International traffic to realestate.co.nz affected by DDOS attack

Wednesday 3 August: 9.45am NZ Time

The DDOS attack has gone away ! – we are delighted to report that the attack that has caused us to have to turn off our international access to our site has stopped!

This is the strange and frustrating aspect of this type of malicious attack – it stops as suddenly starts.

We have learnt some valuable lessons from this attack – we will be deploying a sensing and filtering process in future to ensure that should this happen again we can deal with it. This solution has a cost, however access to our site is key for our users and we will ensure that the site remains live and accessible from all corners of the world.

Thanks for your patience and we hope you enjoy the access to the site again.

 

Wednesday 3 August: 9am NZ Time

The problem continues. We have gathered together the best skills in NZ and overseas to see what can be done. The two surprising facts of this situation are:

1. It has gone on so long – the trend of these attacks is that the perpetrators goal is to bring down the site. These perpetrators are outside of NZ and as such will see that they have succeeded as the site is not accessible. But despite that the scale of the attack continues. We continue to test the inbound traffic and continue to find a deluge of rogue traffic still intent on bringing down our site.

2. The attack is targeted to our unique domain name “realestate.co.nz” as opposed to our IP address (210.48.116.116) – initial advice was to change our IP address and then re-route the traffic. We cannot do that as changing the IP address has no effect as the attack is to the specific domain name.

We have a number of international companies working with us to set up a cloud based filtering of our international traffic – we hope to have one of the selected solutions in place by the end of the day.

Again our sincere apologies – we are applying all the effort and skills we can to this issue and hope to have it resolved very quickly. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

 

 

Tuesday 2 August: 2pm NZ Time

We are currently experiencing a DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack on our site – this has been a concerted and malicious attack from an unknown source or sources. Our ISP has taken the step to terminate all international traffic to our site from outside of NZ. This step has been taken to safeguard our domestic traffic within NZ. We took this step over the weekend.

This is very concerning to us as we have a very large and loyal user base to our real estate listings from outside of NZ and we hate to have this experience. We are working with our ISP to solve this issue, although these attacks are random and hard to handle.

We apologise to all international users of the site – we are working to get normal service  resumed as fast as possible.

We are simply a real estate portal and have no reason as to why anyone would want to attack our site.

We will update this post with any updates.

Alistair Helm

CEO Realestate.co.nz

 

August 02 2011 | News | 2 Comments »

Realestate.co.nz conference – September 2010

We are planning to hold a one-day industry conference in Auckland on Friday the 3rd September.

The workshop will be a very demanding, yet fulfilling, full day (8.30 to 5.30) – we have lined up a programme that will encompass keynote speakers from NZ, Australia and USA, workshop sessions to hone skills and share experiences with the best in the business around day to day application of new online tools. We also want to add into this mix some challenging and stimulating panel discussions, which will debate big issues of the day. The theme of the workshop will be “How technology changes are influencing the real estate industry in NZ”

Social media

The workshop will look at social media, search marketing, technology applications, as well as, very practically show how people in this industry here in NZ are making a success of all this opportunity enabled by the web.

At this stage what we would really like is an indication of the level of interest. We see this event being hopefully an annual event. We propose to charge around $200 to $400 for the day to include all food and drink (as well as some after workshop drinks!). We will not be having any exhibition areas as this is about you and how you can network, learn and grow your skills.

We will then be sending out more information as well as a programme in the coming weeks as well as posting details here on the “On Target” blog.

If you have any suggestions or ideas for content please leave a comment below.

As a guide here is a taster to the agenda:

Agenda – How technology is influencing the future of real estate in NZ

8.00 – 8.30 Registration / coffee

8.30 – 9.00 Introduction / outline

9.00 – 9.30 Keynote address #1:

9.30 – 10.15 Workshop session

10.15 – 10.45 Coffee / tea break

10.45 – 11.30 Discussion session #1

11.30 – 12.15 Workshop session

12.15 – 12.45 Keynote address #2:

12.45 – 1.30 Lunch

1.30 – 2.15 Discussion session #2

2.15 – 3.00 Workshop session

3.00 – 3.30 Keynote address #4:

3.30 – 4.00 Coffee / tea break

4.00 – 4.45 Workshop session

4.45 – 5.30 Discussion session #3

5.30 Wrap up and drinks

Keynote addresses

We have invited to join us a key group of leaders from all parts of the globe. Leaders in their field who are specialists, who can provide insight and thought leadership to the key topics that affect this industry.

1. Emerging trends for technology’s influence in the world of real estate

A detailed overview of what are the key developments and trends involving the use of technology of all sorts around the world – technology involving both hardware and software, client facing and business systems.

2. The future developments for real estate listings

What is the landscape for listings’ marketing in the coming years. Is Google going to be the winner? Will classified websites rise or fall and will specialist portals remain dominant – and what more can they provide?

3. Search – the final frontier?

Is search marketing the simple solution or the complex pandora’s box? What has yet to emerge from Google and is Google under threat as search becomes siloed behind killer applications?

4. Social Media – snake oil or profitable business development?

Is social media here to stay or will web 2.0 be the next dot bomb? – how can an agent justify the time to make status updates, twitter profound thoughts and craft rich blogs – does it pay

Panel Discussions

As a follow on from the keynote presentations there will be panel discussions, which will pick up on the some of the themes of the presentations and invite leaders in their field to challenge and debate the rights and wrongs of various opinions. These sessions will be interactive and participative – that includes very much the audience themselves who are key to a valuable debate and discussion.

1. Real estate listings – who owns the listing? Should they be syndicated to any and every website that offers to showcase them? Does this provide the right marketing and the best service to clients?

2. Personal profile – it has got to the stage now where if you do not have one you are more than likely to be ignored by sector of prospective clients. However what needs to be a part of a profile, where should it be hosted and how do you measure its performance?

3. What is the next big thing in technology to impact the real estate industry? – be it hardware in the form of the iPad or software in property stats, technology is key and differing opinions will be on hand to challenge, discuss and stimulate

Workshop sessions

A key part of the conference is practical discussion around using systems and sharing experiences with colleagues. The agenda features 4 breakouts sessions of 45 minutes each during which attendees will select from amongst the 5 subjects allowing attendees to rotate around the sessions and select the one to suit their interest. Topics for workshops will comprise:

1. Best practice for online property marketing

2. Personal profiling

3. Blogs

4. Twitter

5. Facebook

June 25 2010 | News and Online marketing | 4 Comments »

Realestate.co.nz provides specialised websites for each category of industry

leaflets

Yesterday we began the roll out of a range of new websites specifically targeted to provide key sectors of the real estate industry with specialised website for each category. These comprise Farms, Commercial, Business sites and will in the coming weeks include a whole new Realestate.co.nz – just focused on residential property for sale or rent.

Prime Commercial is a new site designed to showcase the vast array of listings that make up commercial real estate, whether it be property for lease or to buy. Currently there are 25,368 commercial properties on the website. This makes the site the most comprehensive online source of commercial properties being marketed at this time.

The chart below compares the content of Prime Commercial as against other commercial property websites or websites that feature commercial property.

Prime Commercial - comprehensive listings of commercial property from Realestate.co.nz

Prime Business is a new site designed to showcase the portfolio of the specialist business brokers in NZ. Whilst the smallest category of real estate it is worthy of a dedicated website to provide brokers and clients with a specialised website to find business opportunities from amongst the 3,793 currently on the market being actively marketed by licensed business brokers.

The chart below compares the content of Prime Business as against other specialist websites featuring businesses for sale and some websites which feature businesses for sale.

Prime Business serving the needs of business brokers brought to you by Realestate.co.nz

nzFarms is a new site designed for the rural sector of the real estate industry. This new specialist website provides the most comprehensive selection of farms and agricultural land to be found in one place. In addition to the 7,941 farms and agricultural businesses to be found on the website from across the country, the site also showcases a selection of 11,786 lifestyle properties.

The chart below compares the content of nzFarms  as against other specialist rural websites featuring farms and agricultural businesses for sale and some websites which feature farms for sale. These statistics of listing comparisons do not include lifestyle properties.

nzFarms_listings_cht

For each website we have produced a flyer which you can download and use as a reference document for presentation of these sites to clients. Just click on the image below to download the pdf flyer for you to print and distribute.

Prime Commercial flyerPrime Business flyernzFarms flyer

April 21 2010 | New feature and News | No Comments »

Twitter – insights for real estate agents

I am sure by now you have heard of Twitter – you may not be using it now or understand it. To help I have shared some insight on the Unconditional blog. Additionally if you want a crash course in Twitter this YouTube video by Common Craft is excellent.

In my view, Twitter is worth considering as a means of raising your profile and demonstrating your subject matter expertise. Many people see Twitter as irrelevant ramblings about the minutiae of people’s lives, “I am going to work now”, “I am bored”, “I fed the cat”!! – but think of it differently for a minute as a way to share observations, information (as in great online stories) and also listings.

Twitter is a medium of communication – it is an email type short message that goes to people who follow you.

You can use Twitter to follow people who have useful things to share which may interest you – news service, both general and real estate specific, companies offering special deals. Here at realestate.co.nz we have our own Twitter account and we would encourage you to follow us.

Realestate.co.nz (realestateconz) on Twitter-1

We use Twitter to share insight, information, news stories, statistics and just about anything real estate – it is a single place, where a couple of times a day, we can share what we think is interesting and worth a read. The great thing about Twitter is you decide if you want to read – no spam email, no signing up, no pushing!

We have 115 followers after 1 week – I would like to get to 1,000 in the next 2 months, so come and follow us – and we will follow you back!

March 11 2010 | Online marketing and Social Networking | 6 Comments »

The importance of your online profile

It seems so obvious, but in real estate today you need to have an online profile – a webpage / a place on the web which people will go to when they Google your name. It does not need to be a flash website, it can be a single page, just as long as it can tell people about you – what you do, what your great at and how to contact you.

Here are some simple ways to get a profile:

1. We offer everybody in this industry a free web page for their profile – just check out any of your listings on realestate.co.nz and see the link to “My Profile” – that is your profile online – that page is very likely to be a page that Google will direct people to when they search on your name – try and see!

If you want to write some details to add to this page then login to the AgentPro part of the site and write up whatever you want – more details and background to where you work and how you can help. As a guide have a look at other people’s profiles.

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2. Facebook can be a great place to build your profile – it also allows you to connect with friends and colleagues and make new friends and acquaintances. I have noticed a significant rise in the use by real estate agents on recent months (masses of invites!) – the key with Facebook is presenting a professional impression and not mixing too much of your personal life with your business life.

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3. How about a simple website? – here is a brand new service I found last week Flavors.me offers you an instant page to which you can link your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – a place you can encourage people to go to to see what you have to say. I built this site as a test in less than 5 minutes!

Welcome _ Flavors.me

March 11 2010 | Online marketing and Social Networking | 3 Comments »

New policy on listing photos

Over the past months we have witnessed a growing trend of images being sent through which have been “over-written” with text. An example is shown below of the addition of the word “video” to the image.

Image of property with video text

This image is the #1 image and is therefore the one seen in all searches and in this case a feature listing. We judge that this activity is not conducive to the high standards of presentation of the website. The websites is viewed by thousands of people everyday looking for property and the image is a key component of search – whilst the addition of a keyword draws attention on an isolated picture the encroachment of this across more and more listings would damage the value of the site.

For this reason from today I have instructed our support team to delete such photos.

This is an intervention by Realestate.co.nz into the presentation of listings, however it is done with the best of intentions to ensure the website remains impartial and most important of all, valuable for property seekers.

Our overriding concern is that should this trend continue, we could see all forms of text overlays on photos endeavoring to promote one listing over another. This would ultimately devalue the website and this is why this decision has been taken.

February 19 2010 | News and Online marketing | 5 Comments »

Record start to 2010 – web traffic to real estate sites keeps growing

As forecasted in the December newsletter the new year kicked off where 2009 finished, with yet further increases in the level of traffic to real estate websites.

Nielsen Top Websites Real Estate Category January 2010

Across those sites tracked by Nielsen Online, total traffic grew by over 20% (vs. 2009), with over 126,000 daily unique browsers checking out listings on NZ real estate websites, adding up to a monthly total of 1.68 million.

For Realestate.co.nz a total of 437,517 unique browsers visited the site in the month – a new record level of traffic viewing the most comprehensive content on the web.

This total traffic comprises both NZ’ers viewing listings to be better informed of the property market as well as an international audience from around the world eager to see what NZ property options they may have.

In terms of this international audience – realestate.co.nz delivers more viewers to real estate agent’s listings than any other website (including trade me property). The chart below details the monthly traffic of the 3 main property websites – realestate.co.nz, trade me property and open2view.

International traffic

Whilst the level of international interest is vital to ensure broad international exposure – over 140,000 unique visitors every month with Australia, the UK and the USA amounting to over 100,000 of that total, the fact is NZ viewers are more likely to be the buyer of that home. The chart below presents the tracking of weekly visits to realestate.co.nz over the past 3 years – the lift in weekly traffic every year – week on week is very telling to the growing appreciation of the value of the realestate.co.nz website.

Domestic weekly traffic

February 04 2010 | Nielsen Online stats | No Comments »

Anticipation for a great 2010 in real estate

For many 2009 has been a challenging year. As compared to 2008 it has been a lot brighter.

In the last 12 months there were a total of 67,197 residential sales as compared 60,981 in the period to October 2008 – a 10% increase. The good news is there is great scope to see sales rise even more in 2010 – based on a 10 year average of sales as a ratio to the number of houses across the country we should be seeing sales averaging 96,000 a year! – so there is upside growth in sales to come, hopefully we will see some of this in 2010.

(To get a fuller picture of these facts please read this analysis as presented on the Unconditional blog).

As far as activity online is concerned, this year has been nothing short of staggering. Over the past 12 months close to 50 million visitor sessions were undertaken across the 7 leading real estate websites (as monitored by Nielsen Online).

As the chart shows this growth has been unstoppable as each year more and more buyers turn to the web to search for property – so many in fact that total user numbers have doubled over the past 3 years.

For realestate.co.nz our rate of growth has been even faster, not only have we more than doubled since 2006 we are now seeing the number of individual visitor sessions per week up over 46% in a year; with now an average week seeing the website provide over 145,000 users with the most comprehensive real estate listings source of any website in NZ.

This is great news for the industry in general, especially when you remember that realestate.co.nz is your website – owned by the industry, your industry, protecting your long term interests.

That was last year now let’s think about the coming months. The first 3 months of the year are tradtionally the most active during which viewing and enquiry levels peak. The chart below clearly demonstrates this. The shaded area indicates the quiet Christmas break, with the top solid blue line showing the weekly traffic across all these websites to date. The dashed blue line then goes on to estimate the level of visitors traffic we can expect to see in January and February – potentially well over 1,100,000 visitors per week.

To take advantage of this anticipated peak in viewing and searching it is so important to use these next few weeks to prepare to get the most out of the next 3 months:

1.  Get those listings right

It seems so simple but too often the basics get forgotten:

(a)   Photos – get the best collection of the best images. Make sure the #1 photo (the first photo in the sequence) is the best representation of the property. Remember the more photos a listing has the more the number of visitors, it is a fact

(b)   Address – showing an address generates a map which buyers love so they can get a perspective of where the property is and what the area around it is like – they want to use Google Street View or Zoodle – so be their friend and help them

(c)    Description – provide rich information that enables a buyer to make an informed assesment on the property. Describe the key benefits of the property and the local community – be seen as an expert who is keen to share valuable insight into living in the area – an area or neighbourhood you know so well

2. Promote those listings

To have a listing on the web is just the starting point. You need to recognise that with more people search online nowadays than in print publications you need to look to focus vendor paid marketing online.

The “Featured Listings” on realestate.co.nz are used widely by so many agents who see the value of the $250 per 2 week investment in promoting their client’s listings and see the results in the greater exposure and increase in viewing numbers.

Get in quick to grab your chosen suburb for the summer perod – we often sell out as there are only ever 3 properties featured in each suburb at any one time.

3. Get out and promote yourself

Recognising that buyers searching online for new homes are more than likely to be thinking of selling their home means that advertising your services on realestate.co.nz is so logical.

The Featured Agent adverts which allow you to promote yourself as one of just 3 agents per suburb is so effective. We still have spots available from now until the end of March and from just $15 per month, there is no better way to solicit enquiries from the massive audience on the site.

To buy a personal profile advert for your chosen suburb all you need to do is login to our Agent Pro website at www.agentpro.co.nz (don’t forget this link is at the bottom of every page on the website) – sign up if you have not already done so, then choose your desired suburb, check that the month you want is available and then buy online with a valid credit card.

December 10 2009 | Market stats and Nielsen Online stats and Online marketing | No Comments »

Online searches sets new records and far outpaces print media

It certainly feels like every month there is another record broken for the number of internet searches for property – that is just the reality of the choice the consumer is actively making in assessing what is the most useful form of media to choose for property search.

In the month of October as reported by Nielsen online there were over 1.6 million unique visits to NZ real estate websites. This represented a year on year growth of 24% – that is an additional 300,000 unique visits this year as compared to last year.

By way of comparison the print media for real estate have not faired so well. The Property Press readership figures just published by both Nielsen and Roy Morgan show that weekly readership fell by 11% over the past year in the case of the Nielsen survey and by 13% in the case of the Roy Morgan survey.Along with this massive swing to online, the two websites of realestate.co.nz and Trade me property both surpassed key milestones.

For Realestate.co.nz it was just the second month of 400,000+ unique browsers (up 54% on a year ago) and for Trade me property 1 million+ unique browsers in the month (up 40% on a year ago).The data for all the websites tracked by Nielsen is presented in this document.

To assit you in sharing these key pieces of information with your clients and prospective clients we have produced a new set of key fact sheets to highlight these trends. Click here to download these pages.

November 05 2009 | Nielsen Online stats and Online marketing | No Comments »

Supporting your industry owned website

It is over 3 years ago that the Realestate.co.nz website was born, and as we approach a new milestone with the plans for the new re-launched website which will be announced in the coming weeks, it is timely to remember the principle of this website:

“An industry owned website – supporting and protecting the real estate industry of NZ from the profit motivated ambitions of global media players”

For 4 years Realestate.co.nz, through the significant support of this industry has been able to develop and operate a website that has grown in size from 180,000 to over 400,000 unique browsers per month, and at the same time grown its subscriber base from 80% to 94% of all offices. All achieved whilst holding the cost to the industry at the same level of $200 (+gst) per office per month.

During this time, we can with due pride say we have significantly challenged our media owned competitors.

In the case of the REA Group owned ‘allrealestate.co.nz’ we forced them to shut-up shop and leave the NZ market. In the case of Fairfax owned ‘Trade me property’ we have been a factor that has potentially constrained their ability to raise subscription fees.

Their subscription fees 3 years ago for residential property sales is the today as it was back then in 2006. This success is neatly presented in the chart below which not only shows the annual subscription costs of the two leading NZ real estate portals but also compares it to the revenue charged to Australian real estate companies by their leading property portal (realestate.com.au) over the same period.

The question that I am sure will surface in your mind in looking at these numbers will be”what would we be now paying in NZ if we did not own the valuable website of Realestate.co.nz??”

Conservatively you could say that Realestate.co.nz has saved the NZ industry around $16 million over the past 4 years. This calculation is made by looking at the Australian website of realestate.com.au and its annual revenue per office per year. By this calculation it is quite logical to see what might have been the case in NZ of what offices might now be paying.

Back in 2006 Australian offices paid an average of $7,800 per year for realestate.com.au. At that time in NZ Trade me was charging the current monthly fee of $599 equating to $7,188 per annum – not that much difference. Now applying the same annual % increase each year that realestate.com.au has levied would mean that in NZ offices might now be being charging $12,900 per annum – over $1,000 per month by the dominant website.

Makes you think that the current subscription fee of $200 per month for Realestate.co.nz is a great representation of value, or as a new UK industry owned real estate website put it so well last week “Stop feeding the hand that bites you“! – how they would wish they had a leading industry owned website.

Later this month we will be communicating the full details of the new websites we are building. These sites will allow us to better serve the specific needs of each sector of the real estate industry far better than a general property portal. The commercial property sector, the business broking sector, the rural property and farming sector specifically will be uniquely serviced by Realestate.co.nz with a new and powerful online marketing platform.

November 05 2009 | News | No Comments »

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