We all heard the roar coming from NAR (National Association of Realtors) yesterday, who announced they will now be offering free
Placester websites. In the past, these have been offered for $5 bucks a pop, but now are completely “free.” The problem is, free doesn’t always mean free, and this news puts a big dent in the brokerage value proposition.
Moxi Works CEO, York Baur, weighed in saying, “It’s not good for the industry to have the NAR leveling the playing field for technology. The brokerage is the sun in the real estate solar system and should be allowed to create their own unique value proposition – we don’t need the NAR meddling in that.”
It’s important to note that none of these websites will carry brokerage branding. We believe it’s essential for brokerages to encourage agents to include brokerage branding, and although these sites can add your brand, it is not entirely automated. These sites are great for agents to create their own brand and image, but it also creates an extra step for the brokerage to maintain their brand and therefore becomes a headache.
“I hate things like this and brokerages should too. It’s not right that they’re taking away the brokerages ability to generate their own unique value proposition. Brokerages should be able to do that without NAR giving away tech,” said Baur.
Finally, there’s the upselling factor. This is a “freemium” play as everyone is saying. Freemium models are intended to get something in front of people for free in hopes of upselling them to paid products and services later.
Like all startups that raise incredible amounts of money (Placester is somewhere around $100 Million), there will be unbelievable pressure from their investors to get a return. That means they’ll be upselling agents like crazy, which only dilutes a brokerage’s value proposition that much more. “We’re in the business of helping brokerages, so this is unsettling,” said Baur. “The NAR might as well have knocked on the door of the brokerage and slapped them across the face.”