Back on the trail of North America's realtor engagement of the web, we landed in Vancouver today. And, like her sisters to the South, it appears Vancouver is severely lacking in online savvy and real estate engagement.
Type in Vancouver real estate, and Voila! Up pop 10 striving Realtors (theoretically) just dying to help locate something dreamy - well sorta. Let's see Vancouver's real estate movers and shakers online.
It's pretty sad the way idiotic, Web 1.0, low tech, BS sites somehow get to and stay at the top of Google search pages - realtylinkonline is just such a remnant of the past. Inteas of realty link, this site should be called realty yuk.
No images to speak of, no Facebook, no Twitter, videos, agent faces, and the navigation is horrible on the site. This is like asking people to buy a house - sight unseen. Rating: 1 of 10
JayBanks.Ca has gone a step further in "engaging" property buyers and sellers in the Vancouver area - but just a step. His smiling face adorns the top of his archaic website. But, Jay is missing out on the other 2 million customers who get turned off by his antiquated online footprint.
Jay has done two things right. First and foremost, he branded the site with his image. People want and need to see who they are dealing with - this is crucial. Secondly, Jay added some decent size images to the site. Big images are another key engagement tool. No Facebook, Twitter, let alone Google + engagement - Rating: 3 of 10
West Coast Realty, or realestatevalley.ca is a cookie cutter template site which fooled me with its less than stunning graphics for a second. This is sad though. A metro area of over 2 million people, one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and the top real estate companies there cannot even put up a decent website? Just finding out who owns West Coast Realty took some doing.
It's interesting how as we move down the top SEO'd sites for Vancouver, the engagements get slightly better? Even though the $6 million dollar property you see only has one image - the format of the listing is crisp. Let's bail out on more digital pain and suffering here form Rick Clarke here. Rating: 3.5 of 10
Richard Morrison and Remax discovered Facebook and Twitter and the online real estate business! The number 4 spot belongs to another ugly example of brand carelessness over there in Vancouver though. Morrison gets points for putting his agent's faces up there for all to see, and for the aforementioned social media try.
"What is it people are looking for when they come to your real estate site?" A used car? The $1.188 million dollar high rise condo below has a wonderful view. But what are people who can afford a mil for property used to? Dark images (like below) of nebulous properties on antiquated web interfaces? And then you are forced to add Richard as a FB friend via request? Or follow his upside down Twitter feed (I wonder if he will know what I mean?) Point is, Richard risks giving the wrong message with a limited digital branding effort like this. Rating: 5 of 10
Next we have Point Grey Now, agent Ken Wyder's place mat phone ad to garner your business. At least Ken is going green, riding his bike up there in the Canadian woods. Rating: 2 of 10
Affordable Vancouver is Maggie Chandler's fair effort at hooking up digitally. Maggie is actually making an effort despite first impressions. But demanding friendship on FB - an instant turn off. Rating: 4 of 10
Vancouver Residence, Lorne Goldman's endeavor into The Matrix? Lorne "gets it" using video to capture visitors - but like 99 percent of real estate people, he does not go the extra mile. Imagine a nice looking guy dresses in Armani, with his Rolex, stepping from his Jag - the Armani tattered, the Rolex around his ankle, stepping from the trunk of the Jag. Rating: 3 of 10 - don't half do it Lorne.
I just read where Chinese investors are flocking to Vancouver to snatch up properties. True or false, the idea makes a good example. Chinese business people are some of the most "wired" individuals on Earth. Can you read my mind here? Imagine some wired Chinese billionaire, he wants 10 properties in Vancouver - do these guys just ask their manservant Kato to look for deals? Somehow I doubt it. I hope the reader sees the lost opportunity cost. Phil out for now.