One of the country's top agencies has poured cold water on the recent agitation relating to realestate.com.au's fee hike, highlighting that its own independent website is set to become hugely significant in securing new business.
On the day it was revealed the major franchise networks were banding together to fight back against the market dominance of REA, Anthony Toop, CEO and MD at Toop & Toop, told Real Estate Business that realestate.com.au has its own agenda, nothing to do with him and not something he's losing sleep over.
"Essentially, my conversation with real estate.com.au and Domain, and the newspapers, is that 'You deliver me the vehicle, you've got the pricing that you determine, that's nothing to do with me, and the conditions, they've nothing to do with me, and I will go with the market' … because essentially, the real estate industry is the unpaid marketers and salespeople for these publications," said Mr Toop.
He said that he doesn't fear anybody, be it realestate.com.au or Domain, having a monopoly in the listings market, adding that it's only a matter of time before an internet entrepreneur invents an alternative to the current crop and blows all of the listings websites out of the water.
"I don't know why everyone is getting hysterical about it,” said Mr Toop. "The only thing I can say from my own personal view is that I think our own independent website is going to become incredibly important and significant.
"The only way you can deal with the global market as an individual company is to do it through the vehicle of online, and that [your website] is basically your interface," he added.
He said its website is the equivalent of having a personal relationship with its clients and customers.
"It's not there to get that initial enquiry,” he said. "But once you have that initial enquiry, it’s the vehicle to discuss and communicate. We look at realestate.com.au and the other portals as the funnel to grab the initial enquiry, but once that hits our decks, and we become aware of it, then our website and all our online strategies kick in."