Elliman launches million-dollar Web site upgrade

Prudential Douglas Elliman is set to launch its new Web site, which will include VOW capabilities and track price changes for listings. VOWs, also known as “Virtual Office Web sites,” have become an increasingly popular trend among brokerages, with firms like AC Lawrence and Halstead Property recently launching their own VOW programs.

Elliman has spent a year and more than $1 million developing the new Web platform, according to Stephen Kotler, an executive vice president at the company. Although the company planned to launch the site in early April, Kotler said Elliman was still ironing out a specific launch date as of late last month.

The redesigned site will allow customers to see not only Elliman’s listings, but all of the properties for sale in the markets where Elliman has offices: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Hamptons and Long Island.

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Kotler, who is overseeing the launch of the new site, said the fact that Elliman’s VOW capabilities extend to markets outside New York City will set it apart from other brokerage Web sites.

“What will make ours stand out is the fact that it’s not just Manhattan,” he said. “There’s nobody in the marketplace that is going to deliver all the [region’s] listings in one place.”

Due to a 2008 settlement between the Department of Justice and the National Association of Realtors, the Real Estate Board of New York is required by law to feed its listings directly to VOWs hosted by REBNY members, provided they pay an auditing fee and agree to certain guidelines.

Elliman’s site, like all VOWs, will require users to provide contact information and log in to the site before viewing other firms’ listings, though they can browse Elliman’s exclusive properties without registering.