Do you remember the Napster peer to peer sharing fight? The recording industry brought Napster down because they said that the open access of their data cheapens and belittles their proprietary information.
However, in a recent article in Rismedia the author pointed out that Realtors are mistaken for not allowing open access to their data.
"....in Entrepreneur Magazine, more that 70% of consumers say that they are unlikely to purchase from, or return to a site after encountering “register for more information” log-on pages that block access to promised content."
Comments: I have yet to see a Realtor Website sell a property. That is not the point of a Real Estate agent website. Or an ad, open house, or any other promotion that features a property. The point is to build a data base of prospects. Everyone should know that very few people ever buy a home off an ad. Especially as markets soften.
"...Often, Realtors require their potential customers to login in to get access to MLS listings and “free” information. ...we’re finding that a huge percentage of Web site visitors are just not ready to buy or sell a home right now. Asking them to login just drives them away. The key is to afford them access to information until their ready..."
Comments: Thinking that a consumer will loyaly just come back to a real estate website without prodding shows complete misunderstanding of the web. If you are driving down the street and want a Slurpee. On the right hand side is a 7-11, and on the Left is a Circle K, which one are going into. The most convenient one to pull into. Comparatively there is no unique difference from the two stores. The visitor knows that your listings are the same as the other sites listings.
"...Think about it. If you had a retail store that sold expensive cameras, would you stop your potential customers at the door and ask for their name, phone and e-mail? If you did, pretty soon you wouldn’t have any customers. The “I don’t want to talk to you unless you’re serious” attitude needs to stop if real estate professional hope to truly service this growing market."
Comments: Sales is about qualifying. And if I had a person come into my "widget" store, I would not spend time with that person at all if they continued to window shop. I can still be pleasant and humble. But if I place any value on my time, service, or product, I had better be picky. Any top producer in real estate that I have ever known is extremely particular about their time and who they are willing to expend that time with.
"According to Tiffany Shlain, founder of the Webby Awards in San Francisco, “Before, the goal was just to get people onto their site. Now the goal is to offer them information, links and services that can help them.”
Comments: Information for a price. The transaction that occurs on a website is I have homes with extensive information. If you want it, I have it. The price for admission is your name, email, phone + or -. People by and large will not come back to your site because you were so kind to give out all the information. Study a great upcall Realtor in any office. They have this attitude that you will not find out all you want to know about this property unless the callers gives up some revealing informationabout their motivation. And they then go thru a dance of give and take.
"Realtors must go through a paradigm shift. A paradigm is “a set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality”, according to dictionary.com. Reality had changed.
Reality has changed. More people than ever now use the web. If you the agent are to compete, you have to capture these visiotrs, then create loyalty.
There is no loyalty to a website in and of itself. Studies have shown that we typically can remember 9 websites. My site, and yours is not one of them. Thus, we have to make an offer and capture the visitor. For you the agent, your best hook is access to your listings.
To allow open access to the MLS is would create what I call the Napster affect. This is what the Recording industry sued Napster over. They said open access to their data ( records) would cheapen their datas value.
You are cheapening your only tangible assett. The MLS data that you and your fellow Realtors have worked so hard to compile. To give it away now would be ashame.