Virtual Reality Website, Extended Trade Up Your Tech, Old Software Deprecation and More

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In one week, we will be launching the world's first website that offers a virtual reality feature set for both main page presentation and listings details pages. Truly, this is our biggest innovation in website design at REW ever and I am so excited! 

My vision is this: You roll up on a listing presentation a few minutes early with a 360 / VR camera (relatively inexpensive under $1,000 for a good one)before going in, you put down a tripod in a nice location, and you take a 360 degree photo or video. 

You then upload the photo to your site using the brand new, fully responsive REW CRM along with other property details and hit save. Instantly, you have the listing added to your site and available to view even before you have landed it. 

Now walk into the presentation, give your pitch as you normally wouldbut when it comes to the technology / web marketing piece, you are going to pull out a branded Google Cardboard with your name on it. First you will load the listing on your site to your phone and, using the panoramic view, you can move around with your phone and the listing photo or video will move with you right in front of the customer... cool right? 

Next you will BLOW THEIR MIND by placing your phone inside of your Google cardboard and asking them to view the listing photoBOOM! Instant virtual reality of their home! They will look left, they will look right, they will look up, and they will look down....

And they will sign your listing agreement! 

This is the kind of innovation that is coming from REW lately, and it is one of the MANY innovations that we have released just this year! 

What else have we done? 

REW CRM - The REW CRM launched in June and is currently in the early adopters stage, until the end of August. This new CRM is completely responsive (works on all devices) and is now available to all customers on a current hosting plan ($499 or per user for those over 25 users). In the short time it has been launched we have already added a TON of innovations to it, which include: 

  • Zillow Tech Connect - leads straight from Z to REW
  • Zapier Integration - You can now set up your own ZAPS and receive leads from ANY custom sources
  • Dot Loop Integration - Dot Loop users can now connect to REW via single sign on and create loops right from your CRM! 
  • Texting Integration - available for all REW text users
  • Action Plans - automated action plan items and tasks assigned to leads
  • Instant response dashboard - immediately action the most important items from the main dashboard

These are just a few awesome things in the REW CRM. We HIGHLY encourage you to check it out if you are not using it yet. It is quite simply awesome! 

REW Leads App - Available for both iOS and Android, all current software customers (4.7 and REW CRM) now have access to the REW Leads CRM companion app for up to 25 users. Speed to lead is key and push notifications, as well as on the go lead routing / assignment, are critical pieces of these apps. 

REWPert MLS Search Robot For Facebook - he's still a secret for now, but I've seen him in action, and very soon you will be able to see him too! He's a Facebook robot that connects directly to your MLS / Website and CRM to allow users to use natural language search in order to search for homes on the MLS, through your website, right from Facebook. But best of all, he also captures their contact information and creates them as a lead as they are doing it! Freaking awesome I tell you! (Shout out to Dave M for this little guy.)

Google Cloud Platform - We are completing our migration to the Google Cloud Platform for access to high availability / consumption-based server environments that will allow our servers to autoscale to the various needs of our customers and grow with them. This also provides us with access to all of the GCP /Google technology suite for future innovation and performance. 

REW IDX iOS / Android Apps - We are currently refactoring our entire suite of iOS and Android MLS search applications so that we can offer faster, more feature rich, less expensive, and completely branded search apps for our customers. REW IDX App's are currently available to customers but, once refactored, there will be even more features, launch times will be considerably shorter and updates will be significantly easier and faster as well. 

There is a theme here: Innovation! It's one of our CORE Values and it's accelerating! 

We want to ensure that REW maintains it's position as THE BEST front end real estate website and marketing company in the world. It's who we have been, it's who we are, and it's who we intend to continue to be for the foreseeable future. 

We're looking forward to continuing to add new features (often on a monthly basis) and we are exceptionally excited about our roadmap for this year. 

In order to do this, however, we need to address a few things: 

There is a cost: There is a cost to all of this innovation which we must ask our customers to participate in. We are not asking that our customers pay unreasonable fees for access to this technology. In fact, we believe our pricing model has us exceptionally competitive and quite often less expensive than our largest competitors. All new customers are already happily contributing and seeing the benefits and rewards of this new technology. 

Legacy customers however (on legacy pricing models) are not able to take advantage of this great technology and need to upgrade. Not only do we feel that they need to upgrade because we know our customer always wants to be on the cutting edge and enjoying a competitive advantage, but they also need to upgrade because we are going to deprecating our legacy technology and legacy pricing. 

In short, if you're on a really old website and CRM platform, you are WAY behind! You're likely losing rankings, losing leads, and losing sales. If you're a larger customer, you are probably also losing agents to your competitors who have a much more compelling technology offering. 

As important: We at REW have made a very important decision for our business. We have decided that we need to focus on both quality of service and innovation even more than we have in the past. Currently however, due to the various legacy platforms out there, we are dividing our time between innovating "new" things and having to support or fix very "old" things. Far too much time, in fact. 

The decision we have made is to deprecate our oldest legacy software as of Sept 1, alongside the non-profitable pricing plans associated with them. What this means specifically is that we will officially no longer support software versions 4.3 and below, as these are software versions over 5 years old.

5 years is a lifetime in terms of the fast-paced internet world. Innovation happens so fast! If you are running a 5+ year old software program, you have probably experienced that it:

  • Doesn't work on most of your devices (iPads, iPhones, androids etc)
  • Is too slow and sometimes doesn't load at all
  • Breaks, especially if you have a lot of volume
  • Is missing even the most basic feature set compared to today's CRMs
  • Frustrates you to no end! 

All these things are true! Something 5+ years old that has never been updated has been left in the dust—and that's where we need to leave it too! 

These legacy softwares are increasingly costing us more and more support time, and customers are frustrated with their performance. In the past, we have not forced customers to upgrade to newer software platforms or pricing models. However, if we are going to focus on quality of service, support and innovation we MUST get rid of these old software packages. There are too many resources being used, and they are not profitable for REW. 

Most importantly they are NOT GOOD ENOUGH for you to run your business on today. What was once industry-leading, is no longer worthy of the REW name. It's time! 

So what does this mean for legacy customers

We need you to upgrade your software so we can support you properly and have you truly benefit from being with REW. Chances are, if you're on a REALLY old software platform, you're also on a REALLY old websiteneither is something you should be okay with. 

It also means we must ask you to move to a more appropriate billing model. In the new paradigm with high availability servers, CDNs, Sendgrid, multi-platform device support, native apps, and all the other awesome innovation available, the cost to deliver service is much higher and legacy pricing plans are no longer profitable for REW.

We have new pricing (which is now over a year old) for all users under 25 seats on our software, which is $499 USD per month.  This year, we added an "over 25" users model for those customers who have significantly greater traffic, storage, support, and bandwidth needs.

In order to help legacy customers with under 25 users transition into this new model, we have offered an extremely generous Trade Up Your Tech promotion. What this promotion offers is a graduated pricing increase. Instead of going straight to $499 per month, users signing up for 3 years get their first 12 months at $299, their 2nd 12 months at $399 and their third 12 months at $499, for an effective rate of $399 per month over the term. 

This rate for this level of product and CRM is absolutely THE BEST rate available on the market, even without considering the cost of switching (in time and potentially lost business). There is also some amazing deals on our newest websites, which you should upgrade to, including the new VR website!

Those customers with several sites do have access to bundled pricing past the first site, depending on the number of users on the additional sites. Please reach out to your product consultant for pricing.  

Also important to note: sub domains are now provided for ALL current SaaS rate plan users (up to 25) and for all per user customers (over 25) at no additional charge. 

This promotion is only available for 1 more month. After that we will be transitioning all customers not on an existing contract to our retail rates, regardless of platform. That transition should be completed no later than December 2017. 

The other major change to REW pricing, which is effective as of Aug 1st and has been previously announced, is our move to per member pricing for large (over 25) users of the REW system. 

Our new per seat pricing for REW Software is as follows:

  • 1 year contract: $20 per user
  • 2 year contract: $15 per user
  • 3 year contract: $10 per user

As with our below 25 user packages, there is a $499 per month minimum charge. Therefore, your cost per month will be $499 or (users x rate)whichever is greater. 

For example, if you have 40 users on a 3 year term, your rate per user is the equivalent of $400 and your payment is $499. However, if you have 100 users on a 3 year term, your rate is $1,000 per moth (100 x $10). 

Just like with Trade Up Your Tech, we have decided to make a special offer to customers upgrading before August 30th on a 3 year term.

Here is how the per user promotion works:

We have found that our very large, per user customers are also most often very large consumers of our professional services. 

So, what we have decided to do is issue a credit for 100% of the difference between your old hosting rate and your new per user rate. This credit will be put towards the REW Retainer program and can be used in any given month for programming, design, SEO, QA, project management, or any other professional services.

Here's how the math works: 

Imagine in the old world you paid $199 for 200 users on our platform, and you also consumed 50 hours of professional services per month. Your cost at retail is $10,199 for that month.

Now on the new per seat pricing, your hosting goes from $199 to $2,000 (10 x 200). This is a difference of $1,800, and your 50 hours would cost you $10,000 for a total of $12,000.

However, during the promo, REW will gift you 100% of the difference. In this example, it's $1,800, which is equal to 9 hours at retail for our retainer program. This means you only need to purchase 41 hours instead of 50 in order to get 50 hours of work! 

This makes your new price $2,000 in SaaS + (41 x $200) = $10,200 which, as you can see, is only $1 more than you would have paid in the old model for this scenario. 

Your product consultant can run you through the math to see how your particular situation might play out. However, I am very happy personally share this offer to honour our long-term, larger customers of professional services, and reduce the impact of this price change. 

For large customers over 300 users, you also have access to myself and our VP of Enterprise, Michael Audet, if you have questions. But for all customers, feel free to reach out to me via email, in a comment here, or on FB chat: My FB Profile is here.

One final update: 

Now that REW CRM is coming out of Early Adopter phase, we will be allowing customizations of both the front and backend of the CRM. 

It is very important to note that the policy is still the same as the old CRM with respect to customizations. Quite simply, that policy is this:

"If you have accessed any part of our design or programming teams to customize your platform, upgrades to the CRM are no longer free. You may request them, however the labor required to upgrade your CRM will be billed at retail rates. 

In addition, custom work is NOT warrantied or covered by support. Should your customization require additional work or servicing, even if what once worked stops working, that work is done by our billable professional services team and is again billed at retail rates."

On the flip side, if you do ZERO customization to your platform, upgrades to your CRM are now completely free at REW. You may still do SEO / PPC (etc.) without affecting the free upgrade path. 

This was a LOT to write for a blog update, but I felt it important to share these changes with you. 

Our goals are to:
#1 - Bring you the most innovative products on the market
#2 - Reduce support wait times, and increase level of support 
#3 - Ensure you have a competitive advantage in your market 
#4 - Do the right things to align REW with the marketplace and ensure our future
#5 - Provide exceptionally high ROI from your platform and marketing

We feel these long overdue changes allow us to achieve these goals and we truly appreciate not only your past business, but what we hope is continued partnership for many years to come!

With my thanks,
Morgan

Comments

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James Murr

I am getting forced into the new pricing model, because it is either take your deal or walk away from my $15,000 custom site investment. The problem is I didnt get my site until mid-2014, so it is only 3 years old and I am being told I am on 4.3 so I have to do this. This doesn't seem right.

Morgan Carey

Hello James, thank you for your comment. I have looked up your account and there are a few discrepancies:

#1: Your site was installed in 2013 (four years ago) and you purchased a basic template even then that was already a few years old (it's likely 6 or 7 years old by now.

#2: It is not a custom site - you have a few very minor modifications over the 4 years with the largest being one released to compliance. (less than 50 hours total) - they certainly did not cost $15,000

Based on the actual facts of your account - absolutely it is time for you upgrade - you ARE on a very old platform which as you can read above, has very good reason for being deprecated. This is your opportunity to get a great deal on trading up your tech to a much more robust platform that will serve your needs well into the future.

But just FYI - we tell all customers when asked, that 3 years is the shelf life for a design before a change / refresh - so you are inline for a change either way.

Also you will recall that last year when we went to new pricing, you had the opportunity to "lock in" at legacy rate for ANOTHER 2 years (and we provided over 1 years warning that legacy pricing would be going away for good) - that moment is now upon us, yet we are still offering 1 more chance to "get a better deal" on SAAS / monthly pricing - I would love to see you take it, as we have now published our end date for legacy pricing, and that is Oct 1st / 2017





Chris Matthews

I got my Barbara site only 1.5 years ago and am paying $199/month for hosting and $500/year for the seller tool. I am a single user. How on earth is it fair to increase me from $199/month to $499/month for hosting? That's basically buying a whole new site every single year. $6k? Why is it fair for someone with 200 users to pay $2k/month for hosting, but as a 1 user operation, I pay only $1500 less? This increase is way too high and the single users are effectively being punished for the bigger brokerage's usage of your servers. I signed up for this and then 1 year later I'm told my hosting is going from $2400/year to $6000/year. How is that fair to your single user customers? It feels like a trap after investing so much into building it.

Michael K

We just completed upgrading our site to 4.6. In the last year we have paid approximately $14,000 with REW, not knowing that this price hike was coming. I am not interested in spending $6,000 per year for a website that I cannot use all of these new technologies on. We are in Mexico, no Zillow, Zapier, Dot Loop, Texting won't work, etc. How is any of this a positive to me?

Joshua Jarvis

If you have an old site and you go along with the CRM upgrade, is there a cost associated with the upgrade or just an increase in monthly fees?

Morgan Carey

Joshua, yes there is a cost for a new platform, however this month there are discounts on both the new platform, and the ability to lock in discounted rates via our trade up your tech http://www.realestatewebmasters.com/trade-up-your-tech/ your rep can assist you with any questions you have.

Morgan Carey

Hello Christopher Matthews - We do understand that you purchased your site (826 days ago) while REW was still priced significantly below market value. We also empathize with the fact that no one likes a price increase (especially when the deal they were getting prior was so substantially below market value) and I do understand your frustration.

However - this isn't about "fair" between brokerage clients vs single users. Our GCP servers are consumption based and individual instances, so you are in no way being punished or being asked to pay for a brokerages usage.

This price change and deprecation is a business decision we are REW have made:

#1 - Because we are way below market price (as compared to our next 5 largest competitors)
#2 - Our costs have increased significantly since our last price change
#3 - We are more than doubling down on innovation investment and truly desire to always ensure you have access to the greatest front end and marketing platforms on the planet!
#4 - We need to be able to afford to provide the very best in support and infrastructure for you our valued clients.

The price you have been currently enjoying is a price that is very old, and does not support our business. I know it sucks to lose it "I get it" - but we believe the value is there for our products and services, and we have been extremely fair in our handling of this increase - First by allowing customers (last year) to lock in for 2 more years at legacy rates, and second this year by allowing a graduated increase program via trade up our tech. No other company in our space has ever been so flexible or generous in their handling of a price correction.

The reality is Chris, technology (especially great technology) does have a cost - a cost to maintain, and a cost to innovate. We are very confident that our "current" pricing is extremely competitive to the market and brings great ROI (we know so) - and that we add great value at this price point to our awesome customers.

I am on FB chat any time if you would ever like to discuss further, I do hope that myself and your great team here at REW can help you see the value in your investment and show you how to capitalize on it from an ROI perspective no matter what the price point.

Lastly, thank you for your business Chris - I do hope this open dialogue shows you that we do truly care about your concerns and are happy to engage with you to hear them.






Morgan Carey

Michael K - to be clear, this price increase is "not" because we launched new technologies, it is a price correction as REW is currently nowhere near priced competitively in the market and are significantly under charging.

It is true however the costs at REW have gone up significantly as we have invested in architecture, servers, CDN's etc all of which you are currently able to take advantage of.

Also - with respect to being in Mexico - you are still able to upgrade to the latest CRM which is a HUGE improvement UI wise from our past product especially on mobile devices and tablets as it is now fully responsive.

Also you "can" actually take advantage of the new features (action plans, zapier etc) it is true that Zillow is not an advantage to our Canadian and abroad clients, but most every other improvement is (including the apps)

As I've acknowledged several times already - a price increase to get us somewhat closer to our competitors is NEVER going to be a popular thing (especially when we were so underpriced with our legacy customers) - but I do hope I can help people understand it is truly a necessary step that we must take at REW in order to remain healthy and competitive as a business and continue to innovate moving forward.

We are already seeing massive leaps in terms of our technology and services and look forward to continuing to do so - all of which are aimed at improving our customer experience. We do hope that you will give us the opportunity to showcase these advancements at a more reasonable price point.

Thank you for your feedback and your business, it is truly appreciated.


Morgan Carey

I am realizing that existing legacy customers may note realize (if they have not read the trade up your tek post) that they do currently have the opportunity to "lock in" an extended discount to ease their way into our pricing change.

If you're reading this post and you think it's just a "flip to new pricing" unless you are over 25 users, that is not the case. During trade up your tek this is what was / is available (Until Aug 31st) - it's actually quite an amazing offer

If you Locked in legacy for 2 years (last year's promo) + added Trade up for 3

$199 x 2 years = $7,200

$299 x 1 year = $2,400

$399 x 1 year = $1,200

Savings: $10,800

Did not lock in for 2

$199 x 15 months (time from announcement of new price, to change) $4,500

$299 x 1 year = $2,400

$399 x 1 year = $1,200

Savings: $8,100

Savings VS Average cost of next 2 largest competitors (average $999 per month)

$24,000

As you can see - by staying with REW (and taking advantage of these very generous offers) you're actually saving quite a bit vs going to any large REW competitor. And you do not have to switch which is a benefit because you stay on the best front end platform available and you don't have the hassle of changing vendors.

I highly encourage anyone not clear on trade up your tek promo to reach out to your rep (or me, here on FB chat) so that you don't miss out on this deal.

Chris Matthews

Morgan, your costs have not increased because of 1 user so much so that I alone deserve a 150% increase over what I was paying. Your cost have increased because of brokerages that have 200 users. Why does it make sense that 100 user sites have $1000/month hosting fees, but a 1 user site has just HALF that? Honestly, I think the 100 user ones should be way higher. They have more income that can be applied and are a larger drain. There should be a single user charge that is fair based on sheer income difference between 25, 100, 200 users and 1. I don't have the budget they do! No one shares in my pot! I can't even do Adwords anymore, so this now affects my lead generation. Have you seen the stylesheet I built on my backend? That's months of coding. I invested in this company and months of building my site because I like the product and believe in it, but this is a budget busting increase that wasn't foreseen.

In my shopping around, I didn't see a competitor charging $1000+/month hosting fees for a single user. My old provider was $100/month. I understand the need for an increase if your costs are increased, even though my platform backend appears the same. This is a massive jump. Why does Amazon fight so hard to keep Prime membership $99/year despite massive increases in shipping costs? Even so far as to create their own shipping company. Because they know pushing it just a little can be damaging to the base and create alienation in a competitive space. They instead create add-on subscriptions or branches to increase revenue. This was too big of a jump. I'd hope that you pivot and reconsider a separate monthly rate increase for the single user sites.

Michael K

Morgan, I appreciate your reply. In the past I believe we were not paying full amount due to not using IDX feeds. Are these discounts still going to be available?

I called to get clarification and was told to speak with Jeff Pady. He is out of the office until the 15th. Is there someone else I can speak with? This price hike has me stressed and feeling like I need to find another provider. I would like to get all the facts straight before i abandon the sizable investment that i have already made.

I understand what you're saying about wanting to better position your business with your competitors, but believe me there is no way I would have chose them, the same way I will not choose your upgraded services at the new price. It's simply not a fit for what I am doing. I'm looking for (and bought) a Cadillac, not a Bentley.

Morgan Carey

Chris, I am hearing your frustration and I do empathize (I truly do!) - however you are choosing to focus on only one of the several very valid reasons for increasing our cost (and that is because our costs have increased).

Respectfully - you have no idea of REW's cost increase since we implemented the $199 (which was MANY years ago now) - but I can tell you that our costs for ALL users has increase significantly. If we were priced correctly (for the market and value we bring) then I could understand a customer saying "that's your problem, you have internal cost control issues" - but it's not the case as we truly have avoided increasing our prices for far too long (even though we knew we should have done it a long time ago) - and it was solely out of consideration and loyalty to our customers. At this point, a price correction is absolutely required in order for REW to be viable and grow.

As for the market cost for a "single agent" - of course you can find discount services (heck there is one for $99 one time ever!) those are garbage platforms that are not competitive with REW. We know very well who our competitors for this level of CRM, Website, Marketing services are (The largest two being CINC and Boomtown on the ATB side) and their price point (regardless of single agent or not) is significantly higher than ours and they do not bring the same kind of customized front end experience that we do. Also you are not acknowledging your ability to take advantage of the two promo's we have offered (we gave plenty of fair warning that change was coming, starting over a year ago) - had you taken advantage of both promo's your average price guaranteed for the next FOUR years would have been only $275 per month for the best front end real estate platform on the planet. (the math is $199, $199, $299, $399 / 4) - even so, because of the time we gave before doing this (again it is already over a year) you're still really close to that price point. I'm sorry, but the REW Platform is certainly worth a LOT more than $275 a month and that is exceptional value compared to our competitors (the worthy ones)

Finally on the agent count argument - you're wrong for a lot of reasons, agents per visitor earn a LOT more than a brokerage does, and often agents in general (the very successful ones) have higher net earnings overall vs their brokerages - but that's hardly the point here.

A single license will always be the highest cost - there is no economy of scale, and there is a "minimum platform cost" that we must achieve. Adding a "single agent" too the platform costs a whole lot less than adding the whole platform (agents 2+ are massively less expensive than the platform cost itself)

We don't have a "single user" pricing (or even the ability to limit the platform to a single user), but you have my word that I will look into it and get back to you. It would likely require an update to your platform in order to implement a block on adding of users and there would be a cost for that - but we can discuss that offline once I have talked to my team.

Thank you for the feedback - I do appreciate you and value your time here.


Morgan Carey

Michael K - I can't see who you are or look you up without your full name, can you email me or PM me on FB? I'm honestly not familiar enough with your account to make comments on deals you have made with reps - so I cannot help you here, I will ensure you get answers though once I have more info from you. Your URL would be fine as a reference also - thanks

PS - you bought a bentley ;-)

Michael K

URL is puertorealty dot com

Sorry, not wanting this to show up on searches.

Veronica Hicks

Hi Morgan - can you get someone to give me a recommendation on a VR site? Thank you!

Morgan Carey

Hello Veronica, sorry for late reply, I'm here in San Fran at Inman - I will certainly have someone reach out. Cheers

Brad Dixon

When is the last day to decide on whether we want to upgrade to this new plan or cancel the service?

Morgan Carey

Hello Brad,
The cutoff for price adjustment is Oct 1st, 2017 - if you are considering your future with REW, please do keep in mind, there is a promo for existing customers at this time "Trade Up Your Tek" which actually makes the pricing change quite a bit more attractive.

Aslo - those with more than 1 site in a market are offered a discount on their additional sites past the 1st

Those needing to increase SAAS due to agent count get 100% of the difference credited to them in retainer hours.

I'm not familiar with your account, but it would definitely be well worth a conversation with your product consultant (especially with all the new tech, features) prior to considering a move.

No matter your decision - I would like to personally thank you for being our customer, we truly appreciate you.

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