Realestateview.com.au wants to play with the big boys?

It seems that realestateview.com.au wants to play with the big boys and in doing so, will definitely come under the telescope from other industry groups and agents across Australia.

Let me make this clear, I think it is great to see more competition and realestateview.com.au have certainly ramped up efforts in recent times, however there are still a number of questions that they need to address.

As realestateview.com.au are pushing ‘industry owned’, they will need to be open and transparent with the industry.

1. Ownership: As we have seen in the past with REA and the previous owners of MyHome, the issue of ownership is important and realestateview.com.au will need to make it clear who owns what % of this entity.

2. Fees: What are the basic fees and what controls are in place now and what will be these fees in 10 years time? What controls do you have in place on these fees?

3. Competition: As an industry site are you going to have your members compete against each other for the search results positions? Will there be multipler levels of memberships and if so why?

4. Visitors: Costs aside, one thing REA and Domain do very well is bring actual benefits to their members through property inquiries, how are you going to address this?

So should you support Realestateview.com.au? In a nutshell, if you are happy with the terms, cost to benefit and if there are some strict guarantees in place, then yes, however there are still some serious questions that this site needs to answer.

Technology wise, they need to take some big steps, remember, feeding to sites has a cost from most feed suppliers.

In my humble opinion myhome.com.au and homehound.com give around the same return as realestateview.com.au (enquiries are all that matter) and they are free, so I just cannot see how they can justify any costs at all until they can give a return and put some guarantees in place. Otherwise all you are doing is building up another portal who can hurt your wallet later.

We need competition to keep domain and REA in check and being cheaper doesn’t cut it, you have to provide value for money and time!

I am all for competition, but at this stage realestateview.com.au are asking more questions than they are answering.

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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.

15 Responses to Realestateview.com.au wants to play with the big boys?

  1. Greg Vincent June 1, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

    Great to see you weighing into the debate Peter. These are some important questions, some of which would be even better to have answered by Domain & REA. I’d love to see what there fees will be in 10 years time without some serious competition stepping in.

    “In my humble opinion myhome.com.au and homehound.com give around the same return as realestateview.com.au”

    Peter, considering that REV has only just entered other states/territories (SA & NT) and is about to launch in NSW, I think you may be comparing myhome and homehound on a national basis against REV’s results in Victoria and Tas. Hardly a fair comparison.

    When you look at what REIWA have done in WA as well Peter, if the same result/market penetration can happen in each other state like it has in VIC, Tas & WA then they will become a real contender in the years to come.

    From what I’ve seen Peter, the National Data platform and other agent tools included within the subscriptions should add some great value to the service for agents.

  2. Peter Ricci June 1, 2010 at 8:32 pm #

    Hi Greg thanks for your comments… I will try and address these one at a time.

    REA and Domain: Irrelevant, we all know they are going to continue increasing fees, we all know that they will just try and create competition between real estate agents, we have a proven track record with these two.

    MyHome and Homehound: Again to me irrelevant, I dont care that REIV is only just starting on a national stage, they are wanting to create competition and I commend that and I wish them well, however they are wanting to charge agents to list on their site and that’s also fine, but I am not here to just basically cheer any rivals, they have to provide some real value – and not in 12 – 24 months. What will they be like when they are number one? To me at this stage, they will just be replacing another. There are just too many outstanding questions to get my endorsement (not that it means anything)

    If a sales rep from REIV came to me with that excuse I would laugh them off my premises.

    Contenders: Of course that would be great if the REIWA and REIV had success elsewhere, but again, the questions remain the same.

    I need not remind everyone, I wrote about this years ago when new competition cropped up, its a new era and agents WILL ask these questions, and I suggest that REIWA and REIV wise up and be extremely transparent.

    Domain and REA got away with it years ago, but most agents have wised up and its a very tough environment ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Pete Richards June 1, 2010 at 10:09 pm #

    I’m keen to learn more as this unfolds. REA has such a strangle hold in the Australia-wide market, and Domain has an equally tight strangle hold on the market here in NSW to create the dupoly. Others have dabbled, but is there room for a third major player?

    I’m not 100% sure there is. Agents (and ultimately vendors) will need to either make the choice to advertise on three website portals OR make the bold and brave decision to drop REA or Domain off the roster to make room for it on the marketing schedule. Both seem like a big ask.

    Monopoly markets are tough to break, duopoly markets are even tougher, as the consumer already has the comfort of a “choice”.

  4. Greg Vincent June 1, 2010 at 10:30 pm #

    I agree that it is now a much tougher environment for them Peter.

    It’s going to be difficult to get agents to change, add an additional subscription fee to their costs and others will be bound by existing contracts, etc.

    It’s going to be interesting to see what strategy they have in place to overcome these issues.

    Plus, years ago the Social Media pressure wasn’t as strong as it is today. You only have to look at the Twitter streams and Facebook comments about REA’s new look site to see how much Social Media has changed the game, PLUS the volume of comments and differences of opinions that have appeared on B2 surrounding this topic.

    I totally agree with transparency. I wish more agents and companies servicing our industry would embrace it.

    PS: Peter, REINSW are launching the RealEstateView.com.au and PropertyData.com.au sites into NSW at a launch event tonight. I have posted a new article for B2 which includes a Press Release which answers some of the issues raised. (subscription fees, etc).

  5. Nathan Krisanski June 2, 2010 at 1:19 am #

    Aren’t we all forgetting the entrance of google to this arena?

    The free “portal” combining listings from multiple locations.

    If they are able to gain traction with the public, then where will the paid model for portals be… out the window I would think.

    If the measure for return on investment is referrals and google can refer buyers to your own site, it leaves them high and dry.

    Google isn’t there yet, but my own view is that they will be the place to search for property sooner rather than later.

  6. Rachael Lord June 2, 2010 at 1:29 am #

    We get hardly any enquiry from myhome.com.au and homehound.com.au. I enter our properties on there simply for google maps sake and better exposure if a client was to type in the property address. We would LOVE to get more buyer enquiry from these portals (who wouldn’t they are free!)

    But if the same sort of figures would be coming from realestateview.com.au…well thats hardly worthwhile is it? We’ll have to wait and see I guess.

  7. Kylie Emans June 2, 2010 at 1:36 am #

    I am going to the realestateview launch tonight, I don’t know enough about what they are doing but I hope I do after this evening. I am hoping this is healthy competition for the major portals.

  8. Greg Vincent June 2, 2010 at 1:42 am #

    Nathan, I agree that Google will play a big part. I also believe that the National Property Data component of the REI’s strategy is going to become one of the most important parts of their overall solution, not only to build subscribers but to remain relevant into the future.

    A lot of the industry will be looking to RealEstateView.com.au for their visitor stats and leads generated, etc and understandably this is the framework that they can launch lots of member benefits from but underneath it all, the foundation of the REI’s ongoing success will be the National Property Data. (I don’t see Google having an effect on that any time soon).

  9. Elizabeth June 2, 2010 at 2:01 am #

    If the game is Data, then why have a portal?

    All REV is doing is asking us to pay twice for our own data.

    Why not push the data product, give us a discount based on the amount of data we provide, and be done with it?

    The whole strategy appears to be disjointed.

    I am still waiting to hear from Enzo about this initiative and specific questions I have raised. Great member and future customer engagement!

  10. Greg Vincent June 2, 2010 at 2:42 am #

    Elizabeth, you missed my point. The framework or the bricks & mortar are the portal and the foundation is the data.

    To have any chance of providing some sort of solution for agents just look at the competition.

    REA have Hubonline & RPData. Domain have MyDesktop & APM.

    When you see the rates for the overall package that they are providing it seems to provide agents with good value, but then again others may disagree. I can only comment on what I see.

    Also, Elizabeth no offence but they are launching into NSW tonight. I’m assuming that you’ve perhaps launched a business previously? If you have then you’ll understand that they are extremely busy at the moment. It’s been 18 months in the making and the NSW launch is an extremely important part because it’s the biggest real estate state in Australia.

    I only got to catch up with Petra Sprekos yesterday for about 10 – 15 seconds.

    I’m sure it will all be revealed in good time.

    PS: Elizabeth, while you’re waiting for Enzo, could you please try getting someone from Domain or REA to answer any one of the many questions that have been posed to them via this site. I miss Dave Platter. At least he got in and had a go at representing REA.

  11. Elizabeth June 2, 2010 at 3:20 am #

    Greg,

    If Enzo is so busy, then explain how he finds the time to come on Business2 and attack people, yet cannot find the time to come on the site and answer questions and sell his proposed industry solution.

    Given, as you say, this initiative has been in the making for 18 months, my questions should be very easy to answer wouldn’t you think?

    At best it appears to be a case of bad time management and lack of focus, at worst, there are no answers from 18 months of work.

    This does not bode well for anything he is in charge of wouldn’t you agree?

    Greg I did get your point, and I understand all too well the motivations of REIV. Their Trojan horse is the website (which we are expected to pay for), but their end game is data (PDOL – which again they expect to get paid for).

    You many not be aware of Operation Destiny. This was another initiative of our REI’s. The game was data, the Trojan horse was a national industry website. The model varied, but two options were a) Pay for the website, or b) free website and pay for data.

    What I find very interesting is a statement of Enzo’s, put on this site by someone else, in which he states that the agents have the listings and the consumers. Nothing new here.

    But what is interesting is that he expects us to pay for REV and PDOL, yet we supply the eyeballs and the listings.

    If I start adding up the costs of marketing a business to get buyers, and the same in getting listings, then add these to the costs of subscriptions (2 of them) to REV and PDOL, then I am paying more than twice for a service which is untested, and quite frankly, has not been fully explained. This is before we start measuring the value of the products!

    Even more interesting is that the equity system is not a level playing field.

    I appreciate that you would like to get greater interaction from Domain and REA, and I wish you well in this regard. This is not my focus, and nor is it for this topic on Business2.

  12. Glenn Rogers June 2, 2010 at 6:11 am #

    “””If Enzo is so busy, then explain how he finds the time to come on Business2 and attack people”””

    Looked more like self defence to me.

  13. Mac July 9, 2010 at 4:45 pm #

    Peter, Any stats on the REView relaunch?
    My word around the traps is that they are relying upon the naive for support in the hope of getting prices down when in reality they are just increasing overall fees paid to portals i.e. no-one sensible is going to turn-off so many REA and Domain buyer eye-balls.

    This from McKinsey & Co might be pertinent on competitive pricing:

    “…Many executives in highly competitive industries hope consolidation will lead competitors to focus less on price competition, thereby improving the ROIC of the industry. The evidence shows, however, that unless it consolidates to just three or four companies and can keep out new entrants, pricing behavior doesn

  14. Vic July 10, 2010 at 8:26 am #

    Mac,

    How right you are with the McKinsey quote. REview, with the power of it’s agent membership had the perfect opportunity to launch as a free to list portal and then we would have seen their agents drop one of the big two, and charge up the search engine ranking with its overwhelming content and subsequent page views. Then, just watch the third party advertisers line up.

    As it is,it has no chance of securing a dominant position. It has no chance of buying out either RE.com or Domain and unless it is a free to list site, it cannot buy out or merge with the other free to listers such as myhome, homehound and say the other new flyer, allhomes.

    It’s not too late to extricate from their current business model. However I doubt they have the vision or the strategic leadership to do this.

    Wouldn’t it be great to see an announcement soon from REview.

    “After receiving overwhelming demand from REI members we have decided to change our business model to a free to list/pay to upgrade model”

  15. Mac July 12, 2010 at 10:15 am #

    Nice insight, Vic.

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