by David Perlmutter

The Chicken or the Egg

Is it the chicken or the egg?  In our comment dialogue following her article, Is CRE Looking at Mobile the Wrong Way? Chris Clark writes "I don’t think agents realize the potential of QuantumListing – to give users an easy, free way to find commercial space on their device. It’s a small price you ask them to pay for that kind of exposure… But it’s also a chicken/egg thing. Need the listings to get the viewers/need viewers to get listings."
Once again, Chris is right. Here's a comment from a broker from Florida, "If I'm doing this correctly there are very few available places to see on here so it looks worthless. Let me know if that is the case or if I'm doing something wrong."
Here's my response, "Thanks for writing. We’re a new app, and our listings are crowd sourced. One of the reasons we’re giving a free year is that we don’t have a lot of listings yet, and we want to encourage brave souls like you to give it a try.
One thing that will give it value you to now is that it will give you a dedicated app for your listing PDFs, so that you can send them to other agents and potential tenants from your phone, from wherever you are. No need to go search through Dropbox or head back to your computer.  Happy to talk you through adding a listing if you want. What do you have to lose?"
Then, this weekend, I had the following dialogue with Jonathan A. Matthews, a broker and property manager from the Raleigh Durham area.
Jonathan: Who is your audience? How many impressions to expect?
David: Hi Jonathan, Thanks for getting in touch. Our audience is CRE brokers, owners, and end users. We're a new startup, only a few months old. We are growing on a daily basis. So, today we have 320 users, but that keeps growing. While we ramp up our user and listing base, we are giving a year's free premium membership. Once we get enough users, we'll start charging (and no auto-renew!) from $10.99/month to $79.99/year. It only takes a few minutes to add each listing. I don't know if you had a chance to check out the video demos, but if you do, you'll see it is pretty easy. And, we're happy to help jumpstart your participation by adding your listings for you, or talking you through the first one or two. I hope you'll give us a try. There's nothing to lose but a little bit of your time, and I know how precious a brokers time is, because I'm one too!
Jonathan: Aren't I already getting all the benefits you offer through my costar membership which includes LinkedIn and showcase?
David: Yes and no. First, we have no paywall to search. You can search every listing all over the country for free. Second, you can't enter listings from your mobile device on Loopnet. Additionally, we're not trying to upsell you at every opportunity. I don't know if you pay your office's Loopnet or Costar bill, but in my office, I pay just under $3000/yr for Loopnet, and $1800/month for CoStar. Compare that to $79.99/yr for QuantumListing. They have a 20 year headstart and lots more listings and users now. But you have to start somewhere! :-)
Jonathan: I hate their paywall for viewings.... You're right on the money there. What are you doing to draw in users? Obviously that's a big part of the value. What do you think about cityfeet? I do pay substantially for costar bit their data and analytics for research are the best because of all of the information that flows through them...

David: We are starting with marketing primarily to the brokerage and ownership communities. I feel we need to get the listings in to the system before we start marketing to end users, which will likely be through keyword advertising. To get to the brokers and owners, we're using Twitter and other social media efforts, direct email, a little bit of print advertising, blogging, going to trade shows, working my personal contacts (29 years in the business), some publicity. There have been some nice articles in and

Don't really use Cityfeet. not sure why. But it is a nice clean interface.

If CoStar were reasonably priced, I would probably never have started QuantumListing. Their info is comprehensive, but so much of the data is stale. If I don't call every listing before presenting it to a client, I am going to be giving very bad information to them. One of the things I wanted to emphasize with QuantumListing is making it very easy to contact the listing owner or agent by putting buttons right at the top of the listing to call, email, or go to their website. The data on SF and price are actually optional, because that's what goes stale fastest. It ends up saving a lot of time on entering listings, too! Another benefit of QL is that it gives you a dedicated app for storing and accessing your listing PDFs on your device. You don't have to hunt through Dropbox or whatever you use. You can easily share them via email, text or social media.

I just set you up with a Premium Membership. After you download the app, log in with your email and Password. You can change the password from your profile page. There are How To's and Video Demos available to help you learn more about the app, or just give me a call: Cell is 914-262-0026.

Also, one last thing, How would you feel if I used our conversation as the basis for a blog entry? Can have you be anonymous, or use your name if it is ok with you. No is an acceptable answer. And, no pressure to use the app, either.

Jonathan: Just now able to reply. Thanks for setting me up. I will check everything out.

I don't mind if you use this for your blog. The industry could use some alternatives, but I won't be surprised if they buy you out lol.

The challenge will be maintaining accurate and current data on all of the different platforms.

Jonathan is right in his last comment. I wrote about that in a previous post.

I just got an email from CoStar in the last few days which said that they had increased their research staff to 1600. I guess that partially explains why they charge so much for their service. A statement like that is like being shown the gym and cafeteria when you visit a building on a site tour. It helps sell the service, but after that, is not particularly relevant. I have a lot of respect for CoStar, and I do use it. I'm not trying to replace it, or definitely not trying to put them out of business. If they've noticed me, they shouldn't feel threatened. My mission is to solve a need, which is to create a mobile first solution for listings that is fast, easy and inexpensive, with an emphasis on facilitating communications between users, whether it is through the phone, email, text or social media.

So, for me, rolling out QuantumListing is not a chicken or egg thing. It's a chick thing. I look at this new enterprise the way my grandfather is looking at that chick in the picture above. It is something that I look forward to nurturing to full growth, in a growth hormone-free, antibiotic free, open pasture environment. Maybe I'll break a few eggs along the way, but at least I'll be able to make an omelet. And, if it lays some golden eggs, that would be okay, too.

David Perlmutter is the author of the QuantumListing Blog and publisher of the QuantumListing App. He is also the owner of Perlmutter Properties Inc. in White Plains, NY.

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