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 http://CRE.tech and http://realestatetechnews.com