It’s official. On May 10th, CoStar Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CSGP), a provider of commercial real estate information, analytics and online marketplaces, announced in a press release their acquisition of LandWatch.com, a listing site dedicated to land and rural property for sale. CoStar, based in Washington, D.C., entered into an agreement to purchase LandWatch on April 10, in an attempt to add to the long string of acquisitions they have made in recent years to further solidify their foray into the rural land listing space. In 2012, CoStar acquired LoopNet, subsequently adding LandandFarm.com and LandsofAmerica.com to the list of sites they own and operate. With this latest acquisition, CoStar now controls three of the four top-tier online land for sale listing sites, leaving LANDFLIP as the only top-tier network of sites still privately owned and operated.
So, what does CoStar’s acquisition of LandWatch mean for land brokers? Of course, only time will tell, but it will be interesting to see what the next 12 to 24 months will reveal. There have already been some rumblings among land professionals on social media about what they anticipate might be coming down the pike. Some land brokers are raising concerns over how the acquisition could potentially affect their wallet, if new subscription rates that align with CoStar and LoopNet are implemented.
Here’s what we do know.
LANDFLIP is privately owned. LANDFLIP, which also owns and operates LANDTHINK.com, is a popular online land for sale destination that remains privately owned and operated by former land brokers (and who better knows the tools needed to connect sellers with land buyers and investors than former land brokers?). It may not be the largest of the four top-tier sites in terms of traffic or listings, but the fact that it’s in contention with a multi-billion dollar public company truly says something about its core values: Quality trumps quantity; Invest in us and we will invest in you. True to those words, LANDFLIP is always focused on bringing an exceptional user experience to land buyers and sellers.
LANDFLIP is all-new and better than ever. The LANDFLIP NETWORK was completely redeveloped and relaunched last December 2016, with more listing plan options, enhanced listing features and analytics, personalized buyer profiles, expanded search capabilities, and many more new tools and features. The LANDFLIP NETWORK is currently comprised of LANDFLIP and its four complementary land for sale websites, FARMFLIP, RANCHFLIP, LOTFLIP, AUCTIONFLIP, and LANDTHINK, which provides land-focused knowledge, ideas and networking opportunities to land professionals and enthusiasts.
Bigger is NOT always better. With the biggest listing sites comes a massive amount of listing competition, not to mention those flashy bumper-to-bumper banners also competing for buyers’ attention. The LANDFLIP NETWORK may have fewer listings and overall traffic than the CoStar sites, but having the most listings and traffic doesn’t equal a better return on your marketing dollars. In fact, when your listing competes with too many other listings, it means less exposure for your own. That’s why you’ll never find the LANDFLIP NETWORK diluted with irrelevant or non-paying Multiple Listing Service (MLS) listings just to make the sites appear “bigger.”
CoStar divulged their plan to distribute nearly 1.4 million listings across the three listing sites, with all three to remain stand-alone sites. Think about what this means for listing exposure rates: would you rather be 1 listing of 20,000 or 1 listing of 1,400,000? Which do you think is going to give your property a better chance of being seen and generating more quality leads for you? Also, according to the press release, LandWatch claimed 3.3 million monthly site visits in 2016. Divided by total listings (1,400,000), the site exposure rate would be only 2.35 listing views per visitor. In comparison, the LANDFLIP NETWORK site exposure rate is 9.56 views per visitor. Surprisingly, it’s one of those metrics that gets overlooked when evaluating where to market your listings.
For over a decade, LANDFLIP has been innovating the way people buy and sell land online (often imitated by other sites, but never duplicated). The LANDFLIP NETWORK has covered the land spectrum with its expanded portfolio of land websites, each one catering to a specific market niche- farmland, ranchland, lots (under 20 acres), and land auctions, and there’s no other site that offers LANDTHINK’s level of comprehensive land industry news and expert opinions and delves into the challenges of buying and selling land.
With an obligation to remain at the forefront of the online land marketplace, LANDFLIP will continue to innovate with further site enhancements. The recent network relaunch was guided by a vision and keen foresight into how the land industry will evolve over the next 5-10 years. LANDFLIP boldly took initiative and prepared the land for sale network to capitalize on future technologies and capabilities. They know the key to long-term success is to remain laser-focused on customers and the betterment of the land industry as a whole.
Advertise your land for sale on the LANDFLIP NETWORK. Call 877-339-LAND (5263) to learn more.
We want you to weigh-in on this latest land industry news! Please post your comments below, and be sure to ANSWER THE JUNE PULSE: What effect will CoStar’s acquisition of LandWatch have on land brokers?