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Is Domain threatening Competition within the real estate industry?

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Changes to you Domain advertising rates: On December 15th. 2012 a Domain National Sales Manager wrote to PropertyNow (and presumably to some other companies) The email communication sent to PropertyNow is shown below.

The essential elements of  Domain’s email to PropertyNow, is that Domain intend a price increase (after approximately 6 years at the current rate) of something in the order of 53,000% ( based on the current clients using PropertyNow)  If the calculation of the percentage increase were based solely on new clients to PropertyNow from February onward, then the increase is still in the order of 3,000%.

PropertyNow has naturally put its point of view to Domain and to the credit of it’s management, negotiations may take place. I will comment further, but for now here is the letter sent to my business (PropertyNow) on December 15th 2012.

Start of email communication:-

Changes to you Domain advertising rates

We are writing to let you know about some changes to your Advertising Sales Agreement with Domain.com.au.

Ordinarily, we require all private advertisers on Domain.com.au to take out advertisements on a single buy basis. However, we recognise that you are a high-volume private advertiser and we have therefore created a special product to allow you to use Domain.com.au on a subscription basis.

Effective from 1 February 2012, your account will be migrated on to a Domain Flexi Subscription, which means that your rates will change to the applicable monthly State-based subscription rate set out in the table below plus a flat rate of $220.00 incl. GST per Sale listing and $165 incl. GST per Rental Listing.

Each listing will be in Priority Placement format for the first 2 weeks on Domain.com.au.

End text content of Domain email:

PropertyNow’s Viewpoint

From the point of view of PropertyNow, such an increase is the equivalent of filling ones petrol tank today for $60 and then going to the petrol station tomorrow and being charged $1800. The net result will be that PropertyNow will be forced to no longer offer Domain to its clients. This obviously impacts upon hundreds of individual property sellers (eventually many thousands) very directly.

PropertyNow intends to discuss this with the General Manager of Domain, while reserving the right to once again appeal to the ACCC to investigate a potentially anti-competitive practice. Propertynow will also explain to Domain management that it is at error in defining the nature of the PropertyNow business.

It is interesting to myself and no doubt would be to the ACCC, that PropertyNow will be charged massively more than other agents, despite charging its own clients a smaller fee than those agents. I would have thought this to be the absolute definition of an anti competitive practice.

I am interested to hear the thoughts of  Business2 readers in relation to Domains intentions, which were initally mooted back in January 2011.

Andrew Blachut

Director and Licensee PropertyNow

www.propertynow.com.au

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160 Comments

  • James
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 1:17 pm 0Likes

    Hi Andrew,

    I understand PropertyNow assists Private Sellers with the Sale of their property, correct?

    If so I suugest based on what you are saying is that all they have done is to bring your rates in line with what the standard is for Private Sellers. If anything from what you have posted they are doing you a favour.

    Might just have to put your rates up Andrew and the ACCC is not the answer to every gripe you have with world.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 1:31 pm 0Likes

    Advise your clients to appoint a real estate agent – problem fixed! 🙂

  • Guy Robinson
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 1:40 pm 0Likes

    I really don’t understand where the Domain business logic comes from here? Quite simply the cost of you doing business should be no higher than if you were a member of any real estate franchise handling similar volumes?

    I can only presume Domain management have acted on a perceived threat of individual FSBO sales (low single % of total revenue one could reasonably assume) being lost to you as an “aggregator”. It is a very rare occurrence that any vendor will totally “go it alone” without any assistance at all, maybe one in every 300 or 400 listings. Even then those types of highly independent FSBO’s are more likely to stick to a traditional sign out the front and an advert in the local press, they just are not sophisticated enough to get a good online presence on their own. The others will either go with a FSBO service of some description (like PropertyNow) or an agent.

    The contract change they have put forward cannot be explained using any sensible financial argument. Firstly I just cannot believe that Domain would be so fearful that direct FSBO revenue, which would likely account for less than 2% of total revenue, was under threat by your service. Secondly I cannot understand why the hell they would persecute your business, as you are probably getting MORE FSBO owners on-line that would otherwise have found the process too complicated.

    The only remaining answer is that there is another agenda here, probably driven by other dinosaur agents acting as usual out of greed and fear. In my view Domain should just present you with a contract that is no different from the local LJ Hooker or RayWhite franchisee. Hopefully common sense will prevail.

  • Jack
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 1:45 pm 0Likes

    It’s rare that I find myself siding with Domain but in the case of Zero commision sales, Property Now are simply a facilitator and depriving the “Domains” of the world of charging what they feel the product is worth. Like many agents I subscibe to various organisations in anticipation of need which guarantees these organisations an income whether used or not versus your private sellers pay a fee for a few months and are gone with no more to pay. I am not against people selling privately nor marketing facilitators but would appreciate it when things are on an equitable basis.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 2:16 pm 0Likes

    To be honest Andrew, your concept carried the seeds of its own demise. What your business does is similar to a person who buys a “family ticket” and then charges a fee to allow anyone and everyone to become a part of his family. Surely you must have realised that Domain and REA cannot allow their business models to be compromised in this way.

    It was obvious that Domain and REA would either increase your access costs or charge per head across the board.

  • Glenn
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 2:19 pm 0Likes

    What we are seeing and as was mooted a year ago is the damage that the internet is doing to the real estate business as a whole and every part of it.

    It doesn’t stop at the like of Domain and Real Estate.com.au and others with Real Estate listings. The Holiday Rental marketplace websites such as Stayz, TakeaBreak, Homeaway, Wotif Occupancy Last Minute, etc etc are slowly destroying the holiday rental business by dominating the web search results which is leading to a decrease in the saleable price of accommodation. This has lead to decreased earnings for both the Holiday Rental Manager and the owner and has had no effect on increased occupancy at all.

    I have just returned from the USA where over 700 holiday rental property managers ( who in my mind are 3 years further down the track than us ) have had no choice to ditch these “leeches” on the industry who once having found dominance of the search engines decided to ” as per DOMAIN” up the pricing, not by just a couple of % but to where they were commanding 25% of the holiday rental stay. This sent property managers to the wall, property owners lost their properties by increased expenses and all through us allowing corporates to take control of our business. Oh the naivety !

    I wrote an article on the USA experience which can be found at http://www.genkan.com.au/genkan/Article Final.pdf

    In 2010 the President of the VRMA association said; ………………………………..

    As VRMA President, I want to bring to your attention a grave situation facing our industry and threatening our success as independent vacation property managers.
    The situation is this: If we do nothing and permit the current market forces to proceed, we will lose the ability to independently market our homes/condos directly to our prospective guests online. We will fall prey to Web portals that aggregate that demand. These portals will then be in a position to force us to pay exorbitantly high commissions–stripping us of our individual brands, significantly increasing our distribution costs and, consequently, squeezing our margins.

    They must rely on us, the property managers, to give them the listings they need to create that content. Some of these companies come as wolves in sheep’s clothing, offering free listings or a low, reasonable, per-click or per-reservation fee to build their content-rich sites. ………………….END

    Yet and as it was mooted last year we continue to fuel these businesses and sit and wait for the carnage that has already occurred in the USA to happen here. We have the choice of course take our business away from the portals because when we all do as a whole and as an industry they will have nothing left, its what happens when you screw your customers and corporate greed takes over.

  • Guy Robinson
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 2:29 pm 0Likes

    Andrew can you clarify if the fees you expect to pay Domain should be (a) higher (b) lower or (c) the same as any equivalent sized (i.e. number of listings) real estate agency would pay? I think that would help clarify the responses.

  • Bill
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 2:36 pm 0Likes

    I’ll congratulate PropertyNow for ranking highly in Google for real estate search terms, in fact they have been so successful they are threatening domains valuable position. I wonder if this has had anything to do with Domain’s action. I recall the saying “never give a competitor an even break” and in the world of search PropertyNow are certainly a competitor to Domain.

    I don’t fully understand the pricing structure, but if a future vendor is thinking of listing and searches in Google on the term “real estate” lands on the Domain portal and let’s assume they select to list with an agent they found on Domain.

    Would Domain receive more revenue for the listing via the agent than they would they receive if that same vendor performed the search, landed on PropertyNow and listed on that portal.

    My understanding is the revenue for Domain would be lower, am I correct in that assumption?

  • Aryan
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 2:36 pm 0Likes

    Are people still using domain? If yes why?

  • Guy Robinson
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 2:46 pm 0Likes

    Hi Bill you may be correct, but I reckon we can assume with a reasonable degree of accuracy that the revenue numbers for Domain would read something like revenue direct from real estate agency subscriptions and charges 98%, revenue from aggregators and direct FSBO’s 2%. Why Domain would bother with Andrew and not just treat him like an agent is beyond me, as a customer of Domain I can assure you they should have other things to worry about. As money could not possibly be the motivation I wonder what the real story is here?

    I should have also clarified earlier, I am a real estate business owner. Our team made over 600 sales in calendar 2011. I welcome the interesting new business models of Andrew’s and Peter Mericka’s. There is no doubt that 2011 will be seen as the last year traditional real estate agencies had the relevance they have had in the past. It will be very interesting from this point on!

  • Peter C
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 2:47 pm 0Likes

    Yes Andrew, you are very quick to run to the ACCC and your rights and so on…. You forgot that YOU are the person that stole from a lot of Agents. Domain is a PRIVATE business and they can do whatever they like with the rates they charge. You have instead stolen business from Real Estate Agents, you have destroyed Businesses, you are NOT a Real estate agent you are just another opportunistic parasite. If you ever where an agent you could have not been too successful, more a failure then anything else. Typical “I’m providing a service at a discount” more like destroying somebody else’s livelihood.

  • Melanie
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 2:52 pm 0Likes

    I completely agree with Guy Robinson. Very well said.

  • Guy Robinson
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 2:55 pm 0Likes

    Domain (Fairfax) own the local press where we are, so the penetration of Domain as a web/press name would lose us a lot of exposure if we were solely REA. I would imagine that in some regional areas and cities where Fairfax don’t have a local press presence that agencies there could get away with just having an REA subscription.

  • vic Del Vecchio
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm 0Likes

    I don’t think that Domain is threatened by the google rank. It is really all about traffic and content and propertynow does not measure up in this regard. Even as a dedicated private seller it pales into insignificance against the likes of http://www.noagentproperty.com.au, and as a free to list is not even close in both content and traffic to say http://www.thehomepage.com.au. Good luck to Andrew in his attempts, but it is solely an Andrew thing and hardly likely to be of benefit to anyone else.

    ps Andrew, I thought you were going to boycott this blog- glad to see you back 🙂

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 3:20 pm 0Likes

    The internet has changed real estate forever, and with this comes a freedom of consumers to make choices and of the same for real estate agents.

    The future will see a mix of fixed feee listings services by agents and also the current commission based sales. The process for agents is to consider not only how to fight this by providing and demonstrating their services, but more importantly how to work within this inevitable framework and profit from the same!

    It will after all, only be a matter of time when a large powerful organization comes into the fixed fee market!

  • Guy Robinson
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm 0Likes

    Hi Peter as a large organisation this is something we have recognised for some time, and we are working to provide more flexible services and changing our business model so that we do not need to rely on such ridiculously high sales commissions that are clearly no longer justified.

    However this action by Domain does puzzle me, I cannot see why they wouldn’t just suggest to Andrew that he pay the same amount as any other similar sized agent would. They have either over-reacted to his business as a threat to theirs or they have been pressured to do so by competing agency owners that see his business model as a threat to theirs. If it is the second one that is a concern as it would on the face of it appear to be anti-competitive.

    Why do I care? Answer to that is easy. In offering a wider range of services the last thing I want is Domain, or REA, coming in and trying to charge me different fees for clients that have signed up for a varying range of services. I think anyone that has the word “flexible” in their future business strategy should take this action against Andrew seriously, whether you agree with his model or not. You might be next.

  • Guy Robinson
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm 0Likes

    Peter I assume you are an agent or agency owner. You are entitled to your view but gee you have a huge sense of entitlement. Consumers can choose what they want to do. Sure, they might make the wrong decision and you might not agree with the brand of fabric softener they use or the brand of car that they buy.

    If Andrew, or any other business offering a new way of doing things does the right thing by their customers then that will get them more business and so on. You do need to recognise that the traditional way agents do business is officially over. What you do about that from here on is up to you.

  • Pedro
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 4:10 pm 0Likes

    Andrew, I congratulate you. It is only the insecure and complacent that fear innovation, change and competition. The real estate industry is a dynamic one and if you can introduce a new paradigm that customers choose to take up, then more power to you.

    I can’t help but suspect that Peter C is struggling and looking outside his business for someone to blame. Perhaps the answer is in doing things differently and not accepting that just because your methods have worked for the last 20 years that they will be able to compete in a system that rewards innovation and leaves stagnant businesses behind.

    Mass domination of a market leaves niches and our industry is no different. Find a niche and work it hard. If agents and their products are too expensive, then the market must be free enough to give new businesses such as Andrew’s a fair chance to be tested. And if you fear that change, then tweak your business to leverage off it rather than sticking to your business model, jumping up and down, and hoping everything will be okay.

    The world moves on…

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 4:13 pm 0Likes

    Hi James. Yes we do assist them. In fact religiously 7 days a week until 8pm.

    You are quite right James, in saying that the ACCC is not the answer to every gripe we have.

    It is however the Government agency charged with ensuring appropriate competition within a market in Australia. It would be wrong to go elsewhere, assuming we are forced to do so.

    In fairness James, we go to the ACCC generally as a last resort and that is as it should be. I am reasonably hopeful that the letter to our real estate agency from Domain may simply be the result of a misunderstanding of how we operate. We have been a subscriber in good standing with Domain for about 6 years now and they have always known our model. Thanks for your opinion but I can’t agree that a 3000% increase is a favour 🙂

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 4:21 pm 0Likes

    Robert, they don’t have to appoint an agent, as we are an agency and we already do work tirelessly for our clients.

    It’s really not about that side of things , it’s about PropertyNow’s ability to continue to offer it’s clients the same level of service as for the past 6 years.

    It’s about fair competition and the rights of the public to have a marketplace which fosters that, for their ultimate benefit. I cannot see how legally any organisation can charge one agency one fee, and another agency a different fee. Good to get your point of view Robert.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm 0Likes

    Guy, I think you have explained that better than I ever could.

    Suffice to say that we at PropertyNow are equally perplexed, as to where this has come from and why? As you said Guy,it certainly doesn’t make financial sense.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 4:37 pm 0Likes

    Well said Jack and like you PropertyNow already pays an annual subscription fee and has done so now for about 6 years.

    Can’t follow your argument, about PropertyNow depriving Domain from charging what it feels it’s service is worth?

    Jack, if they are also going to charge all real estate agents about $20,000 a month then that is fair enough. We are not telling them what to charge Jack, we are simply saying that is is not fair to charge my agency more fees than another real estate agency. Thanks for your input and interest in this Jack.

    Andrew Blachut

  • Bill
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 4:44 pm 0Likes

    “It will after all, only be a matter of time when a large powerful organization comes into the fixed fee market!”

    http://www.virginrealestate.com.au would get a lot of people running for the Valium I reckon.

  • Glenn Rogers
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 5:33 pm 0Likes

    Hit the nail on the head there Glenn.

    I’ve been dealing with accommodation owners and managers for about 2 or 3 years now and am slowly learning how this on-line industry operates.

    1/ There are too many accommodation portals, most of them dodgy sand useless.

    2/ Some are so bad I believe they list a property without permission then send out an Invoice, some just pay it without questioning why they got it or who authorized the listing

    3/ Yes, the price of the majors keeps going up and will continue to do so, same as the real estate portals.

    Way different to real estate portals the accommodation portal industry is one of the biggest spammers of all, the property owner/manager finds it hard to tell the wheat from the chaff.

    I find it hard to get my message around because of this but getting there.

  • forsaleforlease
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 5:59 pm 0Likes

    Andrew

    It might help the readers that are not agents to know what domain charge traditional full service companies vs. what they propose to charge ours and similar companies.

    A typical agent will pay for a limitless number of listings in:

    VIC $845 + GST per month
    NSW $845 + GST per month
    QLD $620 + GST per month
    SA $620 + GST per month
    WA $480 + GST per month
    TAS $320 + GST per month

    This is the full retail rate. If you are in regional centers it’s considerably less.

    On my current numbers my business in now expected to pay $35,000 per month.

    They tried this on me 12 months ago and the ACCC was interested then and should be again.

    It smells of a company in desperate trouble to me.

    I expect a profit warning is imminent.

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 6:21 pm 0Likes

    Hello Peter I don’t agree with your comment that ” our concept carries the seed of its own demise” That’s a bit off a stretch I think Peter, after 6 successful years.

    I know exactly what you mean however…..and where you are coming from with that comment, because we have had a lot of hurdles in the past 6 years and this may be another one.
    The company is extremely vibrant and healthy. I feel our future is assured so long as we respect the people that matter most – our clients.

    Peter In relation to your other assertion – ” It was obvious that Domain and REA would either increase your access costs or charge per head across the board” – I agree that it appears an obvious outcome, especially given that Domain last mooted something like this in January of 2010.

    At that time I phoned the General Manager and found that he had completely misinterpreted our business model. He has moved on now and I feel the same thing has happened again with the new management structure at Domain. I am hopeful that some fruitful discussions will again obviate the need for anything else to occur. At least that is what has always happened in the past with both REA and Domain. I am not planning an obituary for PropertyNow just yet Peter.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 6:26 pm 0Likes

    Great question Guy and happy to answer it. I expect to pay the same as any other real estate agent in Australia.

    Andrew Blachut.

    PropertyNow

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 6:31 pm 0Likes

    Hello Bill, another good question and some very good observations. Guy made some similar points and neither he, nor yourself, nor PropertyNow can explain this proposed action by Domain in terms of financial loss to them. None of us think it’s about that at all.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 6:36 pm 0Likes

    Aryan, everyone has an opinion on the relative merits of domain and realestate.com.au.

    I can only say that in my experience they are rather an essential property destination for the effective sale of a property, just as realestate.com.au is.

    Domain like realestate.com.au is a wonderful site and that’s why we don’t want our clients to lose the use of either of them.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 6:42 pm 0Likes

    Peter, I understand that this topic creates quite a bit of anger in many people and I am sorry you feel that way.

    Peter at the risk of repeating myself – I am a Licensed agent. I have been in the industry for 15 years and PropertyNow actually supports hundreds of real estate agents on our website and we do that completely free of charge and at some considerable cost to our business.

    Your views are not the views of real estate agents, they are your views.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 6:44 pm 0Likes

    Hello Melanie. I’m with you. Guy explains it all very well.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 6:48 pm 0Likes

    Vic, it’s not solely an Andrew thing at all. I know you want to be provocative with those comments so I won’t take the bait.

    Vic I am responsible for my clients rights and those of future clients. It’s about them Vic. The real estate industry must focus on what’s best for the Australian public and I am happy to let them decide what’s best for them.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 6:49 pm 0Likes

    Peter Ricci,you are absolutely 100% correct.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 6:54 pm 0Likes

    Yes that’s a pretty accurate portrayal of the situation and the numbers reflect an astonishing and quite breathtaking attempt at a price increase that is so high that I first checked whether it was April Fools Day when I got the email from Domain in December.

    I don’t know if Domain is in any trouble as you suggest, but this might be a great way for them to land in some trouble for sure.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • Guy Robinson
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 8:55 pm 0Likes

    Glenn this is really interesting and I think would make a very interesting post, you have some good info here and I assume you have some more. Would it be possible for you to contribute this? One of my businesses is Winning Holidays at Port Stephens (around 450 properties, around 8,000 managed nights per year), and it seems there are other similar owners that frequent this site that would be able to share some opinions.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 10:26 pm 0Likes

    My argument was that REA should be able to dictate what product they offer to what clients of their business. Given that REA backed down there was obviously some import piece missing from that puzzle. Given Domain’s letter to PropertyNow I believe that REA’s mistake was that they did not offer a product that fitted Property Now’s business profile, choosing to shut down their option.

    To me it seems that the Fairfax team have done their homework and learnt from the REA exchange over a similar issue in 2011. Instead of just deleting the property now account which clearly did not work out the way that REA wanted Fairfax have created a product to suit the Property Now business style.

    They will argue that PropertyNow is not acting as a real estate agent in the relationship and therefore the current product should not apply and new product is a closer fit. Of course, any success by Fairfax will naturally see a similar approach by REA.

    I would expect that the second crack at this will have a better chance of success if it ever goes to an ACCC investigation .

    Comparing what a private seller is charged direct with Domain to what they are charged with somebody like PropertyNow is probably a more accurate comparison than comparing what an agent pays in different states if the ACCC is going to look at how the “consumer” is effected in all of this.

    It has to be remembered that an agency might have an unlimited account but it is based on a limited geographical service area. There are plenty of offices asked to pay for multiple accounts because they cover a large geographical area. How is it fair that an account be able to effectively list 300,000 property for the “$60 tank of petrol”. In the case of an unlimited geographical area a price per unit seems only fair or maybe a price per region.

    With all that in mind though I don’t think any of us needs a more powerful Domain or REA. Each of these two portals have a different position. I for one would like to see some sort of middle ground whereby Private Sellers could not list directly but must list through some sort of aggregator. But I think it’s important that public understand that such a service is merely an advertising booking service not a real estate agent. A real estate agent cannot profit from advertising… !!

    I hope Fairfax hold their position and force Property Now to take it to the ACCC simply to see some sort of precedent actually being set so all stakeholders and the public finally have an answer.

    Bring it on and lets see who is left standing at the end!! 🙂

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 10:45 pm 0Likes

    As I suspected, it looks like the pay-per-listing model is on its way.

    Bill, you’re right about Virgin but Virgin Money would provide the greater threat.

    Just as the industry has changed due to the Paradigm Shift of the Agent Assist model, REA and Domain will have no choice but to change as well and head down the pay-per-listing path, otherwise the likes of CommBank, Westpac, NAB, ANZ, etc, etc could simply employ one licensed real estate agent and only have to pay a single subscription. (especially with the National Licensing coming into effect this year) and provide an Agent Assist service.

    The banks could offer 0% (or even refunds) and make their money on the finance leads from both buyers & sellers. (I know a lot of mortgage brokers who’d love to get their hands on the enquiries that real estate agents receive).

    No need for the banks to pay out BIG $$$ for the 3rd party ads on REA or Domain, the banks’ll get more than enough enquiry from advertising the listing on Domain & REA and forwarding the buyer onto the seller to run the OFI.

    It would be ‘Game Over’ for many in the industry.

    So, I suggest you find a way to get used to the new charges Andrew because once you have your battle with the ACCC and possibly win, the pay-per-listing model will only end up being fast-tracked as the big 2 portals fight to remain relevant and increasingly profitable PLUS keep the banks as advertisers instead of subscribers.

    Under REA or Domain’s previous/existing terms of use the banks/financial institutions wouldn’t have to pay a subscription per branch because they are not independently owned and operated like the real estate franchise networks and agencies are.

    Surely, you saw this coming Andrew? ‘Holding back the ocean with a spoon’ was once quoted to me on this site before.

    Guy, I think you’ll find that there will be a number of agents who start having different levels of offering (full service and agent assist) from within the one office and I think Domain can see where this is all heading.

    The hard part for REA is that they don’t charge for Private Sellers because they don’t allow them onto their site, so how they’ll bring their pay-per-listing model into play will be very interesting to watch, (it’s going to be especially hard for their reps who constantly seem to have to be the bearers of bad news, re: price increases, etc)

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 10:51 pm 0Likes

    Great point Glenn!! “A real estate agent cannot profit from advertising… !!”

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 11:33 pm 0Likes

    Greg and Glenn. The notion and the law which states that an agent cannot profit from advertising has zero relevence to this argument, especially in relation to the PropertyNow business.

    The law was created to stop agents making what were essentially secret commissions from overcharging clients for advertising. Correct me if I am wrong but it would appear that you both seem to be implying that PropertyNow is profiting from advertising in some nefarious manner and that is utterly ridiculous. It seems to me to be a purely mischievous comment which I guess is designed to muddy the waters of this debate and it’s one that has been raised on this blog numerous times in the past few years.

    To mix this old advertising chestnut into the mix of this thread as though it is relevent, is a nonsense.

    This argument comes up continually in here and is not remotely grounded in reality. It is a very deliberate misrepresentaion of what that amendment was actually created for. It was designed to stop the public being ripped off. It was very much designed to prevent secret relationships between media bodies and agents and from which agents could secretly profit.

    This is in fact the complete opposite of what we do with and for our clients. It is neither secretive, nor is it a ripoff and if it represented an agent profiting from advertising then every agent in Australia would need to close their doors tomorrow.

    I explain this simply because someone who does not understand the intent of the legislation that you refer to above,would reach a conclusion from your comments that is totally incorrect and grossly misleading.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 12:03 am 0Likes

    Greg, yes we definitely saw this coming. How could one not? That doesn’t make it right and nor do we have to accept it without a fight. My honest belief is that it could be deemed illegal. But lets assume its not. The onus upon Domain and which is completely of it’s own doing, will be staggering. Notwithstanding that, their action would certainly result in companies going underground and devising ways around the pricing scheme and if you think I am being fanciful I can assure you that is occuring already.

    The imperative that Domain would be thrusting upon every one of its 3000 or so agencies, to act in accordance with the same constraints placed upon PropertyNow, is compelling. Just to cite one example among many flaws in this proposal – How many agencies in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane market properties intersate? I am sure we would find hundreds. Shall they require state based accounts also or will a conjunctional agreement suffice?

    REA expressly told PropertyNow this year that it did not require state by state accounts. In fact we had been paying multiple accounts for years and closed the others only when realestate.com.au told us they were not required. That information came straight from their own Legal Department which I am sure is at least as well sourced as Domains Legal team. Domain now think they know better.

    Anyway whatever spin is put on this, the fact remains that our business and others, will be forced to pay monumentally more for the very same service that we have paid for, during the past 6 years. I believe it will be found that their is no suitable justification for doing this. Our clients will lose out immediately and into the future. Competition will have then been instantly and forcibly removed from the marketplace and the needs of the public put aside. If the public could decide this debate there would in fact be no debate. No one will be able to hold that competition will not be diminished by this course of action. It would be foolish to suggest otherwise.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 12:07 am 0Likes

    Correction to the following statement I made in the above post – (REA expressly told PropertyNow this year that it did not require state by state accounts)

    This actually occurred last year. (about midway through 2011)

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 12:11 am 0Likes

    Advertising laws relating to agents differ from state to state so you are going to suggest that you understand the “intent” of those that wrote and interpret each of those pieces of legislation and that in every case they never “intended” to capture businesses like Property Now.??

    How is the consumer effected if they charge you a fee per listing when they already charge quite successfully a per listing fee direct themselves. As far as I can see they are offering you a wholesale rate and your only argument will be like those who fought Telstra over the adsl space, in that the wholesale price is too high and you can’t be competitive.

    What does Domain charge direct… ??? and how can you claim you cant provide a service and not make a profit on the difference of what they will charge you?

    If your advertising is not secretive where do you tell potential clients what you are being charged yourself for these advertising? Do you account to each client for the profits made on advertising then? Surely if you dont then the information is a secret isnt it?

    Maybe you missed the part where I said that Fairfax will argue that you are not acting as an agent in the relationship… That did not quite fit into your response did it?

    Maybe you also missed the part where I said you could list 300,000 properties for your $60 tank of petrol. How is that fair. ?? I guess no surprise you skipped over that part :).

    Maybe claiming your an agent in one hand but claiming your exempt for legislation covering agents in the other hand is what is misleading???

    I think you put your chin out there and Fairfax have lined it up to give it a haymaker.. whether they connect flush or swing with nothing but air is the real question.. I just hope that you wont try and see any middle ground and resolve to take them on because I personally would like to see a resolution of this issue one way or another. Best of luck!!

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 12:32 am 0Likes

    Glad you asked Glenn and also glad that i am not the only one still up after midnight:-)

    In fact we do tell our clients exactly any and all costs. We tell them not only what various accounts cost us but we very freely and willingly tell them the costs of such things as featured listings and even the amount of pricing of our labour in arranging such things.We actually go overboard in that Department as a matter of fact and are totally transparent to our clients. That is very easy to do when you have nothing to hide. Glenn, this is not an argument that can levelled at us at all so I am pleased to clear that up for you.

    Glenn, you are again comparing us with a private selling company. Today alone I have negotiated upon a sale for one client and had another phone to thank us for the overwhelming support we provided in his sale which went unconditional today. You are saying Glenn that I wish to be treated differently than other agents when in fact it’s the opposite – this whole thread is about the fact that we assert our right to be treated excatly the same as other agents who hold domain accounts and not treated as a private sale company which we are not.

    Glenn I did not miss your reference to 300,000 properties. It’s simply that I have spent a lot of time responding to every post in this thread and tried to stay on track and it is now after midnight. If I argue the toss on everything we really will be in here all night.

    I have really only one standpoint on all of this. This action if it occurs is in my opinion anti-competitive in the extreme and the publics interest is not being served.

    Glenn do you agree with me that such a move by Domain is anti-competitive?

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • Glenn Smith
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 7:45 am 0Likes

    Guy I have been researching and writing about this for over a year now only ever finding time to publish the article that was published in AccomNews in December which is http://www.genkan.com.au/genkan/Article

    I have another article which i have ready to go, was the forerunner to the above but its probably too long for this site, anyhow I have just submitted some of it to see if it gets a run because in the right forum it will stir up the pot.

    I have three property management business plus my GENKAN software, would be great to speak, I will try and track you down today.

  • vic Del Vecchio
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:09 am 0Likes

    With all due respects to you Andrew, your post is all about your own circumstance with Domain.

    You have posted here to get support and/or feedback that would assist you to get a favourable outcome for yourself.

    Be honest and the debate can be taken to other more fruitful areas for the benefit of the industry as a whole. Greg V’s and Glenn B’s later comments are attempting to do this and should be debated on their merits. I happen to see it the same way as Greg does and that is a move to pay per list seems inevitable and I would say that would be welcomed by the industry as a whole.
    In this way an agent may know the exact cost of advertising and can be passed on to their vendor directly. The present subscription model is open to either abuse by agents and/or loss to agents.

    The risk to a subscription portal in changing to a pay per list model would be that the number of properties listed would no doubt dramatically reduce and open up the way for free to list portals to become more relevant to visitors..

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:14 am 0Likes

    Andrew, you keep going on about how your customers will lose out, when the average fee for a typical real estate agency service throughout Australia is approx. $10,000 and from what I can see your fee is about 95% less… please give me a break!!!

    As I see it, both Domain and REA have no choice but to either charge pay-per-listing or allocate subscriptions via geographical service areas to survive amongst this Paradigm Shift in our industry medium to long term.

    Referrals have almost become extinct compared to what they were back in the 90’s. Agents are listing further and further outside their service areas nowadays and in some areas the local agents no longer have 8 or 9 competitors, instead now they have 37 competitors represented in one suburb. It’s become Agent Lotto.

    PS: Even with a pay-per-listing model the banks will still enter our industry via the Agent Assist model. You only have to look at how companies like FirstFolio have grown within the Project Marketing lending and the likes of Refund Real Estate who now want a piece of the action. ‘It won’t happen overnight but it will happen’

  • Peter C
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:19 am 0Likes

    …and the bull dust keeps on flying!! It is thanks to failed sales people like this that every single business, not only Real Estate, faces the cheap,cheap,cheap syndrome. Nobody makes a living out of it, once you establish a “cheaper” price for a service or a product it’s very hard to go back up again. I’ve seen it often enough, they come onto the market with a big fanfare, they offer cheap cheap cheap and within 10 years they are broke…. the rest of the industry will then have to pick up the pieces.

  • Peter C
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:28 am 0Likes

    G’day Pedro,
    I can see from your comments that you dont really understand what business it’s all about. You make money, you employ people, you pay TAXES!
    People like Andrew that cheapen.. out services destroy livelihoods. We are definitely not struggling. We did see the writing on the wall for RE and adjusted our model accordingly. Unfortunately I’ve seen the likes of Andrew come and go, in every industry. The unsavoury fact is that once you establish a “cheap” model it’s very hard to go back to full service……
    I’m not looking to blame anybody! It’s a fact that if nobody is making money the industry eventually will shrink and disappear……….

  • Glenn
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:29 am 0Likes

    Exactly… its the race to the bottom !

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:32 am 0Likes

    You stated you have it so no doubt you can quickly share the link on your website that tells potential clients just what you pay for your advertising accounts and what you are charging them?

    Contradiction after contradiction.. and you just skip over everything that does not suit… 🙂

    Your explanation of why you skipped it… twice now… took much longer than just saying yes or no!!

    You say that you are not a private sales company yet your website has “To sell your own property on realestate.com.au and domain start here – Private Sale ”

    But just so it’s clear for everyone to understand, you have listings in Queensland. so do you sign everybody up on a PAMD 22a form..?? and I can’t seem to find any license number on your website… so can you share your Queensland License number with us?

    Seems to me you want the best bits of being a private sales company allowing you to profit on advertising but you want to retreat behind cover as a real estate agent when you need to..

    and for the record, I don’t think that Domain’s change to your account is anti-competitive. I think the price they are asking might need some adjustment but a price per listing model is exactly what they should be charging you.

    Good luck with the fight.. I think you will need it on this one..

  • Guy Robinson
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:36 am 0Likes

    There are some excellent responses in here but some are a bit tangled with what seem to be problems with Andrew’s business model. I agree that a pay per listing model is probably on its way, but the main reason I can see that happening is that domain and REA will have seen the rapid escalation in the loss of subscribers as agents close or merge their businesses. There is no doubt this consolidation will increase. I can easily see the total number of real estate offices Australia wide being half the number it is today in 5 years and nearly half that again in 10 years. We are one of the last cottage industries and there is no doubt 2011 was the last year of the traditional agency practice.

    I don’t have a problem with any model that any portal wants to put to our business, they will either offer our customers value for money or they won’t. I am sure that all of us had a vast number of traditional newspaper and magazine to advertise in 5 years ago but none of us advertised number 10 Smith Street, Smithville in every single one of these did we? We still have those options and we only advertise in those that work. The portals are no different from this and whether they thrive or survive is up to them. The only reason we “push” to all of them is that (a) it is damn simple to do that and (b) it doesn’t cost much. The (b) part will likely change.

    I think the point of Andrew’s article remains. It would appear that there is either a great misunderstanding of Andrew’s business model by domain to the extent they actually feel threatened, or there is an anti-competitive push by domain that may have its source in the dinosaur agent attitude towards his model. Whilst it is theoretically possible for Andrew to get 300,000 listings I doubt that this is so imminent that domain needed to price him out of their market. The fact remains that Andrew’s total number of listings is insignificant in the scheme of things, and for the foreseeable future FSBO type sellers will remain in the small minority. If domain really think they need to spend time on something like this it would be simpler and fairer to come up with a state-by-state subscription rate, or a single subscription rate (at a premium price, but not stupid price) for businesses like Andrew’s to list Australia wide.

    As to the advertising/profit comments you can profit from advertising in NSW. You can either include the total cost of advertising (including any premium) in total remuneration, or you can charge owners as a reimbursement and disclose your “benefits, rebates and commissions”. These are all words that have the same meaning as “profiting” from advertising. In other words as long as you transparently charge your clients a premium you can do so. I cannot speak for other states.

    It may seem that I have some attachment to Andrew or his business, but I can assure you I do not. The key word for future agency practice is flexibility, and if I want to “flex” part or all of our business into something similar to Andrew’s model I do not want the domains and REA’s of the world to pick on me because my competition see me as a threat and then work anti-competitively to restrict my trade. That shouldn’t happen to anyone.

  • Jack
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:14 am 0Likes

    Well put Glenn, Andrew keeps refering to Property Now as a real estate agency but that is only true for a small portion of its activity. Property Now has morphed into a aggregator for reasons REA, Domain & the like is creating a problem. Other aggregators such as portplus, mydesktop & renet offer feeds to the main portals and the subscriptions are on top for the advertisers. At $390 per listing & $90 per month ongoing few would work up a sweat.

    As far as Banks taking over; Suncorp & Westpac already know what that is about but fortunately or unfortunately for our industry we do not have a high enough return on employee investment foir them to take the risk. It’s better for them scrap off the top at franchise or supplier level.

  • Guy Robinson
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:22 am 0Likes

    Hi Peter, I employ nearly 100 people and I make money and pay taxes. We sell residential property, we manage permanent and holiday managements. There have always been different models that come and go in every industry. There are clowns that open franchises around our businesses all the time. In fact the most popular thing to do around my business is for the entitled struggling local losers to pay for bus seats and bus shelter ads close to my offices, and to make a pest of themselves by letter dropping our current 250+ listings just hoping that some of our business will go their way. Our team do their absolute best to look after our customers and try to ignore the smell of desperation and fear that comes from our “competition”.

    The biggest threat to the industry are the incompetent self-serving ego freaks that run around demanding people list their homes with them. These are the ones that bring the name of the industry down. Andrew’s business is professional and he tries hard to look after his hard-won customers.

    I do agree with your last comment though Peter. I agree that when nobody gives us money nobody will make any money and the industry will eventually shrink and disappear. People loved their local book store (now closed for Amazon) and they loved their local travel agent that is now Wotif and Flight Centre. I am sure they miss them to some degree.

    That said I am certain very few people will despair about the demise of the local real estate agent. Dancing on graves is a saying that comes to mind.

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:52 am 0Likes

    Glenn Batten I can assure you that PropertyNow is compliant in every respect, including that of how we market Qld property.

    Again you are simply trying to throw enough stuff around in the hope that something ( anything ) will stick. The link you suggest that I must have on my website, is not required by anyone but yourself. If you can prove to me that I do then I will happily put a link to that effect but I have already had discussions with Fair Trading about all such things and have complied with everything.

    Rather than debate the legitimacy of my business with a complete stranger Glenn I will instead tell you that PropertyNow was fully examined by the Department of Fair Trading and found fully compliant. I might add that they were there in an unannounced visit because of agents like yourself Glenn, since we do not have a single complaint to the Department from any client over a period of over 6 years.

    While I am replying to you Glenn, I slept on the comment you made last night –

    Quote – “I just hope that you wont try and see any middle ground” end quote

    That strikes me as manifestly the wrong attitude Glenn Batten. I will most definitely be seeking common ground with Domain.

    Greg Vincent I have read and then reread your comment below and still don’t understand what you are trying to say here? –

    Quote – “Andrew, you keep going on about how your customers will lose out, when the average fee for a typical real estate agency service throughout Australia is approx. $10,000 and from what I can see your fee is about 95% less… please give me a break!!!” –

    end quote
    – maybe someone else can explain that one to me?

    Guy, thankyou for the very accurate response to what Glenn Batten spoke about in relation to advertising. Both yourself and I have both now fully put that advertising argument to bed. Thanks Guy for also pointing out that we have no connections whatsoever.

    As I have said many times the advertising angle is an often used and mischievous device, the sort of which is used in every level of debate from the schoolyard upwards.We ( PropertyNow ) are accused dually of both being too cheap and also of ripping people off.

    I would agree that we are too cheap.

    Thanks all for the lively debate as was anticipated. I hope that it can remain civil. For the record lets take the focus of PropertyNow and back on to the topic which is – whether this behaviour proposed by Domain is anti-competitive. Glenn Batten thinks it isn’t and I am certain that it is.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:13 am 0Likes

    Glenn Batten, sorry but I just noticed another statement you made that I have no addressed. This one –

    Quote – “You say that you are not a private sales company yet your website has “To sell your own property on realestate.com.au and domain start here – Private Sale ” – End quote

    Greg the link is there for search engine purposes. People who are looking at low cost methods of sale often type in Private Sale and we want to be found in the Serps for that phrase just as wish to be found for phrases like real estate agent. That way the agents in our Directory receive greater value.

    Hope this now also clears that issue up for you Glenn, but in case it does not – PropertyNow is a real estate agency who assists people to sell their house in an agent assisted sale.. We are not a private sale company. Private sale companies do not undertake negotiations with clients at 10pm as I was doing last night.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • Guy Robinson
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 12:11 pm 0Likes

    Glenn, Greg and Andrew. I think it is a good thing that the legality of representations, procedures and costs are questions for Andrew’s business, but it is a bit off-topic and doesn’t have anything to do with what you suspect the motivations of domain may be.

    As to the points made in respect of Andrew’s compliance I might just comment in my own backyard and some of my competition. Contract available before advertising? Unlikely. Signed agency agreement before marketing (particularly rental properties) no, not always. Full disclosure about who is paying for advertising and the costs? Unlikely. Inspecting a property for an appraisal, and asking the potential vendor to sign the “sales inspection report” that then turns out to be an exclusive agency agreement? Yep that happens. Disclosure about agent having an interest in the property for sale or rent? Not a chance, I can show you two of them right now.

    On top of that the “leading, award winning” agents in Newcastle and Port Stephens respectively were both trading without a license or certificate, as were a number of their staff, for over 6 months in 2010.

    Andrew can fight his own battles, but in all seriousness the level of knowledge, training, customer service and compliance within many traditional real estate agencies is almost zero.

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:40 pm 0Likes

    I very much agree with your post Guy.

    Andrew
    PropertyNow

  • Martin Crampton
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm 0Likes

    Agencies, like any business, need to rid themselves of excessive & unneccessary costs. Having been in online real estate services longer than anyone, I believe traditional portals are now approaching ‘old media’ status and will go the way of the newspapers.

  • Rob
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 3:05 pm 0Likes

    Martin,

    Do you think the fact that listing on the major portals also gives agents access to the most popular/highest rated Real Estate apps on the market (based on searches in the Apple Store) will do anything to maintain their relevance?

  • Jezza
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 3:33 pm 0Likes

    Well stop everything, Martin has spoken…and he’s been in online real estate services longer than anyone. Just ask him, he’ll tell you whats what.

    Portals still have a long way to go Martin. There is way too much consumer behavior to change before anything STARTS to eat away at them.

    Mind you, there was once a site called property.com.au that had the market almost to itself, more money than anyone else, more agents and more visitors but somehow they managed to lose their lead to REA in just about every market. Even in the markets where they had more traffic REA was outselling them.

    Why? because they focused on rubbish products (some not even online) and couldn’t build a quality sales and marketing team.

    You might know that already Martin given you have been in this game longer than anyone.

  • Glenn
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 4:15 pm 0Likes

    Portals, channels .. Call them what you like but they are parasites on our industry and offer nothing that you cannot do yourself. They came as wolves in sheep’s clothing, we initially thought how great it was for all the business they delivered at next to no cost to our business. Then they began to dominate the search results and then you could blink they pushed the organic website in the town/area from top spot and our reliance on them became stronger and so their ability to charge us more for their services.

    There is a huge precedence for this paradigm in the USA where the costs became so great that agents had no choice other than to come together as a group and remove the content their websites. After all its your content that makes them strong, without you they have nothing… Think about it. We may have thought by jumping on the bandwagon was a great idea, all we did was create another competitor. Not one that works along side us but a a corporate giant who has no feeling or concern for our local area’s towns and villages they just bleed the money back to the corporate and their investors.

    The sheep will soon be revealed and greed will kill itself off as their motives for existence are not like yours and mine.

  • Ricky
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 4:39 pm 0Likes

    Hold the phone folks.

    Martin Crampton has spoken. Stop everything all 10,000 agents out there.The bloke who brought you property.com.au close to 20 years ago has eulogized on the state of the portals and their longevity. I liken that to Bill Lawry telling 20/20 cricketers how to play attacking cricket.

    Jezza is on the money in that the only way for agents or any other player to make change is to give the CONSUMER a different and viable option. Until that happens nothing will change. This debate / conversation has been going on for almost a decade. Lots of talk but very little action or change.

    You still look good on the box Marty!

  • Jezza
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 5:15 pm 0Likes

    I’ve got an idea.

    Why don’t all the agents get together and launch an industry owned site. Power to the people, take a stand real estate man…etc etc.

    Yawn.

  • Glenn
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 5:24 pm 0Likes

    You might think its a yawn, its happening so watch out your Fairfax shares might start a tumbling…. or maybe your job at whatever corporate might be endangered…

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:33 pm 0Likes

    Hmm.. your honour … I know what my website states.. but it’s just not true because I only say that for seo purposes. The contradiction by SEO defence. Yeah that will work 🙂

    Andrew, I am not trying to throw stuff around.. I am trying to get some very basic answers that you continue to refuse to answer. If you really believe that you are fully in compliance with the legal requirements why dont you answer the simple questions. What’s the harm?

    1/ Have you got a Queensland Real Estate license?
    2/ Do you get a PAMD 22a for every Queensland listing?
    3/ Is it fair PropertyNow can list 300,000 properties on your $60 tank of petrol example..??
    4/ Do you fully disclose to every client before or as part of the listing paperwork what you are charged for the advertising in comparison to what you charge them??

    If you answered yes to everyone it is a maximum of 12 characters and about 20 seconds of your time..

    Instead of simple yes or no answers to these questions you waffle on about being too tired to argue the toss.. Funny how you skip all the simple to answer with a yes or no… but quite telling questions isnt it..

    You “very much agree” with Guy… but he said ” I think it is a good thing that the legality of representations, procedures and costs are questions for Andrew’s business” —- So answer the above questions with a simple yes or no if you “very much agree” with him….. If you are too tired tonight.. I can wait till tomorrow.. hahaha

    I am sure PropertyNow will find a middle ground because as I predicted they know Fairfax have a great position on this. Yeah.. I hope you stick to what you claim instead of giving in.. I hope you hold your ground just to see what the ACCC determines so a proper precedent is set but I think you realise the writing is on the wall and threats of involving the ACCC will probably be called on. Best to find some middle ground hey 🙂

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:04 pm 0Likes

    Glenn Batten, all of your questions have been answered already so you need to pay attention better.

    I am not on trial and nor are you a self appointed judge. Several people in this forum have suggested that you stay on topic including the moderator and you refuse to do so. This is not a thread about my business model, it is an open ended question which I have posed as to whether a dominant company ( a market power ) can properly and legally impose a price increase that is possibly unprecedented in any industry in Australia in my lifetime. Please discuss that topic.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • Matt
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:19 pm 0Likes

    Incredibly, I agree completely with Peter’s “family ticket” analogy.

    Domain has always charged Private Sellers a premium, in a ‘better than nothing’ attempt to potentially deter them and get them using a professional LREA instead (who, in turn, likely supports Domain).

    All they’re doing, by the looks of that email, if waking up to the fact that Property Now is fleecing them out of their Private Sale revenue. Fleecing is probably not the right word, but please take it in context.

    Perhaps Peter said it better.

  • Matt
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:45 pm 0Likes

    100% on the money Glenn.

    Per an earlier reply of mine (above), it is well known that Domain has always charged Private Sellers a premium, in what I interpret to be a ‘better than nothing’ attempt to potentially deter them, and instead get them using a professional LREA (who, in turn, likely supports Domain). At least, that’s what a rep once told me.

    All Domain are doing, by the looks of that quoted email, is waking up to the fact that Property Now is robbing them of their Private Sale revenue. Or “buying a family ticket” and letting everyone come along for the ride (I still can’t believe i’m agreeing with/quoting Peter Mericka..time for bed!)

    Matt B.

  • Peter S
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:48 pm 0Likes

    It amazes me the amount anger that exists towards Andrew and his business model. I best disclose that I am a licensed agent in Victoria – started 25 years ago and have had a full license for 21 years. The real estate market has been changing for years now. All industries must evolve or go out of business – look at Kodak and their demise due to digital photography. Polaroid was an innovator in the 60’s and 70’s then only a few years ago they were facing bankruptcy. They decided to get out of ‘instant film’ and get into printers to save the company. They were slow to move but the company was saved.

    Real Estate is facing the same challenges. Property Now, For Sale For Lease and a few other businesses have seen the writing on the wall and have business models that, although annoy most agents, serve a purpose. Any agent who thinks that it is their God given right to be the only ones to list and sell properties are dinosaurs. Their businesses must evolve to survive.

    On the point of advertising, why is it that most agents charge vendors anywhere between $500 and $800 for their properties to appear on the real estate portals? With subscriptions costing less than $2,000 per month for REA and Domain for unlimited properties – the 1st 3 or 4 listings per month cover the subscriptions. Do you all disclose this to the vendors and then list the 5th or 6th or 7th property for free? I think not. So lets not start throwing stones in our glass houses or the the authorities might start investigating us all.

    Domain has obviously seen that Property Now and For Sale For Lease charge a fee and assume that they are only facilitators and so probably thought they would like a piece of the pie. What all agents should be concerned about is that we will all be charged a per listing fee – and let me tell you form what I have heard, REA is seriously considering this option in the very near future. However, pay-per-listing is the only fair method of charging agents – then small agencies don’t have to pay the same fees as a larger office. The vendor pays for the advertising anyway – so if the agents aren’t profiteering from their vendors, it won’t matter, will it?

  • Jezza
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 1:30 am 0Likes

    haha. Glenn, I run my own business totally unrelated. I’ve worked for one of the major portals and used to be an agent.

    myhome.com.au
    propertlylook.com.au
    homehound.com.au
    realestateview.com.au
    reiwa

    Am I missing any?

    That’s a list of portals that did or do run under the banner of partial or full industry ownership…all have promised to change the game and ”get the industry back for the agents and sticking it up the nasty portals”

    notice anything? None have ever done anything.

    Let me guess Glenn? Google is coming?

    PS – its not the agents content. Its the owners. The sooner agents get that through their heads the better.

  • Glenn Rogers
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 7:45 am 0Likes

    Peter$ – Kodak are about to go under.

    Pay per listing is a bad way to go, they have to strike a balance between that and retaining content.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again the way to go is X listings for the subscription fee THEN $ per listing after that.

    That prevents agents spamming the site, ie: 30 unit development gets 30 listings, that practice would be stopped therefore content would actually improve.

    Smaller agents protected and larger agents pay for larger presence.

    As far as the future goes the real estate industry have a stranglehold on the whole process of selling, it will take something out of left field to change that and I don’t see anything strong enough yet, there will always be fringe processes such as sale by owner but that won’t become the norm, the sale of ones home is too important.

    I do feel REA and Domain have the most to lose here, there is SO much money in the real estate portal business someone, somewhere will have to at some stage come in to take a bite at it, I’m surprised the business brains of Australia haven’t woken up to this already.

    Anthony Catalano did it on a small scale, I cant believe Google or a collection of smart industry heads won’t do the same for online, the current or recent efforts have been frankly pathetic, someone with REAL know how will emerge at some stage.

    The closest thing to this happening so far is REV, the yhave done a great job, if they got a significant funding boost they might start to inflict some serious pain on the 2 majors.

  • Joanne Harrison
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 12:09 pm 0Likes

    I am a very happy customer of Property Now. I would never have put my property with a traditional agent, I loved the choice.
    I am a business woman and as a confident person who likes to hold control of my own affairs this site allowed me to do this. I have sold properties in the past through agents. They have listed my property incorrectly, underpriced it and offered no feed back leaving me frustrated and no where else to go.
    I was excited to have full control of what I wanted and property now support me and didn’t control me.
    In selling the house though this method I was able to achieve a much higher price being well over my asking price which in fact my asking price was $10,000 higher than the top price the local agent told me I would achieve. So in useing this site I was able to achieve I feel $30,000 more for my home than useing the local agent.
    Also not only did I achieve this high price but I also achieved a sale in 4 days of placing on the market. I was able to service my customers straight away. I know not all can do this and I feel this site is not for everyone. BUT I LIKE HAVING A CHOICE. untill now I was only able to sell through main stream agents.
    You can buy a car privately or through an car salesman. It is nice to have a choice.
    Overall, I am extremely happy and feel what is happening is very wrong. I want to know what happened to freedom of choice.

  • Guy Robinson
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 1:35 pm 0Likes

    Joanne you are not allowed to use anyone other than traditional agents. Please send a cheque to the 3 local agents that missed out on your business. $10,000 each should do, then you will be back to where you were supposed to be if you dealt with one of them.

    This isn’t a joke. Those agents are entitled to your money and you are a very, very bad person for not giving it to them. Consider this a first and last warning. We are watching you.

  • vic Del Vecchio
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 3:59 pm 0Likes

    Joanne,

    Would you consider an extra $220 to be exhorbitant an making the extra $30,000 you supposedly made.. just wondering 🙂

  • George Rousos
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 5:13 pm 0Likes

    Joanne, I’m interested to find out in my capacity as a trainer, how the local agent in your area underpriced your property ?

    By law an agent is required to substaniate a true estimate of the selling price and not mislead the market.

    If you were after a higher price, than the current market condition showed at that time, then why didn’t you ask any of the agents in your local area to prepare a marketing plan and include the negotiation strategy needed to maximise the eventual sale price ? It sounds like the agent did get it right and your asking price was not only inflated, but I assume the person who bought it from you was basically overcharged because the original listing price was never inaccordance to the actual conditions of the market.

    Unfortunately Joanne, market manipulation with a lack of transparency is what increases price distortion and leads to “out of line sales”in the marketplace. It just makes it harder for the good agents out there – who try to do it right.

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 6:01 pm 0Likes

    Vic Del Vecchio and George, you both leave me speachless.

    Your comments are utterly disgraceful and I hope the moderator removes them for you. You bring great shame upon the real estate agent industry with such assaults. To think such things is one thing, to say them another…and to say them in public with your own names ascribed to them is utterly deplorable.

    Do either of you two comprehend that if any of your intending clients, in whatever business you both are in, saw your comments …they would run for the hills.

    Thank goodness that real estate agents like yourselves ( if you are both agents ) are in the minority and that there is evidence of extremely professional and superb real estate agents who conduct themselves wonderfully.

    Comments like those are one of the very clear reasons why the public has the perception of agents that it does and now you have both perpetuated that image.

    You would think that it would be impossible to mount any argument when someone tells you they achieved a higher and better result but not you George – undaunted you managed it ….

    And Vic, your typical comment that’s always designed to inflame any situation – you said – ” $30,000 you supposedly made ”

    You might as well call her a liar. Shame on you Vic. If you had made that sale you would be lauding how superior your agency is but when an individual does it, you cast doubt and dispersion.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • vic Del Vecchio
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 6:23 pm 0Likes

    The question was directed at Joanne. “Supposedly”, said because that is exactly what it is. Joanne’s only certainty is her sale price, and her costs. An agent may have got more for her- who knows.

    The question to Joanne is whether with a supposed $30,000 over appraisal/agent estimate was worth a $220 advertising investment with Domain.

    If Joanne is a real person and not a property now alias then she would have no difficulty answering the question.

    The question is central to the issue Mr Blachut raise in his post.

  • George Rousos
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 7:10 pm 0Likes

    Andrew,

    My question was directed at Joanne as a matter of interest for training purposes and nothing more.

    I’m sorry if you are upset by my comment, but I was simply asking the question why the agent got it wrong, since many agents, as you know rely on statistical data to determine an estimated selling price.

    I think your business model is a credit to you and the fact that you are doing things differently is a good thing for consumer choice and also the marketplace.

  • ProeprtyNow
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 8:03 pm 0Likes

    My apologies George.

    Joanne is a very real person and I will be sending a link to Vic about the faked moon landings later on. The point is that she sold her way and succeeded.

    Many of our clients also do not succeed and then turn to an agent. Other people come to us after having been with 3 agents and then sell successfully with us.

    We also advise people sometimes to use their local agent. When we perceive that they may be ill equipped to succeed we will actually dissuade people from using our service and try to recommend a local agent. That is not common however.

    Joanne certainly deserves congratulations because when a real estate agent ( myself included ) sells a property we are our own biggest fans. It is absurd then to see someone succeed so obviously and demonstrably ( Vic thinks she is a plant however ) and then suggest they could still have done better.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 8:45 pm 0Likes

    My apologies George. Just springing to the defence of Joanne who told her story honestly and was not respected but second guessed.

    Joanne is a very real person and I will be sending a link to Vic about the faked moon landings later on. The point is that she sold her way and succeeded.

    Not all of our clients succeed as well as she clearly did. Some of our clients do not succeed and then turn to a local agent and do so very much with our goodwill. Other people come to us after having been with 3 agents unsuccessfully and then may succeed with us ( or not )

    We also advise people sometimes to use their local agent.

    If we feel that a person is not suited to this form of sales, we have been known to actively dissuade people from using our service and try to recommend a local agent instead. That is not common however.

    Joanne certainly deserves congratulations because when a real estate agent ( including myself ) is able to sell a property for a good price then we are our own biggest fans. It is absurd then to see someone succeed so obviously and demonstrably ( Vic thinks she is a plant however ) and then suggest they could still have done better.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • Ryan O'Grady
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 7:28 am 0Likes

    Hi Andrew,

    Welcome to B2, you’ve stirred the pot with this post!

    As long as it is happening to your direct competitors, which looking at the comment from forsaleforlease it is. Then it is a cost you will pass on to your vendors.

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 6:10 pm 0Likes

    Hi Ryan, great comment but there are for two points I wish to make.

    The cost Domain seeks to impose is almost more than we charge our clients in entirety and for which I give them a 12 hour a day service, something no agency in Australia does to my knowledge.

    Second, we absolutely maintain with full vigour that if such costs are imposed on PropertyNow ( state by state and listing by listing ) then lawfully and commercially they must also impose that regime on every agent in Australia.

    Now I trust you can see the problem.

    Domain is a wonderful website and unlike realestate.com.ay were never quite as belligerent to us, although they did at least once about 4 years ago threaten to close our account.

    The then State manager of Domain NSW, Guy Boardman ( a particularly nice fellow ) sought legal advice for Domain about PropertyNow. He did so after already knowing about and accepting our model for years. He was forced into the position by a middle management person at Domain, who wrote to us about account closure. The legal advice was undertaken after Guy had given me an off the record opinion that we were fine. 8 weeks later and his legal advice agreed with that.

    Ryan,I feel Domain will understand that we are a real estate agency with a legitimate and worthwhile service and not a private sale company profiteering from onselling their service. I am placing my trust in their good judgement in that respect because we are far too small to do anything about this.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • Ryan O'Grady
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 6:31 pm 0Likes

    Well then, its just a matter of convincing them you’re not a private sales company!

  • forsaleforlease
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 6:42 pm 0Likes

    Ryan
    Why should we have to when other agents are not going to have to charge an additional $220 per listing?
    Where has the line been drawn? If you don’t do any volume and bundle in the conveyancing and charge $4400 per customer you seem to be ok.
    If you’re a discount flat fee full service agency like Go Gecko you seem to be ok.
    Where domain has misunderstood Andrew and my business is we provide a lot more than just Internet advertising, the only service I don’t provide that traditional agents do is to conduct the inspections.
    A fairer alternative would be paying a monthly subscription per office based on total numbers of listings 100,200,300 etc.
    What ever happens the rules need to be for all agents not just a few.
    Otherwise it will be argued that Domain and traditional full service real estate agents have colluded to fix real estate agent commissions. Otherwise why have they only targeted the lowest commission agents that are growing in popularity and represent real value for money.

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 7:39 pm 0Likes

    Kind of Ryan but truly I don’t need to convince them of the truth. They simply need to recognise it for themselves. To us it is self evident and it was self evident to REA last year or we would no longer exist in any meaningful way.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 7:47 pm 0Likes

    Michael. I think you put it very logically. Its drawing an arbitrary line on a whim.

    We can’t pass these costs on as Ryan suggested. There is no hope of doing that. If Domain force us onto this pricing overnight and after 6 years, then there is only one possible outcome – we have to ditch domain immediately and present and future clients will pay more.

    That is the absolute key message here – our clients will instantly pay more because our service will have been killed overnight. What real estate agency in Australia could survive without portal access – none could. There is no other outcome than inflation to consumers.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • forsaleforlease
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 9:00 pm 0Likes

    Andrew

    How will domain deal with agents working in conjunction?

    How would they deal with companies like ours setting up numerous different trading names and re subscribing?

    How would they deal with innovators like us becoming employees of differ agencies in each state and using their subscriptions to offer our discount service?

    How would they deal with the different owner assisted agencies forming a partnership and sharing account costs across the different states?

    If they are going to persist in offering some agencies an all you can eat offering then their will always be a way and my clients don’t deserve to have to pay more by choosing my agency over another.

    The reason our businesses are growing and Domains private sales revenue is dropping is not because we are just re selling their product, it is because we offer a superior offering. Independent advise of where a vendors advertising dollars are best spent, support from licensed agents who have been involved in negotiating 1000’s of sales in the past 20 years is worth a few $100 dollars more than they charge directly. They just don’t get it.

    We were able to force a back down of a 1.5 billion dollar enterprise in the REA for similar behavior and Domain is a poor second cousin who lacked the vision to maintain their stranglehold on real estate advertising.

    This hurdle should be a cinch.

    Game on.

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 10:08 pm 0Likes

    Michael, it’s true that most of those things you descibed would occur and yes many are happening already. But I don’t want to run PropertyNow in any way like that …and I should not need to.

    I want to distance myself from those comments because they are not particularly helpful.

    We are in a difficult position and so is your business….that’s a given. Domain is in a difficult position also, but there are all kinds of good quality solutions available.

    PropertyNow
    Andrew Blachut

  • forsaleforlease
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 10:29 pm 0Likes

    Andrew
    Your experience with Domain is very different to mine, as you are well aware.
    Tino and his cowboy crew have only roped your business in, as they cannot afford to be seen as discriminatory to one virtually identical business verses another.
    I have been dealing with this behavior for over 3 years from domain, your conciliatory approach will only buy you time.
    I agree with Glenn B for the first time. Why dumb it down? Draw our own line. We are entitled to have the same treatment as any other estate agent no compromise.

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:21 pm 0Likes

    Hi Michael. It’s true our experiences with Domain are quite different but don’t forget Domain were going to shut us down about 4 years ago…a good year before they started on you. It wasn’t a threat, they actually put the closure date in writing just as REA did to us last year. We were left hanging for 2 months while their barristers decided if they could pull it off.

    Michael,I like the conciliatory approach. Sometimes I really suck at it.

    Glenn wants a showdown for a lot of reasons and I think the major one is so that he sees us taken apart. I really believe this guy that I have never met wants to see that so badly ..and hence is egging me on.

    I totally agree with your last statement – we are entitled to the same treatment as any other real estate agent. I may have been unclear about that before…. but on that aspect I do not intend to compromise at all.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • vic Del Vecchio
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 8:29 am 0Likes

    It seems obvious to me that Domain is suggesting that a private seller, “assisted” by an agent for a nominal fee, WOULD she be prepared to pay $220 to advertise on their site?. This was the point of my question to Joanne.

    If Joanne was certain that her own assessment of her property value was $10,000 over an agent’s appraisal, then why wouldn’t she agree to an extra $220 in advertising costs?

    Sorry JOANNE if you didn’t get understand the point of my question. Of course, you don’t need to answer if you don’t feel comfortable providing an answer.

    However if the answer was YES, then Domain is justified in charging the fee as the assisting agent would pass on the cost. If the answer was NO, then Mr Blachut has a bit more ammo in his bag.

  • kane
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 2:47 pm 0Likes

    Andrew, i have just checked out your website and from your pricing i can’t understand how your currently making money?
    bear with me, thats not an insult just as an agent i can’t list a home on both domain and RE.com for less than $390.00
    and there would have to be some profit in there for you as the negotiation or value ad you offer is free?

    perhaps you could explain your model a little better to me so i can understand your plight?

    could you not just charge the owners cost for advertising plus say $500 or $1,000 for strategy and negotiation help?

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 4:32 pm 0Likes

    Great question Vic. Awesome question in fact. Best damn question you have ever posed in here as far as I am concerned. Geez you are turning me into a fan.

    In fact its a beautifully pertinent question. Here it is in your own words. Lets review it and then lets try to answer it.

    “If Joanne was certain that her own assessment of her property value was $10,000 over an agent’s appraisal, then why wouldn’t she agree to an extra $220 in advertising costs?”

    Note: I think what Vic is saying is – why would a vendor not simply pay to be on domain as a private seller? Is that correct or do I misunderstand you Vic?

    If it is correct (what you are asking Joanne) then I feel I already know the answer. But first Vic……you answer your own question Vic and from your own perspective ….or as though you were this vendor.

    So Vic here we go – why would she choose not to merely pay say an additional $220 if she was confident of getting a higher price herself?

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • vic Del Vecchio
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 4:41 pm 0Likes

    The question is and has always been for Joanne, not you Andrew.

    You may benefit from her answer. But as she chooses not to answer I will not lose sleep over it.

  • Joanne
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 4:55 pm 0Likes

    Yes George,

    I am a very real person and I was totally shocked by your comments. Yes, I am a just a person and public and I too am glad you are not the normal agent.

    I am more than happy to receive a call from anyone wanting to confirm me as a real person. Andrew has my contact details and I can inform them all details. I would never want to speak to the above men though, but would to anyone monitoring this site.

    I will not pay any agent any money for any service they didn’t not provide. I did have a legal agent and Andrew did an awesome job for me along with my own talents.

    thank you Joanne.

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 5:17 pm 0Likes

    Kane its a great question and I will try to do it justice while at the same time you must realize that this blog is read by lots of people including my competition.

    So now that you understand this, and that I have to be circumspect…here goes.

    My business costs me about $7000 a week to run. It would cost a lot more but it’s a family business (like hundreds of real estate agencies) and runs on a shoe string. We do that with no loss in customer service, results for clients and so on. The shoe string gets applied to non crucial areas and the money that’s available for development goes where it should go – on the “user” benefits.

    Several of us work an average of 14 hours daily and its often 7 days a week for some of us. From this you can probably see why I get cranky when someone suggests we onsell a listing service ( I wish )

    We are profitable and entirely debt free. The infrastructure is all user ( client ) centric and so its a seriously efficient business. It’s successful and profitable as a result of awesome service, ridiculously hard work and passion.

    I have zero advertising costs (by that I am talking about advertising my business) because we get many referring clients and of course our Google rankings help a lot. So in answer to your question, the price point is high enough for me to be profitable. Because the business is so efficient, it is impossible for any competitor to do the same things we do for the same price.

    It is also the reason for a slower growth than otherwise would have occured. The major reason however that we aren’t much further along after 6 years, is the interference from Domain and realestate.com.au.

    To give you an idea of the impact that REA had on PropertyNow last year ( stick with me cause it’s relevent) I was forced to sack my own daughter. It happened because of the doubt that REA raised in our clients minds( present and future ) Revenue almost ceased overnight. Very dark days indeed for us and our clients.

    We have never fully recovered from the REA actions against my company over the past 6 years and have lost millions because of it. We also lost the opportunity to maintain the lead we established when we invented agent assisted sales 6 years ago. What Domain is proposing will have a very similar effect. We can’t pass the cost on, we don’t want to pass the cost on and we shouldn’t be forced to pass the cost on. We are a real estate agency and we conduct ourselves as one.

    So there you have it Kane, without giving my competitors a full blueprint etc.

    You are correct Kane, that our prices should be higher for what we do ( about $2000 per client would be about right ) but we have to compete with businesses that have a low price and that do not ( absolutely do not) provide the service we provide 7 days a week. We are a real estate agency not a private sale business but we compete with private selling companies.

    I trust this answers your question Kane.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • Joanne
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 5:37 pm 0Likes

    Hi Vic,

    No as long as every agent had an increase in fee. Remember I am taking this risk, if i had gone with an agent and he didn’t sell my home there is no fee. I paid a fee up front.

    The reason I chose this method was I wasn’t 100% sure if I was going to sell or re rent the home.

    The fee I paid was to allow me to test the water on sale without putting an agent out and having to sign a 3month contract. I felt it was unfair to list a property and if no one showed an interest in the property I than would re rent it. This I felt would disadvantage the agent in costly listings and advertising.

    So I suppose the reason I went down this way was so I didn’t hurt an agent in advertising costs and then change my mind and rent it. To be honest I was shocked at such a HUGE response I had to my property. It was the public that pushed up the price over a weekend.

    I did put it to my local agent to not advertise the property but if interest I would sign a short agreement that would allow him to show people through, If a sale was achieved he would be given his commission, but he wasn’t interested.

    This is why I found Andrew and his site and it suited me perfectly without I thought hurting anyone.

    I did try and work with my agent. Joanne

  • vic Del Vecchio
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 6:23 pm 0Likes

    HI Joanne,

    Thank you for posting a reply. Everything about your rationale to list with Propertynow makes absolute sense to me. It also reinforces my view that the more options there are for individuals to sell their properties the better it is for the consumer.

    From your response it seems like you wanted to keep control yourself and it also seems that you may not have necessarily needed the “agent assisted” service provide by Propertynow, but that you may have been attracted to the advertising available (REA and Domain) within the propertynow fixed upfront price. Would this have been the main motivating factor?

    The fact that you were able to get a huge amount of interest over a weekend suggests to me that your price was right on the money and that as a consequence the public cares little whether it is an agent or a private seller lodging the advertisement. You made a wise decision and you won. Well done

    Your example confirms a long held view of mine that real estate agents commission models are under serious threat.

    Cheers Vic

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 9:32 pm 0Likes

    Good ole Vic, You want her to answer your questions when you don’t believe she exists Vic? She is a PropertyNow plant remember.

    It was an adolescent post that you made and served no purpose. You insulted a lady that has never been to this blog before, that’s all you did.

    I want you to answer your own question Vic, as the answer is pretty obvious.

    This lady was successful and if Domain have their way I will not be able to assist others as we assisted her. That’s why her post is both factual and on topic.

    Congratulations Joanne, the negativity around here does not diminish your wonderful achievement.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • vic Del Vecchio
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 9:51 pm 0Likes

    You can stop making a fool of yourself now Andrew. Joanne has already courteously answered my question.

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 14, 2012 at 9:21 am 0Likes

    Vic, it is very appropriate for me to answer the question as it was at least likely that I was posing as Joanne according to you.

    But what I wanted from you Vic, was for you to examine your own question, because in that answer lies the reason Domain should not be permitted to do what they intend.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • Joanne
    Posted January 14, 2012 at 11:46 am 0Likes

    Hi Vic,

    Yes advertising being available was a great factory, but also as this was my first time of selling like this I really did need the legal and professional advise of Propertynow.

    I felt confident knowing Andrew was there for me and if things got tough he was prepared to step in with support. All these factors played a part.

    I dont think I would have just advertised on (REA and Domain) with out support from an Agent.

    I really think it was the total package that allowed me to take that step.

    Thank you Vic it was an exciting and rewarding experience.

  • Joanne
    Posted January 14, 2012 at 12:45 pm 0Likes

    Hi George,

    I have no idea why they underprices?

    Maybe prices in the area have risen more than they expected? It wasn’t 1 buyer who offered the higher price but every person who came to my open times over the weekend offered over the asking price. I can’t explain.

    I wasn’t exactly after a higher price it just happened. Even the valuer who came through valued the home at the price sold? I have no answers for you.

    The buyer was not sold an over inflated priced home, at least 6 people offered over the asking price. All had seen other homes.

    All the best George. I am sorry I dont agree with many things you said. All I know is what happened and I just stated facts.

    Cheers Joanne

  • George Rousos
    Posted January 14, 2012 at 4:15 pm 0Likes

    Joanne,

    I’m sorry you are shocked by my comments, but you have clearly misunderstood me. Your original comment sounded that the price quoted by the agent was either underestimated or your listing price was overestimated – that is why I asked the question as to how the agent under priced your property the first time, but you have replied without knowing the reason and that is fine.

    The rest of your remarks I’m afraid was not necessary and unwarranted.

    Anyway, I thankyou for your reply and wish you all the best in the future aswell.

  • vic Del Vecchio
    Posted January 14, 2012 at 6:30 pm 0Likes

    Thanks Joanne,

    Good recommendation for propertynow. And again thanks for responding, your feedback has been enlightening and will no doubt have some agents questioning their own business models against the lower cost options available.

    Cheers

  • kane
    Posted January 14, 2012 at 9:09 pm 0Likes

    Thanks. Andrew its a shame you cant charge more because
    i believe there is a market for your services and I would see a boom in youir segment in the future becuase the value is there. Seems people expec years of experience and knowledgshould be free?

  • Matt
    Posted January 15, 2012 at 12:17 am 0Likes

    Andrew,

    You keep saying that Property Now acts as a real estate agency, and should pay Domain and REA fees as if it were one, but please be real for a minute. Just because you say something enough, it doesn’t make it true.

    Your whole point of difference is that you represent private sales. You facilitate private sales. You advocate the private sale process. Your business exists because of private sales.

    And you know what? Domain allows private sales, and it has a fee structure for them.
    Yes, you’ve been on what sounds like a sweetheart deal – you know what they say about all good things.

    If you want to facilitate the private sale transaction for your vendors, and use Domain’s website to do it, then you should factor their rates it into your marketing costs moving forward. Every agent in Australia tries to recoup advertising costs, why are you unable to?

    Domain’s own “Place an Ad” section on their homepage suggests that a private sale ad will cost between $250.00 and $499.00 for a 28 day cycle.

    Your email from Domain (above) states a discounted offering of a $220inc GST per listing fee, which I imagine would be for the life of the listing? IF this is the case, aren’t Domain being transparent to both you and your vendors about the significant saving a private seller could receive by engaging the services of Property Now?

    By that, what I mean is that If Client A’s house takes 8 weeks to sell, their Domain costs (direct) could be as much as $998.00… OR by engaging Property Now, having accepted Domain’s discounted private sale offer, the same 8 week campaign would only cost them $220inc GST.

    Do you not have enough confidence in yourself, your offering, service or pitch that you could not convince Client A that $220 to Property Now is better than $998 direct to Domain?

    In saying all of this, I am sure that when it comes time to sell my house, I will engage the services of Property Now or similar (for my own reasons). I am not against you or your business model Andrew, but I am certain that you are missing the point on this one. Asking a private seller for fair and reasonable advertising costs will not kill your business – they’re still saving tens of thousands on commission. Your (homepage) package is cheap at double the price, something i’m sure Joanne would agree with. You’ll be fine.

    Matt

  • PropertyNow
    Posted January 15, 2012 at 2:04 am 0Likes

    Matt. I am sorry but I just can’t agree with most of that.

    Please don’t label my business as a private sale business when it is clearly not. Every time you mistakenly do that, I have to post to refute the error.

    I am a real estate agent who chooses to reduce my fee.

    I have copped flack in numerous posts for that alone. Imagine that? People being upset because I offer a cut price option without at all cutting the service offered.

    I would hope that you would not continue to argue this point, if you were able to work inside my business for even a single day. After a day inside PropertyNow you would know the difference between PropertyNow and a Private Sale company. You would also be very,very tired.

    Matt you made several points but your entire post is predicated on a false premise… so you are the one who needs to get real not me:-)

    Do you doubt what I say? OK then, let see? REA do not allow private sales. REA permit my business to list its listings. How do you explain that Matt? They allow it because they know how we operate. They ought to because they investigated us themselves a year ago. Fair Trading also investigated PropertyNow’s model and they also found us perfectly fine. So a company (REA) who sought to close our accounts finds we are fine. A regulator of the industry finds we are fine and yet you choose to label us incorrectly. I am pretty sure the certificate on my wall reads – real estate agent. I am also pretty sure that I negotiated the 3 sales in the past week. I am just not your definition of a real estate agent Matt, that’s all.

    As several people have already noted, real estate agents are appointed to provide a service and in that sense every sale in Australia is a private sale. The real issue is that the real estate agent industry (and Domain) seeks to limit choice and to increase the consumers cost and it does so, not because of some altruistic intent, but out of a fear of self preservation.

    You cannot argue that a lower cost of selling to the public is a bad thing….can you? At least you could not argue it successfully.You could only argue that any particular service either is good for the public or is not good for the public. Matt if you are intending to use my service as you said and wish to pay me more… then I will make an exception just for you ok?

    Matt yourself and anyone else who suggests that what Domain intends is legitimate, does not have the public interest at heart. You have just told me that I should charge them more haven’t you? You can get away with that in a blog which is primarily read by real estate agents but the public (who own these homes by the way and without whom no one has a real estate business) … would not be too impressed with your advice to me. You also are a member of the public Matt, but on this topic let me assure you that you are so far out of step with public sentiment,that its confounding me.

    Certainly Matt, PropertyNow has an agenda on this but at least it is not a hidden agenda.

    It suits my business for Domain to recognise the obvious truth that we are a real estate agency. Also I am in the fortunate position that my own desire simply coincides with that of the public. How do I know this Matt? – Numbers,that’s how. Thousands of people have told me and I am not remotely exaggerating the numbers.

    You know Matt, Guy Robinson who is a business owner and I presume a real estate agent and whom I have never met (but would love to)….. employs over 100 people and rather than feel threatened by any of this , he has a singularly accurate and sensible attitude to it. He seems a super professional Manager and Businessman and he has no concerns. The public wants the service to continue in its present form and pricing and have no concerns either. So who the heck are you arguing with and who the heck are you going into bat for Matt?

    Your definition of my business is flat out wrong Matt and to quote your own words – “Just because you say something enough, it doesn’t make it true.”

    Thanks for contributing and for giving your point of view.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • Guy Robinson
    Posted January 16, 2012 at 11:42 am 0Likes

    Hi Matt, I think a lot of comments here are off-topic and most miss the point. The facts are pretty simple, as an owner of a real estate office that sells over 600 properties per year I know that the really committed/agent hating FSBO’s are very few and far between, lets say 1 in every 200 or more listings. In my experience (and I accept that different areas have different demographics) those die-hard FSBO’s really don’t have much of a clue, they usually ask a silly price and limit their marketing efforts to a sign out the front and some advertising in the local press.

    There are varying services that offer FSBO assistance. Some just offer to simply get you a professional sign, 500 DL cards and get you on to REA and domain. Others offer this plus agent assistance like Andrew’s model. I personally don’t think that matters, all of these services should pay the same subscription costs of a similar sized agency. Why? Well I think it is easily proved that the die-hards don’t go on-line anyway. I think REA/domain would find it impossible to prove that there is any loss of income as we are dealing with such a tiny proportion of the sale market. Do I have any proof that this is correct? Well I can use Joanne’s comments from this thread. I quote Joanne word for word:

    “I dont think I would have just advertised on (REA and Domain) with out support from an Agent. I really think it was the total package that allowed me to take that step.”

    So the Joanne’s of the world are choosing between an agent (as Joanne clearly did) and a lower priced agent/aggregator. So domain, in my view, CANNOT prove that Andrew’s business is causing them any financial concern whatsoever. That only leaves the question of why they would treat him this way. That is either a poor decision based on limited facts, or an anti-competitive action that is illegal.

    That is what this is all about, and most comments here do not discuss these points. As I have stated above, I only care about this because we have certain strategic plans that may include entering this market. If we do I don’t need REA or domain coming in and restricting my trade, simply because the local agents that are eating paint off the walls start having a whinge.

    I suspect, and Andrew suspects this is what is behind this campaign. The comments in this thread do nothing to disperse that suspicion. It is a shame that with over 100 comments there hasn’t been one that questions domains motivation. Instead Andrew has been attacked almost the entire time by ignorant dinosaurs.

  • PropertyNow
    Posted February 6, 2012 at 2:10 am 0Likes

    I would like to update readers as to the current state of play in regard to Domains intention to increase the business costs of PropertyNow by around 30,000 per cent overnight, thus quickly and effectively shutting PropertyNow out from use of the Domain website.

    Since my last post in here, which was several weeks ago,I have made several more contacts with Mr Tony Blamey who is the General Manager of Domain.

    I have explained very clearly indeed to Mr Blamey, that I can see no justification for this almost unbelievable price hike, which is to be dealt out selectively to only real estate agents of his choosing.

    Mr Blamey has disagreed with my assesment and has decided to continue with this very dangerous course of action.

    Mr Blamey was asked for a final confirmation of his intent and he has now written to PropertyNow on Friday 3rd, to fully confirm that his astounding (and possibly illegal) decision would remain and continue in full force,beginning March 1st.

    I would like to point out that during phone conversations over the phone with Mr Blamey,he indicated very accurately to me,that this decision was ultimately made by himself alone. The genesis of the idea may have come from elsewhere,given that his predecessor (Mr Brand) wanted to instigate this fully one year ago…but did not do so. However this decision is Mr Blameys and the buck stops with him (at least that is how I have been informed by him)

    The matter now will become one of competition law alone and little else. For that I am very grateful.

    Given that both Domain and Mr Blamey are quite naturally fully aware of the realestate.com.au attempts to destroy PropertyNow last year (through the intended forced closure of accounts) I can now only assume that Mr Blamey has received some interesting legal advice and which has led him to be confident of trampling upon PropertyNow and other companies.

    I have written to Mr Blamey asking several very pointed questions and those questions remain unanswered in his response to PropertyNow last Friday. I have asked him if he intends applying the costs of $220 per listing per month upon LjHooker, Ray White and so on. I have asked him if not….why not? He has not answered this because frankly there can be no adequate answer.

    There are only 3 possible outcomes from this expeditionary attempt by Domain to damage competition ( Note: I am making an assumption that competition is damaged when a price increase of 30,000% is levied out of the blue after 6 years….but I may be incorrect)

    The 3 outcomes which I see as possible are –

    1. Domain back down as realestate.com.au did last year. I do not entertain this as at all likely.

    2. Domains legal team has got it right and they succeed in forcing PropertyNow and others off their website. The net advantage to Domain in this case is dubious to say the least. The public and PropertyNow lose and Domain achieves……what?

    3. Domains actions at some future point are found to be illegal and the decision ends up imploding upon the business.

    My point is simple enough. The upside for Domain is negligible if it wins and potentially horrendous for Domain if it does not. I am sure there will be plenty in here, who will assure me that I am exaggerating. I may easily end up being wrong,but exaggerating I am not.

    This behaviour is incredibly bold and no one should underestimate the ramifications if Domain and Blamey have gotten it wrong.

    I personally have never felt more confident, that this unprecedented action will at some point be deemed illegal. I am not as confident though,that it will occur in time to stop Domain making what I consider to be an irrational and foolhardy decision.

    In other words I fully expect Domain to proceed unfettered. Likewise I feel equally sure that at some point a day of reckoning will occur regarding this unbridled display…. of what in my opinion,is the most gross display of anti-competitiveness that I have witnessed in any industry in Australia. It is at least the equivalent of REA’s actions last year but made all the worse because of that history.

    Andrew Blachut
    Licensee.
    PropertyNow.

  • Tim Bonnefin
    Posted February 10, 2012 at 1:38 pm 0Likes

    Andrew, why dont you take on one or two “full service” listings in your local area, or at least offer the service. You would then likely comply with their bizarre”policies”

  • PropertyNow
    Posted February 12, 2012 at 11:26 pm 0Likes

    Great suggestion Tim, the only problem is that we already do offer full service real estate agency in our local area and always have. By full service you must be referring to buyers not being permitted to do their own inspections in order to save money. In any case we have offered both possibilities at all times. If there is a single Coffs Harbour seller who is reading this and who wants me to perform a standard sale for a commission, please contact me and I will happily oblige.

    Tim whether I have none, one, or one hundred traditional sales listings is completely irrelevent to Domain. They want PropertyNow off the Domain website, end of story.

    Tim, here are several ways I can prove that this is the case. Firstly, if Domain was not simply seeking to price PropertyNow out, then it would have only increased prices to PropertyNow by 10%, 20%, or even 50% ( heck 100% ) instead of 30,000%

    Second Tim, I wrote to Tony Blamey (CEO of Domain) last Thursday and asked him where his demarcation line was? He would not tell me.

    I asked him if it was geographical in nature? He would not say.

    I asked him if it was the service offering and if so which part? He would again not explain.

    I asked him why he levied a different price on PropertyNow than LJHooker? No explanation given here either.

    I asked him how it made sense to charge a company more, which offered a lower price to the public and had a lower profit margin, when all logic would dictate that it should be the exact opposite? Blamey did not answer this either.

    I asked Blamey what gave him the right to act as an Industry Regulator? Again no answer.

    Tim, I even got very detailed and asked Blamey whether – if I offered absolutely everything that any real estate agency offered with the one exception (of giving my clients the option to save money by doing their own buyer inspections) and did so only in Coffs Harbour ( in relation to our Domain account ) ……would he still inflict the astonishing increase?

    Are you sitting down Tim?? He said – yes – he still would charge us more than every other agent in Coffs Harbour (and Australia)

    I have asked Blamey why he has taken our money for 6 years in the fullest knowledge of our business model and then made an instant decision to price us out overnight. – again no answer.

    I have asked Blamey if he was aware that Guy Boardman ( former Domain State Manager) had used PropertyNow model as a Blueprint for a future Domain model ( over 3 years ago ) – no answer.

    I asked Blamey how he would protect our existing clients? ( and whom he has now promised on 5 separate occasions) would not be subject to the new pricing. He declined to answer this also, even when I described two ways he could do this.

    I asked Blamey how he would police his objectives, given that companies were already going underground. I explained how his actions would worsen and even cause that to happen. – no response to that either.

    Tim,I also asked Blamey, why he would charge PropertyNow a state by state account for interstate listings and not charge Ray White by this same schedule? – no answer here either, from Blamey

    I then asked him why he considered that REA did not impose this constraint upon PropertyNow last year. And I further asked him whether perhaps it was because REA may have deemed that illegal or untenable or both. To this question Blamey did respond (verbally at least) and stated something to the effect that – they run their business and he runs his.

    Continuing on, I gave him a list of about 10 companies and asked Blamey if they had all received the same email as PropertyNow and if they would all be priced the same way on March 1st. No reply to this either.

    Finally Tim, last week I even asked Blamey if he was attacking PropertyNow because it had outranked his company for the major search phrase, many times in the past month. This would make sense, as they would certainly benefit from damaging PropertyNow. I also considered t whether it was coincidence that Domain sent us the original email about the price hike, at around the time we first outranked them in late November/early December last year. Not surprisingly with this question, he also declined to respond.

    The fact that they may levy these insane increases on others does not diminish this possibility….and in any case he will not answer as to exactly who he is targeting and when it will apply to others ( when asked)

    So Tim, I hope you are starting to see why your suggestion is not remotely useful… however well intended it was.

    Blamey is not acting like a CEO, rather to my way of thinking he appears to have become an Industry Regulator.

    All of his actions only make sense if viewed as being anti-competitive in their intent.

    Thanks for the suggestion Tim and I totally agree with you about the bizarre nature of the decision made by Domain.

    Andrew Blachut
    Licensee
    ProeprtyNow

  • Tim Bonnefin
    Posted February 15, 2012 at 1:17 pm 0Likes

    Do Domain in their terms and conditions actually define what they consider to be an “agent” or do they skip around the edge of it leaving the definition open to interpretation ? Or do they even leave the definition to someone else such as referring to the REI ?

    From what you have said above Andrew I cant see how they will have a leg to stand on in court. The bad part is they will want to drag it out and outfund you, or do enough damage that your business finds it hard to recover. Even if you take them for damages it would probably be less than the benefit they gain for having damaged or removed you.

    Are they going to enter this market themselves ?
    Are they under too much pressure from “full service” agents ?
    Are they worried about the bottom line when the market is dominated by companies just like yours Andrew ?

    I certainly wish you the best of luck Andrew, and look forward to your victory !!

  • PropertyNow
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 12:25 am 0Likes

    Tim. You have an excellent handle on the situation.

    As you might imagine I have spent a whole lot of time in the past 6 years and especially the last 12 months,trying to figure out REA and Domains motivations against PropertyNow.

    With REA it was always pretty straightforward in my mind and it went like this. Over the past 6 years probably tens, if not hundreds of agents would have phoned realestate.com.au ….and the conversation would have gone like this…

    – “Get rid of this PropertyNow or we will close our accounts with realestate.com.au”

    This is certain to have happened numerous times and I was even in car once with an REA trainer in Newcastle where I actually witnessed a similar threat made by an agent from Coffs Harbour towards Greg Oddy of REA (who was training me at the time). The context was a little different but the threat was exactly the same. The real estate agency in question and who demanded that Greg fire me, is well known and very large.

    While REA’s motivations are generally pretty obvious, it’s less clear with Domain. Their attack upon PropertyNow makes very little sense to me. The upside for them if they succeed, is not anything to write home about and the downside is absolutely awful for them, should it all turn pear shaped.

    It can’t be solely about direct revenue,because Domain devised a pricing regime that makes it next too impossible to continue providing their website to our clients. Hence they will see none of the revenue that they might have banked on from PropertyNow (or any other company foolish enough to continue) Of course with PropertyNow and others “out of the way” it’s safe to assume they will generate more income in their private sales Department, although I think that would be very minimal in relation to the risks associated with this action.

    Tim it seems that you may share the same view that I do, which is that Tony Blamey (Domain CEO) is in my opinion, about to break the law. The Law that he may be breaking is a most serious one indeed.

    This is only my opinion and I am the first to admit that Domains resources mean that they may well have better knowledge than myself, as to why they will be immune from anti-competition law.

    After all, we all know that 2 highly paid Barristers can argue anything. But in the fair-dinkum department, I believe this situation looks absolutely awful for Domain. The intent is just far too clear ( to remove our access arbitrarily and to levy costs different by an order of magnitude upon PropertyNow, compared to 3,000 other agencies) I have tried to imagine ways that a Barrister could argue their case and I am struggling to find any tenable argument to justify or even explain the actions of Blamey.

    Tim regarding your excellent analysis about whether Domain even know what constitutes an agent, I would like to let you know that I am in possession of written and very recent correspondence from The Department of Fair Trading regarding the PropertyNow business model.

    Even though it has operated for 6 years and has been looked at by DFT at least 8 times (because of agent complaints only) I decided that in view of Domains aggression towards PropertyNow, I would seek perfect clarification on some points with the Department. The correspondence we received from DFT yesterday,completely vindicates the PropertyNow model in the area where Domain would have most likely tried to attack it.

    This clarification supports my opinion that Domain CEO Blamey,not only seems to me to wish to act as an Industry Regulatory, but also that he is very poorly informed.

    I have left yet another voice message with Blamey on Tuesday and yet another email as well. As usual he has responded to neither and his silence is instructive.

    Additionally today I conducted the first Television interview about what I believe to be the gross misconduct of this CEO. I have also contacted a politician this evening and sought the politicians assistance in heightening this issue, before Blamey does even further irreparable damage to PropertyNows clientele, to PropertyNow itself and to Domain and its stakeholders.

    Tim, you also made a very salient point about “pressure from “full service” agents ?”

    If that turns out to be the case …and if it can be proven that there is an understanding or arrangement between Domain and agents, then it may also be that another law is broken. My understanding of such a thing is that an arrangement need not be in writing but can be implied or inferred. Once again, I am not a lawyer but it might be a case of ” if it smells like a rat and if it looks like a rat, then its a rat….

    If an arrangement is proven then I suppose it would also be deemed illegal ….but regardless, I feel that the far stronger case would lie in the alleged anti-competitive behavior…. which looks to me to be rather clear and obvious (though few things are in law)

    Tim, I agree with you that Domain can’t win this, other than by keeping us in court and attempting to bankrupt us into submission and silence. I am very aware that they are more than capable of doing that.

    To me this has the look of a train-wreck for Domain and it is very hard to stomach and watch something as it spirals out of control. PropertyNow (and other companies) and it’s clients may well end up suffering serious collateral damage and the full responsibility for that will lie with the instigator and architect of this action.

    I have again yesterday asked Blamey to reconsider his position. I do not believe he will do so unfortunately.. but I live in hope.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow Real Estate Agency
    http://www.propertynow.com.au

  • PropertyNow
    Posted February 19, 2012 at 10:45 pm 0Likes

    Just a further update on Domain’s stance towards PropertyNow.

    Paul Batten will be heartened to know that Domain are sticking to their plan to increase PropertyNow’s cost to Domain by 3,000%.

    I recall Paul has said this earlier this year (or perhaps it was in December) that it was his fond wish that neither Domain nor PropertyNow would back down….. and it looks as though Paul is going to get his wish.

    The situation as of Sunday 19th, is that there are now 11 days for Blamey ( Domains CEO, and the man responsible for attacking PropertyNow) to fix the mess he has created. While he can’t undo his decision, he still has just enough time to at the very least, limit the damage it can cause to both Domain and PropertyNow. In fact I believe it’s his Fiduciary responsibility to try to limit the damage to our clients and to his own company.

    Of all the enquiry we receive for our clients around 95-98% comes from just 2 websites…and around 40% of the 98% comes from Domain. If Blamey succeeds in his quest to get rid of ProeprtyNow by selective and massive price increases then he absolutely damages the prospects of these people being either able to sell or at the very least sell most effectively. It would be reasonable to assume all our clients might have a valid law suit against Fairfax or Domain in teh future if the action being taken turns out to be illegal. Domains/Fairfax’s shareholders need to be told that this possibility may exist and I intend to look at ways to inform them.

    While Blamey has replied to at least 1 or 2 emails which I sent last week, his replies amount to little more than a copy and paste of his earlier responses. He has still failed to answer about 10 or 20 of the most fundamental and straight forward questions,in relation to what he is doing and why he is doing it.

    I am not talking simply about questions regarding Domains motivation in this, I am talking about perfectly valid and appropriate questions that the CEO should be made to answer, if he won’t answer them voluntarily.

    While there are a great many questions…..including why he chose to do this in such a heavy handed manner after knowing the PropertyNow business model for at least 6 years and taking our subscription payments the whole time, still more pressing question which he will not answer is this……

    I have said to Mr Blamey that PropertyNow will seek to open a new account next week,for sole usage within Coffs Harbour and Environs. As with everything we do, it will operate appropriately and I will agree (under duress) to limit clients within that account, to those whose Property is in Coffs Harbour or easy driving distance (i.e. within an hour of Coffs)

    Market Appraisals, contracts,agencies etc all will be normal… however some clients will choose to do their own inspections and therefore I will reward them for that, by reducing my fee on these local listings. By the way, any one pondering whether this is legal for an agent to do, need ponder no more ( we have it in writing from The Department of Fair Trading in the Affirmative.)

    Now then, given that the only demarcation line Blamey could have for these listings,will be that owners do their own inspections and subsequently save money on agent costs via PropertyNow within Coffs Harbour. And given that the Regulator has already said that this is fine – Can anyone at all inside this blog now mount any kind of case for Domain to disallow such an account?

    I hope no one is going to bother to peddle the old – “its their site they can do whatever they want”

    That kind of argument is rather fruitless, I am sure you all agree. I would like to to hear something more substantial than that,as I seek to understand the mentality of Domain and grapple with why they are doing this.

    Is it that perhaps Domain (and maybe also REA) want to lose? This way they would have a ready made scapegoat when getting cosier with private sellers in the future…i.e. where they to begin cutting the real estate agents out of the loop gradually….. and then conveniently being blameless,in offering services direct to the public,in a more open and aggresive way than they do already. This would make more sense with REA than Domain I think. Or is this Domain seeking to garner support from agents who might see them as standing up where REA did not? ( their perception only)

    Either way, if they lose, they would then be in a position to try to say…….. that it’s because someone else MADE them do it. (or is that too far fetched and cynical of me?)

    So let me throw that question out there as well.

    If Blamey and Domain intend ( and they certainly do) limiting the PropertyNow use of their site geographically,or in any other way which might be deemed anti-competitive…… then naturally PropertyNow will need to make up the lost revenue somewhere else …and that somewhere will be Coffs Harbour.

    This week because Blamey refuses to answer valid questions and is literally boxing PropertyNow in a corner, I intend calling all Coffs agents individually ( the Principals) to let them know that if we are not permitted to use Domain competitively as every other agent can (on costs) then we will ramp things up locally.

    Additionally, should Domain prevent PropertyNow from even using our model on a local level in a new account, then its officially war in Coffs Harbour and the local agents can thank Mr Blamey for that. In other words, I will still proceed but without using Domain, in that event.

    Just as PropertyNow’s clients are collateraly damaged if Domain succeed in selectively limiting PropertyNow, then so too will local agents be collateral damage, when we react in the only other way we can (beyond seeking the help of the industry regulators such as Fair Trading, ACCC, the various Ministers and Public support)

    I had no intention whatsoever of doing this, but Blamey is hell bent on forcing our hand and so to survive we will need to fight. The fight is very unbalanced given that it is between a muti million dollar company with a media empire behind it ….and a tiny real estate agncy with very limited resources. We have no prospect of getting air time in Fairfax controlled media and probably not in the News Ltd media network either….although Domain certainly had a field day when REA were exposed last year by PropertyNow ( the Fin Review covered that story…albeit they did get it wrong as matter of record)

    Anyway, back to the new question, which is perfectly on topic with this thread and concerning whether Domain is acting in an anti-competitive manner?

    The question is simply this –

    Should Domain allow PropertyNow to open a new Domain account, so as to carry out all the services of a local real estate agent with the exception of the buyer inspections, in Coffs Harbour and Environs?

    If not why not?

    (note : we have no intention of closing the old account, nor of paying the new pricing regime within the existing account and which I consider will be shown in time to have been illegal) The illegality or otherwise is my opinion only and is not necessarily fact.

    Over to you guys for comment….

    Glenn B – You haven’t gotten stuck into me for a while in here….what do you think Glenn?….allowed or not allowed and why?

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow Real Estate.

  • PropertyNow Real Estate
    Posted February 22, 2012 at 12:16 am 0Likes

    Jack, I totally get where you are coming from but to use the argument about an equitable basis is frankly nuts. It’s like denying the Holocaust. This thread is examining whether a 3,000 % increase levied entirely arbitrarily by Domain on PropertyNow is both legal and proper. It is as inequitable as it’s possible to get.

    The flaw in your argument comes from not understanding the PropertyNow model. We are a legitimate agency working at least as hard for our vendors as any agent in Australia. Why then is it either fair or legal to charge LJHooker about $400 a month and PropertyNow $20,000 – $50,000 a month? Come on Jack, are you seriously going to defend that? If so please detail your defence at the end of this thread as I have posed a couple of questions there and would love your input.

    Jack surely, if a Company and a real estate portal was going to charge any of it’s real estate agent clients more than another, then logic would dictate that they would obviously charge more to those agents who get more out of the sale.

    I mean it’s a basic principle of commerce and also of fair play. One guy gets ten or twenty thousand dollars commission from a sale and gets charged about $6 a listing by Domain…while another agent gets maybe $400 from a sale and is charged around $250 per listing. And you are seriously suggesting the inequity is towrds the traditional agents? That’s just bizarre in the extreme I am afraid and exhibits a lack of understanding of agent assisted sales at least.

    I see a lot of the so called arguments are nothing more than fear taking on a voice.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • PropertyNow Real Estate
    Posted February 22, 2012 at 12:49 am 0Likes

    Matt, you said that Domain are waking up to PropertyNow?

    Wow! That’s a doosy!

    Lets examine your statement Matt, using only facts and nil opinion at all.

    Fact 1 – Domain have been 100% completely aware of the PropertyNow business model for the past 6 years Matt ( waking up eh?)

    Fact 2 – Former Domain NSW State Manager Guy Boardman told me personally just before he took his redundency that he had put forward the PropertyNow Business Model as a good one for Domain to attempt to emulate ( that was over 3 years ago. Waking up Matt….really??? )

    Fact 3 – Our clients when they come to us are Private Sellers. They become Agent Assisted clients in PropertyNow instantly and should no longer be considered Private Sellers. I am writing this after midnight but when I wake up on Wednesday, I will be making out a sales advice for our latest clients sale…of a million plus property. The client succeeded with our agent assisted sale and did not succeed previously with the local agent. I guess we get lucky sometimes Matt. So far we have gotten lucky over 700 times.

    Fact 4 – The model has been examined by The Department Of Fair Trading on at least 8 occasions over the past 6 years. The examinations were always at the behest of miffed real estate agents and we have no complaints from actual clients. DFT wastes an inordinate amount of time and its reprehensible that they are forced to do so when they could be out policing the crooks instead of having to act on every agent who has a beef with PropertyNow.

    The key element of our PropertyNow Agent Assisted Sale System is that owners are permitted to carry out their own buyer inspections.

    I have a framed advice hanging up in my office and which is from The Department of Fair Trading (right next to the statement made by Greg Ellis of REA last year – who admitted that REA was “out of step with industry regulatory practices”)

    The Fair Trading advice is this – that the key element of the PropertyNow model is perfectly acceptable under the Real Estate Act ( to quote Belke from the old sitcom Perfect Strangers – of course it is – don’t be ridiculous!)

    Matt, I am glad you at least pretended to censor your stupid suggestion that Domain was being fleeced. I guess you realised how silly that looked under the circumstances. Fleecing is when you charge one agent $6 a listing and another agent in the same city $250 per listing($220 plus state by state costs) and then do it every month. Let me give you a very overdue bit of perspective Matt….that would eventually equate to half a million dollars per year for my Domain account. Do you have a Domain account Matt. If so, how much do you pay per month?Fleeced Matt?

    Wow! it’s entirely breathtaking and just a littel bit entertaining to watch people completely turn an argument around to suit themselves, even when it would seem impossible to do that in this circumstance. But never let the facts stand in the way of opinion eh Matt?

    Matt ,please comment down lower if you really believe what you are saying.I have posed a few very simple questions lower in this thread and if you can argue them in favour of Domains action, I am all ears.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • PropertyNow Real Estate
    Posted February 22, 2012 at 1:13 am 0Likes

    Glenn Batten,if you suppose for one minute that I will give up or cave in to bullies,then you don’t know me very well. I know I get very tired at times because we work so hard for our clients ………but every single time REA, REV,DOMAIN or anyone else stick the boot into my clients it gives me an amazing amount of motivation and re-energizes me to stop anti-competitive behaviour that is extremely bad for the Australian public.

    My chin is perfectly ok Glenn as of Feb 22nd.. and in the unlikely event that I end up wrong ( or far more likely powerless…which is a distinct possibility) in this, then I will find another way to offer value in property sales. My clients don’t have that luxury though Glenn and you seldom mention the sellers rights in any argument you make.

    Lets make the debate about the property sellers rights shall we?

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow Real estate Agency.

  • PropertyNow Real Estate
    Posted February 22, 2012 at 1:23 am 0Likes

    Jezza, your comments are right in every respect. Well said and I especially liked the truthfulness about the fact that the vendors own the content. That seldom rates a mention in here, so thanks for bringing it to prominence.

    Andrew
    PropertyNow Real Estate

  • PaulD
    Posted February 22, 2012 at 10:10 am 0Likes

    Andrew,
    You said that Domain charge :LJ Hooker (or any other franchise for that matter) $400 per month. The offices get charged individually. So that means that if LJ Hooker has say 600 offices in Australia and 80% of them subscribe to Domain – they each pay the $400 per month. It is not one $400 per month for them all. In that scenario the income to Domain would be 600 x .8 x 400 = $192,000 per month – not $400.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted February 22, 2012 at 1:45 pm 0Likes

    PaulD,

    Don’t use logic.. it wont work..

  • PaulD
    Posted February 22, 2012 at 2:58 pm 0Likes

    🙂 🙂

  • PropertyNow
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:17 pm 0Likes

    And in news just to hand….

    Fairfax announces 44% drop in First Quarter Profits

    Fairfax announces it will try to save 170 million.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • PropertyNow
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:28 pm 0Likes

    Wow, what a weird comment???

    Of course they charge each office individually Paul. You think I didn’t know that? …or thought it worth mentioning??? what the..??

    Here is some maths and logic for you PaulD ( or should I now call you AlbertE after such deep analysis)

    Lets examine Domains income from Hookers when they charge Hookers the same rate they intend charging my real estate agency PropertyNow in 7 days from now –

    Pauls Math and logic- 600 x .8 x 400 = $192,000 per month – not $400.
    Andrews math and logic – 600 x .8 x $20,000 per month=9.6 million dollars

    Thats a 9.6 followed by six noughts ( per month PaulD)

    What a classic….your best one ever…Wayne Swan better watch out tomorrow….

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • PaulD
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:10 am 0Likes

    I couldn’t reply to your childish post above, because it had run out of time. You are such a tunnell visioned wanker. I know Domain charge separately and YOU know that they charge separately – but just read the sentence YOU WROTE and see whether or not it is totally ambiguous to the punters out there —

    “””Why then is it either fair or legal to charge LJHooker about $400 a month and PropertyNow $20,000 – $50,000 a month ? “”””

    Further you indicate that in your opinion $6 per listing is all they are being charged. Well if you think that $6 is ok, and you are such a fabulous mathematician – allegedly, on your crappy website, there are currently 4188 properties. Now follow me carefully Andrew, because your last mathematical exercise wasn’t even close, this one should be easy for you because it is primary school maths. 4188 x $6 = $25,128 I’ll let you take you own conclusions, but don’t forget you medication this morning ok ?

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted February 25, 2012 at 9:30 am 0Likes

    PaulD

    I did warn you logic would not help you… !!

  • PaulD
    Posted February 25, 2012 at 12:52 pm 0Likes

    Yes Glenn, time to move on I think.

  • PropertyNow
    Posted February 25, 2012 at 2:11 pm 0Likes

    PaulD

    How do I continue to be polite with you when you continually make the dumbest possible statements. When I nailed you on your absurd comment, you would have been wise to just go quietly but no Paul, you thought – I will corner Andrew mathematically, if its the last thing I do.

    So you came back and posted again, just so that anyone who is following this part of the thread can longer doubt that you have lost your marbles – and you have now said – that there are about 4,000 listings on PropertyNow and you then applied your novel maths to that number.

    The one who clearly needs medication is yourself – of the 4,188 listings you speak of all but 230 are real estate agents listings you fool. This fact renders whatever it is you are talking about completely meaningless. Still its hard to say because you have never explained what on earth you are referring to at all.

    So , let ssummarise – what has actually happened so far.

    1 I make a post in which I state that LJHooker pays just $400 (approx) to Domain per month for an account.

    2 GlennD posts a completely useless comment to explain to everyone that I meant per hooker office and not $400 to Domain for the whole Hooker network ( yes Glenn actually took the time to write and post that) because othewrise people would have been misled right?

    3 GlennD then uses maths in a highly entertaining way to come up with a figure for Hookers of $192,000 per month which Domain might receive from Hookers entire network ( oh my god……..)

    4 I crack up from laughter at the fact that GlennD makes such an incredibly irrelevent ,obvious and useless point in the first place and then compounds his error a second time by applying maths which strengthens the PropertyNow argument better than I could have done.

    5 I then point out that if PropertyNow were charged as LjHooker is, then GlennD’s figure for what Domain pay Hookers would become over 9 million a month. That’s the part where GlennD strengthened our argument beautifully. Thanks for that GlennD.

    6 PaulB then weighs in to either shore up GlennD or get him to shut up – quote from PauB – “DON’T USE LOGIC, IT WONT WORK???”

    7 GlennD as always not content to have looked a fool twice within 2 comments, then decides he will go over to Propertynow, count the listings ( over 4000 ) and then do some more maths…and finish with the cryptic – I’ll let you take you own conclusions (huh???)

    8 I inform the mathematical prodigy GlennD and whom I will continue to refer to as AlbertE, that almost all those listings are real estate agents and so therefore I have no conception of what GlennD is trying to say…. or why he is applying account costs to free real estate agent listings. Is he saying that we stop them from going to Domain and payingg Domain the account costs>>> again.. what the….??

    Now since this is a really stupid subthread which is alive only because GlennD made an innane comment , can I make the following point to both GlennD and to GregB…..

    – OPEN ENDED COMMENTS whereby some suggestion is inferred are a total waste of your time, my time and the readers time. Here are recent comments by these 2 guys – PaulD, said -Don’t use logic.. it wont work..

    Now that is an actual post….what’s the point?? No-one, least of all myself who I presume its aimed at, have any clue what it means and it adds nothing to the content of the debate…

    And GlennD actually taking the time to point out the most stunningly obvious thing – that when referring to $400 a month I meant per office not per whole Hooker Network – is just plain dumb.

    What happened is that GlennD made a stupid comments, got suitably chastened and no doubt quite embarrasses and then out of anger he compounded the stupidity and then made it worse with a third comment that was equally absurd.

    In so doing, GlennD then took a pot shot at the PropertyNow website and used derrogatory language…which is all GlennB and GlennD know how how to do.That’s the bastion of people with no coherent argument…they call you names:-)

    It should now be moments before Vic completes the Trifecta of damning PropertyNow.

    Glenn Batten you were wrong about REA not backing down last year. You were wrong about the reporting of the ACCC investigation by The Fin Review and you will also end up wrong if you believe, as you do, that Domain is on solid ground now.

    Heads up guys, while you are arguing minutiae, PropertyNow is busy servicing clients, making sales and holding both REA and now Domain accountable for their actions. I suggest you find something worthwhile to do GlennD. and quit while you are behind.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow Real Estate Agency

  • PropertyNow
    Posted February 25, 2012 at 2:47 pm 0Likes

    Correction GlennD at top of my last post not GlennB.

    Guys why not use your real full names?… to avoid constant confusion between the Glenns, Gregs…eg – GlennD and GregB..etc etc

    Andrew Blachut

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted February 25, 2012 at 2:49 pm 0Likes

    PaulD,

    Do you find it strange that his quotes never match up with the right people? I think he has even invented a few people along the way and those rants are getting more and more unstable.

    It’s why I dont bother to try and engage with him directly now.. there is no point.

  • PaulD
    Posted February 25, 2012 at 3:12 pm 0Likes

    whatever

  • PaulD
    Posted February 25, 2012 at 3:26 pm 0Likes

    Andrew, are you sure you’re not the long lost son of John Cleese ??

  • PaulD
    Posted February 25, 2012 at 3:29 pm 0Likes

    Is this the 5 minute argument or the full half-hour ?

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-572077907195969915

  • PropertyNow Real Estate
    Posted February 25, 2012 at 4:04 pm 0Likes

    Now finally GlennD you gave me something I can use….that John Cleese video is awesome Thanks for posting it. …I have had a very long day and this helped break it up a bit….I am still chortlin…

    Andrew

    PropertyNow

  • PropertyNow Real Estate
    Posted February 25, 2012 at 4:14 pm 0Likes

    Glenn Batten, just so I know – who is PaulD?

    Anyways….the clip he posted from Cleese was brilliant…love it .

    Here is one that is a little similar and it’s a great US comedian called Bob Newhart. It’s timeless comedy and beautifully and so subtly done from both actors in the skit …which was from MADTV originally.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow0lr63y4Mw

    Andrew Blachut
    ProeprtyNow Real Estate Agency
    http://www.propertynow.com.au

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted February 25, 2012 at 4:39 pm 0Likes

    PaulD

    I dont think he understand that his constant misquoting of everyone makes him look confused and his posts rambling. It is far from just getting the Glenn’s mixed up which you could understand to a point but he is completley making up of new people…. there is no Paul Batten, PaulB or GlennD posting here. I think your your connection with John Cleese is a great one….

    He is going to try and suggest he was a little confused and typed in the wrong name but in some of the posts he responds to me and GlennD separately as though we are different people… yet the GlennD quote he referred to was mine. It should not be that difficult you would think especially since my posts are highlighted in that lovely shade of orange.

    He also suggests that Glenn’s should use their full name…of course it’s our problem that he has made endless mistakes in this thread alone… so far Glenn Smith, Glenn Rogers and Glenn Batten did use their full name… only one person quoted as just Glenn which he never quoted anyway.. not really that confusing at all….

    The lack of logic and persistent bumbling is quite comical and no doubt very embarrassing for him hence his short retort. 🙂

  • PropertyNow Real Estate Agency
    Posted February 26, 2012 at 11:18 am 0Likes

    Open Challenge to anyone, but especially to –

    Glenn Batten
    Vic Del Vecchio
    Peter Mericka
    PaulD.
    Greg Vincent
    Jack Matt
    AND
    especially Domain CEO – Tony Blamey ( yes Tony created the problem so I invite him over to B2 in order to fully explain and to justify his decision.I am also happy to debate this issue on television or radio with him….how about it Tony?)

    I can’t believe the stony silence, since I first posed this question last week,especially given how out of character it is for Glenn and Vic, not to take up the cudgels for Domain or at least against PropertyNow.

    So chaps, I want to reissue my question from earlier in the post.. but I want to turn it into a challenge rather than simply a question.

    I will describe the situation again below and I challenge Glenn Batten and Vic Del Vecchio and Peter Mericka etc, to defend the Domain position towards PropertyNow. I am especially focusing on those people,to contribute to the argument, because they have been consistently PropertyNow’s biggest detractors. Because I will be very much outnumbered I hope Guy Robinson, Tim Bonnefin and Bill will contribute as well.

    And finally I would ask Peter Ricci to moderate just enough to to allow comments to stay on track and hopefully in keeping personal attacks,unsubstantiated claims and derogatory comments to a minimum and facts at the forefront..

    Here is what you will be defending precisely.It’s a drilled down and hugely specific version of what started this thread.

    It is also hugely on topic in terms of my anti-competition claims that predicate this thread.

    Here we go – – –

    PropertyNow has stated to Blamey (Domains Boss) that it would open a new Domain account(without prejudice and without closing the existing account)

    The use of the new account would be limited to the Coffs Harbour District.

    PropertyNow will undertake all of the normal activities of an agent in relation to the use and conduct of that Domain account, with a single exception only. In other words it will operate in the same manner as the LJHooker office in Coffs Harbour. (LJH is simply an example of a Coffs Harbour agency and there is no other significance)

    The exception mentioned is that PropertyNow will allow owners to do inspections with potential buyers by choice and in so doing will offer a greatly reduced fee to reflect the owners participation.This element has been confirmed within the past week as legal by The Department of Fair Trading. I will post the DFT advice in here, if DFT permit me to publish that email advice. Meanwhile take it as a given.

    This precise request was made by PropertyNow to Blamey a week ago. Blamey was asked what costs he would then levy on such a new account and if it was different to other local agents ….why was there a difference?

    Blamey answered very quickly that he would still impose the massively different pricing regime selectively on PropertyNow as opposed to LJHooker in Coffs Harbour. He gave no explanation as to why and simply repeated what he has said all along.

    So there you have it gentleman. Who is smart enough in here to defend this amazing new action by Domain against PropertyNow?

    Allow me to cast the first stone. I believe this action will be deemed highly illegal. Who in here does not feel it will be illlegal? Who in here feels it is just?

    Andrew Blachut
    ProeprtyNow Real Estate Agency.

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted February 26, 2012 at 2:14 pm 0Likes

    Hi Andrew

    I very rarely moderate comments in an y way shape or form, solid chins are required here. I dont personally attack anyone at any time on this site, and people are free to express their opinons as long as they do not blatantly defame, or pretend to be someone they are not (we have a clear policy on this), people can be anonymous but cannot claim to be someone they are not in anonymity.

    You clearly like to bait 🙂

    So as far as I am concerned, you open yourself to any and all comments.

    As for agents that wish to offer their clients set fee based services, I have made it clear that I see no distinction between this and any other agent. Agents should be free to sell their services and products at any price. The market and reputation sorts out the rest!

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted February 26, 2012 at 3:14 pm 0Likes

    Peter and Ryan,

    Andrew constantly petitioned this blog to be written about in articles, first in the comments section of a number of articles and later directly to contributors themselves. He fnally got his way by writing the article himself but I have to ask dDo we really need contributors who use their position to write self promoting articles for directly commercial benefit?

    In fact I thought the rules of being a contributor or guest contributor did not allow it. Andrew’s repetitive rhetoric ad nauseum in the comments section adds little to the discussion on the article and just highlights the self serving nature of this article. He wont answer questions quoting that he is “not on trial” and recently his comments have been even more erratic than usual. He has continually quoted the wrong people and even made up some individuals he quoted entirely.

    Andrew admits that 98% of his enquiries come from Domain and Realestate.com.au so I appreciate he is a desperate man and his livelihood is in danger but why should B2 be HIS vehicle in HIS war against the top two tier one portals?

    I realise there is a fine line sometimes between a contributor’s perspective on a topic and writing for self interest but in this case I dont think anybody would suggest that he has not well and truly crossed that line. Whether Andrew’s can contribute to the blog as a writer on other subjects remains to be seen but I openly question his ability to use this blog for his personal vendetta against Domain and realestate.com.au for his own direct commercial benefit.

    Now Andrew is asking for comments that he does not agree with to be moderated. Even though he will probably disagree I am not asking for him to be moderated, as we all know you would never shut him up in the comments section anyway. I would like to see what else he would write on that would be of interest to the nominated audience of this blog, “real estate agents”.

    If the topic is still a worthy one for B2 another writer should do the article. That has worked in the past when one of us was too closely connected with a subject and I suggest as in those cases that Andrew was the wrong person to write on this subject.

    If this continues it will set a clear precedent and we will see Greg writing about how a person who attended one of his his training sessions is now an SM guru, Dave Platter will be writing about why his PR services should be utilised by small portals and real estate groups, Robert will write on why an agent should join the Richardson and Wrench franchise and Ken Lardner will write a review on how Pricefinder and detail why it’s better than RPData and I will write about a software solution I created and how REA shafted me over it.

    If anybody was going to use this blog for self promotion then you would expect it to be Agentpoint… but if you can refrain from doing so why cant we expect the same of every contributor??

  • PropertyNow
    Posted February 26, 2012 at 3:16 pm 0Likes

    Yes I agree with everything you said Peter and I hope you din’t misunderstand my post.

    I was not saying that you personally attack. I don’t think you ever have. I was referring to some guy called GlennD mainly …and also Mericka,Batten,Del Vecchio and a few others. The personal attacks actually don’t concern me as you may think they do. What I dislike is that the personal attacks detract from the quality of the debate. I also really hate it when someone uses an open ended question, so as to leave the reader thinking that something is there when it isn’t. Or else innane and useless comments such as….you deserve it…its about time …..that mean absolutely nothing.

    All I was asking Peter, is for the people who disagree with me – that Domains action will be illegal – or who believe it is meritorious, to explain why, without sinking into personal assaults. When you have been royally attacked for 6 years by most of the significant players in real estate as PropertyNow has, the personal attacks are water of a ducks back.

    All I want is for one of the guys I mentioned above, to mount a serious and genuine and fact based argument which shows me why what Domain are doing to PropertyNow is not illegal. And also why local agents in Coffs Harbour can or should be advantaged so massively.

    I have also invited the architect of this whole mess to come over here and explain his actions to you guys and to PropertyNow. I presume you would welcome him doing that Peter? In fact why don’t you send him an email and invite him to do so.Then he has the opportunity to shoot me down.It would be wonderful for your blog after all.

    Peter why not start the ball rolling?

    Do you agree or disagree with Domains actions in light of their latest decision? ( described in the challenge I set)

    Please don’t sit on the fence Peter.You would have a good handle on this I imagine.I am very interested in hearing the counter argument, so long as it’s not just….they shouldn’t be allowed to do it.

    Do you know Peter, that once an agent made exactly that complaint against PropertyNow to The Department of Fair Trading. The complaint was quite literally – “he shouldn’t be allowed to”

    Such a complaint is infantile. Let’s base this argument on law and feel free to examine the Consumer and Competition Act in making any argument.

    Thanks Peter for taking the time to respond and I would really value your own actual opinion, although as moderator I understand if you would prefer to take a backseat.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow Real Estate Agency.
    http://www.propertynow.com.au

  • PropertyNow
    Posted February 26, 2012 at 3:19 pm 0Likes

    Glenn. There you go. You proved the point. You argued not about Domain but about my right to post. Can you see the difference? I specifically asked to stay on topic and one post later you could not do it.

    Andrew Blachut
    http;//www.propertynow.com.au

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted February 28, 2012 at 12:31 am 0Likes

    Glenn

    Any web portal or real estate agent that allows for set price sales for vendors as far as I am concerned is a real estate agent. I want this discussion.

    Andrew has to learn some lessons from this, but so do you guys. The fact is direct price selling by agents will grow exponentially over the next decade and soon portals will have to treat them just like any other agent.

    What interests me, is how agents who oppose this evolve their thoughts on this matter from attack to otherwise.

    I want to have contributors on this site from all spectrums, ones we agree with and disagree with. As for Robert on R&W, doubt that will ever happen.

    I will continue to support Andrew, and I hope his next article talks more about his experiences in this industry + business rather to his business.

    I do not want self promotion on this site, and I really do not think his article was, his comments maybe, but he has a right to defend his position.

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted February 28, 2012 at 12:36 am 0Likes

    Andrew

    You must learn to rise above the rhetoric and respond rather than attack, if you read through your comments, you are clearly getting a little personal in the attacks.

    You need to say…..

    Thank for your comments Glenn, however I disagree and here is why….

    Rather than “I was referring to some guy called GlennD”, which does not read well…. By all means. As a contributor on this site, you take on some responsibilities rather than as a public commenter.

    That is to rise above, defend your position, with what you consider your opinion….

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted February 28, 2012 at 8:21 am 0Likes

    I am not questioning the discussion at all, as you know I have no problems challenging someone like Domain but the article itself is IMHO not just self promotion but was a tool used in the campaign against Domain. That probably back fired with the majority of agents supporting Domains stance but thats another story.

    As I stated earlier, IMHO the article would have been better done by you or Ryan rather than the subject of the article and the man at the centre of the issue, Andrew himself.

    You are the ultimate decision on if it crosses the line of self promotion…. but I respectfully disagree 🙂

    I too am interested to see if he can write on anything other than himself.

    As to his comments defending himself… there is no GlennD nor is their a PaulB or Paul Batten that have been involved in the discussion. They and I think some others are figments of his imagination that appear over and over again in multiple comments. You have to wonder whats going on with that don’t you?

  • PropertyNow
    Posted February 28, 2012 at 9:51 am 0Likes

    Peter Ricci. I will repeat my point.

    Since I have issued this challenge not one person ( including yourself) has debated the topic. Peter even you now are falling into the very same pattern and you probably don’t even notice it. Don’t worry, it has happened to me as well. Seriously, you are now agreeing with Batten and Vic in suggesting this is about self promotion. With respect, if I wanted to self promote, do you think I would do it on a real estate agent blog where PropertyNow is loathed? I’m just saying, thats pretty illogical. What I wish to do is to debate the legality of an allegedly illegal and very serious act, with people in the industry who should be across this.

    Peter Ricci, you of all people, should know better than to accuse me of getting personal when I was the one who asked you just a few posts back ….to ensure people don’t get personal. All I said for my part,was that I wasn’t referring to yourself ,but rather to another commenter. Peter, do you want me to go and dredge up his comments and list all of them to show you who the real culprit is? They weren’t just personal comments either, they were maniacal and vindictive. And what am I guilty of?…. mis-typing a Glenn Batten for a Paul Batten. Give me a break , how childish is this forum? Glenn knows perfectly well that I am referring to him when I say the surname Batten, so why make a Federal Case of it. I’ll tell you why…because it beats debating the actual topic and requires no brains to do and no clear thinking. The same idiotic thing occured in another thread on the weekend, when I said that Hookers pay about $400 a month for a standard account…. and then some genius couldn’t wait to tell me that this referred to just one office and not the entire Hooker network.( unbelievable)

    Tell me Peter Ricci, how I can illustrate what is occuring without referencing my business? I note Peter that you at least appear to agree with what I am saying, but you are certainly sitting on the fence in doing so. Why not come out and just say what you really think? Let me ask you Peter – In your own opinion, is what Domain are doing either legal or proper? You seem to have said it’s not proper or did I misunderstand? I think Peter ( but you leave me constantly in doubt) that you do feel it to be improper? So clear me up on where you stand on this. Which is it Pete?

    The reason I refer to my business regularly is simply because I can’t comment on or speak on behalf of ForSaleForLease,SaveonCommission,BuyMyPlace,PublicRealEstate or MyHomeIsForSale, since they have different models and since I can’t even know whether they have been written to by Domain. Nor can I know whether they have been given the same stipulations and the same time frame. Blamey was asked this and refuses to give any details.

    But since you all insist that this not be about PropertyNow, here we go………….. I will now ask all the private sale companies ( of which PropertyNow is not one)

    Are you all being forced to pay $220 per listing and also state fees from March1st?

    Michael Atwell, please comment as to whether that is explicitly the case with your company?

    I don’t know if BuyMYPlace people still hang out here, but if they do ,I will also pose the question to CEO (Peter Butterss…thats the spelling on his AboutUs page) or Naomie Sweeney (COO) of BuyMyPlace.

    And I will pose a different question to the learned Peter Mericka – the question for Peter ( since he is a Legal Professional) is the same question posed to everyone at the end of this post.(see below)

    I will try one more time and I will CAPITALISE the question at the end of this post, so that those who can’t focus any longer than a goldfish, will not miss it.

    First here is the salient info again (and no apologies for mentioning whom its being done towards)

    ———————————————-

    PropertyNow has stated to Blamey (Domains Boss) that it would open a new Domain account (without prejudice and without closing the existing account)

    The use of the new account would be limited to the Coffs Harbour District.

    PropertyNow will undertake all of the normal activities of an agent in relation to the use and conduct of that Domain account, with a single exception only. In other words it will operate in the same manner as the LJHooker office in Coffs Harbour. (LJH is simply an example of a Coffs Harbour agency and there is no other significance)

    The exception mentioned is that PropertyNow will allow owners to do inspections with potential buyers by choice and in so doing will offer a greatly reduced fee to reflect the owners participation.This element has been confirmed within the past week as legal by The Department of Fair Trading.
    ————————————————–

    Now. Those are facts.

    So as Peter Ricci and myself have asked – please have the Discussion about the legality of what is happening. This thread is about anti-competition. So here comes the caps locked bit, that I promised, to aid the goldfish in their retention..

    DO YOU BELIEVE THIS IS IN CLEAR CONTRAVENTION OF THE AUSTRALIAN CONSUMER AND COMPETITION ACT? IF NOT PROVE TO ME WHY IT IS NOT?

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow Real Estate Agency

  • vic Del Vecchio
    Posted February 28, 2012 at 11:57 am 0Likes

    Unbelieveable 🙁

  • PropertyNow Real Estate Agency
    Posted February 28, 2012 at 11:34 pm 0Likes

    Yes I agree with you completely Vic. The action by Domain to diminish competition in real estate sales and to unnecessarily keep the cost of selling far higher than it should be,at a time when the average Australian can ill afford it….. is unbelievable.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow Real Estate Agency

  • vic Del Vecchio
    Posted February 29, 2012 at 8:03 am 0Likes

    Just to clarify my “unbelievable” comment. It relates to your continuous diatribe, Andrew.

    I have always been a supporter of providing a variety of ways to sell properties. The advent of the internet is allowing this to happen and some really innovative uses have emerged. Propertynow seemed to be fitting into this category – until you struck a hurdle with REA.

    At that time you then attempted to move to a free to list for agents to increase the listing content on your site. This was a bad move on your part and any wonder the agents in Australia have not supported your cynical attempts to preserve your business.

    What are you Andrew an agent assisted site, a free to list, an aggregator, an advocator for consumer rights?

    Take some time to objectively read back over all the comments you have made in this thread and tell me honestly whether you have been respectful to those that have a counter view to yours. If when reading you come to the same conclusion as I have and you apologize for your bad behaviour you may get some debate.

  • PropertyNow Real Estate Agency
    Posted February 29, 2012 at 9:39 am 0Likes

    Vic. I knew exactly what you meant and my comment was designed to make you come back and say something ( anything) meaningful.

    Now that you are actually engaging and making full sentences like a real grown up, let’s take a careful and considered look at what you just said.

    Vics first statement – Vic quoted – “The advent of the internet is allowing this to happen and some really innovative uses have emerged. Propertynow seemed to be fitting into this category – until you struck a hurdle with REA.” – end quote

    My response –

    How wrong can one be Vic? – Vics quote – until we struck a hurdle with REA” end quote

    ………um hello…. earth to Vic….PropertyNow won remember Vic? And the fight was reported in The Financial Review remember? And real estate agents and predatory pricing was misreported by Ben Hurley the writer, as the reason for the investigation, remember that Vic?

    It was all reported on this blog very extensively Vic, so you are completely wrong…….tsk, tsk, naughty Vic. We have not missed a beat since REA backed down. You know they backed down right?

    PropertyNow took a hit from REA and can it not be inferred In hindsight that REA acted illegally upon PropertyNow? We intend to sue them Vic but ” there is a time for every purpose under heaven” The point is that your statement infers we changed course after REA and that is 100% WRONG.

    Vic’s second completely wrong comment was this-

    Vic quoted – ” At that time you then attempted to move to a free to list for agents to increase the listing content on your site. This was a bad move on your part and any wonder the agents in Australia have not supported your cynical attempts to preserve your business.” – end quote

    Andrews response – again, it would literally be harder for you to be more incorrect Vic. First you are totally wrong about PropertyNow putting agents on after going to the ACCC. Never happened Victor. Flat out wrong. Agents were pre-existing by at least 4 months.

    Agents not supporting us???? Again, what planet are you on Vic?. About 98% of our listings are agents. We are very close too importing a further 20,000 agent listings and we support agents far, far more than you ever will. And all this without ever approaching agents to list in any meaningful way at all. Why wouldn’t they support a site that brings them enquiry and outranks Domain for the largest keyword Vic?

    Vic, you even said – this was a bad move on my part…????. This statement alone shows you have utterly no clue whatsoever. The exact opposite is the real truth Vic. You will never make an investigative reporter.

    Its really difficult to comprehend how someone could get so much wrong in such a short post.

    I mean it Vic…… to get every statement not just wrong, but so massively wrong, takes some doing….but somehow you pulled it off Vic.

    Now to your final questions……although they aren’t really questions are they Vic? They are more like accusations and your usual way of trying to introduce doubt in a readers mind.

    Vic Quotes these questions? – “What are you Andrew an agent assisted site, a free to list, an aggregator, an advocator for consumer rights?” end quote

    Glad you asked Vic:-)

    Yes we are an agent assisted site Vic – something wrong with that Vic?

    Yes we are an aggregator – is there also something wrong with that Vic?

    Yes we are a Free to list? – are you suggesting I should charge agents Vic?

    Am I an advocator for Consumer Rights? – Hell Yeah Vic…are you?.

    So you are either saying there is something wrong with these things or that I am Schizophrenic? Don’t know who or what PropertyNow should be huh? Can’t comprehend a world where someone supports both agents and the direct public huh?

    And finally Vic, you make all these false statements. I answer them and the next minute you or Batten or even now Peter Ricci or someone else will claim I am self promoting. You keep making it about me and not once in any part of your post did you debate the legality of what Domain are doing….and I even CAPITALISED it so you would not talk about PropertyNow but about the subject of legality.

    Vic , you are smarter than this and I know you are. You are letting your pre-conceptions about this whole thing cloud your judgement. Until you made your last post I didn’t realize just how far out of the loop you are.

    Thanks for posting Vic even though everything you said was ill conceived and factually wrong.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow Real Estate Agency.

  • PaulD
    Posted February 29, 2012 at 10:09 am 0Likes

    Well folks, what you just read is CONCLUSIVE proof that the author of the previous post IS a wanker, as previously described, and that he didn’t take his Ritalin this morning. I have really just treated those posts as a computer game and posed some random questions just to watch the rabid response. However there are more important things to do than read the ramblings of a person who has got a few roos loose in the top paddock, so all the best Andrew. I mean that. Whatever happens, I hope it all works out for you.

  • PropertyNow
    Posted February 29, 2012 at 12:15 pm 0Likes

    OK PaulD, I will cop your flack ( that I am a wanker on Ritalin) and also take your genuine hope that it all works out….but only because the John Cleese clip was very, very funny:-) ( I think it was you or Batten that posted it) – Andrew

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow Real Estate Agency

  • vic Del Vecchio
    Posted February 29, 2012 at 12:57 pm 0Likes

    You just don’t get it Mr Blachut !!!!!!

  • PropertyNow
    Posted February 29, 2012 at 6:08 pm 0Likes

    Vic, I answered all your questions truthfully and extremely accurately. I am sorry you don’t like the answers.

    I am still waiting for a single person to debate the actual topic – which is – Is Domains behaviour legal or at least – Is it anti-competitive?

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow Real Estate Agency

  • vic Del Vecchio
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 8:39 am 0Likes

    Andrew,

    You will always received my support and respect for being an “agent who assists in the sale of properties”. And that is all.

    Your fight with REA and Domain is your business but it’s the “manner” in which you attempt to shore up support for yourself in this forum is what I find not only objectionable but deleriously comical.

    This is an opinion blog and you never fail to demean the opinions of those that post views contrary to your own. For this reason, I suspect, people refuse to be led into a debate on your CAPITALIZED question.

    Like Paul D I have too much to do to further engage in this thread so I’ll just finish by saying – good luck with your fight..

  • PropertyNow
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 1:02 pm 0Likes

    Never mind all that Vic, because I predict that within a few minutes you will have discovered a new anti-christ, which will take all yourfocus off Propertynow and onto realestate.com.au.

    Saw this one coming …..

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

  • PropertyNow
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 1:06 pm 0Likes

    False alarm Vic, I just got message from an agent that may have been incorrect that REA was offering to list the public on realestate.com.au. I think having seen the message she sent that it was actually a text message from a mob called investormentor.com.au . I will check it out and let you know what the agent is actually saying.

    Andrew
    PropertyNow.

  • PropertyNow
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 1:10 pm 0Likes

    My agent friend would appear in error. Has anyone else heard differently regarding REA offering to list direct to the public? I asked Paul Gordon of REA if he planned to introduce a cost per listing ( about 6 weeks ago) but he would not answer.

    So Vic you may resume ripping into PropertyNow.

    Andrew Blachut

    PropertyNow Real Estate

  • PropertyNow
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 1:11 pm 0Likes

    Vic, you haven’t yet given any opinion about the actual threads topic…only about how you feel about PropertyNow.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow Real Estate Agency

  • PropertyNow
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 10:10 pm 0Likes

    Still not one person debating the legality or morality of the domain stance….very dissapointing but not at all unexpected. After all it’s a pretty hard stance to argue effectively on behalf of Domain.

    Since their is nil debate going on, I thought I would give a brief update instead.

    To para-phrase the singer meatloaf’s lyrics in that famous ballad – “now don’t be sad…. cause….two outa three ain’t bad”

    Domain has now backed down on 2 of the 3 pricing demands they made against PropertyNow. Helpful and just? Not at all. The third demand and impost remains and the price increase is still in the order of thousands of a per cent.

    PropertyNow is standing its ground and will continue to do so for as long as it takes. We have lost a lot of money already as we did last year in the battle with realestate.com.au and we will lose a lot more yet…but we are prepared for that eventuality.

    While Domains theme song may be Abba’s – ” Money,Momey,Money” I also know that at some stage ” I get knocked down but I get a up again” will hit the charts.

    Meanwhile NBN showed some courage to air this short segment last week –

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIuzSwFR2wo&context=C4a75e06ADvjVQa1PpcFM8q4q1rRsaJQKvuXvva_nooxEZxtJ_XXs=

    It’s not a very in depth news piece because of time constraints in local news, but at least the public are going to be told what’s going on from now on. Luckily Domain and REA don’t own quite all the media outlets just yet.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow Real Estate Agency

  • PropertyNow
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 1:26 pm 0Likes

    Further update as of yesterday.

    Domain has denied PropertyNow the right to upgrade an EXISTING clients listing on Domain to a Priority Placement.

    Specifically ( though they have not put this in writing ) they have posed a threat, whereby the client will only get what they are seeking in the event that PropertyNow accepts Domains price impost.

    I wonder if any reader ( Peter Ricci, Guy Robinson and Tim Bonnefin think crticically on these things and without any obvious bias) has an inkling of what this latest interference signifies? I feel the implications are astonishing.

    As staggered as I have been at Blameys decision making over the past 4 months, this latest decision even surprised myself. I scarcely saw this one coming and I am the ultimate pessimist when dealing with REA and Domain.

    Imagine, that at a time when Fairfax is losing truckloads of money, the CEO of Domain verbally and unofficially (so far)refuses a paid upgrade of our existing clients listing.

    We refunded the clients money yesterday ( after waiting 2 days for something that takes minutes normally) and we apologised to her for Domains actions.

    A shining light in our discussions with Domain has been the even handed approach of Domain’s Robyn Gunnis.

    Naturally she holds a position in the opposing camp and must and does respect that position.. but at least she is contactable, she listens and were it in her power to do so, she probably would have long ago mediated a solution or not created the disgraceful situation in the first place. Alas she is powerless in her position. Without her we would have no sounding board to Domain management whatsoever.

    Even Domains Legal Counsel, whom we were told by Blamey would handle everything, have been stony silent and uncontactable for weeks. This means we are in the astonishing position as a Domain client of 6 years, that we can get no answers or definitions about the very things that Domain selectively impose upon PropertyNow. Even the most rudimentary and necessary questions are either fully avoided answering or else answered in a way that is so generic or so ill defined…as to be useless to us in framing our business.

    Lets be clear – Domain started this fight and they impose their will on their client with no adequate or clear explanation.

    The relative bargaining positions of the two parties ( Domain and PropertyNow) is as unequal as it could possibly be.

    Yesterday’s escalation is exactly what Guy Robinson referred to several months ago and it can happen to any client. Guy postulated that Domain could do this to his business also later on and he is right.

    The important thing is that if Domain imposed the costs to Ray White offices or Raine and Horne offices that it imposes on PropertyNow, those offices would close their accounts with Domain in a heartbeat….and Domain know that.

    Yes folks. This is Australian Corporate Governance at work.

    Andrew Blachut
    PropertyNow

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