As businesses today seek to find the answers to where they will be in coming years, the common factor is a strong Internet infrastructure. As John Schaar once wrote “The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created. Created first in mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them, changes both the maker and the destination”. The real estate industry today is a classic example of participants who clamour in an effort to gain a greater understanding and dominate the battle of electricity. Agents and agencies today, are warned of a bleak existence and are now being told that in order to survive and become a major force they will need to have a sales team of between six and ten agents. This is further complicated by the franchise system where some agents have just a single suburb to prospect with stock on the decline. That is why we acquired Cremorne and Neutral Bay two years ago as we identified a changing landscape. Never before have we seen such a rapid surge of agencies transforming their core business into electronic driven systems. In simple, what we are now really seeing is ‘follow the leaders’.

Just as interesting was the announcement by News Ltd this week that it has increased its offer on property portal realestate.com.au. In order to protect its newspaper groups it is imperative that it gets ownership of this portal however, it still remains highly unlikely. Fairfax is in a much stronger position given its ownership of domain.com.au which provides them with the luxury of off and on-line domination. What we will (or should) see now is further tweaking of the online strategies that will enable these portals to progress. ‘Just Listed’ (or as we called them twelve months ago when they launched ‘Just Missed-it’),depositing their property publication in the bin this week, it came as no surprise that they are now focusing on their online business. They too are now pursuing potential partnerships and acquisitions. It should be noted that the serious contenders in the battle of those ‘rivers of gold’ need an on-line and off-line business that develop together in harmony.

Today we advertise properties on seven on-line portals including our own and only three return anecdotal consumer results. With the modern day obsession of posting traffic information, it is abundantly clear that whilst you may have traffic it is not stopping on the properties. Each week we receive around sixty on-line enquiries coming from RWM, domain and realestate, with rentals attracting the most responses, identifying that the future is on-line – these being the ‘generation X’ consumers. In the case of the other four, we have never received one enquiry which identifies (in our case) that the free portals fail to attract serious consumers. This further explains why they remain free to agents because if they started to charge, their reactions would then resemble those of the cross city tunnel. What we are seeing again is a classic example of ‘follow the leader’. It is time for the pay portals to take their businesses to another level.

On to that other online phenomenon – this week we posted our 212th subscriber sale with the total hitting $381,040,000. RWM Results No longer available are 1 Reginald Street Mosman, 7A Inkerman Street Mosman and 14 Cabramatta Road Mosman. Increasingly, consumers will find agents asking for email addresses, although studies show that the majority will only subscribe to just three agency newsletters alerts. It will always come back to a point of difference. With our industry moving faster than ever to electronic infrastructures, the agents who just get a phone number without an email address, will definitely become extinct. Whilst we did not write the book, we are the leader within the industry in this arena. Just as John Schaar wrote “The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating”. On that thought … cheers ^__^

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