MyHome to close its doors

As reported in the weekend Financial Review it seems MyHome will be closing its doors at the end of the month. This might be no surprise to those close to MyHome but to me it really goes down as the Chicken Heart Award of the year.

PBL don’t launch too many products that fail so dismally, but MyHome is another we can add to Mr Packers list of failed new ventures, and his scorecard reads dismally since he took over/pets projects.
Microsoft were also armed length involved, although insiders tell me they have never seen a Microsoft representative grace their floors.

So now we are down to Realestate.com.au, Domain.com.au and the fabulous little engine that could Homehound.com.

Myhome failed because, well it just truly stunk as a model/platform and is a lesson in how not to build a real estate portal.

I am sorry for the people that put their heart and soul into the venture, the sales people, the developers and anyone else that now has to look for a new place of work. As for the executives that started off this bomb, well they are probably well placed as CEO’s of some other ‘exciting’ new venture in another industry.

Time for someone to actually do something brave, that has the right model for agents across Australia. Did I mention all agents? Well yes, the next venture should steer clear of doing deals with large franchises and look at the industry as a whole.

Rest in Embarrassment MyHome! (CVC and CMH). Sometimes we don’t like what we hear, but truly great businesses/people understand how to take criticisms on board and adapt, then there is MyHome.

Ouch!

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.

31 Responses to MyHome to close its doors

  1. Robert Simeon May 19, 2008 at 1:21 pm #

    Peter,

    Yes ByeHome, were always going to struggle given their abysmal business strategy it believed would successfully launch this failed venture. They managed to basically get every fundamental wrong so much for due diligence and actual market research.

    No doubt – the Google news fast tracked this decision to move on. As for staff – not sure in recent times if they actually had any?

    Now the real games begin 🙂

  2. snoop May 19, 2008 at 1:31 pm #

    Hopefuly a Journo will dig deeper and find out the REAL reason the plug i was pulled.
    I dont beleive it was from lack of stakeholder support.

  3. Robert Simeon May 19, 2008 at 1:39 pm #

    snoop,

    The MyHome business model was based on monthly paid advertising revenues by real estate agents and third party advertisers.

    No money coming in – they then cut off the electricity supply. Simple.

  4. Toronto Real Estate Agent May 19, 2008 at 4:18 pm #

    I am quite shocked, as a business model I don’t see the problem. Real estate is such a competitive business, why could they not meet their targets for advertising revenue?

  5. Graeme Callen May 19, 2008 at 4:29 pm #

    Not surprised, an example of their professionalism was a recent (and only) call I received on my mobile from an upbeat representitive of theirs stating “You have great profile in Albert Park, we are surprised you haven’t secured the banner for this suburb” I suggested they get their facts right then call me back. I haven’t heard from them since. I operate in and around Carnegie and have never sold a property in Albert Park. (about 15km away)

  6. Glenn Batten May 19, 2008 at 5:49 pm #

    First National as a network pulled out not long after launch because of the horrific accuracy problems. Individual members were able to opt back in if they wanted to but it was really a case of once bitten….

    We certainly never joined back up and I have never heard a good word mentioned about them since they started so the only surprise is how they stayed open that long.

    I wonder how Harcourts are feeling.. We just got a new brochure in the mail today boasting that “Harcourts Australia is now a strategic particpant in the myhome online real estate business”. Terrible timing and hardly strategic.

  7. snoop May 19, 2008 at 6:17 pm #

    No the closure has zero to do with revenue targets not being met or lack of investor or franchise support.
    Lets see if a good journo can nail the REAL reason

  8. Glenn Batten May 20, 2008 at 4:36 pm #

    Snoop… Why don’t you tell us the reason that you think is so REAL. Put whatever disclaimers on it you want and feel necessary.

  9. snoop May 20, 2008 at 6:54 pm #

    Seems some bad blood with a competitive site that Peter likes may have had some materiality.

  10. Ashley May 21, 2008 at 8:12 am #

    Everything about Myhome was wrong from the very start. The fanfare and the lead up marketing was fantastic and dismally let down by a site that was little different from the others, offered no user advantage and indeed was a bit confusing to navigate. You only get one go at convincing consumers to switch and if the experience is not exceptional they will not come back.

    The business model was also way off the mark. In my opinion the failure is due to two issues. Firstly the business model which was developed prior to launch was flawed. Secondly, it appears to be a classic case of the developers controlling the end product rather than the consumer and the marketers. Add to that management who did not understand and were inexperienced in the internet and real estate market places and you have an unfortunate disaster.

    Myhome had a fantastic opportunity to alter the real estate marketing space on the internet in Australia. They had the resources, they had the money, they lacked the management.

  11. Ex Myhome employee May 21, 2008 at 6:56 pm #

    The actual website was never an issue with Myhome. The market loved the site, there was also nothing wrong with how it was being managed. It came down to a certain portion of the industry deciding not to take an equity share, and PBL decided that was the last straw.

    Speak to any agent, the site was great, the people were great, the recent marketing and TV exposure wasgreat, just lacked full industry support, that was the onlt issue.

  12. Peter Ricci May 21, 2008 at 7:57 pm #

    I will leave the above comment to others!

  13. Chris May 21, 2008 at 9:43 pm #

    industry support?

    You can’t blame the industry for its failure. If it, or any business fails, it is because it was either a bad idea or it was executed badly.

    Blame the customer for not buying our product!

    Welcome back to planet earth.

  14. Illustrator May 21, 2008 at 11:50 pm #

    To the ex employee, your comments are valuable and intriguing. The two simple reasons for the shutdown are : 1) If there was agency support as you claim, then those agencies would have made the equity investment desperately needed by PBL and provided the listings. 2) Public and investor acceptance of the woefully constructed, designed and managed site was negligible and if you don’t have (legitimate) eyeballs and traffic, you are wasting your time. I use domain and REA several times a day and personally, from a healthy competitive environment perspective, I’m sad the endeavour failed and my sympathies go out to those who poured their hearts and toil into the venture and who may now lose their jobs. I hope PBL can and will redeploy all MyHome employees. I’m tempted to make MyHome a case study for my MBA – a superb example of a series of strategic and commercial mistakes that could have easily been avoided.

  15. AJ May 22, 2008 at 1:56 am #

    If the site was great and the people were great… then who/what was responsible for the listings on Myhome that were sold many years prior, yet evidently for sale? Hell there were even listings for agents – who were no longer agents and the listings were well and truly sold.

    Industry support?

    There was Elders with all their listings on the site, LJHooker, Raine and Horne… then other equity partners of Barry Plant and Harcourts… why blame the industry for the site/businesses failure? Are you blaming your former customers?

    No wonder it (you) went out of business.

    But I wonder what all your paying customers think of LJHooker and Raine and Horne Franchisees not paying monthly subscriptions, as either the franchisors or Myhome did not have the ability to send separate data feeds for each office?

    Again it must be the customers fault. After all, the website was great, the people were great… it was all the industry.

    It would be interesting to hear from former/current Myhome customers who were paying for the service, and what they think of subsidizing the larger franchise groups.

  16. AJ May 22, 2008 at 1:58 am #

    Of course the lack of CONSUMERS coming to the site after spending $20 million is also due to the Industry’s lack of support.

    Ok, somewhere in the world it has to be April 1.

  17. Glenn Batten May 22, 2008 at 9:09 am #

    Ex employee…

    You said to ask the agents.. Thats who is telling you that you are completely and utterly wrong. In fact I have never met an agent who had a positive word to say about the site and I suggest most educated agents would agree. It was a complete stuff up right from day one. Review the posts and comments right here on this site and you will see consistency since its launch. Virtually everyone who posted thought the site was terrible.

    The myhome website was shockingly bad and the fact that you were an employee and did not know that is the real reason that the site did not perform. The reason nobody wanted to get into bed with myhome was the reason the site did not perform. Dont go putting the horse before the cart by blaming the industry as management and staff had far more to blame than the industry.

  18. snoop 2 May 22, 2008 at 11:33 am #

    I wonder how long it will be before REA and Domain put their prices up?

  19. Robert Simeon May 22, 2008 at 11:56 am #

    Snoop,

    I think that you will see portal prices actually reducing not going up. One of the most noticeable trends that I have noticed with our real estate agency is that online equiries are reducing and our feedback is they have become cumbersome with pages and pages of priority placements.

    When Google shortly launch their search criteria is much easier and it will be free. So if every agency uploads to G-Base. Just how can portals increase prices? Google will add plenty of competition and in America for example all portals are actually free.

    Life for REA and Domain will get much more difficult when Google launch. Afterall, Google’s business models are 100% successful.

  20. snoop May 23, 2008 at 7:55 am #

    Yes But surely the same listings will appear in google ie all the portals will feed into it.
    Google wont put much resource into policing listings or dw duping.
    I think it may get traffic for a while but people will revert back to the specialty portals fairly quickly

  21. Glenn Batten May 23, 2008 at 8:14 am #

    Surely??? Surely Not…

    Possible listings on an Australian Google Base is hypothetical as it does not exist (yet) … but what makes you think REA has the right to upload our properties up to Google?

    As an agent, would you want google to send enquries on your properties to realestate.com.au or to your website. Talk about the fox controlling the henhouse.

    No doubt they will want to do this but I hope the industry would not let them control it like that. Maybe they will.. who knows.

    Google Base may not get much direct traffic .. it is still a bit of a dog… but having your properties turn up in organic SERP will bring a stack of traffic..

  22. SSSR May 23, 2008 at 10:44 am #

    Dont individual listings that are on portals come up in the serp anyhow? I would assume that a quality portal would have their site designed for dynamic key word assignment for each respective listing… much like how blogs are indexed. When a search is done for Frankston 3 bedroom, the SERP brings up results that have a listings on RE in Frankston? Could be wrong, but thats how I would see it, that way the data is where the agent wants it, the main portal has static keywords and dynamic keywords to drive traffic to individual listings directly on that portal.

  23. AJ May 23, 2008 at 11:05 am #

    Thought I would take a last look at the myhome site before it closed down. A bit like visiting the last Drive In Movie in your town – you do not like the movie showing, the Speaker for your car is broken or covered in graffiti, and the woman serving in the Kiosk was the first employee – but you go there for nostalgia.

    The list of Supporters/’Partners’ at the bottom of the front page is embarrassing. If I was the CEO of one of these groups I would be asking my logo be taken off the site immediately.

    Still this serves as a lesson for those independent agents thinking of joining a franchise group.

    Be careful which group you join. If you want a group that has a successful online marketing component to their franchise offering, then the Myhome ‘Partners’ are obviously not for you.

  24. ex myhome employee May 26, 2008 at 7:59 pm #

    The comments made after my post just go to demonstrate people’s distinct lack of knowledge. I vehemently disagree with the comments posted. Myhome was a sure winner for many reasons, none of those reasons were to do with the items posted on this site. I just ask that before anyone makes a fool of themselves by posting irrelevant comments, just dig a little deeper and get the real reasons, rather than the ones you have put forward to make yourself feel better, or justify your existence.

  25. Glenn Batten May 27, 2008 at 9:07 am #

    Oh no.. how dare we offer an opinion why we as agents did not subscribe in masses to myhome. There must be some underlying reason, even a conspiracy why this amazing “winner” site did not work. Why…?? because you vehemently disagree!!

    Maybe REA brainwashed us to ignore them.. ?? Maybe domain stole all their traffic.. ?? Surely it cannot be because the site was not any good.

    Lets face it, nobody wants to be associated with a dog, and you are just trying to justify all the work you have invested into the portal. The problem is you are dealing with an educated audience. We are the people who were expected to invest on a monthly basis and we didnt.

    Did myhome close because they are broke… Yes and No. The backers still have plenty of money so they did not go broke… not by a long shot. But myhome itself struggled to find clients and in the end, struggled to find investors or even a buyer. It was closed down before it threw away more money. Thats business.

    I am sure there were individuals in the company who did a great job…. but it was clear to most people here that there were others who were operating on another planet. Which one were you?? Who releases a website without a link back to the home page?

    Maybe your future employers will believe your assurances that you didnt work on failure.. but if it looks like duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck… its a ????

    Wake up!

  26. Robert Simeon May 27, 2008 at 2:13 pm #

    I loved this comment – Gold!!

    “I just ask that before anyone makes a fool of themselves by posting irrelevant comments, just dig a little deeper and get the real reasons, rather than the ones you have put forward to make yourself feel better
    , or justify your existence.”

    Initially it had a developmental business model that it could co-exist with Domain and REA as a pay to advertise property portal.

    At no time before and not until many months after the launch did MyHome management decide that it was going pear shaped and they should immediately commence introducing themselves to the real estate agents.

    Who would ever launch a product without first consulting the key players that would determine their very own survival. Then of course they forgot that a couple of franchisors were already under an online contract with another portal (just a small oversight).

    They let themselves down – and what was actually “irrelevant” was their very own businesss model. As for digging deeper (that is true) the JV partners got sick and tired of digging deep into their respective pockets. Which is why they “boned” MyHome – RIP!!

  27. snoop May 28, 2008 at 9:08 am #

    So whos running the book on which of the franchises who didnt believe in the model or support it are bidding for the assetts!!!!!

  28. Coastal Agent May 29, 2008 at 1:07 pm #

    It hasn’t taken long for domain to effectively increase their prices!Agents offering holiday rentals have this week been told that http://www.domainholiday.com.au has now merged with the fairfax owned http://www.stayz.com.au and that Stayz is so generously offering to waive the nightly booking fee until the end of June!

    The price increase comes in the form that the Domain subscription rate won’t be reduced and the Stayz nightly booking fee equates to over 70% of the Gross commission the agent would receive on the average booking (without conisdering the admin of sorting the bookings originating from Stayz and paying them as opposed to the bookings originating from other sources). Nice once fairfax! But then again, this is quite similar to what they did when they established commercialrealestate.com.au, when they shifted subscribers onto another site and then introduced fees for that site in addition to their standard fees.

    Is it possible at all that realestate.com.au is the one who bends the agent over less often? Or is it just that REA is a bit slow and hasn’t increased their costs yet? REA at least always charged extra for commercial listings but has recently split holiday listings onto another site.

    Just wait until both REA and Domain split the permanent rental listings onto other sites!

    Bring on Google base I say!

  29. AJ May 30, 2008 at 12:46 am #

    Ex myhome employee,

    Let us take aside the ‘industry’ argument for a moment.

    Can you please tell us why the consumers did not go to the site?

    Let us remember the basics. Myhome was a business. It wanted to charge agents to list on the site. Agents are interested in reaching consumers with a view to getting leads. Myhome never had enough consumers to provide decent leads.

    So whilst you may blame the industry.. I think the industry should actually blame you! Yes you personally. What were you doing all those months to drive consumers to the site?

    What I find most interesting is that from an ‘Industry’ side.. Harcourts, Elders, Barry Plant, and most likely Raine and Horne, Century 21… all were shareholders. So this means that these corporate entities would receive money from agencies paying for Myhome subscriptions.

    Think about it. If you are an independent agent, then you are paying quassi franchise fees.

    If you are already a Franchisee of those shareholders, then you would have been paying your franchisor twice.

    Now what agent in their right mind would want to follow either of those two options?

    The one shot Myhome had to combat everything was to drive leads. But the consumers did not come. When they did, they found listings which had been sold many years prior, on a site they could not navigate.

    And you wonder why the site never got traction?

    Ex Myhome employee, can you please explain to us why some agents were paying their fees, and others not? What are you going to do to pay back the money to the agents who paid their fees?

  30. Charlie June 7, 2008 at 1:25 am #

    Fascinating discussion – this is my first post; some insight from WA about myhome: why did a large media company with a history of successful online venturing fail so spectacularly?

    1. They were late into the market (most other players have been doing this for 8 years or more – there is little substitute for hard won battle experiences)

    2. They offered little that was ‘new’ or different for the clients

    3. The real estate agencies did not need another real estate web site (over in WA, there are the 2 obvious national portals, and 2 other strong local ones – 4 is enough, plus your own site = 5)

    4. The site (search) itself was confusing and seemed ‘technology-driven’

    5. Certainly (over here), they failed to get sufficient content to provide an adequate selection of properties for home searchers. In a survey of about 160 offices in central Perth, I could see only 1 on myhome.

    I commend what they tried to do in some ways, but also they seemed (how it came across anyway) to be jumping on the bandwagon a little too late?

    As you say above G-base will throw an interesting hand grenade into the markeplace… interesting times no doubt.

  31. Towns Shearing July 29, 2008 at 1:27 pm #

    I agree with Charlie – fascinating discussion!

    We were also a real estate agent that had our properties showing on myhome.

    I remember when they first approached us, my boss was all excited because he surmised that anything backed by Microsoft was sure to win! I wasn’t so sure (after I saw the site).

    All our staff agreed that the site was terrible. As someone said above, the distinct impression was that it was made by developers for developers. The site focused more on the ‘cool little things’ you could do than delivering the actual content in the easiest way possible.

    Their salespeople seemed incredibly desperate to get us on board, and for a company backed by PBL and Microsoft the feeling you got from their business was that they were an empty shell.

    We always had problems with Myhome not showing properties correctly and also had issues where they completely botched up the prices on our listings (some were displaying as only $195.00!!!). While this was Myhome’s fault, the customer/buyer didn’t know this and it was reflecting badly on us.

    We disassociated ourselves with myhome for these reasons.

Leave a Reply