RPData and Realestate.com.au Enter a “New” Strategic Alliance

RPData and Realestate.com.au have entered into a strategic alliance, replacing a previous agreement that was set to expire later this year anyway.  

Part of the original agreement included the transfer of the property.com.au to realestate.com.au, non compete clauses and the transfer of agents listing data from Realestate.com.au to RPData using a snippet from the Realestate.com.au terms and conditions.

This data feed between the two has been confusing to agents for quite awhile. The sharing of business data that real estate agents have collected from clients according to their specific privacy policies is sent to RPData without any open disclosure from Realestate.com.au and RPData back to the agent.  Many agents are oblivious that this actually takes place. In fact very few agents would actually make their clients aware through their own privacy policy that a third part like Realestate.com.au sells their information through a content licensing arrangement to RPData.

In fact for years RPData incorrectly labelled agents photos they received through this information pipeline as their own “copyright”. This often lead to disputes between agents when an office used the RPData copies believing that their monthly subscription gave them the right to use another agents work.

Over the past 6 months there have been rumours that each seen the others market place as potential opportunities. I have actually found this hard to believe given the current market conditions and I personally put it down to negotiation strategy as their current arrangements came closer to an end. Remember that the previous arrangement included non compete clauses and it only makes sense to make the other think you might be considering competing with them. However each are listed public companies that have copped a hammering in the sharemarket recently and the last thing each needs to do is enter into a costly war with each other.    

Both RPData and Realestate.com.au are national market leaders in their own market space and this alliance makes just as much sense today as it did when the original agreement was put in place. Only time will tell what the next phase of the relationship will bring but a new website/business seems part of the arrangement. Both need the increased revenue a new venture might bring to counter the effects that the GFC has had on their primary cash cow, the real estate industry.  

I reckon we have a joint website/business on the horizon focussing on consumer reports leveraging RPData’s sales records and statistics with Realestate.com.au’s traffic and exposure.  Instead of just chasing advertising revenues the two will carve up the “consumer reports” business and split the profits between them.

The new alliance also provides a continuing counterpoint to the relationship with their respective competitors, Domain and Australian Property Monitors.  

REA, Realestate.com.au, rpdata

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About Glenn Batten

Glenn Batten is the General Manager at First National Real Estate Nerang and Principal at the First National Real Estate Upper Coomera office and has over 20 years real estate experience and a passion for technology. Glenn has been writing from an agents perspective on industry issues and covering a range of topics on Business2 since 2007.

12 Responses to RPData and Realestate.com.au Enter a “New” Strategic Alliance

  1. Glenn Batten March 23, 2009 at 10:46 pm #

    I have been a little quiet of late as I have been tied up with upgrading our server and the resulting changes to our network, policies, procedures etc etc..

  2. Robert Simeon March 24, 2009 at 11:50 am #

    Glenn,

    I would see this merger as more of a case of remaining competitive as against being left behind. I still can’t understand why REA had all this sales data to themselves yet they had to JV this given that Domain grow their data machine APM/Domain data organically. Obviously REA struggle with this concept and have done so for many years now. The reality being is that REA are no longer seen as an active participant given their focus was global not local.

    Obviously they are going back to local as they realise that they were on the wrong business model. Given the amazing declines we are witnessing with their traffic to our business I can see why they are aggressively leaning on the panic buttons.

    When one sits back and looks at what REA had as against today what they have lost – their actions confirm the obvious. Domainhas out played them with data and REA gave Domain way too much start only to see them playing catch up today.

  3. Simon March 24, 2009 at 4:03 pm #

    ^ co-sign the above.

  4. Simon March 25, 2009 at 11:08 pm #

    Glenn (or anyone) – don’t be swayed by realestate.com.au’s traffic claims.
    8 out of 10 agents from Broome to Bondi use their site for market research. We walk into the office in the am, boil the kettle, have a browse and read through our Home Alerts at the same time.
    10 agents an office, 10 offices a Suburb, 10 suburbs in your immediate area, 100 more before you get to the next city centre.
    Add up the agent traffic!
    It is obscene that they keep ramming their figures down our throats, when i’d guestimate 60% upwards is us agents!! What an audience!!

  5. Glenn Batten March 25, 2009 at 11:52 pm #

    Simon,

    I dont think you have have to worry about too many agents believing the huge traffic numbers sprouted by any of the portals.

    I posted recently about this and I can’t remember the exact numbers but I remember I was shocked at the time.. We had a problem with out exchange mail server and all out mail was being redirected into a central mailbox that I had access too. So when you started looking at exactly the number of emails sent out to our company it was staggering. Emails were being sent to current and existing salespeople. I think I added up just the email brochures sent to just one salesperson to total $15 or more in REA brochures. Thats just to one salesperson in one day. On top of all the ebrochures was home alerts..

    REA and Domain for that matter have received a hard time over their stats over the years. When asked for additional statistics to qualify or provide perspective on their published statistics the answers were always promised, but never delivered.. not once.

    Do their statistics sway agents… sure, some are probably sucked in by lots of zeros… but not too many would fall for all that. for most agents its about results, and at least in our agency REA still tops those numbers, at least for now.

    I dont for one minute think that agents make up 60% of their traffic. I am afraid thats just not possible. There is only around 10000 agencies in Australia… Even if each had an average of 10 salespeople (which they dont) thats only 100,000 individual salespeople.. Web analytics deals in unique visitors for instance … or in rea speak “property seekers” or whatever they are calling them this month.. returning visitors are counted just once… not for every visit. But I agree with you that there stats are full of inaccuracies…. all of which have been discussed on this blog multiple times in detail. In fact we provide our sales team with a range of bookmarked searches for research purposes on our intranet.

    Do REA stats sway me??… certainly not!

  6. Sal Espro March 26, 2009 at 1:30 pm #

    What a joke that agents keep lining-up to pay RPData et al for the data they provide RPData and then have to buy back!(apart from huge fees to portals etc!)
    Agents had their chance to own all of this with Property.com.au but through it all away through the pig-ignorance of certain Fairfax-loving, a**se-licking agents. (And then discovered what they had lost years later when it was too late!)

    (In this marketplace, rather than 10,000, try something closer to 6,000 ‘active’ agents, Glenn).

    The World just keeps turning!

    All the breast,
    Sal 🙂

  7. PaulD March 26, 2009 at 3:08 pm #

    REIA did a survey in December last year. They sent the survey to 11,767 agencies in Australia following the survey they did a year earlier. I guess that if they sent them to that many agencies 4 months ago, and considering some closures and amalgamations, that around 10,000 would be a reasonable approximation. I’m not sure whether the link will work, but have a try anyway. http://bizdata.insightrix.com/wo2442/REIA_2009_Executive_Summary.pdf

  8. Michael McNamara March 27, 2009 at 2:07 pm #

    Sal,

    Puh – lease.

    The old – “agents give data to these companies only to buy it back” argument is as tired as it is naive.

    I mean fair shake of the sauce bottle—-

    RP Data, invests a mammoth $9 million p.a. on size, depth, scope, accuracy & timeliness of its data.

    Examples are:–

  9. Paddy March 27, 2009 at 3:38 pm #

    Michael,

    You raise very valid points, and it is important for everyone to acknowledge all the sources and expenses which comprise your products.

    However, how much does RPData pay realestate.com.au for the agents data?

    $500,000? $1,000,000? More?

    As the data remains the IP of the agents, why don’t you get this information directly from the source and perhaps provide discounts or maybe revenue to the very people who supply you with the core resource for your products?

    Government data is flawed and not timely. Hence you need listings data and are prepared to pay handsomely for this information. Why not engage closer with the source?

    You might be able to pick up more meaningful qualitative data which should prove useful to your predictive methodologies of the market – such as, how many times does an agent engage with a purchaser before a contract is presented, or what is the average price negotiations for each property type (luxury down to investment) based on geographic location. The list goes on… but is certainly useful information for agents.

    Don’t you think it is time that you were honest about the value of the Agents Data/IP, and without it, you would not be in the position you are today?

    Lets not forget the time when RPData was wrongfully claiming agents IP as their own.

    Now that is a fair shake of the sauce bottle!

  10. Sal Espro April 2, 2009 at 10:55 am #

    “Tired” I might be Michael, but “naive”? *L*Not when you’ve been around as long as I and experienced the parasitic (and obviously condescending) approach to this industry that has fed you and your mates well for some time – both in your former life pre-RPData and now while you’re well and truly in bed with them.
    It seems a pity to me that you are still oblivious to what agents really think about RPData and its peers and just keep on keeping on banging your own drum. But I guess, like Realestate.com.au, that doesn’t matter while you keep getting away with ripping us and our clients off!

    Ps Where I come from, abuse is responded to man to man without mucking around with pretentious sauce bottles and affectatious North Shore/South Yarra speech.

    Even older and more tired,
    Sal 🙂

  11. Jon May July 29, 2010 at 4:43 pm #

    It gives me the sh%*s that RP Data have free use of photos uploaded to realestate.com.au. Here is a large corporation making money from a product and not paying the producer of that product, photographers, a red cent.

    RP Data would be a pretty lame service without photographs.

    Because of the pervasive presence of re.com.au, RE Agents are ‘forced’ into agreeing to a bunch of T&Cs before uploading photos to realestate.com.au. Who’s not going to tick that “I agree’ box?

    And then RP Data have the temerity to put their copyright label on the photos. While the T&Cs agreed to by the agent during upload supposedly grant RP Data many things, they do not confer copyright, which Australian law says remains with the photographer.

    Of course, any pursuit of recourse from RP Data will just be deflected back to agents, the photographer’s clients. Catch 22.

    “(f) ensure that material you upload through use of the Service is not…in breach of copyright or would otherwise expose us to any liability, legal proceedings or other sanction;”

    I welcome any views on this – for or against.

  12. Jon May July 29, 2010 at 5:05 pm #

    Having read the thread above more closely I see that others also suck a lemon at the thought of RPD using the products of others (listings data) for pecuniary advantage.

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