Anytime you get a press release from a company touting ‘a revolution’ in anything you can be pretty sure it is going to be a disappointment. For the most part agents have liked it, however I really feel that the majority of consumers I have spoken to have not liked the new site and this is a real problem. Even some of the comments on this site recently have not been too flattering.
Just a quick note to realestate.com.au’s marketing “gurus” if you build up something so much, and you know it isn’t that good, be prepared for a little ridicule and for your marketing to fall very flat. After all, revolutions are usually powered by the masses, not the few!
That is not to say the new website is good, or an improvement – it is, it just isn’t that special and it really hasn’t done any I have not seen done on other sites.
So now that the launch has now settled down in terms of sensationalism, frustration and despair, I think it is time to have a look at what is the bigger play here for Realestate.com.au and to a lesser extent domain.com.au
Both portals realise that the years of increasing basic monthly fees to agents at a good pace is slowly coming to an end, so they are now looking at new ways to get squeeze your marketing budgets (possibly only at their newspaper divisions expense) .
They also know you guys and gals are infatuated with your immediate competition and will look to leverage millions of dollars a year more from this very fact. Real estate agents needs to wise up or you will find most of your marketing being spent on campaigns that do little to benefit your brand or your vendors.
When I started this blog in 2002, I did it after listening to an executive of a certain real estate portal expound a whole bunch of $#%#%@ on an eager audience at a real estate institute endorsed gathering.
Basically the whole speech was about spending even more of your money on rubbish like banner ads to bring you untold riches. Over the following years these events were held all over the country and real estate institutes were sponsored by the companies giving these speeches.
I was so annoyed at this that my initial speech (which I changed at the last minute) was all about why you shouldn’t do most things the previous speaker was endorsing and to push more of your money into your own future – your website. Suffice to say I was never welcome back again.
Why you need portals
You need the likes of realestate.com.au and domain.com.au, at the basic level they are great value for money, they are popular across the country and they do provide you with a valued service.
Why you don’t need premium, platinum, super platinum and super duper platinum listings
Sure, if the client is paying go for it, but think about this, there is no statistical evidence that these listings sell quicker or for more, nada, none, zero!
Marketers will tell you that premium listings get more visitors and therefore your brand gets more recognition, however don’t you make money when you sell the darn thing, not when anyone clicks on it? So do the math, think about where else you could spend that branding money more effectively.
Why you must be on Google Real Estate
Google real estate will be a slow burn, they will build their systems and you will find more and more people using this service each month, it will almost certainly always be free* and will soon be integrated into Android Mobile Phones.
Supporting this website with your listings will also push visitors back to your current site and also make this offering stronger. The stronger Google is, the less likely you will see large increases in fees in the future from the major portals, in fact at current rates I think within 5 years basic fees on these portals will definitely come down, mainly from pressure from Google and other similar free services.
* Google has built the trust of developers worldwide because they are open, developers in return have made Google what they are today, it would be the beginning of the end for Google to change the game. Incidentally they also make about 8 billion year from this philosophy.
Start your own Groups
I want you to start your own groups on MeetUp, get all of your immediate competitors to meet once per month for lunch at a different location. Maybe invite someone to speak at these events, but generally just open discussion on as many subjects as you please, maybe you can form a local buying group.
Yes, you need to compete and yes their will be a little espionage, but I guarantee it will be of benefit to you in the long run. You never know, it could be great fun as well.