Teresa Boardman, a real estate broker, wrote a piece on inman.com on the New gTLD .realtor. I have been following the article for a week now and there are now over 50 comments from realtors. Some are already using the string with domains such as brian.realtor.
The title was “Why I don’t want to be a .realtor” and that pretty much sums it all up. Inman provides real estate news to realtors and brokers.
I talked about one of the problems with .realtor last week. .Realtor launched but geographic, generic terms and initials were not available to register.
.Realtor has almost 82,500 domain name registrations today. Most of them offered for free to the NAR members. That seems to be working for realtors. I don’t know what will happen when the renewals will come next year.
Here are a few excerpts from the article:
“Back in the 1990s, real estate agents used their faces and their names for branding and for marketing. Having a first and last name as a domain name was as standard as the static template 1.0 website.”
“What was old is new again, as the .realtor domain names are now available through the National Association of Realtors for members. I tried to buy com.realtor, but of course that’s not allowed. NAR requires that you use your first, last or full name in your .realtor domain.”
“NAR will let me buy “teresaboardman.realtor” or “sellTeresa.realtor.” Unless I point my .realtor domain name to my own website, it will direct traffic to a realtor.com “profile website.”
I think I’ll just stick with my .com domains. I can have domain names like StPaulRealEstateBlog.com and StPaulCondolife.com and StPaulPhotos.com and several others that don’t include my name, or the words sell or sold. The domain names are more about real estate, not about me.”
“I’ll go on record as saying I don’t want to be just like my competitors. I want to stand out, and I can do that and still be found.”
“The combination of writing a real estate blog and interacting with people in the community through social media channels still works well as a way to attract business.”
“This month I celebrate my ninth year of writing a real estate blog. I own the domain names and I own the hosting account. I make the rules on my own site and decide how to use it.”
Some of the comments posted on the article more or less agree with her:
“The .realtor domain is just the latest gimmick. The basics never change – you still get business today the way you did 20 years ago.”
“I understand what the sales points are for .realtor and my face still scrunches up when I consider them. I think people get confused at this stage of the game with .net or .co or .org or .gov or any other extension but .com. Trusting my intuition on this one and sticking with .com.”
“.Realtor is a great income opportunity for the NAR”
But of course there are other that don’t agree and already have their own .realtor domains names:
“Do I believe that .REALTOR is going to revolutionize my business? No. Do I believe that owning tons of domains is a game-changer for me? No. Do I believe in the pride of having the dotREALTOR of my own name and being proud of the profession I work hard in to make it better for every property owner? Absolutely. This is just one more way I showcase what I do. I chose to make my site something for consumers to see what all we do beyond selling homes and for potential referral agents to see that I not only sell real estate, but I also work in the industry to help improve advocacy, professionalism and pride. For those reasons alone, I’m glad I have http://www.brian.realtor/ Now, back to selling real estate today and spreading some joy in a often challenging world.”
“I think we still miss the point. Searching the Internet is irrelevant. Focusing on how to make someone find you is meaningless, no one is looking for you. Yes, they will find you as a by-product of looking for housing products and services, so under the new model, Internet Reputation has replaced Internet Presence. You want a domain now not for self-promotion or searching on the internet, but for branding on your other advertising (print, e-Print, flyers and such). People only find you on the internet because you TOLD them to, and JohnHicks.Realtor is a good-looking brand.”
“There are a few reasons why I took advantage of the .Realtor. First, my name as a dotcom has already been taken by another Realtor in another state. I can now use my name while identifying what I do. The second reason, is having both GaryRogers.Realtor, and Gary.Realtor can be useful in my marketing. Simple, short and defines what I do all in a neat little title. I have no illusions that my SEO will soar, Frankly, I don’t care. I drive traffic organically. That’s enough reason for me. If a member doesn’t think there’s value, then just don’t register a domain. What’s the big deal?”
And here is probably one of the best comments:
“Jay Heggz: I’ve got to say I’m disappointed by this article and most responses here. How’s that for standing out from the herd…? lol.
ANY domain name is not going to be SOLELY responsible for bringing you business. It takes much more than a domain name to drive organic traffic to a website. I think it’s ironic that the author mentions that much of the industry is not internet savvy, yet it doesn’t appear that she even really knows where her traffic comes from? “…yet they still managed to find me on the internet…” stood out to me. People don’t just “manage” to find you on the internet. “There isn’t a lot of competition in the local real estate content space…” is getting us closer to how they “managed” to find you. Organic search results directed to your website come from a combination of things, including domain name, keywords, refreshed content, blogs, videos, competition, etc. If you don’t have much competition in your area for the search term “St. Paul real estate”, as long as you have the above mentioned things, you’re going to get some good organic traffic…
I hope nobody ever believed that complete strangers were going to search for them by their name, that makes no sense. If people don’t know you exist, how/why would they search for you by name?? ANY website that doesn’t generate organic search results should be a place that YOU drive traffic to. It’s not a passive million dollar revenue generator, it’s a place that you can tell people you meet, or market to, to read more about you, use tools you provide them, etc. And yes, you can direct your .realtor domain to your website. Nobody finds that useful? The idea of putting different domain names on different marketing materials to actually measure results is eluding everyone here?
Instead, most people seem to be caught up in the conspiracy theory, corporate greed, the world is against me, it’s all a gimmick, cynical mindset. Step outside the box and think a little. Just because you’re not part of “THE” herd, doesn’t mean you’re not part of a different herd…
Sadly, only a few here seem to really be “internet savvy”. If you don’t want to buy a .realtor domain, great. Don’t. Nobody’s telling you that you have to buy sellteresa.realtor and move all of your content to a different site…you can KEEP your .com AND direct sellteresa.realtor to the SAME site. Trashing the .realtor domain name is essentially the same as trashing a .com domain name: Pointless and narrow minded.
Bottom line is: it doesn’t matter WHAT domain name you own/buy/use. If you don’t USE it or find a way to drive traffic to it, it has NO value whatsoever. .com, .realtor, .whatever…doesn’t matter. If you have a viable plan for it, it’ll work for you. If not, save your money.”
Top realtors always find a way to stand out from the crowd, the others are a herd a sheep, and are a dime a dozen in cheap wool suits.
Try marketing a City Real Estate domain to local real estate agencies and agents and you will be appalled at the type of domain names they often use. Listings of $500k+ are common so one sale at a 3% agency commission rate would generate $15k or more in revenue. One would think with that sort of revenue at stake an agency would be more flexible with regards to branding and online marketing techniques.
Most people don’t realize the power of the internet even now…
You couldn’t be more right, I used to love Real Estate Geo domains, as the marketing power they bring, but selling them is like pulling teeth. I have a few that get a few hundred uniques a month, if they could get 1 listing, on the buy, or sell side of that each month since they are so targeted every month of the year they would be set. They are so naive, BS $100 – $500 offers, not willing to step outside their comfort zone, luckily I gave up on this niche, and moved over to more tech based.