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Would you sign up to a five-year franchise agreement with an unknown, unproven company, which compelled you to promote their brand, made you into an appointed representative and took away your freedom to determine your marketing strategy

If you are thinking, what a ridiculous question' I agree, it is ridiculous yet, from my reading of the situation that is exactly what thousands of estate agents have done, or are considering doing between now and the end of the year.

Before we go on I have to say that I do have a personal axe to grind with Agents' Mutual and in particular with Ian Springett. He seems like a charming chap but I was recently banned by him from attending an AM meeting at a Savills office earlier this year for being a public dissenter.

I will put my hands up to this accusation, I have been and still am an opponent of the exclusivity rule imposed by Agents' Mutual, I think this rule is regressive, anti-competitive and not something I could be party to.

What I can't understand is why, if an agent feels they can drop Rightmove or Zoopla, they don't just do it, why do they need to sign a five year contract with Agents' Mutual first

I am also instinctively against banning non-high street estate agents, as the idea makes me feel like King Canute!

In other ways I think that the idea of an agent-owned portal is a good one. I also believe that both Rightmove and Zoopla will be very lucky to survive the next five years in their current form and that we will probably look back at this great debate as having missed the real issues that are driving change in the industry.

I was however prepared to confine my views to our community but Ian, I want you to know that it was your decision to ban me from your meeting that directly motivated me to write this article and why, over the coming weeks I intend on writing a whole series of articles on the subject.

In these articles (as with my previous article on the subject that has now been read over 86,000 times https://www.estateagenttoday.co.uk/385-industryquake-2014-seismic-forces-shake-rightmove-zoopla-duopoly) I will endeavor to explain as objectively and logically as possible why I think Agents' Mutual is a terrible, flawed idea that has the potential to damage the industry and the reputations of all who join it.

As this is going to be a series of articles, let me take a step backwards, and deal with just one issue which I think backs up my view. Here is a headline taken from an industry blog on Friday.

Agents' Mutual hits crucial 4,000 milestone'

The question that crossed my mind is, have they really

The headline ran to great fanfare; back slapping and no doubt mutual (pun intended) support. However, lurking beneath the positive headline grabbing number there is an inconvenient truth.

The truth is that many of the agents included in this figure have simply signed a non-binding letter of intent to commit to Agents' Mutual once the magic figure of 4,000 is achieved. This creates a paradox, how can one commit to a commitment that is not yet committed

Paradox aside, accepting this figure has been surpassed, I wonder how many of these agents will actually go ahead and commit to Agents' Mutual, not all of them certainly. I would ask Ian Springett, but I don't think I will get an answer. However, I will quote Eric Walker who posed these two questions in response to Friday's article.

My two questions are how many of these have signed binding agreements rather than letters of intent; and how many will actually walk away from one of the duopoly and cease advertising on all other portals but their chosen one'

Ian, please correct me if I am wrong but I have been given to believe by a source that Agents' Mutual have poached a number of the more money motivated salespeople from both Rightmove and Zoopla, tempting them over with big salaries and the promise of a commission bonanza.

I am given to believe that these salespeople are paid commission for obtaining non-binding letters of intent, irrespective of whether the firm actually goes ahead and contracts or not, is this so

If it is so, it doesn't take a genius to work out how the sales pitch could contain a phrase like you have nothing to lose'. The relevance of this point is that Agents' Mutual have made a big song and dance about the need to hit 4,000 offices to become a credible force, so have they done it I say, not until these agents have committed themselves, which brings us back to the paradox.

Ian Springett was quoted as follows:

We are now at a stage where we will mount a credible and disruptive competitive challenge, and your support will make it even more powerful.

Well Ian, if you have 4,000 offices who have signed a binding agreement, I for one want to hear you say it because there is a very big difference between a non-binding letter of intent obtained by a commission-driven salesman and a signed five year contract.

Finally - for today at least - I have one further thought, given that all Agents' Mutual's salespeople had to do was get agents to sign non-binding letters of intent, how come it has taken them so long to reach 4,000 offices

I suspect the answer to this question is that there are not that many agents out there, other than the original few who are behind this venture that are taking it seriously and I would love to be a fly on the wall of the boardrooms of those that have as launch day approaches.

Next week I will be looking in more detail at what the next five years may hold for estate agency marketing and why hitching your star to a wagon that may not have any wheels may be the worst decision you could ever make.

If you haven't yet done so, have your say and complete the Estate Agent Today survey. Obviously the more that complete it, the more accurate the picture will become.

Take the survey now

Article written by Simon Shinerock, Chairman of Choices Estate Agents.
For more information on Simon see his LinkedIN profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/simonshinerock


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    And you didn't need to sign a five year exclusivity agreement with AM, which is exactly the point. Currently Agents can drop one or other of the portals and deploy their marketing budgets how they like. The free market can respond to this freedom of choice by conjuring up different options as time goes by. Enter Market distorting AM and if they succeed this no longer happens. What you ultimately get if AM eventually gets most agents to sign is a market dominating, market stifling cartel without the need or desire to stay ahead of he competition because there wouldn't be any of significance left. This kind of approach can be dressed up as a response to the gouging of the duopoly but even if that were so and I would arge it isn't, two wrongs don't make a right, if they did torture and lynching would be legal along with Market distorting cartels.

    • 25 October 2014 06:13 AM
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    We dropped Zoopla a few months back. Hasn't changed anything. Clients don't care as long as you're on Rightmove and infact our best leads come through our own site. So we put the money we were paying Zoopla (for leads which were 60% overlapped with those from RM) into an overhaul of our own site.

    • 22 October 2014 22:41 PM
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    There is a common theme with remarks like this, they are all personal attacks and they carefully avoid the issues. I have put forward (part) of a strong case against joining what I see as a regressive cartel. You have clearly decided to join so I'd appreciate hearing your side, it takes a big person to admit they have made a mistake, I have done so many times but all the insults and innuendo in the world won't make two and two equal five

    • 19 October 2014 16:24 PM
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    A lone voice sums it up perfectly.

    Come on Simon this isn't about you doing agents a favour by giving some friendly advice....it's all about you.

    You don't want agents to take back control you want to create some sort of lettings/sales revolution and have the power yourself like some sort of media mogul off of a James Bond movie :p

    • 19 October 2014 15:57 PM
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    Your sarcasm is rescued by your self deprecating monikor :-) what you may ask, can a lone voice achieve in the face of the behemoth that is OTM Look to history for your answer ......

    • 19 October 2014 15:20 PM
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    Everyone and I mean everyone listens to what Simon says and follows suit especially if it relates to property or business.

    How dare Ian Springett say no to Simon. The sheer cheek of it.

    Well you know what happens if you say no to Simon...you get put in the naughty chair and the toys get thrown out of the pram.

    • 19 October 2014 13:14 PM
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    You see, now the reality starts to emerge. Human nature is what it is, it will respond to stimuli in a very predictable fashion. That's why we reject the apparent theoretical advantages of Facism and communism in favour of the very flawed democratic model. In theory a command and control economy has less waste and can deploy resources more efficiently. In practice you get corruption, regression and the Moskvitch. It might be fun to organise a debate on this subject into two sides. Against AM would be the Pragmatists, the idealists and the apathists, for AM would be the elitists, the sheepists and the creepists :-) Anyone contributing anonymously would have to chose which one they represent, anyone giving their name could be an individualist and say what they like!

    • 19 October 2014 07:36 AM
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    I've just finished reading Animal Farm. It wasn't until a 4 hour car journey that I ruminated over the parallels...

    As one of the small fry shareholders in Primelocation, I got shafted by the big guys when they sold to Daily Mail all those years ago.

    I see where this goes. The big guys will have us smaller guys to ransom, and my 1/5000 share in Agents Mutual will count for nothing versus their 1m+ annual spend.

    As far as I can see, there is nothing in the AM constitution that protects against vastly inflated management wages, or disproportionately expensive supplier agreements.

    You wait - Napoleon will be partying in the farmhouse with the rest of the trotters. If the revolution doesn't fall fat on its face of course...

    • 19 October 2014 07:24 AM
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    This is a similar dilemma to the one you faced when joining AM. What is best for your business now versus what you believe will be best in the long run. Can you imagine the outcry if RM or Zoopla started insisting on five year contracts The Zoopla or RM decision is made harder by two factors, lock in period and the increasing market share that Zoopla has shown it is achieving. It may well be that you will get more or better leads from RM to start with but if you sign for two years you could find yourself shackled to a loser later on. I have known both these companies from the beginning and I can tell you that Alex Chesterman is a born winner, he has the tech guru backing him up as well, if it were my money I would back him to defeat RM sooner rather than later. One of the positive spin offs of AM is it has given agents, in or out, more negotiating power, maybe enough to insist on a more flexible contract that allows quick switches. A lot depends on the market, when there are six serious buyers and tenants for every property the portal is not that important, if the market keeps tightening that will change fast.

    • 19 October 2014 06:58 AM
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    Great to see some serious debate on the subject.

    Although I originally signed to the silver contract, I have grown increasingly frustrated at my local group being blind to the consequences of the decision facing them in January.

    I really don't understand why there hasn't been some serious analysis of the various scenarios come the new year.

    Drop Rightmove, I am opened up to my local competitors, drop Zoopla, and Rightmove are stronger. I prefer the status quo.

    • 18 October 2014 22:35 PM
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    As you know, my view is the correct choice for your business was not to join AM in the first place but having made the decision to join why not go the whole way and show RM you don't need them That's rhetorical by the way, so no need to answer, I'm going paddle boarding :-)

    • 18 October 2014 13:47 PM
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    I am dropping Zoopla not because I've been told to by anybody, but because it is the correct choice for my business. I believe that every agent will have their own decision to make based on a number of factors but mainly who currently iis the leading portal in their particular area (rightmove or Zoopla). In my area it is Rightmove and subsequently all the agents I've spoken with have said that they will also be dropping Zoopla but I appreciate that this will vary dependant on the area an agent is based in.

    • 18 October 2014 13:41 PM
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    Actually PLC status makes it harder, not easier to adapt to change, just look at phones for u! Again though, you have now raised and answered the question of which portal to choose (a decision faced by all those who join AM). You say choose RM But why One answer would be 'because Ian Springett told me to'. I know it has been Ian's stategy to encourage all AM joiners to abandon Zoopla, the reason I know this is because he told me so before I became persona non grata. The trouble is, if your intention is to disrupt the market this strategy is illogical. To demonstrate my point, if every AM agent abandons Zoopla, RM still have dominance, actually they are much stronger because you people have just obligingly taken out their main competitor! Whereas if you all choose Zoopla, you not only end up with two weak portals, you save money as well! This raises another question, why does Ian Springett not see this self evident truth Hmm, two possibilities spring to mind (sorry). The first is he hasn't thought it through, not a good sign for a man in his position, or, he has a hidden agenda. What that hidden agenda may be, if it exists is for the moment at least hidden. I will speculate on this subject though, it could be ego and vanity that drive this anti Zoopla strategy, the desire to be seen to be as big as possible relative to the current duopoly. If this were true it would be even worse than an inability to think logically, it would mean that AM were willing to put their own aggrandisement before the interests of their members, now there is a thought!

    • 18 October 2014 13:35 PM
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    Interesting points, although I'm not so sure that it would be possible for a new Zoopla to enter the market today under the same market conditions taking in to account that there are now two leading PLC portals that in effect hold a duopoly and can dictate proceedings. Hence why the one other portal rule is key to Agents Mutual success. It must disrupt, it must enter the market with market share, listings and revenue and hit the duopoly head on and to this end it looks likely that it will succeed (pending the figures that we are all waiting on!).

    One last point, if this tech guru you refer to is the same guy who put in place the valuation tool on Zoopla then this could very well be the same tech guy that contributes to Zoopla's demise!

    • 18 October 2014 13:06 PM
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    You raise an interesting point about how hard it is to enter the portal market successfully but I think I have new information to share with you. I knew Andrew Pendry, the founder and original owner of Findaproperty.com very well. He agreed to sell me 51% of FAP back in the day but changed his mind under pressure from his staff, otherwise history may have been written differently . As you may be aware FAP was the driver and cornerstone of DMGT which also bought Primelocation. Despite the money spent these portals could not compete with Rightmove. Enter Zoopla stage left, an unknown entity founded by Alex Chesterman, Alex also turned Love film around and he had a secret weapon, a tech guru able to create unheard of functionality. There always has to be a bit of serendipity as well, this came in the form of Propertyfinder.co.uk, an ageing stalwart with a big audience and no money. In a stroke of genius/luck Alex was able to buy Propertyfinder and give his new shiny Zoopla the audience it lacked. Enough of an audience to scare the directionless DMGT and create a merger which led to a Billion pound public company. So you see, although there have been many many failures, natural selection gave rise to a winner that has challenged Rightmove's supremacy without the need for a free market distorting agents mutual. The point is, five years is a hell of a long time to shackle yourself to an unproven proposition, a proposition which even if successful, may through its success be in breach of competition regulations anyway, it would be interesting to see a test case of an agent breaking the AM exclusivity rule, claiming it to be an unfair unenforceable term. Ironically you have abandoned Zoopla who in objective terms are cheaper, have grown faster and are the White knight that broke the RM stranglehold, oh well, that's life I suppose.

    • 18 October 2014 12:29 PM
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    "At the centre of my objection is the exclusivity rule, it creates a monster, an unanswerable objection."
    And here lies the conundrum. You as a share holder of this publication must have seen many companies over the years try to enter the portal market and fail miserably. The two big portals are now so big that they only way a competitor can enter the market, compete & stand any chance of success is by having such a rule. Without it, it is doomed to fail. But if it does work and Agents Mutual gets enough listings from launch then they will enter the market as the number 2 portal based on listings and revenue. From that point of view the one other portal rule is a stroke of genius.
    Yes I've signed up but many in my area have done, be they both one branch independents oras 3-5 branch companies. Personally I believe that being on onthemarket.com will be an instruction winner taking into account the other leading companies in my area who have signed up, in fact in my area being on Zoopla from January will be an instruction loser!

    Each to their own and in any case I look forward to your next piece, although I wonder if it's published before or after Ian Springett announces the number of sign ups and listings going on to www.onthemarket.com!

    • 18 October 2014 11:07 AM
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    I'm guessing you signed before reading my article Which means you may feel the need to justify your decision, very understandable. My central theme isn't about how many agents have or haven't signed, or will sign. My central theme is that the constitution of AM which centres around the concept of a restrictive cartel is a bad idea for many practical as well as ideological reasons. Of course I understand that some agents may resent RM and Zoopla and see them as gateways for more competition. I can understand how the message AM is putting out about gaining control is an attractive one but in reality most agents that join won't gain any more control, in fact they will lose a significant amount of the control they have left. As an agent I want my competitors to sign with AM as I think it will weaken them and strengthen me. As an individual I have a strong objection to their proposition, which, in my view anyway, is only in the short term interests of elite agents and even they may regret their impulsiveness. At the centre of my objection is the exclusivity rule, it creates a monster, an unanswerable objection. If they were willing to drop the exclusivity then it would be a different matter but they won't because it embodies what the founders are really all about. Sometime soon I will explore more of the many other reasons why joining AM is a bad idea from a business perspective. As the twig is bent the tree will grow and this tree has been bent in the wrong direction

    • 18 October 2014 10:45 AM
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    My powers of reasoning can follow your argument precisely. However, the point I'm making is that you actually do not know how many people have signed up for gold and how many have signed letters of intent for silver. Your guessing. Your also guessing about Agents Mutual reps pushing people to sign letters of intent for silver just as you are that they may be telling people that they have 'nothing to lose'.

    I'm suggesting that your making all of these assumptions not only because you don't want people to sign but also because you actually don't understand why people are signing - they don't think like you!

    What if the number of gold members are far higher than you think, in fact what if the 4000 is actually considerably more - as you say how easy can it be to sign a worthless document!

    On another point you do know that those who have signed a letter of intent to be silver members received their contracts on Monday 6th October, that's 8 days after you posted this article.

    • 18 October 2014 08:49 AM
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    Big No, bad No, bored Sadly, with this futile line of questioning yes.
    'I will go if you go'
    'Ok, I will go if you go'
    'Go on then' 'You go first'
    'no, you go first'
    'ok, let's go together'
    'ok, 123 go'!
    'You didn't go'
    'neither did you'
    'did you ever intend to go'
    'Not really, I just wanted to see if you would'
    'why don't you want to go'
    'What kind of idiot do you take me for'
    Guest Guest, I feel I can say this to you because I don't know who you are, if your powers of reasoning cannot follow this arguement, whatever you do, don't sign anything :)

    • 18 October 2014 07:47 AM
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    You seem very confident about how the agents mutual reps have desperately tried to sign up silver members and how only 'money hungry' reps have been hired. Yet you actually have no proof of anything you claim. In fact you've not even been into a meeting to see first hand the approach taken by the reps. It's all a complete guess on your part based on your lack of understanding as to why people are signing up.
    And your inability to predict any figure (be it a guess or otherwise) only confirms this.
    So come on if your big enough and bad enough to make all these claims then why not give a rough guess as to either how many numbers are contracted now or how many at launch

    • 18 October 2014 06:57 AM
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    I would just be speculating. You should ask Ian Springett, he has made a fanfare of going past 4000 offices using the non binding letters of intent as the marker, he knows how many have committed, so come on Ian, if you are reading this, what's the answer

    • 18 October 2014 05:48 AM
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    Ok what do you think will be the number of contracted gold and silver members at launch How many branches so you think would have "fallen for it"

    • 17 October 2014 20:50 PM
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    I don't know, my point is that a non binding letter of intent is very different from a five year commitment

    • 17 October 2014 17:59 PM
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    How many people do you think have signed up for gold and silver and actually contracted for 5 years (not just signed letters of intent)

    • 17 October 2014 17:52 PM
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    Really I think what I have said is very clear, try reading it again

    • 17 October 2014 17:40 PM
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    So it appears that Mr Shinerock has put his reputation on the line and pitted himself against Mr Springett. Simon is suggesting that the numbers are made up, not real and fake. But Mr Springett is yet to reveal his hand.

    I look forward to Simon's next article with interest. Will he now be even more confident that the numbers are fudged or will he take a more cautious approach!

    Has Simon done Springett a favour! Oh the next few weeks will be interesting.

    • 17 October 2014 16:51 PM
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    Firstly, thanks for the Twitter mention:) Sadly I don't follow the logic of your argument, collective bargaining, communism, they had their place in their day but that day has passed. In my view there will be no cake to share, at least not with the rank and file, you will be lucky to get a few crumbs from the table. The thing is, given my advancing years and my good fortune, my reason for writing this is more personal than anything else, I get a kick out of standing up to the establishment I guess. It also isn't meant to come across as moaning either, what I am trying to do is say it like it is because someone needs to and it may as well be me. Any organisation that starts out dictating who can and can't come to their meetings based merely on their views shouldn't be allowed to have it all their own way. Think about this, an earlier post referred to the fact that big rich agents pay AM proportionally less than small independents, does that sound very mutual to you Think about this as well, who has the most to gain by setting up a new Prime Location Yes, the very same agents who are seeing their ramparts stormed by upstarts using RM and Zoopla as the great leveller. Ironic that the very agents who might otherwise be a real threat to the established supremacy have been convinced to spend their own money trying futilely) to preserve it.

    • 17 October 2014 15:33 PM
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    I worked in the property industry for years and a company like Agents Mutual has brought some light in a dark Estate agency world controlled by two big power houses that have lost focus on innovation, progression and keeping both clients and public happy with new services. What AM offers is a chance for agents to have piece of the multi million pound cake which is currently dominated by RM and Zoopla. What I don't understand is how someone like you could have the time to write negative comments about something which benefits most estate agents.... and then to have a picture of his ferrari on twitter moments later.... yes some of us money driven individuals would choose a higher paying salary if offered to us.... wouldn't anyone (Im sure you would accept a higher offer too if it meant you could gold plate your ferrari... am i wrong)

    A mutual agent who disagrees with this whole article. Please find something better to moan and groan about.

    • 17 October 2014 14:14 PM
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    Lets imagine for a minute that AM is a roaring success. And lets imagine that one of the BIG two portals were thinking up ways of cementing their place alongside AM by acquiring a business or businesses that further inextricably bind the agents to their own portal and therefore creating favour in their camp. I dunno and I am just imaging here, but lets imagine the portals had eyes on sales and lettings software perhaps You know the ones that upload agents properties to their property portal. If I could patent this hunch I would as it may not even be born yet and I wont be one of the people getting rich from it. I would like to be wrong, but if I am right then that would involve one of the two largest portals and one or more of the largest software houses monopolising the industry and that I would imagine and rather annoyingly make only a few of the wrong people rich.

    The Kansas City Shuffle: a "Kansas City Shuffle" is a most clever deception, one that requires thought on the part of the inciter and great ignorance on the part of the deceived. The primary goal of the Kansas City Shuffle is to catch one completely off-guard and unaware so that trickery can take place.

    Agents Mutual may just have unwittingly forced the hand of the big two and set a behemoth in motion. Just imagine.

    • 17 October 2014 11:20 AM
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    I agree, it's hard not to respond to personal attacks but there really is no point. I always tell my kids to rise above it, I should practise what I preach :-)

    • 17 October 2014 07:56 AM
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    The childishness and negativity that this debate produces never fails to depress me.

    Please can we all behave like grown ups and debate like adults. If our teenage children were talking to us as parents the way some so called professionals, on both sides of this argument, present their opinions, wouldn't we have issues with our children

    • 17 October 2014 05:52 AM
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    Rather concerning amount of vitriol on here about this article!

    I think the central issue is that it's a product borne of an industry need rather than a consumer; I've been to one of Ian's meetings at the Savills offices and while the concept is potentially good news for agents - albeit the larger ones but i'll get on to that in a second - to think you're going to click your fingers and the people who know of Rightmove or Zoopla from their extensive advertising are just going to switch over, even in the medium term, is incredibly naive. The core problem I have had with OTM is that the consumer simply doesn't need it and hasn't been calling for it.

    I lost interest when attending one of Ian's meetings and found that an independent company like mine - which, according to his figures make up 68% of the market or something like that - without the brand name recognition, marketing power etc that a larger agency might posses, have been asked to pay more than a Knight Frank or Savills. I appreciate the 'one agency one vote' mantra, but then everyone should pay the same to be on the site. I don't really care what the current industry standard is, I'm being asked to leave one of the two biggest sources of crucial enquiries I have on a promise, and I have to pay more than our local larger competitors for the pleasure No thank you.

    Forgive me for having a slightly slanted eye on things but I'm struck by the notion that if you actively recruited that 68% (or whatever it is) of the market with something that rewards them rather than offering the status quo, I expect more would consider it.

    I, like the author of the article, will be very interested to see how many of the people who signed their 'letters of intent' actually translate into people leaving one of the big two portals. I suspect it'll be quite a few less than ATM expect.

    • 16 October 2014 14:34 PM
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    I personally feel that the breaking of the duopoly can only come from the entry of another multinational media giant with very deep pockets. Surely the impressive returns from Zoopla & Rightmove will at some stage entice another player in. Perhaps the optimum time for this will be in 24ish months when both have been given a bloody nose by AM/OTM. At best, I see AM/OTM becoming a higher-end London focused portal.

    • 16 October 2014 10:10 AM
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    Hi Simon,
    I enjoyed reading your article. I agree with some of your points, but I'm on the fence about On the Marketing, both as a concept and for myself personally.

    1) Given the number of agents who have signed-up to On the Market, do you think they will have the marketing budget to compete
    2) Do you think the idea of a collectively-owned portal with the aim of controlling the portals is inherently wrong

    • 16 October 2014 09:55 AM
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    I think I will let my track record speak for itself. If I turn out to be wrong and AM gets to the 5000 committed office target then of course I will admit to have been very wrong because I have publicly stated I don't think they will get anywhere near it. However that won't mean I am wrong about AM being a regressive mistake, it would just mean more agents fell for it than I thought. In the end this is just a debate, which means there are two sides, I think others in the industry have cleverly and relentlessly put the AM side and I am simply putting the other side.

    • 16 October 2014 09:36 AM
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    I dont think anyone believes that this is all about your axe to grind with Agents Mutual and Ian Springett, if so it is rquite petty. More to do with the fact that you genuinely have no real understanding as to why thousands of agents are signing up and believe that people are crazy to do so. Lets be honest Simon, you took your eye off the ball for a few years and moved on to other ventures, you stopped becoming an estate agent (your linkedin profile says that you have someone else deal with the day to day running of the business), you really have no understanding as to why agents are signing up and why they feel it is now time to have an agents owned portal and not one run for the benefit of profit hungry share holders. So much so that you genuinely believe that the 4000 figure is made up, but what if it is not only true but also that the figure far exceeds this amount, will you be making an apology

    • 16 October 2014 09:02 AM
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    My comment was seemingly removed - I shall no longer be reading your articles. What a shame - long live free speech (assume this will be removed)

    So long LAT (author can you post to property eye)

    • 16 October 2014 06:44 AM
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    I saw the author of this and laughed.. Mr Shinerock, Mr Exclusivity with Zoopla.. I know enough about you and the so called agency you run Choices. Your article is a joke. What's the matter did OTM turn your membership down.. You have no credibility what's so ever trust me.. In fact I haven't yet signed with OTM but I will now.

    • 15 October 2014 21:42 PM
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    Obviously it must be the time of the month for you!! What an idiot work out your fees for the next 5 years and add 50 % for the on average 10% they put on it every year and then quickly realise where the money is going into the hands of the investors!

    • 15 October 2014 21:37 PM
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    I can't believe some of these comments! No wonder we have such a bad reputation!! As a business owner it's my decision where I advertise, what marketing I put in my shop front, what I perceive to be 'good value' from a portal. I don't like paying considerable fees to the main portals but I do because they work. They must invest a small fortune to get consumers to their sites which means I get 80% of my enquiries from them. What vendor will believe any agent when they tell them "you don't need to be on Zoopla/RM because we'll put you on OTM - despite the fact you have never ever heard of this site and the two other Agents giving you valuations may be on both, we will get you the best audience/ price"!!!! What a joke. Consumers will quickly suss out which Agents are thinking of saving a few bob on portal membership versus those truly want to do the best for their vendor! Good luck all!

    • 15 October 2014 20:58 PM
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    Good to see the good ship Shinerock on yet another crusade!
    I think this childish personal vendetta will end with a big fat egg on his face though.

    • 15 October 2014 18:40 PM
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    Oh dear, I may not be smarter than everyone else but it seems I am smarter than you :-) I think you will find the current AM claim is 4000 offices, not businesses, or perhaps that what you meant, it's hard to tell. What I don't get is how childish your response is, its like you think it's ok to have an opinion, provided it's one you agree with. If you bother to think for a moment, rather than emote behind your shield of anonymity, you will realise that what I'm saying is right and what you are saying is nonsense.

    • 15 October 2014 16:28 PM
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    Interesting comment from Beckenham about the influence of social media on the market ( no pun intended ) - this is the area of influence on portals in the next few years

    • 15 October 2014 16:25 PM
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    @guest reply to me; "And just how does any of what you say benefit the consumer, coming off one of the main portals ".........Why do you care about other agents' consumers or potential clients You are convinced that OTM will fail, so when it does, you will clear up......all the agents who will have well and truly upset the consumer (as you claim) by taking their property off Zoopla and putting it on otm will go running to the agents who remain on Zoopla and RM......That IS what you are saying isn't it........Then I'll ask you "why are you bothered about OTM...If you are right it will be bad for consumers , but GREAT for you...wont it Please confirm this to me.

    • 15 October 2014 16:02 PM
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    "The most interesting thing about this response is that it does not address the main thrust of my article at all."....The 'main thrust' being that you think your smarter then everyone else and those 4000 agents directors are all stupid, nave and gullable.

    Have you ever employed a sales person who's money motivated.

    • 15 October 2014 15:44 PM
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    I'll be mainly reading Rosalind

    • 15 October 2014 14:55 PM
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    Guest (johnson) And just how does any of what you say benefit the consumer, coming off one of the main portals and you, presumably, being a good boy and not showing your RM banner in your shop window.

    • 15 October 2014 14:41 PM
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    What a load of boring negativity. It seems to be part of our British make-up. Only nine months ago we were flagellating ourselves over the fact that our economy was a disaster and that we should prepare ourselves for ten years of manic depression, but now we are suddenly the strength in Europe!

    Similarly with On the Market, all many agents see is doom and gloom, but the idea has gathered enough strength to make it a roaring success for us, so let's not kill the horse before it has bolted (or whatever the unmixed metaphor is!).

    • 15 October 2014 14:35 PM
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    Don't know what you are alluding to about my history. I wonder who you are, you know who I am. The most interesting thing about this response is that it does not address the main thrust of my article at all. If you have already signed up its not surprising that you are defensive about my views. If Mr Springett had been a little less high handed perhaps I wouldnt have bothered. Actually part of the reason I bothered was reading the endless drivel written in support of AM, I feel it needs addressing, so I'm addressing it, free country and all that. As it is if you don't like this article I suggest you don't read the next ones, they will upset you even more. I think 'act in haste regret at leisure' seems appropriate.

    • 15 October 2014 12:27 PM
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    Oh dear, Oh dear......such outdated comments....and serialised as well!!. One thing I don't understand about those who write this sort of thing about AM is what their motivation now is I could understand, prior to say, the 4000 office mark being reached, that those with a vested interest in either(or both) of the current portals wanted to try and stop agents signing up to AM. But now it is clear that around 4,500 offices (and what does it matter -to you- what the precise figure actually is) will be on board and probably the vast majority will remove their properties, and listing fees from zoopla. So, some like you still say how "it won't work"......well so what if it doesn't.....I presume you haven't signed up for it , so it will be great news for you when it fails and those who have signed up for 5 years will (if you are right) be dis instructed - or not instructed at all by vendors - and fail terribly, whilst those agents that stayed on the duopoly clean up!! Oh and before you say it is the general public that will be the losers in the launch of OTM why not also consider the poor agents that stay with Zoopla (I have heard of one chain that have just been informed of an increase in fees next year!) Those zoopla agents will be on a site with 100's of 1000s less property advertised = less traffic=less leads...should =lower fees. Or perhaps you could take up the cause of online agents, who aren't allowed on OTM who will probably face increases from the existing duopoly as they try to reclaim the millions of lost revenue from OTM members.......So why not bring your comments a bit more up to date and try and look out for the real up to date losers in this battle......those that stay on Zoopla but may be charged more, when the site will probably receive much less traffic when many independent agents leave in Jan.

    • 15 October 2014 11:58 AM
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    Well, another day, anther debate. Has anyone actually considered what the consumer actually wants Their pain at the moment is looking on a second portal to catch anything that they have missed on the first and now the poor souls have to do it on a a third, just in case there is an agent who ONLY advertises on OTM. Usually a demand for something is from a consumer surely I love the idea of OTM market but I still don't think they have answered many questions that we have. For one I could never sign up to something for 5 years that I cannot see. I doubt it will be a poorly put together site but It will not have the rear end benefits that the other two have. I didn't particularly like the attitude of the reps either. They only wanted easy YES votes. When I came along (i'm a local agent with NO shop.) but I have a grand office in a beautiful setting and extremely high standards. They said no to let me on as I was an online agent! it makes no odds that I do a good job only that I have an office. To start with I will only take on properties I can see and I do a FULL package too. Yes, viewings included. I think that they should have done is only taken on exceptional agents. Such a shame it is hard to police! So do they really care about these agents I think not, they just care about their pockets and getting to that big number in the sky.

    I have no doubt that this will do well, and in principle I love the idea. I am stuck with regard to the policies, that change from rep to rep. I wasnt allowed but other local no shop front agents were! Interesting!

    Plus there is the small matter of branding. They won't let you (in your own business) display 'the other portal' you choose to stay with's logo next to thiers I mean, are you being serious Why not How will they police this The truth is they can't.

    I think this a great idea with flaws. I offered my money even with all these issues, and they declined.

    Then there is the other point that if you sign up now you are fixed for 5 years. One agent one vote, so, what happens after 5 years when running costs have increased etc, do you all have to agree to put the price up what happens if the framework requires major alteration or they decide to do something new and spectacular but cannot afford too do they ask for more money Then they say they are not about inflating prices yet those that come on after launch are not fixed, so who decides when they have price rises, and are these the people who will pay for the extras to benefit ALL the other members Interesting

    Ah well, 3 portals it is then.

    • 15 October 2014 11:49 AM
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    Portals will only survive whilst estate agents and house builders pay ever increasing fees, however the model is dying, not because some are leaving these sites, but because the consumer is now searching and contacting the house sellers, letters and builders via plenty more methods and increasingly on smaller wireless devices. The Google's, Facebook's, Twitter's of this world and digital device display media with its pinpoint targeting and far lower pricing is hoovering up cash and producing low cost leads, better than an RM or Zoopla CPL.

    In the past 5 years the local press property market has been decimated (they didn't react to the consumer either or listen to their media agencies), Rightmove and Zoopla will go the same way and being locked in to a website listing agreement for 5 years with AM is just not a good idea. By the end of the year Facebook and very possibly Twitter will offer very local area advertising to less than a mile at a fraction of the cost for in-market buyers and renters. Would I buy this Of course. It's more the game changer than AM.

    AM from a standing start will take several months to get traction, consumer brand awareness and trust, organic ranking in Google across thousands of pages and most importantly traffic. They'll need an ad budget in the tens of millions. They need to choose their ad agency well, one who knows about the property market would be best.

    Will AM win Probably not. They will be too slow concentrating on Rightmove & Zoopla and not the consumer and what they are doing to research and buy/rent a home.

    • 15 October 2014 11:35 AM
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    An interesting rant and given Simon's business history I am not surprised he is worried about taking a chance with a new venture. Did we have people like him ranting when Rightmove first came on the scene or when Zoopla or any of the other portals arrived with no track record. I am a very successful businessman and anything I do is my concern and that of my fellow directors. I do not need anyone telling me what I should or should not be doing. So do not patronise me with your self opinionated expertise. We are signed up as gold members for Agents Mutual and cannot wait for launch so we break the duopoly that currently exists

    • 15 October 2014 11:05 AM
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    I worry sometimes at the motives behind these radicals. Oliver Cromwell & Alex Salmond are among two individuals whose drive for change seemed to mask their own intentions for greatness by pretending to be a great social move forwards. I dislike immensely the stranglehold that Rightmove and ZPG have over us (remember a lot of us are now shareholders in ZPG by the way!) but what hey have done is proven that their model works. Ian Springett has yet to prove this and is asking for a massive leap of faith. He knows that he needs his anti-competitive restriction in place to more or less force agents onto AM and I for one do not like the sound of it all. Has the original possibly benign intent become lost somewhere along the way

    • 15 October 2014 10:47 AM
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    AM will fail. I don't entirely disagree with the concept of it but Zoopla and Rightmove will still have the monopoly 4000 agents is still a small number in teh grand scheme of things. Those agents who advertise on AM and drop either RM and Zoopla, or even both will not get the best price for the client as it's solely reliant on leads via AM to generate into viewings, and they'll never reach the levels of leads generated through RM and Zoopla.

    • 15 October 2014 10:47 AM
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    Agents need to take back control of our hard earnt listings, rm/zoo do very well showing our stock. rm/zoo will keep pushing up prices forever. This cannot come sooner.

    • 15 October 2014 10:45 AM
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    I notice you don't even try to refute my argument because deep down you know it is irrefutable

    • 15 October 2014 10:16 AM
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    Anti AM / OTM editorial on EastateAgentToday My God! Who would have thunk it

    • 15 October 2014 10:12 AM
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    This article speaks for the "Free open market Independent" in achieving best price for their client. The restrictive practice that AM are promoting fails to act in the best interests of the clients the very vendors the agents work for. Agents who sign up to the restrictive practice will no doubt leave themselves open to claims from clients later that their property was NOT promoted to its fullest and maximum open market value.
    Agents may find claims of reduced fees and complaints due to lack of marketing on Branded known and effective portals! The industry needs a wake up - restrictive practice does not and cannot work. More importantly no corporate appointment from banks and repossession companies will touch an agent with such limited unknown & untested marketing.

    • 15 October 2014 08:40 AM
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    They don't give a damn if the the smaller agents who never use Primelocation come on board or not. This is why they are closing the offers. They have the critical mass of typical Primelocation advertisers on board who WILL eventually vote to sell if they manage to topple Primelocation (which was the idea all along).

    • 15 October 2014 08:00 AM
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    Well said Mr Shinerock. The pro AM heavies are a nasty bunch, quite clearly out to create a new Primelocation that they own and can sell if 90% of their clique vote for it, leaving all the poor mugs who swallowed their BS right back where they started.

    • 15 October 2014 07:57 AM
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