With some persistence I was finally able to contact Rene van Mullem (Marktplaats.nl). I explained to him the strange reaction I had gotten to the brochure and I asked him what he thought about a property classifieds site. He confided in me that he was planning to do something similar in China, however he was just getting involved in RSS technology and this would most likely take all his time.
He also said that he normally ends off a call within 5 minutes but that this concept was suffiently interesting that he actually went into a detailed discussion with me regarding it. He gave me tips regarding the success of Martkplaats.nl that I would need to incorporate in my site. I ended off pumped up to go ahead with my plan – a real estate and property market place, or better said, a real estate and property classifieds site. And Property Trading Placeis born.
The adventure begins – who is going to program the site? I start with one of the people who reacted to the brochure, Anabela, also living in Holland, who had some knowledge of MS Access and she put together a rudimentary site. In collaboration with Practical Solutions, we hired a couple of programmers from Macedonia to finish the site. The site looked great – however they designed it in ASP when we had asked for PHP. And it turned out they were slightly criminal, so not someone we wanted to continue with. And not only that, Anabela also disappeared suddenly due to personal reasons and we were back to square one.
My search continued. I put an advertisement on Marktplaats.nl for a programmer willing to put his time in for future turnover and profit sharing. This gave me three new leads and we went forward with Hans. After a couple of months and no real result, I decide to do a background check. Oops! Hans also turns out to have a shady past and court cases, so no more Hans. More advertisements lead to Alex of Multi-Action, and Alex makes a PHP version of the site and we change the design. Though much improved, we still didn’ have a fully operational site and time and (no) money prompt Alex to stop working for the site.
What now? Well let’s see how it would be to work with an offshore programming company – on the same basis of “time in for money out when site producing turnover.” Prismsoftin India is willing and they set out to make the site fully functional. They do a great job and everything works, and now we are interested in an upgrade. Again time and (no) money as well as a site hack of all images prompt Prismsoft to discontinue their programming.
I am left with a site that offers free real estate advertisements in which all the images are removed and no one to program it.