Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Enter the NAEA

The Negotiator magazine reports this month that the National Association of Estate Agents is throwing its hat into the portal ring.

In response to the increasing prices of the old marketing portals (rightmove were singled out as an example) the NAEA explains that its members were pressing for an upgrade of the NAEA portal.

There is no mention of who they are developing with, what shape the portal/search will take or how much they are spending on it or where it will live on their site, but one major challenge the NAE will face is building the brand and promoting this product both to agents and users alike not to mention increasing property data.

This challenge makes the decision to go it alone and build the portal/search off their own backs questionable. CEO Peter Bolton King states that '..we could have gone down the white label route... but we wanted to be control...'. I can understand wanting to be in control of your own technology, but why reinvent the wheel when there is some excellent technology available. I would have thought they would benefit from forming a relationship with one of the search engines and perhaps then the money could have been better invested with this in mind. Maybe they have deep pockets, but i would have chosen a good partner, spent on advancing the technology already available and marketing.

Whilst there are a number of considerations to consider with search and portals in general, the fundamental one being whether an agent can easily feed properties up to the portal/search, this is yet another free channel for an agent to market property and has to be welcomed. Yes, you have to be a member, but for a couple of hundred pounds per annum it must be worth it. If the NAEA can form a few partnerships along the way this can be another powerful selling tool at the agent's disposal.

I welcome this move and see it very much as agents finally looking at their online strategy and asking the question, why do I need to spend so much on the old marketing portals?!

Changing times and the conclusion of the article speaks volumes: 'rightmove declined to comment'. Expect to see many more 'no comments' from rightmove in the future.