The chief executive of Emoov and the founder of the new portal Rummage4Property had a dramatic spat on Twitter just hours before the online agency eventually confirmed that administrators had been called in.
Robert May, the north Devon agent who yesterday confirmed he is launching Rummage4Property next year with a high-flying City analyst as its chief executive, early yesterday tweeted advice to Russell Quirk about the financial crisis which hit Emoov in the autumn.
Emoov went into administration at 1pm yesterday after a number of rumoured buyers failed to materialise.
A few hours earlier May told Quirk on social media: “For the sake of your friends, family and staff who invested their cash in your dreams I hope you’ve found two buyers. If you haven’t found two buyers who’ll compete to pay your asking price, you Desmond Woodford Bruce Butt Caan and co just got a lesson in estate agency…”
He continued: “Estate agency can’t be disrupted by whacking property on the internet. Unless listing agents do what local agents do, every home they sell will be a forced sale and that means the price will most likely be lower than asking a local agent will achieve. The lesson’s over now.”
Quirk then shot back with this: “‘Estate agency can’t be disrupted by whacking property on the Internet’ - Yet you’re launching a business that ‘relies on agents whacking properties on the internet’?
He continued: “The ‘...price will most likely be lower...’? Such a subjective anecdotal argument holds no weight. Data on the other hand does (I thought you were a data advocate). Data from TwentyCi proves your assertion widely wrong and just wishful thinking.”
Quirk then attempted to have the last word with: “Whilst [May] has made a career of taking pot shots at me and the online agency model, I wish him the very best of luck with his new internet search venture and I hope it grows and can raise cash. I suspect Robert might soon have more empathy for the rest of us founders.”
However, May retorted with: “Wrong again. I’m not trying to disrupt Rightmove and Zoopla, I’m trying to outperform them. 76 per cent profit margin is excessive. It’s unnecessary. Charging fairly and honestly keeping agents in business might disrupt the portals but I need as many agents to stay in business as possible.”
May’s new portal is now reported to have eight staff. As we reported yesterday the high-profile agency industry analyst Anthony Codling was named as chief executive, and there are development and digital media teams in Croydon and Northampton, and India.