GoodPlace Homes: Because The World Doesn’t Need Another Lame Property Portal

goodplace-homes

So the cat’s out of the bag – GoodPlace will no longer be just a blog. Come June 10th (and commemorating the 100th issue of the GoodPlace Digest), we will be launching the GoodPlace Homes – a property research tool and curated listings database.

We are launching precisely at 9.01am, June 10th, 2015. Here’s a handy timer counting down to blastoff!

Gawd, do we need another property portal, Khai Yin?

Now people tell me that the world doesn’t need yet another property portal, and I wholeheartedly agree. In fact, what’s out there today is probably sufficient for what the typical Malaysian home buyer needs in order to research and shop for properties –

  • iProperty and Property Guru collectively already cover 90+% of the sub sale market (my own estimation). If you’re looking for (mass market) listings, then you should go to those sites.
  • The Edge has recently launched TheEdgeProperty which aggregates property news as well as transactional data (for both sales and rental).

And as everyone who reads the GoodPlace Digest knows, I’m pretty much obsessed with online property and what’s been ‘missing‘ from the equation. Over the two years that I have started the GoodPlace Blog I am convinced that we need more curation in the system which is already overloaded with listings, agents and data. I’ve already blogged about this last year (click here to read it), but in short,

  1. We don’t need more listings; we need good listings which are verifiable, accurate and legitimate.
  2. We don’t need more agents; we need good agents who put the interest of their clients before their commission cheques.
  3. We don’t need more data; we need good insights from the data that will help home buyers make good purchase decisions.

(Incidentally, this is also why GoodPlace is inherently unfundable – venture capitalists had offered me money to stuff the site with more listings, more data and recruit more agents. Thanks, but no thanks.)

Every week I would receive emails of disgust from home buyers who would turn to me after bouts of hair-pulling frustration doing property (re)search online (like this one below which just incidentally just came in) –

GoodPlace.my

The answer to this conundrum is as obvious as the nose on Barbara Streisand’s face: we need higher quality (listings, data, agents) albeit at a lower volume. I’ve suggested this to one of the leading portals, and when I asked if they would moderate and remove the crap listings, this was the answer that I got: “Kidding, man? This is how we make money!”

…But I Don’t Need To Make Money

Just kidding; of course I do! However, since I don’t have hundreds of staff on my payroll and cut-throat investors to appease, I am free to experiment with new ideas without the pressure of having to generate revenue. After all, GoodPlace is just me and my crummy laptop if you think about it. 🙂

Not needing to make quick money also means that I don’t have to do things that other portals usually do to make money. For example, have to plaster my site with banner ads and Flash popups which are as annoying and distracting as an over-enthusiastic, leg-humping mongrel. And if you’re as old as I am then you’ll remember that pre-Google, Yahoo was the reigning Big Kahuna of Internet search engines. It then did the stupid thing of plastering its homepage with flashy ad banners which saw it getting kicked down the curb by a simpler, ad-free Google.

As I am starting (figuratively speaking) from a blank sheet of paper, I could pretty much design the site as I please. I don’t have to clutter up the site with ads simply because I don’t have to. Also, during my research, most home buyers tell me that they would use the search bar more than anything else, and for this reason GoodPlace Home is designed around search, and search only. Oh, and did I mention that we are free from banner ads?

GoodPlace Homes

Free from banner ads, Flash popups and other crap.

Only Upmarket Homes? Are You Joking, Khai Yin?

No, not a joke, but hear me out first before you accuse me of selling out the proletariat and pandering to the bourgeoisie. I’m merely adopting a rather conservative strategy to carve out a smaller chunk of the market to dominate before eventually scaling up if it works. This is a well known strategy which has been used even by the likes of Facebook (which started as a social network for Harvard before spreading to other universities, and then to the rest of the world). If you’re into the nitty gritty of this strategy, read this article (which I authored) which was published at eCommerce Milo: How To Solve The Chicken-Or-The-Egg Problem When Building Internet Platforms

Of course, there are new property portals trying to go “big” immediately right off the gate, and if they’re not flushed with venture monies (hello Patrick) or already a major content publisher (say, The Edge) then they’ll probably fizzle out and die a natural death soon enough. Why? Because these new portals really not that different from iProperty as far as the product features go, and iProperty already has the biggest database of listings and agents in the country. How can they compete?

All in all, here’s GoodPlace’s plan (and promise): we’ll focus on the upmarket segment first, and then expand to the “mass” segment when the time comes.

Any questions? Post ’em below and I’ll answer them. 🙂

  • NEXT WEEK: Things That GoodPlace Homes Can Do – But Other Property Portals Can’t (Controversial!)
About Khai Yin

When I am not writing for GoodPlace.my and helping my readers find properties though the DealMatcher service, I spend time doting on my three kids: Wenyi, Qinyi and Eian. My personal stuff, some published essays and contact details can be found at khaiyin.com

Comments

  1. james0808 says:

    Good going, KY. About time we have a truly USABLE portal. Not just listings, but other value added stuff like locational analysis, pricing trends, etc.

    I just came back from SG – and so I can make the comparison. In SG you can get free transaction data online (I think I just saw a new company trying to SELL that information… not sure if it’s legal). Also, a company called street sine is publishing lots of data. You can buy a home report for $80, which is peanuts if you’re going to pay 1 million for the house.

    • We do harvest lots of data, but in the end it’s about how to interpret the data which is useful. No point selling raw data which seems to be a rather dodgy business model anyways (there’s zero barrier to entry).

      Prop Wall used to sell reports for RM200 a pop if I’m not mistaken.

  2. I’ve had to remove some excessively negative comments about other portals. This is not the place to talk bad about other sites. Thank you for understanding.

  3. azhar yusoff says:

    Good job ky, looking forward to it

  4. Sounds good. What is upmarket BTW? By location or value?

    • Currently we cover KLCC and Mont Kiara, and so, by location. There’s also some data on Bangsar and Damansara Heights though, although not that substantial.

  5. Kong SK says:

    Online property (or cars or jobs) is pretty cutthroat, especially with the catcha boys at pole position. Just saying, KY

    • @Kong –

      Yes, this niche is crowded with a dominant market leader (iProperty), an aggressive Number 2 (PropertyGuru) and a well heeled new entrant (Edge Property).

      And me? I’m just a regular guy working on a crummy laptop out of a rented office in rural Puchong. What is there to lose?

  6. Sylvia Sone says:

    Good luck khaiyin, i hope you do well!

  7. Excited for the day you launch ky. Go get em!

  8. Hv just been following yr site for a few months. Good work. Really appreciate it.

  9. Awesome work khai yin !

  10. Harry Kam says:

    Looking forward for the launch, Khai Yin! Good luck!

  11. I’m a property owner wishing to sell, and also a fan of yours. So, I’m really looking forward to your launch, and have confidence that your portal will be the most professional one – informative, helpful and with integrity.

    Go break a leg, Khai Yin.

  12. Khai Yin,

    I am ready to buy a house, but if your portal doesn’t cater for the house in the location that I have in mind, would u still be able to help me?

  13. hi khaiyin, the current portal is just too common to create and design. Right now with new features coming with transaction data, area analysis and anything can be done with analyze with the transaction data from other new sites such as theedge and etc. These new features bring convenience for buyers to look for real transaction market price , to avoid fake/ artificial price from those greedy property {con} {sultan} ts/agents, do not need much rely from them on additional information too.
    however, the current and new portals still unable to solve the main critical problem for home buyers and rentals. The keyword “search”.
    if i have all the transaction data,inclusive the latest and daily updates, with details, as well as relative datas, as a software engineer, i can make it become The Golden Goose.
    keep it up !

    • @yan – yes, building a portal it not hard at all. The secret sauce is in the content.

      Not data. Anyone can go to JPPH and buy some.
      Not listings. Agents will happily give you some if you ask.
      Not even “community”. User switching costs are negligible.

      It’s all about killer content. Insights. How to use data, listings and user reviews to make good buy or sell decisions.

      There’s a lot of friction in the home buying process, and with friction comes inflated prices. By democratizing the access (sorry for that jargon) to insights, home buyers will get more bargaining power (vs both sellers and developers).

      When the home buyer wins, everyone wins.

  14. I like the idea of your portal focusing on high end properties.
    If you can add the feature that Zoopla UK has on past transacted price on each property or in the surrounding area/neighbourhood that would be great . Helps the decision buying process on purchasing property in the high end bracket .

    Keep it up Khai Yin – your articles are hilarious and informative at the same time .

    • @June:- great idea. Similarly in the pipeline: a “You Might Also Like…” feature. We can cluster up properties based on proximity, price range and other factors which we may find from analyzing user data.

  15. This is what i’m really waiting for after stalking your blog for few months. 😉
    Currently our market really need some portal which do really provide service instead of commercial stuff and bunch of so called “this morning just sold but now i got another unit which slightly expensive…”
    Looking forward on the revolution from good place~

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