Is the Business Portal Industry Consolidating?

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Further to discussions about Seek Commercial making their way into the business for sale field, i thought it was time to write about a few observations I’ve made in the last 18 months as a budding internet marketer and entrepreneur.

Whilst there are major competitors in each field in the business portal industry we are all aware of the big three, Domain, Seek and REA. There are some smaller guys that are well worth mentioning and these days out rank and deliver better quality response to you as a business owner or business broker. The majors strongly rely on traffic derived from other verticals within their business, for example roughly 30 % of the real business traffic is direct from their site.

The large traffic volume which the bigger guys rely on is just that, volume. Not necessarily quality targeted traffic that the small sites are delivering. I’ve never seen any of the majors optimize keywords that drive organic traffic to their site that was based on quality content, articles or blog posts from relevant sources. This is what leads me to my next point that’s bound to shake things up a little.

It may be too much work and not enough in return for one major portal in particular. Is for sale? A little bird told me that another major is looking to take ownership so that REA can focus on their core business, whilst this will eliminate one competitor it will supercharge another. I’m not at liberty to make the comment on who the purchaser may be, though take your pick there are only two to choose from.

Another one to keep an eye on is the AIBB who has also just launched their platform for business brokers, word on the street is that they are aiming to become a major player in the online business for sale field within the next 12 months, they will however only offer their services to business brokers.

The business for sale market may not hold a big enough piece of the pie for the big wigs, which helps the likes of some of the industry specific sites like Listabusiness, business2sell & business-trader who focus heavily on quality traffic rather than volume, and seem to be giving these others a bit of a hard time.

Lets see what the next 12 months holds in store, i know I’ve got some work cut out for myself its going to be an interesting year in the business for sale niche/world.

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  • Ryan O'Grady
    Posted December 21, 2011 at 10:59 am 0Likes

    Hey Nicholas, welcome to business2. Nothing like breaking some cracking news with your first post. We hope to see more of this.

    This could well be true given moved away from the Holiday space earlier in the year. I’ll have a guess at the buyer being SEEK as I’m not sure REA would sell assets to their major competitor, also it would be in SEEK’s interest not to allow this to happen.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted December 21, 2011 at 11:42 am 0Likes

    Congrats & Welcome Nicholas. 🙂 It will be interesting to see how this unfolds. I’m with Ryan, SEEK seems to be the more obvious buyer if the sale does happen.

  • Business Trader
    Posted December 21, 2011 at 3:20 pm 0Likes

    Nick, seeing as though you are affiliated with ‘REA’, you are certainly in the box seat! If I were the owner of, I would simply use a redirect pushing all of the power to my core site ‘realcommercial’, which is exactly what it looks like they have done. Why allow a competitor to become even more powerful. Maybe they didn’t sell after all?

    From my understanding, the sites who spend big dollars on buying traffic (domain, Seek and REA), are not interested in certain areas of the business for sale industry as the rewards are not big enough.

    In my opinion, 2012 will be ‘business as usual’. Webmasters will be using every trick in the book to try and nail the #1 position in Google for highly searched terms. The problem is, tricks don’t work!

  • Nicholas Lowther
    Posted December 21, 2011 at 4:05 pm 0Likes

    Well Seek obviously are interested in the business for sale industry they only just started and they wouldn’t be spending the money on there paid search if they were not interested.

    The number #1 position is for sure a holy grail accolade however doesn’t necessarily ensure you of the #1 business.

    You only have to take that #1 position away and whats left ?

    Another 15,000 search terms..

  • Business Trader
    Posted December 27, 2011 at 8:32 am 0Likes

    What I said in my post was that the big sites were not interested in certain areas of the business for sale niche. I came to this conclusion after a meeting I had with some of the team leaders at REA a few months back.

  • Vanessa Lovie
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 4:56 pm 0Likes

    I find this article very interesting. 11 years ago we started as the business for sale industry online barely existed. Over the years we have seen so many sites come on board offering similar services and the big guns seek, domain, REA have always had the “image” as the place to go (mainly because of big campaigns). But in terms of traffic turning into results – ive heard a lot of complaints from brokers and private sellers. They charge the earth but dont always deliver results.

    The smaller sites tend to have a large presence in search engines for key terms, especially for specific regions e.g. “Business for sale Canberra” which is why its difficult for one site to dominate unless a huge marketing budget is allocated. There are a lot less businesses for sale then real estate, which is partly why smaller sites have survived.

    Private business sales are on the rise and the big guns choose to only advertise brokers (or rediculous fees for private sellers) so the smaller sites will always manage to survive. They have the presence, the content and the audience.

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