Sneak Through Another Update has been applying updates to their portal fairly regularly recently and sometime late Tuesday night or the early hours of Wednesdays morning that applied another update to at least the individual property pages.

Phone Numbers Hidden

This time they have hidden the agents phone numbers behind some javascript code requiring the visitor to click on the “Phone This Agent” option to get access to this.

What happens is that when you click on it a Javascript Onclick command generates a pageview is counted in their web analytics program to a page called /buy/interaction/agentphonenumber.

It seems from this code that they use the hosted version of Google Analytics called Urchin.

It’s important at this point to highlight that this is the normal way to track “click” events in this program and it will not increase their pageview counts with Neilsen’s Net Ratings at all.

I thing we might be soon seeing capturing these pageview to add to their monthly reports back to agents with wild claims that they generated xxx,xxx,xxx number of phone calls to our mobile and office numbers.

Phone Numbers Displayed

The page is certainly looking a lot cleaner than it was but since I don’t have a before screenshot from a year ago it is hard to put the finger on exactly everything that has been updated unless it is functionally different like the phone numbers.

It reminds me of the “trick” to ask someone to describe their own wristwatch in detail without looking at. Before you look at your watch answer these questions. Does your watch have a second hand? Is there number six on your watch dial, just a dash or is it the Roman Numeral VI or is there nothing there at all?

Their point is there is a big difference between observing something and seeing it. Something that we use and see everyday but it just becomes part of the furniture and you just accept it without really observing it.

Now I have said that.. I am not really sure that update happened overnight at all!

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  • Peter Ricci
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 7:44 pm 0Likes

    Yes, best idea is to make the user do one extra thing to contact an agent. The problem for is the fact that they boast about 5 million visitor numbers (monthly) continuously (and rightly they can) .

    However, it is dangerous over the long period because an agent can rightly say, ‘well I am getting less inquiries today, than from when they only had 2 million visitors per month”.

    It is a clever idea, but somehow I think it could have been executed a little better!

  • Nick
    Posted October 15, 2009 at 7:49 am 0Likes

    Does anyone else see the irony in hiding the phone number like that?

    They now get metrics on how many people may be using the phone number, but the number of people using the phone number will drop because they dont care about clicking to see it, they dont know how to use it or just because its harder than before to get the phone number.

    So they get more bragging rights, but lose more inquiry.

  • Ian
    Posted October 15, 2009 at 8:05 am 0Likes

    What about the agents who use a 1800 or 1300 number to help the enquiry rates or monitor enquiry source, now they have lost that ability somewhat.!

  • Joe
    Posted October 15, 2009 at 9:21 am 0Likes

    Looks much cleaner.

    Better agent branding at both the top of the page and down by the enquiry bit at the bottom.

    The big ads make it much clearer as well. I know that sounds stupid but the property pages used to have much more clutter on the right side. Just seems a lot cleaner.

    (And if you want to see what it used to look like, google any properties and look at the cached version).

  • Mimi
    Posted October 15, 2009 at 9:58 am 0Likes launched with this feature and was only a matter of (a very long) time followed

  • max
    Posted October 15, 2009 at 11:08 am 0Likes

    Yawn…we finally get a chance to REALLY see how many people are ‘asking’ for our details and we start bagging it from the word go.

    They (REA) have had it (hidden numbers) on their commercial site for years and that’s done nothing but grow and grow.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted October 15, 2009 at 1:22 pm 0Likes

    I think the new design is certainly “cleaner” and an improvement. I dont think the phone number issue is a real problem myself … but am still open on the concept either way.

    Nick and Peter, do you really think this would reduce phone calls to agents ? I can think of only one and thats if they print the page rather than use the “Printable Property Brochure”.

    The only clear negative I can see coming out of it is fanciful claims of phone calls generated from this change to justify price rises in the future. Of course.. I could be wrong and they might drop the price later this year 🙂

    There is a however a BUG in the system though and I am sure they are going to be getting calls on it soon if not already..

    It seems on some properties the name of the agent is with below the logo and displayed all the time.


    On other properties it is in the hidden away with the phone information.

    Whoops !!! 🙂

    I guess there testing of the new design did not come accross this.

  • Nick
    Posted October 16, 2009 at 9:28 am 0Likes

    Glenn it adds a road block to get their phone number.

    They used to just be able to scan the page, see the phone number and ring it.
    Now they have to scan the page, realise that the phone number isnt shown, click the link to show the phone number and then ring.

    You want to minimise that kind of thing on a site.
    Give the users the information they want so its clear and easy to find.
    Dont make it difficult – you lose people that way.

  • Dave Hooper
    Posted October 20, 2009 at 1:46 pm 0Likes

    I’ve already had issues with this. A client called and began berating me for not having a phone number displayed on the site, telling me he’d had to use other means to locate our office number. I asked “which site”, and was told I hadn’t seen the new change, so jumped on and took a look. “Ahhh”, I told him, “just click the link there and you’ll see our number”. His reply… “I would but this is a printed page my secreatry printed out for me”.

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted October 20, 2009 at 11:03 pm 0Likes

    Dave, brilliant! I never thought of that – and I doubt they did either, this is a terrible oversight, they may have these details on their print page, but many people just print screen.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted October 21, 2009 at 9:42 am 0Likes

    It seems that fixed that bug I reported and the names are showing properly now in all cases.

    Dave, I must have been looking at you in that crystal ball about printing issue not displaying phone numbers 🙂

    I wonder, did they just not realise this would be a problem at all or they did know but decided to ignore and press ahead with the change anyway.. Which is better ?

    Did you provide feedback to ?? Many of their staff read this blog so they will know about it now but it still may be worth an email to make sure of it.

  • Dave Hooper
    Posted October 22, 2009 at 7:16 pm 0Likes

    I’ll do that Glenn, cheers.

  • Nick
    Posted October 22, 2009 at 8:17 pm 0Likes


    I just tested that with the Web Developer toolbar.

    Their logo vanishes, so do the ads and its pretty good for printing.
    But do they want you to see the agent’s name or contact information? Absolutely not.

    Thats just beyond stupid.

  • max
    Posted October 23, 2009 at 6:43 pm 0Likes

    the sky is falling henny penny.

  • Lisa Smith
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 11:51 am 0Likes

    Hi, another recent change is that if you have a standard subscription your agents’ mobile phone numbers will not be displayed AT ALL! Just the office number, when you click on the link.

    I think providing a mobile number is one of the most basic services a property portal can provide to its paying customer, so having to upgrade to a Platinum subscription to get your mobile number displayed is just ludicrous.

    When I called customer care (haha) the chap confirmed my theory about upgrading (yes, very helpful) and then suggested that some agents are getting around it by putting the mobile number in the property text. So much for making the site user friendly.

    Anyone else noticed this?

  • PaulD
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 6:13 pm 0Likes

    I noticed that Domain have done the same thing with the telephone numbers. Or did they do that some time ago? I don’t look at that site all that often.

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