MyHome to begin charging on 31st of May

It seems MyHome are confident that they can now begin charging agents to list properties on their website. The charges will be $175.00 per month exclusive of GST (minimum 12 months @ $2,310 per annum/per office including GST). These fees are far less than the realestate.com.au and domain.com.au monthly fees.

However most agencies are more concerned with the return they receive from these portals whether they charge or not, as in many cases it does take time to post this data and check that data on many of the websites agents are subscribed to.

I would like to know how many of you regularly receive email enquiries that lead to sales or rentals? Also if you are a current member will you continue under a 12 month contract? Also are agencies still having problems with out of date and incorrect listings?

MyHome

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.

18 Responses to MyHome to begin charging on 31st of May

  1. Glenn May 22, 2007 at 4:44 pm #

    I know we did not provide any billing information to myhome and our properties were uploaded by head office so I am assuming that this was done by the majority of groups.

    So how are they going to get the authority to start charging for all of these accounts in the next 9 days… or are they going to use silence from the agencies as a form of acceptance to send invoices out at the end of June. If they do that who would like to be on their reception receiving calls then?

  2. Peter May 22, 2007 at 4:52 pm #

    Maybe someone from MyHome could answer that question Glenn.

  3. Craig May 22, 2007 at 4:07 pm #

    It’s a gutsy move by MyHome. With the negative press they have received I would have expected them to absorb the costs for at least 12 months to get the product right. These costs can only scare off more agents who are already very wary about the site.

  4. Paul D May 22, 2007 at 6:12 pm #

    I think we have had 3 or 4 enquiries from MyHome.com since they appeared — not enough to take any notice of in any case. The day they start charging, in the short term anyway — goodbye MyHome !!

  5. Elizabeth May 23, 2007 at 8:59 am #

    Good Morning,

    I have not put my listings on myHome, but I do know that the local Franchise outlets who were once touting how great myhome would be, are reconsidering their position.

    At a get together last week, people were handing around a copy of the myhome contract. Of interest to everybody was the fine print, which stated that the free trial would instantly roll over into successive 12 month contracts.

    I am not sure if everyone who signed up for the free trial was aware that this would instantly roll over to successive 12 month contracts.

    This seems all too sneaky for my liking. Both Realestate and domain have 12 month contracts, however I get to renew them each year which provides me with an opportunity to negotiate a little.

    Does successive 12 month contracts ensure you cancel myhome?

    Glenn, perhaps your head office has signed you up on your behalf? I think that there may be some troubled times ahead for the Franchises whose head office has signed them up to myhome.

    E

  6. Glenn May 23, 2007 at 10:27 am #

    Elizabeth,

    I am sure that is not the case because as you may have read, First National pulled all of its listings from Myhome a little while ago. First National is not the only non-franchise group out there and our head office do not have the authority to sign up individual offices to that sort of commitment. Maybe the franchise heads do have that authority, but I sincerly doubt it. Interesting though that somebody had a copy of the contract at your get together. Sounds like the office in question signed it themselves so that might change things.

    You also have to wonder at the wording of a “trial” period if it automatically rolled over to a 12 month contract. Maybe the fine print asks for agencies to opt out by the end of the trial or they are locked in. That would probably make more sense.. If that is the case agents better notify Myhome they want to cancel the service pretty quick.

    At our enquiry level we were receiving and that monthly cost we were looking at about $38.50 per enquiry which is ridiculous considering realestate.com.au is costing us under $7.00 per enquiry and I think that is too expensive. At best their performance is worth $20-30 per month IMHO.

    If that clause has any legal standing whatsoever and they try and enforce it on agents, I fear they will suffer a severe backlash from the industry. One that will wreck any chance of saving the portal from being the commercial disaster it currently is. It would be a case of RIP Myhome and you could not argue with that many blunders, one after another.

  7. snoop May 24, 2007 at 8:18 am #

    Interesting comment on the cost per enquiry.
    What does the readership think an appropriate lead cost is worth?(Aside from free) and how many actualy bother to measure and follow up on them?.
    How do you know those waste of tree publications that you spend nearly a billion a year on work??

  8. Glenn May 24, 2007 at 10:28 am #

    Craig,

    Quite simply you cant count those results but email enquiries you can. But just because you cant count and rank SOME of the performance levels of a portal does not mean you shouldn’t rank the ones you can. It is no different to any other form of advertising. As long as you apply the same rules across the board you could effectively compare similiar marketing initiatives… ie.. portal against portal, not portal against newspaper.

    You can only assume that each portal would attract phone enquiries and OFI at the same rate as they do email enquiries. I know that will not be entirely accurate but it is the best thing you can do without applying statistics from your salespeople which brings it’s own inaccuracies into play.

    ie. Realestate.com.au delivers 100 email enquiries per month and lets say 150 phone calls and if Myhome delivers 5 email enquiries per month you could reasonably assume that it would only bring around 8 phone calls. Sure they are cheaper but they bring less and measuring your marketing shows (for the purposes of the example) that investing that same $200 or so every month in Google Adwords would provide you with far better results.

    If you don’t measure your marketing, chances are high that you are wasting your money. The internet is no different than any other marketing medium and it has to produce results for the investment made and if you dont look at hard results you will make poor investments. Look at REA.. they are producing nearly double the amounts of emails per agent (as per the march stats released). Do you think it is a conincidence that they charge so much more than the others? They now they can because the provide more enquries keeping the cost of enquiry low.

    If I was to signup to every portal and local business directory that has walked through our doors my monthly charges would probably be around $8,000 per month and the end result would be little better than the $700 or so a month we pay now.

    Dont you think its funny how the portals advertise on Google Adwords which is all about cost per enquiry advertising. Why else when you look at banner ads would you look at impressions and click through rates.. Even in branding exercises like REA banners and the like you still look at the results.

  9. Glenn May 24, 2007 at 10:38 am #

    Snoop,

    I would like to see a cost per email enquiry on a portal of around $2-3 personally. If you can get your site ranking well in the search engines you can get plenty of other enquiries for very little that you could average down the cost per email enquiry even lower.

    Can anyone else on Myhome give us an indication of your enquiry numbers for a 30 day period. Was my experience typical throughout Australia or are they just not popular in QLD ???

  10. Craig May 24, 2007 at 9:44 am #

    Cost per inquiry is interesting, but does it really tell you anything or is it just the easiest to measure. When browsing realestate.com.au I rarely make inquiries and only do so if the advert is lacking information like open house times. How do you measure the number of people going to open for inspections that get the leads of the sites?

  11. snoop May 25, 2007 at 8:45 am #

    Well i dont think you would get that on google
    Most Keywords are bid up to over 20c by those useless lead gen players.does anyone use the likes of What price my house or myhousevalue???
    So if you pay .20c a click and perhaps got a 1-2% actual enquiry its prob a better deal with the portals

  12. Glenn May 25, 2007 at 10:18 am #

    Snoop,

    First of all I guess with your maths example it’s lucky that organic results from google and other search engines are a damn sight cheaper than 20c a click then…. like FREE. And when they are FREE it does not matter if you convert at 50% or 1%, the cost per enquiry is still FREE.

    We are still reaping the benefits of the initial SEO strategy I did 8 years ago and the subsequent tweaks every 6 months or so. I guess that takes time, and time is money so they probably are not free in that sense but by all accounts the amount per enquiry would be tiny over the 8 years.

    Secondly, if I was paying for google adwords (which I am not and honestly have no experience with) I personally think conversions of only 1 to 2% leading to an enquiry would be an absolute dismal result. If I got that sort of response I would look at my adword keyword combinations, landing page and overall website design if thats all you could get on a targeted adwords campaign.

    I bet the majority of agents who test Google adwords fail to setup specific landing pages for each keyword combinations and send them to their home page instead. I reckon very few would use the goals section of their analytics account either. Google even has a new tool so that you can have your landing page dynamically change and pictures, text, headings and colours so you can maximise your conversions from your adwords response.

    Maybe our adwords specialist could enlighten us to what sort of conversions are typical for real estate agencies who run a professional campaign.

    and lastly, if I was investing in an adwords campaign I would enter into it thinking somewhere in the middle of organic and portal costs would have been a fair target to achieve. If it didnt achieve that I would probably just sign up to another cost effective portal… say domain maybe. We are actually trialling them starting today so I am looking forward to what the results. It’s taken them a while to finally come around for a three month trial period but late is better then never.

  13. snoop May 25, 2007 at 9:49 pm #

    I think sure you can optimise your site for the engines,and theres a degree of blck art around that,put about by the SEO players,some good some bad.
    So organic is good for your brand and your area.
    So what about the actual listing ?
    Google base would help.
    Seems to be the most common thread here is around follow up by the agent.
    Leads come ,some work them efficiently some dont.
    So is that the op?
    Some kind of CRM integration so the principal can track and manage his responses to the campaign?
    I sort of thought thats why REA bought Hubonline?

  14. Glenn May 26, 2007 at 10:30 am #

    Snoop,

    SEO is not a black art. Like everything it takes time, research and commitment. Companies trying to sell any service will always tell you how difficult it is to justify the prices they charge. They capitalise on the fact that many have not got the time or knowledge where to start and find it easier to hire somebody else to do the work. Real Estate agents work on the same principal the only difference is we are an owners default choice, but most agents just ignore the problem and dont fix the solution themselves or hire somebody else to do the job.

    Whilst it is not time effective for agents to keep up to date with the latest changes the advancement in recent years of CMS there is nothing to stop agents implementing their own basic strategies.

    I was recently asked by a colleague to assess why his site was attracting only a few people per day. None of his surrounding suburbs were mentioned in his site name, body content or meta tags. Javascript only menu so search engines cannot even see his other pages. No alt text on his image plus a myriad of other basic strategies.

    I thought Hubonline was a full blown CRM package dealing with all an agents admin needs. Getting that to handle just REA internet enquiries for most offices who already have their own software packages is a major overkill. If REA and domain will not do it as part of their backend I think that this XML inititave will also be trying to look at other communications between industry players including an XML solution for portal and agency property enquiries. That way an agency could receive enquiry feeds from a number of sources all in the proper standard and they could use their solution of choice to manage enquiries.

    Also on the cards for the XML communication discussion will be property views and other activity data back to the agencies.

    If this XML initiative gets off the ground, and it looks and feels like it will, the industry will become more modular. Companies can specialise in just their field of expertise without having to provide all features for everyone of their clients. You might use one data backend host and distribution host, different website front end, two paid portals and three free portals, your groups national website, agency admin and trust software, existing client CRM and a different solution for prospective buyer enquiry handling and a different one again for emarketing and enewsletter. And all of these solutios would talk to each other because of the implementation and use of an industry standard. The sum of all of these parts will often be far better than the All-In-One solutions that I have seen in the industry to date.

    You may find that one player can do two, three or four of these sections but right now I dont think anyone is even close to providing one that successfully handles all sections. All are strong in one area or two and just tack on the remainder.

    Have a look at the wealth of solutions available in the states, many because they have a communication standard (which is currently being upgraded) between offices and other industry players.

    http://www.vflyerblog.com/blog/2007/05/08/real-estate-20/

  15. Pat May 27, 2007 at 12:58 pm #

    I think considering Myhome has only been out there for 2 months it’s amazing that they’re generating enquiries at all. Would like to know how they’ll be doing in 6 months time. It would be so nice to see someone giving realestate and domain a run for their money.

  16. Peter May 27, 2007 at 2:21 pm #

    Hello Pat and Welcome.
    It would be fantastic to see MyHome challenge REA and Domain as it would put downward pressure on the incumbents pricing and also lift innovation, this in turn is great for the consumer and for the agents.

    MyHome has made its mistakes and has not cleaned up enough of them, the site still looks cheap and nasty and I think it needs a professional makeover.

    Having said that they do seem to have fixed up a few of the problems with uploading. It will be interesting to see how they perform in the next 6 months after this charging period. It does not seem to many agents are keen to pay for listings on there until they get some actual results.

    I would expect a few enquiries to flow as a great deal of marketing $$$’s have gone into the launch and subsequent months.

    It is great to see you comment Pat and we would love to see more of the same.

    Regards Peter

  17. Elizabeth May 27, 2007 at 10:15 pm #

    Good Evening,

    Pat it is three months.

    I am not too sure that Myhome is providing anyone with a race for their money, apart from people who will now be subscribing to three portals.

    E

  18. snoop May 28, 2007 at 8:04 am #

    Seems to me Myhome have yet to get the act together on realising the potential of the business.
    Right now the advertising is heavy and brand based.
    Like most media outfits they struggle with placement integration.
    Ad packages across the entire PBL media suite would be a pretty powerful option.
    That said REA do a pretty sorry job of this too.
    Soon someone will crack the code and it can only be good news for the advertisers.

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