I will freely admit that I was once a “HouseValues Subscriber“. Well, technically that’s not true as a title company was the actual subscriber and they doled out “leads” from HouseValues to agents like me. Let’s re-phrase and say that I once had “The Full HV Experience”.
I got dozens of “leads”. Never earned a dime from any of them. Yes yes yes, I “worked” the leads as HV preaches. I did all the “right things”. I got nada.
I will also freely admit that the HV “MasterMind” forum provided me with a wealth of information, and I met true friends there that I still interact with on a regular basis. I’d trust my children with some of these people, the majority of which I’ve never met face-to-face. (on the other hand, some of you can just stay away from my children! 🙂 )
But HV the company, and HV the product are, in my opinion, slowly (?) spinning down a death spiral. Their stock has been languishing in the low 5’s. They’ve laid off 12% of their employees. There is much rumbling and grumbling from employees and subscribers. The COO recently left to “pursue other interests”.
More telling, in my humble opinion, is the fact that many long term HV subscribers and strong supporters are leaving HouseValues. Yes, this is a fact. No, I will not name names. If one of them wants to comment here to support this fact, that’s up to them. I *know* this to be true. You’ll have to trust me on this.
Also quite telling, is Joel Burslem’s recent blog on a recent interview he conducted with Ian Morris, the CEO at House Values. Joel is, as usual, spot on in his assessments, and his blog post already has some interesting comments from HV observers.
HV has stopped selling “leads” to mortgage lenders. But as recently as last Friday, they were still pushing “HomePages” — which may be the single most dysfunctional real estate related web site I’ve ever encountered. I know this because I could not shake an HV salesperson that insisted that as a former subscriber, “I know how good HouseValues is”. Yeah, whatever.
Mortgage “leads” apparently aren’t the answer. HomePages certainly isn’t the answer. I don’t think selling their Internet “leads” is the answer.
And apparently, the CEO doesn’t either. According to Joel’s interview with Mr. Morris, the CEO of HouseValues actually said, “There’s no such thing as an Internet lead“. Hmmmm…. most curious!
Morris seems to have all but told Joel that HV is re-focusing on MarketLeader, their in-house CMS (Contact Management System). MarketLeader is a great product, when it’s functioning. When I was at HV, it was often broken — to the point where is didn’t send out emails. Sending emails is pretty much a fundamental aspect of a real estate CMS. Those I know who still subscribe to HV report frequent outages. That said, if they can get ML running with good reliability, it could indeed be a product people would pay for. Tip for HV — focus on the “support” before focusing on the “sales” of ML. It’s really kind of important that the product you sell works. If you wind up HomePaging MarketLeader, then your company graduates from the Death Spiral to full blown oblivion.
Of course I doubt anyone is going to pay them ten thousand a month for it. And yep, that’s what some agents are paying now for HV “leads”, HomePages, and some ludicrous television ad gimmick they are peddling.
Good luck HV. But I fear a “RIP HV Post” is in the not-so-distant future.
[tags]HouseValues, HV, HomePages, MarketLeader, Ian Morris, Joel Burslem[/tags]