After less than 18 months SOBOX.com.au has recently closed its doors. At its launch SOBOX (Short for Social Media in a Box) a wholly owned subsidiary of Classified Ad Ventures Pty Ltd promoted the importance of agents having a deeper involvement with social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Property Ad Guru has also “gone on Hiatus” recently as well, and we we only have to guess that this has also been closed permanently as not many companies go on ‘hiatus’ if things are going well.
At the launch Simon Baker the CEO of Classified Ad Ventures, said:
Social Media is an important marketing tool for Australian real estate agents and all agents should have a strong presence on the main sites – Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. We launched SOBOX to help Australian agents get the most from social media and to reduce their reliance on traditional and other online media when marketing themselves and their listings.
It seems SOBOX found the going a little tough and we received reports detailing how only a few agents had actually signed up for the service over the past 18 months. These customers have apparently since been notified of the closure and have received all of their data to export into a new service.
One of the problems with SOBOX is that agents could actually get most of the same or similar offerings for free or for a nominal monthly fee with little effort, which highlights another problem facing new companies feeding to social media websites. Most providers today actually do the same services as a part of their overall web design service as nearly all new real estate sites also have a blog and social media integrated.
Classified Ad Ventures Pty Ltd has seen a number of projects close over the past 12 months with many of the previous offerings no longer available or merged into a more streamlined service and it seems the company is now focussing on providing a smaller core suite of products to real estate agents, including search, web services, content delivery and also web development.
Another of their offerings List Globally (which I think is a great idea) may also be struggling to get the numbers needed – primarily because I think it is too expensive, I still cannot get my head around their pricing. For such a great idea, I would have thought if List Globally was a completely automated service they could drop the price dramatically and get the volume they needs to have the success it warrants.
No one doubts the talent and reach of the team and particularly Simon Baker, he has proven in the past he has the experience and connections to make things happen, however for every success in online technology we each experience a number of failures along the way and having success in one area doesn’t always guarantee success in another.
Property Portal Watch seems to be still growing strong with regular updates which I follow closely. It is a good website to follow if you are interested in all the happenings of real estate portals worldwide. They seem to have expended this service into directories as well.
Todays economic climate is not easy on new web service companies and hiring the right talent often is the biggest ongoing expense, you add servers, maintenance and traditional business costs you can find yourself needing revenues almost immediately.