REA Major Announcement in March

There are strong rumours circulating that Realestate.com.au will be launching a new site in early March 2010. What this site will look like is any one’s guess?

REA have come under criticism in the past that the realestate.com.au website is more about selling 3rd party services than actually marketing real estate agents listings, so it will be interesting to see how much of the feedback they have received over the years gets put into place.

Given that REA are the leader, I am be expecting something special, no excuses, I mean the site has had some minor adjustments over years, but this is 2010 and I would expect nothing short of brilliance from this team after this period of time. I am sure the hype will build up and can’t wait to get a sneak peak and report back to all.

Here are some of the things i will be looking for:

Make the Home Page Customisable

If you want registrations and repeat customers, make it so I can fully customize the home page. I should be able to login and set what types of listings I am looking for. The home page should then become ‘my home page’, with relevant listings, sales data, advertising and real estate news and media from my areas. I should be able to login with my Google, Facebook accounts and I should be to set up watch lists for local properties, agents etc.

Agents Listings First

95% or more of realestate.com.au’s visitors would be people looking to buy, sell, rent or have their properties managed, so it beggars belief that so many real estate sites make it difficult to contact an agent on a listing page. This should be prominent at top left of listings page (where eyes first look) and not hidden away down the left or right side.

Give me what I search for

I don’t care if a listing is one year old or one day old, I want to get accurate results for what I search for. Today agents need to re-list properties (which can get you barred on REA) on some sites every ninety days, otherwise they are not found.

Agents are commissioned to sell a property for the vendor. It makes it hard to sell if it cannot be found, it is just so pathetic that only the first 200 listings are displayed, load and data cannot be the excuse, especially when there is so much junk thrown in the users face on each page.

3rd Party Advertising

REA should by now have realised that pop up ads are a pain in the proverbial, just give me non-intrusive, relevant advertising and I am happy. Surely by now they would have some control over their advertising market.

API

Yes this is 2010 and not one of the major portals has an API (Application Program Interface) That allows anyone to mash data up and create just about anything you could think of and many things we hadn’t. This is why Google is such a threat, to companies like REA and Domain – because it likes to share and makes billlions from it!

Comments

We should be able to make comments on a property, agents should be able to choose whether the comments and their responses are public. This would provide great information to other prospectives! It could also separate the productive hard working agents from the rest. Maybe some kind of comment/feedback all star agent.

What are you expecting to see?

API, REA, REA Australia, Realestate.com.au

SEO For Real Estate
Listing Leads
Agentpoint Real estate

About Peter J Ricci

Peter Ricci is the Director of Agentpoint.com.au, Business2.com.au, Ginga.com.au and ZooProperty.com and has been involved in designing and developing real estate systems and websites since 1997. In July 2001 Peter founded Business2.com.au to help real estate agents better understand the power of the Internet and the real estate landscape in Australia and New Zealand. Since then he has penned over 300 articles on a variety of subjects in the real estate technology industry. Business2.com.au is now the leading real estate technology site in Australasia.

31 Responses to REA Major Announcement in March

  1. Craig February 12, 2010 at 8:22 am #

    To really take it to the next level they need to make realestate.com.au a platform. Like Facebook has become a Social Networking platform with APIs and applications REA can be the platform from which the real estate industry builds on. I think it would require more openness though, something agents may not be happy with.

  2. Greg Vincent February 12, 2010 at 8:08 am #

    Peter I think they should make property videos easier to view, maybe a thumbnail of the video towards the top of the property listings page.

  3. Ryan O'Grady February 12, 2010 at 8:11 am #

    My guess is the means of communication will change – Real estate portals will move slowly towards a facebook like model. Although email communication will still be important more and more interaction between agents and property seekers will take place publicly through the portal. This would increase the average time users are on REA and increase their advertising revenues.

  4. Greg Vincent February 12, 2010 at 8:12 am #

    Plus, they should provide sharing capability to make it easier for people to share property listings amongst other social media sites like Twitter, not just facebook.

  5. Robert Simeon February 12, 2010 at 8:53 am #

    I heard they are appointing a Public Relations specialist to address (no pun intended) their appalling previous attempts at achieving some level of customer service. Or, maybe they are announcing that they have purchased some new servers from OneTel given their current online operation has a habit of crashing and archiving agent enquiries. πŸ™‚

  6. Craig February 12, 2010 at 9:58 am #

    Nick, possibly the announcement is that their new years resolution is to not lose any emails in the system this year.

  7. Craig Thwaites February 12, 2010 at 9:08 am #

    It will be interesting to see which way the user experience moves; as noted in other comments there is plenty of opportunity to create something more contemporary.

    I am hopeful on the API front; the use of FTP for uploading properties is a really bad experience for agents wanting a seamless integration of their property listings. A better use of web services could deliver an almost real time experience as a minimum.

  8. Nick February 12, 2010 at 9:46 am #

    I’d bet money that its not a revamp at all.

    They’ve recently made minor changes to the site.
    You dont do that if your also working on a whole new site.

    I also doubt it, whatever it is, will be better for agents OR buyers.
    But thats just me being cynical. πŸ™‚

  9. Matt February 12, 2010 at 10:43 am #

    I bet they make more room for Advertising, surprising you can find the properties for sale at all

  10. Peter Ricci February 12, 2010 at 10:51 am #

    I did mention it is only a rumour, I have been wrong before – badly wrong πŸ™‚

  11. Ricky February 12, 2010 at 11:32 am #

    My info Peter is that you are actually on the money with a complete re-launch prior to Easter.

    Regarding the 3rd Party Advertising their current CEO is a known hater of the pop up intrusive ads and has stated that to many agents in his 18 months in the role so your wish may come true on that front.

    You are right though that the expectations will be fairly high in terms of what they produce given the key senior managers who are meant to be delivering the change have now had more than enough time to deliver.

    Tick tock.

  12. andreas February 12, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    Not being able to add links really sucks…

    As the agent who was removed from realestate.com for photoshopping marty mcfly and the Doc (from back to the future on) the ‘subtle’ hints I got from REA were that they didn’t take kindly to people presenting property in any format other than that prescribed (even though I had 5000 hits on a property in a week, which has to be good for their pay per view system of ads).

    The problem is their business model is very rigid and the internet and people are creative and the two will not coexist together happily, come on google give us some options!

    I don’t know about adding a comments section for each property, that could be a real problem. I don’t want to spend all my day blocking trolls who would have fun winding up my vendors, I’ve got enough unimportant things to do before that.

  13. PaulD February 12, 2010 at 2:26 pm #

    I don’t care what they do, as long as they stop feeding us the BS regarding “property seekers” and get back to the enquiry levels of several years ago.
    The enquiry levels from REA, for my office, in January are the worst since 2004 and yet we had a GREAT month. So obviously the enquiry is coming from somewhere else !

  14. Glenn February 12, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

    Whatever it is it won’t involve less advertising, the more popular they get the more ads they will push in but as long as your phone is still ringing that’s not a real concern.

    Look at NineMSN you can’t do anything on there without triggering an ad of one type or another but their advertisers are getting responses fairly close to TV advertising, people keep going there and it’s the same with REA, the ads may drive you nuts but their model is to make more money and thats how it’s done, as I said as long as your phone is still ringing don’t worry about it.

  15. Nick February 13, 2010 at 5:27 pm #

    andreas why do we need Google to give us options?
    We are capable people, and it seems most people here have similar goals. πŸ˜‰

  16. Craig February 15, 2010 at 9:40 am #

    ” I may be gen y but I

  17. Craig February 15, 2010 at 11:11 am #

    andreas, there are endless articles on this blog about how to leverage Google to lessen your reliance on REA. Also, I don’t believe REA is the first destination most people go to when searching for real estate. They may be the #1 destination but I think you will find more than 50% of people start somewhere else initially.

  18. andreas February 15, 2010 at 9:22 am #

    Nick, unfortunately I don’t agree with you. I may be gen y but I’ve got no chance of making a search page which people will use to find property…

    As I see it, the internet space for searches (much like property) tends towards a monopolistic outcome. As evidenced by realestate.com being the biggest portal out there (with at least 2/3rds of the market). Regardless of whether realestate.com is the best page (from a technical, or customer based standpoint) they control the most searches so we have to pay a premium.

    I want google to help because I feel they do searching better and encourage integration (eg. web2.0 hot linking, you tube videos etc) and they are the only fish big enough to stop realestate.com and change the way the public searches for property. MyHome tried and failed and look at who was behind them….

  19. Glenn Rogers February 15, 2010 at 9:52 am #

    “It

  20. andreas February 15, 2010 at 11:01 am #

    Craig…

    Hmm pay less to REA and hope to outbid them on google adwords is the answer? There’s no way we’d ever have the capital as a single agency to do that and get the same response as Realestate.com, this’d put us in the cellar with regards to local competition as well. Plus, at a broader level the money isn’t there to take such a macro scale approach to marketing, we pay a premium for adverts because they are very specific.

    The main problem with your argument isn’t that however. It assumes people search for real estate through google. Adwords don’t work if the clients are going straight to realestate.com (which I think you’ll find they do).

    That is why we pay such high fees to REA because they are the starting point for most real estate searches in Australia (not google)….

    This is the result of the monopolistic outcome of these websearch entities.

  21. Mac February 15, 2010 at 11:23 am #

    As I understand, Google gets more 1st visits for real estate searches than REA.

    Ps The FTP upload service is a HUGE money spinner rort for REA! i.e. 4,000 offices paying $25/mth = $100,000/mth = $1,200,000 p.a. for what?! Daylight robbery! I doubt they will want to remove this easy uploads charge with an API just to make it easier for tech suppliers and provide agents with real time processing!

  22. Nick February 16, 2010 at 5:59 am #

    andreas you do know that things get cheaper if there is a group of people wanting it right?
    A group leaving also pisses REA off more as well.

    Mac I’ve always been amused that the system uses FTP. That is so 90s. πŸ™‚
    It should also be free – their costs are a server and someone to maintain it but that cost is fixed.

    Their systems must be quite archaic to not have real time processing.
    Luxury Homes’ system takes 5 – 15 mins but our volume is relatively low. I could easily make it take less than a minute for changes to apply if there was a demand.

  23. Coastal Agent March 3, 2010 at 5:20 am #

    The new site looks like a great improvment over the current one. It’s being beta tested at the moment; invitations to check it out were sent to some agents earlier this week and REA have a good little set up there for giving feedback and rating feedback by other testers

  24. Craig March 4, 2010 at 11:05 am #

    Ouch.

  25. Mac March 4, 2010 at 3:15 am #

    Nick, if an agent’s listing entered directly onto Realestate.com.au can be displayed immediately without extra cost, then when does that of an ‘uploaded’ agent take longer and cost more when the data just needs to be directed into the same format? Absolutely ridiculous!!! It’s just a rort to make easy money because of their market clout; (from supporter dolts like ‘Coastal agent’ who would have been more than happy with the newspapers in a previous era!)

  26. Sal Espro March 4, 2010 at 3:18 am #

    Hey, ‘Coastal Agent’, your arse is on fire! But I guess you don’t care!
    What in God’s name is a different looking Realestate.com.au website going to do for our business?!

    Sal (Sick of the status quo costing me dough!)

  27. Coastal Agent March 4, 2010 at 5:48 am #

    Mac & Sal Espro … Both of you seem to have your heads up your arses. I’ve in no way been a supporter of REA, by looks like an improvement on the old site doesn’t mean just the look idiot but the overall improvement. That’s not to say in any way that it’s going to be perfect.

    They are actually putting some things in place that will benefit us as the paying customer (assuming you both are) but still not as much as I’d like to see.

    Seriously, both your comments indicate your both halfwits

  28. Nick March 4, 2010 at 10:51 pm #

    Coastal Agent want to take a quick screenshot for those who cant see? πŸ™‚
    Some of us are IT guys, not agents.

  29. Peter Ricci March 4, 2010 at 11:38 pm #

    Hi guys and girls. The discussion is fine guys but try to remember we are an advanced primate and let’s try to keep it clean as possible, I know it is all meant in a fun way, but history has shown these things tend to get out of hand pretty quickly.

    Peace πŸ™‚

  30. Sal Espro March 5, 2010 at 5:11 am #

    *L*
    >They are actually putting some things in place that will benefit us as the >paying customer (assuming you both are) but still not as much as I

  31. seansan August 26, 2011 at 8:07 pm #

    Peter, you look like a primate.

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