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 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 12:07 pm | News and Online marketing

5 Responses to “New policy on listing photos”

  1. Steve Taylor on 20 Feb 2010 at 4:10 pm #

    As an agent I see having a video made is a costly and time consuming process. On other sites you get an indication that there is a video as they have for example “with video” under the pictures.

    You did promise us something similar with your new site, but that has been delayed.

    Could you give us a picture of what your site will in the future provide for our clients, if they have paid for a video to be produced?

  2. Alistair Helm on 21 Feb 2010 at 7:14 am #


    Thanks for the feedback.

    On the site when you go to a listing there is a tab that highlights that this listing has a video. This is consistent with how most site (those that do featured video) showcase a video. The new website will equally present the video as a further enhancement of the presentation of a listing.

    What I am concerned about is the presentation of properties in search results by the addition of tags – we do add an overlay tag to feature open homes. This tag is judged to be of value to users of the site. However as stated above my concern is the potential for a creep of the use of tagging of images with any words which the agent my decide suits the message that day. I have seen some start to add headlines or the word auction or mortgagee.

    Whilst this tags which are similar to overlays on street signs they do instantly detract from the consistent presentation of primary images in search results. For the users of the site the value in the site relies on the consistent and easy ability to review the images.

    Fundamentally our role has a degree of curation to ensure that the right balance is struck between the agents and the property seekers – this is the fundamental difference and value of an industry owned portal and a property search website.

  3. David Garratt on 26 Feb 2010 at 4:52 pm #

    hmm. I’m gutted I never thought of this idea! Text on photos! And now I’m too late to take advantage of it!
    You should be glad you made this ruling, cheeky agents like myself would surely abuse the site to pull viewer eyes to our listings. Good on you for make a call and keeping the photos clear and uncluttered on your site.
    Though it has given me some ideas that I will try out in the near future. Watch this space!

  4. Alistair Helm on 26 Feb 2010 at 10:25 pm #


    Glad I thought of it first!!

    Thanks for the feedback anyway. Interested to see what grand plan you have – I hope this is not going to be a case of me trying to “patch up” holes that you keep on exposing!!

  5. Richard Stringer on 18 Mar 2010 at 6:26 pm #

    Hi Alistair

    I disagree entirely. I think vendors who have taken the initiative to pay for a video should be given the opportunity to promote this additilonal feature by way of a tag on their main photo. In Queenstown we deal with so many out of town and international buyers – some of whom make buying decisions without ever visiting the property and they would appreciate knowing which properties have video tours from their initial search without having to go into the listing and looking for a video link. For them a video tag would improve their experience.

    Having said that – the yellow example you provide above looks tacky and detracts from the image. Surely you could come up with a standard format that every company must use that is tastefully done?

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