So it seems the PBL owned new real estate portal www.myhome.com.au will launch in January 2007, but more than likely they will be in no rush to market and it may be a few months later that it actually launches.
The alignment of Century21, LJHooker and Raine & Horne seems on face value to be a smart move, however rival groups majority owned by newspapers are making a very big deal of this and for good reason.
Judging by the response here, many agents do not want to be seen as lining the pockets of major franchise groups whilst supporting yet another major portal to their success only to see rapidly rising fees coming at them down the track. Ray White has been a major beneficiary of Realestate.com.au‘s success, but many agencies did not know this until recent times.
Now…..what of all of the other major franchise groups? Were they also approached. Which ones were? Which ones weren’t? If I were a director of another franchise group, I would be miffed if I was not given the opportunity to be an initial investor and would be loathe to support something that was only going to make my competitors stronger.
What about the owners of these franchise offices, do they get a share, or does it all just go to head office?
And finally, what about privately owned agencies? Time and time again they are not considered in any portal building plans, but they are the very thing that makes them truly successful.
It just strengthens my case for a private agency association to come to the fore in Australian real estate. Then you would see the major media groups wanting to deal with you first!
I consider the best real estate agencies in Australia to be ones owned privately, I am sure there are many exceptions but in all of my dealings I find many privately owned agencies to be the best at marketing vendors listings. The quality of some private agencies listings and advertising materials is outstanding.
The success of myhome.com.au will come down to many things, but the one major factor will be the spread of listings.
Major companies in Australia have a habit of big fluffy launches with no backbone and in this case backbone means listings. If I were a consumer I would want something different with all of the listings and this is something myhome.com.au will not have at launch or any time soon after.
So they must make a case for me to visit, it may be pretty, it may be fast, it may be user friendly but if it ain’t got what I am looking for and can find elsewhere there is little reason for me to return.
Over the years I have seen many flops because of the above paragraph, firstly they tell you why they are the best and why you should visit and how it will change your life!
Here are some examples.
Sensis Search – A favourite flop of mine, possibly the worst search engine I have ever come across, spent 10’s of millions on marketing and must be the most ‘visited once only’ website in Australia’s history. Spoke of the power of local search and didn’t they all seem so chuffed at launch, beaming that they had the next big thing and taking a swipe at the major search engines. Two years later less than 1% of the search engine market!
True Local, My Local, Whatever Local – What a great plan, let’s create a local search directory, contact every local business and tell them that if they get in early they will save a packet on subscription costs. Costs ranged up to $750.00 per annum and yes I have 3 clients who fell for it!
Total clicks from users visiting my clients sites so far = 13 for the year and yes that would be counting someone testing it and more than likely the agents clicking on it as well.
Oh and by the way, that is the combined visitor numbers of all 3 agents…. only $173 dollars a visitor!
“For less than $63 a month, xxxxxxxxx.com.au is the most cost effective way of getting your business in front of these potential customers.”
Or you can spend the same amount on Google Adwords and get thousands of visitors – your call!
Homehound.com.au – Not so much a flop but really not many people outside of inner Sydney know about it and it is supported by many of the same franchise groups as My Home. So it will be interesting to see what the marketing power of PBL can bring to the party in terms of the new portals success!
So how can myhome.com.au make a dent?
1. Channel Nine – Still a powerful force in television, despite every other media company trying to pull the down. They will also sponsor property (maybe a new unique show) shows to put pressure on vendors to ask agents to make sure they agency listing their property on the myhome.com.au website.
2. They will offer free trials, but free trials are tough if agents don’t get results during that trial period. Maybe first 3 months free on a 15 month subscription.
4. Magazines – Promoting the site through the powerful magazine market they own….
What positive effect could they have?
The first thing is bringing online real estate to more home across Australia, secondly they will, if successful put downward pricing pressure on other portals, which to me is a good thing.
Competition is a good thing, and realestate.com.au takes competition very seriously so if myhome.com.au launches with any unique (and good) you will see it added to realestate.com.au very quickly (as we have seen with mapping)