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BPP Selects 1000Watt

It’s no secret I’m not the biggest fan of the Broker Public Portal. I really don’t see how it makes strategic financial sense, and have long thought the project will be a colossal waste of money rebuilding the exact offering that has taken Zillow 10 years – and millions and millions of dollars – to build. I don’t see a way to differentiate the product, or a sustainable way to generate organic traffic (short of the whole industry ceasing to send listings to Zillow, which I don’t see happening).

But honestly, what do I know — the industry can invest their hard earned money into whatever initiatives or products they want.

That said, the BPP board made a smart decision by selecting 1000Watt as their brand and creative agency.

1000Watt

I’ve known Marc, Brian, and Joel for a long time. I’ve worked with them. I’ve seen their work. They know what they’re doing. Investors in BPP should be happy; your odds of success just went way up. I hope you gave 1000Watt equity as an added financial upside in the success of the initiative.

The big questions that still remain:

  1. Who’s doing technology? Have those people built successful consumer applications before?
  2. How is the product differentiated, and what’s the traffic acquisition strategy? How do they plan to get buyers to actually use this website instead of Zillow, Redfin, Realtor.com or one of the thousands upon thousands of agent/broker websites in existence?
  3. Why is it a “website” and not a mobile platform?
  4. To consumers, what is the answer to “why?”. Why was BPP created, and why should they care? And please don’t tell me “for the consumer good”.

About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog / Geek Estate Labs. Zillow Alum. Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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  • Mike Price

    It will be interesting to see how Brian, Marc and the team craft BPP. I’ve agreed with the vast majority of they have had to say over the years. It will be fun to watch the progress now that they have a platform to put it all into practice.

  • “colossal waste of money”

    Exactly!

    • rolandestrada

      Was Realtor.com a “colossal waste of money”. The consternation over the cost so illogical.

      Were any of the nattering nabobs of negativism toward the BPP voicing their opinions when NAR launched Realtor.com – spending Realtor’s dues on a portal that ended up being a revenue stream for NAR. Not only does NAR front a portal with agent’s dues. They then have the nerve to charge agents for the privilege of being able get leads from their own listing. It’s laughable that agents don’t even get ticked off of that. It’s like agents have batted wife syndrome.

      • Roland, I believe you are wrong about Realtor.com and how they spent our dues on it. According to realtor.org they say,

        “While Homestore and its investors have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to build and operate REALTOR.com, no NAR funds or NAR member dues dollars have ever been used for the creation or operation of the site.”

        Unfortunately BPP seems more like an RPR project. RPR has lost at least $50 million of our dues, and I believe continues to lose around $20 million per year, so RPR is a huge waste of money.

        • rolandestrada

          If that is true regarding dues money spent to create Realtor.com, then I stand corrected. However that is not to say that NAR doesn’t benefit financially from from the licensing of the Realtor.com brand which they own.

          RPR has been a boondoggle to be sure. The product is great for the agents that even know about it. NAR can lobby like crazy. They are really good at it. They are lousy at managing digital assets.

          However BPP is not the same animal and has nothing to do with NAR or their money, thankfully. The brokers and MLSs that have put money in will see returns in a way that is not apparent. You just have to get past the negative blather.

          The concept is simple. Every agent will get every lead from their own listings. No middlemen taking a slice. Agents can then turn those leads into business. When the agent wins by turning leads into business, who else wins? The brokers win. Let’s face it, brokers are nothing without agents. Period.

          Additionally everyone else down the line wins from business that is brought in. The difference is that agents aren’t paying a third party hundreds of dollars per year for leads. Leads are leads. It doesn’t matter where they come from. Why pay for them if you don’t have to. Of course if agents want to sweeten the pot by paying the portals for more leads in addition to the leads they get from BPP, God bless.

          Agents and brokers are a community. We should act as such. Agents benefiting and consumers benefiting are not mutually exclusive concepts. And until BPP gets off the ground, opinions that it will not be financially viable or that money is being “wasted”, they are just that, opinions. Nothing more that hot air.

          • “The difference is that agents aren’t paying a third party hundreds of dollars per year for leads.”

            Yes, but they are funneling millions of dollars into creating a new website to generate them. Build it, and they will come…does not work. So they are going to have to spend more millions to market the site once it’s created.

            How many leads will it take for the math to pay off? A lot.

          • rolandestrada

            First off no one is asking you to put up your own money – a reference to another comment you made. So you don’t have to worry about that. Your beer money is safe.

            Zillow and Trulia built it and people came. It’s not like they exist and in a vacuum and there is only one revenue model. Again, you make the silly assertion that only one type of revenue model will ever work and nobody else should ever try anything different, for they will surely fail. Absurd!

            Sure, the people backing BPP are spending money and will spend money going forward. Better to take destiny in your own hands then rely on someone else. To say that some other revenue model absolutely won’t work is just profoundly ridiculous.

          • “Zillow and Trulia built it and people came.”

            I saw that journey from the inside — that statement is so far from the truth it’s not even funny.

            “you make the silly assertion that only one type of revenue model will ever work and nobody else should ever try anything different, for they will surely fail.”

            I don’t get why you make crazy statements like this. Do I believe Zillow’s model is the only one that will work…no, most certainly not. Don’t put words in my mouth. My point had nothing AT ALL to do with revenue model. There are many, many revenue models that can, and do, work.

            It’s simple math.

            How much is being invested? How many leads are being generated? How much business is closed from those leads? How long does it take for the income to exceed the investment? I’d like to see the math on this, because I’d imagine it’s a pretty long time…and that’s with the assumption the initiative works at all, and doesn’t flop entirely.

            Look, can BPP work? Sure, absolutely. But the largest question left unanswered is the most important question in life.

            “WHY?” (is this being created)

            What’s the real, genuine answer to give a consumer wondering why they should use BPP instead of Z/T/R.com, or the thousands of other agent/broker websites? Please, I’d love someone to answer this with something the average consumer/buyer/seller will truly believe.

          • rolandestrada

            “I saw that journey from the inside — that statement is so far from the truth it’s not even funny.”

            Okay, enlighten me. That’s a really cute statement with no clarification. It’s a throw away line. I’m sure there was money spent on SEO etc but don’t recall hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on TV and radio ads. Eventually inertia takes over. So basically you said nothing.

            You’re the one that over many posts inferred that there has to be Z/T/R revenue model otherwise how else could it work. You made a previous silly statement that HAR’s model won’t scale to a national level. You have know way of knowing that as an absolute or any way of backing that up.

            What you don’t get and will likely never get because of your bias is the BPP just needs to break even to be successful. Not all success is built on paying back investors. This success would be built on having agents be successful on their own terms. You don’t get it because you’ve never been an agent.

            Don’t give me that condescending BS about how “i was on the inside so only I know how the business can and should work.” Spare me.

            “Look, can BPP work? Sure, absolutely.”

            Your WHY question is has already been answered. Agents want an agent centric portal and we shouldn’t have to apologize for it.

            The WHY as to why YOU don’t want BPP to exist is obvious. Which is what make your arguments so much more ridiculous and shallow.

            You want answers on how BPP will function, call someone at BPP. I’m sure you someone there. Maybe even the people I’ve talked to. Or maybe they won’t tell you…

          • “Agents want an agent centric portal and we shouldn’t have to apologize for it.”

            Do you think consumers give a sh*t about what agents want? This is the whole basis of my skepticism. If BPP doesn’t win the consumer..and that means a 10x experience over what’s out there now…this project fails (unless, like I’ve said in past comments, the only goal of BPP is to give the industry leverage to getter better ad rates with Z/T/R.com). Everything else is irrelevant if BPP is not a far superior CONSUMER — not AGENT — product offering.

          • rolandestrada

            The consumer, the consumer! I’ve had that discussion with BPP. The consumer experience is part of the whole scenario. They would be idiots to do anything less. And where do you get that 10X BS?? Looks nice but doesn’t pass the BS meter. As I’ve said before, agent-centric and consumer experience are not mutually elusive objectives. If that’s going to be your constant drum beat you’r falling flat.

            So… No soup for you!! NEXT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Go tell Mark Suster he’s full of sh*t if you don’t believe the 10x number –> http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2011/03/11/your-product-needs-to-be-10x-better-than-the-competition-to-win-heres-why/

          • rolandestrada

            Mark Suster didn’t say that. Bill Gross said it as part of an interview making the point that you should shoot for 10X and be lucky if you land at 3X. It’s like saying you should shoot for the moon I means nothing.

            And at that, it’s just something he threw out there. It could just easily been 11X or 12X. It not like it’s an established canonical business practice.

            Somebody is full of sh*t and it’s not me. So… good luck with that.

          • mattdollinger

            I’ve been thoroughly entertained by the back and forth between the two of you but wanted to just interject one point here on R’s comment…

            “I’m sure there was money spent on SEO etc but don’t recall hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on TV and radio ads. Eventually inertia takes over. So basically you said nothing.”

            Having WORKED for Trulia (Drew worked for Zillow – hence the “seeing it from the inside line”) I saw it first hand as well. And where there WAS hundreds of thousands (maybe millions) spend on SEO, link building and advertising – the REAL person to blame (if you want to blame) for the rise in consumer awareness of the portals is – you guessed it – the real estate agent and broker.

            Think back to ’05 when everything with a For Sale sign was selling across the US. Brokers and agents were clobbering one another trying to differentiate themselves to get the listing. And what appeared in EVERY listing book that I ever came across (and FYI – I managed two 1000+ agent companies in Chicago) at least 1 page that discussed the hundreds of websites that their listing would appear on and the tens of thousands of eyeballs that were going to see their listing. The industry was the one that forced syndication, RDC, TRulia and Zillow down the consumer’s throat. Let’s be clear on that part. The SEO, advertising and everthing else came along with that – true – but our industry was the one that took it directly to the consumer.

          • Go tell Mark Suster he’s full of sh*t if you don’t believe the 10x number –> http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2011/03/11/your-product-needs-to-be-10x-better-than-the-competition-to-win-heres-why/

          • I’ve never been an agent. You’re correct.

            And you’ve never seen the ins and outs of a successful consumer web/mobile/internet company that reaches millions and millions of users.

            There is no one in the world who isn’t biased in some way. We can leave it at that.

          • rolandestrada

            First off no one is asking you to put up your own money – a reference to another comment you made. So you don’t have to worry about that. Your beer money is safe.

            Zillow and Trulia built it and people came. It’s not like they exist and in a vacuum and there is only one revenue model. Again, you make the silly assertion that only one type of revenue model will ever work and nobody else should ever try anything different, for they will surely fail. Absurd!

            Sure, the people backing BPP are spending money and will spend money going forward. Better to take destiny in your own hands then rely on someone else. To say that some other revenue model absolutely won’t work is just profoundly ridiculous.

          • “The concept is simple. Every agent will get every lead from their own listings. No middlemen taking a slice. Agents can then turn those leads into business. When the agent wins by turning leads into business, who else wins? The brokers win. Let’s face it, brokers are nothing without agents. Period.”

            I love it. I hope it succeeds. I should be the one to get credit and leads for my listings, as should all agents!!!

            Zillow was not even listing me as the listing agent on my own listings. I spoke to the CEO of our MLS, and she spoke to Zillow, and 24 hours later they listed me as the listing agent. They said they were testing hiding who is the listing agent.

          • rolandestrada

            That’s funny. CRMLS made it very clear to Zillow and Trulia that if they want our listing the listing agent would nee to get top billing. That wasn’t the only concession they asked for but it was key concession.
            Realtors need to remember the Golden Rule everyday. He who has the gold makes the rules. And let’s not be shy about it.

            The blowback on BPP has been just the latest part of point of aggravation for me since I realized ten years ago that Realtor.com made me pay them extra to be able to have buyers contact me directly for my listing.

            NAR and third part portals have looked after their own interests just fine. But who looks after our interests. NAR by it;s very nature should have made Realtor.com and agent centric site. It’s taken a long time for agents and brokers to wise up. And now we’re supposed feel like selfish jerks for trying to have have a portal that benefits us as well as consumers. BS!!

            Like the saying goes – I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees. I’m sure the portals don’t like an idea that challenges their particular revenue model.

  • rolandestrada

    I find it hysterical that you get so worked up over BPP. You neither gain or lose financially from BPP coming online. But it bothers you to no end. Pretty funny.

    If you are so concerned about what is best for agents consumers, I would think your would want more choice. Consumers have never been hurt by too much choice. The market will be the final arbiter of what services succeed or fail.

    • “The market will be the final arbiter of what services succeed or fail.”

      Agreed. I will be shocked beyond belief if BPP is a recreation of zillow, with slightly more accurate data…and consumers flock to it by themselves — which is why I would never in a thousand years invest my own money into an initiative with a strategy that relied upon competing head on, with a product exactly the same (but worse).

      I’m all for more choice, but MORE doesn’t mean better. Is the PRODUCT going to be 10x as good as zillow? If the answer is no, then no one is going to break their current habits.

      • rolandestrada

        BPP doesn’t have to be better. They have to be different and better. And who is to say what bit of “different” it takes to to make a successful portal. Certainly you can’t.

        Was Trulia better Than Zillow? Not really. They are two sides of the same coin. Trulia was certain different enough and successful enough to warrant a takeover. Better and different are rather subjective. It depends on who you ask. Are you asking the consumer or the agent. It’s a toss up.

        I’ve spoken to some of the people involved in BPP. I brought up my own points of differentiation that haven’t been publicly discussed to make BPP different and better for both consumers and agents. They didn’t disagree.

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