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If Purplebricks fails "online game could be up" admits hybrid agency chief

The co-founder of hybrid estate agency EweMove says if the newly-floated Purplebricks fails "the online agency game could be up."

Glenn Ackroyd, who describes himself as the Head Shepherd at EweMove, says he and his team admire Purplebricks for their website and stock levels, which he believes to be the best amongst the various high-profile online agencies.

He also praises Purplebricks' public relations and the skill with which they floated on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market at a controversially-high figure of £240m.


"But then we read their prospectus and look at the numbers" says Ackroyd, who claims that Purplebricks has accumulated £13m in losses to date. 

However, because of their high profile and pioneering flotation, Purplebricks is the flag-bearer "for all the other online agents ... desparate to float or be taken over before their last remaining funding runs out."

EweMove itself runs a mix of online sales with local representatives on the ground and some physical offices. 

But Ackroyd reveals in an Industry Views piece on this website that he considered becoming an online-only estate agency two years ago - but rejected the move because surveys showed the public wanted on-the-spot expertise more than budget fees.

Ackroyd writes that in 2013 his team decided to create a low cost online agency, offering consumers what he calls "an eBay style do-it-yourself service" similar to many of the online agencies that have proliferated in the past two years.

"But we did an about turn for two very important reasons" he says. 

Precisely what those reasons were can be found in Ackroyd's article, which you can read here.

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    Its still silly money (at £186m) yes: but it was VERY silly money to start off (£240m)

    Its all about self-promotion and HYPE and people buy into it.

    Enough said. (By me anyway)

    Jon  Tarrey

    Self-promotion and hype can take you a long way. More's the pity.

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    If Neil Woodford whose investment strategy has proved to be uncannily good over the past decade, and who has invested funds heavily in Purple Bricks, thinks this is a good investment, then I for one am sure he knows what he is doing.

    Glenn Ackroyd

    You win some - you lose some - As this article highlights; http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/apr/28/invesco-perpetual-fine-small-investors-fca

    It's all to do with the PR spin you're able to portray to amplify the winners and distance yourself from the losers.

  • icon

    ''Past Performance is no guide for the future''


    Jon  Tarrey

    Never a truer phrase spoken. Just look at Manchester United over the past few years. (I know, I know, they won yesterday, but they were still absolutely dire).

    It's when you start looking back on past performances and congratulating yourself that complacency and the rot sets in.

  • Kristjan Byfield

    Glenn I have been ranting about lack of honesty in trading figures and it's a relief to see someone openly discuss this with candour. There has been far too much hype about the online agent model without proper journalistic insight so its refreshing to hear real stats being discussed.

  • Ian Smith

    BUT Woolford has already made a fortune on the Stock. How much do you think he got of the £240m - £50/60/70/100 ??

  • Move In Move Out

    Hybrid Estate Agents are clearly the way forward - best of both Online and On The High Street providing vendors with more choice.


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