Upgrade your property on Realestate.com.au

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Following on from the upgrade your listing feature launched by Thehomepage a few months ago, Realestate.com.au have added a similar feature to their listings. If you view any property on Realestate.com.au and click on the Show Page Visits link above the property images you will notice a lightbox popup, highlighting the Listing Performance for the property along with the Upgrade options available.

Users (most likely property vendors) are provided with bar graphs showing the increased views, engagement, sharing and enquiries generated from upgrading your listing. They can then view examples of  the various upgrade options with a call to action opening a lightbox popup to contact your agent.

Its this call to action which I find very alarming. REA know they can’t leave the agent out of this process so they maintain its the agents responsibility to upgrade the property. But unlike the Thehomepage, REA are capturing vendor details when the vendor fills in the form to contact the agent and by default the form has this checkbox ticked:

Send me my weekly campaign report on the performance of my property

This is very sneaky, as Realestate.com.au are capturing property vendor details against an agent’s authority and in most cases without the agent knowing.  It is anyone’s guess what Realestate.com.au will use these vendor details for or what product(s) they will push on them next.

Many agents are not aware of this upgrade section on REA and I’ve heard reports from agents being blasted by vendors after they’ve seen it, accusing the agent of not providing them with the best marketing solution. If REA had made agents aware of this section, then agents could have the opportunity to direct vendors here at the beginning of a marketing campaign.

Note: this agent has been randomly selected for illustrative purposes and was not contacted about this article.

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  • Robert Simeon
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 11:53 am 0Likes

    The Achilles Heel for REA has always been its appalling customer relations with real estate agents – it simply does not have one.

    I was recently contacted by our new account manager (who was our account manager five years ago) who was then replaced with a fictional account manager who made no contact with us for five years. Makes one wonder who (or what) is running their weekly sales meetings?

    So going direct offers two explanations:

    * REA believe agents know nothing about online so they should be doing the up-selling to vendors.
    * Their relationship with real estate agents is that fractured that they should endeavor personally to improve its bottom line.

    I guess this would explain their weekly sales meetings fiasco which is obviously a non – work in progress model.

  • Glenn Rogers
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 11:57 am 0Likes

    I think this is a good move but for one very important thing, they’re targeting the Vendors in full public view.

    I’ve always thought showing the world how many visits your property has has is almost an invasion of privacy.
    Anyone looking to buy something only needs to say

    “””well thats my offer there’s been 1200 people look at it and you cant do any better”””

    There are cleverer ways to do this but you have to be clever to implement them don’t you.

  • Nick
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 12:05 pm 0Likes

    It does sound that getting vendors to hound their agents is the intention. If vendors could upgrade it themselves there would be no issue.

  • Peter D'Arcy
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 12:09 pm 0Likes

    Hi Ryan – thanks for bringing this suitation to our attention. We are lucky to have you guys keeping us informed on this issues.

    This is an very hostile move by REA and really illustrates their intention to by pass the agents. We as a group need to collabrate and form our own industry site – cause if we dont we will let a preditary organisation like News Ltd take over our business.

    If we dont all we are doing is funding REA to take away our bread & butter – surely we cant be that foolish.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 12:48 pm 0Likes

    If you’re the owner of the property and want to upgrade your listing then Contact Your Agent but don’t contact them directly (REA. How about putting a link to the agent’s website/contact us page?), instead contact your agent via the REA site so that we can capture you’re data and send you weekly reports.

    You could also recommend that they call the number on the for sale sign in their front yard. (tongue-in-cheek).

    From a revenue perspective, I think we can understand why they’ve done it this way, but, (even though the REA weekly reporting function is probably under-utilised by so many agents), I thought that REA might’ve realised by now that capturing the seller data and communicating directly is something that many agents will have an issue with.

  • Andy
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 12:49 pm 0Likes

    The intention is that the vendors will do these upgrades themselves without involving the agents at all.

    According to the SMH, reporting on the REA AGM, it’s already being trialled in Queensland currently: http://www.smh.com.au/business/property/ad-upgrade-to-help-sell-homes-20111116-1nj6r.html

  • Ryan O'Grady
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 12:58 pm 0Likes

    Thanks for the link Andy. Are there any Queensland readers out there who are involved with this trial? Perhaps you are but you don’t know about it.

    A question for the agent readers. If REA were allowing listing upgrades without capturing vendor details would that be fine?

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 1:55 pm 0Likes

    Did you know that upgraded listings generate UP TO 11 times more views than standard listings?

    Did you also know that there is no data to suggest that this equates to more sales?

    We all know that potential buyers search diligently all listings they are targeting.

    All agents need to do is inform their vendors that they are better off spending the money on upgrading their photography, details and perhaps a video and be ready and armed to inform vendors of this, rather than wasting money on premium listings.

    Was true 5 years ago and is still true today, a great, informative, well priced listing sells faster than anything with bells and whistles!

  • Stephen
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 2:23 pm 0Likes

    Completely agree with Peter’s last comment, which is something I have argued about with clients on a number of occasions.

    How does having a vendors listing highlighted as “greatest platinum feature with diamonds on top”, to be above all the regular “greatest features”, change the mind set of purchasor who wants to live in X suburb, with Y many bedrooms, in a house/unit that looks like Z and falls within their budget of M.

    Yes the ad may be viewed more often, but if its a listing that has been on the market for 9 months and has 4,000+ views that kinda sends the wrong message as well.

    That all being said the blatant grab for more $ by REA will not make their Agent clients think any less (or more) of them.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 3:54 pm 0Likes

    I don’t think Domain would be stupid enough to copy this initiative (I use the term loosely) as it is a complete no – brainer!

  • Vic
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 4:02 pm 0Likes

    It seems we all agree that a pemium property is likely to be viewed much more than a standard listiing, what we don’t know is whether as a consequence of these additional viewings a property is more likely to sell quicker and/or for a higher price. Until more than anecdotes are quoted to the contrary, what REA are promoting is more viewings and nothing else. Therefore, if agents are not prepared to give this option to their vendor I see nothing wrong with REA promoting direct to the vendor.

    However I would say the flaw in REA’s policy is that they don’t allow the vendor to enter and pay directly for the up grade themselves. I think REA has taken this position because they are “gunshy” of potential agent backlash against inserting themselves between nagent and vendor.

    In respect to the amount of Vendor data needed by REA from the vendor, this is where I would complain if I was an agent.

  • Goerge Savva
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 4:20 pm 0Likes

    It is another direct attack by this portal on the Real Estate industry.

    There is a simple action that would stop this and other portals in their tracks and that is for the major groups to put all their differences aside, favour one portal and delay posting of listings to domain.com.au & realestate.com.au by say 48 – 72 hours.

  • Peter Lister
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 6:31 pm 0Likes

    I can’t believe people are worried about this.
    Firstly Robert Simeon Domain already accept listings from the public already circumventing the agent, Realestate.com.au don’t (yet).
    I think we as agents undersell the value we offer to our clients. Online advertising is small part of what we offer, advertising in general is a small part. If we are worried about realestate.com.au informing OUR customers of advertising options, then we haven’t sold them our value as agents. They are directing them back to us and I as the expert will discuss with the customer on the best option. And what is the realestate.com.au rep going to do with the customer detail??? sell it? The most they could do is come and tell me that X number of my customers selected to upgrade their property, and I would say that I discussed the best options with my customer and have actioned it appropriately. Or email the customers and say your property hasn’t been upgraded yet blah blah blah.
    I would take issue if they took their money directly, as the best option might not always be a top listing product and that money could be money I could have used more appropriately. But they haven’t, yet, but it will happen and we will need to tell our customers not to purchase the products or discuss with us before doing anything.
    It may come one day that realestate.com.au will challenge us as competitors, but right now they are a partner(of sorts) that holds market share of the online market. We wouldn’t be doing the right thing by our customers if we didn’t use them. if we upgrade or not the decision is up to us.
    And the SMH article is printed by one of realestate competitors to incite anger in agents, as in some of the respondents on this article.

  • Sal Espro
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 8:30 pm 0Likes

    Anyone know the upgrade options agents are to offer?
    I’m an old timer and even I think portals seem old hat in 2011. Won’t they be sidestepped by less expensive and better options soon anyway?

  • ForSaleForLease
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 9:00 pm 0Likes

    I challenge their statistics. They have chosen to use base when they first introduced premiere listings, this spike would most likely be attributed the agents checking the listings and the minimal number of premier listings at this time, so the novelty factor would distort the real figures.
    ” Based on activity on realestate.com.au between May 31 2010 and September 30 2010. Property sample compared all Premiere Property, Feature Property and Standard Listings, in the same suburbs and during the same time period. Adjustments were made to avoid biases due to location or seasonality.”
    Were the adjustments made to support their spin? I think so. They then go on to use the term “may”produce 11 times more views. This to me says they have also used the most extreme example they could find. Otherwise they would have used the term median or average increase.
    Either way I agree with the other posts the more important stat is whether paying the substantial premium for the premier property upgrade helps you sell for a higher price more quickly. I don’t recommend it as the money is better spent elsewhere.

  • ForSaleForLease
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 9:31 pm 0Likes

    The vendor’s should ask their professional traditional full service agents for impartial advise on where their advertising dollars are best spent to receive the most enquiry, because this is what will be given? I think not.
    Agents sell advertising to find new vendors and build their own brand. The consumer is becoming more aware of this every day.
    Their is no better example of this conflict of interest with regard to advertising advise given than where I live. The dominate five local agents got together with an editor of Age and a solicitor and transferred 12million dollars a year worth of advertising away from The Melbourne Weekly a Fairfax publication and created The Weekly Review which they now own. Would these agents be providing the best possible advise on where their clients advertising should be spent?

  • Lisa Tremolada
    Posted November 21, 2011 at 9:41 pm 0Likes

    In our experience, Domain.com.au have been more supportive and accommodating to us, as real estate business owners. Re.com.au have been arrogant and have the belief that they can charge what they like , more or less, because they believe we need them to survive. You only have to ask real estate agents what they think of re.com.au and you ll find the answer. Agents say ‘necessary evil’ etc. They simply don’t have great relationships with their customers. Why? They need to address this. With social media and action groups, it’s only going to get worse for them. This just highlights the fact, yet again, that Agents must be looking at their own website presence and working on search engine optimisation strategies. (If I had to choose one portal to deal with, it would be domain. )

  • Glenn Rogers
    Posted November 22, 2011 at 8:39 am 0Likes

    The Institutes once again should be taking a more active roll, they are the agents Union after all.

  • MAC
    Posted November 22, 2011 at 9:18 am 0Likes

    Good one, Glenn.*L* Try training and accreditation service provider that would like to think it was something more commercial.

  • Karla
    Posted November 22, 2011 at 9:31 am 0Likes

    Is it possible that interested parties could sign up for this feature that are in fact not the vendor? I always knew as an agent you could add vendor details in agent admin on re.com.au to keep them up to date on the property performance

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted November 22, 2011 at 9:41 am 0Likes

    Peter Lister – you obviously don’t get it!! I was not talking about private sellers!!

  • Sal Espro
    Posted November 22, 2011 at 10:12 am 0Likes

    What does The Home Page reckon its ‘upgrade’ rate is? How do the costs compare?

  • PaulD
    Posted November 22, 2011 at 10:42 am 0Likes

    Vic, You Challenge their statistics. So do I. Allegedly our office has received 2650 property visits in the last week, resulting in 21,500 “engagements” and the net result of all that is ZERO email enquiry. Even 1 email would have given us 1 chance in 2500 of some success. They say that the chance of winning something in the $2 lottery is 1 in 20, but we got ZERO so that is absolutely no chance with REA. 11 times ZERO is still ZERO.

  • Matt
    Posted November 22, 2011 at 3:38 pm 0Likes

    “Engagements”! This lot don’t stop! Next REA will be quantifying how many seconds a user remains on site, just to give them another number to boast about!

    “This month at REA, we generated 345,892,901 seconds of exposure for your listings!”

    Panos wines us, dines us, talks to us, tweets to us, lectures to us, grooms us to spend more money with him – he’s just like us, he knows our business, just ask him! – Yet, not content with that, he points open palms directly toward our vendors. I’m now even happier to admit that Domain get 70% of our online spend (Sydney). That’s to say, until they try something like this!

  • forsaleforlease
    Posted November 22, 2011 at 9:20 pm 0Likes

    I would not necessary have a problem with the REA offering up sells to my vendors that wished to try their premium advertising products.
    1. If they were transparent about the potential benefit and not focussed on the spin.
    2. If they didn’t collect the owners details and
    3. If they were prepared to pay a fee for the opportunity by either offering a free priority listing or 20% of the revenue generated as a discount from our subscription costs. This way I would feel we had a partnership rather than being squeezed dry at every turn. This approach would instantly quash all the talk about building competitor sites and start building some good will among agents, particularly the larger franchise firms who could collectively hurt them if they collectively got organised. This goodwill is currently lacking which they will need it in the future if they are to maintain their current dominance.

  • Glenn Rogers
    Posted November 23, 2011 at 11:39 am 0Likes

    I wonder if they might suggest agants to the vendors that are more likely to use the upgrade……. that might be the next step.
    Once a portal has direct access to your Vendors it becomes dangerous from a number of angles.

  • Vic
    Posted November 23, 2011 at 5:26 pm 0Likes

    Perhaps we are jumping to conclusions regarding REA intentions. Seems Greg Ellis is stating that it is only by arrangement with agents, that they will offer the service. See latest article in http://www.propertyportalwatch.com

  • Glenn Rogers
    Posted November 23, 2011 at 8:56 pm 0Likes

    Hard to believe they won’t try to interact with Vendors in other ways once they get direct contact with them, why not just direct them back to the agent if they want to upgrade ?
    Any direct approach to YOUR vendors from one of the major portals is frankly out of line.
    Wait and see what the deal is I guess.

  • Jezza
    Posted November 23, 2011 at 11:44 pm 0Likes

    oh what rubbish some of you talk.

    Never lose sight that its not YOUR property. If you present potential vendors with all the options in the first instance it shouldn’t be a problem.

    They call, ask you what the premium spot is about, you explain it was one of the more exe spots they agreed was not required…simple. If they have second thoughts based on the REA pitch then they pay for it….simple again.

    The question is, why are true professionals who offer true value to their vendors worried about?

    So whats the real issue? and don’t hit me with the conspiracy BS about it starting here and ending up with REA staff being agents.

    Can someone tell me whats wrong with REA contacting vendors in the first place? They are not agents….

  • Glenn Rogers
    Posted November 24, 2011 at 8:12 am 0Likes

    Well I’ll tell you Jezza, you’re obviously not an agent or you wouldn’t have asked the question.

    The issue is the Vendor is the client of the Agent, the Agent is retained to handle ALL aspects of the marketing and sale of the property.

    It is presumptuous and unethical of a 3rd party to jump in between the Agent and their client to target the client for marketing purposes.

    The Agent could give permission but they risk the 3rd party disrupting their relationship perhaps giving conflicting advice leading to the client becoming dissatisfied and making the completion of the Agents task difficult and perhaps impossible.

    It’s not the Agents property but the client is the agents appointed representative to the exclusion of all others.

  • Tatiana Mijalica
    Posted November 24, 2011 at 10:01 am 0Likes

    Without the price being included in the vendor pitch for Premier Property ($2000 +) most of the enquiries will be a waste of the agents time anyway.

    REA should be transparent in the way they role this out and make the vendor aware of all options AND pricing.

    The product is clearly overpriced and should be adjusted to current market conditions.

    If it wasn’t more Agents and vendors would be utilising it already and REA would not be bringing out a new feature property product called Highlight, sitting in between a feature property and premier property.

    I have more of an issue with the default ticked box:
    “Send me my weekly campaign report on the performance of my property”

    These reports should be automated to the Agent not the vendor, as all reporting forms part of the Agents weekly vendor meetings and is crucial to relationship maintenance with the vendor.

    I have repeatedly campaigned to automate these reports to the Agent as it is too time consuming to have to pull out the reports from all portals weekly, especially during Spring.

    However there is no revenue attached to this so of course it can’t be automated to the Agent, but can to the vendor for an upgrade enquiry. Major customer service fail.

  • RMac
    Posted November 24, 2011 at 12:35 pm 0Likes

    I was unaware of this new feature launched by REA until posted here, and I assume agents were also treated like mushrooms and not informed of it’s release.

    Who knows what interaction, marketing, spam campaigns will occur between REA and the vendor once they’ve collected contact information.

    Might have to adjust my junk mail rules to include my “campaign” reports.

  • List a business
    Posted November 24, 2011 at 1:56 pm 0Likes

    Its a move that has come about as many others are now offering direct contact with vendors. Homesales for example now are offering direct to customer @ $199 per listing. Rea’s previous model didnt support this.
    I wouldnt be to concerned there are so many sites that offer a listing service as a result of high fees to list on REA.. i think there loosing the control they once had.

  • Glenn Rogers
    Posted November 24, 2011 at 4:57 pm 0Likes

    “””””””””It’s not the Agents property but the agent is the clients appointed representative to the exclusion of all others.””””””””””

    Corrected, excuse the typo 🙂

  • MAC
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 9:12 am 0Likes

    Anyone want to write a post on http://theage.domain.com.au/real-estate-news/blogs/domain-investor-centre-blog/whose-data-your-data-20111124-1nvxo.html ? (Taxpayers pay for VG to collect data but only Real estate industry can access it directly).

  • Jezza
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 10:51 pm 0Likes

    “It is presumptuous and unethical of a 3rd party to jump in between the Agent and their client to target the client for marketing purposes.”

    Ah that ol’ one Glenn.

    So what your saying is, once a vendors signs off with an agent nobody is allowed to suggest any service or product that might help them sell their house?

    Absolute rubbish. Its the Vendors house FULL STOP. If the agent does his or her job right and controls their relationship properly they shouldnt have anything to worry about.

    Any other logic on the matter 1) is beyond belief 2) exposes poor agents.

  • Vic
    Posted November 29, 2011 at 8:16 am 0Likes

    Jezza- couldn’t agree more. Agents should look at the REA tactic as a “Glass half Full” instead of “Half empty”. Take this attitude and will be a Win, Win, Win- agent, vendor and REA.

  • Marie Waters
    Posted February 12, 2012 at 12:58 am 0Likes

    REA are aiming to become the granddaddy of commission tapeworm… The behemoth version of the vendor’s advocate. You blind mice feeding off their deceptive cheese are gonna get whacked by them sooner than you think. Glass half full. Yeah, sure. As full as the drunkards who once gave a delusional Austrian the title of Vice Chancellor.

    Good on you REA. Longing for your day in the “phone hacking equivalent” Sun. And, as your biggest shareholder recently murmured, it will be the most humble day of your life.

  • Samantha
    Posted April 23, 2014 at 11:58 am 0Likes

    I find it ironic that there are a vast amount of what looks to be Real Estate Agents on this thread calling in moral and ethical arguments and banging the drum! One comment has what you could only assume come from a Real Estate Agent calling for some fair and open transparency! Say no more…
    And for the record, all the local marketing, the big pull up boards, the photos of your faces on bus stops and on the rear ends of tractors won’t help at all – the only thing that sells houses is finding a listing you like on Real Estate or Domain online and then viewing the open. It doesn’t matter how you dress or what you say/imply/don’t say/don’t imply – it comes down to the right person walking through. They won’t care that your face is on the back end of a bus or that you stuffed the mailbox full with tacky flyers, what sells the house is the house.

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