Editor’s note: This article was originally posted on the GeekEstate Blog.
If you follow the Curbed blog, you probably saw Lockhart Steele’s post mentioning the new Curbed Marketplace.
What is it? From their help page: "It’s a place for sellers and brokers to post real estate listings, and for buyers to browse and search them. But unlike some other systems, we’ve designed the Marketplace to feature big, beautiful photographs and a blog-style layout of properties perfect for perusing. We’re hoping this makes discovering a property — and selling one — a pleasure."
The Marketplace is scheduled to be officially launched after Labor Day — in the meantime, you can take a look here and browse New York City listings such as 100 Suffolk St. that have been posted by the early adopters (listing a property is free until the official launch).
There are some additional answers from the site’s Help section that help explain the Curbed Marketplace. For example, "The idea behind the Marketplace isn’t to aggregate every listing from every random brokerage in the city. (We’re not crawling other sites for our data — it’s input by brokers or sellers themselves.) Rather, we’re aiming to create an exchange in which a lack of sheer volume is made up for in quality of the listings and the pleasure of the browsing experience."
With numerous free listing sites, it’s interesting they chose to make listing in the Marketplace a paid service, but that’s not to say I don’t think it will work. Curbed has the desired audience already, and their Quicklistings advertising product, which allows a seller to get their listing on the FRONT page of Curbed as a blog post, is an enticing offering to get additional exposure for an individual listing. I’m fairly certain Curbed will eventually expand the Marketplace to cover their other major markets — San Francisco and Los Angeles. The Manhattan real estate market is its own beast and Craigslist has proven brokers are willing to pay to advertise their properties in that market — but to be fair, the $10 charged by Craigslist is a lower bar than the $99 Curbed is set to charge. The real open question in my mind is whether or not a paid listings marketplace can survive in other cities with so many free listing destinations.
While we’re on the topic of local blogs adding a listings interface, my guess is that successful local blogs moving into the listings game is going to be a growing trend in the next year or so. While Curbed is charging money to post listings, my hunch is most local blogs (most of which don’t have the audience size Curbed does) will instead find a free source of listings and add additional page view inventory as a way to further monetize their sites.
What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below or send a letter to the editor.