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Domain’s RADAR

2 minute read

Today Domain announced the launch of their new search functionality RADAR. It is an extension of their existing search tool with additional options to allow the user to narrow their search for properties to include lifestyle features.

Additional lifestyle features property seekers can select include:

..transport, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, shopping centres, libraries, post offices, museums, high schools, primary schools, child care, golf courses, swimming pools, parks, hospitals, dentists, medical centres, police stations, airports, power stations, community centres, indoor sports facilities and more.

The tool then gives each property a rating out of 5 stars according to how well the property matches your criteria. They don’t mention how they calculate the rating but the tool is reasonably intuitive as it then tells you what features do or don’t match your criteria and also maps them in relation to the property.

Domain have definitely borrowed some ideas from WalkScore I wonder whether they source the data from a similar location. All they say about the source of their data is:

Best of all this information is independently sourced so you know you can trust it.

Any issues with the application? Domain have almost doubled the number of search filters which are available to property seekers. This is great but only in areas where they have a large representation of listings. In areas where Domain do not have many listings users might enter a detailed search only to see the words “No Properties Match Your Criteria”.

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23 Comments

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted September 23, 2009 at 12:30 pm 0Likes

    A very smart initiative – we have been using http://www.walkscore.com for nearly twelve months now and clients really like it. What Domain should do is allow agents to Embed the URL for each property listing on the respective agents website pages – now that would increase their traffic 🙂

  • Craig
    Posted September 23, 2009 at 12:39 pm 0Likes

    A good move by domain. They really seem to be out doing RE.com.au in terms of innovation and site development in the last year or so.

  • Rachael Lord
    Posted September 23, 2009 at 2:17 pm 0Likes

    Domain are doing some impressive things lately. Their facebook fan page is much better than realestate.com.au’s as well!

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted September 23, 2009 at 2:28 pm 0Likes

    Overview: A great innovation and a good starting point, but be a little wary. I think every vendor will be testing this out against their listing. Think of the poor old agent if their vendor notices things that are not listed near their property that are actually there! A missing school, station, shopping centre! I can see some phone calls coming in 🙂

    Rachel! Think of the emptiness we must feel if we do not work for Fairfax or News Ltd and we are a Facebook fan?

  • Kylie Emans
    Posted September 23, 2009 at 3:18 pm 0Likes

    A little competition in the market place goes a long way, great to see domain.com.au not being complacent.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted September 23, 2009 at 4:08 pm 0Likes

    Well done Domain. It looks like it will be good for the end user & could help to increase Domain’s subscription of buyers into their client alerts.

    Like Peter said, I too hope that their local data match-ups work properly or it could become a huge nightmare for them. Fingers crossed it’s not because I think it’s a great innovation & should tie in well with future local IQ concepts under development.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted September 24, 2009 at 11:12 am 0Likes

    As a consumer I think Radar has merit but as an Agent I just don’t like it.

    Let me explain. Very few buyers purchase what they ask for. The only thing they often get right most of the time is the price range they were looking in although many will purchase higher than they were originally looking.

    As agents how many times does this thing happen. The buyers ask for a 4 bedroom home with ensuite and pool, double lockup garage for no more than $380,000. They end up buying a 3 bedroom home with study, two way bathroom, single lockup garage with a spa for $400,000.

    Radar allows a buyer to be extremely focussed on what they are looking for but that will limit the properties that actually get returned. This causes buyers to move on because they “have nothing” suitable.

    On our website you view all the properties we have in price order. This means when they look for the price range of $380,000 they see we have lots of properties around that price, and they see what that price range can provide them. They also get to see other properties slightly higher. This whole process educates them.

    I said as a consumer I liked the concept. The main reason for that is I understand the limitations on conducting such a focussed search and I have enough experience to make sure I search for just what I want. I just dont have faith that the majority of buyers out there will do the same.

    It will be popular, and buyers will love it… but that does make it right. Maybe they have a solution for my concerns but I have not seen them yet.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted September 24, 2009 at 3:44 pm 0Likes

    Glenn – I hear what you are saying and agree that buyers would love this technology. I would like to see it used as a Plugin on the individual agents site and Domain would get the traffic once someone interacts with Radar so from that perspective it is a win win situation.

  • Matthew
    Posted September 24, 2009 at 3:54 pm 0Likes

    Hi Glenn,

    If you look at the search results for a radar search you will notice that the new ‘point of interest’ criteria don’t limit the search results returned to the user, they are merely used to assign a rating/match score to the properties in the results. The user can still sort by price, last updated etc etc. If they are not finding propertise that meet their price criteria they just have to page through the results.

    Also, as a consumer I don’t trust what the agents put in the comments – what can i get out of ‘close to public transport and shops’. Radar search allows the user to see this themselves and judge the property on it’s true merits.

  • Glenn Rogers
    Posted September 24, 2009 at 8:24 pm 0Likes

    I like it and use it already, excellent initiative and it actually works.
    I think REA are already feeling the loss of Simon Baker.

    With this and other changes and Ron Walker on the way out I’ve actually gone and bought shares in Fairfax again.

  • Simon
    Posted September 25, 2009 at 10:52 am 0Likes

    Excellent initiative Domain – we need our listings to be on popular, user friendly, innovative sites, and things like Radar create a wonderful user experience. I am happy to say that i honestly believe our subscription fees are being used in a really transparent way via Domain. The revised listing pages, bigger photos, iPhone app and now Radar have me quite chuffed. REA aren’t even close to Fairfax when it comes to innovation, this much is clear.

    So, not only does Domain generate more leads for my office, it now provides a better user experience.

    Glenn B – you should consider re-subscribing!
    Maybe then any Fairfaxian (?) trolling these blogs might consider your opinions as relevant (no disrespect – the only way i could think of to convey that sentence came out blunt any which way i tried to write it – but you know what i mean i hope! – ie: you aren’t a subscriber, so why should they care what you think as an agent, when to them you are just a visitor).
    I keep telling Bentley to lower their prices, and that their cars aren’t worth that much.. they don’t listen to me either 🙂

  • Simon
    Posted September 27, 2009 at 3:54 pm 0Likes

    Peter – spoke to our rep on Friday, who said that if a school etc is missing, let them know and they will plot on map ASAP – nice to know their software is editable..

  • RV
    Posted October 6, 2009 at 8:05 am 0Likes

    Hi Glenn,

    If you look at the search results for a radar search you will notice that the new ‘point of interest’ criteria don’t limit the search results returned to the user, they are merely used to assign a rating/match score to the properties in the results. The user can still sort by price, last updated etc etc. If they are not finding propertise that meet their price criteria they just have to page through the results.

    Also, as a consumer I don’t trust what the agents put in the comments – what can i get out of ‘close to public transport and shops’. Radar search allows the user to see this themselves and judge the property on it’s true merits.

  • Rusty
    Posted October 6, 2009 at 1:08 pm 0Likes

    Only just alerted to the new Radar search today. Compared to everything else out there it rocks from a buyers perspective. I’ve been frustrated recently by the lack of properties on the market in my search area and within my budget.
    So using Radar this morning I widened the geographic focus of my exisiting search whilst adding in all my preferences and got some really helpful suggestions on where else I might find “my type of property”.
    As RV points out the new options don’t limit the search scope. Rather they give you the option to expand your horizons.

  • snoop
    Posted October 7, 2009 at 5:47 am 0Likes

    Radar is another flash in the pan.
    totally agree with Glens comments.
    Proximity based searching and attribute based searching for property is not new and radar is certainly not a world first..perhaps an aust first.
    I wonder why none of the portals have more push type technology.
    The problem for consumers today is a lack of listings ,you need to get them quickly to your phone so you can call the agent and view the property.
    Another really annoying thing is the propensity of agents to allow group viewing times only.
    This is a total degradation of service and should be banned.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted October 7, 2009 at 11:00 am 0Likes

    Simon,

    Like everybody here, Domain can place whatever priority they want on anybody’s comments or even choose to ignore it. The fact that we were a subscriber till recently (it was actually only turned off last week) but have left them due to a price hike of 170% that we would not agree to would generally make my comments more relevant to them as Domains problems right now focus on the number of agents who have left them. However in this specific case my concern lies with attribute based searching no matter who introduces it. Limiting a list of properties by one or two attributes like bedrooms and price is generally ok, but doing so with many attributes at the same time limits the number of properties returned which will never deliver what the client wants.. Lets not forget we as the agent are the client here. We are the ones paying the bill.

  • Rusty
    Posted October 8, 2009 at 11:31 am 0Likes

    Glenn,

    As RV pointed out the attributes don’t narrow the search. They enrich the user experience by providing a rating and a ranking option. Not perfect by any means but a step in the right direction from a user’s perspective. Agents like yourself will no doubt look at Domain’s market share and weigh up whether the subscription fee offers value. Always hard being second in a listings market. Maybe Domain needs to look at reducing its subscription fees and introducing performance based contextual ads. It could effectively auction the attributes to agents who would only pay when they convert into real interest. If only Fairfax Digital wasn’t shackled by its newspaper heritage.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted October 8, 2009 at 12:52 pm 0Likes

    Rusty,

    Obviously I have not explained myself fully. I totally understand that many (but not all of the criteria in Domain’s Radar does not filter, it is simply assists in the star rankings. But many of the refinement tools do filter the list.

    You will notice in the example I used the differences between what they wanted and what they purchased were based on price, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, garaging and a pool. The only criteria in that example that does not filter the results is the pool. Swimming pools are used in the ranking process only. I mentioned nothing about being close to anything and all the other factors that effect the star rating.

    My point is that by focussing on the refinement of searches less property will be served up to the buyers. For an educated searcher that is fine and it certainly makes life much easier.

    As somebody who wants to put a fantastic value $400,000 property listing in front of all buyers looking to spend $400,000 it is disappointing it is not shown to as many people as possible because it is a 3 bedroom home with a study and they have selected 4 to 5 bedrooms.

    Real estate agents know that many purchasers, especially in the early days of searching get this so wrong.. very wrong and by refining too far they end up not seeing properties that represent the best value for what they are looking for. It is a balance.. refine enough to get rid of the ones they definetly don’t need.. but keep in the ones that might be worth seeing.

    My experience is that buyers refine too much but I think I know of a few ways to lessen the impact of refining to try and reach that balance.

    For all the agents out there… What percentage of the purchasers bought specifically what they asked for. How many of them bought something that had at least one major criteria different ??

    We have a lot of first and second home buyers so I reckon only 30% of our buyers purchase exactly what they originally asked for.

  • Sal Espro
    Posted October 8, 2009 at 2:08 pm 0Likes

    Is Glenn Rodgers Simon Baker’s love child? Man, he’s not the Saviour, he was never an innovator, just the appointed CEO of an already developed product that has changed very little in a very long time! (Gee I wish Google would ramp-up its act!)

  • Glenn Rogers
    Posted October 8, 2009 at 2:21 pm 0Likes

    Gee Sal, thanks for showing your true colors, can’t spell and know sweet FA

    REA was 20c a share or less when Baker took over, get your facts straight.

    Please dont respond at length I hate to sleep in the afternoons.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted October 8, 2009 at 2:57 pm 0Likes

    Glenn – is correct with the 20 cents a share when Simon Baker took over it was a struggling business with absolutely no direction 🙂 I’m sure Sal will have a different read on this.

  • Glenn Rogers
    Posted October 8, 2009 at 3:08 pm 0Likes

    The only thing he did wrong that I know of is not buy http://www.commercialrealestate.com.au but thats all history now.

    I was no great fan of his at the time, we were competitors and even had the legal boys exchanging letters at one stage.

    But if ever there was a company crying out for an injection of smarts it’s Fairfax and they need Baker badly even though they dont know it, which is part of the problem in there of course.

  • Rusty
    Posted October 8, 2009 at 4:21 pm 0Likes

    Glenn B,

    Sorry I misunderstood your point. I was just looking at the new “lifestyle” attributes within Radar. I agree that filtering too far too quickly helps neither agent or searcher. But I think Domain should be applauded for introducing something fresh – the opportunity to say that parking for example is a nice to have but not a deal breaker. I believe a set of inclusive property listings ranked by weighted preferences is more useful to all sides than a set of pre-filtered results that potentially excludes the real best fit. Every house purchase is ultimately a compromise and I’d love to see more of this “fuzziness” in the search on these sites.

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