The Hypocrisy of Content and the Coming Revolution

In Australia we have two Real Estate portals who maintain a duopoly on internet real estate listings.

Both of these Portals need Real estate Listings to remain valid. Without this Content, they would be nothing.

Both of these Portal’s majority interests, between them, control the vast majority of Australia’s print media, the traditional advertising platform of the Real estate Industry.

When they were just Print publications, they relied on sourcing their own content at their own expense (news and other articles) to keep their publications Valid. Real estate took advantage of this by buying Ad spaces in their weekly real estate sections.

Now their real estate sections have gone to the web. The listings have become the content, the content that keeps their sites Valid. But it is no longer at their expense, it is at the expense of the content providers- The Real Estate Agents.

The News Papers, The Television Stations and Other Publishers Pay for Content. The major Real Estate Portals in Australia country Charge for Content.

From the IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau) Executive Summary for 2010, Advertising Revenues on the web in Australia have exceeded 2 Billion dollars, with the Real Estate again being the leading category for classified advertising.

So my question is…Is the Real Estate Agents Listings Content included in this figure, the figure that makes the category so high on the list. Are the Listings, which mean everything to a subscription based Portal to be Valid, Advertisements or Content?

Because if they weren’t there, there would be no website.

I ask this because it’s the content of a site that brings visitors. Time and time again I ask people-Why do you only go to these Portals to search Real Estate? The answer is, always, because they believe they have all the listings.

And they have all the listings because they have traditionally had control of the market place through their old system.

Like the Gaddaffi’s and Mubarak’s of the industry, they stay in power because the people that make them powerful, for now, know of no other way. That is until someone asks the question.

If you don’t want to support an old paradigm, stop complaining about it and look outside the cave. Like the energy from the sun, the internet is free and it thrives on Content to be Valid. If everybody had to pay to put stuff on it, it wouldn’t be there.

By the way, these thoughts and words are purely my own and in no way reflect or are endorsed by any other person or entity but myself, because I, too, am free.

freedom  !!

SEO For Real Estate
Listing Leads
Agentpoint Real estate

About Andy Del Vecchio

Andy Del Vecchio, Portal manager and Information for http://www.watersidepropertysales.com.au, also founded and operated Tasmania

79 Responses to The Hypocrisy of Content and the Coming Revolution

  1. Daniel Montana April 25, 2011 at 9:27 am #

    Hello Andy,

    I have to agree with you 100%, actually I really do not understand why do agents have to pay to place an ad of a newly listed property say on Domain if they can do the same on Gumtree or Onthehouse.com.au?

    If agents would only get together and realize that they have the power to alter the fee they are asked to advertise, things would change!

    Actually, maybe these portals would go under?

    Anyway, just a thought…

    Regards

    Daniel

    PS:Keep up the great work!

  2. Craig April 25, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    But to oust them from power requires a strong rebel force with determination and the people on their side. I am not sure this exists yet, just a few upstarts. And probably some support from big external organisation would help, after all the Libyan rebels would be long gone now without the internationals propping them up.

  3. Craig April 25, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    I will also add the people consist of not just agents but also all the consumers in Australia. The consumers have little interest in making agency association portals successful so I doubt an answer is just to move agents over to a big association owned portal.

  4. Vic April 25, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    As Andy points out REA and Domain have the power of their print media to continue brand awareness campaigns everytime their search numbers waver.

    No other portal in this country can do this and the search engines do not make up for this disadvantage. To highlight this point our own portal gets around 42% of its visits via search engines, and whilst I’m not complaining I would dearly love our direct entry position to be around this %.
    REA in the meantime get 15% of traffic from search engines. This tells me that most searchers have REA top of mind in real estate search and go direct and probably have their URL bookmarked.

    To get to this lofty position you need the power of the press. The real problem lies with News Corp and Fairfax having their interests in the two main portals. Because of this fact, both newspaper interests will not allow competitor sites to advertise with these papers. So even if a competitor portal had the cash to do so they still could not spend it on brand advertising through the print media.

    Television therefore provides the only avenue for competitor sites- and this is far more costly and needs constant exposure to become front of mind.

    So, if the issue of gaining the maximum content through free to list sites, or coercion by REI’s to their own sites is achieved, the chances of getting to the potential visitors’ “front of mind” would be nigh on impossible.

    I don’t wish to be appear negative to the REI sites nor to the IPO of onthehouse- but reality is reality, and REA and DOMAIN will remain where they are unless a way can be found to successfully “herd” Pert Mericka’s “cats”. – Ah, to dream.

  5. Chris April 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    I agree. Monopoly no longer exists on a board game but rather online. And its amazing how you might pay a fortune to be featured on one of these sites with ‘top spot’ & ‘banners’ etc but they keep coming up with additional features to collect further advertising $$ from their sites that ultimately dilute the effect of these other features. dont see them reducing the costs of these features as they add more ??

    i challenge the industry to turn off REA or Domain in their businesses for a month and see what happens!!

  6. Stewart April 25, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    Educate me – is it OK for agents to list their sites at both their own agent portals AND at REA/Domain/etc??

    eg. can LJ Hooker agents list their properties at both the primary LJHooker website AND realestate.com.au (or domain.com.au, etc, etc)…or is their supposed to be an exclusivity arrangement??

  7. Glenn Rogers April 25, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    REA dominance comes from being first and having the best domain name.

    Domains comes from the push of Fairfax media.

    Agents have a choice, the Real Estate Institutes have web sites specifically to give the agents a choice, those sites ie Realestateview rank very highly in search engines but the agents continue to give the bulk of their business to REA and Domain thereby empowering them further.

    Fact is the agents have more choice than others industries locked into situations, you have Institutes that are there and trying to help but you aren’t interested beyond a certain point so don’t complain.

  8. Glenn Rogers April 25, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

    AND I’ll tell you something else, you think the fees don’t matter because you can pass them on to your Vendor ?

    $1,700 to be page 3 of the featured listings ? or whatever it is .

    It’s only a matter of time before the Vendors start to query these figures and while they’re at it it won’t stop there, they may query why they have to pay a $20,000 fee for an agent to stand in their house 2 hours a week for 3 weeks handing out brochures then spend 45 minutes knocking it down to the highest bidder for their $1M home which is almost average these days.

    $20,000 not bad eh ?

    If the TV media get onto this it will spread like wildfire, cut price agents will move in and your BMW may have to go.

    The message is get your costs down before it’s done for you, support your Institutes web sites before it’s too late or you’ve only got yourselves to blame for the consequesnces.

  9. snoop April 25, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    Clearly an educated vendor understands his market and where he should advertise.
    The agent makes the recommendation and the plan.
    Many vendors ask to be in the Courier,most vendors would want to be on Rea….in many cases with milion dollar plus homes its a status thing.
    Just look at what your wives religiously read when it arrives….the real estate section.
    Seems logical the publishers own this space,UK is a good example of the top two with zoopla no3 as the disruptor….but is zoopla profitable?NO just as Zillow in the UK is not.
    Granted an agents role is smaller ,but any successful agent gives detailed reports on enquiries from all channels.
    And of course any successfl agent has his rolodex.
    Anyway,most of you second line and sepcialty portal owners are just waiting for a nice exit from a large publisher arent you?

  10. Glenn Rogers April 25, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    I don’t think anyones going to buy the institutes web sites out are they snoop ? they’re owned by the agents after all.

    As far as agents recommending ad options if your wife is reading the ads every week she knows as well if not better than anyone.

    The publishers dont own the space because they are merely publishers in my opinion except in the case of Domain, the publishers are in publishing and most importantly for them the major publishers have all the money, if BHP new how to run a real estate web site and put their mind to it they would blitz the current offerings.

  11. brett Clements April 25, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

    Gutsy post Andy.

  12. Matthew N April 25, 2011 at 9:50 pm #

    first mover advantage…

  13. Richie D April 26, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    Glenn Rogers nailed it with the comments about the domain name and of course being the first portal to get their sales force organised on a National basis to go out and flog the site to agents almost a decade ago.

    This was obviously bankrolled by a News Ltd investment that included a dedicated marketing campaign to imbed realestate.com.au into a large majority of Australian real estate consumers. They did all this whilst both Fairfax and the various industry sites flapped and flopped around giving REA space to increase their market dominance. That initial investment was one of the best News Ltd ever made when you look at the current share price.

    The thing REA are wary of now is not Fairfax or the other existing portals. It is a player who comes out of left field or an action by either Consumers or Customers that is unseen or unable to be predicted.

    To use the analogy of a greyhound race if you are dog 1 in the race (REA) you are comfortable that you have dogs 2, 3 and 4 covered because you can see them and you are all chasing the same rabbit on the stick racing around the side of the track. What REA are wary of is dog 8 or 9 who re-invents the rules of engagement and jumps the inside fence and takes another avenue to get the rabbit.

    New thinking from outside the square and not just following the leader.

  14. Glenn Rogers April 26, 2011 at 9:44 am #

    I agree Ritchie and that dog from left field may be Onthehouse, a free model that will look very attractive to agents struggling under costs that are increased at will by the majors, if Onthe house doesn’t get it right someone else will ……….eventually.

    Another interesting point Fairfax had the opportunity to buy REA in the early days but turned it down because “they could do it better”

  15. mike April 26, 2011 at 11:09 pm #

    There are many FREE online classified websites that will take there place in future:

    http://www.BondiClassifieds.com.au
    http://www.gumtree.com

    etc

  16. Lewis Nelson April 27, 2011 at 1:39 am #

    Andy is 100% correct. Agents need to take back their industry. REIA needs to be pressured to promote exclusively posting agents listings on only the following:
    #1-the agents own personal site
    #2- their brokers site
    #3-their brands site
    #4- their local associations site
    #5-their national association site.

    Be sure all sites but the agent’s own personal site post “tease photos” and then link back to the agent’s own site. The links will build a powerful search engine takeover for the agents.

    Be sure the agent’s own site’s pages are indexed to maximize search results and gain ranking based on the linking to the other sites above.

    DO NOT post your listings on any other site, even if it is FREE. Don’t host virtual tours off your own personal site. Don’t allow any of the commercial portal providers to index YOUR NAME, YOUR DETAILS, YOUR LISTING, YOUR LISTING ADDRESS, YOUR CITY, YOUR BRAND, YOUR ANYTHING!!!!

  17. Jen Pearce April 27, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    There’s also Thehomepage.com.au – free and other free niche websites like Millionplus.com.au and Watersidepropertysales.com.au. I think people are expecting more of a personal, targeted, ‘expert’ experience from the internet and we’ll see more and more niche websites.

    I know if I was a vendor I would want my property having the largest exposure at the lowest cost, so why not embrace these free websites getting your property out there at no cost? I don’t get it!

    If the general consumer prefers to use one of these websites, why not have your brand out there? As a renter if I like an agencies website, if I see several properties branded of theirs which I like, I will Google them and go to their website, but it has to be good for me to stick around! 🙂

    Jen

  18. Stewart April 27, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

    Lewis, i think i understand your sentiment; howevwer, IMHO, there are BUYER reasons, too, why the major sites do so well – they are basically a one-stop shop.

    In actuality, decentralising listings to the extent you are suggesting may harm the rate at which people find properties, thus flowing on to slowdown the rate of transaction…economically speaking, that’s a deflationary measure (ie. reducing the velocity of money in a sector).

    Food for thought.

    Stewart

  19. Aimee April 27, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

    Websites that charge for basic use will become a thing of the past, it

  20. Rachel April 27, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    Warning – Shameless plug alert!

    Couldn’t agree more – the Net is free – check out our video below, which shows exactly what Thehomepage.com.au is all about.

    http://www.thehomepage.com.au/page/about

    Thehomepage is all about embracing the FREE model for your standard listings. Whilst we do have upgrade products (unfortunately we are not charity :), they are fairly priced and gives everybody a fair chance to showcase their properties not just the biggest agents in the area.

    Thehomepage already has over 1,600 Agents and over 70,000 listings. We are in the top 8 Real Estate Portals in Australia and have only been live since July 2010.

    Both myself and some of my colleagues have worked for said Portals above so we are trying to approach things in a new way, that benefits Agents, Vendors and Consumers.

    We are also independently owned so do not have the greed of a major publisher trying to push a share price up with seemingly unjustifiable price increases and new products, where you are forced to pay more and more to appear at the top of the search.

    To refer to Richie’s earlier Greyhound analogy – The CEO of REA has himself used this analogy, referring to being wary of Dog number 7 – Thehomepage’s Company name is Dog no. 7………

    So join us in this revolution ……. we would love to hear from you and get your listings on Thehomepage.com.au!

    Thehomepage … Where Real Estate is moving!

  21. Glenn Rogers April 27, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

    Rachael, if you have 1600 agents and 70,000 listings spread over most states then put an address in your contact us section PO box is ok and I’ll list you in http://www.dmoz.org that will feed you through to Googles directory.

    That level of content is an excellent start, but the level of funds behind Onthehouse will be hard to top, that doesnt mean there won’t be room for more than one free site.

  22. Glenn Rogers April 27, 2011 at 9:42 pm #

    You know I had a the vision of making http://www.commercialrealestate.com.au free and living off the 3rd party advertising ……but events overtook all that.

    Ideally you should only pay for featured listings but better still wold be to allocate a number of featured listing per month to each agent, keep it fair keep it free.

    Unfortunately until you get enough momentum to live off third party ads the bills have to be paid.

  23. Vic April 27, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

    Rachael and Jen,

    You guys have got a great philosophy. When you started with millionplus we were in development mode and in part it was your model which inspired us to look at what the web was really meant to represent. We, http://watersidepropertysales.com.au, were spruiking that content should be free to all that wanted to listen, then up comes your video. We were so jealous.

    Now you went beyond a niche and have produced thehomepage, but not only did you expand the scope but brought in a great new search system, increased the speed and and simplified the whole site.

    You guys have got it right and with patience and continued innovation will get to no, 1 dog. You have our support.

    Vic and Andy

  24. Lewis Nelson April 28, 2011 at 3:45 am #

    Just a reminder to any Agents out there.

    NOTHING IS FREE!! In exchange for you posting on these FREE sites (facebook included) is you waive all rights to your data and hand over search results to those so called FREE sites.

    Now if your business can afford, to allow customers looking for you or the property you are contracted to market, to be sent to a site that you have NO control over then I guess you have a different business model than every other successful business in the world.

    Online SE results currently and in the foreseeable future will determine winners and losers in business. Imagine the front door to your office being blocked by a series hallways with a series of doors, all directing your clients to someone elses office and not your yours!

    That is the reality of handing your business name and your listing data over to these so called “FREE” sites.

    A single source site or search engine owned and controlled by agents, that in turn directs buyers to the correct door for the information they seek is the only solution.

    Regards

  25. Bill Burdin April 28, 2011 at 7:09 am #

    Lewis, having being actively involved in establishing a localised portal in the ACT owned by a cooperative of agency offices I must agree with you.

  26. Glenn Rogers April 28, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    Does anyone remember Propertylook ?

    Commercial site started by the “big 4” eventually sold the REA

    My objection to that was that any commercial agent placing a listing there was risking losing their client to one of the owners of Propertylook as they dominated the web site.

    Same could apply to REA and Domian in a way, if any agent dominated the results page of a search in a particular area other agents may lose their clients present and or future to the dominant agent, makes REA and Domain a damn good listing tool for agents able to dominate the reaults in a search on the areas they work in.

  27. Jen Pearce April 28, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    Hi Vick & Andy,

    Thanks for the awesome feedback. Don’t you just love the geeks?

    Hopefully with patience and determination we will get there – and thanks so much for your support!

    Jen

  28. Rachel April 28, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

    Thanks Glenn I will get our address up there for you 🙂

  29. Glenn Rogers April 28, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

    Ok Rachel, let me know when glenn@weekend.com.au

  30. Vic April 28, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

    Bill,

    If you look at Lewis’s site you may have a different opinion on where he is coming from.

    No offense Lewis 🙂 but I think you have missed the point of Andy’s message. It is about reducing control on the internet not about replacing it. It is about freedoms.

  31. Glenn Rogers April 28, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

    Rachel, just for the record I don’t do this for everybody, if I see a site that can add value to the OPD index I list it, but never for any other reason.

    I don’t do much in there now, there are over 16,000 sites waiting to be listed and you just jumped the queue.

  32. Glenn Rogers April 28, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

    16,000 sites waiting to be listed ……..for Australia that is.

  33. Glenn Rogers April 28, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    OPD index – thats ODP Open Directory Project (there should be an edit function in here)

  34. Vic April 28, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

    Rachael did you just come in by boat?:)

  35. Bill April 28, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

    Vic, I’m curious now, where is Lewis’s site?

  36. Vic April 28, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

    Bill, just click on his name – it will take you there.

  37. real estate sales April 28, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

    Hello Glenn , it’s Andrew from PropertyNow. I agree with your assertions in the earlier posts.

    Glenn, would you also consider listing PropertyNow in DMOZ ? It is worthy of inclusion. We currently have about 300 real estate agencies however that is about to change. It is certainly worthy of inclusion in DMOZ and I submitted an inclusion request 5 years ago.

    Note – the 300 real estate agents are supported at our own cost and listings are free to real estate agencies.

    Andrew Blachut
    Director and Licensee
    http://www.propertynow.com.au
    26 Mullaway Drive. Mullaway. NSW. 2456
    02 6654 7987, 0408 000 552

  38. Glenn Rogers April 29, 2011 at 11:32 am #

    * This comment has been removed at the request of the poster.

  39. Vic April 29, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    Glenn R,

    I bit my tongue and never commented when you so quickly allowed thehomepage to jump the 16,000 queue. This should have been done privately. I would be pretty pissed off if I was one of the 16,000.
    However your action in naming propertynow is deplorable. Surely the information you have shown is confidential.
    I would have thought that you could also have privately contacted Andrew B. to give him the reason.

  40. Glenn Rogers April 29, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    Vic I can list who I like when I like I’m a national editor in there.

    My comment about jumping the queue was just a turn of phrase, people list sites all the time that come to their attention without placing them in the unreviewed section.

    Your other caustic comment about my post re propertynow is your opinion, always quick to crisisise aren’t you, those are part of editor notes that help explain why his site isn’t listed after 5 years, Peter or Ryan can take it out if they like.

    Now if you can go back to minding your own business that would be appreciated.

  41. Glenn Batten April 29, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    Vic,

    Firstly in relation to your claim that thehomepage was queue jumped…

    I have been an editor of DMOZ in the past and unless things have changed radically. There might be 16,000 sites in Australia but that has nothing to do with how many is in Glenn R’s editor queue.

    He might be the editor of Australia>Real Estate and processed every single submission under that category. As an editor he can process submissions outside of his home category if they are not already being handled by another editor but as you can see that is a very long waiting list. It is up to an editor how much and what they approve outside of their home category.

    So the processing of any submission quickly has no bearing on the overall waiting list. The vast majority of those in the waiting list are in categories with no editor handling it.

    The reason I stopped being an editor was because of claims by a company that I had rejected their submissions. I was the editor of Queensland (if I remember correctly.. it was a long time ago) and they had submitted different state based sites to every state. They did not follow the submission guidelines at all. I fixed their submission so it met the guidelines and approved their Queensland submissions. All the editors for the other states rejected them flat. Whilst I went out of the way to fix their stuff ups I got blamed for all of their rejections elsewhere. People are always quick to believe that you cheated the system. The system works on a volunteer basis. if you dont like what a volunteer does… apply to be an editor yourself. It is quite easy but its time consuming.

    I think you will find Glenn R has done nothing wrong here and your implication is wrong..

    As to providing Andrew with the reasons as to why his requests have never been actioned I agree it could have been handled better but Andrew did make the request public and he could have chose a private contact himself..

    Besides.. in hindsight it probably does not come as a big surprise to him. One of the problems when you are pushing SEO as hard as Andrew does is you always end up crossing somebodies line sometime.

    Just look at his comments on here…he even has to identify himself because he changes his name to try and attract keyword benefit even though it is no followed. 🙂

    Whilst he might struggle to get the other domains ever approved the propertynow.com.au website would be valid for inclusion. it might not have been when he submitted it 5 years ago but IMHO it is now a valid website.

    Obviously no editor over the past 5 years has ever told him why his submissions are rejected but he now knows why and can deal with it instead of scratching his head.. A private email might have been better but I reckon for Andrew the information is valuable as it gives him a solution to the problem. If I was in his position I would be thanking Glenn for revealing it…

    Besides lets look at your reasons why it was wrong

    You said ” I would be pretty pissed off if I was one of the 16,000.”

    Not valid because in all liklyhood there is no queue jumping at all. Anybody who thinks otherwise is jumping to incorrect conclusions on the process works.

    You said. “Surely the information you have shown is confidential.”

    This is called an OPEN Directly Project for a reason. Anybody can become an editor and see the history of a submission. Saying that there may be some rule somewhere saying that reasons for rejection have to go back to the submission email or some such thing..

    The reason for me he should have made private contact is because it would have been polite and would have saved any possible embarrassment.

  42. Glenn Rogers April 29, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

    Glenn B – I’m a national editor so I can edit anywhere in Australia but have little time these days to even log in, I list sites occasionally where I see merit but I can’t spend hours any more reducing the queue.

    Perhaps I shouldn’t have quoted the reasons why propertynow wasn’t listed but I see these things more businesslike than emotional and wouldn’t have thought it was embarrassing as the notes at least give him a chance to see the problem and fix and understand the process more thoroughly, not much gets past these guys as you know.

    Apologies to Andrew if he was embarrassed in any way by my post.

  43. Glenn Batten April 29, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    Glenn R

    I understand how it works but unfortunately other people don’t. When you combine their lack of understanding with comments about queue jumping it can cause people to assume the worst. As I stated.. that’s why I quit..

    I have had sites banned because I pushed too hard.. and I am not embarrassed by it.. part of doing business in the “black art” of SEO.

    I think (and hope) Andrew will overlook any embarrassment he may have in favour of his new found knowledge 🙂

  44. Vic April 29, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    GlennB,
    Thanks for your comments and explanation of the intensity of being an editor.

    On the face of Glenn R’s post, it is the “action” to release the editor notes that is deplorable to me….irrespective of whether Andrew B made a public request.

    Surely this information is confidential ?

    The better way of doing it would have been to email him and post a note on B2 to that effect.

    And in so far as queue jumping 16,000 is concerned- Glenn R brought this up. I was not commenting on the merit of his offer to thehomepage (I don’t know the criteria) but if the 16,000 that are waiting in the queue read the comment, I’m sure they’d be pissed off.

    Glenn R,
    Stick yourself out there with outrageous/controversial actions/comments and criticism will come. That’s what freedoms are all about. As long as you don’t get personal I’m always up for a good debate.

    And no way would I tell you to mind your own business- 🙂

    I’m glad to see your apology to Andrew B though.

    ps. we are not one of the 16,000 in the DMOZ queue.

  45. Vic April 29, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    Sorry,

    My partner has just advised me that we are technically in the queue. He applied around three months ago.

    So now I am really pissed off.

  46. Glenn Rogers April 29, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    I apologise to you too Vic, I tend to have a short fuse these days and should have responded as Glenn B did.

    I’ve been an editor in DMOZ for over 10 years, I don’t mind sharing the ‘secrets” if it helps prople to understand the process better, as it stands the submitter get’s no feedback unless he asks and someone decides to give it, which they rarely do.

    I should resign from DMOZ but I’ve been there so long it’s a little difficult, as from time to time the opportunity comes along to do some good and I don’t want to give that up.

  47. Glenn Rogers April 29, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    Wel it’s not in the queue I had a look under Tas and Nationally, when I tried to list it the system didnt bring up any title or description , don’t know whats going on there, the way the sites coded? Tell me where it was submitted to.

    This is why people generally don’t tell people they’re editors but as long as the content is there I don’t mind helping out, I don’t see a problem with the powers at SMOZ as long as it’s not for personal gain.

  48. Vic April 29, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

    Thanks Glenn R,

    Andy is away filiming at moment for ABC- when he gets back will check out exactly where and when we did the application and get back to you by email.

    Didn’t mean to offend you earlier- I just seem to go to bat for the little guy too often these days. Goes with the age I guess. Apology humbly accepted.

    Between you and Glenn B some really good stuff on DMOZ came out.

  49. Glenn Rogers April 29, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

    Ok Vic continue this at glenn@weekend.com.au I’ll deal with it over the weekend or whenever you’re ready.

    Have to go out now have a good weekend one and all.

  50. Glenn Batten April 29, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

    Vic,

    Just so you know, most editors dont give a reason or notice to the submitter when they reject a site. They should and I know it sounds crazy but I assume that is because it stops endless emails discussing why something was declined.

    Most submissions are declined because they don’t fit the submission criteria and because you don’t get any feedback you assume you are still part of the queue when you have actually been rejected.

    One of the rules I am sure is still in place is not to use caps or promotional language.

    So if I submitted

    “First National Real Estate Nerang – THE BEST AGENT IN NERANG”

    and this was the only problem on the submission some editors would still reject it outright.. but some might go to the trouble of fixing it by removing the caps and promotion tag on the title.

    If you have multiple problems .. they just reject it because the submitter did not respect the system to even read the rules of the site. I know this may sound harsh but its not like yahoo where you pay $300 or $400 per year.

    If you seen the poor state and the sheer number of some of the submissions you would understand why these volunteer editors are a little quick sometimes to reject things.

    The lack of feedback makes it easier for the editors but it makes it very hard for the submitters. I guess its the editors that are in short supply so thats how the rules are favoured which of course does not make it right… just the reality.

  51. Glenn Rogers April 29, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

    Glenn B – agree entirely…..

  52. Glenn Rogers April 29, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    Ok Vic I found you and you’re in –

    http://www.dmoz.org/Regional/Oceania/Australia/Business_and_Economy/Real_Estate/

    Nice site adds value to the directory , congratulations and good luck.

    (Allow 24 hours for the update and a month for Google inclusion)

  53. Andrew Blachut April 30, 2011 at 3:30 am #

    Re – Glenn Rogers comments towards myself and my company PropertyNow –

    I can only thank Vic for saying exactly what I was feeling when I read Glenns comments about me. I was shocked that the comments were made publicly and that they were made at all. They are not remotely true and it was indeed incredibly unprofessional as Vic noted.

    Specifically Glenn Rogers, the sites you suggest me to be spamming are all owned by myself. Apparently I am spamming myself.

    No doubt you are therefore suggesting that I am not allowed to put backlinks to one of my sites from other sites I own….and yet domain and realestate.com.au do this to an infinitely greater degree than I do.. It is deplorable to have me dignify these comments but one has no choice when they are so at odds with the truth of the matter. Left undefended they portray PropertyNow as some kind of villian in the piece.

    The sites carry links to PropertyNow as they rightfully can since I own them. They form about 100 links within about 30,000 backlinks to PropertyNow.

    Google has seen fit to award the value in our website by placing us on the front page for literally dozens of relevent keywords for half a decade. We are most proud of the fact that we have been included on the front page for the strongest property phrase in the industry ( real estate ) for 3 years now. Google love us but DMOZ wont list us, possibly for no reason other than a personal dispostion of a supposedly independent and fair minded editor.

    Our site is not in DMOZ which is a human edited site that purports to include quality relevent sites that provide important content. Given that PropertyNow has saved Australians over 2 million dollars thus far …we… thoroughly deserve inclusion. The website is of huge significance to our real estate agents and private sellers alike.

    The problem of course is that if an editor is a real estate agent or sympathetic to the agency status quo ( I am also an agent ) and takes a set against a particular business model then they can put a black mark against our site in much the same manner as America used to label everyone in the 50’s and 60’s who had a friend or interest in socialism …as a communist.

    The practice of building backlinks using contextual phrases is as commonplace as anything used in seo on the net. It is perfectly valid, harms no one and is accepted practice. Even Google does it. To suggest that is spamming is insulting, it is derogatory and it should be libellous.

    Glenn. Google is supposed to provide relevency in search results ( and yes I know we are discussing DMOZ ) and yet it gives 50% of its front page listings to realestate.com.au for the largest volume phrase in the industry. I consider that the ultimate spamming.

    In respect of your silly assertion that I can do something about the blacklisting by DMOZ, it is incorrect since I applied for a listing 5 years ago and many times since. I also applied for an editorship several times and was never contacted.

    While I consider it desirable to be inside DMOZ, it is clearly a club for the boys and it bears no semblance of fairness. It is based on the whims of editors by its very nature.

    That is less important if the editor respects what is clearly an incredibly valuable site to the Australian public……..but when a personal opinion or stance takes precedence over fact, what hope does one have?

    Do you suppose Glenn, that the thousands of home owners we have assisted over half a decade consider us a worthless or unworthy site? And do the hundreds of real estate agents we support for free, consider us also unworthy of inclusion.

    I want to thank Vic for his support and also Ryan over the past few years.

    Regrettably I do not intend supporting this blog anymore as there has been continual animosity towards our business which is guilty of nothing more than outrageous customer service.

    I do understand and concede that the heavy handed nature of many anti PropertyNow comments inside this blog have come from just a few individuals with either vested interests or tunnel vision…. while many others have been supportive.

    The only company I have attacked however is REA and that criticism is richly deserved. I have not gotten personal in this blog as some have ..and have been as polite as possible given accusations that are extremely misleading, unfounded and provocative.

    I only hope Glenn that in the future you engage your mind before making such insulting assertions against anyone else. If you read my post it was a very simple and innocent request for help, that was made in full public view. It was also very much on topic. To then suggest that your response was helpful to me, was even more insulting.

    I note again that Vic saw an apology to PropertyNow some where above….and I thank him again for his support. I have to say that I read the several posts and could not see anything in the way of an apology but rather a thinly veiled justification for ripping into my company from someone who doesn’t know anything about it’s operation or the impact it has made on so many peoples lives.

    Andrew Blachut
    Director and Licensee PropertyNow Pty Ltd

  54. Glenn Rogers April 30, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    “””I only hope Glenn that in the future you engage your mind before making such insulting assertions against anyone else””””””

    Andrew, read the post , they are NOT my coments or assertions.

    ””””’I was shocked that the comments were made publicly and that they were made at all. They are not remotely true and it was indeed incredibly unprofessional as Vic noted””””””’

    You wanted to be listed I showed you why you weren’t , I thought you might be grateful for the information, instead of blaming the messenger.

    ””””’Specifically Glenn Rogers, the sites you suggest me to be spamming are all owned by myself. Apparently I am spamming myself.”””””’

    Once again, READ THE POST, I am not suggesting you’re spamming anything, those comments are from an editor who made that judgment.

    This is why editors stay anonymous, you try to help someone and it all comes back on you.

    After I list thehomepage that’s it, no more favours from me.

    And Andrew before you go off abusing people think first, you just got it all wrong, don’t blame me for what your actions have brought on yourself.

    Yes incredibly unprofessional of you Andrew.

  55. Glenn Rogers April 30, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    Here you go this is from the DMOZ web site , it’s a public page.
    Why didn’t you find this ?

    http://www.dmoz.org/guidelines/include.html

    Not to include –

    Spider Food, Lead Generators and Content Mills
    Spider food websites are intended for consumption by search engine software which spiders the web to index pages. Their purpose is to increase the perceived importance of another website by their links to it, so promoting that site in search engine rankings.

    Lead generator websites aim to gather information from visitors by means of email forms, to feed to a business or businesses represented elsewhere on the Web.

    Content mill websites prominently feature advertising for other websites and any content is typically assembled from other sources. These websites are not designed to be an end destination themselves but instead to shuttle visitors to other websites.

    These sites may appear to be unique, content-rich, informational sites, however the content is typically copied or slightly modified from reputable sites, or has been autogenerated or manually produced but lacks any real substance. They typically lack any sort of authentic and credible statements of responsibility. The existence of advertising, links or email forms is not by itself damning. These all appear on many listable websites. It is the combination of such features and the absence of authorship and/or other verifiable information which characterizes such sites.

  56. Glenn Rogers April 30, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    I forced myself to read the rest of your rant Andrew.

    You’re not coming back here ? I never made a negative comment about you until you attacked me for trying to help you, the comments re listing in DMOZ are there for everyone to see, it’s a pity you didn’t read the guidelines before submitting in the first place.

    The fact that the quoted piece might apply to you is no big deal people have to adjust their sites all the time to get inclusion but you get on your high horse and accuse me of being unprofessional ?

    How dare you.

    Take a good look at yourself.

    A professional would have submitted correctly in the first place.
    A professional would have been grateful for the feedback and went about adjusting their web site.
    A professional wouldn’t blame DMOZ for not allowing them to edit if they cant keep their own site within the guidelines, and a professional wouldnt run away and sulk because of critisism.

    The outrageous statements you make about DMOZ are typical of a failed submitter, there are over 90,000 people who devote a lot of time to making that the directory that it is, chosen by Google to download from regularly, you can’t blame them if you don’t make the grade.

  57. Vic April 30, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    In a convoluted sort of a way the last 20 or so posts do have some relevance to ANDY’S post on The hypocrisy of Content…..etc.

    Here are Glenn B and Glenn R defending DMOZ and the volunteers that try hard to keep its content relevant, credible and ethical so that the public/users are not misled and have a source to find a way to credible businesses. I applaud you guys for this.

    That DMOZ has rules and must be applied to ensure its credibility long term is not in question. What is in question is whether the editors notes are available for the public to see. If they are then fine, the public can see them and Glenn R did nothing wrong in copying them for his post. However, in my searching of the DMOZ site, I haven’t found any editors notes regarding Andrew Blachut’s business nor any editors note on anyone else’s business. Maybe I am not searching in the right area.

    Glenn R can you confirm whether the editors notes are available for the public to see?
    If these notes are not available for public consumption, then IMHO Glenn should not have disclosed them.

  58. Glenn Rogers April 30, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

    The notes are not available but what I posted is only what is in the guidlines for all to see, as posted above, what I disclosed was basically how it applied to Andrew……..no big deal and if it were me I’d be damn grateful for the information, it in no way hurts him or his perceived reputation, it’s a web thing that few understand anyway.

    If all editor notes were open to public view it would jam the whole system with uninformed failed submitters trying to argue about it.

    The notes are in effect open to the public anyway, all you have to do is apply to be an editor.

  59. Vic April 30, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

    Glenn, I’m not Andrew’s advocate as I’m sure he can fend for himself.

    Playing the general devil’s advocate; if someone did learn about the reason for their non admittance and were to re apply, how would they be able to wipe off a negative “editor’s note” to enable a new application to be processed without predjudice?

  60. Lewis Nelson April 30, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

    Vic,

    Andy himself stated:
    “again I ask people-Why do you only go to these Portals to search Real Estate? The answer is, always, because they believe they have all the listings. ”

    The logical conclusion is a Portal with 90% plus of all Australian Listings, where the information is backed by a legally enforceable guarantee, which is updated daily with new listings would become the Google of Australian real estate searches.

    Now the only way this will ever happen is if the Agents themselves own and control the portal which would in turn return all revenues back to the agents.

    Since everyone agrees portals are worth nothing in an IPO without content, why would any businessman (agent) hand over that content without receiving a majority of the profits it creates in return.

    By the way I hope you guys are all registering domains based on the realestate.com.au mistake. Someone with $200,000 cash can own that brand in 60 days and there is nothing REA can do about it from a legal standpoint.

    Wait 10,000 agents at $20 each….hmmmm….I guess REA has a real problem.

    REIA are you listening???

  61. Glenn Rogers April 30, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    Vic – the old note would be wiped and the site would be processed as normal, but it would be easier if you knew the name of the editor who placed the note and contacted them direct.

    Of course I couldn’t disclose that as it would be unprofessional and we can’t have that can we now.

  62. Bill Burdin April 30, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

    Has anyone given any thought to a future of real estate online when the new expressive top level domain names are released. My understanding is a bidding process will be undertaken where invited bidders will bid for domains such as .realestate

    The bidders will need to lodge a comprehensive business case to allow them to bid but a top level domain will be worth a motza.

    I would imagine the owners of such a domain would become a registrar and sell localised sub domains such as sydney.realestate or even down to a suburb.

    Or maybe the owner will just become a monopoly portal for worldwide real estate listings.

    Anway I’m sure it will lead to interesting times because as such domains become ubiquitous it will provide some headaches for the current portal players.

    Sorry if this is a little off topic and if it has already been discussed.

  63. Vic May 1, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    Bill,

    Scary prospect- where did you here about this?

  64. Bill Burdin May 1, 2011 at 10:55 am #

    Vic, I’ve listened to several discussions on theradio ove the last 12 months or so. A search on “new gTLD” will produce lots of results but a lot of the icann stuff is technical.

    There’s summary at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generic_top-level_domain
    “New Top Level Domains”

    Here’s a video where the topic is discussed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAgiumD3vTI

    My understanding from reading some ICANN papers is the owner of say .realestate would be a registrar selling sub domains. I’m not too ambitous I just want nsw.realestate

    But seriously the industry is in for a shakeup when it happens.

  65. Bill Burdin May 1, 2011 at 11:03 am #

    Just a thought, if .realestate is getting close and becomes ubiquitous I wouldn’t want to be holding shares in a portal company unless they were he ones who owned .realestate

  66. Glenn Rogers May 1, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    If it’s any good they would have their foot on it by now anyway.

    They still don’t pay dividends do they ?

    I’d be more concerned someone comes out of left field and gets a popular following.

    I believe REA is capitalised at $1B ? that sends alarm bells ringing ….for a company that relies on Google for it’s income.

    Before anyone jumps in, if they were out of Google they would be history within 6 months, they really need to diversify.

  67. Vic May 1, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    Bill do you mean that if it was available now and I could get my hands on a .realestate, would it give me better search results than what I currently get with .com.au.

    ie http://www.watersidepropertysales.realestate – as against our present http://www.watersidepropertysales.com.au ?

    Just trying to get my head around the probabilities.

  68. Bill Burdin May 1, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    Vic, just assumptions on my part because I am also trying to get my head around what will happen.

    The first assumption I make is that search will become secondary when the new domains are released.

    I’ll use .realestate as the example and say I wanted to find properties in the ACT.

    I would just enter act.realestate into my browser location.

    From your point of view you would want the sub domain waterside.realestate because in the years to come when .realestate is ubiquitous the majority of people “will not generally use search” to find business information.

    Another example:

    If I had a portal that specialises in 2 bedroom homes, I would probably want the domain 2bedroom.realestate

    realestate.com.au are big in Australia but we are talking international with these new domains and if as I assume the domains are sold to a registrar, the registrar who secured the name would immediately become a multi billion dollar business.

    There would be a gold rush on by individuals and organisations wanting to register regional sub domains. And I’ll suggest they would not be getting them for $10 year but need to submit a tender or bid at auction.

    Just imagine how much a domains such as newyork.realestate or london.realestate would be worth. Then on top of that there would be the niche domains, waterside.realestate or riverside.realestate as examples.

    What will be interesting is where will REA and Domain be postitioned in the bidding process, if they don’t get some control over .realestate they could find themselves in a bit of a pickle.

    As far as listings are concerned, if I was an agency or private seller operating in the market when these new domains are launched and I was operating in the ACT, I would primarily want my property listed on ACT.realestate and not the portal that ranks highly in Google.

    My understanding is that the new domains will be targetted to companies who will register their brand names as domain names, e.g. cnn, fox, apple or maybe watersideproperties. As you can see this has the potential to change the whole landscape.

    I see some challenges ahead for browser providers. Take Chrome as an example, right now if I typed in to the location watersideproperties I would be provided with a list of Google search results. Under the new domain structure I would want to be shown the sites with the .watersideproperties extension.

    If things are going according to plan some announcements from ICANN will be made this month.

  69. Bill Burdin May 1, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    At the risk of harping on I have seen two example in recent days that will change the way we currently operate on the Internet.

    Yesterday I watched how banks are introducing touch screen technology and I recently watched a demonstration of voice recognition.

    I found bot absolutely mind blowing. I can now clearly see the day when dining tables and kitchen benchtops, coffee shop tables etc will become browsing facilities.

    I’ll sit at my benchtop drinking my morning coffee and just say waterside.realestate and in the blink of an eye I’ll be touchscreening my way through Vic’s portal which has become the premier portal in the world for waterside realestate.

    Might sound like fantasy but it only seems like yesterday I was in Harvey Norman’s dreaming about owning a widescreen TV like the one on show for $20k.

  70. Vic May 1, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    Ok then Bill, would this then have a major impact on the existing search engines?
    I have seen voice recognition and it will be the search tool of the future- no doubt and touch screening is here to stay- just that most of us don’t have the capital to introduce it. I wonder if the IPO for onthehouse has reserved development funds to bring these two technologies onto their portal. I doubt it.

    Imagine a camera that could feed a private listers images and text direct to a portal and make payment whilst using touch screen and/or voice recognition ????— Just another one to bend the mind.

  71. Bill Burdin May 1, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

    Glenn, thanks for posting the link, that’s an amazing video and much of what they predict is now reality, truly amazing stuff.

    Vic, I have no real understanding on how it will effect search but I certainly look forward to a day when I can just say “waterside realestate” and there it is on my kitchen bench. I don’t think a search engine will be required to make that happen, just a domain name that is regulated to display what is reflected in the domain name. I mean if I say “waterside realestate” that’s what I want to see and not some irrelevant or spammy website.

    Google is at the forefront of voice recognition so I am sure they have something in the pipeline to introduce it in such a way it will help protect their empire.

    What I can’t get my mind around is why would I need search to find such websites if the domain says it all.

    I would imagine if you wanted to secure ‘waterside.realestate’ you would need to pay big dollars for it . Once you secured it you would develop it as a brand. You would protect the brand by providing what the brand suggests you provide.

    I think I could say with some certainty there wouldn’t be any need for you to pay for adwords or hard copy marketing.

    There is one attribute that must develop for this to happen and that is the ubiquity of the realestate domain extension, but for the life of me I can’t see why it wouldn’t.

    The domain registrar would be promoting the bejesus out of it. Worldwide events would be sponsored by .realestate and why wouldn’t they, the registrars returns are incalculable.

    Here’s a kneejerk thought, Google become the registrar for .realestate and sell the subdomains at auction with a per click royalties to be paid to Google.

  72. Bill Burdin May 1, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    You’ve probably seen this

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2384572,00.asp

  73. Andy Del Vecchio May 2, 2011 at 10:26 am #

    wow…Sorry I havent had a chance to comment yet…been away and actually I wrote this a few weeks ago so kinda caught me by surprise !

    The comments here seem to have gone on an adventurous journey to various places, from a TheHomepage.com.au” love in” to and Industry revolt in Canada to a Dmoz conspiracy and then Dmoz instructional guidebook ( someone should do a blog on Dmoz, I learnt a lot here and guess there is more to learn) and then on to the future of domain names and the ability to register nearly anything.

    ( by the way, I wonder if Googles recent changes to their algorithm, that is not giving so much emphasis on keywords in domain names was a precureser to this upcioming change that Bill mentions)

    The ultimate question I asked though was about listings being content and the reliance of all major portals, on this content and yet they charge the content providers to provide it,

    soooo is it then just advertising ?

    But Advertising when it is amassed, becomes content and becomes the reason the website is visited and the way the publisher then can sell advertising…

    Can you see the conundrum?

    Without the content, the portal would be absolutely nothing…absolutely nothing…

  74. Sam May 5, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    I had no idea DMOZ was still relevant to the internet.

    Sure, it was great in 2002, but seriously.

    There is no such thing as SEO. Just build good websites 😉

  75. Vic May 5, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

    Interesting comments Sam. I do agree with you on SEO. Seems like all SEO “experts” we have contacted, and that is quite a few, all want to justify their jobs with very questionable “black hat” type tactics.
    Building a good website from the outset is true, and getting quality back links is also ultra important and probably the most difficult thing to do.

    Has anybody got any suggestions on arranging quality back links?

  76. Glenn Batten May 6, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    DMOZ has never delivered quality traffic… not in 2002 or now. Where the power of DMOZ is concerned is that it is a human edited directory with quality standards hence its listings are considered by search engines to be of higher benefit than other automated directories which are often filled with spam sites.

    A DMOZ listing alone will deliver nothing but it is a part of the puzzle that works together. Other parts of the puzzle are quality back links (off page seo) and onpage seo work. The other highly regarded human edited directory that generates little traffic but helps your seo immensly is the Yahoo Directory… but this is a paid service now…

    Black hat seo strategies can work .. for a time, but essentially to be considered black hat it means they are somehow artificially tricking the results. Normally these are only temporary and take a lot of work to research and keep up with the latest black hat techniques. Obviously perfect for an SEO consultant as he can keep charging you as he has to change it. Perfect examples are Link Farms and Google Bombing.. both tactics worked wonderfully …. for a time.

    SEO by itself is also pretty pointless. Compare these two websites…

    Great seo could generate you 1000 visitors a day who all exit after one pageview and average time on site counted in seconds all because your content, design, navigation and layout is crap.

    In contrast a webpage getting just a quarter of the traffic that engages its audience at higher levels resulting in average pageviews per visit over 10 and sessions times of over 10 minutes…

    Which would you rather. I suggest that the second from a business and money making perspective would be 100 times better

    The trick is to have your cake and eat it too… have a great website, with the highest content generating stacks of traffic from seo.

  77. Glenn Batten May 6, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    Vic…

    The most important thing to remember with backlinks that many don’t quite understand is that 50 backlinks from 50 different IP addresses but all in different C Class ranges is far better than 500 links from only a few unique ip addresses in the same C Class range.

    So if you host a few websites on the same server or very close IP addresses then links from them will have little impact.

    Links coming from the same C Class range are probably from the same or a related company and are discounted. Links all coming from different C Class ranges are more likely to be real.

    Somepeople get too wrapped up in generating backlinksas their only or primary SEO strategy. There are plenty of PR1 websites that outrank PR4 websites… but when they are dont as a total strategy they of course boost your overall SEO.

  78. Sal Espro May 6, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    The free portals seem to provide the right idea but note how they still can’t make inroads on the incumbent ‘big two’ that have the power of branding. My guess is the power of the brands here is bigger for agents than vendors and buyers who are still doing Google searches for property.

    Ps FYI, another new individual property website ‘out there’ see
    http://www.SwishAddress.com.au
    (A nice touch is optional video, ‘Walkscore’ and Calculator)
    These types of marketing ‘things’ are going to build our agency brands more than portals ever will.

    Still catching-up
    Sal 🙂

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