Why you think advertising costs too much, and why it doesn’t

During my time at realestate.com.au, I saw that the company has lots of happy customers (no snide remarks, please). But, it also has trouble convincing some agents that they should pay more over time for online real estate advertising. In this post I uncover the secret cause of that trouble and ask for your ideas on how to solve it–to everyone’s satisfaction.  Both sides feel they are being reasonable. The folks at realestate.com.au feel it is only fair to charge more when you deliver more. They were delivering better and better results–especially when viewed relative to other media.

But, this group of agents have gotten used to paying a certain price and still believe that one-time price is the fair and right one. To them, a price rise is a betrayal of how things should be.

For the longest time, I couldn’t understand why this issue had become so intractable. Why was it making some agents in particular so hostile to realestate.com.au? (If agents have other reasons for being hostile, I don’t mean to address them in this post. I’m speaking particularly about pricing.)

Was it just a negotiating tactic on the part of the agents, to see if they could demand lower prices? Perhaps for some it was, but I thought the misunderstanding had a deeper cause.

Then I read Daniel Ariely’s book, Predictably Irrational, and suddenly I had an answer. Before I explain, let me quote a story from the book. (Bear with me. Even though this story is about pearls, it is relevant.) In 1973 a man named Assael began trying to sell black pearls from Tahiti to Westerners. At the time, black pearls were unknown in the West…and unwanted.

“At first, Assael’s marketing efforts failed. The pearls were gunmetal gray, about the size of musket balls, and he returned to Polynesia without having made a single sale. Assael could have dropped the black pearls altogether or sold them at a low price to a discount store. He could have tried to push them to consumers by bundling them together with a few white pearls. But instead Assael waited a year … and then brought them to an old friend, Harry Winston, the legendary gemstone dealer. Winston agreed to put them in the window of his store on Fifth Avenue, with an outrageously high price tag attached. Assael, meanwhile, commissioned a full-page advertisement that ran in the glossiest of magazines. There, a string of Tahitian black pearls glowed, set among a spray of diamonds, rubies, and emeralds.

“The pearls, which had shortly before been the private business of a cluster of black-lipped oysters, hanging on a rope in the Polynesian sea, were soon parading through Manhattan on the arched necks of the city’s most prosperous divas. Assael had taken something of dubious worth and made it fabulously fine.”

One lesson from this story is certainly that it pays to have influential friends, like Harry Winston. But the more relevant lesson is about imprinting on an anchor price. Research has proven that the first price at which a person seriously considers buying something becomes the “anchor” price against which they evaluate all future prices for that same product.

Let’s take this concept back to online real estate advertising. This product was dirt cheap about 10 years ago and justifiably so. The internet was in its infancy. Things are different today, and the ads deliver much better results and reach an exponentially bigger audience. Put simply, they are worth more.

Here’s the rub: even as the ads have increased in value, the perception of some agents of what they should be paying for them keeps snapping back like a bungee cord to that first price of the early days. Ariely’s research showed time and again that the anchor price has incredible influence on people’s behaviour. And, it seems to me, we are seeing that same dynamic play out in online real estate.

Here’s another excerpt from Ariely’s book that will be closer to your heart:

“Uri Simonsohn (a professor at the University of Pennsylvania) and George Loewenstein … found that people who move to a new city generally remain anchored to the prices they paid for housing in their former city. In their study they found that people who move from inexpensive markets (say, Dubbo, NSW) to moderately priced cities (say, Artarmon, NSW) don’t increase their spending to fit the new market. Rather, these people spend an amount similar to what they were used to in the previous market, even if this means having to squeeze themselves and their families into smaller or less comfortable homes. Likewise, transplants from more expensive cities sink the same dollars into their new housing situation as they did in the past. People who move from Los Angeles to Pittsburgh, in other words, don’t generally downsize their spending much once they hit Pennsylvania: they spend an amount similar to what they used to spend in Los Angeles.

“It seems that we get used to the particularities of our housing markets and don’t readily change. The only way out of this box, in fact, is to rent a home in the new location for a year or so. That way, we adjust to the new environment–and, after a while, we are able to make a purchase that aligns with the local market.”

My conclusion is that agents who resist paying more for online advertising today are like the person from Dubbo who has moved to Artarmon. They want to pay the same amount for something that (in the new circumstances) arguably is worth and certainly costs more.

Seeing things from this perspective takes some of the heat out of the argument. But, it won’t solve the problem, which affects realestate.com.au, its competitors and other online publishers, too. I have a couple of high-level ideas for solutions:

• One solution for online real estate publishers is to offer new products that are so dissimilar to existing online advertising products that agents don’t refer back to their anchor price for a comparison.

• Another is for agents to do a rigorous cost-benefit analysis of all the sources of leads to their business and allocate budgets accordingly.

I’d be interested to read any other ideas for solutions. I think both agents and companies like realestate.com.au would be happier if this problem was solved.

A personal note: I apologize for the time that has passed since my last post. I’m on a sabbatical year. However, I had a chat with Peter recently about something that’s been on my mind, and he kindly encouraged me to post about it. So, if you hate my post, complain to Peter! Let me also be clear that I am no longer affiliated with realestate.com.au; I resigned my position there to dedicate myself to the kids (and allow my wife the distinct privilege of working to pay off our mortgage). Of course, I still love the company and its people; I can’t hide that.

Artarmon, Daniel Ariely, Realestate.com.au, Uri Simonsohn

SEO For Real Estate
Listing Leads
Agentpoint Real estate

About Dave Platter

Dave does PR in real estate and technology.

27 Responses to Why you think advertising costs too much, and why it doesn’t

  1. Barney May 26, 2009 at 9:55 am #

    Why not return to the old model of a fair charge for cost per thousand impressions? Whilst the per impression cost may be lower for Online v’s Print, at least you can set a bench mark now. That way, as the universe of dedicated online users grows, so will the charge. Value for money?

    Did you see the recent Cobden and Hayson email based survey? They had over 250 respondants, and here was an interesting reult:

    Question: In order of preference what is the best way to search for new properties?

    Result: Over 90% of respondents use the internet/agents database to search for new listings. Only 7.7% of respondents used paper classifieds.

  2. Greg Vincent May 26, 2009 at 10:37 am #

    Dave. Great to see you here again.

    Whilst REA do a great job of delivering leads to real estate agents & they’ve become a household name with consumers I think REA needs to find ways to build more loyalty with their agents & stop thinking of ways that they can increase their charges to agents, because ultimately all REA seem to be looking at is ways to hurt the very people that feed them their content every day.

    The problem that I see with advertising on realestate.com.au is that, yes it may help to build an agents profile & yes you may get some targetted traffic across to an agents website, but in the main your ads are just interruption marketing that sends people over to a website where people can search for a reduced number of listings.

    I see your ads as a waste of money for 2 main reasons, but if these were rectified then these ads could have enormous value to an agent.

    There are 2 parts to internet marketing:- 1. Conversion & 2: Generate Traffic.

    1. Conversion ~ One of the main things I’ve learnt from my internet marketing is that Conversion will always be a problem while ever you are relying on self-promotional banner ads saying we are number 1, etc that send people across to a static website.

    Dave, this isn’t something that is REA’s fault, but because very few agents have mechanisms in place to get the traffic to convert online you’ll always find that the traffic your banner ads generate ends up adding little to no value to the agent.

    2. Traffic ~ If it’s just traffic an agent is after to get visitors to their site I can show them how they can get tonnes of traffic for FREE. Actually we generated over 10,000 to a web page in less than 8 hours just the other day & it cost us nothing.

    Dave REA are trying to defy gravity, because as the web develops, most services get cheaper & lots of companies are now providing lots & lots of FREE stuff for their customers. When was the last time REA did that?

    REA should get their head out of the sand & look at the trend across the web. Everything is getting cheaper.

  3. Brett Clements May 26, 2009 at 10:39 am #

    I like where Barney is coming from; its measurable and relates to how Commercial TV ratings work. Shows with small audiences pull cheaper ad rates. Content that is pulling bandwidth needs to pay more for the comms. But I also think the content has to be compelling. And short and TWEET in this age of short attention spans.

  4. PaulD May 26, 2009 at 12:47 pm #

    Dave, I’ve been here before. REA is STILL producing spin in it’s own promotion. 4.6 million property seekers was the last joke number this month.
    The thing is, that the numbers keep rising and the measurable results keep falling. Around 2003-2005 the response rate from the supposed “property seekers” – I think they used to call them “buyers” in those days – but that was an even bigger joke. Anyway the response rate was around 2%. In other words 2 people for every hundred who “looked” responded with an email. That is the kind of response that I used to think was ok. Well, now that response rate in my office is .004%. In other words 4 people per thousand send an email. So one fifth of the response rate that we used to get. Now you can come up with as many excuses as you like, the fact is, our response rate indicates that all that extra traffic generated is other agents checking out our properties, or people looking with no real interest in buying not buyers who are genuinely interested. So I think it borders on misrepresentation to state the numbers the way REA do. The only thing is, how could it possibly be misrepresentation when nobody believes them anyway – that’s the joke. And Greg, traffic is not the answer. I couldn’t care less if an additional 10,000 people visited my website, if it produced no extra enquiry. Quality not quantity is what I want. The actual number of emails is similar to what it was 5 years ago. Why should I pay more for the same number of emails I was getting 5 years ago ? I expect to pay some increases, as the cost of doing business goes up, but my cost for REA has doubled in the last 5 years. That’s better than an annual 18% increase. The CPI has been around 3% average in that time. Now maybe it was cheap to start with, but I think that has been overcome by the average 18% increases per year, and I believe we are about near what it’s worth. Any further increases may see the customers looking elsewhere. I think the cost per impression is flawed as well, because all they need to do is set up some bot that earns them more money. Fortunately the internet is a competitive environment and when someone oversteps the mark, there will always be someone there to step in.

  5. Robert Simeon May 26, 2009 at 1:08 pm #

    My mate Dave is back 🙂

    Great to see you back posting and quite thought provocative indeed. I can understand online businesses wanting to increase their respective ROI – however, having said that I fail to see where REA have actually improved their model in recent years. The current homepage has been around as long as Bert Newton!

    Secondly, (I know that people will say it is a Mosman thing) it appears to our business that REA have lost ground to Domain in recent years based on the comparisons of email leads where our current ratio is Domain 6 – REA 1. Previously 3:1. Interesting to note that online enquiries have increased at an amazing rate once print spends decline.

    I agree with Barney’s suggestion of lead generation costings – however I would suspect that REA would lose money if this came to fruition.

    The global financial crisis has uncovered a vortex of consumer changes in that online business has skyrocketed purely from an economy of scale basis. It should be remembered that in our last recession in the early nineties the internet was yet to be discovered.

    Consumers have been very quick to adapt just take the Twitter phenomenon as a great example – and yes they will launch their property portal soon too. An interesting battle between Twitter and Google.

    Then it comes down to relevance given that you can’t charge for more when you are actually doing less. This is where the problem lies for REA in our particular case given that they are delivering less to our business subscription.

    Obviously, consumer sentiment have (are) changed and online is (will) become the model of choice for real estate in particular again – given the economies of scale argument. I would agree 100 per cent with the the Cobden Hayson email survey given that in the current market the high-tech online agencies are doing much better than the non-savvy real estate operations.

    The one thing that never goes away is competition and REA have plenty of online competition and that my good friend is the measure they should be most concerned about. Great to have you back 🙂

  6. PaulD May 26, 2009 at 1:28 pm #

    I forgot to add that the response rate for people looking for rental properties has stayed the same for the whole time at around that 2% and sometimes a little better. I think that is a very telling statistic. This casts further doubt on the numbers of “property seekers”

  7. Greg Vincent May 26, 2009 at 1:55 pm #

    Paul, I agree. Untargeted traffic isn’t the answer for real estate agents.

    Has the visitor numbers on your listings increased during this period, whilst the emails numbers have reduced or are the visitor numbers down too?

  8. PaulD May 26, 2009 at 4:24 pm #

    Greg,
    Our email numbers have roughly stayed the same, and our “Unique Browser” ( don’t you just love that term?) numbers have increased enormously. That’s my point – the extra people (called property seekers) are not property seekers at all, where sales are concerned. Where property management is concerned, the ratio has remained constant for the last 6 years.

  9. Glenn Batten May 26, 2009 at 10:50 pm #

    Dave,

    Consider this..

    Three years ago you were paying $2 for your local paper from the paperboy. He bought the paper for $1.50 and made 50c per paper. The paperboy was just doing your street but now he is delivering the whole suburbs. His wholesale price has increased because he now pays $1.70 per paper but over the past three years he has increased prices by around 30% every year so a paper now costs $4.

    Every week he puts a little flyer with your Saturday edition that told you how many papers he was delivering. He keeps telling you about how many papers he is delivering more than the other paper boys in the city and how he has purchased all the other paper runs around the suburb. Thousands and thousands of papers and because each paper was 50 pages that represented hundreds of thousands of pages viewed.

    You corner that paperboy one morning to front him about the cost of your paper and instead of that rusty old bike he use to ride he is delivering papers in a mercedes.. Instead of storing the papers in his parents garage he has bought himself a flash new factory and employs his parents as his executive team, paying them big salaries and himself huge annual bonuses.

    So you ask him how he can justify paying $4 for a paper now when his costs have only increased by 20c. He answers you with lots of big numbers of how many papers he delivers now and how many pages are read in those papers. You point out that you are still only getting 7 papers a week and the total number of papers he delivers has releveance to himself and the other paperboys in the city but all you care about is weeks reading not what the rest of the city does. The paperboy questions why would you be upset paying $4 as thats only fair given all the papers he has to deliver and his rising costs.

    *********************************

    I have to concur with the others. Whilst REA might technically be producing more pageviews for the industry they now have more clients to divide that traffic up. IMHO REA is not producing “more” for each client and the only people I have ever met who believe that either work for REA or use to 🙂 In fact, I am not even confident that you really beleive that.

    A small price rise to reflect higher expenses is only natural and to be expected but that is not what That really is the crux of the problem that most agents have with price. There is always going to be some agents who just don’t like any price rise no matter what the situation, but most would not have a problem if they were receiving more in return.

    Dave as you know one of the easiest ways to measure the return on investment is by the number of enquiries each office gets. You and I have had this discussion a few times so lets look down memory lane.

    Your job back then was to protect and promote the REA image and thats what you did. When I offered some critique of Myhome in the “MyHome Gets some Upgrades” back in March 2007 you jumped in offering us the increases of email leads to agents by realestate.com.au.

    January 2006, 410,000 email leads to agents
    January 2007, 580,000 email leads to agents

    What probably shocked you at that time is that REA then became the topic of the conversation. I remember it so well because you came out with one of my favourite comments ever on this blog..

    “I

  10. PaulD May 27, 2009 at 12:59 pm #

    Glenn – “The paperboy” Sensational analogy !!

  11. Glenn Batten May 27, 2009 at 4:26 pm #

    PaulD,

    Thanks.. Its not the perfect fit to the circumstances I would like it to be (its old media, not new media for instance) but as long as it gets the point across thats all that matters.

    The answer to the dilemma of course is to read the news online for free ! 🙂

  12. paddy May 27, 2009 at 5:40 pm #

    The problem for REA and Domain, are their Print Classifieds masters, who are attempting to hold on to the drought stricken ‘rivers of gold’.

    With Murdock soon to charge for editorial online content, one can make a safe bet that REA will increase its subscription prices again (yes continuing on the annual price increases which did happen this year despite a ‘price freeze’) until 2010.

    Dave, to provide a more technology related analogy.

    Think of a Mazda 121.

    In 1999 a Mazda 121 cost around $12,000. It is the base entry to the Mazda range, with the sole purpose of providing an affordable and economical way to get from point A to point B.

    Jump ahead to 2009. We see that the same model has had significant technological changes. Better performance, fuel efficiency, lower emissions, new suspension, new interiors, Air bags!! Fuel injection…etc… so much innovation that the car is unrecognizable today in its Mazda 2 badge.

    The car today costs around $17 000 on the road (with various extras like warranties and loyalty programs).

    Over a ten year period, there has been an increase in the cost of the car of around 41%.

    Yet this increase has remained within inflation levels to have the car still placed within 1998 average income levels (if not lower).

    Mazda have managed to do this by using economies of scale, listening to the customer (and providing what the want), and consistently innovating and delivering more.

    By contrast, the last realestate.com.au comprehensive website redesign was in 2005, yet since that year, the subscription prices have gone up more than 40%. (does anyone remember what an REA Subscription cost in 1999?)

    Yes realestate.com.au have launched ‘new products’ such as Feature All, Ebrochure All etc.. but really, none of those products help you sell a property faster, as consumers look at the listings on the site which match their criteria.

    Proof of the last statement comes from REA itself. Not once have they release any factual unbiased research, that proves that Feature Listings, ebrochures etc… sell a property above and beyond what a standard listing does. All REA can show is that these listings may be viewed more, but that is due to site design (Default search results) and basic Push Pull Marketing (email database mining).

    It could be argued that the only innovation to come from REA has been in the area of finding ways to get more money out of the industry, than by providing a better service.

    As Glenn points out, REA is now a significant employer. As a company it has investments in various overseas markets, with most of those investments running at a loss. This means that the money has to come from somewhere.

    So why do agents and the industry complain about rising subscription prices?

    1. In comparison to other products, price increases have exceeded the value proposition.

    2. The companies have become complacent, and appear to drive product innovation from a balance sheet, rather than value to the core customer.

    3. The price increases are out of Whack with market penetration, with no adoption of economies of scale.

    4. Their Discounting policy, favouring selected groups, drives a wedge within the industry.

    5. Promising the industry that Private Sellers will not list on the site, as REA supports the industry, yet in the last 6 months there has been an explosion of Private listings on the site.

    I think Glenn raises a very interesting point in relating to Telstra.

    Telstra/Sensis focused so much on revenue based product delivery, that their offerings of Justlisted and Yellowpages online, either turned out to be failures (justlisted) or in need of expertise of more expert providers/competitors (eg. Yellowpages outsourcing Search to Google).

    If we think that up until now there have been too many price increases for little innovation, then we may be in for an interesting time ahead, as all the top people now at REA come from Sensis.

    Thank the heavens above for Google and their property foray!

  13. Mike May 28, 2009 at 12:55 am #

    Dave,

    I believe the real and underlying issue with the REA revenue model and hence agents frustration is it is simply unjustified…… subscription models in general are being faded out.

    Pulling massive and very impressive UB’s is obviously their only justification for the large subscription costs. There are numerous trigger points which create debate and alot have already been mentioned.

    Quantifying the value of your subscription fees is difficult and in most cases not a very attractive result for your bottom line which some good examples have been shown as well.

    Ultimately from an agents perspective the most preffered model would be a Cost Per Action model (leads) CPM model for page impressions (pay for a result) then the argument would begin what is a realistic cost for that action.

    REA have created a marketplace for a model which works for them (as a business) and I commend the position they have attained. I am frustrated that Real Estate Agents/Industry bodies in general are not banding together and making REA & Other publishers justify to the individual office who is paying their fees actual quantifiable data other than sky high site UB’s that was justification 10 years ago but not today.

    REA and other publishers need to be more accountable for the fees they demand if they were more transparent and justified with their price increases with actual agency specific data not just broad overall site UB’s then I am sure their clients would be more accomodating and accept the rises.

    M

  14. Dave Platter June 4, 2009 at 8:32 pm #

    It’s great to see all your names and comments again. I really appreciate all your thoughts and input on this topic.

    Always provocative, this mob is.

    I have to take a deep breath before I reply, however, because of my current status as just an average citizen and father. I love the people at REA. But, given the nature of my old job, it would be wildly inappropriate for me now to claim to represent or explain them in any way.

    Probably, I should have avoided mentioning them by name at all in this post. I certainly didn’t intend for it to sound like I was trumpeting their line. If I caused any confusion in that respect, I apologize about that.

    However, Greg, I can respond to your comments about how agents can get more bang for the buck they spend on marketing.

  15. Dave Platter June 4, 2009 at 8:33 pm #

    Greg,

    I just read this item on Inman.com. I think it’s subscription-only, so here’s an excerpt. I’m not sure how you feel this writer’s comments match up with your suggestions, above, but I found it interesting. (Remember, it’s based on US data.)

    http://tinyurl.com/klqs5g

    Where should you concentrate your marketing efforts in 2009? What strategies work with today’s consumers and which ones should be discarded? The NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers for 2008 provides some important clues that you cannot afford to ignore.

    1. Increase your online advertising budget
    If you’re throwing your money into newspaper advertising, magazines or buying guides, you may want to shift some of those print advertising dollars to online advertising. According to the survey, only 1 percent of consumers found their agent through the newspaper, Yellow Pages, direct mail, or specialty advertising such as calendars and magnets. Furthermore, the number of people finding their homes through a newspaper, a home book or magazine, or directly through the sellers declined by 50 percent. Part of this is due to how people begin their real estate search. Eleven times more buyers now begin their search process on the Internet (33 percent) than they do in print (3 percent).

    3. Internet usage trends
    According to the survey, “Eighty-seven percent of home buyers used the Internet to search for homes, up from 71 percent five years ago. Not only has the trend in overall usage risen, but the percent of buyers using the Internet frequently increased from 42 percent in 2003 to 69 percent in 2008.” Even though buyers actively search for homes on the Internet, a whopping 77 percent then drove by or viewed the home in person.

    4. Value of Web site features
    Buyers overwhelmingly cited that photos (86 percent) coupled with detailed information (84 percent) and virtual tours (68 percent) were the most useful Web site features to them. Two studies conducted by Point2Agent in 2007 and 2008 showed that having 16 photos (as opposed to 15 photos), resulted in 33 percent more page views. Based upon the Point2Agent study, the optimum number of photos for lead conversion is a minimum of 20.

  16. Craig June 4, 2009 at 8:34 pm #

    Dave, you didn’t answer the question asked. How can realestate.com.au justify increasing prices disproportionate to the increased lead generation. While new features are good they are really just icing on the cake and not worth paying double for.

  17. Glenn Batten June 4, 2009 at 8:34 pm #

    Dave,

    You are not trying to claim your being bullied are you? I hope not 🙂

    Despite what you say about the same old faces It really is just a case of different faces saying the same things.

    In my case thats easy to appreciate.. hell I even gave you the references quoting from our previous discussions…

    Most of the other people commenting on this thread though have only started doing so since you have been gone.

    I do totaly understand how you may have thought you recognised them… after all they are saying the same message as many before them and as agents we all look the same

    You said “I

  18. Robert Simeon June 4, 2009 at 8:35 pm #

    Dave …… we have you cornered! Next option ….. plead the fifth 🙂

  19. Paddy June 4, 2009 at 8:36 pm #

    I do think that we all need to remember that Dave no longer works for REA, but is none the less passionate and knowledgeable about online advertising.

    With this in mind, asking Dave to comment on his former employer is unfair, unprofessional (for both us to ask, and for him to comment), and generally not the ‘done thing’.

    Dave asked the question, and some of us answered.

    But isn’t it interesting.

    Dave engages us on here, and he no longer works at REA.

    Michael McNamara (formerly of APM and now donning the RPData badge) only makes comment to threads when he sees fit. Leaving many questions unanswered, in what could be interpreted as a contemptuous stance.

    Where is the REA (official) representative on here? and for that matter, Domain, homehound et al.

    Dave you should send an invoice to REA, RPData, domain et al .. for discussing the issues which they themselves have no backbone to make any form of engagement.

  20. Glenn Batten June 4, 2009 at 8:36 pm #

    Paddy,

    I am fully aware he does not work at REA anymore. Had he continued there I would not have bothered recycling the questions again as he dodged them for long enough that it was clear he was never going to answer them. Although Dave declares his continuing connections with REA as far as I was concerned it tries to position Dave in the middle between the agent and REA looking for a solution to both positions. This is why I asked for the information again although the smiley should show I did still not expect him to provide anything.

    Dave chose to write the article on this topic. He asked what people had for solutions to the problem. Did you really think he expected only answers that he and his friends back at REA would find palatable.

    My answer has not changed and that is the justification at an agency level regarding price rises. Not even to each agency but to the average agent. I have been asking for that for quite awhile, plus, as you pointed out… in this thread.

    The thing for REA to notice is just how many others are asking for the same thing. Discounting our comments by implying they are always from the same people is not the right way to go especially since it was so wrong.

  21. Greg Vincent June 4, 2009 at 8:37 pm #

    Dave, Thanks for the link across to Bernice Ross’s article, I don’t think anyone here would disagree that online is where agents should focus their attention.

    I’m not an REA subscriber & now that you work outside of REA I hope that you’ll be able to get an even greater perception of what’s really been happening within the industry. ( thank heavens I don’t receive all that spin any more ).

    Dave, I was pleased to see that REA have starting using Twitter & Facebook profiling over the past few weeks, but to be honest Dave, with the hefty profits being made by REA, I’m really surprised at how late they seem to be at embracing some of the fundamental changes taking place on the web.

    Perhaps there are too many people in there with the blinkers on & committee meeting after committee meeting going around in circles.

    It appears that the meetings within REA are either about trying to find a way to get agents to pay more money or waiting for someone else to develop something innovative that the REA group can purchase.

    I think REA need to keep in mind that the pecking order has changed & it’s no longer the big that eats the small in today’s world, it’s the fast that eats the slow.

    REA seem to be sitting back, rather than being on the front foot with innovation. For example… since the Mumbai bombing & the plane crashing into the Hudson River Twitter has become huge across the world.

    But, even before those events real estate agents & real estate related companies had been using Twitter over in the US for months & months beforehand. And yet…

    Domain’s first post on Twitter was 22nd Jan about “The Summer Rental Squeeze… Who’s to blame?”

    REA’s first post on Twitter was 5th May about “We’re here to listen, advise and share discussions on all things property.”

    That’s over 4 months later than Domain. That’s pathetic.

    Both Domain & REA have access to the people, the information & the resources that some of us could only dream of having & quite frankly these companies should have been some of the first to embrace Twitter & Facebook, not the last.

    REA have simply become too big & too slow to react.

    It’s no wonder agents are now looking elsewhere for their innovative.

  22. Greg Vincent June 4, 2009 at 8:37 pm #

    PS: Just to clarify, I meant REA spin about number of unique website visitors to REA each month, etc, etc when I said “( thank heavens I don

  23. Paddy June 4, 2009 at 8:38 pm #

    Glenn,

    I do find your comments in response to my open post to all of us (yes it was not directed at you, and no Business2.com.au does not link to Glennb.com.au/iknoweverythingjustaskme/butdonotquestionme )rather interesting and in contrast to your posts directed at Dave.

    “You can continue to ignore and sidestep all the questions asked of you like normal but that is not going to make it all go away.”

    Just one example.

  24. Glenn Batten June 4, 2009 at 8:38 pm #

    Paddy,

    Sorry you feel that way Paddy but I dont feel we were too hard at all. That’s my opinion and you have yours. I also didn’t think your earlier comments were directed specifically to me at all. Just because I chose to answer that post you have taken it personal? ummm..why? I chose to explain why I brought the subject up again. That does not mean you or anybody has to agree with what I said or why I brought it up. It also does not make it right.. but nor does it make it wrong.

    Quite honestly if anybody is going to post your opinions on here either in articles like Dave and I or in the comments like all of us, you are going to find lots of people who dont agree with you. I understand that and appreciate it as much as the next person but I dont get nasty about it.

    If someone does not agree with me and I think its because I have no communicated my message clearly enough for them to understand I may choose to rephrase or restate my opinion or explain it in more details. Thats not defensive. IMHO thats opinionated certainly… but not defensive. Because I have an opinion and I express that I also don’t think I know it all. Far from it… but I do have an opinion.

    For the record all my dealings with Dave have been very professional and I have personally found him a gentleman. I have nothing but respect for him on a business level but that does not mean I have to agree with what he says on behalf of he ex employer or himself. When I wrote the article about the missing realestate.com.au mail he was a lot more open than I expected him to be.

    But he wrote the article on the subject and he cant remove his connection with it just because he has left the company. He asked for solutions and he has a direct and detailed history with my suggestion for the solution.

    I am not the only one on here or before to suggest that REA should provide more information on a per agency level rather than huge big numbers they do. I am also not the only one to ask Dave a question or asked for information on the subjects at hand when he represented REA and never got that information.

    It sounds to me that your disappointment stems from the fact I did not agree with you. Thats likely to happen again, maybe not as often as I disagree with others on some subjects but we will all have to live with that. If you choose to take it personally and claim that I am being a know it all because I express that opinion… then understand that is just your OPINION and I don’t think you know it all.. 🙂

    I won’t take it personally.. hell I wont even get dissappointed, claim you know it all, … or get all pooey, or pissed off or anything else that some have claimed over the past few years when I did not agree with them at certain times. In short…. its part of the experience.. part of the job… .. its what blogging is all about.. 🙂

  25. Robert Simeon June 4, 2009 at 8:39 pm #

    There would be little point of a blog if everyone agreed! We have some great arguments (discussions) on mine – it is all about challenging the thought processes. Yes, we can be wrong and right but at the end of the day it is all about enlightenment.

    For example, Greg Vincent makes some great points identifying just how slow Domain and REA were to work with Twitter and Facebook where in all probability they believed that they were more a foe than friend. The online landscape is moving rapidly where again I agree with Gregs point “it

  26. Paddy June 4, 2009 at 8:39 pm #

    Glenn

    I understand, and agree, that we disagree on the treatment of Dave in this instance. And I am not dissapointed that we disagree at all.. just behaviour.

    To save blog inches, lets just leave it at that.

    I wrote to Peter asking him and Dave to review Bing – the new Search offering by Microsoft. Perhaps you would like to contribute there as well.

    I thought it would be interesting to the the opinion of an Industry Supplier, someone from the Online Space, and perhaps you from an Agency level.

    Robert – the turtle will never win any race. Unless of course they are a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle!. COWABUNGA!

  27. Robert Simeon June 4, 2009 at 8:40 pm #

    COWABUNGA can be confused with their relatives BULLASH&^A 🙂 Much work for the property portals to do in order to stay relevant and more importantly subscription based as against free content.

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