September 2, 2014

CommercialSearch – A First Look

commercialsearch.comCommercialSearch.com, Xceligent’s alternative to LoopNet is up and running.  In what it calls the “listing loading” stage through May 2013, it’s already been populated with listings from Xceligent’s own CIEs and those of 165 other “listing companies.”  By the end of the period they expect to have…more.

If you sign up this year, you’ll get a free “founding account” that allows you access to all listings.  Starting in 2014, it’s implied that “founding account” holders will get special pricing on Premium Accounts – about $50 a month – for “unlimited listings with maximum visibility – just like the good old days.”  The good old days I remember had everything for free.  But I take it this means no freebie accounts.  You want to list or search – you have to pay.  About the only thing “good” about the pricing is that you don’t have to deal with the convoluted “premium” listing scenario.

When you arrive at the site, you’re hit with a pop-up asking you to register.  Might as well do it then since you won’t be able to look at anything without logging in.  Plus, the “create an account” links don’t work on all of the pages.

Once you log in, you’ll see a dashboard with tiles for various features – saved searches, favorites, my listings, etc…  You can also view the number of “hits” your listing got.  In analytics parlance, hits refers to how many times a page was requested – as compared to the number of unique views, i.e., one viewer can hit a page many times.  Hits is a rather useless metric…

To add listings, you’ll go through a multi-screen process.  Optional fields are marked but those that aren’t must be required.  Warning – there are a lot of required fields which means some end up with junk in them just to get the process over with.  No word on whether Xceligent intends to review listing data submitted by agents.

There doesn’t seem to be any marketing tools like LoopNet has nor any way to see leads.  Each listing page has an indirect email link that obviously uses Xceligent’s mail system, but who knows whether it’s logged in the “dashboard.” Note to agents – check your spam folders!

The interface is a bit simpler than LoopNet’s but everything seems more spread out/less compact.  The only differentiators on the listing pages is that CommercialSource has a street view map and colorful demographics data.  And speaking of listings, a boast on the main page says the listings have been updated in the last 30 days but I found listings with “last updated” dates of 2009.

As I write this, I’m getting bored.  Can’t listing aggregators come up with something different?  Where’s the value for the agent – or the user – for their “special pricing” of only $600 a year?  All the site’s copy talks about is the number of listings they’ll eventually have thanks to their “partnership” with brokerages and organizations (we’ve heard that partnership stuff before…).  Are the listings going to be better, more comprehensive or just the same old same old?  Or does Xceligent really think all the industry needs is another LoopNet (and an early iteration of LoopNet at that)?

CommercialSearch.com – nothing new here…move along…

Comments

  1. It’s absolutely no different than the other garbage currently available.

    CommercialSearch.com is kind of like BlackBerry, they have years to figure out what has made Apple and Android so successful but yet they can’t seem to figure it out. In this case, CommercialSearch.com has all the time in the world to build something better than LoopStar because all LoopStar cares about at this moment is giving away a signed guitar…

    • Chris Clark says:

      Hey – contests are supposed to get people involved/promote community! You’re not feeling the love?? :-)

  2. The Horror – that sign-up form! Hello – 2006 is calling and they want their interface back.

    Commercial Search looks like something that was committee designed by a bunch of men in too-tight-ties (with blackberries) sitting around a board room trying to figuring out how to match #loopstar’s features…

    Plus – why is it not free to search? 42foors is free. BuzzTarget is free. FlyerIO is free. And many more are free to search.

    Maybe they have the benefit of a good database – I don’t know how they’ll compete. At least I can spell ‘commercial search’ and they are a lot nicer than the #loopstar guys.

    • Design does seem a little dated, but in an odd way it’s refreshing since a lot of sites all look the same these days…

      • True, it’s not terrible design. But that form is a real turn-off. If they make it simpler to sign up (all they need is email and a password), their conversion rate would be 20x. And I’m sure the underlying infrastructure is solid – building a system like that and populating it with data is not an easy feat.

        • I suppose they need all that info for an account… But guess what – it’s hard to believe but those pop-ups work! I still don’t like them!

          The infrastructure looks the same as Commercial Source (when it was NAR run). Same features and everything – just a slightly different face. Commercial Source had a whole bunch of other features originally, though – website integration and some marketing stuff. Maybe they’ll add that back in.

  3. All I have to say is THANK YOU for writing this post. I was interested in the site when they first announced it but there was little information available without having to register. I even emailed them asking for more details or a demo – they just sent me a one page flyer of the same information that was on the the website. You just saved me a bunch of time and my reputation by not sharing the site with my brokers (I’m in marketing).

  4. Thanks for the jump start and fair warning, Chris.

  5. I agree that the site is a rough first attempt. That form has got to change, and there’s lot of other clunky stuff.

    Unless I’m missing something though, this service IS free to search. It seems to cost money to add listings. Maybe that’s not clear enough in the description?

    God bless anyone trying to provide a viable alternative to LoopNet and CoStar. Our LoopNet prices have tripled in the last 2 years, and $50/yr for unlimited listings sounds like a deal to us.

    My market has been screaming for an alternative for years. There’s no way I’m going to be anything but supportive of any company willing to try. Doing otherwise seems like doing a disservice to our market.

    If I can professionally showcase my listings, and attract leads at a lower cost – then this is a winner. Time will tell. We’re all hoping (praying!) that Xceligent succeeds.

    • It’s free now – but won’t be. Their site says it will be “less than $50 a month” – not per year (we wish…).

      I agree that it’s good to have alternatives but unless CommercialSearch can draw user traffic, you won’t get any leads. The free alternative aggregators could never gain an audience much less agent participation and most of them were free. CommercialSearch needs to prove that they’ve got the traffic/can deliver leads. Not only that, but how many places can an agent place their listings? None of them make it easy to get the data in…

  6. I absolutely love the idiotic SEO by having links to every single State, for sale & lease, at the bottom of the homepage.

    So glad I got my Founders account. Totes using this on the daily.

    • They all do that…though I don’t think it works that well anymore… I’m wondering why CommercialSource is still up/doesn’t redirect to CommercialSearch. I thought CommercialSearch was replacing CommercialSource… Not that it got that much traffic, but why not take advantage of whatever SEO value CommercialSource had/get something out of it while they can.

  7. Interesting. Well at least they are pretty new meaning they still have lots of time to change without it be too disrupting for their clients. The opportunity is there. Fingers crossed!