The launch of nestoria.com.au at the end of March raised plenty of questions about how the new property search engine will operate in the Australian market. So propertyportalwatch.com got in touch with Nestoria co-founder Ed Freyfogle to find out what nestoria.com.au offers, and why he thinks it will succeed.
In explaining how the search engine works, Freyfogle was quick to point out that there are no plans to offer consumers help with issues such as home financing or moving. "Agents and portals do a great job of meeting those needs," Freyfogle says. "Instead we focus on only one thing: being dead simple and fast to search."
"One way to think about it is this: when you want to find a property, Nestoria can be a useful tool," Freyfogle continues. "When it comes down to deciding between specific properties and dealing with the actual logistics of the transaction and move, consumers should turn to agents and portals."
Freyfogle describes the Nestoria model as "a non-competitive, low effort, and very affordable" way for property portals to attract a significant volume of users. "We're a very small team serving many countries," he notes. "We have no ability or desire to work with the thousands of agents in any given market."
But what about that other real estate search engine now operating in Australia, Google Maps? As far as Freyfogle is concerned, there is room for both:
"When we start in a country many people ask, 'How are we possibly going to defeat X?' where X is the leading portal, or Google, or whoever. The answer is simple: we won't. We're not here to 'defeat' anyone.
The opposite actually, we work with partners and focus on delivering a service that some users like. So far that strategy has worked well for us. So yes, I'm certain we can exist harmoniously with Google real estate and everyone else."
The question is, will Australian property hunters find nestoria.com.au delivers a better experience than Google's service? Freyfogle thinks they will:
"[O]ur overall experience is that the 'free to list' business model isn't always the best for consumers. You end up with spam, duplication, etc. Likewise for content providers, when someone's giving you something for free you don't have clarity on where you stand.
A great example is Google's organic search results. Of course it's a great service and the traffic it provides is welcome, but there's very little visibility as to what is happening. Most people I speak with who work in the internet industry have frustrations with Google and this lack of transparency."
The other obvious question for nestoria.com.au is how it will establish itself as a recognised brand. "We've always taken the view that the product is the advertising," Freyfogle says. "We will win people over by offering a high quality service that users like, the same as we've done in various other markets."
So what's next on the agenda for nestoria.com.au? "Besides learning in Australia we're also hard at work on new markets," Freyfogle reveals. "Hopefully we'll have some more details of that to share in the near future."
Disclosure: nestoria.com.au was created in partnership with Classified Ad Ventures, owner of propertyportalwatch.com.