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Littleton, CO-based Reaction Web is a website and multimedia design firm, specializing in the commercial real estate industry. Mike Mockus and Paul Dynan founded the firm 11 years ago with the hope of increasing the use of technology in a traditionally slow-to-change industry.

“Technology systems that lead to faster closings, happier clients and allow more time for brokers to meet with future investors have been used extremely successfully by early adopter brokers for years,” Mockus says. “Process automation is not a technology of the future. It’s available now, allowing commercial brokers to market a listing through a template-based ‘one size fits most’ model.”

Reaction Web’s core product is a Web site that allows commercial brokers to highlight an unlimited number of property listings. Once those listings are posted, the broker can control access to those files with a registration system. The broker can also track visitors to the site, the number of times a person has looked at a particular property and the files each person downloaded. The advantage of in-depth tracking, Mockus said, is that “brokers can spend more of their time talking to genuinely interested investors.”

Early this fall, the company introduced ListingLab.com, which allows users to develop and manage individual property marketing Web sites “with security, confidentiality agreements and due-diligence war rooms” for $25 per month per property. Mockus calls it “a do-it-yourself option” for brokers who aren’t interested in paying for custom marketing Web sites or hiring someone to utilize Web page programs. GlobeSt.com caught up with Mockus to learn more about the new service and ways CRE pros are likely to use it.

GlobeSt.com: How difficult is it to create a website with the ListingLab.com platform?

Mockus: I say this tongue-in-cheek, but our tagline is, “So easy even a broker can use it” so really, it’s pretty darn easy. The truth is not every broker is lucky enough to have a dedicated marketing coordinator to take care of things like building listing web sites. We know an investment broker makes the best use of his time on the phone or face to face with investors or property owners. So anything outside of those core tasks, such as setting up a web site, has to be fast, and easy to understand.

GlobeSt.com: What potential benefits can a commercial real estate broker obtain by using ListingLab.com?

Mockus: The two biggest benefits are probably time and organization. With a ListingLab.com web site, an investment broker is no longer wasting time shuffling through piles of faxed confidentiality agreements (CA’s) or emailing offering packages. The web site handles both those tasks automatically. A list of those investors, that have agreed to the CA, is available online to the broker anytime he needs it and [the broker] can export it to Excel. A report detailing every downloaded file is also available. A lot of our clients use this to gauge interest before making follow-up calls.

GlobeSt.com: What assurances can you offer about the confidentiality of documents and other sensitive data?

Mockus: We take data security and confidentiality very serious. When we’re talking about listing web sites and war rooms, there are two sets of sensitive data. First is the property data like the offering package, financials and leases, of which the privacy is very important to the property owner. On the other side are the lists of the registered investors, their acquisition criteria and download history, which many of our broker clients spend their professional lives building. We keep both safe with a firewalled database, real time server software patches, strong password conventions and a daily review of server logs to identify any potential threats or vulnerabilities. Our war rooms have multiple levels of security and entry approval requirements. In addition, we capture the IP address of every visitor. We’ve helped our clients market nearly $70 billion of investment real estate online over the past 10 years with a clean security track record and we plan to keep it that way.

GlobeSt.com: Is ListingLab.com the only service of its kind or do you have competitors?

Mockus: There are a couple well-established companies specializing in the same online listing web site/transaction management arena. What makes ListingLab.com unique is the price point. If you remember back several years ago, all of the web-based email services offered between three and five megabytes of free storage. Then Google came on the scene offering 1,000 free megabytes with Gmail. They could have offered 100 megabytes and had a huge impact, but they blew by that tenfold. It’s in that same spirit that ListingLab.com pricing came to be. Our competitors are still charging fees that only the biggest deals can absorb, whereas our service is only $25 per listing per month, with no contract. Now any size deal can benefit from the same tools previously only available to the institutional crowd. However, don’t confuse inexpensive with cheap. The majority of listings utilizing ListingLab.com right now are institutional deals, added by brokers that were using our competitors. They would not have moved to an inferior service, no matter the price. The platform has proven itself to a tough audience.

GlobeSt.com: There are a number of website building platforms for residential real estate brokers. Why has the commercial sector been so slow to harness this same type of technology?

Mockus: I think there might be a couple reasons to explain this. First, the commercial sector adopted this technology when the market dictated it was needed. Basically, CRE folks were running their businesses just fine by simply exposing their deals on sites like LoopNet.com, which is still an important part of marketing process. When fees started getting compressed, brokers needed to do more with less, so a few visionaries began leveraging technology to take on basic transaction management tasks. This gave them time back and allowed them to do more deals, and the rest of the market followed their lead. Secondly, the residential side has a much bigger pool of potential customers. In most instances, there are also fewer complexities to be addressed technology-wise when selling a house rather than an industrial complex, so there may have been more early innovation on the residential side for those reasons.

GlobeSt.com: Given the fact that CRE pros have been reluctant to take advantage of technology, why did you form a company that targets this niche? Wouldn’t it have been easier marketing technology to, say, college students or young adults?

Mockus: (laughing), CRE brokers probably wouldn’t fit the ideal customer profile of most companies. As you said, they can be reluctant to try something new. They’re sophisticated. They know what they want. They won’t compromise and they love to negotiate. Even with all those traits, they’re a customer base we’ve come to understand, and proven our success. Thanks to our experiences with a few early adopters, we confirmed there was a market for the type of technology we provide. As the commercial market began waking up to technology, we were there to help identify their needs and solutions. Our clients bring us new challenges every day so things never get old. It’s a niche we love and wouldn’t trade for anything.

GlobeSt.com: Anything else?

Mockus: Frictionless transaction automation is the name of the game in CRE today and we’re proud to be at the front of that initiative. ListingLab.com is laying the foundation for a much larger suite of technology tools for CRE pros. From listing web sites to broker team sites, blast email marketing and customer relationship management (CRM), we have a lot of exciting stuff on the calendar for 2009 to help close more deals.

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