Project Rebellion: REA’s Problems Continue with ACCC Investigation Underway

In a followup article to the Front Page Project Rebellion article, Ben Hurley from the Australian Financial Review has published a new story on an ongoing investigation by the ACCC into the activities of RealEstate.com.au and to a lesser extent Domain.com.au.



Questions directed at some of Australia’s leading real estate groups have seemed to focus on excessive price rises (see 1,2, 3 and 4) of realestate.com.au and the effectiveness of competition in the real estate online classified space.

Simon Baker, the ex CEO and substantial shareholder in REA has made some interesting comments on this blog recently regarding realestate.com.au prices :

If the franchise groups were serious about competing with realestate.com.au or at least providing a competitive offering, wouldnt they first start internally and attempt to organise group buying of REA subscriptions for their franchisees?

Imagine if all Ray White or LJ Hooker offices got together and negotiated as one for their REA subscriptions (and additional products). I think they would get a better price.

and

the most likely innovation will be suburb based pricing where there is significant differentiation between suburbs in the price paid.

and the most suprising comment from Simon was his take on add on products

The more interesting question is why do people have to buy the premium products? Do they really add value?

Does anybody else find that a little strange?

With all state Real Estate Institutes and the REIA meeting in Perth during the week strategies were again discussed to create a national industry run portal.  David Airey commented on this blog prior to the meeting :

“Sadly the REIA ailed to gain national support from most state institutes to launch or run a national industry owned portal. That’s a sad indictment of the politics that used to exist and allowed the commercial sites to grow around our industry at our expense.”

and

“I’m on the record on many occasions criticising REI’s for this intransigence and for not listening to members.”

But the current momentum in the industry may have changed some minds as all indications are that this roadblock may finally be pulled down and our REI’s finally taking a role that many members thought they would never see and that is the operation of a national industry controlled portal.  But taking on the might of REA would not be easy and one of the strategies being discussed is using the REI’s to feed to the commercial portals with delay of say 3 or 7 days. This would allow REI portals at a state and national level to promote something like “Find it first on  xyz.com.au”.

As this plays out behind closed doors the campaign to withhold sold data from  realestate.com.au is gaining some serious momentum and reports from small and large national real estate groups and portal pushers continue to roll in.

One side effect of withholding sold data from the likes of REA is that data companies like RPData who has paid substantially for this information feed from REA. RPData and other similar companies provide essential data services back to agents but also provide market analysis and review consumed by the nations media. With a strong national portal in place it’s expected that RPData will move to establish arrangements direct with the institutes bypassing REA entirely.

Another thing Ben Hurley has reported on today is the presents and gifts that Realestate.com.au is showering on their biggest spending clients.  With the real estate market slowdown agents have looked to reduce discretionary spending. REA have used things like dinner at high end restaurants, State of Origin games, Business Class flights and even brand new iPads to secure the relationship.  I personally have heard of a sales team being flown interstate to watch the AFL when discussions of reducing their yearly spend was raised.

Realestate.com.au has over 10,000 real estate agents throughout Australia and whilst many agents  spend around $1,000 a month there are offices who spend 10, 20 and even 30  times that amount which is primarily funded by Vendor Paid Advertising (VPA).  Realestate.com.au’s campaign to increase the share of wallet has been right around the country but it has been particularly successful in Melbourne where they have less competition from Domain and high dollar auction campaigns are popular .  As an example the Premier Property option offered by realestate.com.au can cost an owner well over $2,000 per month.

Many in the industry showed increasing concern towards REA’s motives when a video surfaced showing their intention to market direct to buyers and sellers. Check out the video yourself, particularly from 9 min 30sec of this video.

In response Greg Ellis issued a written response which seemed  to contradict itself from paragraph to paragraph. Why his response was not circulated widely by email is unknown but it might have something to do with the fact its easier to watch the video by clicking on the link if it was sent by email. I doubt to many would have typed in that long url.

In the letter he claimed that it was incorrectly reported that he wanted to cut agents out of the loop but then went on to state:

The development of site functionality that allows prospective buyers and sellers to access or claim property information that can be accessed by agents so they can cost effectively identify a new pool of leads.

I am sure I am not the only one that reads this sans spin to be that they are going to escalate their use of agents sold data, listing data and valuer general data to provide additional products to buyers and sellers direct and then sell those leads to agents…. as “cost effectively ” as realestate.com.au can do of course!

In an interesting side note REA reps have now started to sit down with salespeople and sellers in their homes to pitch $2000 a month Premier Property and other options in the marketplace. This appears to be very similar to the Redfin Portal in the US who have a team of salespeople on the ground in capital cities. The primary difference is that Redfin salespeople also present property and take a cut in the commission, something REA have repeatedly claimed they will not do.

REA’s dealings with the ACCC lately has not been good and has seen the scrapping of the Private Listing Policy which finally allows private sellers easy access to list on realestate.com.au.

The drought of sold data would certainly have some sort of effect on future revenue streams and to a certain extent current products but a successful ACCC action and a industry controlled competitor together would provide bad news for Australia’s largest and most successful real estate portal.

It’s going to be a very interesting few months as this all plays out but if it was bad news for REA it’s terrible timing for newcomer Onthehouse. A strong industry portal is not going to be good news for them.  Their original investor document and  subsequent prospectus highlighted the monetisation of client agents data.

The underwriter (and partial owner) took it a step further in their report when they stated :

“Low integration risk, with ongoing data feeds. PortPlus and Console databases are ready to be “plugged in” into OTH’s database. In addition, both businesses do not sell their software – they license it to each customer on a rolling basis. As such, they retain ownership and control over the software and its intellectual property. With the appropriate terms and conditions in place with clients, each business is licensed to access and upload the content that is captured by the software”

Customers of Portplus and Console are already questioning when the terms and conditions are going to change and just where their data is going to end up. I expect their competition will start to raise the issue and use this against them when pitching for business.  Even though the float was over subscribed, in their first month of trading the shares dropped to as low as 60c which must be a huge concern for the original operators of Portplus and Console who are restricted in selling many of their shares for quite some time.

Certainly, the “Noise” is getting louder by the day!   Join in and tell us what you think about the latest developments.

ACCC, Console, Domain.com.au, Onthehouse, oth, Portplus, REA, Realestate.com.au, rei, reia, Simon Baker

SEO For Real Estate
Listing Leads
Agentpoint Real estate

About Glenn Batten

Glenn Batten is the General Manager at First National Real Estate Nerang and Principal at the First National Real Estate Upper Coomera office and has over 20 years real estate experience and a passion for technology. Glenn has been writing from an agents perspective on industry issues and covering a range of topics on Business2 since 2007.

134 Responses to Project Rebellion: REA’s Problems Continue with ACCC Investigation Underway

  1. PropertyNow July 2, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    Ben Hurley has entirely missed the point of the ACCC investigation. The predatory pricing and other issues would be of interest to the ACCC but were not remotely the reason for the investigation. The investigation was as a pure result of the PropertyNpw complaint against REA and which was supported and added to be ForSaleForLease.

    There was no complaint until PropertyNow and ForSaleForLease made one after having their accounts threatened for closure.

    Glenn , you are well aware of this and always fail to mention it. Why is that?

    I will contact Ben Hurley next week to give him a broader brush as he seems to be drawing an extrapolation that is inconsistent and sketchy.

    REA has been accused of price gouging agents for years. That is common knowledge and is not what this investigation is about, unless it’s as a sidelight.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  2. Glenn Batten July 2, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    Andrew, you are assuming the investigations are the same… why?

  3. Ryan O'Grady July 2, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    Excellent article Glenn, you’ve done a terrific job pulling together the handfuls of issues Realestate.com.au have been faced with over the past 2 months.

    They’ve gone into damage control and appear to be running out of answers. Each attempt to smooth over the issues, results in an ineffective communication which then creates additional problems. The month ahead will be trialling and very important for REA.

    It

  4. Glenn Rogers July 2, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

    A company the size of REA shouldn’t be in this position with it’s only source of income starting to reject them, the place simply isnt being managed properly.

    If it were the agents would be happy and the whole thing would be humming.

  5. Glenn Rogers July 2, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    PS Yes Ryan I agree Glenn B has done a good job with this.

  6. Greg Vincent July 2, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

    Great article Glenn. It’s very interesting to see what’s surfacing. I have said for a long time that REA need to connect better with agents.

    PS: I can feel a Jenman outrage or Peter Mericka comment on its way about the agents getting Bridge Climbs, etc.

  7. Glenn Batten July 2, 2011 at 6:36 pm #

    thanks guys.. with some interesting things in the comments on the previous article and so many people who just read the articles alone I thought it would be a good time to summarise everything.

    This whole story has plenty in it yet though. ACCC wont go away quickly. There are some big things about to come to fruition with sold data. REI’s seems ready to work on a strategy and Ben Hurley certainly has more up his sleeve from all of his investigations.. I dont think he will want to tell me though… I promise I will only tell my friends Ben!!! 🙂 My B2 friends!!

  8. Glenn Batten July 2, 2011 at 6:38 pm #

    They have been connecting very well Greg… with their “share of wallet” strategy !

  9. forsaleforlease July 2, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    Andrew
    Feel free to post my letter from the ACCC. Let the readers decide the direction the ACCC investigation is taking.
    Why do you think Greg Ellis sent us an i pad or an invite to Tetsuya’s ? I am sure it’s in the mail.

  10. Glenn Batten July 2, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

    Read the newspaper article, first paragraph… Honestly this is not all about you. I have no doubt that your investigation with the ACCC has added a great perspective and probably help them take it all more seriously and they may even still be dealing with the issues you raised, but this investigation is different by Andrew’s own admission is different. The ACCC has sent letters in response to the franchise groups.

  11. Glenn Batten July 2, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

    In summary.. you are not the only two complainants here no matter what you think..

  12. PropertyNow July 2, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

    Listen up Glenn. No one is saying that the ACCC is only investigating the complaints made by PropertyNow and ForSaleForLease against realestate.com.au and REA.

    What I am objecting to is that your assumption is based on an interpretation of a survey that I completed many weeks ago as a direct result of our complaint. You ( and the author Ben Hurley ) write as though the purpose of the survey was most related to the predatory pricing. I am very confident that it is not. As I said earlier…at best, its a by product. All that means is that REA has upset an awful lot of people and not just my company.

    REA exercised considerable power in trying to railroad PropertyNow and others and this fact is completely glossed over in this thread …and this has happened so often as to appear quite deliberate Glenn.

    Show me any real estate agencies other than PropertyNow and ForSaleForLease who complained to the ACCC in the past 4 months Glenn? Our businesses were about to be wiped out prior to this activity. Do you imagine that the astonishing backflip in the private sale policy of REA is coincidence.

    Witness the language used by the CEO of REA in saying that REA was “out of step with regulatory practice ”

    Glenn, I notice that whenever you report on these matters you display clear bias. REA may or may not be in trouble but you appear to be suggesting ( via the Fin article Authors interpretation ) that the general real estate agent industry is forcing issues to a head………….as if….

    Please correct me Glenn, if that is not what you assert? I well remember Glenn, being ridiculed in this forum when we mentioned that we had approached ACCC many months ago.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  13. Simon Baker July 2, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

    Glenn

    Your comparison to Redfin is misleading. Redfin is a real estate brokerage (agency) that primarily uses the internet to source leads.

    They are not a portal.

    They have a discount model and are attempting to change how agents in the US approach selling and marketing real estate.

  14. Glenn Batten July 2, 2011 at 10:11 pm #

    Your ego knows no bounds.. that’s the only thing I am sure of. 🙂

    You object to my assumption based upon your interpretation of a survey… HUH??? I dont know what survey you are talking about. How could I make an assumption on something that I have no idea what you are referring to.

    The only reason I know of your complaint is because you keep telling us about it since I wrote that article.

    You need to build a bridge… you feel slighted because in a previous article I said

  15. Glenn Batten July 2, 2011 at 10:45 pm #

    Simon,

    Redfin are certainly changing it up and they dont fit into any model seen here in Australia

    Redfin dont list property for sale.. but according to wikipedia they

    “combines a real estate search site with real estate agents. Redfin.com

  16. Glenn Batten July 2, 2011 at 10:50 pm #

    With Redfin a real estate agent is told that they are “interested in referring customers from our website to agents”. So it walks like duck, swims like a duck.. but we both agree its not a duck 😉

  17. Glenn Batten July 2, 2011 at 10:54 pm #

    Simon.. whilst we have your attention… you posed two questions I picked up on in the article…

    “The more interesting question is why do people have to buy the premium products? Do they really add value?”

    yet I think you are best person to answer them… Would you?

  18. Vic July 3, 2011 at 6:50 am #

    Andrew,

    With all due respects, on this particular post and Glenns focus of the post, it is not about any ACCC action that you may have originated. It is about some deepseated issues that the “traditional commission based agents” have been proclaiming for some time.
    From what I have read of the AFRs two articles, Greg Ellis correspondence and video, from a real estate agent Facebook group, of which I am humbly a member, from posts on B2 and from direct feedback from some of my agent clients: the AFR articles have come as a result of agents concerns over:

    1. REA’s general pricing policy as a consequence of their dominant position
    2. the potential for REA to use sold data, provided by agents, against the interests of agents
    3. REA deliberate strategy of intervening between agent and their vendor to sell upgrade features
    4. REA potential to move to business model (a la Redfin of the US, or some elements of that model)

    At the moment the “rebellion” is certainly gathering momentum and has stung REIs into action. If the REIs get together as an industry and do manage to come up with a cohesive vision and plan, we as the “lesser” portal owners can either benefit or die.

    Therefore It would help the debate if we could stick to the issues that Glenn raises.

    The outcomes of the REI national conference in Perth is of more interest to me than the anything the AFR reports. This is what I believe the conference is addressing:

    1. How to control sold data
    2. strategy to move to a complete industry owned portal

    If I’m right about this, the ACCC will have even more to investigate in the manner in which the points 1. and 2. are rolled out. From some of the tactics being suggested collusion may become an issue.

  19. Deepthroat July 3, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    Vic I think you’re spot on the ACCC will have bigger fish to fry when its proven that there has been collusion and anti competitive behaviour by the so called industry groups. Once the REA group have a clear picture of who is orchestrating and working towards a industry portal and most importantly how, they will look at all options and I suspect they will lodge a ACCC complaint naming specific agents and REI’s. The REIV / REV will be exposed and the ramifications will be huge if proven !

  20. Vic July 3, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    Deepthroat, the thing that concerns me about the way this is rolling out is that if REIs or agents want to establish an industry owned portal, the tactics being talked about ie $o input for sold properties, minimum images, withholding images and delayed input of data to REA not only reeks of unfairness, but done as a specific organised tactic can be seen as collusion to undermine the value of a competitor. – IMHO

    Sure: set up your own portal, no problems, cancel memberships, no problems, approaching REA from a position of strenghth and negotiating, no problems. But deliberately sabotaging: I and many others have a real issue with this.

  21. Bill July 3, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    I would be most surprised if it is ever proven that industry bodies colluded to sabotage REA or any other portal. Surely the heads of those organisations are smarter than that. Attempt to rally the troops to get behind an industry portal, yes maybe, but as an industry body suggesting sabotage, I don’t think so.

  22. Vic July 3, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    It’s the tactics Bill. If what I’m hearing comes to pass REA will have good reason to get their lawers to jump all over this.

  23. Deepthroat July 3, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

    There are 2 things at play here,

    1) $o input for sold properties, minimum images, withholding images and delayed input of data to REA are a tactic to protect the data owned by agents that in turn they buy back with subscriptions to rpdata, propertydataonline (pdol) & apm. The REIV own pdol and its in their best interest to have agents that only report to them! What this does is protects the data and how REA might use it communicating to vendors directly. The irony of this is that the REIV want to be the only place that sales are recorded however they then give the information away free of charge to newspapers? I’m not sure how this makes sense? rpdata & apm then upload information that is paid for by the REIV members free of charge? Whichever way I look at this it’s stupid!!

    2) Listing properties for sale or rent is the 2nd thing at play here, due to the huge costs with REA there is a movement by agents to move away and save costs by supporting the much cheaper REIV portal REV. We all know within the industry that REV isn’t a viable alternative currently and any subscription doesn

  24. Simon Baker July 3, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    Glenn

    I would suggest the agents are in the best position to determine if premium products are worth the expense.

    Surely they are tracking where they spend their vendor’s money and how effective that marketing is?

  25. Sam July 3, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    REA and Domain are not going anywhere.

    They will continue to provide a cheaper alternative to print, reach a massive audience and give vendors what they want – buyers.

  26. Glenn Batten July 3, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

    Simon,

    Surely you have an opinion?

  27. PropertyNow July 3, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    Glenn Batten, you simply have no clue about many of the issues you report on. Can you spell – r-e-s-e-a-r-c-h?

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  28. PropertyNow July 3, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    Glenn Batten, in your long anti PropertyNow ( usual ) rant above… you did not answer my question….so I will ask you again Glenn-

    Show me any real estate agencies other than PropertyNow and ForSaleForLease who complained to the ACCC in the past 4 months Glenn?

    Here’s your chance to validate your argument…..

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  29. Glenn Batten July 3, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

    Deepthroat..

    It is not all about REIV, pdol and Victoria… There are other states 🙂

  30. Glenn Batten July 3, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

    Andrew,

    Back again trying to make this about PropertyNow hey… surprise surprise… 🙂

    My problem is not with your site… its not even with you.. its with your conduct.. You are like a broken record repeating itself over and over and over again. You bitch and whinge… you complain I don’t acknowledge you. I never laughed so hard as when I found out you rang up to lodge a complaint with B2 that I had not quoted you in that post. Your fixation for my acknowledgement is starting to get a little creepy. .

    Let me say this just once because you are starting to annoy more than just me now..GROW UP AND MOVE ON! If you want to continue with this I will not bother responding to you again.

    I look forward to your first article…. see how many times you mention PropertyNow 🙂

  31. Glenn Batten July 3, 2011 at 6:30 pm #

    Vic

    REA complaining to the ACCC about having market power used against them!!! I dont think SO! Next we will here about Telstra complaining against iinet.

    However I agree with Sam, REA and Domain are not going anywhere in a hurry. Although I dont think its because of the price difference with print.. Print will be cheaper than TV… as Online will be cheaper than Print.

    If the landscape changed, REA and Domain would change with it, plus as far as REA is concerned they have their two year rolling contracts. Personally I dont see how silence can commit you for another 2 years without your knowledge but I will leave that for the lawyers to comment on.

    I am not convinced that an REI national portal is the solution..It will probably help, but it is not the solution. If MyHome could be utilised (ie.. all states own it, not just REIV) that might work, but starting from scratch I don’t think is the way to go.

    I think the best way might be to make it easier for other portals easier access to data. Tell me, what the biggest problem you face growing your portal?

    Is it data… getting the information from the agents through the portal pushers?

    That’s where I am thinking… better control and access of the data.

  32. Deepthroat July 3, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

    Fair point Glenn its not just a Victorian thing, now that im back in Victoria i guess my veiw is local .

    Also my understanding is that the REIV/REV own MyHome 100% so its not a national portal?

    My guess is that Domain will come out of this in the next 6 months or so as the best option

  33. Glenn Batten July 3, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

    Deepthroat

    Yeah.. the only way I see for it to be a National industry site is for the the REIV or REV (dont know which actually owns it) sells it to the collective of REI’s or even better.. the REIA..

    I know you dont like the REI’s as far as technology and the internet goes at least.. but can you see them getting something going this time ???

    IMHO domain are always going to struggle…

  34. Vic July 3, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

    Glenn,

    If I was on the board of REA and my share price took a hit of millions (which it has to some degree already) and I thought that a bunch of people colluded to make it happen- I would go to ACCC. My opinion.
    Maybe you’re one of the colluders:)

  35. Glenn Rogers July 3, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    REV has some very effective SEO, even if it’s not all pefect, they are really up there even on their Commercial site.
    If there was a shift in content from one or 2 majors they would rock the boat I’m fairly sure.
    REA in particular cannot compete on price.
    Once again it’s up to the agents, most of them, understandably, are more concerned with their next sale or there would be more than a dozen people on this blog.

  36. Vic July 3, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    Glenn,

    Portal pushers have not been the problem with getting data once you get a presence in the market place. My Desk top for example would not sign us up until we had 20 mutual clients. We got them. Hub on line similar and we got them. Renet was next and we got almost every agent operating on the coast.
    After that it was a matter of getting a new agents and following through with their bulk uploader, arranging FTps and then ascertaining who was operating through them and making direct approaches. (We have a data base of every coastal agent in Australia and we invite them to join.)
    The SEO hard and get ranking, then out again, to sell the progress.
    We are now hooked up to 13 portal pushers. However we will not take any listing unless the agent registers with us. I don’t know whether this tells you much.

    I just wonder what Port plus and Consoles attitude will be to a new REI entrant to compete with their OTH portal.

  37. Ryan O'Grady July 3, 2011 at 8:02 pm #

    There were reports the accc were investigating rea last year in relation to the exclusive contracts they make the big 4 commercial agents sign for realcommercial. You will find they’ve been on their radar for a while.

  38. Matt July 3, 2011 at 8:04 pm #

    Aaah Glenn, always with the Domain pessimism. Who needs to build a bridge? 🙂 You’re in danger, to my dismay, of becoming the vanilla of opinions – boring and predictable. Vanilla’s ok though!

    Domain are our biggest lead gen, 7 to 1, and many commentators on here voice the same. You had bad service. Ordinary results. You’re in a strong REA area. We get it. Domain are by-and-large cheaper, have many print options, and our stats indicate their traffic is growing monthly – why can’t you fathom for a second that supporting them could be a 2011 onwards option / solution? If we give them the listings, the consumer will (have to) follow.

    What if no one supported the young 1990’s upstarts Optus or Vodafone? Telstra were the REA of their industry, but supporting competition brings about pricing pressure, with those companies striving to deliver a better product to retain and grow their share of the pie. We are in a position to change the game. Don’t wave off the No.2 so easily, its support would be to our collective advantage (in this landscape) IMO..

    That said, well written piece, cheers.

  39. Glenn Rogers July 3, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

    Ryan,

    That was part of the deal in the sale of Propertylook, they only paid the price they did if the big 4 gave REA a return via listing exclusively with them, I would have thought that agreement was well and truly over by now.

  40. Deepthroat July 3, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

    Glenn the REI’s don

  41. Ryan O'Grady July 3, 2011 at 8:42 pm #

    You’re now the second person I’ve heard mention Redfin in a sentence about rea. There are certain aspects of their model rea could adopt.

  42. Glenn Batten July 3, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

    Vic, dont get me wrong.. I am not saying its the portal pushers.. I am saying getting it from agents through the portal pushers..

    One of MyHomes big problems originally was getting listings..

    I have heard portal pushers complain everyone has a different procedure and different formats.

    There is no industry standard that everyone can abide by meaning what should be as simple as filling out a field and pressing a button to activate the feed takes a lot longer and is a lot more complicated.

    I believe if access of the data was more secure, accountable and accessible it would open up more competition and thus place more downward pressure on prices.

    I hold the US up as the prime example of this. There is the RETS (Real Estate Transaction Standard ) and it access to that listing data is extremely easy and there is far greater competition and fragmentation in the marketplace.

    Ask a US agent what they think about :

    1/ virtually all offices in the country paying around $1k at least per month to display their property on just one portal

    2/ An agency paying $100k, $200k or even $300k per year for just one portal.

    I reckon they will laugh you out of the room.

  43. Ryan O'Grady July 3, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

    Glenn, I believe they were ALL renewed last year.

  44. Glenn Rogers July 3, 2011 at 8:58 pm #

    Ryan – if they voluntarily restrict themselves to one portal they’ve only got themselves to blame, there must be more to the story.

  45. Lewis Nelson July 4, 2011 at 1:50 am #

    So very glad the agents in Australia are becoming educated and learning more and more each day of misguided the original portal owners were in their development of their portal business model.

    I believe the Agents are taking legal, proactive, professional and very business like approaches to the problem they face in Australia after missing the boat with web 1.0.

    As Agents gain more education and insight into income they can earn through the online posting of their data they can improve the home buying and selling experience for all Australians.

    Returning control to the only real estate martketing experts in the industry is a good thing for consumers.

    Amazing what 8 short months can accomplish.

  46. Sam July 4, 2011 at 4:39 am #

    Hi Lewis,

    Please re-read your post and re-submit.

    Yours truly

    The nine people who read this blog.

  47. Glenn Batten July 4, 2011 at 8:34 am #

    Deepthroat,

    If an REI solution could provide data companies with listing and sold data, that could help provide the funds needed you would think.

  48. Vic July 4, 2011 at 9:13 am #

    Glenn,

    A germ of an idea coming from your last comment. Can you put some flesh into it?

  49. Naomi Sweeney - buyMyplace.com.au July 4, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    Thanks for the article Glenn. I clicked on the REA video link and the video seems to freeze at the 6min 40sec mark. Did anyone else have this problem when viewing the video?

    Regards, Naomi.

  50. David Airey July 4, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    Another week and more big issues to blog about. Firstly I’m pleased to tell you all that I have stepped down as national president of REIA and our deputy president Pam Bennett (chair of REIQ) has been appointed acting President pending the AGM & elections in November.
    Why you ask? I’ve done 27 months as Pres thru a very torrid and busy period of change and upheaval. As well as that I have a business to run and I’m also Deputy President at REIWA (owner of http://www.reiwa.com)

    Turning to the ACCC investigation and REA, given that the ACCC have written to me personally seeking some answers Im not going to comment publicly other than to say that I understand all the REI’s and their Presidents have received ACCC letters.

    This is a very serious issue and the outcome may have a profound impact on the way web portals do business as well as how they treat their customers and competitors. I urge every agent, be they individuals, franchisees, or big offices to look carefully at who they do their web business with and see if their is a better more cost effective way to do it such as using REV and REIWA and REIQ as their primary portal.

    The strategies adopted last week at the REIA meeting will unfold over the next few weeks and months and prove the power that our industry has to change things.

  51. Glenn Rogers July 4, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    Thanks David, I think change is coming, perhaps for real this time.
    I agree agents should not deal with predatory companies, they should THINK harder about where they list.
    Portals should never bite the hand that feeds them or they may not get fed any more.
    The thinking of some portals is just wrong, you cannot increase, what are already massive, profits every year by leaning too hard on your customers or you will eventually burn them off.
    Either diversify or be content with maintaining profit and cutting costs to improve it if need be.

  52. PropertyNow July 4, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    Glenn Batten.

    Nice try Glenn in attempting to yet again dodge the question I have now asked you twice.

    I will ask it a third time Glenn. If you avoid answering it it supports what I have said …that you made a supposition about what the ACCC compalint is about and that supposition is likely..faulty.

    Question to Glenn Batten – Show me any real estate agencies other than PropertyNow and ForSaleForLease who complained to the ACCC in the past 4 months Glenn?

    If your statements are accurate you will have no problem answering this question directly. Can you do that Glenn?

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  53. PaulD July 4, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    Andrew, PropertyNow is a speck on the flypaper of Australian real estate, with a couple of hundred listings. It used to be humorous to read your posts. It is now boring.

  54. Greg Vincent July 4, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    Yawn Andrew! I think David Airey’s comment “Turning to the ACCC investigation and REA, given that the ACCC have written to me personally seeking some answers Im not going to comment publicly other than to say that I understand all the REI

  55. Vic July 4, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    David,

    Thanks for the feedback and everyone in this industry (not only agents) are holding their collective breaths to see the outcomes. I wish you well in your focus on your own business. (and apologize for suggesting that your comments to deepthroat were not presidential 🙂 )

    There are a few good portal owners working hard to provide free to list facilities for agents to advertise on. It is just a matter for all agents to do their own research and develop their marketing plans more cost effectively.

    I have written before on the merits of a diversified on line plan to “include”:

    – State Institute portals ( press them to feed to myhome also)
    – free to list national portals like Homehound and thehome page
    – niche national portals such as watersidepropertysales and million plus (both are SEO’d for international visitors)
    – niche portals for a region (if they come up high on search engines for their Region)

    If the portal pushers do not have the above on their list and/or charge for sending feeds, then press them for change.

    I give these tips at the risk of being seen to promote my own.

  56. DavidL July 4, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    I have never understood why agents continue to give REA all there information and then get screwed constantly to pay more for it coming back and keep doing it. REA vision of give us your vendour email and we will send them reports on traffic directly(which is the agent role)is fighteneing.Once you open the door for some one else to do your work guess what they probably will.You may just give away your job.I have always felt that they should have to pay for it from Govenrnments the same as any one else and so have never sent any information on sales or vendours.Just use it for advertising.As was meant to be not the keeper of all information.

    Well done David on your role as Pres thanks

  57. Glenn Batten July 4, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    Vic.. re your diversified online strategy for an agent… I could not agree more except you forgot one in the list… Agents need to invest in and promote their own websites. .

    I think many would be shocked to see what agents who have invested in decent websites get for traffic.

  58. Sal Espro July 4, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

    Thanx for the info and warning David. Where’s an agent member’s legal liability if our REI’s are found to be on the shady side of the Law?!
    (Just when I thought I might shave-off my mo and ditch the dark glasses, agents are dragged back into the mire! And I still can’t see REA subs decreasing any time soon – Talking to a rural colleague this morning; he’s only paying $165pm +$20per listing to Domain).

  59. Vic July 4, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

    Couldn’t agree with you more on the issue of agents websites. The problem with this is that in an area, and we’ll use Hobart as an example, where there are around 50 agents. After the major portals have taken their spots there are only three or four at most spots left on the first page of a Google search. So Petrusmas who work on their SEO are up there all the time.

    This is the case for Nerang as well, where you have worked on your SEO to always get on first page.

    With our protal, we get on first page for searchers using keywords of Waterfront property, properties and real estate, Waterside property, properties and real estate, Beachfront property, properties and real estate, Coastal realestate and property etc. Took us a long time to get there and we are not about to relinquish it.

    If agents were each to do these types of searches just to determine who they should list with, they will be better placed to make informed decisions. They need not listen to all the spin and propaganda that some portals spin them. Just check google search or for that matter all search engines.

    An example of using the “search test” for western Australia will show most agents over in the west that they need to list with REIWA because it comes up as no 1 or 2 on page one, for searchers looking for properties in Western Australia.

    With Canberra it is All homes that comes up.

  60. Bill July 4, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    Vic,” With Canberra it is All homes that comes up.”

    You are correct, allhomes have worked hard on SEO and have over 1 million pages indexed in Google, I do recognise that they have spread their wings further afield than the ACT.

    But on top of the SEO they spend a motsa on local TV and other media.

    I have no way of knowing but I would suggest the majority of their ACT visitors are from direct traffic and also from users who type allhomes into the google search.

    I think they recognise that whilst they are leaders with the local search results it’s a position that is precarious and could disappear overnight so they never ease up promoting their brand by other means.

    I would suggest that any portal aiming to serve a local market long term would need to do the same.

  61. Vic July 4, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

    Bill,

    Your points are well made. If the locals are the only ones looking for property I agree that most would go direct because of their brand selling over time. It also plays out well for the investor, professional property watcher sticky beak neighbours and tyre kickers.

    But where the search engines play a role is for flushing out the interstate/transient and international buyer who is not aware of brand names such as all homes. And also for the genuine home buyer who only moves from their property once every 7/10 and had not the reason to keep abreast with whos who in the internet market place.

    (What isn’t measured by google analytics is how the real buyers actually come to a portal – via search engines, direct or through referring sites.

    It would be interesting to know whether any portal owner or agent website owner has a handle on this from his own site.)

    So if i was looking to go to Canberra to live I would google Canberra homes and see where it takes me.
    I somehow don’t think that with all the television advertising that allhomes is doing in Tasmania that the interstate investors/buyers, for Tasmanian properties, would go direct to their site. So for Canberra it works for allhomes, but for Tasmania and probably all other States it probably doesn’t work for allhomes.

    If our own online marketing is working I will get a high percentage of visits from search engines and if my offline program is working I will get more direct. The problem with offline is that, as you know, the print media will not allow us to advertise in their papers (or affilliated sites). So that leaves Television and Radio and Magazines all of which deeper pockets than yours or mine are needed.

    Having said that we work hard and constant on the things we can control and spend accordingly and over time we hope more will put us in their bookmarks and come to us direct.

    Like the old bull said to the young bull ” lets just take our time and ….. the lot of them”

  62. Vic July 4, 2011 at 6:20 pm #

    Sorry Bill,
    didn’t address an important point you made. It is rather pathetic to see allhomes entry into the national portal market. Some agents in Tassie tell me that firstly they don’t like the way that allhomes present their listings and secondly they dont trust their motives. Just a small sample though. They have told me that they will leave if pay per listing is tried out on them.

    So, I fail to see that all homes investment in offline advertising nationally will do anything other than run down their reserves from Canberra revenues. But at the same time I applaud them for having a go, but they should stick to their niche

  63. Sal Espro July 4, 2011 at 6:20 pm #

    Vic, at risk of others nit-picking, I am sure I read last year that Google had more ‘first-approach’ real estate searches than Realestate.com.au.
    “Google-up or Google-off”, I say 🙂

  64. Vic July 4, 2011 at 6:28 pm #

    Salespro- I have this theory that the real buyers come via search engines….and that most of REA’s direct visitors are tyre kickers and sticky beaks.

    Yep Google up or google out – and bing it or fling it- should doo, yahoo. 🙂

  65. Bill July 4, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

    Like the old bull said to the young bull

  66. Bill July 4, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

    Vic BTW AllHomes are advertising they get 2 million views each day. Whatever a view is.

  67. Vic July 4, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    Even if they are HITS its a big UNBELIEVEABLE number. Any wonder agents are confused.
    But then what would we know Bill.

  68. Glenn Rogers July 4, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

    This is quite understandable, with a population of 500,000 this means every Tasmanian gets up each morning starts up 4 PC

  69. Vic July 4, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    Glenn R- the funniest thing I’ve ever read on B2- LMFAO

  70. PropertyNow July 4, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

    To Glenn Batten, Paul D and Greg Vincent.

    Paul D and Greg Vincent, you are both riding shotgun for Glenn Batten who still has not answered my question posed three times within this thread. The reason he has not answered it is that he does not have the information to answer it. This thread was predicated on the inference that the ACCC investigation was brought about by Industry Franchise Groups in relation to predatory pricing. Where is the evidence….any evidence at all of that being the case Glenn?

    Paul, in relation to your comment about PropertyNow being “a speck on the flypaper of Australian real estate” – that is incredibly insulting to the hundreds of real estate agencies who list on our website. It is also the last vestige of someone losing an argument ….to resort to insults.Nice one PaulD.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  71. PropertyNow July 4, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

    A quick comment on all the talk of traffic to the various sites. Remember that any site…even one that is a day old can get as much instant traffic as their budgets allow them. Open up a google adwords account and throw $50,000 a month at it and you will instantly be one of the most trafficked real estate sites in Australia.

    Unless someone quotes real organic traffic in terms of unique views its meaningless. Realestate.com.au have the top 4 organic results in Google for “real estate ” and yet they still buy the phrase in adwords to keep competitors from appearing above them in the organics.

    On the subject of Google…..they did a pagerank update last week and REA frontpage is a PR7 while domain is a PR8. Not an indication at all the domain is becoming dominant but still very interesting indeed. RealEstateView now has the same pagerank as realestate.com.au – i.e they are also PR7.

    Domain and RealEstateView are making progress.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  72. Lewis Nelson July 5, 2011 at 12:23 am #

    As per Sam’s request:

    So very glad to see the agents in Australia are becoming educated and learning more and more each day about internet control. Also great to see acknowledgement of how misguided the original portal owners were in their development of their portal business model. Especially REA, who saw dwindling print media revenues and then looked for a quick way to replace and surpass them.
    I believe the Agents are taking legal, proactive, professional and very business like approaches to the problem they face in Australia after missing the boat with web 1.0.
    As Agents gain more education and insight into the income they can earn through the online posting of their data, they can improve the home buying and selling experience for all Australians.

    Amazing what 8 short months can accomplish, imagine another year!

    RE: ACCC, this discussion will prove a waste of time because the Agents dictate which portal will survive. Wisely they will choose their own.

    About VPA: The portal industry should understand that VPA has lead to lower commission rates in exchange for the VPA. The question arises why should a seller pay if their home does not sell or why a per month fee when a one time fee is more fair. With an Agent owned portal these changes will be in place. I think Sellers WILL make the wise decision.

  73. Glenn Batten July 5, 2011 at 12:25 am #

    Matt,

    With your comparison for Domain to REA enquiries you have to be a New South Welshman and I reckon I could even nail it down further and say you are in Sydney..

    Whilst Domain is improving in Victoria (but still a long way off) its only Sydney that they have any real strength. Even in the balance of NSW realestate.com.au win and it really has a long long way to go before it can challenge REA on a national level.

    In Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania the numbers are not even close.

    Whats clear in Sydney is that its their “Domain” brand that is working for them and generating traffic, not their technology and that comes down to their newspaper exposure, something that suffers outside of Sydney. They have convinced the public to search for “Domain real estate” rather than “Sydney Real Estate” or “Real Estate Sydney”.

    Essentially that’s a very cool trick and a fabulous example of Brand working for them, but not something I believe that they can recreate across the country.

    The search term Real Estate Sydney results in more traffic to realestate.com.au than domain…. its actually not even a close fight.

    See this page…http://trends.google.com/websites?q=domain.com.au%2C+realestate.com.au%2C+realestateview.com.au&geo=AU&date=all&sort=1

    and look in the bottom right hand corner for the “Also searched for” list. Change the “ranked by” order on the page and it shows you the primary searches that Domain uses to gain their traffic… As you can see they all of the highest terms use the words “Domain” in them.

    Domain gets their traffic when people specifically want to look on the domain website by searching for the word Domain (as in searching for domain real estate)… Realestate.com.au gets their traffic when people just search for the words real estate… ie.. “Real Estate Sydney”, “Real Estate Melbourne”.

    Unless Domain can create a reason for all those people outside sydney to search for the word “Domain Real Estate”, they will struggle…

    Similarly changing the ranked by to realestateview.com.au shows that the search terms that give them their majority of their traffic is when people search for “realestateview” but even then they are beaten by realestate.com.au.

    Increases in PR for Domain and Realestateview will not change this positioning..

    If I remember the percentage right… Simon Baker once said that that realestate.com.au generates more than 30% of its daily visitors from Google. ( how much is unknown 32? 38?). Good SEO brings you your email subscriptions and repeat visitors from that sort of traffic as well. The portal war between the two can IMHO only be won with a combination of listings numbers and SEO. Brilliant SEO will get you the lookers, but they wont stay and wont return if you dont have the listings. Listing numbers without traffic is just lost opportunity! Both are needed.

    Looking at the SEO side, I am sure that Domain still dont have a dedicated SEO team. The SEO is done by Fairfax Digital and they do the whole fairfax suite of sites.

    Looking at the listing numbers… whilst they are the bridesmaid they will always struggle outside of Sydney to convince agents that they need to be on two portals.

    Until they can get the listings on the site and vastly improved SEO they will be in 2nd place.

    I believe Domain could win the battle in a couple of steps.. Throw money at an SEO team and offer a free basic subscription to every agency in Australia for a year. Everybody that they are charging now… give them all add on features such as feature properties and other stuff to make up for it..

    I just cant see fairfax doing this though so IMHO the bigger threat for REA would come from a free to list portal thats got their SEO down pat that could finally somehow get the listing numbers.

    Oh yeah.. one last thing since you are in NSW… Go LOCKY… Go QUEENSLAND!!!!

  74. Lewis Nelson July 5, 2011 at 12:34 am #

    RE: Searches

    Are you guys still drinking the stale SEO coffee for previous generation Browsers?

    The vast majority and soon ALL searches come from the Browser url or built in search bar. No one goes to Google and enters a search any more.

    No one searches Facebook, they all search Facebook.com and this one fact has totally changed SEO forever.

    This is the reason NO portal owner can survive a targeted market domination by 10,000 Agents.

    The ACCC discussion is based on old technology and is not longer relevant today.

  75. Vic July 5, 2011 at 8:03 am #

    Nick and Ryan or Glenn,

    Can any of you interpret the message that Lewis Nelson is spruiking. Are we in Australia isolated from something that is happening to search/SEO ?

    Is it a ground breaking paradigm shift or, (looking at his web site,) a rant from someone losing out on his strategy to set up an agent portal site in Canada?

  76. Glenn Batten July 5, 2011 at 8:15 am #

    Lewis…..

    Please provide your source for the statement “The vast majority and soon ALL searches come from the Browser url or built in search bar.”

    Whilst I do believe it will make a substantial contribution to the total searches and is certainly on the rise I simply cant believe that it is the “vast majority”.

    Why do I think that..?? Over the past 12 months the most searched for term on Google was “facebook”. If they typed that in the address bar in the vast majority of cases they would be taken to facebook.. not to a google serp page.

    But regardless, its the search engines that power search on the new browsers anyway..

  77. Lewis Nelson July 5, 2011 at 9:16 am #

    Ok Glenn, I reviewed your site. Why do you operate under a dot com instead of dot com dot au?

    I can own the Natural and Paid First Search Pages for watersidepropertysales.com.au in under 60 days. My net cost would be under $1000 CDN. My control would be absolute and unstoppable unless you were to implement a similar strategy yourself but it can only happen once so you would be too late.

    I can own the Natural and Paid First Search Pages for realestate.com.au in under 90 Days. The compaign cost would be under $5000. REA group would not be able to respond because they would not be aware of it until it is done.

    I can own all searches for First National Real Estate or nfn in 30 days for under $600.

    This is all just by one person who never claims to be an internet expert but just a professional REALTOR(Agent). Now imagine the power of 10,000 Agents.

    Glad to see RadarHomes trying to get something going. A better viral campaign is needed.

    Now the power of Agents. As Vic knows Google Base, Zillow.com, Zoocasa.com and now realestate.com.au are some of the portals we have addressed in our assistance of fellow real estate professionals. Yes, Vic it may be coincidence that all these actions happened within weeks of our “Cease and Desist” email campaign and yes the governmental bodies have been helpful but come on….are you still trying to say this is all coincidence?

  78. Glenn Rogers July 5, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    Lewis I ususually find that sites such as yours that ask for money but don’t provide even the basic contact details are suspect.

  79. Glenn Rogers July 5, 2011 at 9:24 am #

    thats ………usually

  80. Glenn Batten July 5, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    Lewis… what are you talking about..?? I asked you about your comment relating to search in the browser… They answer did not even relate to the question.

    My personal site is a .com but our agencies are .com.au

    I wont even bother with your claims about “owning” searches. Too little details and too many holes in it to be taken seriously.

  81. Vic July 5, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    Lewis,

    If 100% of the Australian voting public vote me in as Prime minister I promise to run the country democratically

    Yours truly

    Sadam Hussein

  82. programmer July 5, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    Louis,

    Your smoking crack….

    Where do you think browser based Address Bar searches go?

    I’ll give you a hint – starts with “Search” and ends with “Engine” .

    Examples of each entities are “Google” and “Bing”. Great SEO techniques will get you near the top of the results.

  83. Robert Simeon July 5, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    Lewis

    Here is something you can do on behalf of all of us here at B2. Go and track down William and Kate and pass on our kindest regards – given your claim to being so proficient at searching 🙂

  84. PaulD July 5, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

    Andrew, apologies if you thought my description of PropertyNow was insulting. It certainly wasn’t meant to be. I was just trying to put into perspective the relative size of PropertyNow against the other real estate advertisers in this country. It must be difficult to compete in that field. I understand, obviously on a much smaller scale than yourself, the difficulties and fierce nature of competing with other players in the micro sphere of advertising in my own business, let alone on the macro stage of Australia.

    In terms of numbers of listings, I would think that PropertyNow has about 7500 – something like that ? PropertyNow’s own branded listings within that would be in the order of 200 ?
    Of the balance, once you take into account the fact that some of the properties are advertised on the website 3,4, and sometimes 5 times, there are probably in the order of 2000 actual property listings, which are provided by other agents ? Many of these are land subdivisions whereby if there are 20 blocks, then all 20 blocks get advertised. In the case of APC in Qld, they boost the numbers considerably with house and land packages.

    I was thinking that your assertion that there are “hundreds” of agents advertising on PropertyNow, may be a little exaggerated?

    So perhaps you would like to comment on the numbers I have put forward? I was also thinking that you charge FSBO people to put properties on the website, and, correct me if I am wrong, you don’t charge agents ? The only other question I have is – bearing in mind, I understand your search for content, do you encourage the listers to duplicate or triplicate their listings? or do you make it easy for them and do it inhouse?

    In summary, I would think that ALL the agents listings on PropertyNow are also advertised somewhere else other than ProperytyNow, and that some of the FSBO listings are also listed on other websites. It would be interesting to find out exactly how many listings are listed ONLY on the PropertyNow website. That number will give you an idea exactly how big the speck is.

  85. Glenn Rogers July 5, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

    🙂

  86. Vic July 5, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    Andrew B,

    On the issue of value of good SEO I have just checked Google page ranks- Congratulations on getting to 6/10. You didn’t mention this in your earlier comment.

    We have flown up the pr from 1 to 4- not bad eh for a portal started June last year. Just goes to show what working a niche hard can do.

  87. Brandon July 5, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    Hi Glenn,

    To point out a small issue with your article. The owners of Console sold out 100% cash, so they have no interest in OTH. They clearly don’t give a s**t. Read the prospectus. $42m IN THE BANK!

  88. PropertyNow July 5, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

    Thanks Vic, appreciate that. I didn’t want to say we became a PR6 because I have been accused of self promotion in here. Congratulations also on the improved pagerank for your own website Vic.

    As Glenn Batten correctly pointed out, the page rank discrepancy in favour of domain over REA is only a small metric……and it has no direct impact on serps ( search engine positions) at all. Of course it also means Google sees something in the domain site more worthy than realestate.com.au and that is both a plus and perhaps an indicator of something more.Is PageRank valuable? Not in and of itself but notice that all the major portals and indeed their pecking order closely follows their page rank position i.e all major portals have high pagerank metrics.

    In response to PaulD’S post above…. he is quite accurate on many points and less accurate on some others. He seems to imply that we duplicate listings which is nonsense. It is also absurd to suggest that many of our listings appear elsewhere. The same applies to REA and Domain and frankly that is the nature of the net. Agents should be listed on as many portals and gateways as possible. I simply cannot fathom his comment…

    PaulD is somewhat correct in that we have over 300 real estate agencies and yes Paul we are a free model….as though that’s a bad thing. Should I start charging the 300 agencies? His cloaked accusation is of course that 300 real estate agencies is a low figure for something that we are giving away free………not sure what HomeHound and MyHome….and our real estate agents…..would say to that?

    Anyway PaulD, I will still dignify your question with an answer.

    No, we do not encourage anyone to duplicate list.
    No, we do not do that inhouse ( disgraceful thing to ask in any case ) and
    No we most definitely do not make it easy for a real estate agent to duplicate anything.
    No we have not exaggerated the number of real estate agencies who use PropertyNow.

    In regards to your other snide comments PaulD – You should know that REA and Domain and every other portal has duplication and I don’t doubt that we do also. I guess my question to you Paul is – what is the purpose of such absurd questions? An agenda for sure…nevertheless the questions have been answered.

    Now I always answer the questions of others… so why can I not get an answer from Glenn Batten regarding the name of the agencies who approached the ACCC about REA conduct? I am tired of asking this ( 4th time ) but this entire thread is predicated on the notion that it was industry franchise groups – true or false Glenn?

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  89. Vic July 5, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    There is another impact on page rankings that I believe needs to be taken into consideration. That is speed of site.

    REA has a very slow page speed compared to Domain and Realestateview. Thehomepage is faster than these three by a long stretch and it is free to list.

    And Onthehouse definitely needs work to improve its speed.

    The slowness of REA site will work against them over time- not only because it affects their page rank- but because as visitors find and begin to use the faster sites, REA run the risk of being dropped.

    REA must address this issue and am surprised it was not their priority when the new design was launched last year.

    Our site is currently under review to improve speed of home page loading.

  90. PaulD July 5, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    Andrew,

    Thank you so much for dignifying my question your highness. Does that mean that the question has merit ? or are you just being gracious to a humble real estate agent.

    I humbly took a line out of your gracious response ” He seems to imply that we duplicate listings which is nonsense ”

    Well, why don’t you have a look at your own website and see the duplication, and as I pointed out there are dozens of listings that are there at least 4 times. So you have no idea of the content of your own website, only that you have content, which when analysed does not stand up to scrutiny.

    I actually know someone who has met you, and I respect their opinions. I couldn’t possibly repeat how they described you, however I’ll give you a clue. ( in crossword parlance ) A six letter word starting with (-) No. I won’t fall victim to the truth on this occasion. I have no agenda, and if I did I wouldn’t waste it on you.

    All I was pointing out is that if PropertyNow disappeared tomorrow, I doubt that anyone would care less. Now you may correctly point out that exactly the same would happen in my business, and you would be right. The difference is that I don’t prance around like you do, and expect everyone to bow and scrape to a two bit website.

    And if you would deign to answer just one more question,your highness, regarding your SEO and the PropertyNow website. How come in your own town of Coffs Harbour – the FIRST instance of your website was on page 9 (today). You do realise that only 12% of people get to page 2 and 3% of them get to page 3. I don’t think there is a statistic of how many people get to page 9 – It would have to be measured in scientific notation (if you know what that is)

  91. PropertyNow July 5, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

    PaulD. Your post is just too rude to debate.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  92. Glenn Batten July 5, 2011 at 10:34 pm #

    Vic,

    Site speed is considered to be playing a more important role in overall seo everyday but it is not a part of Pagerank which is a patent owned by Stanford University (The concept was a PHD thesis by Larry Page) and exclusively licensed to Google.

    Pagerank is considered to play less of a role for SERP ranking than in the past due to link building techniques, link farms etc etc.

    Pagerank and Site Speed are just two of over 200 different factors used to calculate 200. The weighting, additional factors and even manual adjustment are constantly being adjusted which is what makes SEO such a black art and thats only one search engine.

    IMHO REA’s slow site speed would barely register a blip on their overall ranking. Also, site speed is on the source code, not the javascript as Google’s spiders to not run all the javascript on a page.

  93. Matt July 6, 2011 at 12:21 am #

    Glenn,
    Thanks for the thorough response. I see all your points, but still believe that supporting the No.2 is a viable option. I guess now would be as good a time as any for Domain to make a national play, and I’m sure they know it.
    Cheers.

    …oh, and GO THE BLUES!*

    *Peter – please hold this post for moderation, and remove the last line in the (unlikely) event of a QLD win 🙂

  94. Glenn Batten July 6, 2011 at 12:41 am #

    Matt,

    So I was right hey.. NSW !!!

    Do you remember how King Wally Lewis went out… It was on a series win, and I believe it was also on the third game. I expect “Prince” Locky to be give the same royal treatment and sent out a winner..

    As far as Domain is concerned, you guys in NSW are lucky, you do have real competition. We just need it for the rest of the country now 🙂

  95. Lewis Nelson July 6, 2011 at 2:53 am #

    Glenn B.- these guys are all quoting SEO techniques the first page of search results. Those comments relate to Searches not the proper typing of a url.

    ALL so called SEO experts including is suspect Programmer above, use ALL the same techniques. They use the parameters the search providers claim can improve SEO, like the mention of speed, keywords, etc. above.

    There is a difference between getting total control of searches on a given set of keywords and using SEO to get a high rank. Simply bypass the SEO crap and control all the results. This is easily accomplished with a large group of individuals like the 10,000 Aussie agents.

    Next these SEO guys dont talk about 2013-15. Everyone already knows the brower will not be used to access dominant sites. Apps will be the way you access sites like realestate.com.au. This is why realestate.com.au wants to survive the next 18 months, get its apps out and thus create even stronger control of the online marketing of real estate in your country.

    What is wrong with radarhomes btw. Are these guys not ethical or is their proposal for Agents not viewed as fair.

    I would appreciate comments from the agents posting here

  96. Lewis Nelson July 6, 2011 at 2:56 am #

    Forgot to say…Will and Kate Update

    They accepted my personal invitation to come visit me in Canada and discuss the UK property portal situation. They enjoyed Lobster in PEI yesterday and then headed to Yellowknife (located in our Northern Outback). They have renewed an interest in the Monarchy here in Canada that our Commonwealth brothers may already have.

  97. Glenn Batten July 6, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    Brandon,

    Thanks for that

    I read somewhere that the 20mill (from memory) or so shares in escrow were for the original owners, but just checked the fine print in the prospectus and they are only the Onthehouse and Portplus previous owners.

    The ex console owners must be having quite a chuckle to themselves right now!! although it’s come back a fair bit from its lows.

  98. Vic July 6, 2011 at 10:42 am #

    Maybe the slight up turn in share price in recent days is due to old console owners buying back in 🙂

  99. Vic July 6, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    re page rank:

    We work on the basis of “google judges you on the friends you keep” ( Our Links policy) B2 is a good friend.

    For those interested go to http://www.webworkshop.net/pagerank.html Just ignore the calculations if you are not that way inclined and read the text.

    It is always best to KISS :))))

  100. Andrew July 6, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

    I can remember debating on this site when Microsoft/ninemsn put up 100 million to try and take on REA. They failed.

    Why would this be any differnet? How are they going to move REA out of peoples favourites? How do they compete with the history?

    Most important-can you imagine if agents started not listing on REA or witholding imformation. I can see the ads now……no more new client listings for them. Eyeballs.

    Why are people so against REA? If they want to reduce their spend why don’t they stop wasting money on print ads?

    I’m not a real estate agent so don’t know the answers but wondering all the same.

    Regards

    Andrew

  101. Lewis Nelson July 6, 2011 at 11:48 pm #

    Real Estate Marketing 101

    If a new cheaper, better print publication enters your marketplace with a distribution (note no comments on readership in the early stages) equal or superior to the currently used publication, the Agents simply move their ads to that new publication. In my marketplace a 25 year daily old community standard, local paper, was replaced and then sold in less than 4 months of another well funded paper opening it’s doors and offering way lower prices with higher circulation. Over 2 months the entire real estate community moved over 80% of all their ads to this lower cost, equally good alternative.

    30 years of History (this is the window, print was dominant during) FACTUALLY demonstrated the former #1 Choice could be completely eliminated from a marketplace.
    Real Estate requires LOCAL advertising for maximum ROI. There is no value or use in exposing a LOCAL property on a national basis. Over 90% of all Buyers for any home world wide come from the local community. Even the most transient communities maintain this stat.

    Print is dead in most countries and hangs around simply because of old habits and incorrectly perceived ROI. The internet has high (ridiculous) ROI if the Agents control the traffic looking for real estate in any specific community.

    Portals are built on the FALSE and FACTUALLY incorrect supposition that a home in Melbourne should be marketed in Russia.

    No business or CEO would allow their company to spend 90% of their marketing budget to market to the 10% or less of buyers who don’t come from local sources.

    Out of Favourites? Let’s see 10,000 Links from 10,000 Agents all pointing to a new site versus the 1200ish realestate.com.au still only has even with all it’s efforts. And Favourites are already projected to be replaced by tabs which we all know simply requires a simple click, hold, drag and drop to replace.

    One way or the other, REA’s current model is dead, for a series of reasons. Some portal entrepreneur is sure to step up and offer an alternative that benefits all parties involved and become a multi, multi millionaire themselves.

    BTW REA fees are absolutely CRAZY and the highest by far for anywhere in the world. Aussie Agents have simply been woken up to the realities of online marketing.

  102. Andrew July 7, 2011 at 12:37 am #

    Thanks for your reply lewis. Still not convinced however.

    How do all the agents decide at the same time to leave REA and then tell all the eyeballs to do the same. is it even legal? How would this effect individual agents listing prospects? I would not go near an agent that didnt list my property on REA. Who would?

    I’m pretty sure 90% of agents are now on rea. it is a billion dollar company.

    Microsoft have tried/msn have tried.realestateview have tried/ google have tried-it never seems to work.

    People search the area they are looking in so i am not sure about your point about local.

    Why dont agents charge the clients internet ads instead of charging them for print ads?

  103. Lewis Nelson July 7, 2011 at 1:20 am #

    Andrew,

    Legal? Clearly so, since it is just a new portal owned by a new group of investors. I believe the Competition Bureau of Australia would endorse any new portal that offered competition and drastically lower costs to Australian home sellers?

    Actually no one leaves for the first couple of months. They post on both sites and then begin advertising in each print ad they run, the new url they are promoting. When everything is smooth they begin a “In 30 days” Campaign (again in ads and on websites they already pay for) informing all Australians to bookmark or tab the new site because that is where all listings will now be advertised.

    Contact all their current and past clients and inform them of the substantial savings and better services their new portal will provide them.

    Someone living in Melbourne who wants a new home enters “Melbourne homes for sale” in the search bar, they don’t enter “homes for sale”. Because these keywords or searches are so small compared to the national searches, these stats are never discussed and SEO experts continue to focus on “homes for sale”, “real estate”, which are global searches in nature and not local.

    Even Vic’s Waterside Properties would include a local community name in the actual search.

    BTW- For those who don’t know. In Canada the Agents own the property portal used by over 90% of all Canadians. It costs each Agent less than $100 per year to fund this portal. This includes all their listings, 25 photos, direct links back to their own sites, virtual tour links to the sites they choose.
    BEST of all there is NO SEO indexing and the data is 100% accurate and timely with fines imposed for non-compliance.
    There is no value added component so Agents don’t fight between themselves for special ads or postings.
    All leads go directly to the listing agent with no filtering by any outside company.
    We also have a national Open House site which is a one stop shop for all open houses in the coming week.

  104. Vic July 7, 2011 at 6:55 am #

    Lewis,

    Your thoughts are always articulated at length. However, in most cases are difficult to comprehend and make it difficult to debate.

    You say that Canada has a realtor owned site which seems to be the equivilant of REA reach here in Australia. You seem to set it up as the standard for what Australian agents should aspire to. YET your own website aims to take $99 from every Canadian realtor to set up a new one. WHY?

    You have been spruiking your conflicting message on here and on property portal watch. Answer me this one question then you might be taken seriously.

    Are you proposing that all Canadian agents leave their industry owned portal with 90% agent acceptance and join with your new portal proposal?

  105. Lewis Nelson July 7, 2011 at 7:47 am #

    I am sorry if my words have not been reviewed prior to clicking submit.

    First the 90% referred to CONSUMER use. Realtor.ca has over 90% real world market share for all real estate search traffic in Canada. The entire country currently uses realtor.ca exclusively and no other Portal has enough current listing content to compete. There is an REA equivalent in Canada, called Post Media and a 2nd called Rogers Communications, who are now attempting to build a realestate.com.au or zillow.com site in Canada.

    In order to establish a NON-Agent business relationship in Canada a business transaction must take place with an exchange of funds for service. As stated previously the $99 is then paid back to the Agent for agreeing to post on our new portal. Stupid but required legally to separate Agent and NON-Agent affiliations. We actually lose $7.50 per sign up when all accounting costs are factored in.

    Finally…NO we plan to use realtor.ca as a re-direct service for each of our listings. Limited information will be posted on realtor.ca with redirects for complete information to our new site. This will allow the consumer to assist us in moving our portal to top of mind awareness. The consumer then can choose whether to start their search on our portal which offers full details or go to the old portal with limited information and user re-directs.

    Now of course for a home to be displayed on our portal, it will be required to offer a group of inclusions that will make the homes featured on our portal the most sought after homes in the country. We acknowledge that not all agents will want to offer the high level of service our portal will ensure the consumer so we can never assume all agents will want to participate. Luckily for them they will have the old standby or one of the new privately owned portals to choose to market their homes on.

    Of course our internet control strategy will render all competitors sites non existent in the first few pages of searches.

  106. Chris July 7, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    I love the way Agents in Australia view this debate from their own blinkered perspective.

    Consistently ignoring what consumers want.

    Consumers want their properties on the internet and on realestate.com.au.

    Why? because more people look there than anywhere else and an Agents job is to sell their house for as much as possible.

    Agents: ignore what consumers want at your peril.

  107. Sam July 7, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    I’ll say it again.

    REA and Domain are not going anywhere.

    The sooner you guys divert your energy towards working with them instead of against them the better.

  108. PaulD July 7, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    Chris & Sam,
    You guys probably work for REA, did you notice that News Corp recently sold MySpace for $33 Million. Pity that in 2005 they paid $580 million for MySpace. That was a great piece of investing. So tell me how that happens ??

    I’ll tell you how. The company becomes so in love with themselves, that they think they can’t make a mistake. Just like Alan Bond and Christopher Skase, and all those other titans that believed in their own invincibility. They don’t care about their customers. They think they can continue to rip profits, at an ever increasing rate out of a relatively static marketplace, and then, they kill the golden goose to get at the eggs of gold. This is just like Fairfax classifieds rivers of gold all over. The only difference is, there’s a whole new brigade of young managers who think they can do exactly the same thing that happened in the past, with a different outcome. If you kick your customers hard enough for long enough, eventually they will react.

    Sam that is a very arrogant statement, that we have to work with them instead of against them. It is they who need to work with us – because who’s paying the money? If they want to say “take it or leave it” let’s see what happens then.

  109. Vic July 7, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    Paul D,

    I think more than just Chris and Sam are REA employees in this thread.

    However the key to REA’s continuance would be whether vendors are asking agents to be placed on REA or is it agents who are making this decision ?

    I really would be interested in the view of agents reading this post- because it lies at the crux of the issue as to whether agents can really have an influence on REA’s future.

    I suspect that REAs brand is strong enough now that vendors are making the call.

  110. Tatiana Mijalica July 7, 2011 at 3:16 pm #

    Interestingly enough, I had a property a few months back that due to a technical error did not go across to any of the portals.

    It wasn’t picked up until 8 days before the auction date, so it was really on the portals for just 6 days.

    It had a full print campaign – metro and local + the Agents website and newsletter/alerts.

    We hadn’t noticed it hadn’t gone to the portals as the enquiry and OFI’s were at normal levels.

    Sold at auction on the day for a great price.

    I think we are all a bit brainwashed as to how important the portals really are. Buyers that are keen to buy will find the property – no matter where it is.

  111. Ricky July 7, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    I can answer that one Vic.

    I have just placed my house on the market with a local agent.

    When I went through the marketing agenda all of the usual options were presented and I held my tongue and did not venture an opinion until all the facts had been presented.

    I then told her that I didn’t want to use print, just online so what sites would she suggest. Her direct answer was realestate.com.au and I’ll quote her directly “Because that’s the only site that buyers are looking at”.

    So I then asked her if it was a choice between the local property paper and realestate.com.au and she was me what would she do. “Put it on the net everyday because its cheaper, flexible and its measurable”

    That’s how the majority in the industry think.

    I’m not an re.com.au employee either PaulD.

  112. propertyNow July 7, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

    Ricky, congratulations. Your post is absolutely accurate and hits the nail on the head. I believe every part of the conversation with your real estate agent went exactly as you describe. The agents final answer would be mirrored by the majority of agents. Well said Ricky.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow
    http://www.propertynow.com.au

  113. Vic July 7, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    Glenn B,

    How about in your experience – is it the agent who leads the vendor to REA or is the vendor who asks for it- or half and half or whatever?

  114. Chris July 7, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

    Vic, Paul D

    I am not an employee.

    And it beggars belief that you assume i am because i take a consumer perspective on the value of the internet and don’t agree with what agents think about the value of realestate.com.au.

    I love the way Agents claim ownership of listings.

    They belong to consumers – your customers, not you. You should listen to what consumers want. Not what you think is best.

    I rented out my house recently and insisted it only go on the internet and only on realestate.com.au (the agent put it on domain as well.)

    It got rented without any problems and cost very little.

    Ignore consumers at your peril.

  115. PaulD July 7, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    Here we go some newbie defending realestate.com.au just because you feel that you have to ??? Where did I say that I don’t use realestate.com.au. I do, as I have said many times before on this blog, although how would you know because you have just mystically appeared to defend realestate.com. I have records dating back to 2003 when we first started on realestate.com. and as I will repeat, the enquiry rate has fallen off the table since that time. It used to be 2%, now it is one tenth of that, and we are paying many times what we used to pay. So Chris, you tell me from one experience – wow that’s a great deal of experience to draw on. I have had more than 8 years on realestate.com.au and thousands of listings that I can testify to. The trend is definitely down in terms of enquiry, and not just down in the last year, and I can prove it.

    If you’re not in real estate, and don’t work for REA, do you mind telling me why you so vigorously defended realestate.com.au when it has no real impact on your life. Would you for example, defend Tiger airlines because they got you safely to your destination on one particular flight? Or are you just a great guy who stoutly defends the consumers in an industry that you claim that you’re both not involved in, and have had limited experience in ?

  116. Chris July 7, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

    PaulD

    1) i am not a newbie
    2) i have an interest in real estate (like a lot of people in Australia)
    3) i am a consumer / vendor / landlord = your customer
    4) this is a public blog

    so am i allowed to participate?

    is it ok to advoate the perspective of one of your customers? I thought that might be of value?

    I hope so.

  117. Lewis Nelson July 8, 2011 at 12:10 am #

    First REA has to answer the question who are their customers? Of course they will suggest it is both the Agents and the Consumer. Of course to build their portal they told the Agents it was for the Agents. Now they are moving to the next stage of their business model which is to remove the Agent and go directly to the consumer. (It is only the naive business person who does not assume their business is under attack and make decisions to protect themselves …suggest reading Sun Tzu for those who never have)

    So they used the Agents, to build a business designed to make Agents irrelevant in the marketing of real estate yet hide that fact by supplying false propaganda about how this is what the consumer wants, without ever completing a single survey of consumers on the topic.

    I hope many many Aussie Agents are becoming aware of this great site as it provides a clear look into the minds of those representing the portal industry in Australia.

    RE: Response Rates from RE.com.au.
    As the consumer gains more and more access to more and more information they have a lesser need to communicate with Agents. There is no need to ask for more information because they get it all online with no direct communication needed.

    If you believe Agents are also Sales Reps ( a fact I don’t know why everyone runs from because the entire industrialized world only works with sales reps) then why would any EDUCATED home seller want to reduce her home to a list of features and photos shown on the internet. The hidden and often never discussed reality to home sales (especially in a down market) it that a property still needs to be SOLD. Selling a home requires a list of tools and experience that takes years of study to understand.

    Any and all portals should be designed like a well constructed ad. Give enough information to attract attention but then require further action on the part of the consumer to “learn more”. In the WORLD history of sales no successful salesman (thus successful company) ever sold anything without selling the benefits of the product.

    Why portals experience a drop off in leads to agents is that TOO MUCH information is displayed, requiring no contact with the agent. Agents never ran full page ads of a home, listing every single feature, showing a photo of every single room, giving all historical sold data for the street, etc, like what is now posted in the portal industry. They teased the consumer trying to get them excited enough to request further information.

    A well designed portal acts as a lead generator for the property listed for sale. It attracts buyers, elicits general interest and finally creates a desire for the buyer to want to learn more. This desire is then converted into a request for more information of which direct contact with an Agent is needed.

    Portal owners make false assumptions on what a portal should look like and how it should act because they are ignorant to the sales process. I have stated over and over again that portal owners are not advertisers and they are not real estate marketing experts. They are a group of people with NO experience selling homes and most are arrogant enough not to research the sales process, become educated in the finer details of marketing real estate or take the time to consult industry experts in what is the most beneficial way to set up a portal to satisfy the real existence of the portal.

    Of course this establishes the Agent as their customers just like all print media operate. The internet or portals are simply another tool that if used properly can assist Agents in the sale of real estate. Contrary portals not designed with a specific purpose actually damages the sale process.

    Houses don’t and never have sold themselves. Selling real estate is not only the most competitive business in the world but also the most personal. Any attempt to remove the personal aspect of selling peoples most personal asset will in the end fail.

    AND… REA only needs to look at MySpace (as mentioned above) and Facebook, Yahoo and Google or for those around long enough attempt to remember Compuserve, if they assume their website cannot be replaced by someone offering a more effective and better designed option to the customers and consumers.

  118. snoop July 8, 2011 at 5:04 am #

    This is a point I have made before.
    I dont get why the agents on here think its their spend.
    I dont get why agents think its their data
    Its them spending their customers money.
    As an agent its the consumers data.
    I recently listed a property ,one agent bidding to sell it wanted 300.00 to put a basic listing on REA.(they didnt get the gig).
    Now if they had the average industry listing of same 10 a mth thats 3k a mth they get for which for the base service costs them around 1k.
    Clearly some agents even make money from this process.
    As vendors you put trust in the agent who pitches the listing,as a portfolio owner I choose agents on Trust,Reputation and Committment.
    I have my guys I have worked with for years,and I like to make bets on newbies who impress me.
    I always negotiate commissions,and rarely pay for basic advertising.

  119. PaulD July 8, 2011 at 10:30 am #

    snoop, The assumption that all agents get vendor paid advertising is simply wrong. Obviously there are agents who do, but not all. In NSW as far as the OFT is concerned you have to justify your expenditure. You can’t just ask for money for “advertising” and not set out exactly where the money is going to be spent. In fact we provide a copy of the invoice to the vendor, and we don’t charge a fee for the internet because it is difficult to exactly apportion an individual cost to a property, apart from when the property is a special listing like a feature property etc. I have no idea what it is like in other states, but the onus in NSW is to provide proof of the cost of advertising, and the OFT take a very dim view of agencies who don’t comply.

  120. PaulD July 8, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    Chris, thanks for that clarification, very helpful. So I am allowed to express my opinion as well ? For a moment there I thought because I don’t necessarily agree with you with all your vast experience on the subject, I was the one that was being accused of not knowing the subject, and you were the expert. You and Andrew should get together- if you haven’t already.

  121. Chris July 8, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    Thanks for the condescending note PaulD

    Hope you have a great day.

    Best you’re not pestered with what a customer might actually think.

  122. PaulD July 8, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    Chris,
    Yes you have been around for a couple of months, at least using the name Chris. You made a small mistake a couple of months ago, and it traced back to REA. So – credibility – ZIP. The ONLY time you have ever contributed to the debate is when REA is mentioned, and you criticise anyone who criticises REA.
    So off you go and change your name, and come back as someone else to resume your sniping here. You can be as smart as you like, but please don’t think that everyone on here is as dumb as you are. And yes I will have a great day, thank you.

  123. Chris July 8, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    Thanks PaulD

    But i don’t take kindly to you misrepresenting me.

    My details have remained unchanged since i first commented on this board about 5 years ago.

    Please do you homework before you make false accusations.

    You may have me mistaken for someone else.

  124. PaulD July 8, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    Chris, I notice you didn’t deny anything I said. What I want to know is, how come one of your posts led back to REA ? I’m not misrepresenting you, it looks to me that it is you that is misrepresenting yourself. Further, it is impossible to misrepresent a christian name which may, or more than likely, may not be correct.

  125. Chris July 8, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    PaulD….huh?

    Deny what? Dude, read my posts. I have been quite specific.

    I have no idea what you are talking about.

    No post i have ever made led back to REA…its kind of impossible given i don’t work there.

  126. Glenn Batten July 8, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

    Chris,

    You do have more of a connection with the real estate industry than the four points in your earlier comment though havn’t you?

  127. Vic July 8, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

    Glenn B, unlike you to miss answering a question.

    In your experience is it the vendor asking for their listing to go to REA or is it the agent doing the suggesting/directing? And is this dynamic changing as vendors become more aware of their internet options?

  128. Glenn Batten July 8, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

    Vic,

    Sorry, I have been flat out and did miss your question when I skipped though the comments..

    Honestly there is no hard and fast rule like some people would have you believe. In my experience it is very rare that a vendor would ask if you list on realestate.com.au or any portal prior to doing the paperwork.. It does happen, just not that often. In fact I reckon it is happening less and less but I will explain that why a little later..

    Your question came straight after Ricky related to us all what I assume we are meant to believe was this “natural” listing scenario as though he was a typical seller.. We can see he had one fan for his story!

    Your query questions whether Ricky’s story is typical. I have no doubt that his story probably happened the way he described HOWEVER there is something that he did not mention.

    As the author of the article I get a copy of everyone’s comments emailed to me which includes their email. The email address for Ricky jogged my memory and without breaching his anonymity, there is certainly more information that Ricky could have provided that I think some might find places a pretty distinct perspective on his story.

    Saying that though…

    Many agents show the vendor a list of what property portals they do list on at either during the appraisal or listing phases. We certainly do this.

    What is common though is for a seller to ask when it would be up on the net and for you to send through the direct links to the property to save them searching for it. I mentioned earlier that agents asking specifically about listing on realestate.com.au is actually happening less these days. Years ago not every agent was even on the net, nor where they all on realestate.com.au. That’s when sellers would ask you if you will put their property on this portal or that portal. These days sellers dont often ask if you will put them on realestate.com.au because they assume that agents will list do it.

    If we did not list them on realestate.com.au it would not change that much before the listing, but I reckon we would have a few upset owners once they found out we did not put them on.

    That implied realestate.com.au listing is because In Queensland realestate.com.au has no effective competition at all. Domain is such a distant second that you could drive a truck between them. I reckon in NSW, ACT or in WA there are many agents without a realestate.com.au account and the question of whether they will be on REA is actually more popular.

  129. Vic July 9, 2011 at 7:36 am #

    Who’s Ricky- can’t see his post on this thread?

    I was asking the question because we have gone through this debate on the premise that agents have the call on whether REA will be affected by anything the agents do. Seems like the jury is out on this point and agents will not enmasse move away from REA where it is the dominant player in their region.

  130. PropertyNow July 11, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    Chris, dit seems PaulD has taken his attention momentarily away from personal attacks on Peter Mericka, PropertyNow and others ….to instead focus on a personal attack on yourself.

    Chris I read your posts and agree with your well made points. They are lucid and accurate and it appears as though you are being called a liar. Its not my blog but if it were I would extend you an apology on behalf of it.

    I hope it doesn’t dissuade you from further comments as we need a diversity of opinion in here

    Andrew Blachut
    ProeprtyNow

  131. Martin July 19, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    This is my first post and like to thank propertynow for taking on REA, well done!
    However, there’s a little detail that as far as I can see hasn’t been mentioned as of yet.
    REA might have backed down on minimum requirements (private listing policy), but they are demanding the use of statutory documents (agency agreements) for each state. These demands will do a number of things, just as an example, in NSW the statutory document demands that the agent will have to inspect the property in question. This might prove to be a bit tricky in the private sales industry..? Secondly, most of the statutory documents you cannot get hold of unless you have license and membership in that state, there goes national licensing out the window…
    An educated guess is that this is exactly what REA wanted to achieve with these demands. The question is, and I’ll direct it to you Andrew, is this something that should be brought to ACCC attention? Surely if they can demand these documents what has really been acheived? A simple authority to list drafted by a solicitor should suffice you would think…

  132. PropertyNow July 21, 2011 at 10:35 pm #

    Martin, I agree with you entirely. Those are good points.

    I believe any attempts to limit competition will be seen as just that, by the competition watchdog….. so they won’t be fooling anyone.

    Martin I agree with you that an agreement written by a solicitor would suffice in terms of a permission from the vendor. There is nothing sacrosanct about the typical agency agreements. Other documents can do the same job.

    As for drawing the attention of the ACCC to these matters Martin, I doubt it will be necessary as they will be watching REA very closely regardless. Having said that, PropertyNow has just discovered a document which needs to be seen by ACCC. It dates back several years and is extremely compelling. Lets just say that we were very happy to locate it this week and we will be passing that on also.

    I personally believe that REA will be happy to lose over this whole private sale debate and thereby have a scapegoat ( ACCC ) so as to introduce a private sale system within realestate.com.au and in so doing it will hope to lessen the wrath of the agents. i.e the argument that – they made us do it.

    I think that if the regulators fail to bring REA to heel this time,then there is an equal likelihood that REA will either introduce a private sale system or else completely retract the Greg Ellis statement on private sales and go back in time. They are toeing the line while being watched but if the gaze turns away….

    One thing is for sure, we have seen in the past 2 weeks that even the most powerful of media networks can be taken to task. If Rupert Murdoch can be made to answer questions then so can others. …and Trade Practices matters are not like speeding fines.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  133. Lewis Nelson July 27, 2011 at 1:35 am #

    Canadian Update:
    The Privacy Commissioner of Canada, within 48 hours of being notified of the potential photo data mining and criminal risks associated with posting interior photos of homes online when selling a home, launched an investigation into the issue.
    Based on past decisions and resolutions demanded by the Privacy Commissioner it is already assumed revisions to how real estate is advertised online will be altered radically. Open and Unmonitored access to personal data is not allowed in Canada without informed consent being provided by those releasing that data.

    Yesterday, initial discussions took place with a national Canadian policing body as to the ability of the pedophiles to gain access to intimate details of the children in a community who currently live in a home that is for sale and being marketed online. It is already suggested that recommendations will follow in how best to revamp the currently online home marketing system to better protect the children of active home sellers.

    We are happy to report the effort required to launch these investigations took nothing more than a single well crafted letter to the authorities.

    The Press in Canada will now be faced with a very difficult issue as they are attempting to build their own real estate portals to battle realtor.ca (which is Canada’s Agent controlled portal currently ranked #1 with an over 90% share of all online traffic for real estate in Canada). The issue will be reporting the facts and informing their readers or hurt their own desire to build a realestate.com.au like portal in Canada.

    Canadian REALTORS hope our Australian cousins take this issue to the proper authorities in Australia. We hope Australian Agents move quickly to get a portal online that they can control, in order to ensure the Australian home seller is protected when marketing their homes online.

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