Nearly a year ago Trade Me changed its pricing structure for real estate agents with no substantive notice or consultation. Uproar ensued. Trade Me’s response was essentially “tough, live with it". For those that objected and withdrew their listings Trade Me went directly to the agents clients, complaining that they were colluding and acting illegally. Ouch.
Trade Me Behaving Badly we termed it in a February article.
Today (July 30, 2014) Trade Me acknowledged they screwed up and offered a revised subscription package to agencies. They kept a per-listing package as well.
- Trade Me obviously underestimated the power of real estate agencies, both individually and collectively when there is a common enemy.
- This hurt Trade Me financially, listing volumes have fallen over the months. They had to do something.
- Trade Me obviously has listened to feedback from agents. The anomaly that existed between the main centres and provinces has been addressed to some degree and they have offered the fixed subscription option again.
- It really looks like www.realestate.co.nz missed a once in a lifetime opportunity to nail Trade Me Property through being passive and traditional in its thinking. They had their foot on the throat but let it rest there when pressure would have choked their rival. We lamented their absence in this article in December 2013.
Where to from here?
Will agents forgive and forget? They control the content TradeMe needs to work. It was only them adding listings to Trade Me in the first place that allowed it to succeed in property. Now that some have made the break will they go back? How long will it take to rebuild the trust, if ever?
Trade Me and www.realestate.co.nz are on divergent account management paths. After finding out, to its cost, that it had no real understanding of a significant customer group that was more corporate than the rest of its user base Trade Me has been building its account management group. This sales organisation is key to building relationships with agents. However, www.realestate.co.nz has got rid of theirs. Will this matter?
Total listing volume changes (including relative to their competition) are the benchmark everyone will be watching to see if Trade Me can turn it around over the next few months.