Rumours emanating out of Sydney today indicate that Google is aggressively looking to hire a field sales team to target the Sydney real estate market. Sources said that Google had approached a number of sales people from domain.com.au in an effort to hire them as field sales people for the Google real estate initiative. Sources also believed that Google may be initially targeting the Inner West region of Sydney.
Surprisingly, there were no rumoured approaches to sales people from the market leader, realestate.com.au.
If these rumours do pan out to be true, it would be a major increase in Google’s efforts to compete with the incumbent market leaders realestate.com.au and domain.com.au. It is also probably a recognition that the approach of targeting sales at the franchise group level only is not working so well and a realisation that agents don't self service.
Earlier this month, Google announced a marketing partnership with LJ Hooker. Industry insiders believe that this deal is worth between $300k and $500k and will promote LJ Hooker across Google Maps. It is also believed that no other franchise group has yet entered any formal marketing partnership with Google and franchise groups such as Ray White and Century 21 are only uploading their listings to Google Maps.
The hiring of a field sales force probably means that Google will, over time, aggressively offer its services to real estate offices through Australia. The question is what will that offer be and what is the likely take up by real estate agents. It also raises some longer term questions about relationship between Google and the two market leaders (realestate.com.au and domain.com.au), both large PPC spenders on Google.