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Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water!

5 minute read

Realestate.com.au have today announced a new Industry Advisory Council made up of eight real estate industry ‘leaders‘ that have come together to form the REAIAC.

Read part of the release here……….
‘The REAIAC will serve as the ‘Peak Industry Body’ top provide guidance and advice to Realestate.com.au. In addition to suggestions for the next generation of realestate.com.au’s website, the realestate.com.au Industry Advisory Council will also discuss:

• How can the real estate industry use the Internet to better serve its members and consumers?
• How can realestate.com.au train and educate real estate agents on Internet marketing and operations?
• Is there a need for common, real estate industry standards regarding trust accounting, customer relationship management, corporate and marketing systems?
• Can the real estate industry act to defend its common interests without stifling competition among agents?

Members of the Industry Advisory Council will attend at least six meetings a year to discuss these and other issues. The Industry Advisory Council will regularly produce reports containing a series of recommendations, presented to the REA Group Board and Senior Management.

Okay:
1. It is not a ‘Peak Industry Body, as the industry had no say in it or the election of members.
2. It is a good idea that will not do anything (6 meetings a year?)
3. If the 8 leaders are just heads of large franchise groups it will backfire severely with independents.
4. REA help train? I think make more money – not that training is not needed – but this is more than likely just more revenues.
5. I think REA learn more from listening to agents/consumers on this site than they will ever from ‘Industry Leaders’.

Reading this press release really just made me cringe, I am sorry guys, but what is going on there? REA are already a slow moving beast, how are 8 people who probably know very little about the Internet going to help this site for agents and consumers? This is just a feel good release, that leave only REA feeling good. Am I going mad? I know REA do some good things, but I am, trying to work out what this is?

I have read it 3 times now, and it just looks worse for REA each time…..I have posted the full article below, let me know if I am wrong on this!

realestate.com.au is announcing a new peak Industry Advisory Council.

The identities of its 8 members are to be revealed at the Real Estate Institute of Australia Gala this Thursday evening, at the Four Seasons.

—–Here’s more information:

Eight top real estate industry leaders—who manage more than 1,000 real estate agent offices across the country—have come together to form the realestate.com.au Industry Advisory Council (REAIAC).

The REAIAC serves as the Peak Industry Body to provide guidance and advice to realestate.com.au. It will also discuss issues and opportunities facing the Australian real estate industry.

Topping their agenda will be a discussion of the future of online real estate marketing and real estate agents’ suggestions for the next generation of realestate.com.au’s top-ranked website.

Shaun Di Gregorio, General Manager – Australia/New Zealand for realestate.com.au will reveal the REAIAC members’ identities on March 22 at the Real Estate Institute of Australia 2007 National Awards for Excellence gala dinner. realestate.com.au is the proud principal sponsor of the awards dinner, which is the national real estate industry’s premier event of the year.

In addition to suggestions for the next generation of realestate.com.au’s website, the realestate.com.au Industry Advisory Council will also discuss:

• How can the real estate industry use the internet to better serve its members and consumers?
• How can realestate.com.au train and educate real estate agents on internet marketing and operations?
• Is there a need for common, real estate industry standards regarding trust accounting, customer relationship management, corporate and marketing systems?
• Can the real estate industry act to defend its common interests without stifling competition among agents?

Members of the Industry Advisory Council will attend at least six meetings a year to discuss these and other issues. The Industry Advisory Council will regularly produce reports containing a series of recommendations, presented to the REA Group Board and Senior Management.

“The members of the realestate.com.au Industry Advisory Council are partners in a process that we hope will benefit consumers and agents. They will also help us continue to improve realestate.com.au,” says Simon Baker, CEO and Managing Director of the REA Group, (ASX:REA, realestate.com.au Ltd. and its subsidiary companies).

“This Advisory Council provides a formal and far-reaching forum for industry leaders to tackle the most pressing issues facing real estate in Australia today.”

Ex-Wallaby captain Phil Kearns will host the National Awards for Excellence gala dinner at Sydney’s Four Seasons Hotel. Ex-All Black Eric Rush will address the audience as a special guest speaker. For more information on the event, visit: http://www.reia.com.au/nationalawards/

About realestate.com.au
realestate.com.au has helped more people find a home in Australia than any other website every month since October 2000. The site receives 3.7 million unique browsers per month, more than its 15 largest competitors in Australia combined (Nielsen//NetRatings). realestate.com.au is owned and operated by the REA Group (realestate.com.au Ltd, ASX:REA, and its subsidiary companies), which operates 15 other real estate websites in a total of eight countries.

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71 Comments

  • Dave Platter
    Posted March 20, 2007 at 2:38 pm 0Likes

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

    I see someone is in a bad mood today! Take two bloody marys and call me in the morning.

    Honestly, Peter, your diatribe surprises me. You yourself say this is a “good idea.”

    Still, you don’t think it will “do anything” because it will only meet 6 times a year.

    Let’s put this in perspective. Peter, you work with some far flung designers and programmers and clients. Right? Yet, I don’t think you’re flying around the world to meet with them all on a weekly basis. In fact, I bet you have some clients and collaborators you’ve never even met in person.

    Somehow, though, I bet you still manage to get things done.

    I really believe that anything that provides the industry greater patricipation in its online future and in what happens on realestate.com.au has got to be a good thing for agents.

    I don’t see why you would want to prevent agents from having that opportunity.

    Like any initiative, this Council will have to prove itself. But let’s all let them at least get started before we criticize their work.

    dave

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted March 20, 2007 at 2:51 pm 0Likes

    Hi Dave

    Thanks for your comments. My job here is to analyse what gets thrown out to agents. This is my first impression and I would be more than happy to be proven wrong, as is the case on a regular basis.

    John
    I doubt the REI would be on board as it would clearly show favouritism for one commercial company (they have done this before), more than likely the heads of large franchise groups. 1000 divided by 8 =?

  • Sam
    Posted March 20, 2007 at 4:10 pm 0Likes

    Hi Dave,

    Do you think anyone sees this as anything but an attempt to suck up to the agents pretending to be all touchy feely ? Trying to be “part of the industry” “all us buddies together” when all you’re really trying to do is grovel your way to legitimacy, but it’s what you do best so go for it.

  • snoop
    Posted March 20, 2007 at 7:14 pm 0Likes

    land grab for mind share.
    encumbent waking up
    lets see whos brave enough to be on it

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted March 20, 2007 at 7:28 pm 0Likes

    Congratulations to REA a great idea.

    I hope that they publish all the recommendations that are put to them “warts and all”.

    Nice to see that REA acknowledge that they need some renovations – not before time.

    Great to see a property portal preparing itself for when Google launch.

    Better late than never.

  • snoop
    Posted March 20, 2007 at 7:32 pm 0Likes

    ahh but will google launch?
    i think they can make more from selling keywords.

  • Anthony
    Posted March 20, 2007 at 7:43 pm 0Likes

    Hey peter – think your private selling website http://www.porticoprivate.com.au is pretty good – but please share with me how you managed to be able to offer listings on realestate.com.au and domain.com.au

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted March 20, 2007 at 7:48 pm 0Likes

    Oh yes – they will definitely launch. Many Google employees love buying houses in Mosman. They are the Macquarie Bank of online.

    Australia would present the perfect opportunity to test their portal which also explains why so many employees have moved here, and they are not renting either.

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted March 20, 2007 at 8:30 pm 0Likes

    Anthony

    Nice try mate, I developed the site in about a week for a client (it is a temporary website) and from what I know it is not a private site but is targets low end clients, they pay an upfront fee and a commission…but that is about all I know about it…..

    As for your other claims I suggest you contact the real estate agent who owns/operates the website.

  • Glenn
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 12:01 am 0Likes

    This has to be joke ! Is it the 1st of April already?

    The are clearly trying to pass this sham off as an industry organisation by describing it as the “Peak Industry Body” yet it reports directly to REA. Since when does our industry = REA?

    This is simply an egotistical marketing ploy for REA to wine and dine a few major customers, give the same people a new addition to their resume and guarantee at least 6 media releases throughout the year which will heavily mention and promote realestate.com.au.

    They would have gained far more credibility by sponsoring the formation of a genuine industry council that reports to the state and national institutes. They should certainly take a seat or two on the council as well as a seat by Domain.

    But instead they offer a puppet council beholden to the REA for their existence and a council that reports only to REA.

    I wonder if we can submit ideas for this peak industry body to discuss on our behalf. Here is a few of my suggestions :-

    How to reduce the cost of internet advertising to the industry ?
    How can members access revenue sharing for ads piggybacking off their property displays?
    Can the industry afford to one real estate web portal to have a monopoly?

    I know comments already from people in our group have questioned the validity of such a council to represent the industry and the motives of REA to create this council inside their corporate organisation. This would hardly promote transparent feedback to the industry now would it.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 1:28 am 0Likes

    Glenn.

    Those in the industry are already on email calling it “red faces”!! REA – otherwise known as “Real Estate Advertisers” keep embellishing

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 2:01 am 0Likes

    names that suit their purposes. Let’s wait and see who the “first eight” are. Domain set up a ‘Discovery Team”, RE Advertisers went one better and called it an Industry Advisory Council – where hold on they anoint the chosen ones.

    Just another example of a business that is so far up their clacker that they assume a thermology whereby, they now lay claim to appoint industry choices.

    Personally, I can’t wait to see what comprises the “eight” as it will have to be announced sooner or later.

    Another classic example of an a business pretending to mask itself as an industry influence that represents our industry.

    A property portal should equal agents and vendors whereby they are promoted on a level playing field. RE Advertising open themselves up to every bank and whomever wants to advertise on their site.

    As for an “Industry Advisory Council” – what a load of rubbish. There again when anyone searches property on that portal they are force fed exactly that !!

    RE Advertisers is a property portal that went from being an agency portal to one that sold itself out to promoting banks for their own financial gain.

    Such a shame that myhome got it so wrong.

  • snoop
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 5:49 am 0Likes

    google is a 200m rev business here.
    hence the number of employees.
    Some have been with the company long enough to have in the money options.
    They were looking to launch a property superlistings site using google base late last year.
    But its all gone VERY quiet.

  • Anthony
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 10:13 am 0Likes

    The REA suggestion sounds ok to me – it’s about getting people they respect to assist them with how they can do it better.

    They have “over PR’d” the exercise – alluding to being an industry body – but really – there is nothing in it.

    If anything – it may be a shot across the bow of the State Institutes whom probably get heaps of sponsorship dollars from REA – yet now also want to compete against them in the Portal Market.

    Now i propose this group of people chatting in Business2 and contributing to Real Estate issues is in fact a Peak Industry Body reporting to every portal and every institute. My acronym – oh yes we need a acronym!

    Consolidated Realtors Assessing Portals – otherwise known as CRAP.

    We can add our assessment to all industry changes, innovations and initiatives by simply adding – the GOOD CRAP or BAD CRAP assessment.

    Sometimes – we may get so involved with issues we need to provide full disclosure – otherwise known as FULL OF CRAP.

    Imagine the Media Release potential –

    NEW WEB PORTAL – CRAP

    Other initiatives could involve “CRAP site of the YEAR” etc etc.

    And we could get sponsorship for CRAP

    CRAP
    proudly sponsored by Sorbent and Metamucil

    Okay – i think Robert may be right – that cape may be too tight.

  • Anthony
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 10:17 am 0Likes

    Oh and i would like to nominate Robert to be our Spokesperson –

    Edited by administrator

    😉

  • Glenn
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 10:31 am 0Likes

    One of Google’s expansion projects was indeed Real Estate. Here is an image taken from one of the many whiteboards in their head office in 2004/2005

    http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/7506/607/1600/google-walls3.jpg

    and the full post http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2006/08/googles-master-plan.html

    You will notice that since the release of this many of the projects have come to fruition such as video, local services, photos, calendar, finance, web hosting, bulletin boards and even dating is sort of covered with Orkut. It is only a matter of time before Real Estate is tackled.

    I assumed that the US would have been the initial market for their real estate plans but Australia might be a fantastic opportunity for them now I think of it. Minimal competition in this market and because the Australian portal sites are being run by media corporations they have kept costs high to counter losses to their traditional newspaper assets. The market leader saturates their pages with advertising and best of all, the technology acceptance in Australia is similiar to the US so it could act as a fantastic test rollout.

    If google launches Real Estate Services in Australia I would not like to be holding any REA shares because you can be certain that they will not follow myhome.com.au example. They will keep it simple and easy to use, build marketshare and rollout new features on demand.

  • max
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 11:09 am 0Likes

    nah, the perfect person for the role would be ex LJH State Manager SA Loraine Lillycrap

  • Dave Platter
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 12:29 pm 0Likes

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

    Robert and Sam, sorry to have gotten your knickers in such a twist for you. But you may be overcomplicating things.

    Anthony hit it right on the money. The new realestate.com.au Council is about doing a better job for agents by giving them more voice in the future of our site.

    That said, the Council is not the same as the market research panels that we bring together to evaluate products. It’s a higher level body. The members (to be announced tomorrow night at the REIA awards ceremony) won’t be just random agents. We’ve invited people we consider extremely knowledgable who are also as representative as possible of the whole industry.

    Of course, no group of eight can be entirely representative of an industry of some 12,000. So, we’ll rotate about half the membership each year.

    Simple as that.

    (BTW, love the CRAP idea!)

    dave

  • Peter
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 1:38 pm 0Likes

    So Dave, now we are rotating the members of the council, do they know about this? I would not be able to judge their worthiness, but on a whole if they are all just the leaders of the major franchises, I would be extremely disappointed.

  • Paul D
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 1:49 pm 0Likes

    Sounds like window dressing to me.

  • Anthony
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 3:12 pm 0Likes

    So ladies and gentlemen

    Is this a CRAP idea?

  • Ashley
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 3:22 pm 0Likes

    I believe that internet marketing of properties currently delivers over 60% of buyer and seller leads and is one of the most effective means of marketing property today. It is however only one channel and must be used in association with and linked to other channels such as print media to be fully effective.

    REA have a virtual monopoly over property marketing on the internet. Even though the stats show 34% of traffic, every real estate agent out there knows that the majority of email and phone leads comes from the REA site. Measurement of upstream and downstream traffic shows that the lookers go to the major franchise sites, REA, some to Domain and now some to Myhome as well as the plethora of smaller real estate sites.

    The Real Estate Institutes in Australia have let their members and the industry down by not providing a national site five years ago when they could have. Their short sightedness and their parochial attitude has allowed a group such as REA to enter and flourish in the current market place and they have done a great job. Unashamedly they are there to make money just the same as we are and if you look at the monthly cost compared with a pictorial in a major capital city newspaper, it is cheap.

    Australia is heading for an incredibly fragmented internet market place for property. We now have REA, Domain, Homehound, Myhome and hundreds of other sites that confuse the consumer, lack regulation and add more cost to the real estate professional. Fewer, larger market places that offer genuine differentiation should assist everyone and better control costs.

    The current internet space has not seen as much change in the last 3 years as it has seen in the last 6 months. New portals, name changes, acquisitions, new technology, the list goes on and on. The challenge for a real estate professional in Australia today is to present a marketing program that will deliver the best results for the client.

    REA, as the most looked at portal for property in Australia, has a responsibility to ensure it delivers for its clients, the Real Estate professionals, and its customers, the consumer, a product that is effective for both at a reasonable price. I have always believed that market forces will always balance over-pricing, however the lacklustre entry of Myhome.com.au with $27m backing may be an indication that entry barriers are greater today than I thought possible.

    Any input that can be made by an informed group, it doesn’t matter how many, that will improve the service and the product provided by REA must be of some benefit. At least REA have reacted to the current challenges and setup this group, only time will tell how effective it will be.

  • Peter
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 4:03 pm 0Likes

    Wow, what a first up post, thanks for that Ashley and welcome aboard. Look forward to more great comments soon.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 4:07 pm 0Likes

    Yes – a very impressive post indeed.

  • Dave Platter
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 5:16 pm 0Likes

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

    Thanks, Ashley. Well said.

    dave

  • max
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 6:08 pm 0Likes

    Peter, off the topic, just a general question. How much would a site like this cost to develop?

  • snoop
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 6:51 pm 0Likes

    My guess is…and looking what they have done in the US is they will actualy drive more traffic to the portals like REA and Domain and of course they will also apply considerable pay per click budgets to make sure they are there.
    They will encourage them all to participate.
    Their model is non exclusive whereever they go.
    Cant see google paying reps to sell to real estate cos.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 7:54 pm 0Likes

    Peter,

    I doubt if Dave will answer the rotation question given the golden silence. I can’t see a reason to rotate this “peak industry body” comprising “industry leaders” although he may have committed a faux pas by letting this slip.

    Anyway – just one more sleep until we are advised of the REA “industry leaders”. 😉

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 8:57 pm 0Likes

    Dave Platter
    Mar 21st, 2007 at 12:29 pm /
    (I work at realestate.com.au/the REA Group)

    “Robert and Sam, sorry to have gotten your knickers in such a twist for you. But you may be overcomplicating things.”

    Dave, I love your choice of words !! Yes over complicating things ?

    No doubt – like many here will draw to the attention of REA that your homepage is a disgrace.

    Dave, you skip posts like a politician. The REA homepage is a cob web designed to attract finance companies which in my opinion is detrimental to exactly why agents support REA.

    The simple truth is that REA first attracted agents then sold the honey to the banks.

    Now we all know that you believe that the banks attract unique visitors – however without the agents REA will be a Onetel !!

    Quote – unquote !!

  • max
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 9:03 pm 0Likes

    Dave, can you please give us some factual data on just how much of the traffic actually goes to the 3rd party banners etc? I was told once and remember it being much lower than what I reckon people here think it is.

  • Sam
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 9:09 pm 0Likes

    Hi Dave,

    You must have misunderstood me, you don’t worry me at all it just seems you are creating this “Council” to legitimise yourself, a very sneaky way of doing things, very presumptuous, but thats the way REA are and that why many dislike you so much.

    It would be a shame to create such a forum when you will probably be overtaken by Google or someone else in a few short years.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 9:30 pm 0Likes

    Maybe, the “peak industry body” comprising “industry leaders” need to address a chorus from agents that post here in Business2, that REA are arrogant and continue to ignore the best interests of their paying clients ?

    No mention from agents that they believe Domain to be arrogant !!

  • Glenn
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 9:42 pm 0Likes

    Dave,

    You have recently been challenged with skipping posts like a politician (I liked that Robert).

    You quoted me some stats in another thread recently about increased email responses for agents. I asked you for further stats so as to actually make the facts you quoted more meaningful. You havnt responded and just in case you missed the post I know you are at least reading this thread at the moment so I thought I would restate my request here.

    “The statistics you provided regarding the increasing number of email leads is typical of the realestate.com.au and domain.com.au marketing machines. The stats provided alone mean virtually nothing. I would appreciate it if you could provide other data for the same time periods, namely the number of agents subscribing, number of properties listed and the average agency subscription rate. From that we can really work out if realestate.com.au improved the average agencies

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 9:43 pm 0Likes

    Max, is another REA “crash test dummy” from the REA embryo much like Tom.S etc

    Max – as to posting the Domain URL > “I had no idea it has such a bearing on peoples comments

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 9:51 pm 0Likes

    Glenn,

    I think our resident politician Dave, is more embroiled in which members of the “peak industry body” comprising “industry leaders” will be rotated otherwise known as bumped in coming months LOL

    Please don’t tell us that Peter Debnam and Morris Iemma will be sitting on the “peak industry body”.

  • max
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 10:07 pm 0Likes

    “Max, is another REA

  • max
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 10:24 pm 0Likes

    Ah, you are showing your age there ol’ boy. I just googled “Don Adams”…. So you think I work for http://www.realestate.com.au do ya?

    Well very sad to let you down here but as I have said before I work for an Urban Developer. Unfortunaly I can publish my full details as I am a lowly employee and any comments linked from this site to my employment could be asking for trouble.

    However, one of my best mates works for REA so yes, I am a little pro REA. Again, my current home was found on Domain.

  • max
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 10:33 pm 0Likes

    is this a better click through

  • Glenn
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 11:40 pm 0Likes

    I’m not old enough to have seen the original broadcast of Get Smart, but I would have thought everybody had seen the adventures of 86 and 99 of Control sometime during one of the hundred or so reruns. A classic for sure. Maybe thats what he meant.

    and yes.. your click through is much better.. which one is you?

  • Anthony
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 12:16 am 0Likes

    OK lost my post somewhere Peter – i think if two people post at same time – one goes missing – i have lost many – remember i suggested you were moderating me???

    that Crap comment was submitted immediately after my post about my own post – so apologies Glenn if you feel it was directed at you

  • Anthony
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 12:20 am 0Likes

    Max – i believe REA – recorded 12% of their revenues from 3rd party advertising – based on my recall of their annual report.

    Better still guys they are ASX listed – their annual report is downloadable (it does consume 3 acres of amazon rainforest if you print it though)

    Lots of answers in there 🙂

  • Anthony
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 12:28 am 0Likes

    OK lost my post somewhere Peter – i think if two people post at same time – one goes missing – i have lost many – remember i suggested you were moderating me???

    that Crap comment was submitted immediately after my post about my own post – so apologies Glenn if you feel it was directed at you

  • Dave Platter
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 9:12 am 0Likes

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

    Sorry guys, I took the night off to do some unpleasant administrative work. It wasn’t as fun as posting comments here, but it had to be done.

    Glenn, thanks for repeating your question. I must have missed it before. I don’t agree that showing we increased our email leads to agents from 410,000 to 580,000 per month over the last year says nothing about the value we’re providing to agents.

    In any case, I think most of the info you’re asking for is available and if so I’m happy to provide it here. Let me pull it together and come back later with it…

    Thanks!
    dave

  • Dave Platter
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 9:19 am 0Likes

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

    Max, thanks for your question, too. However, while you’re assumption could be correct, I don’t think it’s quite the correct question.

    Rather than how much traffic goes to financial advertisers, what’s more important is:

    How much less traffic and fewer leads would agents receive if consumers couldn’t also find out about mortgages and things on our site?

    I think those numbers would be significant. If we didn’t have links to financial advertisers on our sites, I’m very sure agents would demand that we put them there!

    I’ve said it before, those links benefit agents for the same reason that petrol stations with convenience stores sell more petrol than those without: consumer convenience.

    dave

  • Dave Platter
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 9:26 am 0Likes

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

    Robert, sorry if my earlier post about knickers seemed disrespectful. It’s just that you really do have the Advisory Council all wrong.

    The Council can’t help us do better for all agents if it’s not as representative as it can be.

    That’s very hard to do with such a small body, and a bigger group would be unweildy. So, we will indeed be rotating about half the membership each year.

    All best!
    dave

  • Dave Platter
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 9:27 am 0Likes

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

    If anyone will be at the REIA dinner tonight, I’d love to meet you. I’ve met Robert and Peter, and it really makes posting here a lot more fun to know the people you’re debating with.

    I’ll buy you a drink. (Oh, wait, the drinks are free.)

    dave

  • Anthony
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 10:45 am 0Likes

    Conspiracy Theory 101

    1. Google base has been looming for over 18 months now
    2. NEWS – PBL – FAIRFAX are all operated by some serious people
    3. These 3 groups – especially NEWS worldwide would have some serious clout with Google based on their ad word expenditures.
    4. PBL Media – is run by some savvy online people with serious online experience – why would you invest and launch a new property site – with a potential category killer on the horizon?
    5. Google Base can still morph – for recipes, auctions etc – just has to stay away from AUTO, JOBS and PROPERTY – and largely the ad word revenue for these categories is probably predominantly funded by the 3 above.

    So has there been a deal done with Google?
    The 3 media players have been dueling in Australia for quite some time – they have a common respect – even though they play hard. The Google threat to their classified revenues is HUGE.

    Has there been a deal done?

  • Dave Platter
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 10:53 am 0Likes

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

    OK, Glenn, I’ve got some info for you. I’ve been trying to dig it up. As I get more, I’ll post it.

    First, the easy stuff:

    UBs
    2865805 Jan 06
    3739934 Jan 07
    Increase: 30.5%

    GAP Between unique browsers to REA and to Domain
    1,179,232 Jan 06
    1,778,476 Jan 07
    Increase: 51%

    dave

  • Dave Platter
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 11:03 am 0Likes

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

    This is easy, too:

    Hard Count of Email Leads to Agents
    410,000 Jan 06
    580,000 Jan 07
    Increase: 29.3%

    dave

  • Glenn
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 11:12 am 0Likes

    Dave,

    I find your steadfast belief that advertising on Realestate.com.au attracts visitor to the portal is hilarious. Is this your personal belief, or a company held opinion as I have never heard it from any REA salesperson. I am sure you have read my previous posts on this subject so there is no need to rehash all that again.

    FTA Television Stations, Pay TV, Newspapers, Magazines and other websites have always claimed advertising was a necessary evil to raise revenue so as to offset costs to the reader/subscriber/viewer etc.

    Seriously, if REA has cracked this problem and changed the nature of ads so it self generates traffic to the website they should patent the system as it will be in huge demand throughout the world. Every web portal, newspaper and television station will want this secret. This really is the HOLY GRAIL of advertising. If it can be ported to TV, Channel 9 will pay a fortune for it the way they have been going lately.

    I don’t seem to see anybody else supporting your theory on this, quite the opposite. Can you give us some statistics or survey results that would support your claim?

    So why don’t realestate.com.au use the “we had to do it to keep the costs down to the agent” excuse. In my opinion, simply because it is clear that other portals in Australia and around the world don’t have to resort to such tactics to provide a similar service therefore REA would come across as greedy so they flout the whole arguement that the ads are good for us.

    If its 12% of what tere generated revenue that’s around $50-60 every single month you are generating off the back of every single agent.

    What about domain ?? can anybody advise if Domain holds similiar views ??? Because if they dont, they are not showing it as their pages are not saturated with ads.

  • Anthony
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 11:12 am 0Likes

    Seriously strong growth Dave.

    Dave can you confirm or deny whether REA has done any deals with Google – in regard to BASE and REAL ESTATE products?

  • Dave Platter
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 11:15 am 0Likes

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

    This is where it starts to get interesing.

    Consumer research shows that for every email lead, usually two telephone leads and/or OFI visits are generated from advertising on realestate.com.au.

    So, the estimated count is about 1.5 million total leads in Jan.

    What really surprised me to learn is that only a small number of agents actually track their telephone, OFI and email leads. I’m sure Robert is one of those agents who does track them. And I’m sure he can testify to the advantage of doing so.

    dave

  • Dave Platter
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 12:20 pm 0Likes

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

    Here’s something more, that gets more directly to Glenn’s point, although it’s still not exactly the answer I think he’s looking for.

    What this new data shows is the comparison between the cost to reach a Unique Browser on realestate.com.au and the cost to reach a subscriber of a major newspaper. (I’ll leave the paper’s name out of it, to not embarrass them.)

    Cost per thousand:
    …..REA: 2.52 cents *
    …..Major Newspaper 6.61 cents #

    * Based on a Platinum Subscription to realestate.com.au $530 (inc. GST) per month
    # Marketing material based on Saturday readers /Roy Morgan and released from that paper. (June 2006)

    dave

  • Anthony
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 12:40 pm 0Likes

    Dave…you left out the AMEN. 🙂

  • Scott
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 1:11 pm 0Likes

    Hi glen,,
    just in response to your post about the whiteboard – that pic was originally a joke made up by the google employees to put on the web.

    More info at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/niallkennedy/45491564/

    To see the entire board (with some obvious joke entries), go to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/niallkennedy/45491564/

    Yes, some of these things have been done and google realestate is a very real possiblity.
    All I am saying with this response is “don’t believe everything that you see on the internet as the gospel truth – check it out further”

  • Anthony
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 2:17 pm 0Likes

    Hi Scott

    Just spoke to the guys at Google re: Google Base in Sydney

    They indicated a release “sometime this year”

  • Dave Platter
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 2:41 pm 0Likes

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

    Anthony, I’ve got no info about any REA deal with Google, but if we do one I’ll certainly post about it here.

    dave

  • Paul D
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 2:51 pm 0Likes

    Hey Dave,

    I asked you a question a couple of days ago, regarding the emails sent via REA. I guess you didn’t see it. Fully 9% of our emails from REA are received twice. In other words, the people hit “SEND AGENT EMAIL” twice. I think this is a staggering amount. I guess it shows the impatience of people, or the slowness of broadband ( but that is a whole other topic) I believe REA should have some function that prevents the possibility of a double email, unless people navigate away from the property and back to it.
    What do you think ?? Thanks

  • Dave Platter
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 3:14 pm 0Likes

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

    Glenn, thanks for the comments.

    I’ll try to fill out the picture a bit more, since I’m clearly not communicating well with you. It all comes down to finding the best way to drive leads to agents.

    Before anything else, most home hunters need to find out how much they can spend. They will probably use a loan calculator for this and also, at some point in the process, are likely to need a mortgage.

    If consumers can’t get to a loan calculator and a mortgage provider from our site, they will go somewhere else for them. Then we would have to work a second time to get them to come back. Inevitably, some wouldn’t, and that would be bad for the agents who list their properties on our site.

    Because they know they can do their finance stuff on realestate.com.au, they come, they look at properties, they generate leads, and our subscribers succeed.

    I keep coming back to the petrol station, because it’s the best analogy. If you sell petrol AND have a convenience store, you’ll sell more petrol than the station down the street without the convenience store.

    Agents should judge us on our ability to produce leads. That’s the thing we do better than anyone else, it’s the thing we work hardest at improving and it’s the main thing they are paying for.

    From this perspective, your concern about the way the home page looks seems a little bit irrelevant. If it works, then it’s right. Simple as that.

    dave

  • Glenn
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 4:23 pm 0Likes

    Scott,

    The board was not created to be put on the web at all. It was a social experiement for google employees where anybody could add or erase what they wanted and it continues to this day (photos for the current version later). You seem to imply that I blindly believed everything on the board and thus you must have me confused with a fool. I provided a link to the story which clearly discusses the jokes and half serious projects. This was one of hundreds of posts about the whiteboard around the net.

    I have seen the full images of that whiteboard and others quite a few times now. The white board itself was not a joke per se, but it is in an area allowing google employees to freestyle write whatever they wanted. Consequently much of the board was written as a joke. But was it all a joke?

    The person that took the photo (Niall which you provided a link to his flickr account) states that the whiteboard is a joke back in 2005. The whiteboard has a Google OS, world domination and time travel on it which are all certainly written in jest.

    Most industry commentators attributed many sections of the whiteboard such as the part we are discussing as far from a joke. Much of this was at the very top and centre of the board and appeared to be the first things written with everything else emanating from there. The certain sections in question are laid out in very neat and tidy unlike the scrawlings of the obvious jokes. It is certainly a lot easier to consider the section in question as a roadmap of sorts now because hindsight has shown many of the sections have been completed.

    The 2004/2005 incarnation has been totally deleted now with a new version up in its place. Here is some more photos of the new version http://picasaweb.google.com/cdibona/RIPGoogleMasterPlan

    There are stacks of other things I did not raise that have made it into reality since being written up on that board.. Free Wifi access and micropayments to name just two.

    You really think that google employees posted jokes on that whiteboard, and coincidentally and unbeknownst to them somebody else in the google organisation was working on and about to release those very exact products? Not just once but 20 or 30 times? You really think so?? Who is the gullible one amongst us?

  • Glenn
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 4:40 pm 0Likes

    Dave,

    Clearly we will agree to disagree. A mortgage calculator is not an ad, it is a feature. Your features bring people back, your ads don’t but I would love to see you prove it.

    I submit that if you improve the features on the site and decrease the ads you will see an increase in visitors and thus a benefit to the agencies who subscribe.

    You eloquently side stepped the issue and tried to bring it back to whether you generate leads or not. I am not debating with your ability to create leads and I am sure you know that.

    Just busy right now but I shall look at the stats you have provided in the past few posts and reply later.

    Cheers

  • max
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 8:41 pm 0Likes

    Glenn, have you been on those grumpy pills again?

    I agree though, the idea of such bords etc are to promote free thinking… A nerdy think tank if you like.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 8:43 pm 0Likes

    Glenn,

    I have been arguing these very points with REA for years now – and they always have selective hearing.

    They don’t understand that agents are jack of their compulsive desire to sell their homepage to third party advertisers.

    REA are not about agents they are about themselves hence, the reference that the vast majority see them as being arrogant. More interesting is that you don’t see agents referring to Domain as being arrogant as they listen.

    I do however agree with Dave on his service station analogy. The only difference being that when you go in to pay you see the mars bars and cans of cola. With REA they hang the mars bars and cans of cola off the bowsers.

    REA are out of touch with a vast majority of agents. As I pointed out before they should send the same survey that Domain sent agents. I bet they would struggle to get close to 65 per cent were Domain got 97 per cent.

    However, they will then tell you about the 3.7 million visitors and email leads etc etc. But they won’t mention that their homepage is arguably the worst of any portal that displays on the www !!

    The agents hate it – but banks love it !!

  • Anthony
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 9:51 pm 0Likes

    Let me suggest a survey

    Dear Agent,

    Assume you list property with Australia’s 2 largest property sites. Realestate.com.au and Domain.com.au

    If you had to decide that you could only use one of these sites, which would you select?

    Publish results.

    User satisfaction, cosmetics, etc all will become insignificant against which site delivers better results.

    The other elements are window dressing – and REA has every right to do what ever they like – if they continue to deliver better results.

  • Glenn
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 9:57 pm 0Likes

    Dave,

    You gave us :

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 10:04 pm 0Likes

    Domain – smash REA. Fact !! In Mosman / Cremorne / Neutral Bay.

    Back to the bowser – or is that educated searchers are tired of the REA bull%^&% ??

  • Paul D
    Posted March 23, 2007 at 9:39 am 0Likes

    Dear Dave,
    My last Question, was between two of your posts, in fact the last two on this topic, so I find it hard to believe that you did not see it. It’s about the emails we receive from REA. In Feb, more than 9% of them were the same email received twice. Now, I’m happy to put it down to the impatience of the people making the enquiry, and that there is probably a software solution that can be used to rectify the problem. The other side of the coin is that there are a huge number of emails that are sent twice, and REA are counting them as separate UB’s and no wonder the figures just keep going up. Firstly, does anybody else reading this have the same problem ? (does anybody bother to check??) and, is it that hard a question to answer ??
    Interestingly, we have wery few emails from Domain that are sent twice.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted March 23, 2007 at 9:53 am 0Likes

    We get a few doubles from REA and don’t get any from Domain.

  • Paul Krayven
    Posted March 23, 2007 at 10:25 am 0Likes

    I see the occasional double up from all portals. Some REA emails irk me though, you know those ones that state someone is interested in property id number 12345678 without printing the address in the email, no link to the property or realestate.com.au. You have to read the email open your browser, navigate to realestate.com.au input the id number just to see what property the enquirer was talking about. Talk about annoying.

    I’ve campaigned for this to be changed numerous times now with false promises that it’ll be looked at and nothing has yet been done. It’s been like that for years.

    Perhaps you can employ me for a day and I’ll fix the code for everything that annoys me 🙂

    Sorry if this sounds very negative

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted March 23, 2007 at 10:49 am 0Likes

    Yes you are right Paul, these things are pretty easy as they all should be standardised….

    From: Peter Ricci
    Phone: 02 9300 6282
    Mobile: 0438 391 397
    Email: peter@etcetc.com.au
    Comments: Hi Paul, I was wondering if this house had a toilet
    Property Address: 2-270 Bondi Road Bondi
    Property Suburb: Bondi
    Shortcut URL: http://www.realestate.com.au/3245678
    AJAX Quick Peek: Link (this just does a quick pop up and shows short snapshot of listing.

    Work Required: First part (less than a day) Last Part AJAX: Couple of days testing

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