Looking back, I'm sure it feels like a
bait and switch, and I know there are a lot of folks feeling a
little betrayed by the whole thing.
So let's take a look at this deal and see who the winners are
Winner #1: Ido
Again, super nice guy, and I'm glad he
is getting an exit—truly,
I am. He's been a worthy competitor and he's a guy who loves his
wife and family. Hats off and nothing but well wishes to Ido.
He gets a big fat cheque, and he
gets to pick what adventure he wants to go on next and will have
the funds to do so.
Honestly, Booj was truly an
up-and-coming platform. As I mentioned before, it has years of
ideas and features that were contributed by some of the smartest
brokers in the world. It has a lot of great stuff in the backend
that helps brokers' businesses, and their design work is probably
top 5 in the space (I would argue Real Estate Webmasters and
1000Watt hold the top 2 spots).
RE/MAX gets speed to marketing with a
good product, they benefit from the ideas and innovation of their
competitors, and IF they can convince the team to stay post
acquisition, they get some really awesome talent in the folks at
Loser #1: RE/MAX
So here's the thing: I have never (and I
mean never) seen one of these acquisitions work. The culture and
passion of an entrepreneurial startup with momentum gets absolutely
destroyed when faced with the new realities over corporate
overlords. Mark my words, if history is any indicator of the
future, all of that talent (the best talent) that was responsible
for the success and innovation at Booj in the past will be gone. It
happens every time!
How many of the top folks at RealSatisfied
are still there? Think about it.
And honestly, RE/MAX is a real estate
company, NOT a technology company. Their track record of innovation
in technology is absolutely terrible. They have not been a leader
in the space in any way, don't have experience, and most certainly
do not have the innovative vision and team to manage a transition
like to this the finish line.
I get it. You're scared of Compass and EXP
who are actually tech-focused companies eating your lunch. But
seriously, acquisition + DIY is a recipe for failure and I just
can't see it working.
And then there is the price: We all know how
these deals work. Acquisitions in tech are multiples of revenue.
You are likely paying a premium for a group of customers that are
100% guaranteed to be unhappy about this acquisition and are
already looking for other vendors.
Again, think about it. Why would an
independent that was lured by the promise of exclusivity and
"protection" from companies like RE/MAX decide to stay now that all
their hard work has been sold to their biggest competitor?
Obviously, I don't know what RE/MAX paid for
the company, but if it's based on revenue, unless there is an
earn-out (in which case Ido joins the loser column) then RE/MAX has
likely paid too much.
loser: Booj Customers
I have already had several Booj customers
call me or email me directly about this announcement. They are
The message seems to be: don't worry, just
because we are now owned by RE/MAX (your biggest competitor)
doesn't mean things are going to change.
In fact, RE/MAX has tons of $ and they are
going to invest, and the technology and offerings are going to get
Are you serious?
It is ABSOLUTELY TRUE that RE/MAX would not
make this acquisition unless they planned on investing in it. But
let's not kid ourselves. There is no conceivable plan that would
result in RE/MAX sharing those benefits or that innovation with
their competition. NONE!
If I'm RE/MAX, I try to keep these
independent customers for as long as I can UNTIL I roll out new
features. I mean, they paid for them, right? Might as well let them
keep funding development for what now is the RE/MAX enterprise
I mean, think about it. The longer they
delay the hammer on the independents, the longer the independents
are being held back from finding an alternative and getting their
projects started. And in many cases, the move will take 6-12
months. If RE/MAX can delay them 2 years by promising new and
awesome stuff, some might stay and then BAM!!!! The Hammer!
This is the part where I can see a company
like RE/MAX saying (and this is just a prediction, I can't say this
is their plan), "You know what? Thanks for the funding for the past
few years (and additional ideas) but we've decided that this
platform is going to be RE/MAX only. We're not going to renew your
subscription and certainly are not going to allow you access to the
RE/MAX-owned enterprise platform."
Now you're several additional years behind,
and you have no plan and no options.
There is just no other way I see this thing
playing out. RE/MAX is in the RE/MAX business.
If I'm a Booj customer, I'm leaving as fast as possible! We're
already seeing it happen (just signed one the other day) and there
are a lot more coming out of the woodwork.
As I mentioned above, this is an obvious win for Booj
competition like us here at Real Estate Webmasters
Inc. It certainly isn't by design, and I certainly would never
wish forced change on anyone at this scale—but
it's here. And there are decisions to be made.
And so I have an offer to help make it easy for you:
Not only will REW Enterprise match the per member price you are
currently paying at Booj, we will also provide a credit of 25% the
total SaaS value of your entire contract to be used to recreate /
custom develop a new site design on the REW Vision framework.
In simple terms, if you're on a 3-year $360,000 contract, we
will credit you $90,000 USD of free work at our retail hourly rate
to rebuild. We credit it upfront and do the work upfront, you won't
be out of pocket for any of that credit. You simply keep paying
exactly what you were paying, and we'll get you up and running
faster than any other company in the space.
If you're interested, please feel free to email me
at firstname.lastname@example.org or
hit me up on my personal Facebook profile https://www.facebook.com/morgandavidcarey
I know this is a tough thing to have to make a decision on right
now and it really isn't fair that it was forced on you. But please
know, we're here to help and, as the largest custom vendor for real
estate websites in the entire world (and 100% privately owned and
funded), we are in a position to help make this transition as fast
and as painless as possible.
I look forward to hearing from you and feel free to share this
post or comment below.
Morgan Carey, CEO
Real Estate Webmasters Inc.