Is a major realestate.com.au update on the cards?

Over the past few months it really seems like every week we are seeing a new feature or improvement being released by one of the top two real estate portals. Realestate.com.au release a minor update in the past week that hides the phone details of agents and Domain.com.au released their Radar search recently.

So what are we going to see next?

One rumour that’s been flying around for quite awhile now is that realestate.com.au is going to integrate a review system into their portal. Back in February last year Dave Platter (ex- Corporate Public & Investor Relations Manager at The REA Group) as a then contributor to this blog tested the concept on the readers with a post called “Here’s one way real estate agents can control the web’s future“. Of course Dave was quick to point out that he and Shaun DeGregario the then realestate.com.au General Manager both denied that the company had any plans to integrate such a system into the portal.

Yeah… right.. Who do they think they were kidding! The fact that Dave quoted Shaun in the first place only seemed to confirm to many that they were considering the idea but wanted to test the waters first and gauge agents opinions.

How things have changed in just 20 months. Dave is no longer at REA, Shaun has moved away from the main realestate.com.au business to be the General Manager – International for REA and the drums are beating with a review system to be integrated into realestate.com.au which will be announced to agents next week.

With no concrete details to share its a bit hard to comment too much other than it will involve some sort of feedback system for visitors. This change will obviously try to make the whole experience to be far more interactive for visitors which is certainly a trend at the moment with large portals. Online reviews are nothing new and sites like Google, eBay, Amazon and YouTube all feature visitor reviews. If done right realestate.com.au might just have the jump on Domain again but if done badly they are going to feel the wrath of quite a lot of agents as their reputations are tarnished.

Online Reputation Management (ORM) is very important for agents right now and I wrote an article on the Ugly Side of Twitter covering this very problem but its just as relevant to all forms of social networking. Facebook is a little different and the potential for damage from sabotage or underhanded tactics is minimised due to Facebook’s privacy and security settings.

The sheer market dominance of realestate.com.au means that they have to get this right the first time. Of course the decision to release this sort of system won’t be a rushed one as there has been nearly 2 years at least of the idea maturing at head office. I would like to think they have listened to agents concerns during this time and have a well thought out strategy to launch.

Of course only time will tell so keep an eye on your inbox next week and an open mind.

Domain.com.au, online reputation management, orm, portal update, Realestate.com.au, reviews, rumour

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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.

5 Responses to Is a major realestate.com.au update on the cards?

  1. Robert Simeon October 26, 2009 at 11:24 am #

    Great article Glenn – is this a case of better late than never or a case of losing relevance. Maybe a bit of both I see given that much has happened online over the past ten years especially the emergence then dominance of Google into our lives. When REA and Domain set up the internet was evolving and the vast majority of agents did not have a website so these newly created property portals (were born) and offered agents an online position – which they previously never had before.

    I believe the problems faced with the portals (the paid) ones is that over time they won’t be in a position to charge agents to post properties on their portals and will have to solely rely on third – party advertising only (like the rest of the world).

    When agents start using their own online models where their very own website should be the major source of leads with the property portals coming in second place will they then start understanding how to best run an online model.

    Social networking is fast de-valuing the paid portals also, the growth of Google is even more damaging. The irony for Domain and REA is that if their portals are so fantastic for consumers why then do they each spend millions of dollars each year trying to attract consumers from the Google search pages to their portals?

    Of course they will try and re-invent themselves simply because they are concerned of losing popularity and relevance. Who would have thought that our property portals too – would now be referred to as old media?

  2. Glenn Batten October 26, 2009 at 11:24 am #

    This was actually written a couple of days ago.. so references to next week.. mean this week 🙂

  3. Ricky October 26, 2009 at 12:20 pm #

    Glenn,

    Shaun Di Gregorio left REA almost 2 months ago.

    http://www1.propertyportalwatch.com/2009/07/rea-group-loses-another-top-manager/

    Part of the REA Senior Mgt departure lounge.

  4. Glenn Rogers October 26, 2009 at 12:45 pm #

    I see Domain has Google ads at the foot of their search results now.
    That’s a major step down and shows a great thirst for revenue.

  5. RH October 27, 2009 at 11:57 am #

    Would be interesting if they started the review system on a voting sort of scenario at the bottom of each agents page, or listing (ie. recommend vs not recommend etc) and for first 12 months provide these results to agents so they can see how good/crummy they are. Maybe it would be a wake up call for them to step up their game before allowing the results to be viewed live by all.
    Plus a voting system would hopefully make it easier for consumers to contribute, and discourage any “emails from crazy people” types from going overboard.

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