enough.
Statistics: I know REA is beating their main competitor but visitors/page view increases mean nothing to an agent on the ground if they are not getting any more quality enquiries. This is more about attracting advertisers than making agents feel any better. In fact I think it backfires in relation to agents, because unless they are doing better – then fee increases only bite agents/vendors pockets…
MyHome: If MyHome release a site full of advertising like the horrific Ninemsn.com.au then they can throw their marketing millions out the door immediately. If they are smart – it will be a fast/effective site that is all about property listings. If they only have 30% of all available listings and only the same data (doubt it will be different) as REA or Domain on launch then promoting it all over their networks will only cost them millions.
Remember Sensis Search – before stats came out their CEO said it was on track – yet it gained less than 1% of the search market and I doubt hardly anyone deliberately uses it.
So, portals have some work to do, the game is not over yet and if Google, MSN and Yahoo go for Real Estate in a big way you can be guaranteed things will change very quickly.
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