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Written by Rosalind Renshsaw

Amid rumours that Rightmove has become a buying target, the portal has said that 500 agents departed the site in July, and that between 250 and 300 have been going each month since.

Nearly 2,000 agents have gone from the site over the year as a whole, said Rightmove in an interim statement yesterday that covered the period from July 1 to November 13.

Rightmove blamed low housing transactions for a “significant number of estate agents” leaving the market.

The falls brings agency membership down from 12,600 to 10,700. The portal last month announced it was cutting 20% of its workforce in an effort to make £5m cost savings.

Its simultaneous announcement – that it would be upping the spend on marketing by £1m – did nothing to appease agents, who wanted to see a cut in their membership fees rather than money spent on advertising.

In yesterday’s interim statement, Rightmove said most of the agents that have quit have either gone bust or were removed because they failed to keep up with their membership fees.

It said: “At least three out of every four estate agents who have left Rightmove over the last year have either gone out of business or were removed for non-payment, which in practice is frequently a precursor to going out of business.”

Rightmove also said its new homes listings had been affected because of a decision by two major developers not to advertise on the portal.

The total number of its advertisers is now down 9% on this time a year ago, although falls have been slightly offset by an increase in lettings. Lettings agents only on the site have risen by a quarter to 2,900. Rightmove is charging 30% more for letting agents than it did a year ago, thanks to a recent price hike.

Despite saying it remains on track to meet expectations, the portal continues to face further challenges. According to an Estate Agent Today poll, 75% of agents would leave Rightmove when their contracts come up for renewal, whilst around 1,500 have joined a buying group to try and reduce their membership costs.

The mystery buyer now rumoured to be looking hard at Rightmove is thought to be a high-profile American hedge fund owner, already a shareholder and who appears to have been building up shares and voting rights.

A Rightmove spokeswoman declined to comment.

Comments

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    Stockport Agents why not get together and pull of RM. Forget the corporate Estate Agents. Stockport Independent Estate Agents have the market share. Advertise your own websites, not others.

    • 19 November 2008 08:02 AM
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    Left Rightmove in April this year due their increased fees. Have now traded happily without them for the last six months. I won't ever pay portal charges in the future. I have my own website so why pay for another.

    • 18 November 2008 05:22 AM
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    I am willing to invest and set up a web site for all estate agents, i will guarantee that it will cost £35 per month for the next 3 years and also guarantee that a maximum of 10% increase only allowed each year. If anyone is interested please email me and also telll others i can have the website up and running by jan 2009 so if interested email me now on michael@hannells .co.uk

    • 18 November 2008 11:25 AM
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    We have lost a few repo properties since coming off RM! because its "one of" the lenders critera that it MUST go on RM. We do all the paperwork/admin for it to be taken away.. nice. anyone else find some assett management co's stuck up?? Anyway we are on primelocation and findaproperty now- works for us.

    • 18 November 2008 09:56 AM
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    We're a Lettings Agency who had their £150 per month subscription increased to £1350 per month in October (yes that's right £1350!!!!). No negotiation, no compromise. So we're off at the end of November... Yet another case of greed overshadowing common sense. By the way I've sent 3 emails to RM today and all bounced back as 'undeliverable'. Is this the beginning of the end?

    • 17 November 2008 03:43 AM
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    I sent RM an email asking them kindly, to reduce my monthly subscription. They replied with, your account appears to be overdue - Tossers

    • 17 November 2008 12:35 PM
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    The big question everyone seems to be asking - Has Rightmove had it's day?

    • 17 November 2008 11:58 AM
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    Good luck for RM, They deserve more, come on guys remind them that it was us the agents who helped them succeed and it will be us( whom they are ignoring now) who will finish them off. The British people should not be taken for granted...

    • 16 November 2008 10:45 AM
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    I think EAT now has the capability and the visitors to get all agents together and create an action group to start their own portal! Actually that is a great idea come to think of it!! Seriously EAT, what do you think about starting your own portal, I am up for it? If all agents got behind it from the start and advertised it on all their newspaper adverts and letterheads then it would fly! What does anyone else think of this idea?

    • 15 November 2008 06:57 AM
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    Come on guys, surely now's the time to jump ship from this hatefully arrogant company that rewards us for our support with kick in the teeth price hikes. I'm giving notice tomorrow. I get better leads from propertyfinder epecially for my lettings. Good riddance I say.

    • 14 November 2008 08:58 AM
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    I have never known a company do what 'Right no more' are doing, alienate so many customers and survive. Be sensible RM.Cut your prices by 50% now or reap the rewards.

    • 14 November 2008 08:57 AM
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    We decided to leave rightmove back in July with no regrets due to their arrogant 35% price increase and a considerable drop of leads! They are an arrogant regime with no consideration for their members by trying to increase their fees to such a level in the midst of a severe credit crunch! Like many of my colleagues I would like to think this is the beginning of the end for Rightmove. They deserve no better.

    • 14 November 2008 05:16 AM
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    We were with RM in the beginning and ditched them for under performing a couple of years later, then everyone started to join them, so we had to re-join for instructions. Again found them under performing so we left them again. Has it effetce our instructions a big NO. So stop being scared to leavre RM. Join the exodus. Why pay for something you don't get, are you mad!

    • 14 November 2008 04:51 AM
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    ARROGANCE AND SHORT SIGHTEDNESS. That's all I can say about RM. Maybe when they are all standing in the benefit queue they will say- IF ONLY!!!

    • 14 November 2008 03:34 AM
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    We left Rightmove a few months back and went on with propertyfinder who have not only sent us at least as many leads on sales but more on lettings than RM ever did! And they're much cheaper - we're paying about 1/3 of the price we paid to RM!

    • 14 November 2008 03:34 AM
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    We went off RM in August and are still trading!!!! because we dont have to pay them their riduculously high fees.
    Good riddance to RM
    There are plenty of other internet portals to use that are just as good or even better than RM

    • 14 November 2008 03:19 AM
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    I removed my subscription for Sales in June this year and immediately the Lettings Subscription was doubled.
    I wrote asking for an explanation on 31st July, 27th August and 22nd October. I am still waiting for an acknowledgement let alone an explanation.
    These are professional business people?
    As soon as PropertyLive is launched off I go! I will also advertise it heavily in ads and letterheads etc. If everyone does the same PropertyLive will 'fly'!

    • 14 November 2008 02:51 AM
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    A message to Matin Hawksbury - What you are doing is probably the best thing to do, get all the agents together and through all of you, you will get a reduction in price. All of my agents in the North East & West fothe Country have done the same thing not just with RM but with there print aswell..

    • 14 November 2008 02:25 AM
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    The way to accelerate the full demise of Rightmove or to persuade them to reduce their fees to help in a near impossible climate is for a coordinated approach from all agents together in every UK town. Im in Wellingborough so if everyone wants to join me and pull out en masse in my town, get in touch please. Thanks Martin

    • 14 November 2008 01:34 AM
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    I think if I were in charge of rightmove at this moment in time I would sit up and listen to the moans of its clients. They are going to leave you and join a competitor at a fraction of the cost. Rightmove are there at 'no 1', possibly, because of luck and being first out of the starting blocks. The others have now caught up and should keep the pressure going. I will leave rightmove when another provider can claim to be no 1, for any good reason.

    • 14 November 2008 01:31 AM
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    rightmove sucks
    They may take our money, but they'll never take our FREEDOM!!

    • 14 November 2008 01:11 AM
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    I have cancelled Rightmove Sales due to the obvious reasons and falling number of leads only to discover that the fee I have always paid for my lettings division increased from £70 per month to £195!! An absolute joke! Like other agents I think we need to beleive that other property portals that are much cheaper will still perform and generate leads to which our teams can convert into ££££!!

    • 14 November 2008 12:49 PM
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    I cannot believe the sheer arrogance and mistruths written and printed by rightmove: agents who have paid considerable fees to list on this portal over the years have been discarded at a time when they should be rewarded for their loyalty and be given some support to get through - they have shot themselves in the foot and I hope they go under. Quite simply rightmove are moronic.

    • 14 November 2008 12:48 PM
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    Lets keep in mind, that RM are only so successful because they were at the beginning of the online portal market and had a captured market of 4,000 offices (Being the 4 companies who owned the portal) who all paid RM at a time when cashflow revenues (Or lack of) strangled better sites...
    Only successful because they couldn't fail....

    • 14 November 2008 12:41 PM
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    i think its great that RM are finally falling.
    We took propertyfinder and findaproperty after cancelling our RM and not only do they provide more leads,more coverage but still save me over 50%!!!!!!!!!!

    • 14 November 2008 12:39 PM
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    all the agents i know who have left are STILL IN BUISNESS ! cant believe MOST of you are still on rightmove. JOIN THE EXODUS

    • 14 November 2008 12:35 PM
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    We seem to spend a lot of time debating what rightmove say and do (or don't do!) In my opinion the writing is on the wall for them, they either fall into line with thier clients needs or this time next year they will not exist. I agree with most that there are far better and cost efficient websites who are actually giving my business a lot more leads.

    • 14 November 2008 12:24 PM
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    If vendors reduce their prices in tune with the real world. Then you dont need RIGHTMOVE, you only need a buyer with a deposit. We are not on rightmove and we have over a 100 properties on the books, so the argument you need to be on rightmove to get instructions is a load crap (WEAK NEGS MAKE EXCUSES)

    • 14 November 2008 12:17 PM
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    Does nobody at RM listen to the customers? That really is the mark of arrogance - and stupidity. When the Titanic that is RM hits the iceberg, there will be very few tears shed - and those will be from the management who are so out of touch with the sentiment of those of us who have heretofore contributed to their prosperity. Man the lifeboats!!

    • 14 November 2008 12:13 PM
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    Just to clarify, we believe that the 'mystery' buyer you refer to here may be Tremblant Partners LP. This is indeed a hedge fund run in New York by Bret Barakett. They have certainly been actively buying stock, and on 29th Oct announced that they had exceeded 11% of the total. But as this fund has only $4.1 billion under management it seems unlikely that they would launch a full bid. Their portfolio is quite large with numerous small stakes. They may well be angling for a change of management and strategy to revive the stock price, which would certainly be interesting. But from here we cannot really see where RightMove can go. They seem determined to go to the bottom clinging to their subscription fee model and hand their business to Globrix. Whatever happens, let's hope they have a better experieve than BC Partners. Who must every day regret the day they met one smart man called Jon Hunt!

    • 14 November 2008 12:13 PM
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    I think its a damn cheek that rightmove have commented above the agents who have left them have either gone bust or were struck off for bad debt thats rubish, i own a small independent, we came off rightmove along with almost all of my local competitors simply to survive this difficult climate and to cut costs where we could (Rightmove simply wasnt working for us therefore had to go) beacuse the fees were so high, and i'm still open and smiling to tell the tale and so are my competitors

    • 14 November 2008 12:12 PM
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    I am with both Rightmove and Propertyfinder. I have got to say the service from Propertyfinder is excellent. Rightmove are just too stubborn and don't want to reduce their prices. THIS IS WHAT AGENTS WANT - NOT MORE SPENDING ON ADVERTISING. I want to leave Rightmove, but need to stay with them to get intructions. As soon as Propertyfinder are number one, I will definately cancel my contract with Rightmove.

    • 14 November 2008 12:07 PM
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    Ive had just 2 leads from rightmove this month (thats 1 per week)i have plenty of well priced property on there but all i get is 2 bad leads from no hope time wasters im wasting money with rightmove and im sure so are hundreds of other agents its time to wake up and stop paying so much for so little

    • 14 November 2008 12:05 PM
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    We came away from RIGHTMOVE a couple of months ago, and we feel we have more time to deal with LOCAL enquires opposed to some buyer in BUYER Birmingham saying 'can you send us details in the post' when they have all the details they need Anyway. We dont want timewasting Tw*** More local buyers are needed. I feel that the local rag is still bringing better quality enquiries.

    • 14 November 2008 12:05 PM
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    This is only further evidence that subscriptions and pay-to-be included don't work. Advertising that is flexible and based on performance is why the future is free-to-list with premium features. It provides flexibility and cost-efficiency for the agent without having to come down and go back up and come down etc. The constant dance that an agent plays with a subscription model. You don't tell Google, list me please, don't list me, list me now etc. You're included period. The traffic comes direct to your agent website (which you've invested thousands of pounds in) so your brand is seen and 'conversions' happen on your website. Vertical search engines (globrix, zoomf, dothomes, etc) are all of that model. Freemium, free-to-list, upsell... call it what you want. Same principle idea and most classifieds sectors have already gone to this model as the cost base for 'listing' trends to zero. Property is the last bastion still holding onto pay-to-list model.

    • 14 November 2008 11:58 AM
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    Righmove's arrogance will end up being the undoing of them. Once the shift has taken place and agents decide to look for more affordable alternatives Righmove will lose its perceived monopoly, not only from agents, but the general public. If they (Righmove)retrospectively seek to reduce prices, they better ensure this is prior to the shift, because their bargaining power will diminish significantly once it is established that they are no longer a must have.

    • 14 November 2008 11:56 AM
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    I think Rightmove needs to reduce the monthly membership fees to alleviate the struggle its members are in. I expect more than 50% members to leave rightmove within 12 months.

    • 14 November 2008 11:55 AM
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    Im an agent working in Scotland and have become increasing annoyed with Rightmove especially their cost, customer service and the value for money I am getting. As a protest I signed up with their rivals Propertyfinder as a way of displaying my annoyance. In actual fact my move which was intended to make a statement has in actual fact worked very well for me and I am getting excellent results. The long and short of it is that in this climate RM are going to really have to look over their shoulder. This 'rumour' is most likely true and thank goodness we are now getting some choice over the stranglehold that RM have had in recent years. I cant say I am sorry to see these numbers being quoted!!

    • 14 November 2008 11:45 AM
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    Why are Rightmove still claiming a 90% market share? Their claim is made at the bottom of the first page of the Rightmove monthly report. Are agents closing at the same rate they are leaving Rightmove? Seems most unlikely to me and is in fact evidenced by Rightmove comments above. I don't believe the 90% market share first claimed (included in their monthly report)by Rightmove in Sep 2007 is valid any longer. High street agents will not shed a tear if the developers are turning away from Rightmove since the recent trend by Rightmove of encouraging buyers by the use of e-marketing to take up part-exchange new build deals, thus encouraging buyers to bypass Rightmove's key clients, the agents, themselves, has gone down like a lead balloon. Still got another 18-24 months of shake-out ahead. As was commented on a Property blog this week, it woudl be no shock to see Rightmove and Proprtyfinder under one owner shortly- however this may come about. With newspaper advertising way down, the media groups should be looking to consolidate their positions in the portal market. Globrix is the gorilla that only the stupid are ignoring!

    • 14 November 2008 11:02 AM
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    Also mentioned within the IMS was that activity on the websites is similar to the same period a year ago with, for instance, page impressions in October up 4% on the same month in 2007. As a result of a number of changes to the rightmove.co.uk website, October enquiry levels to advertisers were up 10% year-on-year and continue to run at 1m per month.

    • 14 November 2008 09:56 AM
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