As a result of the ongoing discussion about Broker Public Portal (most recent thread here), I did a little bit of digging to figure out whether there have been other “agent/broker led” portal initiatives that have successfully competed against market leaders in other countries. I found this article on Property Portal Watch by Simon Baker about agent-built portals Squiiz (Australia) and OntheMarket (UK). Simon also wrote a part 2 with more analysis.
Squiiz in Australia (can anyone spell this?):
OnTheMarket in the UK:
On the surface, OnTheMarket seems like much better execution than Squiiz — the branding much better, the design more professional, and its on mobile.
For those of you in Australia or the UK, are these portals gaining any mindshare? Do they come up in conversations? And, of course, the most important question is whether buyers use them…repeatedly?
I don’t fault the agents/brokers around the world for trying to wrestle control of listings back from internet companies with their own portals; I’d likely seek to do the same thing if I were in their shoes. I fault them for trying to compete head on with the exact same product and the exact same listings. It well known the best chance at succeeding with a consumer technology play is focus on something differentiated and unique. Listings are not unique.
In the context of agents/brokers, remember, the only truly unique content you have…is YOU.
If I were an agent/broker trying to gain consumer traffic, that’s what my core strategy would be based around.
[Update: Twitter dialogue between Simon and me.]