Obeoman Tears On Real Estate VideoJune 13, 2007
(Written while connecting in San Jose, Costa Rica on my way to Panama)
I was over at http://www.mybloglog.com/buzz/members/VideoHomes/ today (actually someone directed me there via email). Obeoman makes a bunch of negative points about real estate video in the comments section. The comment is about two weeks old so I’ll use our trip to spain as an excuse for not seeing it before. We put up some counterpoints there but I’ll respond in more detail here:
Comment: If you Alexa the companies that are doing RE video and stack them up, the traffic pile is not as deep as you-know-who-E-O
Alexa? Lets see…alexa data is tied to use of the Alexa toolbar, the alexa toolbar only works on windows, and (unless I missed a configuration option) isn’t even available in Spanish or Portuguese so very few people with primary languages other than english use it. With US real estate transactions to immigrants or foreigners nearing 50% this year, is a tool that primarily measures english language traffic the right measurement vehicle? Much of our traffic isnt being counted as far as Alexa is concerned.
Comment: Plus you usually have to look at some broker or agent hind quarters, making you feel like a sled dog.
We actually are in agreement with this point – thats why we have chosen not to take this approach. The percentage of agents that could do this well is only a very small percentage of agents. On a related point, the author of Guerrilla Marketing warned that business owners should never star in their own commercials – isn’t this essentially the same thing? We have hundreds of property videos online…not one has a broker or agent.
Comment: Find me ten RE video tours – done by agents or brokers at any site anywhere on the web that have any production values at all and I will eat this blog.
Ok..replace “RE video tours” with “skyscrapers” and “agents or brokers” with “fast food cashiers” (or any such combination of dissimilar professions and resulting products) and you’ll see the fallacy in the logic. Agents and brokers sell houses… they should not be expected to produce professional videos, underwrite mortages, or any other domain knowledge specific job – isn’t that why the service provider industry (including Obeo) exists in the first place?
Comment: The vast majority of RE video tours are so poorly executed with lousy lighting, fuzzy focus, shaky shooting, poor panning and awful audio it really isn’t any wonder why this hot new trend is flailing to sizzle-yes, flailing
Flailing as a business? I cant speak for other companies but (shameless plug follows) we’ll be profitable this month without a dime from advertising or even angel investment beyond my own. We have grown organically. Our visitor traffic has doubled twice since January. We’ve sold houses and even have Americans in South America negotiating to buy properties as a result of our videos. Unlike many sites, our property videos are statistically watched far more than our real estate interviews.
Many of our initial contracts involved licensing translated video narratives for local real estate TV programs – there is some variance in the production quality of those videos but not of the Panama videos. maybe not perfect…but hardly “lousy”, “fuzzy”, “shakey”, etc.
So, in the interest of being constructive, here are some observations:
– In our view, many real estate video companies are mistakenly focusing on the player software rather than the things that actually sell houses. Others are also providing promotional videos for local businesses, restaurants, and stores that might be of interest but feedback tells us that visitors view them as the ads that they are. Information is one thing…ads are another. Other companies like to describe themselves as “plays” – we prefer to focus on building a sustainable business…whatever happens, happens after that.
– Figuring out how to engage an audience early isn’t unique to real estate video. Gaining engaging momentum before the listing gets cool is a problem for all forms of online marketing (even for Obeo). Users just want information and sellers just want buyers….whatever works, works.
– Success with video brings with it some flawed assumptions IMHO. For instance, the problem of how to build an engaged audience that watches videos with the idea of actually buying one is a different problem to solve than how to have a viral real estate video on one of the popular video sites. Viral has no time pressure – our customers do. Neighborhood video content is only a small piece of the puzzle and may attract visitors with intents that are different from buying.
I like the Obeo site…they’ve done some good things. I’m a fan and respect Obeoman. Something must be driving his points…but they sure dont seem to apply to us.