What Happened To Realtor.com's Exposure On AOL Real Estate???

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I just searched for Real Estate on AOL, only to find that Realtor.com is no longer powering the section.  I couldn't find any information on what happened to the deal and was wondering if any in the AR community knew?  Did Realtor.com just not renew the partnership?  If so, why not? 

aol real estate  realtor.com

In November 2005 Realtor.com signed a 2 year deal with AOL to power the Real Estate section of the site.  The deal expired on September 30, 2007 (last month).  I do not know the exact amount Realtor.com paid for this distribution.  I do know in 1998, Realtor.com paid $14 million to AOL for exculsive exposure in the section for 40 months

In talking with Realtors across the county for the last 9 years, I never once heard anyone rave of leads or listings they had gotten because of exposure on AOL.  So maybe it is good our dues are no longer being spent to fund such a deal.  However, I find it strange that no news was made of the relationship no longer existing (or did I miss it?).  If I were a practicing Real Estate agent, I would have had AOL's name in the list of sites that I give my client exposure on.  And if I were a home seller, I would be double checking that I my house was on every site that my agent said it would be.  So with no notification from Realtor.com about the ending relationship, I bet there are a lot of listing presentations being given with mis-information and a few home owners scratching their heads when they can't find their home on AOL

With so many sites that allow Agents and Brokers to upload listings for free (Zillow, Homescape, Craigslist, and Trulia to name a few) I wonder how this change from the way listing content deals were brokered in 1998 changed the dynamics of trying to renew this deal today.  In the heyday of the internet bubble in 1998, $14 Million sounded like a lot, but not totally insane.  Compared to today's rates of FREE, $14 Million is inconceivable.  Of course a premium is still expectable if there is some position of exclusively, such as what Realtor.com had. 

AOL traditionally has been about the fourth or fifth most trafficked consumer real estate site.  How this lack of content will affect their rankings?  The obvious guess is that their numbers will suffer, depending on how quickly AOL can build this content back up from other sources.  If I was a major Broker, I would be expecting a call any day now from AOL asking for my listings, which they used to charge millions of dollars to display. 

This is obviously a big line item no longer on Realtor.com's balance sheet.  Wonder where the money was re-allocated?  Is what you were paying for on Realtor.com any less valuable today since a major distribution has been eliminated? 

Would love to hear Agent's reaction to this.  Will be interesting to see how it plays out and what happens to AOL Real Estate site.  AOL's site now says it is in beta, insinuating that they are up to something....





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Jim Lee
RE/MAX Shoreline - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Realtor, Portsmouth, NH

Move.com, the guys the run Realtor.com for NAR, did recently drop their affiliation with AOL.

AOL wanted direct access to our listings instead of continuing to use the link to Realtor.com.

Oct 28, 2007 05:58 PM #21
Suburban Chicago Illinois Real Estate
Suburban Village Realty - Barrington, IL

Cool! Another new service to dilute the values of third party media real estate information providers.

Quote: "So maybe it is good our dues are no longer being spent to fund such a deal." 

"And if I were a home seller, I would be double checking that I my house was on every site that my agent said it would be."

Very interesting post with some interesting statements.




Oct 28, 2007 06:56 PM #22
Maggie Dokic | Miami, FL | 888.883.8509 X101
eXp Realty LLC - Miami, FL
GREEN, CDPE, SFR, Pinecrest | Palmetto Bay |
I didn't know this.  Not that I ever got a lead that panned out from realtor.com.  I got rid of all their services except for the enhanced listing last month when they all came up for renewal.  I am paying $76/mo to enhance all my listings.  And I do this because the sellers like it, not because I've noticed extra buyers calling.
Oct 28, 2007 07:27 PM #23
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY
I stopped a year ago with the enhanced listings. THey did nothing.  Waste of money.  There are plenty of other ways for me to spend my marketing money. 
Oct 28, 2007 08:06 PM #24
John Badalamenti
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, Realtors® - Wayne, PA
Associate Broker

My Sellers expect their listings be in Realtor.com "Showcase". Period, end of story.

Oct 28, 2007 10:57 PM #25
Scott Daniels Florida Real Estate 2.0. Agents Earn 100% Commission.
Florida List For Less Realty, Inc. Broker/Owner. - Cooper City, FL


What does it cost you per year?

For me paying r.com over $3K per year is no longer an option..I`d rather place the money into more ppc..

Oct 28, 2007 11:43 PM #26
Sam Miller
RE/MAX Stars Realty - Howard, OH
Knox County Ohio Real Estate Specialist

Good information on Cyberhomes and AOL.  I was not aware of the fallout between Realtor.com and AOL before reading this blog.  Thanks!

Oct 28, 2007 11:53 PM #27
Scot Thrapp
Coastal Palmetto Realty - Conway, SC
I was never impressd with R, at all, but I about took the plunge, I wonder how much Cyberpaid for AOL?
Oct 29, 2007 02:42 AM #28
John Badalamenti
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, Realtors® - Wayne, PA
Associate Broker

Hi Scott:

It cost me on average about $1,000 yr. I am not a fan of how they re-rate you each year depending on how many listings you had the previous year of your contract with them.

I hear 'ya...I too would much rather spend these dollars on many other result-oriented marketing pieces. Point taken.


Oct 29, 2007 03:01 AM #29
Stefan Scholl
Buyer's Broker of Northern Michigan, LLC - Petoskey, MI
Northern Michigan Real Estate
Thanks for the heads-up, Sara.  Allowing Homestore and Move.com to license the Realtor.com website has never made sense to me, especially in light of the years of mismanagement. 
Oct 29, 2007 03:05 AM #30
Ann Cummings
RE/MAX Shoreline - NH and Maine - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent

Hi Sara - it looks like you were just hit big time by a spammer named John GIddens of Florida above.  I think the delete key is needed on that one.

Anyway, I had not heard about the dropping of the AOL connection.  Not sure how much difference that makes, although it was one of those big sites that showed up on the charts and graphs from R.com.

I have the enhanced listings, and I have to say I have gotten buyers from that.  The last buyer I got from there bought a listing of my own, and the sale was over $1,000,000.  My seller and my buyer - and that buyer did come to me directly from my enhanced listing on R.com.  I've also gotten other leads from that, as well as helping to get listings, too.

I did renew again this year, and whether I renew next year remains to be seen.  I guess I'll wait to see what their fees turn out to be at that point.


Oct 29, 2007 03:47 AM #31
Spencer Rascoff
Here's what I'd like to know -- how can a website like AOL Real Estate, which is at least 10 years old, be "in beta"?! Seems a little silly to call it a "beta website".
Oct 29, 2007 07:20 AM #32

Realtor.com has worked WONDERS for me. I get AT LEAST 2 Buyers a year and 3-4 Listings a year because of my R.Com enhanced listings. Here's why... My SUPER DUPER SECRET......

1. Put your phone number in the highlighted banner.

2. Put your phone number in the scrolling text.

3. Add the maximum number of pictures.

4. Add more text.

5. Add a virtual tour.

That's it. That's all. I pay approx $750/year for my enhancements. I get 5-6 deals a year from it. (around 35K-45K in gross commissions. I guess it all works out!

Oct 29, 2007 08:34 AM #33
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes
We won't be renewing Realtor.com. They have never given us any business in many years. So would guess that the AOL / Realtor.com connection did not help us either.
Oct 29, 2007 09:35 AM #34
Jim Olenbush
Cantera Real Estate - Austin, TX
Realtor.com has been such a disappointment.  It was supposed to be our site to keep Realtors front and center, and instead they ruined it by trying to make extra money off of Realtors instead of promoting us.
Oct 29, 2007 11:11 AM #35
Ernie Tabel

Yes, Realtor.com and AOL did not renew their relationship, which expires at the end of September.  The reason for this seems to vary depending on whom you ask.  This has been discussed on the web for months, but it does not appear that Move made any specific effort to inform its customers of this change.

Cyberhomes, instead, will be powering AOL Real Estate.  This is additionally interesting, as the Cyberhomes General Manager is someone who used to be an exec at Homestore.  (Gotta wonder what else is going on there.)

AOL's contribution to Realtor.com's traffic was significant, but certainly not a majority of their traffic.  They'll likely feel the difference, but it won't be what kills them.

@Sara Bonert,

As far as I know, no part of your NAR dues goes to Move.  NAR owns the domain, licenses the domain to Move, and exerts a large degree of oversight control over what is done under that domain, but it's up to Move to make the experience profitable for themselves (into which they certainly put a lot of effort).

@Spencer Rascoff,

The 'beta' monicker is bit odd, but probably because the old Realtor.com-powered AOL Real Estate site suddenly vanished, replaced by an entirely new site powered by Cyberhomes, and the new one's considered a beta for now.

Nov 02, 2007 06:47 AM #36
Shannon Lefevre
John R. Wood Properties - Naples, FL
Shannon Lefevre, PA Your Naples Smart Girl
I wasn't happy with Realtor.com either.  They made promises they didn't keep and their site is horribly uninteresting and outdated.  I'm fortunate to be in a market where Realtor.com does not have that great of a presence.  Made giving it up a no brainer.
Nov 07, 2007 05:21 AM #37
West Hartford CT Real Estate Agent | West Hartford Realtor | www.CTMike.com
ERA Broder Group - West Hartford, CT
I can't say I'm happy with R.com, but I can say that it's still the destination for people to browse listings for sale. This has become a more self serving real estate market, with buyers doing most of the legwork and investigation. We don't even know how much we're getting from this site. I still think it's a necessary evil, though I can't get over how much they charge. It really is nuts.
Nov 07, 2007 08:07 AM #38
Suburban Chicago Illinois Real Estate
Suburban Village Realty - Barrington, IL

Really now.... does a buyer need to be aware of R.com through third party sites? R.com does not need to pay a third party site $14,000,000 plus. A consumer is going to type Realtor.com right into their browser if they want to search all properties available for sale. Does Wal-Mart need to pay e-bay $14,000,000 a year to have users visit Walmart.com? In 1998, R.com paid for name recognition. Companies EVENTUALLY do not need to pay for name recognition if they have a clue about advertising.

Better yet, the consumer can just go local and use web/marketing savvy real estate agents that offer full MLS searches on personal websites. There is zero need for third party websites except for gimmicky tools. 

Who uses AOL anyways?


Nov 07, 2007 05:05 PM #39
Marty and Laurie Gale
Utah Realty - South Jordan, UT
Utah Realty | 801-205-3500 | UtahRealtyPlace.com

I subscribe to realtor.com for my Listing exposure. But sometimes I wonder if it is worth it.

May 14, 2010 03:15 AM #40
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