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eMoov hits out at Countrywide's 'cursory, arrogant' online ambitions

Controversial online agency chief Russell Quirk has described aspects of Countrywide’s newly-revealed digital ambitions as “cursory” and showing “arrogance.”

Yesterday Estate Agent Today reported that Countrywide’s chief executive, Alison Platt, had told investors that her group - the largest estate and letting agency in Britain - would consider buying an internet start-up. In terms of improving Countrywide’s digital offer to customers, this option was more useful and preferable, she suggested, than buying an existing online agency.

She told investors: “We won’t be paying for market share and brand.”


Now Russell Quirk, chief executive of online agency eMoov, has told EAT that while Countrywide’s in-principle recognition that it needs an online service of some kind is “the first time that we have heard such a public admission from a bricks and mortar agency,” the nuts and bolts of Countrywide’s strategy are flawed and, so far, vague.

“Will Countrywide risk a full blown online estate agency offering to match the fair fees, high service, technology focused approach that some of us are very busy progressing?” he asks - saying that this is highly risky for Countrywide. 

Then Quirk criticises the decision not to buy an established online player. “In other words, if an online agent is purchased it will not be one that is established, successful and knows what it is doing” he says. 

“Seriously? To take a route that avoids the very knowledge and acumen that is most important in understanding and excelling in this new space, is rather to grab defeat from the jaws of victory” he says. 

“It seems certain ... that sufficient arrogance abounds to make the mistake of, in effect, doing their own thing as opposed to acquiring an established player that knows the sector.”

Platt has revealed that Countrywide has been reviewing the internet start-up and field in what she has called ‘Project Shoreditch’. But Quirk dismisses this as “a cursory look at associative technology players” which misses the point of what he believes such a large estate and lettings agency group should be doing.

He goes on to say: “Does Platt actually get it? A well placed Countrywider when recently asked about her approach, remarked ‘She is either a genius or an idiot. I’m not sure which’”

  • Glenn Ackroyd

    If Russell is correct in that Countrywide 'Don't get it', why is it a concern?

    I've long espoused the adage 'Never interfere with a competitor when they are sabotaging their business'

    But why question the plan not to buy an existing player?

    It smacks of 'protesting too much' and would lead one to assume you want your business to be taken over and the main suitor says they don't fancy you.

    And if that's the wrong play, well that's great for EMoov if a big player makes a hash of jumping into your space.

    Build a business on profit and you don't need to rely on a takeover. If nobody buys you you can simply enjoy the profit. That way, you're in control of your own destiny. Call me old fashioned, but that's what we'll continue to do.

  • Sceptical As Always

    Yawn... not content with upsetting Bricks and Mortar agents with his self-righteous, holier than though spouting of utter nonsense he is now on to upsetting competitors in his own sector of the market.

    Online agents increasing market share due to consumer trends. Company takes advantage of this by setting up online arm. Sounds like a good plan to me. Quirk feels threatened not only by traditional agents, but the irony is now that CW is likely to put a dent in any profits he thinks to make by beating him at his own game.


  • Richard White

    I'm beginning to think all the tedious bickering and quarrelling is staged in the manner of TV shows such as X Factor. Is it all a big conspiracy in order to drum up interest in something that is, by any measure of human experience, brain meltingly dull? Do all the protagonists get together at the end of the day and laugh and back slap at their cleverness at getting one over on the gullible public (as politicians do)?

    I don't know, but I must stop eroding my soul by watching the game.

  • Jon  Tarrey

    Good old Russell. He'll have a go at anyone as long as it means free publicity. You have to admire his gumption.

  • Trevor Mealham

    Didn't Countrywide invest into PiLabs which invested into eMoov ??


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