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MyHome – In some ways, the hits just keep coming!

2 minute read

MyHome, a site just launched 45 days ago has hit troubled waters with unconfirmed rumours that at least one of the major portals has pulled the plug on exporting listings. My understanding is that First National has pulled the plug and will not be sending any more listings after complaints from agents.

I have received numerous emails and complaints from agents about outdated listings, sold listings and branding issues since the site was launched on the 26th of February.

Portals have to understand that agents do not want to be spending their time sifting through listings and sending emails asking for listings to be removed.

If these rumours are true it will be a triple blow for MyHome after revelations of legal action and the 25 year Homehound agreements with major franchises which you really have to hand it to Homehound and the management involved for getting that deal across.

MyHome have found out the hard way, like so many other new entrants that you need to do your homework before launching and that you must I repeat – must understand the market, both from an agents perspective.

The MyHome team have to now sit down and review their whole strategy as the next round of visitor results may prove to be yet another blow. I would not be surprised if the Nielson ratings get dumped for a while as they may prove to be humiliating.

This is not a good day for real estate portals and any new entrants but it does show that poor planning and understanding of the markets will not work.

The sad thing is – we need serious competition for REA and Domain or costs will continue to climb into double digits each year and it will be harder for agents and consumers to get what they want from this portal.

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31 Comments

  • Peter
    Posted April 15, 2007 at 9:59 am 0Likes

    Glenn, is this something you can look into for me?

  • Glenn
    Posted April 15, 2007 at 11:03 am 0Likes

    Peter,

    I have fired off an email to someone at Head Office to see if they can confirm this. Obviously I don’t expect a response till at least tomorrow. If indeed this is correct, I would throw my support behind it 100%. Whilst we personally have had no issues, we have only ever had one enquiry since its launch. (You have to ask, did any of the big advertising bill get spent in Queensland?) Like everyone though I have heard of lots of agencies having a trouble and the blame from the public seems to be landing on the agents shoulders. A typical case of Over Promising and Under Delivering.

    Our listings are still on the site but as we update daily it should not take to long to see if those updates are still going through. I just hope that somebody has thought how we are to remove all the existing listings when they sell or expire.

  • Sam
    Posted April 15, 2007 at 9:02 pm 0Likes

    MyHome have proved they are finished, no point going back to the drawing board if you can’t draw.

  • snoop
    Posted April 16, 2007 at 6:52 am 0Likes

    Well looking at Hitwise stats this morn they are now no3 after REA and Domain.
    Homehound down around no 10.
    Add their traffic to ninemsn property and they are approaching half domains traffic.
    So I wouldnt write off a presence with them yet.

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted April 16, 2007 at 8:05 am 0Likes

    Snoop, I would never write any company off that has pockets as deep as PBL but that does not mean victory. Coming 3rd is a given considering their reach, but the gap between 2nd and 3rd is huge and then the gap between first and second is bigger. They just need to get things right and go back to the drawing board. They are always going to get visitors but after they get things right it is all about content and losing content when they should be gaining content will not help.

  • Glenn
    Posted April 16, 2007 at 8:04 pm 0Likes

    Peter,

    Just heard back!

    It appears you are spot on! The network has apparently stopped exporting on mass to Myhome.

    Portplus which is First Nationals webhost for the national site and the approved/recommended (whatever the official term is) supplier for members websites. Apparently individual agencies are able to opt back in through portplus (or any other data providor they use I suppose) if they wish.

    Let me again say that I personally agree 110% with this decision. I was not told of the official reason behind this but it would not take too much to guess and that would be that head office was sick of the phone calls about problems.

    I also wasnt told if this was seen to be a temporary or a permanent move by the group, but given the fact that they have organised with Portplus for individual agents to continue if they wish it seems it my be more permanent. ie. if the agents want to push the data then any issues are up to them to deal direct with myhome.

    Official word is supposedly coming out to us members today (overnight?) or tomorrow in the regular member updates. If it adds anything interesting I will let you know.

    It will be interesting to see if other networks will follow suit as I am sure there are other people across the networks that are sick and tired of dealing with Myhome issues.

    Expect to see First National listings disappear from Myhome overnight I guess.

  • Paul Krayven
    Posted April 16, 2007 at 9:09 pm 0Likes

    we had issues before myhome went live and cancelled our dealings with them. It took a bit to get our pre xmas listings off their site the day they went live.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted April 16, 2007 at 9:30 pm 0Likes

    Otherwise known as learning the hard way – as myhome continue to burn bridges and business relationships. On their present course it will be just another free property portal.

    I still maintain that their best listing from an amusement stand point is a listing in Mosman that sold five years ago with an agent that left the subject business five years ago.

    Makes one ponder what the current owner would think to be told their property is now on the market ?

    A comedy of errors.

  • Glenn
    Posted April 16, 2007 at 11:04 pm 0Likes

    About that Homehound deal… If that stacks up I bet there are some red faces over that in a few networks. Locked into a 25 year restriction on the internet is a really bad move by whoever signed off on this. Given what has happened in the past 5 years with the internet can anybody even imagine what the net is going to be like in 25 years time ??

    That’s just bad business and whoever negotiated that should be fired. At best, any lengthy time period should have been based around performance and as for an actual time period 5 years for the internet is a lifetime.

    Homehound is such a dog of a performer they may actually make more money out of having the networks buy themselves out of that contract.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted April 16, 2007 at 11:20 pm 0Likes

    Homehound.com.au is running a dead heat with justlisted.com.au for last placed portal.

    Results from homehound (dogpound) are nothing short of pathetic.

  • snoop
    Posted April 17, 2007 at 8:17 am 0Likes

    You can bet Michael Hannan will extract some serious cash from someone.
    Gotta admit the prozac dosage in the Franchise owners who signed that deal must have been monstrous.

  • Elizabeth
    Posted April 17, 2007 at 9:08 pm 0Likes

    Good Evening,

    Snoop, it makes you wonder just what PBL had promised the franchise groups to get them on board initially. I wonder if the CEO’s had any personal incentives like the Qantas situation?

    I am sure that these revelations would make any company question whether they can trust the Franchise ‘Dead Offices’ (used with permission from Robert S).

    Just what do the franchisees get out of their head office membership of NREFA?

    Good on Michael Hannan, I hope he makes them stick to their agreement.

    E

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted April 17, 2007 at 10:38 pm 0Likes

    My understanding is that this debate is quite some distance from being finalised – lawyers at twenty paces. No doubt if this matter goes to court we will “read all about it.”

    Just as interesting is whether or not, Homehound is an accessory inclusion in the News Limited acquisition of FPC newspapers ?

    I found this article most interesting.

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/web/scrap-the-net-start-over/2007/04/16/1176696731538.html

    With the current scourge of scraping with new start up’s no doubt agencies would be reviewing online operations to establish individual URL’s for each property to gain total control with listings.

    Then again a new question presents itself in that are News Ltd, Fairfax and PBL better suited in providing a search engine over the current train of thought specialised business models. Real Estate, News, Employment, Boats and Motor Vehicles etc etc.

    Much like the Fox television model that offers a vast array of information to subscribers. They could then apply their algorithms and let consumers decide, much like the Google model. This way third party consumers pay not, the individual property owners.

    The abovementioned article sparks, ignites an interesting train of thought. My money for the “big boys” remains with a search engine mentality just ask yourself how many times each week you go to Google for information ? By the way they also list every property that is listed on Domain and REA.

    I have no doubt that we continue on a magnetic north mentality

  • Elizabeth
    Posted April 17, 2007 at 11:04 pm 0Likes

    lawyers at 20 paces?

    Does Michael Hannan know about this? From what he said in the article the other week, he is looking for a long happy relationship.

    Robert, are you saying that the Franchisors are trying to get out of their contract with homehound to go with PBL?

    And here I was thinking the Institutes were dillusional.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted April 17, 2007 at 11:23 pm 0Likes

    Elizabeth,

    No – my mail is that PBL will challenge franchisors and their intent to support.

    To be totally candid Mr Hannan and I do not share Christmas cards as he pursued me over comments I wrote with threats of defamation. I on legal advice as negotiated (by lawyers) delivered a retraction based on paper quality. Even though everything I suggested in that article has now come to fruition and now he is departing the real estate markets with the sale of FPC to News Limited.

    From our perspective as a business Homehound has delivered absolutely nothing as a property portal. Having said that we have done nothing for them aside from allowing them to scrape our listings, which was not an agreement that we entered into.

    I have no doubt that Mr Hannan will not be inviting me to break bread with his departure from real estate publications.

  • Glenn
    Posted April 18, 2007 at 12:06 am 0Likes

    Google has expanded on their Real Estate offering in the states quite dramatically over the past few days. Whilst it still resides inside Google Base for the moment, it is getting its own special treatment.

    I have discussed the details with Peter and I know he is waiting for a response from Google before posting an article for everyone on it so expect more details very soon.

    The killer feature that will make it all work is that the Real Estate Google Base will be integrated into the normal web search. What this means is that if you search for “Mosman Real Estate” on Google your listings will come up in the results. Now tell me who would not want that.

    The service is running live right now but the unfortunate part is that they localise the search based upon your source country. So if you live in the US, a search in San Diego (http://www.google.com/search?q=homes for sale in San Diego) the results will provide links to actual real estate for sale, but in Australia all we see is the standard web search. Hopefully Peter is organising with somebody in the US to grab some screen grabs for us.

    Part of Google’s summary on this new service to agents/brokers is:

    ***”We don’t charge for photos or offer “featured listings.” We believe that buyers just want to see the home that fits them best and that providers shouldn’t have to pay to show it to them. We don’t sell houses, deal with agents’ compensation, or charge for leads. Our business is helping people find the information they’re looking for

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted April 18, 2007 at 12:18 am 0Likes

    Glenn, steal my thunder, I have only got an a4 battery left after that, was actually going to post some info m tomorrow on this. Well done though, very comprehensive.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted April 18, 2007 at 7:17 am 0Likes

    Glenn,

    Awesome post – when Google launched Google Base for mine this left a huge clue about this online monster. I agree that this pending announcement will have REA and Domain accelerate white board discussions on combatant strategies.

    This was always going to happen and online has been a great gig for both REA and Domain. However, over the last few years this online landscape has been in rapid change mode. I agree that we can expect to see Zillow and Trulia arrive on our shores as they already run savvy and successful online models.

    I have for some time questioned the double dip in Australia where with property portals all parties pay to appear.

    Personally, I would much prefer to be standing by the Fairfax white board as they are the “head honcho” with print domination. The Rural Press acquisition will add immeasurable new boundaries to their real estate platforms.

    Whilst this may come as a shock to some the writing has been on that white board for quite some considerable time. I do know that the cost of third party online advertising will rapidly escalate to absorb lost revenues should Google roll out these initiatives.

    Fairfax have some amazing ingredients in their real estate menu – just that now they are faced with a distinct possibility of having to change with the times. Change is good – the Google inventiveness will separate the men from the boys.

  • Glenn
    Posted April 18, 2007 at 8:07 am 0Likes

    Sorry Peter,

    I did leave you a stack of info still to provide… plus you have your comment from Google if they get back to you…. plus hopefully a screenshot or two. Some of the points I have not covered are the Mymaps update, listing removal tools, different methods of getting your listings on the service, what search terms are known to trigger these results. Then of course there is the best part ot it, your comments on the whole thing.

  • snoop
    Posted April 18, 2007 at 8:23 am 0Likes

    I suppose it comes down to user choice.
    When you search property mosman on base you will get results from rea and domain.
    If they do their job they will increase functionality on their site to retain you once you click on one of their listings.
    All google base is ,is a search of searches.
    I think in the end the specialty sites will maintain share.
    On the Zillow thing,strong rumors of a bidding war between Msft and GOOG.
    A billion or so is change for either of them,albeit MSFT are historicaly very tight with money and considerably less entrepreneurial.

  • Glenn
    Posted April 18, 2007 at 9:47 am 0Likes

    Snoop,

    From what I can work out of the current model in the states only brokers, agents and MLS’s (which are effectively agent collective sites much like institute sites are) can list on Google, or either of the other two for that matter.

    The only definition they might be able to upload on is the IDX vendor but that appears to me to be companies that hosts multiple agents websites like Portplus or Agentpoint. It does not appear to cover other portals and therefore they would probably not be able to upload..

    I doubt they will maintain (and I cant see them every increasing) share because Google and/or others will take a percentage of the market. They might be able to retain some of their exisiting share (and maybe even the lead) as long as they evolve.

    Google claims “Real estate buyers use Google. In fact, over 56% of all Internet searches on “real estate” and related terms are conducted on Google and our search partner sites, and the majority of those searchers are actively looking for listings or referrals to brokers and agents”

    Now I dont know how they get those sort of stats other than their own search engines, but if anybody would know it would be them.

    Zillow would be a good buy for Google. The fact that they are proceeding with other initiatives with Real Estate would does not contradict these sort of rumours as they like to cover all bases should negotiations fail. I guess it is also part of their negotiation strategy proving to the other side that they are willing to jump in with or without them. You just have to look at Google Video and Youtube for that example.

    Google will share, but I doubt they would share with direct competitors like REA or Domain in this market should they join it. Of course they could by ad space if they wanted exposure 🙂

  • Elizabeth
    Posted April 19, 2007 at 8:59 am 0Likes

    Good Morning,

    Is myhome/PBL trying to buy LJHooker Head Offices loyalty?

    Since the revelations last week about the homehound deal stopping LJH from participating with myhome, this week LJH advertisements are all over the Today show on channel 9, with the LJH logo on the weather map.

    Word in my patch is that the local offices are having issues with out of date listings, and that the office has not been sending up listings.

    Expect to see more editorial on the big franchisors this weekend on the myhome tv show. Does anyone know the ratings for this?

    If what everyone on this blog is saying is true, and that google will soon offer real estate content, then perhaps myhome and LJH Head Office are wasting their time trying to do back door deals. Google will provide the agents with the choice to do what they want with their listings.

    E

  • Elizabeth
    Posted April 24, 2007 at 8:39 am 0Likes

    Good morning,

    and perhaps not such a good morning for the folk at myhome.

    The Australian has a story on First National pulling out of myhome (page 21).

    In another post we are debating realsearch, its model and approach to the industry. Here we have the mighty PBL and microsoft who have the money and resources to really make a go of things. Yet once again the powers that be seem to be making a mess of things because of the approach to the industry and poor design.

    This makes me have a new respect for realestate and domain. However, perhaps the great hope for real competition now resides with Google, or even homehound (will have to see what the new look homehound is when they launch, if they launch)

    E

  • Glenn
    Posted April 25, 2007 at 3:20 pm 0Likes

    It took them 9 days to run that story. The latest news!! A prime example of newspapers reporting on yesterdays news alright..

    Dont go counting Myhome out for the count yet. PBL and Microsoft can afford to make a few mistakes and neither give up that easy. They will sort out their problems and turn things around.

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted April 25, 2007 at 5:35 pm 0Likes

    I agree Glenn. I know MyHome has been a big stuff up. The key is that they understand it. I think so far they have failed to see their faults, although now I think they would as they would have had to answer to higher powers after this First National stuff up.

    I also think that the Australian was completely wrong in their assumption that it was to do with poor enquiries. That does not add up as they would have known going in that it was not going to bring in a lot of enquiries to begin with.

    I think it had everything to do with FN agents having to call up and get listings off the site that should not be on there.

    So if this is true their import system was not very well planned and executed.

    I think First National have just told them to get their act together. I suppose it is just about ironing out the bugs.

    I have said this many times before. A soft launch would have been much smarter way to go, with no advertising at all until they got everything right. Get it right , get the listings, make the agents happy and then go hard with the marketing.

    Once they get out of the denial stage they will be fine.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted April 25, 2007 at 8:02 pm 0Likes

    Myhome are now finding out that what they should have done in the first place is exactly what they are doing now. It still remains an embarrassment of errors in their Mosman search for houses where the first two listings identify a property sold last year and the next sold five years ago – with the listed agent now not even working with them today having left many years ago.

    This identifies that the agents never look at the portal so it then has no chance of ever becoming income producing. It is a management problem and quite obvious that they know very little about the machinations of real estate.

    I think PBL should go to http://www.seek.com.au and advertise – at least they would get a discount as they own that portal. Maybe they should try the new Fairfax Digital site http://www.thebigchair.com.au to find those that understand the real estate industry.

    The management of MyHome backed the wrong horses and it is fast tracking the business strategy of Run Property.

  • snoop
    Posted April 26, 2007 at 8:26 am 0Likes

    Theres an entirely new team at myhome now.

  • Peter
    Posted April 26, 2007 at 10:17 am 0Likes

    Snoop, how do you know this?

  • Glenn
    Posted April 26, 2007 at 10:35 am 0Likes

    I dont think anybody would be surprised by that, even the team that got replaced.

  • snoop
    Posted April 26, 2007 at 3:18 pm 0Likes

    New CEO replaced Meno Veneklas is Austin Bryan.
    I believe he and some of his new team are ex american express.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted April 26, 2007 at 9:55 pm 0Likes

    Dear Richardson & Wrench Mosman & Neutral Bay,

    Firstly, thank you for placing your listings on myhome.com.au as part of our introductory free trial offer, it has been an exciting start!

    This email is to ensure that we have your most up to date contact details.
    Please click on the link below to update and confirm your contact details are correct.

    Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to this mutually exciting journey together!

    Security

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