I just heard of this new company that is planning to launch in mid-2009, called Aybaf. It is a new virtual brokerage model with the following pertinent points:
- A world-class consumer web portal, currently generating north of 2 million unique visitors per month
- Roughly 15,000 web-based leads every month, growing at 10% on average month over month (adjusted for seasonality)
- Full suite of online agent tools, ranging from a baseline free set to premium tools from Aybaf partners that the agent will select on an a-la-carte basis.
- Free will include: Agent Profile Page, Email Marketing Engine (including weekly CMA reports automatically generated), full-on listings syndication, Agent Website (agent.aybaf.com) with multiple templates featuring the agent’s own listings and a WordPress blog included.
- Options include: IDX feed, VOW site (with state-specific registration pathways), independent agent site (www.agent.com), Custom design (through Aybaf’s network of web development partners), Search Marketing (Aybaf has tools from AdWords to Omniture, where any agent can go purchase keywords easily), Featured Listings (on a competitive bid basis on geographies), and PR (through network of PR partners).
- Full social media support, included in the above suite of tools, from group blogs on blog.aybaf.com to individual blogs (hosted and managed on Aybaf’s Class-A datacenter) to premium paid services (all at agent’s discretion).
- Enterprise CRM platform, with social media tools. As I heard it, Aybaf is looking at the Zappos.com model of leveraging social media as a customer retention and relationship tool, and deploying that out to both an internal customer-service call-center as well as member agents. Every customer is tracked, leads are distributed according to proprietary algorithms, and performance tracked to ensure that leads are going to productive agents who respond quickly.
- Customer surveys after each and every interaction, to ensure that only the best agents remain affiliated with Aybaf, and to let agents know what they did well and where they can improve. Continual quality improvement is their goal.
- A range of partnerships with service providers, as well as a simple online resource center for agents to order services. For example, if you need a yardsign, Aybaf offers partnerships with six different yard sign companies at discounts ranging from 5% to 15%, and an online order center to easily expedite ordering yard signs. Same for any service an agent might need, from direct mail to SEO consultancies.
- Training will be available 24/7 through Aybaf’s automated Agent Resource Center, featuring WebEx, pre-recorded sessions from top names in training, as well as a network of coaches, consultants, and trainers on topics from business planning to social media. They’re incorporating BlackBoard software for enabling online education for all of their agents.
- Full range of professional services through partnerships. They are signing up real estate lawyers, mortgage companies, title companies, etc. at a rapid clip and integrating them as much as possible into the Agent Resource Center.
There were some other details, but the above are the main points.
The most amazing thing about this is that every agent will be on a 100% split, and because Aybaf is a purely virtual brokerage (except in states where they must have a physical office, in which case it will be the smallest possible “storefront” with a single desk, or even just a PO Box), the “desk fees” are only $19.95 a month.
Aybaf’s business model is premised upon making money upon delivery of actionable leads (they haven’t figured out the precise rate, but thinks it’ll be in the 10-15% of GCI, and only if it leads to an actual closed side for the agent), and taking a piece of any premium services the agent purchases.
What do you think? Could this work in real estate?
UPDATE: You might want to read this, the followup to this post.