Local Web Wars

    December 29, 2004

Driving into work today, I realized Cincinnati is in the midst of a local Web war.

CincyMLS is a board of realtors Web site that tracks all real estate listed with any Cincinnati realtor. What the site lacks in design is more than made up for in its utility. It allows you to quickly, and easily, zero in on homes for sale from the comfort of your, uh, home.

CincyMLS announced it is discontinuing this popular Web site. They claim that each realtor posts their listings to their own site, so it does not make sense to aggregate them on their own.

Huh? Making the consumer’s job harder and taking a once level playing field and tilting it to those realtors that have a better Web presence makes no sense to me. This move will be a huge loss.

But my marketing heart got a warm glow during my morning commute when I saw a proactive billboard from Huff Realty, directing folks to their Web site. The billboard looks a lot like their homepage (more bonus points) claiming they are “like MLS, but better.”

It is great to see one of the smaller, local realtor launch the first salvo in this skirmish. Not to mention, the use of conspicuous outdoor advertising is the perfect approach to gaining eyeballs and market share. The billboard should find its target audience as they are driving around looking at different homes for sale. Huff gets a Gallant for making the best of a bad situation.

Interestingly enough, as I prepared this post, I typed in cincymls.org by mistake and found that Remax has purchased this URL and use it to push people to their site–another sign that the games have begun.

Kevin Dugan is the author of the popular Strategic Public Relations blog. Kevin is Director of Marketing Communications for FRCH Design Worldwide.

Visit Kevin’s blog: Strategic Public Relations.