Editor’s note: This guest item is republished with permission from Global Edge Marketing Ltd. The original post can be viewed here.

EBay.co.uk has launched a property search facility with more than 170,000 properties listed from the U.K. and overseas. Globaledge understands that eBay has been testing the new section over the last few weeks and plans to promote it more publicly later in the year.

According to comScore Inc., the site boasts nearly 20 million monthly unique users and is the fourth largest U.K. Web site behind Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. With an audience this size, the new section could represent an excellent lead-generation opportunity for real estate agents and developers.

Agents, developers and private individuals can list property in two ways: either by selecting the classified advertising option and choosing a fixed property price or by selecting the auction facility and encouraging users to bid. Successful bidders are not contractually obligated to buy. Both options cost 35 British pounds (about $51.29 in U.S. dollars) per property.

Auctioned properties stay on the site for a maximum 10 days while classified listings last for 28 days. Listings include one photograph and additional pictures can be purchased for 12 pence (about 18 U.S. cents) each. You can list by searching for the word "property" on this page.

Although agent classified listings appear at the top of the results, the bulk of the properties on eBay.co.uk appear to be coming from partner sites, most notably PropertyIndex.com. It’s not clear on the exact nature of the deal, as neither company was available for comment.

Lead generation obstacles

Although eBay.co.uk has a huge audience, the main barrier for lead generation seems to be its clunky property-search facility. It’s possible to find property by searching at country level, for example Cape Verde but it is difficult for users to drill down by town or postcode for both U.K. and overseas destinations.

The property search is also hidden away in the "Homes & Garden" section and is not linked to from the main navigation like it is on eBay.ie which has an exclusive agreement with and white labels the search technology from Irish market leader, Daft.ie.

International ambitions?

Real estate is a huge untapped vertical for eBay and it surely is only a question of time before all its other country domains follow suit. According to comScore figures, eBay.com in the U.S. attracts over 67 million monthly uniques. The problem for U.S. eBay is that many Realtors won’t pay to list but you can bet there are many U.S. property portals willing to pay big money for an exclusive deal.

EBay in Germany, France and Ireland (and now the UK) all list real estate. It’s likely eBay’s other country domains won’t be too far behind.

Copyright © 2009 Global Edge Marketing Ltd.


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