Who is Realtor.com’s customer?

Realtors or the public (those who are thinking about buying or selling)? I pay more to have my listings featured on Realtor.com as a marketing service for my clients and potential clients. Now Realtor.com wants to sell leads generated by my listings back to me or someone else who is more willing to pay the big bucks? More incentive not to renew next year.

Am I off base? Russ at RCG has a report from the NAR convention.

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6 Comments

  1. Dustin May 19, 2006 at 18:16

    I can totally see why you would be looking at it that way, but in my mind, we’re talking about two products with completely different markets. One is really geared toward potential home buyers and one toward potential home sellers.

    While your listings definitely generate traffic for Realtor.com, I doubt (without any numbers to back this up) that the old business model captured home sellers very well. At least this latest offering is a way to start serving the home seller market.

  2. Jim duncan May 20, 2006 at 06:59

    At least the old business model gave me a better opportunity to capture those leads myself – it seems that now this new business model is going to be a money-making (not that there’s anything wrong with that) business for buyers-agents as well.

    It almost seems that there should be two sites or a way to differentiate between the two … so now if I want a shot at the business that my listings generate I have to pay more. It just seems quite a bit distasteful and much like the other lead aggregators.

    Maybe it is the brand’s history that gets me – in five years, no one will remember that Realtor.com used to be for Realtors and it is just another successful listing aggregator.

    This could all be a moot point if the MLS is not in existence in two years, though …

  3. TrvlnMn May 20, 2006 at 13:36

    I’m not a real estate agent, but I’m pretty sure I’d think twice about putting my listings on realtor.com if I knew that I would have to pay for the leads they generated.

    In the long run under their new business model I’d probably use realtor.com for any of my listings that I thought were hard to sell (by the length of time theyd already been on the market, or some other factor).

    But then again I’m not in that business, so what do I really know.

  4. Merv May 21, 2006 at 17:32

    As a matter of clarification: Our MLS sends realtor.com ALL listings. I pay a yearly fee to be able to ENHANCE same listings; adding more photos, my own lengthy descriptions and a fancy scrolling banner among other things. The more listings we have, the more we pay. I was elated when realtor.com gave subscribers such as me FREE virtual tour connections. We used to pay 19.95 for each one in addition to the yearly ENHANCEMENT fee.

    I believe sellers also surf listings to get a bearing on what they have to sell and what the competition looks like. Sellers also look at what marketing tools we have and the quality of our listing presentations, websites (and blogs) etc. We have several listings that came to us because of the quality marketing work we do.

    I agree with Jim. It offends me that others might pay to get leads off my listings and the hard work we put into them.

  5. Jim Duncan May 21, 2006 at 17:50

    Thanks, Merv, for the clarification. All listings do get sent to Realtor.com (sometimes it takes 48 hours, but they do make it. Only when one pays that extra fee (~$1000) does one get the multiple photos, etc.

  6. Merv May 21, 2006 at 21:24

    I get scores of emails every week promoting the “next big thing” in lead generation. I carefully add them to my “spam list.” This is still a relationship business. We create relationships with our blog and being active in our community. Realtor.com needs to focus on its membership and delivering real value to those of us that already pay. NOT on delivering leads to others on our work!