Up For Sale

4 minute read

Realestateguide is an Australian real estate portal who’s been operating under the radar for some time now. They appear to have found success in their SEO strategy and have in place a formula delivering a high number of property seeker leads to agents. To take this strategy to the next level and launch it nationally to all agents, the portal has been placed on the market for sale or investment funding.

I’ve recently discussed the merits of the portal with Craig Honeyman owner and Managing Director:

Q. Craig, what were your goals in establishing Realestateguide?

A. Our goal very early on was to develop a system that would deliver quality traffic and leads independently of major portal support. We do not upload to REA and never have.

Q. What are the key performance indicators for Realestateguide?

A. Between 2008-2010 we tested with only 1000 listings and received top traffic results

  • Close to 1 million visitors total
  • 772,000 Totally unique visitors direct from successful organic placements
  • Close to 80% Australian traffic
  • 4.3 million page views

With close to 1 million visitors in 3 years (on only 1000 listings) you can see how this platform would increase in traffic and leads exponentially if the data was increased dramatically.

Q. Craig, what differentiates the Realestateguide portal model from existing portals in Australia?

A. Our system should be thought of as one that bridges the SEO gap between the user and agent:

(1) User Search- Search Engine > (2) RealEstateGuide > (3) Agent Listings > (4) Leads to Agent

Our system also allows for unique custom keyword entries for each listing. This can be achieved by the agent logging into their account or by our main administration. As listings are upgraded to Feature or Executive placements, their ranking increases meaning more traffic is achieved.

The unique advantage of this platform is that when data increases, so too will the traffic and leads to advertisers. This is because of successful organic search structure. This system ranks the agents listings independently in Google and other engines as well as our main suburb or state directories.

Q. Does your model work and if so do you have solid figures to back it up?

A. This portal has been under slow development since 1999. We have deliberately kept this model back until we knew that it could deliver quality lead generation.

Since 2005 we invested a considerable amount of time, money and focus into back end structure and SEO for this platform. With 3 years of testing we received 89% of all traffic via (not paid) but organic search engine placements. In other words close to 90% of all visitors found us in a successful organic search. Google topped this at 71%.

The majority of agents who have tested receive quality lead generation above the majority of the larger free portals and some paid subscription based platforms.

Q. How much can someone buy Realestateguide for?

A. We are now requesting major industry funding and support to launch this portal to the next level. A total purchase of this portal model would be considered or part therein.

Is this just another portal beating their chest and pretending they do things better than their competitors? My opinion is no, as in relation to delivering property seeker leads I know for a fact they do achieve this. Only a handful of my clients list on Realestateguide but in discussions with 4 of them they’ve indicated that the enquiries they receive from Realestateguide are in most cases more than what they receive from Myhome or Homehound. This is quite an achievement given they only have 1000 listings on the portal.

I’ll let you be the judge for yourself but Craig is happy to answer any questions through the forum or can be contacted on 0457 080 683. Further details in relation to what’s on offer in the sale can be viewed here.

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  • Peter Mericka
    Posted March 10, 2011 at 10:21 am 0Likes

    Hey an internet portal for real estate – what a great idea!

  • real estate website
    Posted March 10, 2011 at 10:38 am 0Likes

    I can totally agree with Craig in relation to his leads versus those supplioed by the minor portals. At PropertyNow we find the same thing. With 150 listings we get one – two leads per month max from the two minor portals. This always suprises me as they seem quality sites and have lots of maturity in Google.

    I wish Craig well in finding a suitor for funding or buy out. We experience similar growing pains where investment or cash injections or JV’s become necessary. No doubt someone will see the value in his portal.

    Andrew Blachut
    Coffs Harbour

  • Andy Del Vecchio
    Posted March 10, 2011 at 2:14 pm 0Likes

    geez Peter, you thread killer !

    Who is opening the bidding?

  • Naomi Sweeney
    Posted March 10, 2011 at 2:31 pm 0Likes

    How much would set us back Craig if we were interested?

    P.S. Check out the stealth-like banner-ad are doing on this page (right-hand side, mid screen)

  • Craig Honeyman
    Posted March 10, 2011 at 3:18 pm 0Likes

    Hi Naomi,

    This system allows for both.

  • Vic
    Posted March 10, 2011 at 4:39 pm 0Likes


    I don’t know Craig, but decided to phone him because I saw similarities between where he has come from and where we are at and trying to go to and to explore wheteher an opportunity exists to do business together.

    MY take from the conversation: Craig’s a delightful down to earth open and honest person and anybody doing business with him could be assured that what you see is what you get. You are absolutely right about him…. no chest beating.

    Good luck Craig.

  • forsaleforlease
    Posted March 10, 2011 at 5:32 pm 0Likes

    Naomi has refused to accept my listings. does accept my listings.
    Home sales sees the bigger picture long term but also fear the agent assisted model at present. Why else would i be excluded. Every one has an angle.

  • Ryan O'Grady
    Posted March 11, 2011 at 7:42 am 0Likes

    Vic, he certainly is. Plus he’s been in the portal game for a long time so has valuable experience and knowledge.

  • John Roberts
    Posted March 14, 2011 at 2:04 am 0Likes

    Interesting. I was looking into this marketplace a few years ago, and decided against it due to lack of search volume, but that appears to have changed.

    I wonder what price he’d settle on?

  • Vic
    Posted March 15, 2011 at 6:28 pm 0Likes


    Has been great to talk with you on a range of your experiences.

    All the you beaut portal ideas and all the functionality are nothing unless you have a great business model, a vision, a sound strategy and capital to take it the next step.

    I can see the time will come when we will have to raise capital to take it to the next step.

    In the meantime, Craig you seem to have most of the elements there and I wish you all the best.

  • Lewis Nelson
    Posted March 16, 2011 at 3:58 am 0Likes

    A few General comments to those looking for long term (years) success with your Portal.

    1) Your Portal is worth nothing without Content and with real estate that means in 2011 you need Agents.

    2) Why are Agents paying when you should be paying them? What other industry gets FREE content that they can use to sell ads with. Certainly not TV or print media, why should digital be any different.

    3) Currently Agents are like the general public they don’t realize why FACEBOOK is valued in the Billions. That is changing as we speak around the world.

    4) If your site does not have privacy systems built in you not only endanger the sellers posting on your portal but you endanger the business of every agent who posts on your site. And for privacy systems we don’t mean a useless “terms of use” statement.

    5) Each Home posted online should be generating over $30,000 in ancillary sales from traffic alone. Based on a 20% marketing cost for those ancillary product sales, you have over $6000 of Content worth per Home Posted as a minimum.

    6) Brokers and Franchisors are not as ignorant as Agents. They know they need a solution to the portal problem that they control.


  • Craig Honeyman
    Posted March 16, 2011 at 10:25 am 0Likes

    Thanks Vic,

    i am honest enough to say i have done all i can with this system within my set of circumstances. Its been out my own pocket as it is for many of us. What it needs now is fresh input from a (team) who will take it to the next level.

  • Craig Honeyman
    Posted March 16, 2011 at 12:29 pm 0Likes

    Hey Lewis

    I remember what was like as a portal a few years back

  • Vic
    Posted March 16, 2011 at 1:18 pm 0Likes


    Lewis is on a crusade. If you check out his website you will see what I mean.
    However, it is good to see him post on this site and to get a feel for what the challenges are for the Australian real estate industry.

    The interesting thing about our portal industry (in Australia) is that no one yet has developed a portal based on “pay per lead”. Ultimately this would be the test- a “pay per lead” where, what you provide, is what an agent pays for.

    Has anybody tried this or even considered it?

  • Lewis Nelson
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 2:29 am 0Likes

    Portal Owners,

    The problem all portals around the world have, except in Canada, is top of mind awareness and url entering. In Canada this agent owned domain is both trademarked and contains over 90% of all listed properties with a legally required degree of accuracy and timelines. Content displayed means it was still available no less than 72 hours earlier. This means the entire country of home buyers goes to (formerly almost exclusively and they can rely on it to be accurate.

    With the death of print media the major media players in Canada are now trying to wrest some of this traffic away from to their own portals where 3rd party ads are being sold. Government intervention via “Competition Legislation” has recently interfered with what was originally designed to be.

    In all honesty none of this matters. If you forward project the net to 2015, online marketing will not look anywhere what it is today. With displays ranging from 3.5 inch pocket devices to 60″ connected T.V. the medium will be very different that what it is today. Current portal technology is already outdated from a property display perspective. Today’s portals are simply a search engine for real estate for sale in a specific marketplace, that are linked to outside sites which contain more content.

    In terms of marketing a portal that is only accomplished effectively by mass marketing with “necessitated traffic”. This means the consumer is directed to go there because that is the only place they can find more. Mass marketing of a portal is easy when you have thousands of agents running the words “see more at ?????.com” at the bottom of every marketing piece they run.

    The savvy entrepreneur in the portal business would be looking forward to 2015 (in all honesty 2013 it will begin) and creating a platform that works in the following:
    1) Targets a specific display size range
    2) Pays the Agent for the content posted (either shared revenues or per listing)
    3) Is exclusive in some way
    4) has a brand that is fully trademarkable
    5) Has a predetermined IPO process that allows current Agent content providers first right to purchase under terms established at date of original launch.

    The alternative is that sooner than later Agents will wake up, see the cupboard being raided and finally take action to resolve the situation themselves.

    Agents will need to be your partners not your customers by 2013.

    Think about this. Would FORD ever allow it’s entire marketing strategy for online product promotion to be controlled by Google Paid Ads? Of course not.

    All the best,

  • Craig Honeyman
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 9:56 am 0Likes

    I just Googled “new cars” and ford came up in the number#1 pos in adwords not to mention multiple organic placements. I am sure they don”t place their entire ms in googles hands but it does appear to me that they do invest quite heavily in it, would this mean they get results?

    Agents will always go where there is results no matter what the system is.

  • Deborah
    Posted March 31, 2011 at 8:38 am 0Likes

    Here – Here Craig. As it should be.

    People pay money because they want the results – you get what you pay for – the “list for free sites” IMHO have another agenda altogether which is simply – build data for my site so I can charge big dollars to 3rd party advertisers.

    You pay to advertise in Print/TV/Radio.

    People invest time and money to create a viable marketing tool – they should be able to ask a fee to use it.

  • Vic
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 5:14 pm 0Likes

    Hi Deborah,

    The philosphy you espouse on free to list sites is to some degree true, but it misses the point on why free to list sites exist.

    Free to listers believe in the mantra that all content on the net should be free. The philosophy is that the user should be able to be able to get a full range of available information, that is correct and current. Pay to list sites or subscription portals do not have this belief. However because they were first into the real estate market they have it by the short and curlies and free to listers struggle to become relavent.

    The way we look at content, when comparing us to print media, is that our listings are the content, the news stories the editorials etc. The third party advertisers come to us because because we have an audience they want to get to. This is no hidden agenda, it is the way newspapers, television and radio have always worked. In fact these media always PAY for their content. Ie through payment to their journalists, to freelancers through subs to AAP, Reuters etc.

    REA, domain etc are really big dinasoaurs who exist solely because they were first and the only options when they started up. Their model will have to, over time change,… not this year or even within the next two or three. All it needs is a Free to list that can take up all properties for sale or rent in Australia (and that includes FSOB), to emerge, with technology that is faster, and more accurately reflects what a user is wanting.
    Then the Subscription portals and pay to listers either change or wither on the vine. It is not a sustainable model. As PeterMericka points out, Real estate agents (the owners, or custodians of the content on REA etc,) have it within their power to effect the change in REA etc model. But as he also rightly points out it would be like “herding cats” to try to get a concerted cooperative effort from agents.

    However, the change will not come from this source (agents), but, as I alluded to earlier, it will come from the entrepreneur who has the technology and organizational skills to bring in a free to list that captures every listing, including FSBO, in Australia.

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