High-profile real estate coach Tom Panos, who is general manager (sales) at News Corp, which owns a 62 per cent stake in REA, said he was pleased to see the networks were able to work together collectively, but that agents still have a responsibility to consumers.
Mr Panos told Real Estate Business that putting the work he does for News Corp to one side, and the fact he thinks it’s a good thing they can work together on the new portal, he believes agents working in the best interests of consumers cannot ignore website traffic data.
"When you are working in the best interests of the consumer, you work from the position of ‘what is the best thing I’ve got to do to sell for a vendor at a maximum price?,” he said.
“That is about ultimately looking at marketing and what is it that will get the maximum traffic.
"With real estate portals, it’s not about the content, which is the housing and units that agents provide. In fact, it’s about the traffic that is generated, and to me that is the biggest issue,” added Mr Panos.
According to the latest Experian Hitwise weekly trends data (for the week ending 21 June), REA's realestate.com.au was the seventh most visited business or finance website in Australia, with total visits of 5,306,365 (2.36 per cent share).
Mr Panos believes it will take tens of millions of marketing dollars for the new industry portal to divert traffic from traditional players such as Domain and realestate.com.au.
"The main challenge now with marketing to get traffic is that it’s such an expensive exercise; there’s a reason why certain industries have clear leaders in the online markets - it’s because the barrier to entry is extremely difficult,” said Mr Panos.
Real Estate Business did contact the REA Group for comment about the new industry portal, but a spokesperson said it didn’t have anything to add at this point.