HouseValues, a real estate online lead generation and marketing company created in 1999, has rebranded as Market Leader and is launching a new set of tools that combine lead generation and contact management with listings syndication.
The new direction builds on the company’s November 2007 acquisition of RealtyGenerator, a company that specialized in lead-generation services for brokerage companies.
The new tools unveiled today include Growth Leader, a Web-based application for real estate agents and Team Leader, designed for real estate agent teams.
Both products rely on RealtyGenerator’s technology platform and allow subscribers to decide how much to invest in advertising to pull traffic to their personal Web sites.
Growth Leader allows subscribers to keep tabs on the home-search activity of prospects, for example, and also features a range of database tools.
Team Leader offers real-time monitoring tools to gauge team members’ performance and other database tools to monitor and keep in touch with prospects. The products have a monthly subscription cost, and lower rates are available for annual sign-ups.
Ian Morris, HouseValues president and CEO, said that the Market Leader name "much better reflects who we are … and where the company is going. We wanted to make sure the name of the company really reflects not just the original product but the breadth and depth of our products and the depth and breadth of our customer base."
While some companies are stepping back or stepping out of the real estate space, Morris said that the company sees an opportunity to diversify during the challenging market downturn. He noted that real estate agents "have to work harder to get people into the ‘store’ today."
The goal of the new tools is to drive online consumes to agent Web sites rather than to third-party Web sites. The new tools will work most effectively with Web sites that are hosted by Market Leader, Morris said, adding that the company is already hosting "hundreds of sites for agents and brokers and teams right now."
Users of Market Leader-hosted Web sites and the new online applications will let subscribers "see everything that a consumer is doing on that real estate site."
For example, the tools can alert agents to which types of listings a consumer is looking for and recommend similar property listings that the agent can recommend to the consumer.
The company will continue to support its HouseValues.com and JustListed.com Web sites, Morris also said, which are intended to feed leads to the company’s customers. The company has also operated a property-search site and marketing site at HomePages.com.
Morris said that more than one-third of Market Leader’s customers have been with the company for more than two years. There are no exclusive geographic territories with the new online tools.
Market Leader will be able to offer better pricing on online advertising than they can get on their own, Morris said, though the decision on how much to spend on advertising is left up to real estate professionals.
"Our commitment to them: We are going to be able to generate more visits to their Web site and conversion on their Web site than they can do on their own. We can leverage the power of our national advertising," he said. "You can spend hours a week trying to generate traffic on Google, or we will handle it for you."
The company offers to syndicate property listings to a range of real estate-related sites as a part of its standard service for subscribers.
On Oct. 28 HouseValues announced a net loss of $1.8 million in the third quarter compared to a net loss of $1.3 million in the second quarter and a loss of $804,000 in third-quarter 2007. Third-quarter revenue totaled $9.3 million, compared with $13.8 million for the same quarter last year.
For the first three quarters of the year the company reported a net loss of $4.3 million, compared with $2.5 million for the same period last year.
In January HouseValues announced the layoff of 45 employees and resignation of its chief financial officer — that followed a layoff of 100 workers in fall 2007.
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