REA Release locality guides

Realestate.com.au have released a range of locality guides for suburbs across Australia. I watched a couple of these and my first thought was that they are well produced, look good and are lo0ng enough to provide some decent data. However really not much information is forthcoming, more so a little bit of fluff, but hey, I like where this is going.

I think it could get better with maybe 5 year suburb trends with pricing included somewhere. Maybe a page with a host of information on it. This could lead REA to more revenues by providing basic data and then allowing users to pay for more precise information.

I would also like to see this on property pages, matched against locales.

My last thought was, where are the ads? I was expecting to be stopped half way through the video for an ad break, but no advertising! Well let’s not hold our breath, as soon as they become popular I am sure we will see advertising.

You can view these here. It is a little bit of a process to get to the information and this should be refined to get to your locale faster, but have a look and let us know. If you think the presenter should not use the whole bottle of ‘Loreal’ colour (my eyes hurt) then let me know!

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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.

21 Responses to REA Release locality guides

  1. Brett Clements February 2, 2008 at 12:12 pm #

    Morning Peter. Glad you like them. Ms Fox’s hair has always been one for the test pattern. 🙂
    All up, we produced 100 profiles for RE. It was tantamount to delivering a magazine TV series and I think it is the first major Internet ‘TV’ series produced by an Australian portal. Certainly, the first for property. I think RE and Jo Johnston (the Group Editor) are to be commended. Thanks for watching.

  2. Peter Ricci February 3, 2008 at 8:41 pm #

    Yeah I am sure she is a lovely girl and did not want to offend, too funny (test pattern comment)

  3. Jo Johnson February 4, 2008 at 12:14 pm #

    Hi Peter,
    Thanks for watching and passing comment on the Locality Guides. The first stage with a new product/offering is being noticed, the next is the compliments (or otherwise!)

    Just so you’re aware, there is a whole host of information on the page below the video screen. This includes a mixture of ABS, Census and tourism data. There is also some commentary on the state of the real estate market in recent years. This is to help readers get the hard data on an area, whilst the videos were purposely created to generate a ‘feel’ for the locality and provide a good visual overview. The 2 mediums combined should be ample to give a first timer a substantial peek into the locality.

    We are in fact looking at including some more statistical data on price movements in future rollouts so this should satisfy that need.

    Also, in terms of where the guides are found? They are actually already matched to property pages. If you search for a property in an area where a Locality Guide exists, you will see the lead in to the content (with thumbnail and intro comments) underneath the map. The Directory is supposed to really be a secondary source of finding the content. An example can be found here http://www.realestate.com.au/cgi-bin/rsearch?&a=v&t=res&id=1348&cache=0
    Further integration of the content into the property search process is planned for the next phase.

    As for ads? Well….

    Thanks Peter.
    Jo

  4. Glenn Batten February 4, 2008 at 3:41 pm #

    Something with a lot of potential has got it so WRONG, at least in our area.

    The video for the suburb Pacific Pines is being served up on properties for Nerang and Highland Park and all others in the 4211 postcode.

    The page states that Pacific Pines includes : ADVANCETOWN, BEECHMONT, BINNA BURRA, BOONOOROO PARK, CARRARA, CLAGIRABA, GAVEN, GILSTON, HIGHLAND PARK, LATIMER, LOWER BEECHMONT, MOUNT NATHAN, MT NATHAN, NATURAL BRIDGE, NERANG, NUMINBAH VALLEY, PACIFIC PINES, PINDARI HILLS

    What a complete and utter load of rubbish. Nobody refers to any of this area as Pacific Pines.. nobody except for propvid and REA it seems. Some of these suburbs are over 20km away and have nothing to do with Pacific Pines other than being in the same huge postcode. Pacific Pines is so geographically removed from the majority of those suburbs I reckon many of the 4211 residents would never have even visited Pacific Pines other than drive along the motorway as it borders the suburb.

    Pacific Pines is over 9km as the crow flies from Highland Park and is three suburbs away. Agents who work in the Nerang and Highland Park areas along with their owners would see no benefit in this and potentially see REA sending prospective buyers 10km up the Motorway to Pacific Pines.

    The Mornington Peninsula example that was earlier offered was a whole district but Pacific Pines is just a single suburb and a brand new one at that having been carved off the suburb of Gaven.

    Grouping by Postcode just doesn

  5. Glenn Batten February 5, 2008 at 11:18 am #

    It only gets worse.. The Real estate agent predictions on this new section is written by an PRD Nationwide Nerang, an agency that has not existed over the past year and the individual quoted has moved offices several times since then. Since those comments could have been made the market has changed dramatically and the area has achieved fantastic prices rises like much of the coast. Nothing like fresh up to date comments for a market prediction area!!

    The photos on the Pacific Pines page feature nothing actually about pacific pines. They feature the broadwater, canals and highrises and have nothing to do with Pacific Pines or the 4211 postcode.

    I checked some other locality guides and they dont appear to suffer the same number of problems. Robina for example has only suburbs that a geographically relevent to Robina except for Tallebudgera and Tallebugera Valley. Those two suburbs are connected geographically much better with Currumbin, Elanora and Palm Beach and I reckon that a check of agents selling in the area would show this.

    The locality guide is called “Around Robina”. The photos appear to be relevant to Robina. The real estate predictions from the agent appear stale as well because Robina has been doing well just like the whole Gold Coast.

    The concept is great but the execution appears to range wildly.

  6. Jo Johnson February 5, 2008 at 12:29 pm #

    Thanks for your feedback Glenn. I appreciate you taking the time to analyse it all in such detail and provide detailed comments.
    Firstly, I need to correct you and say that no way did ‘someone in Sydney’ just write this stuff and produce a video without actually having been there. You can see by the video that we were actually present in the area. We can not presume to know every corner of Australia intimately but we certainly had a local crew on the ground doing this.

    I do understand your frustration however at having your area of interest perhaps not correctly represented. Unfortunately a consideration when mapping this content to our search process HAS to be postcode. Consumers search via postcode and also tick the ‘include surrounding suburbs’ box which picks up other suburb names in the same postcode. It is a technical constraint – as well as a consumer usability issue – that we have to work within when creating products that map to property details. It is therefore very difficult to map content to one property in a postcode but not another.

    As to how we fix it to make it more palatable for you? I am happy to look at a new naming convention for this particular guide which is more encompassing of the whole area. Do you have any suggestions? Or we can possibly remove all other suburbs from the guide except Pacific Pines.

    As for including shopping etc from another suburb? Whilst yes, Helensvale is closer in proximity, we clearly haven’t included it in the catchall area for this guide, so therefore have not included its facilities. As you can appreciate, a Locality has to start and stop somewhere, otherwise they’d all run into one! Reasonable boundaries have to be drawn so as to make the content as neat and tight as possible.

    I am happy to remove the agent’s comments that you speak of. As you can appreciate, putting together 100 of these takes time as does getting suitable comments from agents – there was an inevitable time lag between receiving predictions and publishing them. As the real estate industry is rather fluid, there was bound to be one or two agents who have moved on since submitting comments.
    Would you care to submit a more current prediction for this area? I’ll happily publish it.

    Your answers to any of my questions will be gladly considered. As an FYI, we are looking to publish more and more guides in the future, so the areas covered will get more precise and condensed. The idea with this first cut is to give consumers good information and a ‘feel’ for a region – they do not presume to cover every explicit detail about every suburb in a locality.

    Thanks again for your interest Glenn.
    Regards
    Jo

  7. Glenn Batten February 5, 2008 at 3:47 pm #

    Jo,

    I assume you work for REA or Propvid.

    This is not about being palatable to me! If you only have one voice in opposition I would never expect you to change it. I am not just talking about our area of interest. We service only a handful of those suburbs yet every single one is effected.

    This is about all the agents in the area that are paying REA that now have something that works directly against their and their clients interests.

    Here is a challenge for you… Jump on the phone now and call any 10 or 20 agents in the 4211 area, no matter what the suburb, I doubt you will fine one agent outside of the 3 that operate in Pacific Pines themselves, that will be happy with how that video is on their properties..

    It was suggested to me by somebody else that because this locality guide concentrated on the suburb rather than the locality it might have been “sponsored” by Stockland, the developers of Pacific Pines who still have a lot of land to sell in the area. A form of advertising if you will. I hope you can confirm that this was not the case.

    Whoever was involved in the research of this area stuffed up.. plain and simple. To not nominate a major shopping centre within 100m of the border of the suburb and instead provide information on something 20 minutes away that is also outside of your “catchall” area is just shortcutting plain and simple. You already had the video on Robina from the Robina locality guide and you just dropped it into this one. Quick and easy, but not representative of where locals in Pacific Pines actually show now is it. Much of the text on the pages are the copies from other guides plus there is the case of photos that have no relevenace to the local area.

    I understand Propvid has camera crews on the Gold Coast but that does not mean they are the people responsible for the content. If that research was done by somebody living here that you employ you need to assist them in finding a new career!!

    I understand and appreciate the effort required for such a project and obviously you need lead time… but quoting somebody from a year ago.. You need that much lead time.. ?? I would have thought it would have been standard practice to at least have followed up each one with an email asking if their comments still applied to the current market.

    As to these guides having to be applied just to postcodes. If that was really the case, then how can you turn it off the other suburbs now. Something change in the past 24 hours ? The “Around Robina” one is applied to numerous suburbs and numerous post codes. Clearly you acknowledge that a single postcode here is not representative of a locality.

    Jo, whilst it appears you wont go so far as to say “we stuffed up on this one”… it does seem that you understand my points and you genuinely want to get it fixed.. For that I thank you.

    My suggestions how to fix it since you asked for it:-

    1/ Remove the locality guide from all suburbs in the 4211 area other than Gaven and Pacific Pines. Right now for most of those agents no locality guide would be better than the current one.

    2/ Redo the Pacific Pines video to concentrate on that locality which would include its surrounding and geographically relevant suburbs. Consult the local agents which populate the site if you need help with the suburbs and locality name.

    3/ Create a new video for the Nerang/Highland Park/Carrara/Worongary area including the rural suburbs directly west of this area. Nerang is at the hub of this area and a search of REA’s database will show that Nerang is the base for the majority of the local agencies. Possible names of the locality could be “Around Nerang” or “Nerang/Highland Park/Carrara/Worongary” or it could be focussed around the Gold Coast Hinterland… maybe something like “Central Gold Coast Hinterland” leaving the other Western area of the Gold Coast to be named using the same naming scheme.

    Please understand, I love the concept.. it’s just the execution in this case that I have a problem with. I have checked a few others and the problems don’t seem to be as evident but the agents in those areas are best to comment on that.

    If you can provide me with an email address I would love to submit a replacement agents comment. Mine is glenn@nfn.com.au

  8. Jo Johnson February 5, 2008 at 5:51 pm #

    Thanks for responding Glenn. I’ll aim to clear up some of the remaining contentious points.

    Firstly, I’m not sure how publicity and information about a region can work against you or your business interests? We have not published anything negative about the area, nor have we proposed to include every specific detail about every single suburb in the locality. As I mentioned in my earlier post, the intention of the guides is to give consumers who are new to the area a ‘feel’ for what it might be like there. I can’t believe that the overall feel of an area is different just 20km up the road? How does this guide, even if named incorrectly, work against your interests?

    Secondly, there was absolutely no sponsorship by Stockland or anyone else involved in creating these videos. That’s an offensive accusation.

    As for ‘turning it off the other suburbs now’ and the postcode mapping issue, the case is EXACTLY as I stated it earlier. We haven’t just turned it off your suburbs, we have turned it off entirely. It no longer is on Pacific Pines properties – or anywhere else – either. We can not separate suburb names within the same postcode. What we can do is certainly associate one guide with multiple suburbs/postcodes, as you will see in most cases across the country. These are not ‘suburb’ guides that pinpoint one suburb only. They are ‘locality’ guides that in 90% of cases cover off regions or groups of suburbs and postcodes – such as the Mornington Peninsula example. I do acknowledge that a single postcode does not necessarily represent an entire locality, but in this instance, where you yourself mentioned it is a large geographical area with varying qualities, it seemed more appropriate not to try and include too many other postcodes. You either do want a bunch of postcodes in one catch-all guide or you don’t?

    To your suggestions:
    1/ no can do, as explained above. The guide has been removed from all suburbs. It’s all or nothing at this stage.
    2/ we will have to wait until the next round of guides is in line to shoot more videos of this area. They are a costly exercise and need to be rolled out systematically, but I will include this area as one to look at.
    3/ as in point 2. This will not happen in the immediate future but I definitely take your naming suggestions on board.

    I’m glad you love the concept – so do I and our consumers! It’s interesting that one day we had no area information, and now we have it, and yet something is not better than nothing! I’m baffled by the fact that you think this info could be detrimental to your business. But anyway, for now it has been rectified by being removed.
    If you would still like to contribute a comment for the guide (once we produce it) you can send it to editor@realestate.com.au.
    Thanks
    Jo

  9. Brett Clements February 5, 2008 at 6:19 pm #

    On Propvid. http://www.propvid.tv now has four crews in SE Queensland dedicated to the property industry (plus five crews in Sydney and one in Melbourne).
    We all live here on the Gold Coast. Our Creative headquarters is in Mermaid Waters, where we run five HD edit suites and a blue-screen studio.
    Our core business is shooting property videos, presented by Agents, and big, colourful, ‘live’ auction presentations where homes and local lifestyle footage is projected on giant screens. We average about 30 productions a week on the coast.

  10. Glenn Batten February 5, 2008 at 7:20 pm #

    Jo,

    So I think you work for REA.. but I am still not sure.

    Its quite simple really..

    This locality guide does not give publicity or information about our area. It promotes just one suburb in a whole postcode and that suburb is in a DIFFERENT LOCALITY than the vast majority of properties that the video was attached to. Pacific Pines is the same price range as most of the residential properties in the 4211 postcode. Buyers in that price range can buy in only several localities on the Gold Coast and you were promoting one of those localities in another. In as simple terms as possible, they are the competition and I don

  11. Glenn Batten February 5, 2008 at 8:41 pm #

    Thanks Brett,

    I love the auction and corporate profiles you did for Ray White Broadbeach. The other one I particularly liked that you did was the Ka-ching profile you did for someone down in Sydney…

    Your property, agent and salespersons profiles are great stuff and the issues I have with this one locality profile is not with the quality or professionalism of the video work itself. That has always been impressive.

  12. Peter Ricci February 8, 2008 at 10:12 am #

    I have to say that this is an engaging comment. I think what REA has done is a good start but it needs to be refined. Maybe trying to be too impressive with the suburb range for each video does not serve them well. I have watched a few now and although the comments here are good for REA to understand you just can’t throw something out and expect people to just believe everything they read. Closer inspection shows that it does need tightening up. But for me it is a good start that can be built upon and refined.

  13. snoop February 18, 2008 at 10:43 am #

    Another player in the Locality/community space.
    lovethatplace.com.au

  14. Glenn Batten February 18, 2008 at 1:40 pm #

    Snoop,

    Isn’t that just a FSBO site?.. Its not really a community site as such, at least as far as I can see.

  15. snoop February 18, 2008 at 4:29 pm #

    Yes I am a bit confused
    Lots of flashy pr releases but the site doesnt get the message across veryclearly.
    Another waste of investors money methinks.
    I mean just getting people to go there will be a challenge,and I cant see people paying the subs

  16. Greg Vincent February 19, 2008 at 5:16 am #

    It’s a lead generator site for 3 agents/suburb to pay subscriptions for possible buyer/seller match ups. Not sure how it will go?

    BTW an agent has recently created a Community Website via our website by adapting the Quick Links function very cleverly. Instead of creating an individual property website they created http://www.aboutWoollahra.com for under $200.

    We have since set up a sample site too at http://www.888DemoPl.com (audio tour not completely relevant at this stage but you’ll get the picture).

    I thought it was a great way to communicate with the people of influence within their community. Ultimately, it should generate more business opportunities and at the same time send more online visitors to their office website/blog as it is designed to appeal to a larger target audience.

  17. Glenn Batten February 19, 2008 at 11:01 am #

    Greg

    I have helped a few agents setup small community sites and they can work very well.

    A few bugs on that site.. Not really issues with the site itself, but just what they are linking to. The map and sat photo links search for “Sponsored by Shields Gillman Real Estate, Woollahra, NSW, Australia 2025”. Obviously there is nothing in the maps for that!

    They are better off creating custom maps in Google Maps under the My Maps feature.. and linking directly to that map. They can then show the location of their office and other local landmarks. They can embed their own photo and office details into the page as well. The other advantage is that the page may be picked up when Woollhara is searched in Google maps which can bring their office even more traffic.

    I am also interested in how it goes on an SEO level. Its only a single page which will probably work against it slightly. Can you add other pages into the site say for example business directories, community directories etc etc??.. and the links to other websites where it gains credibility for being an authority on the Woollhara area are all by javascript… Generally search engines ignore links inside scripting like that and thus it may miss out on the SEO advantages on these links.

    I will be interested to see how you go in the search engines, particularly Google. If this works it will be a great solution for agents who have not got the time, skill and experience to do this themselves… and lets face it.. thats most agents. With 3 recent community sites we were able to appear in Google inside a week and get number 1 rankings for the keywords targeted in around two weeks so it proves these community sites have the potential to work well.

  18. Greg Vincent February 19, 2008 at 5:22 pm #

    Thanks Glenn – the address has been changed & the google mapping now works for this neighbourhood website. (www.aboutWoollahra.com)

    I like the idea of setting up a custom map. You’re also right on the money with the idea of agents building business directories, community directories, etc.

    At any one time only a small percentage of the community is thinking about real estate and lets face it most of this traffic goes straight to the major search engines. At least with a community/neighbourhood website linked to a business directory most of the local community should have some interest in the site which should increase the agents’ online target audience. (shouldn’t it?)

    Instead of setting up additional pages off the neighbourhood website I actually thought that the agents would be better seeing if they can get these directories as add on pages within their company website to help with their company website SEO.

    Imagine having your community go to a business directory or community directory page within http://www.nfn.com.au. What do you think?

    Do you see this as an option for the agents or perhaps the major franchises to offer, especially with the ability to track the links to finance, etc?

    PS. Glenn, I hope you don’t mind but I’d really appreciate your feedback on how easy the sites are to create & if there are any recommendations you may have. Simply visit http://www.HomeWebsites.com.au and click on the Agent registration link in left toolbar. Once registered within our website creation site (W4YL) it will only take a couple of clicks to create a Free Demo Website. i hope you like it.
    BTW you’ll notice we also added a lot of new template designs after your previous recommendations.

  19. Glenn Batten February 22, 2008 at 11:15 pm #

    Greg…

    I nice article on the Inman site you might like

    http://www.inman.com/hstory.aspx?ID=66185

  20. Greg Vincent February 25, 2008 at 7:38 pm #

    thanks Glenn. Great article. I was pleased to see that one of the sites showed the massive savings agents could make in their print media advertising by reducing content and featuring the individual property website URL (eg.888AnySt.com). This online shortcut to the property should help send readers from the print media straight to the property & ultimately to the agent who placed the ad.

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