Why not take off the real estate portal. Part 2

I continue the story about the real estate project, which tried to take off for a long time, but did not take off. I am writing everything as it is - personal experience.

So, in the first part I wrote about how I started and searched for users who would register and publish their real estate offers. Now I will talk about relationships with these users.

After the people began to register, I already knew who was who. In the sense that the registration form had extended fields with the types of the person being registered: a private person, an independent realtor, a real estate agency. In 90% of cases these were real estate agencies.

I will make a small digression. The portal had three independent sections on real estate: Daily rent with a reservation system, Residential real estate (rent / sale) and Commercial real estate (rent / sale). In the future I wanted to fasten and new buildings. I even made this project (independent of the main portal), but then I was called into a similar project, the largest in Ukraine. And I scored on my own and went to make a stranger.

Monetization was planned due to the placement of VIP ads (it was highlighted in bold red block and became at the top of other ads). Cross-cutting and section-specific banners (for this, I even wrote my own banner). The system of import / export of real estate feeds for real estate agencies (wrote his system with support for all known formats, the main one was Yandex Real Estate. The price is for 100 imported real estate objects). Fixed price for the rental of daily real estate (from the booking system), as well as banners recommended at the top of the portal.

All possible automated tools were written for monetization. My intervention in the work was not even required.

In general, there were plenty of tools. I created everything myself, taking into account my vision of the picture of the universe and with the maximum automation of the process. The code was written, really millions of lines! Import / export for feeds (XML document with real estate data) was written a little later than the other decisions, now I'll tell you about it.

So, back to the beginning of the story. I received three types of users:

  1. Private individuals are trying to sell / rent something once. The most hopeless type that rustles the whole Internet in search of real estate portals, bulletin boards, calls all realtors around. One goal - as soon as possible to sell / rent your property, without spending a penny.
  2. Real estate agencies are a promising client (in any case, I thought so, but in the end I was mistaken), has large real estate bases. And this, in turn, will help to decently fill the portal with new data (as it turned out, here too there were rakes).
  3. Private realtor - the most motivated type of user. It has a small base of objects, “digs the ground with its nose” in search of its client, is ready to pay advertising if it brings at least someone.

All three types of users have a common feature. All of them do not care for the ad text itself and the design of texts for real estate. Blunt copy-paste of duty and meaningless text wherever possible on the Internet. It is for this reason, for those customers who made VIP ads, I reworked the texts into readable, meaningful and unique ones (I did it for free, this approach showed efficiency literally an hour after writing). Such an ad in Google jumped to HUNDREDS !!! positions ahead.

Now I will talk about user types in more detail.

1. There is nothing to catch. Earn on such clients is impossible. But they are needed to fill your database. At the same time the quality of these ads is below the baseboard.

2. Here I began to correspond with this type of users. I began to create all sorts of questionnaires and simply conduct disputes and negotiations on the functionality that they want to see on my portal. Definitely everyone needed to import their data to me on the portal. And I began to write functionality for import / export of feeds of real estate agencies to me in the database. This path was very thorny, difficult and dances with a tambourine continued until my decision to bury the project.

Explain why. Despite the fact that everyone declared the data format that Yandex Real Estate developed, everyone understood it in its own way. First of all it concerned the hierarchy of regions, settlements, cities. The biggest problem is the lack of a unified database of the names of settlements of various significance. Each sculpted their names, abbreviations, abbreviations. Some wrote: region. Moscow, the second simply - Moscow, the third - the Moscow region., Quarter - Mos. reg., fifth in general - Moscow. And so on for each territorial unit! And the parser works in relation to the text, since all agencies have their own unique identifiers, and you cannot rely on them. How many did not say, how many did not ask to bring this chaos to order - no progress. Someone just scored on it, others asked their IT specialists to fix something,

This is just what concerns the regions, all the same applies to the fields of the type of real estate and its characteristics. The next rake is that most of the agencies have tens or even hundreds of thousands of real estate objects in their database. I couldn’t take the money for importing feeds on the non-promoted portal, so the import was free. Now imagine what capacity should be the server to daily parsit hundreds of thousands of objects hundreds of real estate agencies? I completely reworked the feed import code. Now he has become a lot of me. Introduced the logging system, which immediately skipped those objects that already exist, and if the date does not match, then simply update it. In short, this blood functionality drank a lot from me.

But this was not the main problem. The fact is that these tens of thousands of objects are not led by one person, but by hundreds of realtors who work in a real estate agency. Each has its own clients, which they enter into a single agency database from which a feed is then created for export to real estate portals. And as you can already guess that different realtors have the same real estate objects. The photographs of the object are the same, the address is the same, but the price and description and characteristics of the object may differ from the realtor to the realtor. And so, what we have in the final. After the feed has been completely uploaded to the real estate portal from 50 thousand downloaded objects, 10 thousand of them will be duplicates of each other! That ladies!

And now the question is how to capture and remove all this game? If you write a duplicate analyzer right at the time of parsing, then there will not be enough server capacity. If you do this after, then it is also not clear which of the ads of the property is better. As much as I did not ask real estate agencies on my side to make feeds with unique real estate objects, there was no result in the end.

After a huge number of all kinds of dancing with a tambourine, I came to a disappointing conclusion. That nothing in the end on real estate agencies will not work from the word ALL! And all because they lead their CRM clients for the entire agency, make feeds of it (with full G quality) and “bullet” it through all possible portals in the hope that somewhere and “shoot”. It is for this reason that I refused to create cloud-based CRM, because they want to use their computer on their computer, albeit uncomfortable, oblique and curved, but close to the body.

As a result, I spent an incredible amount of effort, finances on powerful servers, and in the end I received a huge base of junk with doubles, from which Google was completely in shock and horror (and I understand it).

3. The most promising type of user. My admin box for a realtor was built very convenient for use, plus it had the basic features of a simple CRM. There was a summary statistics, and statistics on views and clicks, and viewing referrals, the ability to update the date at the property, plus promotion to the top. In short, a lot of things happened. Therefore, private realtors actively used it, all the time went to the portal and dealt with their objects. Very often they bought a VIP ad and actively wrote to me what needs to be improved. Therefore, the conclusion is. Anyone who wants to survive in the market, and while he is small, he compensates for this with his mobility and nimbleness. Ready to invest wisely in advertising and experimenting with new technologies. And all because of the fact that the hungry wolf feeds the legs.

I think that there is enough information for the article to reason. I will continue in the next part.

Reprint from blog. Original here

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