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Opinion Editorials

RealSeekr Partners with RealEstateShows & MLBroadcast, Hits 2.5M Listings!

RealSeerk.com launches newer, more social media-ier platform with Real Estate Shows and MLBroadcast integration!


Today, It’s ON!

Ooooh, we got our hands on RealSeekr.com’s press release that will not be issued until tomorrow morning, and the tech elves that live in their system have not even finished their work yet (meaning all new feeds and all refreshed listings and secondary images, etc. will not be revealed until the elves are done). But, keep checking RealSeekr.com for the updates to be rolled out any minute (and be the FIRST to know the big huge news by continuing to read)!

As Trump Says, This is HUGE

RealSeekr.com revs up its searchable property listings to over 2.5 million, as it continues on a path of becoming the largest online real estate search destination in North America.

In the 8 weeks since launch, 32 new markets have been added to the RealSeekrSM community. In cooperation with MLS’, Listing Associations and Sponsored Brokers, in local and regional markets, RealSeekrSM now contains listings from 34 States and District of Columbia. At this projected growth rate, RealSeekrSM anticipates having over 3 million home listings in its database by August 2008. Grant Freer, founder and CEO of Real Seekr, LLC, is confident RealSeekr.com will have the most listings of any site in North America by the year’s end.

MLBroadcast and Real Estate Shows Join In

RealSeekrSM also announces partnerships with Real Estate Shows (www.realestateshows.com) and ML Broadcast (www.mlbroadcast.com), as RealSeekrSM continues to integrate more features to allow users to enhance their property listings online.

Partnering with Real Estate Shows and MLBroadcast is simply the next level of advanced features, technology and social interactivity to provide users with a comprehensive tool for buying, selling and researching residential real estate – supporting users to Seek, Learn, Share & ConnectSM.

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Why This is Hot!

“With RealSeekrSM, we have utilized the newest Web technologies to make home search – Social, Useful & FunSM,” says Freer. “Additionally, RealSeekr’s partnerships with RealEstateShows.com and MLBroadcast.com will further enhance the social media experience for everyone with Video Tours and Video Podcasts. We are extremely excited about the products and opportunities that these two valuable partners bring to the RealSeekr community.”

RealSeekrSM provides detailed information on each property including photos, videos, descriptions, audio tours, maps and more. With the inclusion of RealEstateShows.com, users can create the look and feel of TV commercials using digital photos in less than 5 minutes! “Additionally, users will discover the ease of use of RealEstateShows and that it plays in both dynamic flash and video formats” says Jeff Turner, President, RealEstateShows. Similarly, the MLBroadcast service allows real estate professionals to promote listings through a unique web broadcasting system which includes professional voice-over narration. “We’re excited about the opportunity to provide our clients with additional exposure in RealSeekr’s dynamic new resource,” says Michael Price, President, MLBroadcast.

The Concept is Simple

Grant Freer explains the RealSeekrSM concept simply, “RealSeekr.com is an IDX portal that is socializing real estate by marrying property search with social media.” In essence, RealSeekr is a community populated by millions of nationwide listings with the ability to connect and network instantly with one another using a variety of communication channels.

RealSeekrSM is presenting at the Inman Real Estate Connect Conference in San Francisco, July 23-25, as one of the 7 New Ideas that will change the future of online real estate.

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

88 Comments

88 Comments

  1. Jeff Turner

    July 21, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Lani, we’re very happy to be joining MLBroadcast in partnering with RealSeekr! We think it’s a win for everyone involved.

  2. Laura Monroe

    July 21, 2008 at 10:11 am

    Whoa, this is HUGE! Congrats to Mike @ MLBroadcast and Jeff at RES…this sounds awesome. Looking forward to sharing with clients.

  3. Matt Stigliano

    July 21, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Awesome news, awesome scoop, awesome site.

    Congratulations Gia and Grant. Perhaps the Hula Hoops powered this recent good news?

  4. The Harriman Team

    July 21, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Congrats Gia, Grant, Jeff & Mike! Looking forward to seeing the new partnership in action!

  5. Gia & Grant Freer

    July 21, 2008 at 10:57 am

    We are absolutely thrilled to be working with RealEstateShows and MLBroadcast!

    @Matt those Hula Hoops came in handy since we’ve been chained to our computers for weeks. 😉

    Gia & Grant (aka G & G 😉 )

  6. Frank Jewett

    July 21, 2008 at 11:41 am

    Over 2.5 million listings… just like Overstock.com.

    I know RealSeekr is a friend of the site, but bragging about how many listings you have is so 2007.

  7. Irina Netchaev

    July 21, 2008 at 11:49 am

    Sounds like a great venture… Can’t wait to check it out!

  8. Bob

    July 21, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    And I need this why?

  9. Brad Nix

    July 21, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Hugs all around to everyone involved, I think you are all great people and this sounds like a good marriage of technologies. However, I’d love to hear some response to #6 and #8 above. Does the public use RealSeekr? Any numbers to compare vs T, Z & R?

  10. Frank Jewett

    July 21, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Brad, here are some Alexa rankings.

    Overstock.com – 799

    Realtor.com – 976

    Zillow.com – 1,510
    Trulia.com – 2,042

    Remax.com – 4,819

    ActiveRain.com – 6,168

    MLSListings.com – 18,749 (public face of my regional MLS)

    Localism.com – 61,203

    AgentGenius.com – 99,335

    RealSeekr.com – 371,982

    Obviously RealSeekr is new to the party, but they face an uphill climb. Overstock.com doesn’t rank #799 based on their real estate listings, but they are a major internet brand and it wouldn’t take much to plug real estate listings as part of their ongoing advertising campaigns.

    My response earlier wasn’t questioning the relevence of RealSeekr. They could add value in ways that would differentiate them from other real estate portals. My point is that listings are no longer a differentiator. They have become a commodity. The 2.5 million listings claim is a “metoo” in 2008.

    But Web 2.0 is often more about hype than substance, much like Web 1.0, AKA “the dot-com bubble.”

  11. Ken Smith

    July 21, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Anyways to expand on Bob’s comment about why we need this. More important to me is why should I be excited about a national portal getting all it’s listings from an IDX feed provided by my competition?

    If I search for listings in Arlington Heights all the listings are provided by one Chicago agent. His contact information is all over all my listings and every other agents…how is this something any agent should get excited about?

    As a side note when you forget to do the math and hit submit it shouldn’t wipe out your whole comment.

  12. Vicki Moore

    July 21, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Technology and networking have created amazing results with this project. It’s a creative and innovative tool for agents created by agents who actually sell real estate.

    Bob – That’s something you have to determine for yourself. You may not need it. It’s a tool for your arsenal.

    Frank – Lani can correct me if I’m wrong but 2.5 is a gauge to see the progress the site has made in its short life – something people can factor in when deciding whether or not it will be useful to them.

  13. Vicki Moore

    July 21, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    You guys sneaked up on me. 🙂

    Ken – Do you use Realtor.com or comment on Trulia? It seems that most sites have a primary agent listed – the one who pays to be there.

    Frank – It’s my recollection that RealSeekr has been online – what? – a month? If listings weren’t mentioned then someone is going to say: Doesn’t it have listings?

  14. Benn Rosales

    July 21, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    @ken- we’ve asked the plugin writer for a fix, one is forthcoming – we know, it happens to us too. But with the volume of spam we’re getting, I just can’t take it down.

    @Frank- very well put together comment indeed, and yes, they are new to the party, RS is still in beta and it is a 3 pronged launch for very good reason.

    Here is why I think RealSeekr is leaps ahead of something ’07- first, because it has a more complete and accurate picture of products on the market, that in and of itself (because it’s still a baby) is a huge accomplishment, and I give them all of the credit in the world as they did it w/o a single drop of venom against agents in general.

    What is not ’07 about it is that it includes instant access reach from the consumer to me- period. It doesn’t matter what agent served the feed, what matters is that the connectivity is to *me,* not the serving agent. I would take a DM twitter message any day over an email that could very well end up in my spam box (this actually happened last night).

    Here is another little known fact- unlike realtor.com or other platforms, they actually listen to the agent. They have gone out of their way to amend and adapt many of the suggestions laid out here at ag when they launched (which we’ll be writing about soon). I really like the idea of a company that doesn’t keep making a mistake (t and z forums) regardless of agent concerns. For example, q&a will be geo coded and answers randomized. How long have the masses been complaining about that? They even removed thumbs up and down to answers.

    Grant and Gia are the most transparent folks on the planet who love talking about and adapting their product to agents’ needs and wishes as well as consumers’. I would invite anyone who has deeper questions to give them a shout: @realseekr on twitter.

    I root for the little guy. RealSeekr is built by hand by Grant & Gia with their own money- no funding. So to compare it to some 15 million or 50 million dollar VC-funded company is a little unfair.

    I encourage anyone to get involved, ask questions and make suggestions, they’re open and ready for new ideas that will further your business.

  15. Ken Smith

    July 21, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    Yes I use Realtor.com (enhanced)
    No I don’t use Trulia
    No as of current status I wouldn’t use ReelSeekr

    Compare how the listings are displayed:
    ReelSeekr
    Trulia
    Realtor.com

    To be 100% fair I used the same listing on all sites and made sure not to pick one that is enhanced on any of the sites.

    ReelSeekr doesn’t link to the brokers site and brands the page to make it look like Scott Berg is the listing agent.

    Trulia links to listing broker (or source), doesn’t brand the pages to another broker.

    Realtor.com doesn’t link to broker, but doesn’t brand to another agent. Clear who listing agent is and what their contact info is.

  16. Ken Smith

    July 21, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    Benn please explain why you feel this “because it has a more complete and accurate picture of products on the market”.

  17. Matt Stigliano

    July 21, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    My feelings are that although young, this could grow in something incredible. I already like what I see. Benn’s comments about Grant and Gia are right on the mark as I have spoken to Gia in depth and Grant a bit too. They want to listen, they want to adapt, and they want you to help to make it yours. This to me seems like a great start to anything.

    Call me green and inexperienced, but just based on the calls I get selling me this or that, its all about the dollar for many companies and while I’m sure Grant and Gia wouldn’t mind retiring thanks to the billions realseekr.com pulls in (billions is just a number I picked, please don’t say “Matt said they’re making billions off of me!”), I don’t think that’s necessarily what they are doing. I don’t know, I just get a good feeling when speaking with them. I trust them. I want them to succeed, because I like them. Isn’t that what we’re all searching for as agents, that sort of feeling from our clients towards us? Its a cool tool with an adaptability I have yet to see elsewhere. I’m already dreaming up things I’d like to see. Why not jump into the experiment and try thinking of ways you’d like to work in the online-realm and ways that the site could benefit from new ideas.

    Maybe I just see this as a great time to get into something and have a say in how it works and what it does, instead of just taking the usual routes and doing things the old way. Remember, at some point, someone had to sit up and say…”wait a minute…an online search engine for properties? Genius!” Before that, we’d all be looking at stacks of paper files in binders (and I’m sure some of you did at one point). I know I wouldn’t want to do that (I never did thankfully), but it took pioneers and people with vision. Sure there are tools out there that do similar things, but this is one tool that you can help shape and I for one want to be a part of anything that gives me that ability.

    Lani asked me the other day how I wound up at agentgenius and I had to admit I couldn’t remember exactly. What I can tell you is that no agent told me about it. No broker gave me the link. I found it because I wanted it to be found. In order to grow, you’ve got to be willing to jump in there and do something. I must have googled around, came across it, and gave it a try. Well…here I am. Not only do I learn from it, but I’ve made new friends and am now learning from them as well. If it wasn’t for my willingness to take that step, I wouldn’t have gotten here and I’d be just another agent, sitting in an office, wondering how to get things started.

  18. Frank Jewett

    July 21, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    Vicki, Overstock.com had 2.5 million listings the day they opened. These days almost anyone could get access to 2.5 million listings, so it’s a non-event, whether it happens on day one or day thirty.

    Benn made some points about the perspective of RealSeekr. That is a point of differentiation with many of the other online real estate portals and it may be the final point of differentiation because everything else is being sublicensed, copied, or mashed together.

    Here’s another example of a differentiator that is quickly losing relevence. Property valuations, accurate or not, were once a point of differentiation. Zillow had Zestimates and that feature drew consumers, even if those Zestimates were “for entertainment purposes only.”

    Have you seen Redfin lately? I happened to click a link to a listing earlier today and I ended up on Redfin. Their listings now have valuations from Zillow, Cyberhomes, and Eppraisal all on one page. If property valuations are what draws me, why would I visit any of those three sites first when I can access a survey of valuations from all three through Redfin?

    Eventually someone else will have 4, 6, or 10 property valuations mashed on their listings pages. Online property valuations will become another commodity, just like listings themselves.

  19. Frank Jewett

    July 21, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Ken, you’ve hit on an important point of differentiation that I hadn’t noticed. I’ve seen Trulia’s pitch in person and they make a point of mentioning that they don’t sell advertising around your listing, only on aggregated listings (search) pages.

    My eye went directly to the following:

    This listing is brokered by:
    ARLINGTON PROPERTIES
    Office: (847) 670-8540

    I actually had to look for Berg’s info because I’ve become accustomed to ignoring the “artwork” section at the top of the page. If you hadn’t pointed it out, I would have thought that space was reserved for the RealSeekr branding only.

    Consumers, on the other hand, might well start at the upper left and think Berg had the listing.

  20. Gia & Grant Freer

    July 21, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    Thanks for everyone’s feedback and opinion so far. As many of you know, RealSeekr is barely 8 weeks old and seeking (no pun intended) to innovate in a space that benefits everybody. Overcoming the data integration hurdles of multiple listing feeds from source (not syndicated) has been a challenge in and of itself. The advantage that this listing strategy has, is that the consumer can now enjoy a far more informative and complete experience through the added value that enhanced listings with real-time interaction provides. Closing the gap between the consumer online searching for property and the professional is what RealSeekr is all about. Coming together as a community to engage, interact, discover, network and communicate, using social media around millions of listings, and enabling that natural organic search traffic to find its way through profiles (with all the link love to agents’ external sites and blogs) is the essence of what we’re trying to build. Incorporating a variety of communication channels within the site now enables all of us to engage and interact at the point of search, rather than waiting for that nomadic email to find its way to your inbox (or spam folder). While still in Beta, our goal is to enable as many agents to participate as possible which can only be accomplished by adding new MLS coverage areas. Gia and I realize just how important it is to communicate, listen and respond. As Agents ourselves we understand how important it is to get this right and with everyone’s input, suggestions and feedback, RealSeekr will only get better and better.

  21. Ken Smith

    July 21, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    @ Grant what about the question I posed about the branding of an agent who isn’t the listing agent around our listing?

    @ Frank – The public in general will notice the branding and that is who will get some if not most of the calls.

  22. Frank Jewett

    July 21, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    Ken, I don’t disagree with you at all. One of the reasons I participate in forums like AgentGenius is to gain perspective from others that differs from my own. You led my eye to something that I would have missed otherwise, simply because I scan pages in a different manner than many people. Thanks!

  23. Gia & Grant Freer

    July 21, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Ken,

    Thanks for the question. Brokers and Agents in most markets are permitted to have IDX websites which list every active property in their MLS whether they are the listing agent or not. That being said, most MLS’ also require that the actual listing agent and/or brokerage information be clearly displayed on the listing – which it is. A premium agent on RealSeekr will claim and enhance their listings and then the site has 2 major branding points for them (as listing agents) on each listing- their office and their photo show up on the property page with links to their other websites in a bright yellow box to draw the consumer’s eye: https://www.golisting.com/default.asp?page=property&id=815948&v=display . It also gives the consumer and listing agent the opportunity and ability to directly communicate with one another in real-time. The branding of an area is not by choice but by the legal requirements of the MLS’.

  24. Bob

    July 21, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    The advantage that this listing strategy has, is that the consumer can now enjoy a far more informative and complete experience through the added value that enhanced listings with real-time interaction provides.

    Real time interaction with which agent? The listing agent from Baird and Warner or Scott Berg, who paid for the branding?

    If it’s Berg, the odds of him knowing anything about the property are slim. If its the listing agent, then why have Berg on the listing? This lends confusion, not transparency.

  25. Frank Jewett

    July 21, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Count me among those confused by that explanation. Ken was clearly referencing the branding in the upper left corner of the screen. Are you saying that the local MLS is responsible for that branding?

  26. Gia & Grant Freer

    July 21, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    There is no real-time interaction with the top header. The top header is the sponsoring broker’s website, including their own URL which is integrated into the RealSeekr community. The real-time communication box applies to the premium listing agent themselves which is presented in an eye-catching format. All agents can be found and searched for within our Agent search area, and even this functionality we took to another level by offering everyone multiple ways to be found within the community, for example, by company, languages spoken, specialty, brokerage type etc, as well as including multiple ways for everyone to engage and interact.

  27. Ken Smith

    July 21, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    IDX websites which list every active property in their MLS whether they are the listing agent or not.

    An IDX only shows the listings that listing agents allow to be seen. You need a VOW to show every active listing.

    A premium agent on RealSeekr will claim and enhance their listings and then the site has 2 major branding points for them (as listing agents) on each listing

    But until I pay your ransom premium fee the most obvious contact information belongs to my competition. Oops just looked at your example and notice that the IDX suppling broker is still there even after I pay your premium fee, is that correct?

  28. Gia & Grant Freer

    July 21, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    Ken,

    Please email us at info [at] realseekr.com with your telephone number and Gia and I would be delighted to call you and answer all of your questions. We’re packing for San Francisco, but would be happy to pause and chat on the telephone with you. Best, G & G

  29. Bob

    July 21, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    Simple question – if a consumer lands on the property Ken showed, who will they have real time interaction with?

  30. Benn Rosales

    July 21, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    The listing agent.

  31. Dan Connolly

    July 21, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    It seems to me to be a lot like Realtor.com. As I understand it, the basic listing has some info and the phone number of the brokerage on it and agents who pay for an upgrade get to put their own contact info on their own listings, plus a wide array of other nifty videos and audios to enhance the users experience. So from a traditional “listing agent’s” perspective on the surface it looks like it could be a good thing. If all you do is list property and you are tired of print media, this could look like a good opportunity for advertising your listings. Many will think “If it draws traffic to your listings it has to be a good thing!”

    We are back to the same point that is made every time a big listing portal makes its debut on the scene. Do we really want the Trulias, Zillows, REMAX.com, Prudential, GMAC, Coldwell Banker, Century 21 and now Real Seeker to fill all of the top spots on the search engines when searching for “Our City Real Estate”? For the agent that isn’t just looking for how to advertise individual listings, but is also trying to optimize his personal site, these sites are direct competition and adding anything to them is simply strengthening your competitors!

    I am sure G&G are great people with the best intentions. For the hoards of agents mailing postcards, cold calling and door knocking in neighborhoods to get listings and then trying to figure out how to advertise them, this will seem like a great opportunity!

    The only thing I can say is figure out what is most important to your business model and act accordingly.

  32. Ken Smith

    July 21, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    Benn actually per Grant’s comment above there is no real time interaction on the listing I selected. “The real-time communication box applies to the premium listing agent themselves which is presented in an eye-catching format.” So really there is only real time interaction with the limited listings that are enhanced by those willing to pay the premium fee.

    I will withhold the rest of my thoughts until after talking to Grant.

  33. Jennifer in Louisville

    July 22, 2008 at 6:45 am

    Personally, I’m always cautious of the national sites that generate revenue by allowing “premium” featuring of whichever agent pays the most for a particular locale (or one that uses those very listings to compete against the agents in the search engine rankings). Both of those leave a bitter taste in my mouth. Its a shame really – there are a lot of ways to generate revenue.

    And if a national site didn’t try to become a competitor (directly via search engines or indirectly by advertising other agents) to the very real estate agents that are furnishing the listings in the first place – it probably would enjoy great success by consumers AND agents alike.

  34. Eric Blackwell

    July 22, 2008 at 8:58 am

    Sorry folks…

    In my book this is just another shyster trying to get into the back pockets of REALTORS…wow! Cool! You can look at the info a different way…that gives us the rights to the listings…I am not buying it…or into it.

  35. Matt Wilkins

    July 22, 2008 at 9:32 am

    I have been reading the comments and overall tone of the recent comments and honetly find most of them completely childish.

    RealSeekr is in many ways on the cutting edge and as we all know cutting edge creates contreversary. The innovators behind new sites like RS always come under fire until the companies either sinks or swins.

    As a member of Generation Y and a sponsoring Brooker on Realseekr, I hope this site swins the distane and is one of the driving forces in bringing change to the RE indusry as a whole.

  36. Glenn fm Naples

    July 22, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    This conversation is a good one with back and forth information for individuals to make a decision if they wish to participate or not.

  37. Bob

    July 22, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    Childish? In what way Matt?

    Since you are Gen Y, I would like to know why you felt compelled to be a sponsoring broker. I’m not. I see this as just more competition for eyeballs looking for MY listings.

    Tell me what is really innovative here and truly cutting edge here.

    What am I missing?

  38. Matt Wilkins

    July 22, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Bob:

    The fact that someone (it was not you BTW) would outright call someon a shyster or REALTOR “pickpocketer” I belive is imature and childish even if you have a strong opinion against a person or product.

    Cmpetition for eyes on your lsitings? Agents/Brokers dispalying your listings on their websites via IDX has been around for years. If anything it is more exposure of your listings and more marketing eforts so the property can sell (which is the ultimate goal). Most MLSs allow indiviaul brokerages to opt out of IDX and VOW if requested. However, I fel that more is ai disservice to a seller who wants a sale.

    One thing I will note is that most MLSs (including the one I am a member of) only feed the Listing Brokerage’s name and main office number via IDX. So when a buyer searches on any home search portal how do they know that YOU are listings and be able to contact your DIRECTLY (I do not believe that office VM is a for mof direct contact). This is why RealSeekr, Trulia, REALTOR.com, etc. offer agents the opprtunity to enhance their listings if they wish as a marketing tool.

    Yes I am Gen Y and decided to become a sponsoring broker on RS. I see the future orf RE and the direction it should go in. With the amount of free information available to clients we have to shift from being gatekeepers to consultants when it comes to information.

    i think Realseekr’s largest innovation is there merging of technology and social networking into real estate. Also, they respond to requests from members and are always looking for new systems to enhance the user experience.

  39. Eric Blackwell

    July 22, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Matt;

    The childish person you are referring to is me. For the record, I called NOONE a pickpocket…that would be a THEIF. I said they were trying to get INTO REALTORS BACK POCKETS…meaning get into their wallets.

    Yes. I used the word shyster here is the definition from Dictionary.com

    2. a person who gets along by petty, sharp practices.

    You’re right. That wasn’t EXACTLY accurate. My apologies.

    I for one am growing weary of the same old stuff (give me your listings so I can grow an audience and see ACCESS to the traffic back to who I want at the price I want) sort of business practices…

    Everyone pulls out a funded website as if it is the next thing to save the real estate industry…when they have NO local Louisville home searchers on their site and yet they feel entitled to the listings.

    How much traffic did RealSeekr have for LOUISVILLE homes? If they didn’t have a SIGNIFICANT amount of traffic, then why do we OWE our listings to them to build it?

    Hope it makes sense why I tire of the same arguments year after year.

    Best;

    Eric

  40. Ken Smith

    July 22, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    BTW for those wondering Grant was traveling today so no call yet. Hoping to hear from him today, but he said it might not be until tomorrow. Will let everyone know my thoughts about what he has to say.

  41. Jennifer in Louisville

    July 22, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    I see the future orf RE and the direction it should go in.

    Not to sound flippant – but who are you to decide the direction that real estate SHOULD go in?

    This is why RealSeekr, Trulia, REALTOR.com, etc. offer agents the opprtunity to enhance their listings if they wish as a marketing tool.

    Let me fix that statement for you because you forgot a big part in the middle of the sentence:

    “This is why RealSeekr, Trulia, REALTOR.com, etc. offer agents the opprtunity to GIVE THEIR LISTINGS AWAY FOR FREE SO THAT THEIR SITES CAN OUT RANK THEM – AND THEN TURN AROUND AND CHARGE THOSE VERY SAME AGENTS BIG MONEY TO enhance their listings if they wish as a marketing tool.”

  42. Matt Wilkins

    July 22, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Jennifer:

    My opinion on what direction the RE industry is based on MY opinion and what I the trends I see in the marketplace.

    As for “giving listings away”, these sties to the best of my knowledge (and I can vouch for RealSeekr) have all obtained their IDX therough proper channels. If you havea real issues with how your listings are broadcasted on the intenret you may want to consider investigating your MLSs IDX policy and see if they allow some or all listing information to be excluded from feeds.

  43. Jennifer in Louisville

    July 22, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    @ Matt – just so I’m clear, you recommend:

    1. Hurry up and send all listings to these 3rd party sites – regardless if they actually have any relevant traffic for my area or not.

    2. Let those 3rd party sites build up a huge web presence.

    3. Spend lots of money on those 3rd party sites – either through enhanced listings, premium placement, or lead generation.

    I just don’t see why I should be in such a hurry to HELP create a new place to spend my advertising dollars.

  44. Eric Blackwell

    July 22, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    @Jennifer-

    GRIN-You forgot…contribute a TON of time generating thousands of page of content in exchange for a measly link on a profile page. All done so that they can eventually outrank you in the search engines.

    @Matt- (I will try to keep this fact based and not emotional)

    Jennifer knows EXACTLY what the rules are for syndicating data out there. And (if I may be so bold as to suggest it), the REALITY is that the only reason that most of those listings are getting out there is ignorance.

    You are not ignorant. You are making a CONSCIOUS decision that I feel jeopardizes our industry and will turn the front page of Google into a festering pool of third party sites, all vying for the right to send leads to the highest bidder. That IMO is neither in the interest of the consumer NOR the real estate industry. But yours is an informed choice.

    I am worried about all of those people who get a phone call from a guy from Dominion offering them FREE placement on Homes.com like I did yesterday. They typically have NO idea what they are giving away or they would not do it.

    I am open minded to see if there is something different here, but looking at it….I think this is same stuff / different day. I still have not heard how this is new and going to bring the consumer anything more than Trulia or Zillow et al…and I am still waiting for those GLEAMING local traffic figures that shows me that consumers REALLY think this is a great thing at all. If you cannot produce Louisville figures, then maybe Austin to give Benn some comfort that Austin bound home buyers are flocking to this…

    …or are we as an industry supposed to just give our data to every Tom, Dick and Harry in the hopes that ONE of them might someday make curry the favor of a plurality or majority of consumers? Listings are not a RIGHT granted to EVERY website to say “me too please”.

    Just my opinion.

    Matt who, in your opinion DESERVES listings…EVERYONE?

    Curious.

    Eric

  45. Bob

    July 22, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Matt, I would agree that RS is very much like Trulia and other 3rd party sites. As such, I would argue that there is little that is groundbreaking about what they do or what they offer.

    It strikes me as funny when Gen Y think that they have seen a different business model when in fact it’s only a different wrapping on the same ole package. If you look around the industry and profile those who do the lion’s share of the business, you will find that they are far more than mere consultants and not in any way gatekeepers.

    If anything, RS, via a sponsored IDX, just adds a middleman – you. Nothing innovative about that at all. Certainly you would agree that it isn’t at all transparent. In fact, one could argue that highlighting you as the point of contact does the buyer a disservice since you probably can’t answer many questions about the property. In fact, one could argue that you are now the gatekeeper, but without the actual individual property knowledge that the listing agent gatekeeper does have. Do you think the consumer really wants to talk to you about my listing? You must, or why else would you be a sponsoring paying broker?

    …will turn the front page of Google into a festering pool of third party sites, all vying for the right to send leads to the highest bidder. That IMO is neither in the interest of the consumer NOR the real estate industry

    That is the major point here. At the end of the day, it is still selling leads or placement. It IS all about the competition for eyeballs.

    If Realtor.com had any vision, the enhanced listing would allow real time interaction with a visitor. Zillow could also deliver a knockout blow by having a nominal upgrade fee when you claim your listings that would enable real time interaction capability. That would be GREAT for the user and I would sign up ASAP. Even Eric would probably sign off on that. RS would instantly be old news.

    (Dear Zillow, Trulia, R.com, et al:
    I’m available as a consultant. Your ROI would be huge. Have your people call my people and we’ll do lunch.)

  46. Matt Wilkins

    July 22, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    Bob:

    We may have slightly different interpertations of groundbreaking. All home search sites have to work with the same basic systems. Waht differenciates or makes on “groundbreaking” is how thye package it and mold the user experience. By the way, RealSeekr does allow real time interaction between customer members and agent/broker members through multiple mediums (Skype,SMS,etc.).

    Also, the need for a sponsoring broker depends on the MLS. Some systems provide a direct feed to reigonal/national home search portals but most still require a Broker to provide any IDX feeds to any vendor.

    I am a bit taken aback by your misinterpertation of the term “consultant”. When I became an independent broker this year I decided to call my firm a consulting firm because I analyzed what I truly did when helping a client through a transaction. With a Buyer its not just selling them the house. Much of it is consulting them in aligning needs/wants/budget, making an offer best fit for the property and situation, helping them through each step of the process. With sellers IMO much of it is consutling them on positioning the home to stand out in the marketplace, pricing, property condition, disclosure laws, and educating them on which marketing systems work and don’t work. Maybe its just me but I find that most of my clietns do not want the sales pitch. They want someone they can have open lines of communication with and will both give them pertinnent information and answer questions.

    We may agree to disagree. One thing I found in this busines is that there are enough niches for everyone who is willing to put the time and effort into it.

  47. Matt Wilkins

    July 22, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    Eric, I will try and kep my response as object and factual as possible.

    I agree with your rebutal. It actually brings up an issue that has been around for years. Many real estate professionals are using the internet and MLSs with large geographic reaches to broaden their market areas beyond their knowledge just to get the deals they need to survive.

    These home search portals may elude to brokers geographically canvasing areas that is not their market area. A large reason for this is becuae the MLS system require the same broker to sponsor the entire feed not just certain areas. It is the duty of the broker to know when they are not equipped to service a customer’s neds and act acordingly (referring them to someone’s with local knowledge).

    Bob, you mentioned “one could argue that highlighting you as the point of contact does the buyer a disservice since you probably can’t answer many questions about the property.” How is this different from a buyer’s agent that is giving their client information about a home based on just teh MLS card and no knowledge of the area? Again, It is the duty of the broker to know when they are not equipped to service a customer’s needs and act acordingly (referring them to someone’s with local knowledge).

  48. Bob

    July 22, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Agent and consultant are different animals.There are distinct differences that go beyond labels. If there is no agency, then one isn’t an agent. if there is agency, then one isn’t a consultant.

  49. Ken Smith

    July 22, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    “A large reason for this is becuae the MLS system require the same broker to sponsor the entire feed not just certain areas.”

    That isn’t true. Each city could be feed by a different IDX feed.

    As ReelSeekr currently sits any agent that promotes RS are helping out ONE broker, the one that sponsored the IDX feed in their area. Nothing else matters until this is changed or I happen to be the broker for the Chicagoland area 😉 .

    For some reason RS keeps getting compared to Trulia, but this is nothing like Trulia as Trulia doesn’t put a competing brokers information on all my listings (yet).

    BTW Matt use spell check, it doesn’t make you look cool misspelling every 5th word. Feel like I am reading a text from a drunk friend.

  50. Bob

    July 22, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    In all fairness to RS, at least they are not putting up crap from RealtyTrac and passing them off as actual listings for sale (most are not for sale) as Trulia does.

  51. Frank Jewett

    July 22, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    Eric, you don’t need to spend a ton of time generating local content on ActiveRain’s Localism site. ActiveRain will let you copy and paste material from other websites. The only time AR removes stolen material is when it is stolen from another AR blogger. Otherwise all they do is deduct 200 points, a meaningless sanction on Localism that provides absolutely no relief to the damaged party. Neither Jonathan Washburn nor Rich Jacobson will address this issue because they know their current policy is indefensible, yet they have absolutely no intention of changing it.

  52. WinVALiving

    July 22, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    In reading about what RealSeekr plans to offer, it sounds pretty sexy! I’m always on the lookout for one more way to market my listings. My goal is to sell them and the first step is to make some one fall in love with them. As long as our office is listed as the listing broker, I don’t care what local agent pops up on my listing. I don’t participate in dual agency, anyway, and tend to get along with the agents in my association.

    I can remember being a consumer, forced to move from one brokerage’s site to another when Realtor.com couldn’t satisfy my cravings for info/photos. The choices continue to grow for consumers and the sites with the most information and the best ease of use will survive because they will be bookmarked!

    In Matt’s defense, I couldn’t find the spell checker on this comment box! Matt’s a fellow Virginia agent and has proved to be a great source of info for me professionally via Twitter…

  53. Bob

    July 22, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    Matt, it isn’t any different. That is my point. This is just another broker sponsored IDX site with a few extra bells and whistles. Its the lincoln version of the ford.

  54. Frank Jewett

    July 22, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    Bob, REALTOR.com: Not your father’s Oldsmobile?

  55. Bob

    July 22, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    Actually, it maybe. My father’s Olds had few features compared to what you would expect to be standard issue today.

  56. Ines

    July 22, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    First let me tell you guys that when I first read about Realseekr.com I was also hesitant and doubted their motives. My first thought was: why in the world to we need another listing portal that robs traffic away from us and then where exactly do those leads end up?
    Gia and Grant reached out and answered my questions, explained their concept and I then realized and was open to the idea of a different concept that was innovative and powerful.

    Gia is an agent guys – once she turns vendor then she’s the enemy?

    I encourage everyone to be a skeptic – by questioning, it is the only way we can learn and find answers.

    The leads don’t go to RealSeekr and they don’t have a hidden agenda (are upfront from the beginning as opposed to some other portals out there that change their rules as they go). You have a choice to join the innovation or step away. Twitter them, e-mail them, call them – you will find them to be genuine people with a great concept and getting powerhouses in our industry together to offer great service.

  57. Eric Blackwell

    July 23, 2008 at 4:51 am

    Hi Ines;

    Of course SHE is not the enemy. This is not about personalities or people. This is objectively about business models and (I think) a rather frank look at where our industry is. I think it breaks down into four options.

    Some of us think that it is OK to give away our listings to anyone (literally), REALTOR or not…and that doing that is in our best interest (ala Matt’s position). I asked him to stipulate who he would NOT give the listings to and he has not done this.

    Some of us think that we should only give the data to people who have “cool” interfaces on their sites or dole the listings out based on cults of personality (so to speak) (NO offense intended whatsoever)

    Model 3 would (IMO) be that the realtors do nothing and leave it as it is. I am AGAINST that because REALTOR.com is serving NOONES interest right now…not ours…more importantly not the CONSUMERS.

    Model 4 (and the one I would support) is one where we don’t hand out our listings to every Tom Dick and Harry out there…BUT we work like dogs to get REALTOR.com to change. All of the photographs on all of the listings for NO CHARGE. If they want to charge for leads on our LISTINGS …GREAT, but do not pit the consumer against the realtor…our own trade organization is working against us. I am not for the status quo. I am for all of us rising up and forcing R.com to change by REFUSING to pay their extortion fee until they put the photos up on the web. All of them. When we sent the listing to them, they had all of the photos…why do we stand for them stripping the listing and then charging us to put things back to normal?

    For those reading this…please do not misunderstand. My opposition to this is not personal. I am SURE that if I met Matt…I’d like him. Same with Gia and Grant. Same with Rudy, David G. etc etc…but deciding who gets listings on the basis of personality is IMO a flawed approach.

    So my question for this (what I think has been FRANK and WORTHWHILE) discussion is:

    What basis are you for in deciding who gets the listings? What is your criteria? Is it “give em to everyone? is it dole ’em out by personality? by cool interface? by who can phone call and entice the most agents? or? It is an honest question that i think our industry needs to answer and I think this is a great place to discuss it…

    I think you hit it spot on when you said “Join the innovation or step away”….Some of the BEST innovations that I have seen lately have come from local brokerages and local bloggers OFFERING more opportunities for folks to engage on their sites. I do not think that local brokerages or agents with websites are limited in their vision. I think that many of them are more knowledgeable and creative in providing what their customer wants than the national sites….Innovation is not limited to those funded by venture capital or self funded third party projects.

    I am curious what people are thinking about the criteria for doling out listings…and I am HONESTLY open to thoughts and ideas on this….

    Thoughts?

    Eric

  58. Benn Rosales

    July 23, 2008 at 7:36 am

    Hi Eric, your points are valid as per usual which is why I hold you in such high regard, personally. I think got you got off point with the name call part- but I know your heart and from where you’re coming from, but many of us also know theirs.

    I also have a second thought- I had a conversation with one of my sellers this weekend, and asked them what they thought of all of these search sites- their answer is I’m paying you to put my house anywhere it can possibly be found and we assume you’ll turn over every rock for new places… the wife’s reply was more specific when she said, “and you will turn over every rock, correct?” These folks didnt care if a zestimate was correct, they wanted it there anyway regardless of what I thought about it. So with that being said, their listing will be on every search site with every possible enhancement at my fingertips- it’s what I’m paid to do. When a client says no to a specific search engine, I’ll not put it there. It really costs me nothing in the end to be a member of a service or not, so it’s exciting to me that there are at least a few that continue to upgrade the experience, enhance the options rather than charging me 200 bucks a year and never hearing from it again.

    okay, I’m going to be hella busy today … have a great day, all of ya

  59. Jennifer in Louisville

    July 23, 2008 at 8:01 am

    @ Benn – I hear what you are saying, so lets take it a step further:

    What if ALL of your clients said “we’re upside down on our loan – so we need you to give us back all of your commission so we can sell the home” – essentially meaning that you work for free for every single client?

    The reality is – this is a business, not a charity. Just because something benefits the client does not mean we should provide it for them regardless of consequence.

  60. Benn Rosales

    July 23, 2008 at 8:33 am

    Jennifer, your question calls speculation on my part as that has never happened to me, although I take each listing on it’s own merits, and even those clients that I may have to go deep on still get 110% service.

  61. Jennifer in Louisville

    July 23, 2008 at 8:40 am

    Heh, you are taking what I said literally – instead of its intent.

    I’m just taking your point to an extreme example.

    You basically said in the following that if “Your clients want it – you are going to do it”:

    I had a conversation with one of my sellers this weekend, and asked them what they thought of all of these search sites- their answer is I’m paying you to put my house anywhere it can possibly be found and we assume you’ll turn over every rock for new places… the wife’s reply was more specific when she said, “and you will turn over every rock, correct?” These folks didnt care if a zestimate was correct, they wanted it there anyway regardless of what I thought about it. So with that being said, their listing will be on every search site with every possible enhancement at my fingertips

    And I’m making the point that just because a client wants something – or would benefit from something, does not automatically mean its something that we should do – particularly if it potentially harmful to our business in the long run.

  62. Benn Rosales

    July 23, 2008 at 8:44 am

    Jennifer, it’s their money, and only our job to advise and make suggestions- if they insist, it is our job to do. I got your point, but I don’t subscribe to that as an issue.

    I will employ many practical tools for a seller, especially that allow for unlimited use. ie. unlimited real estate shows, or ratespeed unlimited consumer use, or realseekr unlimited listings for a bottom line rate over any service that gouges me on a per listing basis. Not it becomes a certain number of listings to offset that cost- ultimately, if I’m really real estate, we’re talking about nickles and dimes.

  63. Jennifer in Louisville

    July 23, 2008 at 8:47 am

    Jennifer, it’s their money, and only our job to advise and make suggestions- if they insist, it is our job to do.

    I add a few more words to the sentence:

    Jennifer, it’s their money, and only our job to advise and make suggestions- if they insist, it is our job to do….or walk away from the deal.

    If I have a client that insists that I do something that I’m not willing to do – I tell them to find someone else that will do it. 🙂

  64. Matt Wilkins

    July 23, 2008 at 8:58 am

    Jennifer in response to you quote:

    And I’m making the point that just because a client wants something – or would benefit from something, does not automatically mean its something that we should do – particularly if it potentially harmful to our business in the long run.

    I have a very simple solution when I have a potential selling client who insists that they know what marketing systems bring the sale and I know from experience that it is a myth. I simply provide in my information packet a sheet (courtesy of ListingDomains.com) that has the NAR stats on how homebuyers search for and find the home they want to buy. Once they see that they are receptive to discuss the selling process and where i may be able to provide assistance.

    Not every seller hires me but I can sleep better at night knowing that I had the opprtunity to see if I was a fit in helping them sell their home.

  65. Ines

    July 23, 2008 at 9:52 am

    Eric- I have a tendency of studying my options and strategizing and also test systems to see if they will benefit me and my business (a little selfish I know, but I’m here for business…..although I do like a LOT of the people in the blogosphere). You make extremely valid points, points we all have to seriously consider.

    The question arises when I think of the time and effort that needs to go into changing REALTOR.com – personally, I make an effort to improve our industry, but will ultimately do what’s good for us. RealSeekr is one of the good companies, IMHO and have a feeling it will benefit everyone involved (and I will check back with you to let you know how it goes).

    Also, I think it’s important to have healthy discussion like this without the name calling, it’s offensive and not necessary.

    Off to see Ben speak at Connect!!

  66. Eric Blackwell

    July 23, 2008 at 10:03 am

    @Benn;

    First off, thanks. It is not a bit about heart here…although all of us should respect each other and that was why I retracted what i said. No need to name call, but the discussion needs to be had.

    OK, this is kinda an old argument, but since we seem to be going down that road…here’s the real life situation. I would posit that dumping listings on every Tom Dick and Harry website that asks for them (regardless of whether they get a LITTLE exposure or a lot) is what you would be for, correct?

    Here is why I think that that argument has holes. I think you are willing to do it (use ineffective media i.e. no local traffic to the website) IF and ONLY IF there is no extra cost involved in cash money to you.

    I think that almost all of us…if someone says I have a difficult to sell home. I want you to advertise this $100,000 in a luxury homes magazine ($500) and buy a bus bench ($175 per month) or advertise somewhere else where we KNOW that there is little to no traffic, would sit down with them and say “Look, there is no exposure there…”

    But when it comes to listing syndication, there is no cost (at least not upfront). We tell ourselves, “there’s no fee, so what the hell…”. We don’t care what happens long term to our industry as much as we care about our wallet.

    Benn, I can understand your point of view, but to be intellectually consistent, you’d have needed to have NEVER said no to a home seller’s request to pay for advertising…no matter the ineffectiveness or how insane it is. I view it as a REALTORS job to advise the client on what is effective and what is not. I hope that helps explain my concern for the industry a bit more clearly and why I see the age old argument of “I do EVERYTHING for my client.” as a bit hypocritical. We do everything for our clients…unless the economic impact …impacts US. We are often OK with passing on the effects to future generations of REALTORS and leaving them with a mess of third party competitors all over the front page of Google and who are selling the leads to the highest bidder to pay for the SEO to stay there…

    I have asked PUBLICLY for Trulia, Zillow and R.com and any other third party to release to me their LOCAL search traffic to verify the benefit for the listing clients in our office. No one has done that to date. In the case of R.com I have asked for over 18 months. They are simply afraid that if REALTORS SAW how little traffic they are getting that they would dismiss them out of hand.

    It is always easier just to say “yeah, I’ll throw your listing EVERYWHERE rather than to be honest with our clients about what is effective and what is not.”. Just because it is free does not make it the right thing to do IMO

    Thoughts?

  67. Eric Blackwell

    July 23, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Ines-yep.

    Healthy discussion is good. (and name calling is not and is why I retracted what I said.–BTW that was comment #39–this is in the mid 60’s –what’s the statute of limitations??? GRIN)

    So far it looks to me like a couple of people are on the “let everyone have the listings” (group 1). You are more of the “it depends on how I feel about them”.

    And I am more of the “don’t give them out, but let’s go after R.com and get them to make the changes that we ALL know they need to make ( which are legion ).

    As a starter can we ALL agree that R.com needs to post all of the photos and needs to build a social networking side to their site ala Trulia Voices? and that we will drop or threaten to drop our “enhancements” until they do? Why would anyone oppose trying to free our customers as hostages ?

    And Ines…thanks. I do respect all sides of this issue whether we disagree or not…i do think we all care about our industry, but I think it is natural to unwittingly put ourselves ahead of our industry just because it is easier to say in our listing presentations…no worries, I blast you up EVERYWHERE on the internet…when we are really blast them up to a collection of nowheres IMO.

    Best

    Eric

    Best;

    Eric

  68. Frank Jewett

    July 23, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Eric, it’s pretty common when touting for site X to argue that placing listings on as many sites as possible is good for the client. Seeing this argument always makes me wonder if the agent is also making sure the listing appears on site Y and site Z, since “as many as possible” should literally mean “as many as possible” rather than “on my favorite site.”

    Of course it would be more persuasive if we had numbers that showed viewer traffic with an indication of what proportion of those viewers are actually real buyers, but such data is rarely, if ever, provided. We know Redfin gets far more traffic than RealSeekr, so one response to “as many as possible” would be “have you made sure your listing is on Redfin?”

  69. Bob

    July 23, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    For the most part, RS is like Roost – a co-branded IDX site. My listings are there, just like they are on every agent IDX site.

    I doubt that the argument that the client wants every stone unturned is one that a Russell Shaw would debate. You are not hiring me to merely push your listing out there via IDX – that happens the minute its in the MLS, regardless of who lists it. I can offer that to a fsbo for $300.

    Search google for a given seller’s area + real estate and you’ll likely have 7-10 sites on the first page where a seller could find their listing.

    I’m as much a capitalist as anyone. I just don’t understand the celebration by real estate agents of a another 3rd party site that wants to compete with you in the search engines for eyeballs, unless you are primarily a listing agent.

    I do understand the mindset of the 3rd party sites though. They understand how easy it is to sell BS to agents. For example, the following came from Zillow:

    Free Co-Branding on Zillow
    What is it?

    If you place a Zillow URL on your Web site or blog with special coding, and it’s clicked, your photo, contact info and link to your Web site appear at the top of each Zillow page they see.
    Why Use it?

    * Co-branding boosts your visibility among the visitors you send from your Web site to Zillow.com.

    I added the bold to highlight the ridiculous. Zillow actually states here that the benefit you get by sending YOUR visitors to them is increased visibility. Do you feel insulted? If not, you should. They realize that the real estate space is no longer flush with cash (hat tip to BHB), so now instead of asking for your money, they get straight to the point and ask for your visitors.

    Now think about this for moment. They want you to send them traffic, but they also want you to advertise in order to reap the benefits of all their traffic. Still not feeling insulted?

  70. Eric Bramlett

    July 23, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    if we had numbers that showed viewer traffic with an indication of what proportion of those viewers are actually real buyers, but such data is rarely, if ever, provided.

    Agreed – I wish we had hard numbers. Right now, all we can do is make assumptions. Right now, all we have to gauge traffic is alexa (which is flawed) or to check out the search volume of a site’s name to gauge mind share. If you take a look at the search volume for these sites, I think that most people will be surprised just how little public awareness of them there actually is. Here’s a quickie comparison I did.

  71. Eric Bramlett

    July 23, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Sorry…the link was broken on my last comment. Here’s the comparison.

  72. Frank Jewett

    July 23, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Bob, the difference with Roost is that clicking on the listing will take visitors directly to the listing agent’s site rather than showing the listing with another agent’s branding on the same page.

    Thanks for the link to thedeal. Spencer Rascoff is always entertaining, if nothing else. A few months ago he was crowing on ActiveRain about how web portals were losing ad revenue to sites like Zillow while sucking up to the RE.net. I wonder if Spencer will start blogging on Trulia now.

    Eric, it’s an interesting concept, but why would I need to search for “zillow” when I can just go to zillow.com and search for whatever I want? You may actually be tracking how often Rudy, David, Sara, and Heather are scanning the blogosphere looking for opportunities to “clarify” things on behalf of their employers. Name dropping Zillow or Trulia is a sure fire way to increase your Google hits.

  73. Ken Smith

    July 24, 2008 at 9:18 am

    Frank “Bob, the difference with Roost is that clicking on the listing will take visitors directly to the listing agent’s site rather than showing the listing with another agent’s branding on the same page.” isn’t exactly true. The only time that the listing agent has an opportunity that is better then any other IDX is IF they are willing to pay the premium fee. Otherwise this is nothing more then just another competing IDX.

  74. Ken Smith

    July 24, 2008 at 9:47 am

    Yesterday I talked with Gia & Grant and to all that have said they seem to be nice people, I agree.

    The problem is that nice owners don’t make this site something that an intelligent agent should invest their money on. There are a few major reasons not to shell out premium fees.

    Neither Gia nor Grant could really give me any answers that solved any of the issues I raised.

    Main issue, this is my competitors IDX feed. They agreed that yes it is as that was the only way to get a lot of listings fast. These brokers also have an exclusive for 12 months.

    They are attempting to get some MLS’s to give direct feeds, this will prove to be a major challenge as brokers have a HUGE say in this. If it was easily doable Trulia would have gone this direction. Even if it was complicated they would have done it by now as they would be able to greatly increase their listing count, but not even a well funded company that has exposure could pull this off. No matter what they will always have Sponsored IDX feeds from local brokers.

    Next no matter what the IDX feed broker’s information will always be on every listing. No matter how much you pay for enhancements you are still running the risk that a buyer will contact one agent for their question on every listing to make their life simple. That would be the IDX feed broker naturally as their contact info is on every listing.

    Grant and Gia kept pointing out that the IDX brokers information isn’t “interactive”. IMO who cares, their branding is still on every listing and they will be the only ones to generate a measurable amount of business from this site.

    If you don’t pay for enhancements this is EXACTLY like any other IDX feed. Sure your BROKERS phone number is on the page, but the most obvious contact information is that of the IDX feeds broker (your competition).

    No matter how you cut it this if no different then any other IDX out there except you actually can pay to help make your competition more money. How? Simple pay for enhanced listing and watch ReelSeekr take that money and improve their rankings and increase traffic. From there your competitions IDX is getting more and more traffic bringing them more and more leads. This site is going to make Grant and Gia money and it will make the sponsoring IDX feed brokers money.

    Smart agents are just waking up to the fact that Trulia and Zillow don’t actually bring you business. This site will be no different except the small amount of business ReelSeekr might generate will go straight to your competition.

    Even if you can’t see the simple issue with supporting your competitions IDX feed there is one serious question you need to ask yourself. Are “cool” unproven tools with no traffic worth part of your marketing budget?

  75. Benn Rosales

    July 24, 2008 at 10:12 am

    Ken, very cool follow up, but what I think is most interesting is that you seem to hold them responsible for local MLS rules- every one and their dog hates these rules, including the local agents who use IDX on their own sites.

    Most interesting is that whether you participate or not, your listing in your market will probably be exposed there and the consumer is encouraged to go for the promoted agent, but hey, there is a possibility the consumer may actually seek you (the listing agent) out directly, but who knows? You increase the likelihood that the consumer will call the listing agent (by insuring it with a featured agent spot) and thus save (in my case) the seller money as we do not charge full fee to represent both sides.

    Here’s the other thing not mentioned in your followup- even if you elected not to participate in realseekr, which is your God given right, the consumer CAN list it there without you and the consumer is currently being trained by the mass media to do exactly that- to post their home FSBO in as many of these engines as possible to provide the same exposure an agent can, even right beside the MLS.

    So, as G&G enter into phase 3 (traffic element) which is the same path all of these search sites take, I can honestly say that yes, I will pay for this service- I’m really not that cheap. Just my 2.

  76. Eric Bramlett

    July 24, 2008 at 10:55 am

    Eric, it’s an interesting concept, but why would I need to search for “zillow” when I can just go to zillow.com and search for whatever I want? You may actually be tracking how often Rudy, David, Sara, and Heather are scanning the blogosphere looking for opportunities to “clarify” things on behalf of their employers.

    When people remember a brand, and want to find it again, they’ll go to google and type the brand in the search box. It’s a good way to measure how successful a particular brand is, or that brand’s mind share.

    My point is that these 3rd party property search portals don’t have nearly as much public awareness as they imply.

  77. Eric Bramlett

    July 24, 2008 at 11:19 am

    You increase the likelihood that the consumer will call the listing agent (by insuring it with a featured agent spot) and thus save (in my case) the seller money as we do not charge full fee to represent both sides.

    Benn, this is the argument of every upstart (and seasoned) third party listing site out there. Right now, according to Alexa, austinhomesearch.com (a LOCAL FREE portal) has roughly twice the traffic of realseekr (a NATIONAL SPONSORED portal.)

    How much traffic do you think realseekr gets from potential Austin buyers?

    How much time are we expected to spend plugging our listings into every crap real estate search portal out there?

    the consumer CAN list it there without you and the consumer is currently being trained by the mass media to do exactly that- to post their home FSBO in as many of these engines as possible to provide the same exposure an agent can, even right beside the MLS.

    This implies that the the exposure you get from the third party listing sites can compete with the MLS. Realtor.com eclipses both Trulia and Zillow in traffic alone. Factor in the thousands of IDX sites on the net, and the gap is even wider. Then factor in the % of serious buyers that actually AREN’T working with a buyer’s agent, and what do you have? You have a really ineffective marketing technique in the way of third party listing sites.

    Just my opinion, of course.

  78. Ken Smith

    July 24, 2008 at 11:45 am

    Benn I am not blaming anyone for the MLS rules, just not willing to support my competitors IDX feed.

    BTW don’t insinuate that others are cheap for not buying into a 3rd party site that has no traffic and is just our competitors IDX feed.

  79. Eric Blackwell

    July 24, 2008 at 11:59 am

    Benn;

    Off to teach a tech class but I was intrigued by the traffic phase of RealSeekr…can you detail a bit what marketing channels they will pursue in getting traffic? TV, Radio, Print, PPC, SEO, etc?

    Best;

    Eric

  80. Frank Jewett

    July 24, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Benn I am not blaming anyone for the MLS rules, just not willing to support my competitors IDX feed.

    Exactly. The people trying to make this a personal referendum on Grant and Gia are their friends and fans, some of whom may have already invested money in sponsorships which creates a conflict of interest. The rest of us understand it is a business and treat it as such without blaming the owners. The issue is much bigger than Grant and Gia. Dozens of brokers and entreprenuers are lining up to provide similar offerings.

    How much time are we expected to spend plugging our listings into every crap real estate search portal out there?

    This question is being mooted because the terms of use on most online listings sites allow them to edit and sublicense your listings, so a listing entered on one site could show up on twenty sites. The downside is that every site claims that the listing agent is responsible for the information in the listing, even though the site didn’t get the information from the listing agent. Eventually we’ll see lawsuits over this, but for now the biggest exposure for listing agents is fines from their local MLS due to complaints from other members about misinformation or advertising listings that already expired and have been picked up by a different agent.

    I need to make a correction. Earlier I said that Roost took viewers directly to the listing agent’s site. That was true when I previewed Roost a few weeks ago, however now Roost displays all listings with the branding of the broker providing the feed. I can already hear the complaints at the local board.

  81. Ines

    July 24, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    Frank – I repeat that I was a skeptic and I studied their concept and decided to join in – the fact that I now admire them and have become their friend is purely coincidencial and very thankful for it btw. Now I’m waiting for them to make me money and expose my listings and my branding.

    I take a deep breath now to tell you that I am sleep deprived and this same discussion about real estate listing portals is getting old and we can agree to disagree. – but calling vendors names for trying to make money and provide a good service to the consumer, is totally ridiculous.

    At Inman this week, they mentioned that if Realtors saw themselves as “Vendors” (don’t shoot me yet, I didn’t say it) – then we would not only understand clients’ perception of our industry, but would be more open those those trying to sell us products [some are great, some other are not]

  82. Ines

    July 24, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    I hate when I think in Spanish when writing English!! That was COINCIDENTAL!

  83. Eric Blackwell

    July 24, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    Ines-

    Too funny. Get some rest =, my friend (grin)..When I lived in Korea many years ago, the first time I dreamed in Korean it REALLY freaked me out…sleep deprived posting in Spanish can be tough! Hope you are having fun at the conference.

    Best

    Eric

  84. Bob

    July 24, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    I sell a service – that makes me a vendor. I have known that for close top 20 years. That has nothing to do with how I view other “vendors”.

    Turn the Inman statement around and you’ll see the point we are making – as some consumers see many agents as unneeded middle men, so do we see RS as an unneeded middle man.

    As RS moves into their phase 3 traffic element, I wonder why that is seen as a good thing for anyone who considers themselves capable of marketing online. The internet has leveled the playing field. I can compete and beat anyone online who comes into my market.

    Instead of rooting for yet another me too site, why not just seize the high ground your self?

  85. ines

    July 28, 2008 at 9:52 am

    Bob – I do seize the high ground myself – funny enough, it’s about not placing all your eggs in one basket. If you can seize several opportunities that will get you business from several different directions, why not? My site is performing beautifully in the search engines and I like it that way.

    Eric – I’m glad you know I how I feel 😉

  86. Joe

    July 29, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    Very nice site! The socializing aspect is very interesting. RS has come along way in just 8 weeks.

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