Realsearch.com.au launches

Yes I know, yawn, but this one does show a little potential! Now I am sitting here eating my breakfast (Muesli, Pear, Apples and Bananas) and the first thing I did was swear ‘&%$#@$%’ and splatter my screen with the above mentioned ingredients.

The quote ‘but our users call us ‘The Google of Real Estate‘, no, you call yourself that and you are not alone! The site seems to scrape (I may be wrong) listings from LJ Hooker, Ray White, Centrury21, PRD Nationwide, Harcourts, Raine and Horne, Elders, First National and others and index these results into a Google style engine. The properties then link to the actual pages on the above sites.

The search is simple and the results darn ugly but it does have some potential. Getting this data and indexing it is one thing, but they must be able to update quickly so as to not carry older listings. They also have to overcome the fact that their bots may be banned from the site if they do not have permission.

However, this site is getting closer to what I would call a search engine, as these types of sites mature their bots will have to become smarter and smarter as if they do become popular there are ways in which agents could manipulate data to appear more often.

They need to get the layout of search results cleaner and more organised but on the whole a good first effort. Using whereis.com.au may bite them a little as I would have chosen Google, Yahoo or MSN maps.

They have clearly tried to copy Google with their search results and this is a good thing, but it just needs a little more refinement. I would be interested to see how they crawl individual agents sites as many are formatted differently and this is where they can do quite well if they got it right.

You can add your agency for inclusion or pay for a rapid inclusion. Your thoughts?

Realsearch

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.

71 Responses to Realsearch.com.au launches

  1. Sam April 13, 2007 at 10:38 am #

    These pathetic attempts used to be amusing but it’s now just a big yawn. Did a search on a very popular suburb in Melbourne – 2 results.
    People call us the Google of real estate ? Sorry you misunderstood they were really saying Goon.
    Do you have ideas to enhance RealSearch?
    Yes close it down now to limit your embarrassment as much as possible.

  2. Adam April 13, 2007 at 11:23 am #

    It is also by no means Australia’s first crawler for Real Estate. I wonder if they have permission to do that ?

  3. Alan April 13, 2007 at 11:54 am #

    I think the idea is great! Especially for all of us independent agents.
    REIQ is apparently talking to these guys to do a cooperative.

    If they get some weight behind them from the institutes and evolve the service to include more and more agents over time I seriously think this (in the long run) can give the big portals a run for their money. Smaller independent agents have been waiting for something like this and I for one will be urging my institute to involve themselves in this.

  4. George M April 13, 2007 at 12:00 pm #

    I guess because it’s beta it is still somewhat hit or miss. I got many pages of results for my suburb…

    I wonder how they are planning to monetize this apart from the 5 day inclusion option?

    Anyway, I think the concept is good and agents are sure to love the free listing aspect without any uploading.

  5. Tim G April 13, 2007 at 12:17 pm #

    It seems to be a beta release. Got a few pages of results for my suburb search.

    The idea is good and will suit independent agents, as the free listings and no uploading necessary feature is attractive.

    Let’s see how they go.

  6. Glenn April 13, 2007 at 12:42 pm #

    I agree with Peter… The concept itself has potential, but the execution needs lots of work. The layout of the results is poor, the actual data is not even close to what they claim.

    Like many others before them, get the recipe right and you have yourself a hit website.. Get it wrong.. and you will go down in flames.

    Adam, what permission do you think you need to get to index somebody elses work. This is a lot more legal than say Myhome’s scraping and passing it off as their own work. This site directs the user back to the source web page so they are nothing more than a search engine… just a niche one. If this is illegal, so is google, yahoo, MSN Search and thousands of other search engines.

  7. Adam April 13, 2007 at 12:49 pm #

    It comes down to ‘FRAMING’ The search results are passed off as their own. Having a direct link back to the owners site is irrelevant. This has never been tested in the courts here, but its about time it was.

    Who says what Google does is NOT illegal ? LOL We only agree too it because its in our own interests, but lets face it, if this mob above have OLD data in their scrape and the agents are being made to look like tools to buyers when they call, then it could be bad for business.

    Lets see them scrape realestate.com.au and everyone agree thats OK then ?

    πŸ™‚

  8. Sam April 13, 2007 at 1:35 pm #

    Get the Institutes involved ?
    Get real they wouldn’t know a decent web site if they fell over it.

    Of interest to independent agents because the listings are free and there’s no uploading ?

    You don’t seem to understand the whole thing is useless unless the site invisible on the net and it isn’t and probably never will be – even My Home can’t be found in a Google search.

    It’s ok the be positive but try and be realistic as well, this has no hope, end of story.

    If all the money behind My Home couldn’t make an impact then what hope has this got.

    The only people who have any idea about how the run a real estate portal in Australia and have the resources to back it up are REA and Domain.

  9. Robert Simeon April 13, 2007 at 1:39 pm #

    Ok will somebody now write a software programme that advises agents how many sites they currently appear on !!

    In fairness to them I did receive this email from them yesterday.

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    Our website http://www.bestrealestate.com.au has achieved No.7 ranking in Google, & No 1 ranking in Yahoo for the term

  10. Laverne April 13, 2007 at 1:39 pm #

    Hmmm, well it has potential I agree with Peter, if they can attract lots of agents to allow them to crawl their properties.

    I don’t see how all the risks they are taking will pay off? What is their profit model?

    Apart from that, good luck to them πŸ™‚

  11. Tim G April 13, 2007 at 2:15 pm #

    I guess Sam upstairs likes the status-quo of two dominating portals and could be dependent on the current state of the market being as it is :)). Maybe he’s just grumpy.

    How many people in Australia actually search on Google when they are looking for a house to buy, 10%? I am guessing not even that. Everyone just goes to the biggest portals. Being seen in Google in no.1 position is not the no.1 priority for these guys.

    If Realsearch can get publicity in the national media, now that would be a different story. The story is good enough and newspapers and dare I say it ACA πŸ™ might grab this thing and run with it. The classic David and Goliath story.

    You are right, it might not gain a foothold, but then again no-one starts big do they? If it is interesting to agents and the site gets enough hits, they’ll convert eventually.

    I give them 50%-50%, well OK 30%-70%. But, who knows…

  12. Sam April 13, 2007 at 2:39 pm #

    No financial stake in any of them Tim, I don’t hold back with my views, it just helps to go straight to the chase rather than pussy foot around I guess.

    You’re wrong on Google though it is the No1 driver of traffic to all the portals make no mistake about it.

    The strange one is bestrealestate.com, they have a Google page rank of 6 but seem to be just a template stock standard site the same as the SEO sites it links to and the car sales site also, has a lot of Google adsence ads on it, but seems to rank reasonably well for it’s homepage. There are about 1200 pages in the site only 6 show up in Google, but the pages have no real content as far as I can see.
    It may be just a fat tracked optimised site trying to take shortcuts, it won’t work, there is no substitute for the real thing.

    My guess is it gets bugger all traffic.

    Realsearch has a long way to go just to reach this low point…….

  13. Glenn April 13, 2007 at 2:41 pm #

    Adam,

    NOT illegal ? Thats a double negative.

    By its very nature if it is not illegal, it is thus legal. We do not create laws to say that things are legal. We create laws to say they are illegal, and thus anything that does not break those laws is by its nature legal.

    So to prove something is illegal you have to prove where it broke the law.

    To prove it is legal, there just must be nothing making it illegal.

    Just so we are clear on your position. What do you think is illegal about Google’s and Realsearches activites ??? What law are they breaking, Australian or Otherwise??? Find me one precedent that this is illegal activity or if you cant come up with anything yourself give me at least a worthy commentary on the web with reasoned discussion detailing why somebody else thinks it is illegal whether it be in this jurisdiction or not?

    I am far from a legal expert, but because search engines are so much of everyones lives now, if somebody had come up with a decent arguement of why they are illegal I am sure we would have heard about it by now… If you think its because nobody wants to take on the mighty google to prove their case there is plenty of smaller fry that you could set the legal precedent first especially the Australian based search engines.

    I doubt you can come up with the facts to support you but I would love to see it if you do.

    As to scraping realestate.com.au… why would they ?? that would seem pointless as realestate.com.au is their competition. The other issue is that realestate.com.au is not the source of the agents data.

  14. Glenn April 13, 2007 at 2:58 pm #

    Robert,

    Yeah those guys are going to generate great business for you!!! Not.

    And just because they rank well with one set of keywords how much do they want to charge you ??

    Got to love that house in their banner… Taken from a US photodisc or clipart site…

  15. Robert Simeon April 13, 2007 at 3:14 pm #

    Glenn,

    I am very quickly formulating an opinion that less is best. One only has to look at some of the debacles at http://www.myhome.com.au where they have properties listed that actually sold last year. Agencies that are no longer in business and agents that have changed agencies re-appearing back with prior property listings (some 5 years old).

    It simply causes damages to the agent and the firm they represent given that they are the point of contact they get the blame. Now we have to babysit some portals by having to correct their misinformation.

  16. snoop April 13, 2007 at 3:35 pm #

    Screenscraping Copycat sites like nestoria and properazzi in europe.
    How are they going to get traffic??
    Seems to be to be a waste of coders time?

  17. Peter Ricci April 13, 2007 at 3:40 pm #

    Maybe it is time for all agents to update their terms of use and data policy documents on their own websites.

    Maybe something like this….

    1. Any use of data from this site that is found to be out of date and requires our company to inform you of these problems will incur a $400 fee for each problem at our discretion. If you take data from this site to display on other sites without our permission then you agree to these terms.

    Maybe something like this?

  18. Glenn April 13, 2007 at 4:58 pm #

    Peter,

    I believe that might cover the scrapers out there like MyHome (obviously would have to be tested by somebody out there in court) but I doubt it will cover Realsearch.com.au and IMHO neither should it.

    They simply provide an index of others peoples data and they don’t guarantee that the property is still listed.. they allow you to click on it to be transferred to the page so you can request further information.

    To put it simply, they make money through the value they add to the content, not the content itself. Myhome charges (yes they gave some people free access but that is time limited) for the data they lifted. IMHO realsearch will be allowed to do that under the fair use provisions of the copyright acts as do all search engines.

  19. Glenn April 13, 2007 at 5:06 pm #

    Robert,

    I still get quite a bit of traffic from a very old portal for a listing that we sold more than 5 years ago. I just redirected them to our correct page.

    A quick check shows that 92% of our visitors come from the top 10 referrers to the business (counting direct as a referrer as Google Analytics does). The balance 8% was made up of another 422 referrers.

    I spend none of my time on anybody outside the top 10 or 15 referrers. As you say, less is best! and another quote from the archives… not all business is good business..

  20. Adam April 13, 2007 at 7:09 pm #

    Glenn said……….

    “I doubt you can come up with the facts to support you but I would love to see it if you do.”

    To support what again ? I was lost in your legalese ‘Not legal’ tongue twister.

    Do a google search on Framing and copyright …… plenty of ammo there. Its just never been tested in Australian courts. I will bet $100 if someone scraped REA.com.au and showed the data in the same format, they’d have legal letters in 5 mins (Oh hang on…….. DOMAIN DID THAT ALREADY in a different guise !) – But if GOOGLE did it.. we’d all jump for joy. See the issue now ?

  21. John H April 13, 2007 at 8:14 pm #

    What some people here do not seem to understand is the fact that intellectual property is owned by the individual principles (owners) of each real estate office, not raywhite, harcourts… and especially not domain.com.au or realestate.com.au. Only they have the say if they want something crawled or not and even then linking directly to the source and naming the source point blank in each result is following the law and practice.

    Now if no sources were mentioned and they would represent the results as their own then it would be a different story.

    Legal letters in and of themselves do not prove a thing. They are thrown into new competitors

  22. Glenn April 13, 2007 at 8:30 pm #

    Adam,

    Your confused are you… image how you made me feel! I take it from your post that you cant support your claim then as there appears to be no precedent in this country or another?

    As to the issue of framing, I think that is just a furphy in this discussion. Whilst framing is a valid copyright problem neither Google or Realsearch are doing this as they do not try and pass the data off as their own.. They even provide the urls of the source of the information in text and numerous hyperlinks. Maybe it was this that confused you…. Didnt you realise where the data was from despite all those hints… You would have had to have been the only one who didnt know.

    Why do you think it has not been tested in Australian Courts… Because it has been tested in other jurisdictions and failed miserably.

    The issue of scraping data is about linking to data and passing it off as your own own content… like MyHome did. Scraping data is technically not framing, but I am sure it pushs some legal issues if the entity doing the scraping does not have the right approval to do it…. just like MyHome…

    Neither Google or realsearch appear to do any of that. Search engines do not come down to FRAMING. Other examples on the web do, and thats why the Google Search is full of them. I just loved how you offered a google search as support that google searches were illegal…

    The only success of legal action against Google over search engine results that I can find that seems to be in any way successful (they only won one point in their trial) is by a company that sells photos (rude ones) that Google indexed in their images search engine. They claimed even though google only stored very low res thumbnails, they sell some of those images sometime to mobile phone users as wallpaper and therefore they lost revenue (it was a court case so they claimed oodles of money was lost). Clearly this was a case of someone trying to grab the Google purse. There was no damages issued only instructions for the two companies to work it out, which technically is already done with normal web standards. The company could have used a standard robots.txt to block their inclusion in the search engine and this is probably why Google is appealing the decision. The court actually ruled that the inline linking was perfectly legal.

    People scrape REA all the time and REA dont start legal action. WHY because REA do not hold the copyright to the data that is being scraped. Everyone I know who scrapes REA is doing so only with the agents (and therefore the copyright holders) written permission.

    Realsearch is their competition. What they do is not scraping but I reckon if they just indexed the REA pages (they dont need to scrape as its not in their model) threatening letters would go out.. just because they are their opposition.

    You believe that we would jump for joy if google scraped data…. WHY WOULD THEY ?? The dont have a product that uses the scraped data so it is a moot point..

  23. Robert Simeon April 13, 2007 at 9:33 pm #

    Adam,

    You need to ask Glenn for his postal address so that you can send him the $100.00 !!

    Although I expect that you have much more rhetoric to marinate your argument with. I would suggest that before posting you spend much more time actually reading and masticating what has actually been said.

    Having said that I do find your posts most amusing. You get a 10 for comical relief – keep it going πŸ˜‰

  24. Julia Essing April 13, 2007 at 11:00 pm #

    I am affraid some people are writing their own copyright rules here.

    I am an IP attorney and I can assure you what google or realsearch are doing is perfectly legal. They fall into the category of linking to the original content with a small snippet of description. They clearly provide their sources and links to these sources. No court will take any alleged copyright infringement seriously in a case like this. Verbatim copying a website would be an all together different matter. In these cases I don’t see this being done.

  25. Robert Simeon April 13, 2007 at 11:02 pm #

    Author: John H
    Comment:
    What some people here do not seem to understand is the fact that intellectual property is owned by the individual principles (owners) of each real estate office, not raywhite, harcourts… and especially not domain.com.au or realestate.com.au”

    John .. with respect the intellectual property is actually owned by the person who paid for the photography which actually in the majority of cases that I am aware of is the owner of the property.

    John H “Saying that, we will see how RealSearch does in the long run. I am sure they will get abused by the big boys big time and we’ll see if they make it or not. Either way they’ll be bruised.”

    Actually, what I believe is “bruising” online is the growing number of start – ups that sell their services for free !! The cheaper alternative is actually bruising its very own credibility.

    I still maintain a mentality that paid portals will be free where respective agents dominate individual suburb advertising.

    If you look at the difference from being a property search engine as against a property portal – the property search engine offers much greater economies of scale. The search engine has much more freedom to scrape, ie http://www.google.com.au

    Online has absolutely confused itself with its own self worth. Which would probably explain the lengths that online businesses have recently gone to with self promotion back in print to grow consumer awareness.

    Google keep the markets guessing – so much so that they now conduct the Australian portal orchestra.

  26. Robert Simeon April 13, 2007 at 11:47 pm #

    Julia,

    I agree 100% with you – as Google and realsearch have found the property portal loophole with online advertising. Google started this with their search engine now the other players will follow suit.

    Initially Google scraped just REA and Domain – now agents will be faced with unsubscribe functionality to search engines.

    It will be interesting to see how REA and Domain play this. If one considers that agents actually upload all the properties onto paid portals – you can then expect that the cost of portals will reduce not increase.

    Then again, and I only speak for the Sydney market – Advantage Fairfax as they dominate print in real estate.

    I did call this some time ago.

  27. Glenn April 14, 2007 at 10:33 am #

    Thank you Julia… Maybe Adam will take your word for it! (or maybe he will just confused again) Just our of interest what is your opinion on scraping ? Do you think it is a potential problem for the scraper or if they have the ok from the copyright holder is it ok do you think? I would have thought that at worst they could be seen to be using without permission the bandwidth of the scrapee such as realestate.com.au.

    Just in case you are not up on what happens in our industry, scraping is about copying information on somebody elses website for your own purposes. For example lets say I start a new business that sends email postcards of properties to buyers on behalf of agents. I get a new client and we need all of their information and their photos on every one of their listings. So as to save them double entry of the same information I get their authroity to use the information they have on RealEstate.com.au. I then get my computer to go to the realestate.com.au website, call up each of that agencies listings and I copy each of those photos and text and I put them in my database… Everything copied was uploaded to Realestate.com.au by the agent, sometimes directly or sometimes via another multi-loader. There is NO LINKING invovled. It is a straight copy of information. My client can then login to my website and all of his listings are now uploaded so he can start sending email postcards out to their buyers.

    John H,

    You claim the owners hold the copyright to the information and the photographs held on agents websites. I disagree. Copyright of photographs is held by the photographer and not the model (if people are involved) or the owner. Facts such that a property has 4 bedrooms, 2 living areas and a media room are not copyrightable. Could you imagine the world if facts like that where able to be copyrighted and not able to be used unless authorised by the owner. What is able to be copyrighted is the creative text that agents wrap these facts up into. Maybe Julia would also like to comment on this.

  28. Elizabeth April 14, 2007 at 10:33 am #

    Good Morning,

    Robert, go make a strong cup of tea and sit down before you read the rest of my comment.

    Ready?

    I agree with you.

    Despite what we all like to think, on the whole we do not have an IP claim over data. The images belong to the person who took them, unless that ownership is later transferred. The property address details actually belong to the owner of the property. The only copywrite which we have is over the description of the property in question.

    This in mind, realsearch has quite a few legal and business issues to overcome.

    1. This is not a new approach, nor is it revolutionary. This is the same model of propertypage. It was touted as the first search engine, and also linked directly to the franchisors websites. This site double dipped in visitor numbers, and was a complete failure. I am sure that the owners of propertypage are seriously thinking of launching some kind of legal action against realsearch.

    2. The realsearch model of scraping our sites is outrageous! Think of it like this: Imagine your competitor across the road came along and took copies of your exclusive listings in your front window, and then placed those properties in their front window, commenced a promotional campaign, and landed an interested purchaser. The agent then contacts you saying he has a buyer for your listing. What does he want in return? He wants a cut of your commission.

    The point is that this other business has forced their way in to my exclusive arrangement with MY customer, MY vendor.

    3. Realsearch actually stands to be in BREACH of my own business and marketing systems. What Realsearch attempts to do is make money from my hard work of getting listings, then steal them to make money. Getting these listings has been the result of many years of hard work in building my name and reputation. Now realsearch thinks that they can come in and build a business based on my hard work.

    Taking listings from my shopfront or website is theft, plain and simple. Attempting to derive a profit from my work is not just theft, it is corporate rape.

    If in the future realsearch want to start charging me for this theft and rape, they then hold me as a financial hostage.

    It is business practice which will bring this company unstuck.

    This is a highly unethical model by realsearch!

    4. There will be extra costs to by business to monitor MY listings which have been STOLEN from my Website, and displayed on realsearch. Why do I have to bare the extra cost of man-hours to check if my listings are being displayed on realsearch if I do not want them there in the first place?

    Realsearch, I can assure you that if my listings find their way onto your site, I will be billing you for every second it took to find my properties, and for every second it takes in monitoring your site until my listings are off. Further I will be charging you for the use of my brand and logo, and you will face further legal action if you persist in using my corporate brand to further your own business.

    I have already sought legal advice on this, and I can claim this against you. As can anyone who you steal listings and corporate identity from.

    5. Realsearch is just like Google? Not at all. I CHOOSE to participate with Google. I DO NOT choose to participate with you. Whilst there may be a strained argument that your IT Structure is the same, it is the business intent and the willingness of your planned victims/customers which sets you and true search engines apart.

    What annoys me the most about realsearch is that they are stealing from us now, so that they can make money off us in the future.

    Realsearch is definitely no Robin Hood – they are just a cheap corporate thug.

    E

  29. Glenn April 14, 2007 at 10:36 am #

    Sorry… John H, just reread your post..you state the owners of the agencies.. not the owners of the property… Seems we do agree after all.

  30. Elizabeth April 14, 2007 at 10:40 am #

    Good Morning,

    Julia does raise some interesting points in relation to website construction – however she does not address the issues which I have raised above. My legal advice is that where there is an unwarranted effect on my business, the other party is responsible.

    Where another company is trying to gain an advantage by using my brand and product without my consent, then they are in breach of several laws. (The exact ones evade me at the moment)

    E

  31. Adam April 14, 2007 at 12:11 pm #

    Glenn, Please show me the test cases in Australia ?

    Then I’ll act a lot more confused for you.

  32. Peter Ricci April 14, 2007 at 12:21 pm #

    I think there is a little confusion in relation to the word SCRAPE we are using.

    Google do not scrape listings. Through their algorithms they index page titles and descriptions, all of this data is then stored on their servers ready to be shown.

    So if you have a website set up where every single page on your website including property listings has its own unique url and you have your site set up correctly and you want these pages indexed they will be.

    Scraping is basically setting up a tool to crawl your website and looking for particular data and then indexing it. This type of system has so many problems as in many cases it does not know whether the property is sold leased or withdrawn.

    Many agents still keep a list of all of their url’s even if the property cannot be accessed via their own website through a link (sold and leased listings – particularly leased)and agents have every right to do this – although unless they instruct bots on the status through meta data these properties will still be indexed by search engines.

    Scraping sites will never work, because they are not accurate. However if agents all set their sites up and we developed a standard that all scraping sites agreed to then it would never be a problem going forward.

    It seems to me that all of these people had these bright ideas at once and we have seen so many. realsearch it seems is indexing agencies that want to be indexed and not just scraping, however they have decided to build a ‘bot’ to scrape from the major franchises.

    Scraping sites need to all get together and set up a set of rules that they will adhere to and contact agents and allow agents to opt in if they want to be listed.

    Gone are the days where these sites can pretend they are only there to help agents as we all know the model is to get the listings then the visitors and then charge advertisers both agents and 3rd parties. This has to be an opt in model and the terms and conditions must be clear as to what they intend to do in the future or I will never support them and nor should any agent.

  33. George M April 14, 2007 at 1:30 pm #

    It is quite obvious to me that Elizabeth is heated but otherwise does not know what she is talking about. She compares apples and cluster bombs. If another agent reffered buyers to you for an exlusive listing you have you will either take their buyer and split the commision or tell them to go stuffed (depending on how business savy you are).

    Now, Obviously realsearch is not selling anything as far as I can see, nor do they charge for you being linked to from them. If some directory owner would put a link to your site on their own, would you object? No of course not you want any traffic you can get. And you continue to repeat stolen and in uppercase (that means shouting). They named the source, they link directly to the source and that’s it. Same as a directory. Now if you don’t want your listings in realsearch I am sure they should have an op-out policy. If I were you I would contact them, specify your url and listing numbers and I am sure they remove them and not crawl you any more.

    I as a small independent agent will be having my listings in realsearch and any other portal or directory I can find. Any traffic counts. Now if some are so hung up on their own importance as Elizabeth, then good luck to them. They do not have to participate in anything.

    I just of another thing. Robots usually adhere to robots.txt exclusion. This is a non-mandatory standard, but most follow it as a form of housecleaning. Simply put a robots.txt file on your site saying that you son’t want realsearch indexing any of your data and that’s it. Happy days.

  34. Elizabeth April 14, 2007 at 4:16 pm #

    Good Afternoon,

    George, my business is healthy enough to decide where I advertise. The days of getting my name out there, anywhere, are long behind me. Therefore I cannot appreciate where you need to advertise everywhere to get business.

    If you look at realsearch would will note that they already have pricing from $247 per month. So the ‘free’ concept is pretty much out the door, as there is already intent to charge.

    George, it must be horses for courses. I refuse to let my business be used in association with such a site. Further, when I have an exclusive listing, I make sure that it remains exclusive. Not sure how you manage yours.

    It would seem that the Franchisors are taking the same approach. The logos/brands of the franchisors have now gone from the site. Whilst LJHooker and Ray White are no longer mentioned at all. I would guess that it will be just a matter of time before all their listings are gone as well.

    Strangely, I feel confident in my stance against this site, as the Big Business of the Franchisors are taking a similar stance to me.

    E

  35. Peter Ricci April 14, 2007 at 4:37 pm #

    Peeps be careful of some of the comments on here as in some cases they are coming from the same IP addresses.

    This will throw into doubt some of the comments received yesterday and today and the stated claims about who they are and what they do for a living.

    Since the article yesterday we have had 6 new people make comments for the first time. I do not mind if they are from realsearch, but pretending to be from somewhere else is not good for this forum.

  36. Elizabeth April 14, 2007 at 5:17 pm #

    Peter,

    Of greater concern to myself, and those on this blog who know me, is that I seem to be in agreeance with the Franchisors (on this topic).

    E

  37. Glenn April 14, 2007 at 7:10 pm #

    Adam,

    Now your getting confusing.. I said “Why do you think it has not been tested in Australian Courts?”

    And then your asking ME to provide test cases.. Your the one that said what they were doing was illegal.. I asked you to provide the precedent or at least to provide a link to somebody else that explained that arguement better than you were doing.

    I think Robert got it right when he suggested that “before posting you spend much more time actually reading and masticating what has actually been said.”

    Your just not following a logical conversation.

  38. Adam April 14, 2007 at 7:22 pm #

    No.. you are confused. (tit for tat is fun)

    I never said it was Legal or Illegal, I suggested it had never been tested in the courts here and about time it was, and if you had precedent i’d love to see it.

    If you want a Willy sizing competition.. you would win by a mile, you know lots more big words than I do.

  39. Glenn April 14, 2007 at 7:27 pm #

    Elizabeth,

    Just one small thing. I think you will find that if the photographer is employed by the agency the copyright is with the agency, not the employee. I happened to have enforced that a few times now with our competition.

    http://www.copyright.com.au/info sheets/PA05_copyright for photographers.pdf
    Second paragraph in the right hand column on the first page.

    I dont agree with your opinion of realsearch. But there will always be people with opposing views.

    I think you will struggle to prove that realsearch is illegally taking advantage of your business and brand. I think Roberts point is different than yours and that is they the are not worth the effort to worry about, and in all likleyhood the traffic they bring will bring about more problems that it does traffic/enquiries.

  40. Glenn April 14, 2007 at 7:35 pm #

    Peter,

    Any chance you want to share with us the names of the newcomers, and the names of those with the same ips..

  41. Glenn April 14, 2007 at 7:45 pm #

    Adam,

    Backpeddle time..

    You have said,

    ***
    “It is also by no means Australia

  42. Glenn April 14, 2007 at 7:49 pm #

    Julia Essing,

    Just for clarity sakes, you said you are an IP attorney. Does that mean you are an American lawyer? (or another country other than Australia) and Australian Patent Attorney or some other form of Attorney I dont know about?

    Your not Realsearches Patent Attorney are you ???

  43. Peter Ricci April 14, 2007 at 7:51 pm #

    I do not know why it is but when I do a write-up of a new entrant we always get all of these people suddenly blogging. I am happy to see them here and comment, but pretending to be agents, solicitors etc is really not what this is about. I think it is easy to see who they are.

    People can hide their identity and I respect that but I think we all should be careful anytime someone comes in and does not want to be known but then say they are this and that and after a week they disappear.

    And…………..I have said this before, any photographer that works for an agency on contract should sign a letter stating that all work contracted is owned by the agency. These laws were written long before the Internet came about and for the most part they are just silly. At the moment if you do not have a written agreement then the photographer owns the copyright and I have seen many people bitten over the years because of this.

  44. Elizabeth April 14, 2007 at 8:29 pm #

    Dear Glenn,

    you seem to not fully understand what I stated in relation to photography. If you want get picky about different examples of the same thing, then we are both correct.

    An image taken, belongs the property of the person who took it. Whether it is commissioned and later signed over, or signed over by the person who took it, it is only when the agent is in recipt of these documents that it becomes the ‘IP’ of the agent. (Of course the agent could have taken the photos themselves. Are there other options you want me to clarify?)

    I am glad you find something good in realsearch, I sure it has a lot to offer a particular audience.

    E

  45. Glenn April 14, 2007 at 9:22 pm #

    Elizabeth

    I didn’t ask you to clarify anything. Why would you ask that?

    I fully understood your point and I simply added to your post that if it is an employee (ie salesperson) taking the photo then the copyright remains with the agency.

    I never said you were wrong, I never attacked you. I never even discussed the issue with contractors, although that was included in the link I provided.

    From the tone of your response you seem to be getting nasty just because I disagree with you? I would like to think I am wrong about that.

    For the record, I dont find that much good in it. I just don’t believe it is illegal and I do believe that the concept has potential if done right. Clearly I can oppose your views at the same time as liking the concept, disliking their rollout of it and thinking there is little chance they will succeed with changes.

  46. snoop April 15, 2007 at 7:03 am #

    Well the good news is ,this site will never get enough traffic or credibility for consumers or agents to take it seriously.
    Seems an awful lot of debate on semantics.for nothing.

  47. Adam April 15, 2007 at 7:30 am #

    Glenn,

    You love a good tussle I can see that, and remarkably you seem to be the only person I’ve seen on the Internet who can pick up ‘tones’ in a response. Sarcasm never translates well across this medium, and never very well when real estate agents are concerned.

    Arguing on the Internet for the sake of arguing is like running the 100M in the Special Olympics. Even if you win, you are still ‘special’…..if you know what I mean ?

    And there have been cases in the US where Google have been taken to task, and the prescence of http://www.google.com/dmca.html would indicate that its happened on more than 1 occasion.

    (That was written with no ‘tone’ attached, and maybe just a hint of sarcasm)

  48. Adam April 15, 2007 at 7:33 am #

    Wasnt there another website a few months ago touting on here that they were launching soon with basically the same concept ?

    Site scraping all the sites and building a mashup ?

    Peter ???

  49. Glenn April 15, 2007 at 10:31 am #

    Peter,

    Elizabeth pointed out a few posts ago that the Hooker and Ray White Logos are gone from the site and that the remain companies now are only in text.

    I can confirm in our area that the hookers listings are now gone. We are with one of the other groups mentioned and our listings are not on realsearch so there is just three listings returned for our suburb.
    The robots.txt standard has been discussed a couple of times here and now I notice that this is listed on their main page. Can you remember if that was there before and I just missed it or is it a recent addition?

    Also, there claim of 60,000 properties is well of the mark. Searches for each state give the following

    QLD 6748
    NT 77
    ACT 100
    NSW 12763
    SA 3535
    TAS 705
    VIC 1832
    WA 1540

    which gives us a total of 27300, well under their claim. If 60.00 was ever true I guess Ray White and Hookers pulling out cost them 50% of their property database. The Victorian number appears very low as well.

    One problem with their model is that so many of the agencies run off the corporate site so just one exclusion in the robots.txt file for the corporate website removes access to every single member. Hookers and Ray White have not appeared to have done that yet so I guess their removal came from a direct request.

  50. Peter April 15, 2007 at 11:28 am #

    Realsearch may have had a reported 100,000 listings on there the day I went. I think the robots.txt was just added. But this is a good thing, the more transparent they are the less the agents have to worry about. They have only just started so I will give them a few months to get everything sorted and report back.

  51. Tom S April 16, 2007 at 1:01 am #

    Alan,
    George M,
    Tim G,
    Laverne,
    John H,
    Julia Essing.

    Will the Realsearch employee please stand up.

    Or perhaps I’m being too cynical.

  52. Paul Krayven April 16, 2007 at 3:23 pm #

    Peter, regarding the same IP thing it is possible they all work at the same company. I’m not saying this is true just a possiblity.

    Our company has 6 offices all of which are routed through head office so if 2 or 3 people posted here from my company which I don’t think they do then it would appear to be the same person as far as IP is concerned.

    Of course this issue will be less of an issue when IPv6 becomes prevalent in a few years. It already confuses the hell out of me πŸ˜‰ But hell think of the application possiblities with every device having its own IP.

  53. Martin April 17, 2007 at 2:54 am #

    I see most of you like long posts.

    Sam

    You don’t give one good reason why this thing won’t work. I don’t say it will. It has got a long way to go. You think they need more money? Google didn’t become popular, because they had a lot of money. It worked the other way around. I also don’t think being No. 1 on Google is so important. Realsearch needs to get promotion elsewhere.

    Adam

    It’s as legal as Yahoo and Google … and as legal as clipping and other forms of redistributing publicly available information. This doesn’t infringe on agents

  54. Peter Ricci April 17, 2007 at 9:55 am #

    Martin – It is in the interest of realsearch to work with agents to make sure that their results are accurate. Agents have not worried about search engines like Google because they bring big results.

    Realsearch state you have to subscribe. When I wrote this article there was no information about crawling websites. It was a register and index type service.

  55. Glenn April 17, 2007 at 7:35 pm #

    Oh Adam,

    You are that desperate to try and score points that you have to jump on anothers post now?

    You calling me argumentative is a pot and kettle story if I ever heard one. I proudly discuss the issues and express my opinions. It’s amazing how people are quick to denigrate others when they don’t agree with their point of view, and it seems like you are amongst the minority on this one.

    I continue to ask you to put up some sort of support to your arguement. Honestly, it is too bad if you dont like it, thats how life goes sometimes I suppose.

    You say Google has been taken to task… Yes I had to give you the details of that one case… It is so sad that I have to supply information for both sides of the discussion!! A pity that case did not support your claims, but hey dont worry about that will you. Where are these other cases that a relevant to the discussion??

    You offered Google’s DMCA page as some sort of proof that there have been more cases. Either you did not read and understand that page or your being intentionally misleading. That page is for users to dob into Google OTHER websites that have your copyrighted information on them that are appearing in Google Search Results. It is so google can assist IP owners against copyright abusers. It is not to report to google that they are abusing your copyright. Refer section 4 which states :-

    ***”Provide information, if possible, sufficient to permit Google to notify the owner/administrator of the allegedly infringing webpage or other content (email address is preferred).”***

    I am obviously not the only one who thought your posts have been comical in the past but as you now want to get personal I see no further point in continuing. Feel free to have the last word if you feel its necessary, It may still raise a smile out of Robert!

    Cheers

  56. Martin April 18, 2007 at 11:17 pm #

    Peter, I agree they will need to work with agents. They need someone to advise them first hand. As it seems to me this is a specialised crawler and those 247$ is an optional one-time payment to jump the line, which small agents might pay. It is a bit unclear.

    Martin

  57. Elizabeth April 22, 2007 at 11:30 am #

    Good Morning,

    Martin, you certainly have been bottling up. That pressure valve went off didn’t it.

    Now to provide you some insight into what PropertyPage could do. They can block the Patent pending by Realsearch, as I dare say that PropertyPage still have some copywrite protection for their model. The model realsearch is using is exactly the same as Propertypage. The propertypage model has been fully discussed on this forum many many months ago.

    However Martin, you fail to acknowledge my point. And I dare say that there are a few agents out there like me, so listen carefully.

    It has taken me many years of hard work and many boom and bust cycles to build my business. The listings and patronage I have today is the result of all this hard work. For a company, to come in and take the listings from my website, so that they can go and make money from them, makes me mad.

    You say I will get leads. Where are they?

    You say it is free, but already we are seeing pricing coming in and you yourself have no idea. Thanks for clearing that one up for us.

    You ask why should I check to see how my listings are appearing on this site? Are you mad?

    Every agent checks how their listings appear in print and online. They do this to ensure that the listings are being presented in the correct manner and also to ensure we are getting what we are paying for. With this realsearch I will have to spend hours if not days checking my listings which were taken from my site.

    I have written to realsearch and informed them to not include my agency in their site. However, they should have approached me first. I should not have to defend my agencies position, nor my listings.

    Now you ask about these laws. Whilst the laws in Australia do not always apply to the Online Market, if one can prove that another business is taking your work product unauthorised, and generating a profit to your detriment, then there is a case to answer. The laws may not address online, but they do address business models.

    Argue the model and its effect on your business, and suddenly are in a position to halt untoward online activities.

    E

  58. Elizabeth April 22, 2007 at 11:40 am #

    My word,

    It would appear that Realsearch are in a spot of bother.

    I only just looked at their site to see that it has closed down for a ‘new approach’.

    ‘A new hope for independent real estate agencies enabling them to compete on a level playing field with the big franchises’.

    It would seem that perhaps the Franchisors have taken the action which I have been trying to convince Martin of.

    So realsearch tried to scrape listings from the franchisors, failed, and closed the site down to strategise.

    Now they tell us that realsearch is the ‘New Hope for independent real estate agencies’. I wonder what the REI’s think of this? Isn’t this what the REI portals are all about?

    I think that realsearch might need to limit its market to the Private Sales area.

    Zeroagents, they have big plans for you.

    E

  59. Glenn April 22, 2007 at 3:30 pm #

    Elizabeth,

    You can block realsearch from visiting your listings with one simple line in a text file on your website. You can write to them all you like but the control is in your court as it is with all search engines, for that is all realsearch is.

    Your questioning where the leads are from realsearch but I think your confusing the model with realsearch’s execution. Realsearch is following how Google works for real estate. If Google comes to Australia and starts indexing Australian sites delivering you a stack of enquiries will you remove yourself becuase you dont like their business model and accuse them making a profit to your detriment?

    No doubt realsearch would problably have done better by writing to all agencies in Australia and inviting them to opt-in to their site rather than going out and indexing themselves. They would have got a better result with agents, a higher recognition factor in the industry and most importantly, not upset you.

    Martin asked you to “search for these laws that evade you for the moment” that you claim realsearch were breaching. You never really answered that did you other than to state that Property Page “can block the Patent pending by Realsearch, as I dare say that PropertyPage still have some copywrite protection for their model.” I think he was after the specifics.

    I really think you need a better basic understanding of Intellectual Property rights including patency and “copyrite” (sic). Your suggestion of blocking a patent application because of copyright protection is a prime example. Both cover different things and are not interchangeable or a natural defence of each other. (ie. A successful patent application may breach somebody elses copyright simply because it used somebody elses quote or photo)

    In fact in Australia it is possible to patent something by developing further inventions based on an originally patented invention. How would you know if realsearches invention has not built on propertypage’s. Of course in Australia there is also the innovation patent, which is unique to Australia which allows you to get a patent without actually passing an examination of the patent. In fact the Government’s own website states that an innovation patent “is designed to protect inventions that are not sufficiently inventive to meet the inventive threshold required for standard patents”. Maybe realsearch is getting an innovation patent and their is no examination required.

    As John H has already pointed out, realsearch and other search engines are no different to clipping services that have been in operation for decades.

    Since when do Australian laws not provide coverage to the online market here in Australia? As long as all parties reside in Australia everyone is applicable to Australian Law with absolutely no difference whether it be online or not. Although not relevant in this case, if the website is hosted overseas you are connecting to resources in another country so logically Australian laws will not cover it.

    If you dont like realsearch, fine just say so, as I actually agree with you. But stating it is illegal just puts you in a very small boat along with Adam with everybody else pointing out holes in your boat/agrument. Have you both got Darryl Kerrigan as your lawyer?

  60. Adam April 22, 2007 at 4:16 pm #

    No I actually use Chris Nyst. Lovely many, you probably know him.

  61. Elizabeth April 22, 2007 at 4:21 pm #

    Good Afternoon,

    Glenn you write a very good argument. I am afraid I am not a lawyer, but I do seek legal advice when warranted.

    Lets be clear, realsearch is not Google, and it operates very differently from Google. The Google press release stated that Google does not believe that agents should pay to put listings up, nor for feature properties etc… however realsearch is already touting fees.

    Realsearch takes content from my site and puts it on its own site, and presents it in much the same fashion to the way is looks on my site. Google, reads through the content on my site and displays it in a non-proprietary format.

    The business approach between Google and Realsearch is different.

    Need I go on?

    Your legal argument is rather convincing. However, when I consider the legal advice which I have been given, and then learn that the same legal advice has been applied by the Franchisors, who are now no longer on realsearch, I feel comfortable with my understanding.

    It may be that I am too old to keep up with the legal side of the internet. However when it comes to the unlawful use of my Brand and my product, the laws are pretty clear.

    By the way, I did not say that realsearch was illegal, but the way it went about producing its product was. These are two different things.

    Thanks for your comment though, I am still thinking about them.

    E

  62. Glenn April 22, 2007 at 6:32 pm #

    The Aussie John Grisham… yep I have heard of him, but don’t know him. I actually like his stuff. Actually thats not entirely correct, I have never read one of his books but I like the column he writes in the Gold Coast Bulletin. I thought he was a criminal lawyer though.

  63. Robert Simeon April 22, 2007 at 11:03 pm #

    Whoa !!

    If you list properties on public domains than one can expect others to manipulate this with self interest. As to whether or not they can make this process financially viable remains to be seen. Realsearch are already in reverse by having to re-invent their unsuccessful launch. Now they are targeting “independents” which then would almost guarantee that this business model will forever remain free.

    I laugh at arguments that franchisors have entered into agreements with portals as they have no such jurisdiction. All offices under a franchise agreement are independently owned and operated. So unless the franchise offices are in total agreement they are free to advertise where ever they feel benefits their individual business.

    From any franchise office I speak with they all agree that Head Office would find it difficult to substantiate a 3 per cent monthly performance based fee. As a business owner I am happy that I pay a monthly levy to use the name – as against 10, 11, 12 per cent based on sales performance.

    On the same applied basis we pay 0.5 per cent each month !!

    This entire debate gets interesting and funnier. What we are seeing today with the real estate industry is further contradiction of terms. And that it is not just online businesses that today, are industry misfits.

  64. Paul D April 23, 2007 at 1:04 pm #

    I would be interested for Elizabeth to explain just exactly how realsearch will be making a profit from her listings. If the property is your listing Elizabeth, the phone number is presumably your agencies’ number (or your mobile) Where are realsearch going to benefit from that ?

  65. Elizabeth April 24, 2007 at 8:30 am #

    Good Morning,

    Paul are you suggesting that the management at realsearch are forming business to provide all agents with free services, and run this business at a loss all for the greater good of the industry?

    Is today’s date April 1?

    If this is realsearch’s approach, it makes no sense from a business approach.

    How will they make money? They will (would have) taken my content, use it to create another real estate site, position it in a way so it would appeal to other advertisers, and the kicker is to then offer me the option to pay to get my listings presented higher in the results.

    All whilst I did not want to initially participate.

    My arguement all this time has always been about their approach to business and agents. Now if they wanted to get advice and participation from agents on their model and approach, then I might be singing a different tune.

    Any agent who welcomes a company like realsearh, who through its business model reduces the control we have over our listings and marketing campaigns has to have rocks in their heads, as it sets a new standard.

    Let us remember, another portal will increase the costs to agencies. If all these free sites continue to pop-up I will soon have to employe another marketing assistant to make sure all my listings are appearing correctly, let alone the cost of premium placements on these ‘Free’ sites.

    E

  66. Paul D April 24, 2007 at 3:24 pm #

    So Elizabeth, you seem to have an intimate knowledge of the realsearch business opperation. I understand from reading posts by Glenn and others, that a webcrawler copies the content from agents sites, and can even direct traffic to the agents site. Can someone correct me if I’m wrong (not you Elizabeth, thanks) So in this case, it’s the old GIGO syndrome (Garbage in – Garbage out) If your website is up to date then you don’t have to do anything and your listings are correctly displayed somewhere, and may just pick up someone who is interested in buying the property. But I guess you would have to say no to them, we can’t sell you the property because you saw it on some website that I don’t approve of.

    Your comment that another portal will increase the costs to agents, is the “herd mentality” thing AGAIN. It’s like the wildebeast (an analogy I have used previously) They charge along blindly, just because that’s what everyone else is doing. When one gets taken by a crocodile, nobody cares, or turns back to help, they just keep running, and hoping they are not going to miss something that the guys up the front are up to. Then, next year, they do it all again.

    Personally, If the details are correct, the more places the listings are displayed, and the least cost to me, has got to be a benefit for the VENDOR. Remember the vendor Elizabeth ? That’s who we are working for. I only ever see complaints from YOU about how many years YOU have toiled, and how much effort YOU have put into building YOUR business, and how much these portals will affect YOUR costs.

    What you need to be doing is to take it all in, and then decide what’s best for your VENDOR. And let them know that it IS the best strategy, and if it doesn’t work, then you will change the strategy. Not just “that’s the way we always do it, and that’s the way we’ll keep doing it”.

    Question for Glenn. Is that what a webcrawler does ??

  67. Elizabeth April 24, 2007 at 10:49 pm #

    Dear Paul,

    thanks for your thoughts.

    E

  68. snoop April 25, 2007 at 10:23 am #

    Its all irrelevant
    The seven unique visits these sites get a day wont impact on anything.
    Unless they can invest 5 figure sums a month in eyeball acquistion they are just more detritus on the web.

  69. Glenn April 25, 2007 at 11:29 am #

    Paul,

    Webcrawlers (they have various other names but the most popular other name is spiders) are automated software used to scour the web and collect information that the webcrawlers owners want. The most common webcrawlers you will encounter are from the search engines although spammers use the same sort of programs to collect email addresses which is why you should always be careful when you put your email address on a website.

    Search engine web crawlers will generally try and collect a few things when they visit your site. Firstly they collect the meta information in your page code (every page of your site should have correctly formatted meta tags), the body text of your page and other code snippets like the alternative text for your images and links to external websites. They then use this information and apply it through their own algorithms to decide where you will rank on their search engines for particular queries. Google even includes the quality of the people that link back to you. So if you have high ranking sites link to you, you rank higher as well. It’s the company we keep!!! They use some of the information they collected to display back when your site appears in a search request. This is normally the meta description and/or body copy text.

    Trying to work out how search engine algorthims work is an art form and the holy grail amongst webmasters who are always trying to optimise their site to appear at the top of the search engine result.

    Generally search engines do not bother storing exact copies of the source code of your page because they dont need it in their algorithms or when they display the results. Storing all your code would therefore just be a waste of space. There are exceptions to this including Google who keep whole copies of some of the webpages on some of their visits for the Google Cache facility.

    Search engines have evolved so much over the years but in general they do not create their own content but concentrate on providing information and in-line links to other websites that are relevant to visitors search. These results are called organic results. Search engines raise money by selling paid advertising on the search results page. These can be in the form of general display and banner ads, sponsorship links or ads relating to your specific search term (such as google’s adwords). Many startup search engines begin with none or little advertising until their market share is built up.

    The other revenue stream for many search engines is a Priority indexing service. Because there can often be a delay when you first appear on a search engine, the priority service means that you can jump the queue and have the search engine visit your site much quicker (weeks and months ahead of when you might have been included), which of course means your pages will appear in the search results of that search engine much sooner. Normally in the early days of a search engines life they are so focussed on increasing their market share they do not charge for indexing.

    Specialised webcrawlers like Realsearch’s focus on the particular websites and their specialised content that they need to display in their chosen subject. Google has their main search engine however they have a number of specialised search engines as well that concentrate only on specific subject or resource. Examples include Google Image Search, Froogle (just been renamed I believe), Google Scholar, Google Book Search, Google Video and Google News.

    Realsearch’s webcrawler for instance would be programmed to visit real estate websites and burrow down to individual property pages, then start collecting the description text, number of bedrooms, car accommodation, suburb, agency listing it and a photo of the property. The exact nature of what data they propagate their database with would really be known only by them, but since they are accessing it off publically available web pages it could include everything on that page.

    Realsearch use this information they collect to display indvidual property relevant to the visitors search. They provide enough information for the user to determine if they wish to get more information. Clicking on the property will transfer you directly to the source page of that link. ie. the website of the agent listing it.

    Clearly with a subject like real estate, any successful crawler will be scheduled to visit the pages regulaly to ensure that their own records are kept up to date. Because of the very nature of web crawling there is an inherent lag built into the system. If the webcrawler visits every 3 days and a property is marked sold just minutes after its last visit, the status of the property on the source page and the search engines index will be out of sync for 3 days.

    Webcrawlers are generally setup to adhere to the robots.txt protocol which allows webmasters to instruct webcrawlers where they can and cannot visit. It is even possible to instruct specific webcrawlers with different instructions. Every website should have robots.txt file.

    General search engines just randomly roam the web indexing information as they come across it following links on sites they indexed to discover new sites. However many of the leading real estate based US sites that Realsearch modelled themselves on like Google Base, Zillow and Trulia use a web crawler only as one option in a range of different methods to get your properties on their sites and when a webcrawler is used, it is normally only via an opt-in situation which is better suited for this type of application. Random crawling is best left to the general search engines like Google, Yahoo etc etc. Most other solutions of getting your properties on these sites rely on an XML feed, which is exactly how properties are now sent to realestate.com.au and other portals. This feed is sometimes done from individual agents, but normally is done from one of the multi-loaders like portplus, my desktop etc etc.

    One of the execution problems that Realsearch had was that they did not leave the control of the data feeds in the hands of the agents but they went out and crawled and indexed sites like a normal search engine does. Whilst this is the same behaviour of the general search engines many specialised search engines allow the website administrators to control the data flow. That upset a lot of people such as Elizabeth. IMHO they should have concentrated on improving their site so that individual agencies wanted to be in their search engine results and opted in on voluntary basis.

    Like most things of a technical nature there is so much detailed information on this subject and I have generalised much of it here so if you want to know more this is a good place to start

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Webcrawler

    Hope this answers your questions

    Where realsearch’s policy of not using an opt-in system may have backfired on them is though the different state’s legislation. Promotion of a property for sale here in Queensland requires the correct authorisation on the proper documents. Not having that authority is a breach of the act subject to some pretty big fines. Now since they did not get the approval of the authorised agent they really should have had their own authority which of course we know they didnt have. I would think that they could have been prosecuted for this breach if they listed properties without the express approval of the authorised selling agent. I assume the other states would offer similiar problems. Can anybody see how they could not be held responsible ??

    Cheers

  70. Tom S April 25, 2007 at 12:23 pm #

    Exactly right snoop, it is all irrelevant. Just another irrelevant business model soon to be placed on the scrap heap of online media start-ups.

    ‘Detritus’ sums it up beautifully.

  71. Paul D April 26, 2007 at 12:07 pm #

    Sensational description Glenn !! Further to that, I have a friend who is an IT Lawyer, and whilst I didn’t get the chance to delve into the legislation, he explained that a webcrawler that presents information that has been extracted from someone else’s website can breach the copyright act ( depending on how it is presented). It is really a technical breach, and the person who brings the claim would have an extremely hard time proving damages.

    The fact that the agent’s (assuming it is an agent) details, telephone number, address etc. is presented for a potential buyer to get in touch with the agent, and not a third party, means that the agent is not being deprived of the opportunity to deal with the person who is enquiring. He also confirmed that if the search engine had an “opt out” facility, then it is up to the individual to make the choice, and the possibility of copyright breach is vastly diminished.

    Imagine taking on Myhome.com and expecting to prove damages !!! Good luck to anyone who tries (unless you have very deep pockets)

    The other thing I noticed on Realsearch blog is that they said that it was born “with two daddys and two mommys”. This could be that just the person who wrote the article was American, or could this be something more sinister ? I am not usually a conspiracy theorist, but could this be a “dip the toe in the water” by Google to see how this kind of thing is accepted before they unveil Google Base ??

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