Online Versus Print Advertising – It’s No Contest

avatarthumbnail.jpgLast week a home search site,, came onto the scene. The main difference between this and a number of similar sites is RealSeekr was designed by real estate agents so presumably they’ve kept what we as a group tend to like and tossed what we don’t like in creating this platform.

Will anyone find this site while searching for homes? Maybe. Maybe not. But I put together a profile and I’ve started to add my listings, just in case, because you never know for certain.

Syndicating Phoenix Real Estate Listings

One of the challenges RealSeekr faces, in my opinion, is that listings have to be added to the system manually. There’s no IDX feed coming from Phoenix into the system and, since the site’s fairly new, there are no syndication agreements in place.

It’s not a question of laziness; I’m happy to invest the time if it means one of my listings is going to sell. It’s a matter of age and stress – I can’t seem to remember all of the different places where a home can be listed, at least not in a day and age when there are new sites debuting monthly.

Syndication helps.

All of my listings have been entered on, which then powers the map on the “My Listings” page here on I could use a map from Diverse Solutions, but I’ve had RealBird’s map on longer and so it stays.

RealBird syndicates listings entered. So let’s take my new short sale listing at 7873 W. Redfield in Peoria. I entered the information on RealBird. And within a couple of hours the same data already has been entered on Zillow, Oodle, Trulia, Edgeio and CLRSearch.

Will buyers look at all of those sites? Probably not. Do I want my home there in the off chance that a buyer does find it on a small listing portal? Absolutely.

Return on Investment

It’s a question of the return on investment. All is takes for me to enter a listing into the Point-2-Agent National Listing Service (which also syndicates) or RealBird or Zillow or Trulia or anywhere else is a few minutes of my time. And given the uncertain return through most of those sites, the ROI – a possible sale in exchange for some of my time – is with the investment.

Not so with print. There is a very, very uncertain return with print advertising (aside from the certainty that it will be low to nonexistent.) But print costs real dollars. And as a businessman I’m not going to burn real dollars unless I know there’s an absolute return coming at the end of the day. Wishful thinking doesn’t cut it.

The same goes for the glossy real estate magazines about which I’ve written previously. Is it in the realm of possibility that someone will pick up a real estate magazine, fall in love with a photograph and buy the house I have listed? Sure, it’s possible. But the remote possibility doesn’t justify the exorbitant expense.

Throwing money at the marketing of a listing isn’t going to help the sale if the dollars are being spent foolishly. Glossy magazines are all about the agent – not your house.

Who’s Marketing What?

All real estate agents leverage listings to their own benefit to some degree. That’s why we have name riders with our phone numbers, why we plaster our own mugs on print flyers (for those unenlightened souls burning through our rain forests in the name of a remote chance of selling a home) and why we have open houses (not me, but others.)

Print ads aren’t about you – they’re about the agent trying to show their seller all of the hard work they’re doing in trying to sell the house, while they’re taking the calls on the side and trying to turn those folks into buyers – for your home or, more likely, another.

One local agent boasts about custom signs “that stop traffic” – even if that traffic is on a seldom-driven street in the middle of a subdivision where only the residents travel on a daily basis. Prominently displayed at the top of the sign is the brokerage’s motto.

Who does that benefit? You or the broker trying to secure additional listings? Will that custom sign cause more people to drive down that road? Or does the number of people that happen to drive past and take the time to stop still pale compared to the number of people who are seeing the same listing every day on line?

Where are marketing dollar better allocated – trying to attract the attention of the few whose sole qualification is driving past the house or picking up a real estate magazine or glancing at the newspaper classifieds as they wrap that fish – or trying to attract the eyes of the thousands of folks looking online at any given moment?

Seems pretty simple from here.  So simple, even a silly beagle can understand it.

[tags]Phoenix real estate, real estate marketing[/tags]

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at


  • The Harriman Team 10 years ago

    Nicely put, Jonathan. My wife and I were just having this discussion. I agree that, especially in this economy with $4+ gas and other expenses headed through the roof, our marketing dollars need to work at maximum efficiency in order to be justifiable. But then again, I’m a penny-pinching miser whose middle name should be Ebenezer. The Boss (read: my wife, not Springsteen) politely disagrees. In our market, a lot of sellers want to see that you have a presence in the local market before they’ll even let you in the door to explain why online marketing is so much better. It’s been her experience that many sellers will not use your brokerage if they’ve never seen them advertise in the local paper. No matter what you say, they still expect to see something in the classifieds or you’re not doing your job. Sad, but true.

    We, like you, still do as much on-line syndication as we can with our listings; RealBird, Postlets and vFlyer are all part of our arsenal, as is Real Estate Shows and RealSeekr. On-line advertising is not the future, it is NOW, and although print advertising may be a dying breed, until we see the obituary declaring it officially passed, we’ll continue to appease the masses as they wish. At least for now. (Besides, she’s the Boss…but I’ll keep working on her!)

  • Jonathan Dalton 10 years ago

    I can’t do anything with the classified desires, but at least for print presence there still are some in my office who go that direction. They actually were pimping a real estate magazine in an office meeting two months back.

    If absolutely necessary, I usually can find someone who’ll take one of my listings for their ad (at the moment, I have as many or more than all but two other agents) but for me personally, it’s not worth the expense.

  • RealBird 10 years ago


    Great post and thanks for the mention. Check this out:

    If you Google your property address ” 7873 W. Redfield, Peoria, AZ 85381″ you’ll see that the top 4 matches are all your listings : Oodle, Trulia, Hotpads and your RealBird site. If you click through to Oodle, Trulia or Hotpads, those listing ads are also through the RealBird syndication.

    Make sure you show it to your current seller and at future listing interviews. Many of our members use the Google ranking for the property address as one of the marketing techniques at listing interviews. Why home buyers are unlikely to search Google by address, sellers love it.

    Thanks again for the mention in your post.

    — Zoltan