LoopNet Owns Us All

LoopNet is a data bully. 

In my quest to bring light to the commercial real estate industry with a message that “we” are more important than our listings when it comes to marketing, I am hastened to share a very critical component of this whole equation.  The digital age has changed the landscape of every buying decision, and we are not immune.  For brokers, how often now do you hear from clients “I saw this property on LoopNet”.  No one wants to wait for information anymore. We are in an on demand, instant gratification society.  And, what is the first thing your client does, they Google it. What comes up? LoopNet.  

They own search, and thus, they own us all.

How have they done this?  A quick primer on search.  Google has this very complicated and evolving algorithm that ranks websites based upon things like relevance and authority. Meaning, if your site is referenced by a number of legitimate sites, then you will rank higher organically than most. This is absolutely dumbing it down. Google has a cool site that explains it further. So what does this mean to us as the CRE community?  Well, all of us have websites. These sites do not rank highly, bc they are not considered “authorities” in particular keywords bc other sites do not reference. Or there is not enough original, indexable content. But, they are still legitimate, so there is value.  Now to LoopNet.  All of us have been on brokers sites and searched for properties “powered by LoopNet”.  They refer to this as their LoopLink service. A snippet of code that is placed on your site, which then places all of your LoopNet listings on your site. Cool right? And easy.  No needing to duplicate efforts.  

But now armed with your new knowledge of how Google works.  LoopNet received millions of links back from all of these very legitimate sites, so their page ranking goes way way up! This is not the only thing they do, but it’s a big one and we contribute directly to it.

Now, take CBRE.com which received roughly 80 million unique visitors.   From their site they offer property search functionality...powered by LoopLink (side note:  see that hyperlinked  “Commercial Real Estate”, well it goes to LoopNet.com and thats  .   They may very well have an agreement with LoopNet/CoStar, that is totally besides the point. I also want to point out that, this is not a bad strategy from you or LoopNet.  Hey, they provide a service and you derive value.  That’s how business is done. But, we then cannot complain when we get squeezed harder.  

Mike, why in the eff does this matter to me?

Great question and I am glad you asked.  Because it directly impacts your paycheck.  Think about it. If LoopNet owns search.  And mostly everyone is searching on their own for commercial real estate. How many opportunities are you giving away and losing because they get trapped inside the LoopNet machine.  (They then sell this stuff back to us for a lot of money). Is that enough of a reason? Because honestly I don’t even want to waste time BS’ing others.  

Got your attention now? Good! Because there is a way around this.  Look at CBRE and their latest initiative with Blueprints, the online magazine.  The CMO, Paul Suchman gets it.  

“This is a wonderful opportunity to reach out to clients, colleagues and the general business community with nutritional content, content that is not about deals but actually has additive value, examining the built environment’s potential to positively impact businesses and our culture.”  From the Globest.com article.  

It’s not about deals.  It’s not about listings.  It’s about sharing their story.  

Now, we all aren’t multi-billion dollar, publicly traded, multinational corporations with the marketing budgets to match.  It would be nice, sure, but that’s ok.  It doesnt mean you don’t have any less of a meaningful message.


Mike FoundosComment