rocknbil - 5:52 pm on Jun 3, 2010 (gmt 0)
buying and renting real estate.
In the U.S., many of these feeds are controlled and protected, and cost money to acquire, or you have to be part of an organization (MLS, for example.) I think you'll meet resistance. However,
a few very large sites that are the "go to" sites
You need to make your site the "go to" site, using the principles you've laid out: simpler, easier to use, has the elements you find lacking in the go-to sites. Some ideas that might help you do that:
- Find out where the feeds come from, when you pick yourself off the floor after hearing the costs, make the investment and "do it right." If you're sure of your idea, it will be worth it.
- Arrangements with these existing sites, maybe you can offer a fraction of the costs THEY are investing as compensation for access to their feeds. This will actually make your job easier - now instead of scraping pages and dealing with all the complications of that (there are many,) you may get access to the actual feed via automated FTP or wget command line, or even direct access to their database (mysql was designed for this.) The real advantage here is you have the raw data BEFORE their site has munged it up, maybe even fields their sites aren't using that will make yours stand out.
- Add exclusive access to members for their own promo pages on your site, and ability to add their own listings, which can start a following of real estate agencies. Once your site becomes the "go to" site, you won't need the other sites any more. Neither will the realtors.
- In the U.S., there are certain things a registered realtor/real estate agent has access to that most people don't. Team up with a Realtor, develop the site as a business venture. You can split both costs and profits. With a realtor as part owner, you can legally access a lot of stuff you as a consumer cannot.
I have more . . . but that's where I'd start.