Bad real estate brokerage websites must go; are you up for a 1000WATT critique?

It has been a year and a half since we released our “Top 10 Real Estate Brokerage Websites in America” report.

Nearly 14,000 people have viewed or downloaded it on Scribd. Many more have viewed the report on our own Website. Brokers and brokerage marketing executives we meet for the first time tell us they’ve read it all the way through.

This is all very cool. And honestly surprising given the cursory nature of the analyses contained in the report.

I’m thinking about this because Marc and I spent about an hour looking at big(we’re talking the ones in the top 20 of the various brokerage ranking lists that come out each year) broker Websites this week in preparing for a talk.

What we saw was shocking. I am not being gratuitously dramatic. I want to be very clear about this:

It is quite literally shocking that large real estate companies persist, in the face of indisputable documentation of the Web’s primacy in the consumer’s real estate experience, to maintain sites that fail as a coherent brand expression, fail to articulate a unique value proposition, fail as exercises in user-focused design and fail basic usability tests the rest of American business passed a decade ago.


In today’s common parlance, WTF?


The harm being caused these brands, the revenue lost, the agents not recruited and leads not converted are inestimable. And yet”the same old patterns: poor vendor selection, design by committee, the lack of a web strategy. It’s a miasmic soup from which the industry cannot get clear.

Yes, we have helped many clients get it right over the past three years. But we’re not going to touch everyone.

So here’s our constructive response: every couple weeks going forward we’re going to post a detailed breakdown of a large real estate brokerage website home page – an annotated screen shot with suggestions for improving design, usability, information architecture and content.

We hope you get something out of these. You’ll be able to download and share them too. And while we could just go out and critique a site without a brand’s permission, we’d much rather do it collaboratively.

So: If you’re interested in having your home page critiqued here on 1000WATT Blog, please shoot an email to with a link to the page. Have no fear – this will be constructive, good-natured criticism from which you can glean actionable takeaways.

Let’s get it right!