After reading the article in The Australian it may seem to be getting worse for MyHome as from what I have read it looks as though the equity deals that have been mooted have reached a major impasse with many of the franchises not able to take a stake in MyHome after inking a deal years ago with Homehound.
To me it all comes back to the inexperience of many executives in relation to the real estate industry. Here are some things that any new players have to get through their collective heads first.
1. You are not going to find any new buyers/tenants for agents, statistics shows that anyone and everyone involved in this market has already found a place to search for properties, so all you are going to do is take visitors away from other portals.
2. Deals with franchise head offices can seem like a good idea, but really the investment needed has to go deeper, they need to be able to put people on the ground and in the faces of the principals of these offices to gain any real traction
3. You should never, ever, ever start spending big money on promoting a real estate portal with less than 30% of the listings of the main portals REA and Domain. You might get them to visit once but getting them to come back is a stretch when REA and Domain already have much more content. You need to spend 18months to 2 years gaining content and do soft promotions of a site, once you reach 60+% then start your big spending.
4. Think Different. If you spent all of your interface thoughts on creating a site that places the user of the site as number one you will gain ground. MyHome failed on so many counts, yes it has some pretty nifty features but it is nothing new. The first look should be Google’s interface, clean fast and efficient and one that users are accustomed to. Remember Google are not in the pretty market, but they are clean and fast.
5. Forget 100% about 3rd advertisers on your site to begin with. If you must concentrate on branding mortgage calculators, insurance calculators and local results. Once you build popularity add some other advertising, but make 100% sure it has the benefit of the user in mind.
6. Give Equity at the Office, after all these are the people that make the final decision about where they spend their money. I doubt too many principals or directors get excited about you giving head office equity. History has shown that the actual office receives nothing from these deals except for maybe a discount.
7. Being Cheaper. Agents at the office level do not care a jot about you being $500 a month cheaper than REA if you bring in no buyers/tenants.
8. One thing amazes me about all these new entrants is this limited time free deal. You should be damn well free and you should be free until you can actually bring in business on a regular basis and if this is 1,2,3,4 or even 5 years then so be it. MyHome have no choice but to extend their free deal and this will keep being extended until they know they can actually get money out of agents.
9. Have only one package and guarantee it from the word go. If you had a guarantee to all agents that there will only ever be one price point for advertising properties then agents will not have to worry about future, silver, gold or platinum deals. Make the agents compete for the quality of what they provide, the text content, the photos, the movies, the plans – that is the difference today between the also crans and the quality agents – not whether their listings appear higher than their competitors!
10. Stop telling us how revolutionary you are and show us how revolutionary you are. The Internet gives complete control to the user, you will soon know if they like you, especially if there is competition that this market desperately needs. At the moment REA and Domain are in control and there is nothing I can see out there that is going to change this. You are not going to get any free rides from the press, if anything it will only get worse with the new media ownership laws, so you have to play this game by inches, win over the agents at office level, tell consumers about it once you get the content and have an interface worthy of a change and then start ringing the till!