Portals need to understand!

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.

PS: Don’t forget to get your Gravatar by going to http://site.gravatar.com

Portals

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.

39 Responses to Portals need to understand!

  1. Robert Simeon February 19, 2007 at 11:06 pm #

    Peter,

    At this point in time we will not be renewing our subscription at REA.This is based on a number of reasons and the messages that we are receiving are not, consistent in that management and staff are rowing in totally different directions.

    My fellow director’s, are annoyed that REA priced suburb banners (which we subscribed to) then, reduced the cost to other businesses. I complained to them that they have reduced banner advertising to others yet, they hold us to a now overpriced contract. Which we honored and paid the full subscription. Yet other businesses were offered reduced rates – whilst we were charged a full rate !!

    That was a contract that identified to us that REA was all about them, and not us the agents.

    I share a belief that as agents remove themselves from portals, and they focus more on their individual businesses the better they perform.

  2. Sam February 20, 2007 at 8:59 am #

    Well done Robert, in any other industry the business would have reduced their fee to maintain goodwill, not REA, thats what I’ve been saying all along… arrogant….Is Simon Baker reading this ?

    Agents should not just complain, that doesn’t cost REA anything, they should RESIGN, thats the only way to hurt them and force change.

    But you NEED REA right ? NO you don’t , Domain is doing just fine and attracts all the traffic you need, anyone looking for property will go to Domain it’s a national brand backed by the only credibible newspapers for real estate advertising in Australia, REA gets extra traffic but thats just lookers generated by their massive advertising budget, lookers don’t buy houses they just look, bump the numbers and leave.

    Well done Robert, I think others will be doing likewise in the near future.

  3. Genevieve A February 20, 2007 at 10:00 am #

    Hello everyone,

    Wow, this is a great site, how come it took me so long to find it…..???

    Robert, I know exactly what you mean, I work in marketing for a small firm in Queensland and we were told that our competitor (right next door) had signed up for a premium subscription so we followed – because we thought we had no choice.

    Only to find out a few weeks later my competitor was given a free 3 months trial on the premium subscription. This cost us thousands and thousands of dollars a year than it should have, we complained and that person is no longer working our district (for what reason I do not know)

    Now all agents in my area are on this premium subscription – so Peter is right, what benefit do we now get?

    It is hard to get my directors to understand as they are more concerned about results – however they do not want to spend the money to get those results – they just want them.

    As for MyHouse this is the first I have heard of it…..

    Bye Gen πŸ™‚

  4. Paul Krayven February 20, 2007 at 10:30 am #

    I’m not so sure PBL’s myhome.com.au will live up to expectations, having had dealt with their technical people they understand very little about the real estate market. It has the potential to be some thing great with the backing it has but they really need some one with some experience in real estate working on their team. This may be the case but first impressions last.

  5. Peter February 20, 2007 at 10:54 am #

    Just to note – you can have a Gravatar of anything, be it a bike a cartoon character or if you choose your photo, it will make comments easier to flick through….So it does not have to show you!

    http://site.gravatar.com

  6. Peter February 20, 2007 at 10:58 am #

    Also on page views…..

    My understanding is that visitor numbers are the most important. As an example if you make users jump through more pages to get the information you want then of course page views will rise. If you configure your site to count all pages loaded within a page then one page loading can result in 2,3,4,5,6 [ages being counted]

    Some portals are recording many more page views per visitor, but this is something I would ignore on the whole….always look for unique visitor numbers.

  7. Dave Platter February 20, 2007 at 12:54 pm #

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

    Peter, what value does online advertising deliver to real estate agents? Leads, for the most part.

    A real estate agency in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney saw its realestate.com.au-generated email leads soar by 524%. They went from 41 in April 2005 to 256 a year later.

    Another client in the inner city of Sydney tells us their email leads jumped from 171 to 284 in the same period. That’s a 66% increase.

    I could type in a 50,000-word comment, just listing this sort of success.

    At this point, an estimated 90% of Australia’s agents rely on our service. For God’s sake, we need to keep improving.

    However, I think agents and users both have are voting with their feet. By using our services, agents are telling us that our site is well worth the investment.

    We want them to continue feeling that way. That’s one reason for property.com.au. It’s 100% free. This is like Fairfax creating a new newspaper and giving away ads at no cost (except they have never done such a thing).

    Thanks for your great comments, dave

  8. Dave Platter February 20, 2007 at 12:57 pm #

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

    Robert, I’m very sorry to hear that you’ll be dropping your REA subscription. You know that we very much value you as a customer and a person.

    I think the fact that our GM and I recently met with you testifies to that. (I still haven’t gotten reimbursed for that coffee!)

    As does the fact that our CEO invited you repeatedly to play a role in shaping the future of our website.

    If you change your mind, we’ll be here waiting for you. And, if the trend of the last half-decade continues, we’ll have even more homebuyers and renters using our site for you to reach.

    I look forward to sharing a Chiko-roll with you in the future. Except this time you’re buying! πŸ˜‰

    dave

  9. Peter Ricci February 20, 2007 at 1:52 pm #

    Hi Dave, I do not doubt that online advertising is brilliant. I am talking about secondary advertising – the advertising that send ‘pop ups’ and the worst crime of all for caring about consumers/agents is ‘pop overs’.

    There is absolutely no excuse for POP overs other than making money….and not caring about users.

    Being the biggest and the best does not mean you care more than your competition…..

    Do Banks get better? Do Airports get better? Is Telstra a better company for consumers and clients? In fact all of these services are worse, it is nearly impossible to find a phone number to call any of these companies and if you do get through, you just have to wait.

    I do not know everything but I do know one thing, shareholder driven monopolies do not get better for consumers or clients – they just make more money in any way possible.

    The only thing that makes these companies better for consumers/clients is competition – real competition – it makes you innovate – it makes you care more about their value – it also makes you a better company.

    Harsh I know…………..

  10. Dave Platter February 20, 2007 at 2:28 pm #

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

    I agree, I don’t like popups either.

    Why would you use the word monopoly in referring to realestate.com.au? We’re the site that users and agents use most, but we’re no monopoly. Even if we wanted to be one, it’s not an option.

    Is google a monopoly on search, just because they are the most popular search site? Nope.

    dave

  11. Peter February 20, 2007 at 3:22 pm #

    I used a monopoly to make a point Dave. I did not say REA were a monopoly, however suggesting that clients or consumers are in love with your site will always draw a shot across the bow, when it obviously is not the case…..

    REA and Domain at the moment are a duopoly, because if residential agents want to make money they have no choice but to use your services….

    A monopoly to my mind in the real estate industry is a company who can continue to raise prices and agents are left with no choice but to accept these rises. A monopoly can introduce new features and new subscription models and agents have no choice but to follow their competitors in.

    These are not options for agents – these are pretty much necessities.

    Choice is what competition is all about and I would say that residential agents do not have a choice at this point in time…

    I want to keep portals on their toes, I want them to understand that there are many many things that need addressing……and pricing is only one of them, yes it is cheap in comparison to other advertising, but it is cheap because providing the services is just so much cheaper.

    I do not think that Internet advertising is over priced, but it is surely heading that way….at 10% over 10 years at 10k year one….

    2007 – $10,000
    2008 – $11,000
    2009 – $12,200
    2010 – $13,420
    2011 – $14,762
    2012 – $16,238
    2013 – $17,862
    2014 – $19,648
    2015 – $21,613
    2016 – $23,774

    Does not take long does it! This is the point I am making with pricing, costs of servers and bandwidth drop each year and speed increases. So the costs of running operations from systems levels actually drops, whilst performance increases.

    GOOGLE
    Google is close to a monopoly in search, built on a very different philosophy however than just about every other company. But do you see them with pop ups, pop overs, in your face advertising?

    This is why REA and Domain stand no chance against a company like this if they choose to go into real estate. Why? All you would need to do is think hard about what kind of site they would build.

    1. It would be all about accurate results.
    2. It would have no advertising in the faces of users.
    3. It would cost agents ZERO.
    4. It would be blazingly fast.
    5. It would be within 6 months the number one real estate site in most markets
    6. It would be content focussed with complimentary advertising.
    7. It would draw in MSN, Yahoo and Amazon within weeks.

    So – If I was in charge of technology at any of the major portals around the world, I would have a site ready to go, I would force re-negotiation of all advertising (3rd party banks etc) contracts and slowly build into sites the same features that Google would bring.

    I do not know when they will do this but it is only a question of that………this will be the big question all of the current portals would need to answer for their shareholders – how will money be made?

    Ok, had my rant

  12. Dave Platter February 20, 2007 at 5:34 pm #

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

    Wow, Peter, I feel like I’m talking to my financial planner about my super. At X rate of return, by 2075 you’ll have Y dollars. You know that 10 years is a very, very, very long time in internet time. (Like dog years, I think there are 7 internet years in every calendar year?) Let’s just see what happens in 2008.

    But, I get your point. And I totally agree. Like I said up above, for God’s sake we need to keep making improvements, and we are doing so. I just want to keep things in perspective.

    Plus, I’m glad to see you write, “I do not think that Internet advertising is over priced.” That helps qualify your earlier comments. Seems like your comments and our own internal self-criticism are pointing in the same direction: constant work at doing a better job for agents and users.

    Now, for a Chiko Roll…

    dave

  13. Robert Simeon February 20, 2007 at 8:42 pm #

    I think what both REA and Domain don’t understand is that business owners are sick and tired of the constant (non – income producing) approaches of the new portals, where they keep identifying the weaknesses of these brands.

    Yes, I like the changes at Domain and yes, I wish that REA would copy their innovation where a previous visitor is immediately directed back to the page of their previous search. As against have to wade through a very busy non – income producing homepage for agents. However, an income producing homepage for the third party advertisers where REA sell advertising space(s).

    Dave, I did attend a meeting at REA which took three or four hours, none of the suggestions were implemented. As a business owner I don’t have the time to attend meetings that simply place home truths on ignore !!

    Agents/vendors pay for potential purchasers to be taken to properties. Not – third party advertisers. Unsure, why REA keep missing this point although the upsell to third party advertisers.

    When an owner pays to promote their property on a property portal – the last thing they need is finance and insurance !!

    So go figure why agents are talking rebellion. Simon Baker agreed with me on another thread that the REA homepage needs addressing. Domain have done it – however REA keep ducking and moving on this very subject.

  14. Dave Platter February 21, 2007 at 11:58 am #

    Good morning, Robert.

    I appreciate your comments, and I know you are quite smart about the web, but I think the fact that you wish to domain to succeed is causing you to miss the bigger picture when it comes to non-property advertising.

    Let me propose a theory to you. Peter and everyone else, I’d like to hear your response to this, too.

    When grandma Norma sits down at her iMac to find a property online, she LIKES the fact that she can find financing and other related information/vendors at the same website whee she finds her new home. It saves her time.

    So, she comes back.

    And she tells her granddaughter Gen about the site where you can find a home AND find financing AND other relevant things, too.

    Our traffic goes up. (3.7 million unique browsers last month)

    Agents get more leads. (580,000 email leads last month)

    Everyone is happy, except Robert Simeon. But, Robert, I think once you consider it thoughtfully, you’ll realize these ads enhance the consumer experience. (If it’s not the ads but how they’re presented that bothers you, then that’s something we can talk about.)

    I believe Domain would have similar ads, but simply can’t sell them because not enough people use the site. If you look on the right of their homepage, you’ll see even the space they have dedicated to little square ads isn’t all sold out.

    Finally, Robert, think about the double standard you are using. You have praised the adore site so much that I wouldn’t be surprised if they sent you a slab of beer in gratitude. However, that site has MORE non-property stuff on it than ours does, including lots of irrelevant info like advertisements for fashion boutiques.

    I doubt grandma Norma or even her granddaughter Gen are shopping for Armani dresses at the same time they look for a new home. They might, however, be in the market for a mortgage.

    dave

  15. Dave Platter February 21, 2007 at 12:02 pm #

    I just want to wonder why adore hasn’t invested any money into search engine optimization. Type “adore real estate” into google and the first two results are from realestate.com.au.

    It’s not until the 10th result that the site itself actually shows up.

    To make matters worse, they haven’t paid for targetted ads to appear when one does that search, either.

    Does anyone know if they are already backing away from sinking more money into this site, the way they did with their property guru site?

    dave

  16. Peter Ricci February 21, 2007 at 12:15 pm #

    Dave

    Thanks for your comment, in my opinion you are completely totally utterly wrong.

    Grandma Norma goes to realestate.com.au to look for real estate. She is annoyed that 60 per cent of the screen on the home page is taken up by non real estate advertising – all of which is irrelevant to her search for real estate.

    Grandma Norma has an old PC and with all the flash advertising it is slow her pc down to a stand still.

    Grandma Norma then does a search and waits for a small search box to appear and 80 per cent of the screen taken up by advertising – all of which is irrelevant to her search for real estate.

    Grandma Norma then sees search results and is delighted there is only 11 ads including 3 extra fun flash banners. She is starting to feel dizzy.

    Then she finds a property and is thrilled there is only around 2 ads plus one of those absolutely delightful pop ups.

    Grandma Norma died today of exhaustion and vertigo….

    Sorry Dave – People go to your website to look for real estate – yes by all means have some advertising but never lose sight of why people go there. Comments like that do your cause no good in the eyes of the people that make advertisers WANT to advertise with you.

    This is why Google poses so much of a threat to all portal real estate businesses, because they understand the satisfaction of their clients is paramount to their continued success.

    Telling people you care, winning customer service awards, is like the Tasmanian Government telling us that the they have ‘worlds best practice’ in relation to old growth logging – compared to who? Brazil, China, Indonesia?

    I wise old man once said to me ….shut up Peter

  17. Peter Ricci February 21, 2007 at 12:22 pm #

    Well they should be advertising it, but you should know David that search results in Google do take a while to take hold….and I think you can safely assume that this site will not go away for quite some time…

  18. Dave Platter February 21, 2007 at 2:25 pm #

    Thanks, Peter. If you’re saying we shouldn’t have ads for mortgage providers (or whoever’s relevant) on realestate.com.au, I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.

    I want all the Grandma Normas (hopefully, news of her death was greatly exagerated) out there to be able to find their mortgage and other relevant things right where she finds the real estate, too.

    As the past year has proven, that will mean more loyal users, more traffic and more leads for agents.

    But, this is a great debate. These are exactly the kind of thing we discuss in-house as we try to figure out how to get better and better at helping agents and users over time. Thanks for all the input!

    dave

  19. Peter Ricci February 21, 2007 at 2:57 pm #

    Hi Dave

    No, I did not say Mortgage Brokers are irrelevant but 15 of them just makes your argument sound futile

    Although I have the perfect solution, have ONE button for all the Norma’s out there that launches you Mortgage Broker Site. Keep it separated from the content.

    Why not create separate sites for all of these different services you offer?

    See it is that simple. However I think you might find not as much money to be made from that, so whilst your team is sitting in pains on ways to “figure out how to get better and better at helping agents and users over time” other sites may well be building a user experience far greater than yours….

    This is the challenge for your company over the next 2 years. Agents use your services because you are bringing results – mostly on the back of having the most listings, but without agents listings – your advertising revenues dry up and visitor numbers plummet and that David effects your share price…………

    So whilst you have all these meetings I suggest you actually do something about the groundswell that seems to be occurring around Australia!

  20. Peter Ricci February 21, 2007 at 3:04 pm #

    My suggestion is that you set up a team within your organisation – a team that gives not a hoot about revenues/share prices. They fight with you, they fight for what they think is right.

    They put their suggestions forward and then you strike a balance…..However they are never happy and your marketing/advertising arm are never happy.

  21. Dave Platter February 21, 2007 at 11:14 pm #

    Peter, some good ideas and some bad ones, but I absolutely agree that at realestate.com.au we should keep trying to find ways to improve.

    That’s what we’re doing. And that’s why we launched property.com.au, for example.

    Thanks for all the constructive criticism, uh, feedback. πŸ˜‰

    I’m off to bed…

    dave

  22. Tom S February 21, 2007 at 11:38 pm #

    The commercial reality (I hate that phrase) is that REA needs to balance the services that they provide between agents, consumers, shareholder and community. Did I forget to mention technologists? This is not all about the suppliers (agents).

    The shareholder/consumer aspect will demand an aspect of secondary advertising. This will be of some benefit to some people and to others not. I, as a consumer, welcome the non agent specific advertising on the major portals. It gives me an idea about some of the alternatives that I have available to me that are peripheral to identifying the property that I wish to buy (

  23. Scott February 22, 2007 at 10:53 am #

    (I work for HubOnline)

    I personally think this debate relys far too much on personal opinion to reach a conclusion that everyone feels is satisfactory.
    The internet users themselves are the ones who will choose which sites they will use. If the ads really annoy them, they will find alternatives.
    If any of you out there do not like the advertising on realestate.com.au, then the solutions to this are simple.

    1. use another site
    – which will hopefully have all the listings you are looking for
    2. use an ad-free site
    – use property.com.au as an alternative. It has no ads and still has all the listings from realestate.com.au.
    3. Use an ‘Ad pop-up’ blocker to remove those annoying pop-ups

    Evryone has a choice.
    If the users still visit sites such as realestate.com.au, then surely they are showing that they have made their choice?

  24. Sam February 22, 2007 at 11:06 am #

    Saw an article in the Age where Simon Baker complained that http://www.propertyguru.com.au was scrapping the REA listings.

    There was a quote where it was noted that they were suprised Mr Baker did not want more traffic to his site.

    More to the point I wonder how the REA client agents would feel knowing that REA has actively blocked them getting more exposure for their listings. Baker believes the content belongs to REA, it doesn’t… it belongs to the agents unless of course REA are prepared to PAY the agents for their content.

  25. Tom S February 22, 2007 at 12:18 pm #

    Based on your logic ‘Sam’, don’t the vendors own the content. And therefore the agents need to pay them! Talk about ‘thinking out of the square. The advetising business model is now defunct thanks to you.

    Also a lot of agents do not want their listings copied or scrapped, because they lose control as to how the information is presented and sometime shows out of date data.

  26. Peter Ricci February 22, 2007 at 1:42 pm #

    Scott, welcome to business2 and thank you for your comments, good to see you here and hope to hear more from you.

    Yes, everything I post is an opinion, an opinion everyone is free to dissect and disagree with. Everyone else’s opinion is also just that a personal opinion – or in some cases the opinion of their employer.

    POP Up blockers are fine and most of the current browsers have this as default, but on any older versions they are not, so I disagree with you – as your parent company (REA) have stated, that people like having this information, if that is the case then do not annoy them, let them make a choice to click on something they want to see instead of having it forced down their throats. The majority of people using older browsers do not know about blockers and as such have to put up with this nuisance.

    Dave and Robert thanks for the kind words, and the information.

    REA and any other site is free to protect the data that comes from their website. The only time I would be upset is when they pick and choose who can and cannot get access to the data.

    Google and many other search engines I assume would be free to display this data and there would be no complaints, however as it stands any other search site that is property related cannot.

    I wonder if one came out of nowhere and became the most popular site in the world for this type of thing – would you be blocking them also? I think not…

    I think their should be some middle ground here and a sensible approach taken..

  27. Sam February 22, 2007 at 3:17 pm #

    “Based on your logic

  28. Robert Simeon February 22, 2007 at 9:17 pm #

    Dave Platter said >

    “Everyone is happy, except Robert Simeon. But, Robert, I think once you consider it thoughtfully, you

  29. David Rob Slattery February 22, 2007 at 10:19 pm #

    Ok please tell me Dave Platter

    What the hell do you do! Except sit on this site and

    1. defend/explain the REA business (yep, we know about the dodgy traffic numbers)

    2. explain why your site has ads (yawn)

    3. whinge about domain (come on, we all know its a FAR SUPERIOR site)

    4. Argue with Robert S

    Please, can you tell us all what you actually do Mr (I work realestate.com.au)

  30. Robert Simeon February 22, 2007 at 10:32 pm #

    Tom S said >

    “The shareholder/consumer aspect will demand an aspect of secondary advertising. This will be of some benefit to some people and to others not. I, as a consumer, welcome the non agent specific advertising on the major portals. It gives me an idea about some of the alternatives that I have available to me that are peripheral to identifying the property that I wish to buy (

  31. Sam February 22, 2007 at 10:47 pm #

    I don’t think REA will be able to change their home page much without seriously compromising their revenues.
    REA have a large lead in terms of visitor numbers and won’t change anything until agents begin to leave in significant numbers.
    REA will defend their position vigorously, but I think their future prognosis is down rather than up.
    Others will be prepared to take less revenue and profit forcing REA to follow in time.

  32. Robert Simeon February 22, 2007 at 10:53 pm #

    David,

    I have met Dave and he is a good guy – and defends the company he represents. Whilst I more often than not disagree with him on the REA positioning.

    I prefer to attack the third party home page. If agents decide to cancel subscriptions then you can be assured that REA employee’s will not post here.

    REA believe from what they post here that third party advertising is fantastic. Should the PBL launch on Monday kick some butt – watch that sentiment change.

    Four sleeps and counting.

  33. Robert Simeon February 22, 2007 at 11:05 pm #

    Sam,

    A smart post – only in time will REA understand that either we, or they got it so wrong.

    If PBL get it right we will move with them. However, deep down we are all awaiting the Google property release.

    Whatever the case all is in balance. As a business owner I want a property portal to challenge Domain in Mosman, REA can’t do that so bring on the new contenders, or pretenders.

    Never before has the online industry been so much under the pulse.

    Clue, it is certainly NOT about third party advertising – it is about the agents !! They are the ones who sign the all so important contracts – that then attract the advertisers.

  34. Sam February 23, 2007 at 7:52 am #

    Saw an ad on Channel 9 last night for their new show My Home, this will be interesting, if they have half a brain they will also tie up NineMSN.

    Cant see it in the online TV guide though, I thought it was on this Sat ???

  35. Simon Baker February 23, 2007 at 7:47 pm #

    I have enjoyed reading this blog entry.

    I do agree that all sites need to continue to innovate. These innovations can be on the look and feel, the marketing of the site, SEO, the service to agents and so much more.

    I also agree (and have stated on a number of occasions) that the REA home page can do with improving. I have also talked about some of the things that you will see including the movement to 1000 pixels in width, better navigations, more consumer information, better presentation of agents listings, more innovative search approraches and better placement / integration of advertisements. We wont be getting rid of third party ads – what would you guys have to talk about?

    Finally, i have a question for the readers. What is more important – leads generated for the advertiser (the vendor and landlord) or continue changes to look and feel?

    Surely the answer has to be leads generated. If i read what some have said on this blog, some would rather have a pretty site than an effective site. The real question is should the measure of success of online advertising be – the number of leads generated from an advertisement or how pretty the paper / website / television program looks?

    When we make changes to the site, we make them to increase the number of leads an agent gets, to increase the experience of the users or to make the site easier to use.

    I believe in change but not change for change’s sake. You will continue to see changes on the http://www.realesate.com.au site as well as the other sites we have – for example the commercial site was revamped only a month ago.

    I continue to enjoy the reading …

  36. Robert Simeon February 23, 2007 at 8:03 pm #

    Simon a most articulate and informative post, yes, it does make for interesting reading. Can you then deliver a pretty site that generates more leads. Presently we have enormous leads from both portals for rentals and apartments. For some unknown reason thus far in 2007 generated portal leads in our business are well down from both REA and Domain. Our stock levels remain strong so that is not the reason. Quite a few agents have shared the same comments and some believe that the newspapers have certainly improved their industry standards in recent years – which was long overdue.

    Our traffic at RWM has increased with good lead generation. Even our salespeople have asked if I was passing on all online generated leads as they too have noticed a decline.

    I believe that due to the housing market being so strong in Mosman that greater urgency is shown by buyers and in probability they are doing less online research.

    As they say real estate is far from an exacting science.

  37. Sam February 23, 2007 at 8:14 pm #

    Robert, you must look beyond the portals for the reasons for changes in leads generated. Did you ever query the newspapers in the same way ? It is the MARKET not the portals that account for these fluctuations, they can bring a horse to water but etc etc

    Simon, I agree (for once) that the portals main object is to work and do it’s job, the look and feel should only be changed to keep up with the times every few years or so.

  38. Robert Simeon February 23, 2007 at 8:20 pm #

    Sam, I certainly do look beyong the portals. Just that it is interesting to me that the house generated leads have declined.

  39. Sam February 23, 2007 at 8:37 pm #

    I think the market has gone off.

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