Archive for the 'News' Category

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 »

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 »

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 »

Real Estate Agents Act 2008 – website changes

We are very conscious of the changes that the new Act brings into effect from the 17th November. Very little directly effects the operation of the website. However there are one or two that do and we will communicate these in the coming weeks.

The first change which we are implementing with effect from today with the intention of completing before the 17th is the naming of offices on the website. We wish to implement a standard presentation across the site and thereby save the industry from having to apply the wording of the Act to all material. This specifically relates to clause 121 of the Act – specifically 121:2 (c) this states the following:

Every agent must ensure that the required name information is displayed in a prominent place on all notices, advertisements, and other material published by or on behalf of the agent in the course of the business

The current protocol adopted by the website is to show the legal name followed by MREINZ followed by the trading name and location. The example below represents the current format.

The change being implemented is to show the legal name followed by the statement Licensed: REAA 2008 in closed brackets followed by the trading name and location. An example of the new layout is shown below.


The Act does not call for the designation of licensee status to be identified in the context of a salesperson and therefore we shall continue to display the salesperson’s name adjacent to the listing.

November 04 2009 | News | 2 Comments »

Record level of website traffic

The month of August turned out to be another bumper month in terms of traffic to real estate websites. Following a record level in July, August saw another new record established with a massive 1,489,294 unique browser visits to a variety of real estate websites as monitored by Nielsen Online.

The table here shows the top 10 websites as recorded by Nielsen for the month.

Not only is this good news for these websites, but is also great news for the industry as these record levels are a key indicator of interest from property seekers searching for property and information on the market.

In total the traffic represented a year on year growth of 17% – an extra 216,264 unique browsers as compared to August last year.

For realestate.co.nz the month was not just a new record but represented a growth of 50% from August last year – far ahead of the 17% growth of the market and second only in terms of growth to Barfoot & Thompson website. The 50% increase represents an additional 132,125 unique browsers visiting the website this year that did not visit last year – great news for your listings and for your clients.

A complete analysis of the online market and the performance of the website of realestate.co.nz including useful sales inserts can be viewed by downloading the September report here.

The report provides insight into the growing usage of the web for real estate search as well as demonstration of the value of the web in attracting domestic and international interest in your listings.

September 14 2009 | News | No Comments »

Realestate.co.nz limited – Annual Report 2008/9

Realestate.co.nz is an industry owned website – we are enormously proud of this fact as well as the support that we receive from the real estate industry. We are unique in a world where the international media barons dominate the print and online real estate advertising marketplaces, to be able to offer you a NZ owned, cost effective tool for marketing yourself and your listing in a website that classically punches well above its weight.

As an industry owned website we are keen to be transparent about our business – a business you all share in, to enable you to see what you get for your subscription. You can download and read a copy of our annual report which details the performance of the website over the year to 31st March 2009. In addition we would encourage you to share your comments and thoughts on this blog post.

Annual Report – Realestate.co.nz Limited.

Financial year ending 31 March 2009.

1. Key performance metrics

All metrics are as at 31st March 2009

2. Chairman’s Report

This past year has been a challenging one for the whole of the real estate industry. The direct consequences of the economic recession saw property sales drop by half and sent ripples through all sectors of the industry. Online real estate marketing was not immune. Realestate.co.nz Ltd was impacted by the loss of over 150 subscribing offices that ceased operations in the past year. Such a scale of office closures impacts subscriptions, the primary revenue driver for the business. Heeding early warning signs, the Board and management embarked on protective strategies and actions which has enabled the company to end the year in excellent operational and financial health.

For the 12 months ending March 2009 the company reported total revenue of $2,854k, a decline of $327k from the prior year as a direct result of the loss of subscribing offices. That decline in revenue caused the operating profit before license fees to fall to $67k, from the prior year $483k.

Beyond ensuring that we remain financially sound, financial success for Realestate.co.nz Limited takes a back seat to ensuring the success of realestate.co.nz as an effective marketing tool for the subscribers. A key measure of the success of the company in the year can be judged in the strength of the subscriber base which grew in percentage terms to finish the year at a new high of just under 93% of all licensed real estate offices. An equally significant vindication of the growing success of the website was the closure of the competitor website of allrealestate.co.nz in December of 2008. That website had aggressively launched in October 2005 with the backing of the media muscle of News Corporation through the Australian company REA Group which runs the #1 real estate website in Australia. Despite that backing and some very aggressive attempts to dominate the NZ market the website was closed as, in the judgment of its owners, it could not justify the continuing investment required just to hold its 3rd place in the market.

Their demise has assisted the realestate.co.nz website to grow in value to the property seeking public both domestically and internationally. The monthly traffic to the website now exceeds 360,000 unique browsers per month, significantly up from the 260,000 per month a year ago. Whilst not attaining the #1 spot in terms of domestic traffic the website ably demonstrates its appeal in being the clear #1 website based on international visitors searching for NZ properties with a clear margin of 50% more traffic than the #2 website, with over 110,000 unique browsers per month from over 200 countries.

During the year the company has strategically sought to broaden its business base and consolidate its position of being the most comprehensive website for content as well as an authoritative source of real estate information. New incremental revenue was derived from the premium marketing services of featured listings and featured agents during the year. A new company was launched in January as a joint venture with Terralink International providing rich and comprehensive information on all of NZ residential property through an innovative new website – Zoodle. This website has already established itself strongly in the market for property reports and community information and regularly receives over 35,000 monthly unique visitors as well as steady revenue from property reports sold online.

Building on the platform established in the prior year around social media and property data the company has actively promoted its growing role as a reporting service of key data from the website as a lead indicator of consumer activity. This initiative has captured significant media coverage, critical in building the visibility and credibility in the marketplace and placing the company ahead of competitors who could equally have taken the opportunity to provide and promote such data analysis.

As a demonstration of the effective role of social media the traffic from unique visitors to the agents’ own Voices blogs as well as the Unconditional blog now surpass 20,000 unique browsers per month capturing a unique and credible place in the market for timely and accurate property market information.

Far from believing that our work is done the realestate.co.nz team have embarked on a challenging redevelopment of the site to provide an even more compelling marketing opportunity for a broader range of property types. This new investment will reflect the feedback provided by public users of the site and offer an improved level of engagement for users and ultimately improved marketing outcomes for subscribers.

As Chairman of the Board I would once again like to acknowledge the contribution made over the year by the directors of the company who have given generously of their time as well as their demonstrated support of the site. To the realestate.co.nz team, which includes our partner companies, I offer my thanks for their ongoing commitment, dedication and belief to deliver a high value-add service, support the continued development of the site and provide marketing to assist in developing and growing the realestate.co.nz brand. There exists within the team an urge to constantly develop and enhance the website and I am confident that the coming year will see the fruits of their vision take the website to a new level.

The last and most important thanks should go to the industry at large who continue to demonstrate their support for the site, as it is becoming a “must-have” within their marketing portfolio. Realestate.co.nz Limited respects and appreciates its role in providing the real estate industry of NZ with a highly effective, cost competitive real estate marketing website where the value created in the business will deliver long term benefit for all of those in the real estate industry

Jeff Davidson
Chairman – Realestate.co.nz Limited

3. Company structure

Realestate.co.nz Ltd has 2 shareholders. 50% of the shares are owned by REINZ Member Services Ltd, the remaining 50% are owned by Property Page (NZ) Ltd owning 50% of the shares.

Board of Directors

The board of directors for the year ending 31st March 2009 comprised the following:
Board Member Shareholder representative

Murray Cleland – REINZ Member Services Ltd

Mike Pinkney – REINZ Member Services Ltd

John Ross – REINZ Member Services Ltd

Ross Hunter – Property Page (NZ) Ltd

Peter Thompson – Property Page (NZ) Ltd

Bryan Thomson – Property Page (NZ) Ltd

Independent Chairman – Jeff Davidson

Employees

The management team and employees of the company comprised the following as at 31st March 2009

Alistair Helm – Chief Executive

Phil Dunn – Chief Operating Officer

Kerry Kissane – Training and customer services manager

Katherine Jariel – Customer services representative

Crystal Fell – Customer services representative

4. CEO outlook for 2009/10

The website of realestate.co.nz continues to offer a tremendous service to the real estate industry of NZ.

In the 3 years of operation, the site has demonstrated that with the unified support of the industry a lean operation can compete and challenge any well resourced and funded media company to offer the property buyers and renters of New Zealand a market leading website whilst ensuring that the costs to this industry are controlled.

At no time over the past 3 years has the website rested on its laurels. With constant development and enhancement it has striven to set new benchmarks and provide new services to both its consumers and customers.

This forthcoming year will again be a period of development for the company and the website. There are many new features that we have planned to incorporate into a re-design of the website. The focus is on providing property seekers with a more engaging and valuable experience in using the website – an experience that prompts them to visit regularly as well as share their experiences with their friends, family and colleagues.

The web in general is becoming a far more social environment as people demand greater transparency and authenticity enabling them to be able to make more informed decisions in regard to products and services they buy either directly online or through information provided online. The real estate industry is being challenged by this drive for greater openness and interaction, the winners in the future will be those in the industry that recognise this trend and embrace the online opportunity – using technology to build their profile and their referral base.

The website of realestate.co.nz intends in the coming year to take a leadership position to provide tools and services to assist the industry to embrace this era of transparency and openness as well as cement the dominance of the web as the most effective medium for advertising properties and promotion of salespeople and companies. A key part of this development is the more specialised segments of the industry catering to commercial property agents, business brokers and rural specialists. To each of these dedicated areas we intend to develop bespoke solutions that are tailored to their needs as well as their clients’ needs thereby ensuring that the website continues to offer a true one-stop-shop solution for all segments of the industry.

The promotion and advertising of the website is recognised as a key requirement to build consumer awareness and through that customer loyalty. In today’s fragmented media world the route to achieve this awareness no longer solely relies on traditional mainstream media. It is for this reason that the company continues to seek out opportunities to utilise new and emerging platforms for promotions of the website and thereby endure that the marketing investment is efficiently and effectively invested.
Alistair Helm
CEO – Realestate.co.nz

September 14 2009 | News | No Comments »

New member of realestate team

I am delighted to welcome as the latest member of the realestate team – Jodi Cottle.

Jodi started last week in her new role as Sales Manager of Realestate.co.nz. She comes to us with a wealth of experience in the real estate industry through her role as a mortgage advisor as well as an individual property investor and author on property investing – all of this in someone who is still in their first decade of their career!

Jodi is really motivated to help us in building strong relations with all of our customers to ensure the value of the website is recognised and utilised. We still have some non-subscribers and this is an important area for Jodi to focus on for the benefit of everyone in this industry.

Jodi comes from a family with strong links in real estate – her mother is an accomplished and very successful salesperson and inspired Jodi in her early steps in property investing which eventually lead to her writing her book “Young & Singles Guide to Property Investing” which has been sold through high street book sellers now for over a year.

I am delighted to have someone of the calibre of Jodi to add depth and expertise to our organisation and would encourage you to share your ideas and comments in relation to the use and development of the site as Jodi endeavours to meet all of our customers, a process that may take a bit of time.

You can contact Jodi by email jodi@realestate.co.nz

August 14 2009 | News | 1 Comment »

10 great tech tools for real estate

I am attending the Inman Connect Conference in San Francisco this week. As usual with this conference it is a packed agenda providing a great insight into the technology developments as well as the application of such to the real estate industry both in the US and globally.

One of the opening sessions was a fast paced 10 new technology applications that were judged “cool” by Brian Boero of 1000 Watt  Consulting.

Rather than me having to scribble down all the links and then post them all I am indebted to Simon Baker of Property Portal Watch for this list.

My recommendation – take 20 minutes and cruise through the 10 tools and technologies you need to know about

August 06 2009 | News | No Comments »

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