A Bold Statement

Local Upstart REALTOR® Prospecting Site Thinks it has what it takes to rival MLS.ca

MLS.ca. Canada’s nationwide MLS. Every MLS listing, coast-to-coast. It’s practically a cultural institution, and millions of people use it to peek at their neighbour’s decorating scheme, or to view photos of houses before a military house-hunting trip in Halifax.

I received an e-mail last week (unsolicited, I might add) from a company calling itself CompatibleAgent.com, which contained a link to a video about their service. In a nutshell, it’s a searchable database and referral service for members of the public who are looking for an agent. They fill in a form, and are “matched” (read: referred as a lead) to an agent that is, well, compatible.

I received another e-mail today (again, unsolicited) which contained an incredibly bold (and misleading, I think) statement:

For those of you who have sent us feedback we thank you, and its obvious that Realtors believe this is a great idea…but the biggest concern you all have is a good one, and that is paying for advertising that is brand new, not yet established and that has an un-certain future. We do understand this and don’t blame Realtors for having this concern, therefore we as a company want to prove to you that CompatibleAgent.com is here to stay, that it is going to be a huge benefit to its members business and that we promise that we will be as widely used as MLS.ca within 1 year.

Wow. That’s ambitious. Here’s why I am skeptical: Alexa.com, which ranks Internet traffic, scores MLS.ca as the 78th most-visited Internet site in Canada. This puts it above The Globe and Mail, Workopolis, Bank Of Montreal, and slightly below 2 other banking websites. MLS.ca is the first result returned on Google.ca for Real Estate. CompatibleAgent.com purports they’ll accomplish this lofty goal through an extensive national TV, radio and print advertising campaign starting in June, making it a “household name.” I wonder if they researched this claim at all.

Even though they’ve slashed the price to join the service, I think I’ll wait and see. Show me some proof of your claim, and I’ll sign a 10-year contract!

Tim Ayres

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Published by Tim Ayres

Tim Ayres is a Sooke and Victoria BC REALTOR®, with Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty. Tim is actively involved in helping clients buying and selling real estate in the southern Vancouver Island region. Tim is an active member of the Victoria Real Estate Board and served seven years (2009-2015) as a director, including serving as President in 2014.

4 thoughts on “A Bold Statement

  1. This is the first I have heard of them. They will never out perform or even match mls.ca (soon to be realtor.ca), but I would like to see more options out there. There is a lot of room for providing a richer experience than mls.ca is providing. I am sure realtor.com is still the big palyer in the US, but other sites have made a huge impact. I wonder if the Canadian market is big enough enough.

    myrealplace.com was doing something web 2.0ish here, but is in a rebuild right now. That is my ramble for now.

  2. I have to throw in that Alexa rankings are pretty useless. Alexa is only installed by people interested in web traffic, such as webmasters, and therefore the rankings are highly skewed towards sites that only webmasters are interested in.

    I also think that anything could be better than MLS.ca. From a user perspective, the site is horrible… so I don’t think it’s that far fetched for someone to come along and out perform them. I highly doubt it’ll happen in 1 year though, unless they have tons of VC money to entice organizations to start linking to them instead….

  3. Small world here in the BC real estate blogosphere… should I be surprised to see my buddy, Matt Collinge, has been here? Nah.

    Like what you’ve done with the site, btw.

    How’d I find you? Googled “compatibleagent sucks”, which although not in your post you show up as the one and only hit. I just saw their ad on TV, checked their site, and thought “uggghhh, another useless vampire service that will suck the funds from unsuspecting realtors”.

    They say they were started by members of the “Canadian Real Estate Board” (Do you know of any national board? I know CREA but they didn’t say “CREA”). They also slam personal referrals (maybe because they don’t get over $150/year from word of mouth) and signs (because no one wants to work with a realtor clearly active in their neighbourhood?). Whatever. The idea isn’t new and has never suceeded. The ultimate referral source is Word of mouth followed by Google. You blog, my blog, Matt’s blog… and all the other realtors using the net to full advantage to personify their service is all the referral service we need. I never have, and never will, subscribe to a leech like service standing between me and my potential clients.

    Oh, and good luck becoming as well known as MLS.ca/Realtor.ca. How much cash can they have to spend on advertising? My bet is not nearly as much as those other failed leeches known as housevalues.com/.ca (and we all know how well they did in Canada.

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