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Aussie real estate agents angered by non-negotiable advertising rates on MLS

A group of Australian real estate agents with property listings on Realestate.com.au was angered by the web site’s refusal to negotiate its advertising fees, according to a report on the Australian Financial Review.

The group, Real Estate Digital Marketing Services (REDMS), consists of over 400 Victoria-based real estate agents who have designated media buyer Vizeum to represent them throughout the negotiations.

The report revealed that the REA Group, which owned Realestate.com.au, declined REDMS’s proposal, claiming that it was “awaiting further details about REDMS’s ­ownership structure” the past week.

REA’s lawyers declined REDMS’s attempt to negotiate despite the latter’s ability to fulfill REA’s request.

“We provided details relating to the concerns they listed and in fact ­proposed solutions we thought were very much in the spirit of collaboration and cooperation with them,” REDMS spokesman Anton Staindl said in the report.

“Unfortunately REA has chosen not to respond to those offers and, in fact said that they would be refusing to deal with REDMS,” he added.

REDMS constituents threatened to boycott Realestate.com.au’s “premiere” advertising package should they be unsatisfied with the negotiation deal.

REA Group interim chief executive Peter Tonagh maintained REA would not deal with REDMS until “they hear more” about the REDMS’s ownership structure and until it has proven that the group is “not associated with a competitor.”

REDMS’s director and shareholder, Norman Draper, also serves as a director of REA Group’s competitor, MMP, the Australian Financial Review stated citing information from the Australian Securities & Investments Commission.

Multiple listings sites (MLSs) like Realestate.com.au require real estate agents and brokers to pay fees to be able to post their ads on their platforms. Aside from advertising fees, the MLSs also require real estate practitioners to pay for leads or to be able to create listings on their sites monthly.

In the United States, a disruptive technology called the Microvideo App, developed by Florida-based digital media company RealBiz Media, Inc. (OTCQB: RBIZ), aim to put an end to this practice, providing real estate clients control over their marketing and lead generation campaigns, not to mention, their marketing spend.

"We brought the company to market to provide a solution for real estate agents. The problem is in the market today, the status quo is to go out and have major websites like Zillow, Trulia, Move or Realtor—which do a great job at capturing unique visitors—host agents’ listings and require them to pay for them," said RealBiz Media CEO Bill Kerby in a Stock Lama interview.

“I must say that in the industry, this is really not liked by real estate agents. They view it as they are the people who put leads into the system, and then in turn, because they do not have the marketing machine in order to create lead generation, they have to turn around to buy leads from these companies,” Kerby further explained.

The Microvideo App is a platform for agents where they can create video-centric microsites targeted at their demographics. The microsites allow agents to create search engine optimized listings, neighborhood events, content, emails, and virtual tours which can be forwarded via emails or social networking sites.

The Microvideo App set back agents $10 monthly. 15, 350 active agents are currently using RealBiz Media’s Microvideo App and Nestbuilder Agent, another social video marketing platform integrated with the company’s consumer site Nestbuilder.com.