A note sent out by OnTheMarket chief executive Ian Springett has suggested that the way estate agents work may directly lead to increases bonuses for Rightmove executives.
In a note which some may see as ‘playing the man, rather than the ball’, Springett tells OTM member agents that everyday activity by agents may boost Rightmove bonuses.
“Every minute which agents spend on Rightmove/Rightmove Plus, including minutes when they leave it open on their computers, may be adding to Rightmove executive bonuses. This is because Rightmove focuses on ‘traffic market share’ which it defines in terms of ‘time on site … (minutes spent relative to our nearest competitors) by reference to comScore.’”
Springett adds: “Time on site is explicitly outlined in Rightmove’s 2018 Annual Report as a key strategic target in determining executive bonuses. A considerable proportion of the gap in time spent between Rightmove and other portals reflects its historic position as a reference site for tens of thousands of property professionals in their daily work.”
In August 2017 the Daily Telegraph suggested that OTM’s floating on the London Stock Exchange - then still some months off - could “trigger a £20m windfall for its chief executive” who is of course Ian Springett himself.
The rest of the OTM note, sent out yesterday, gives a detailed breakdown of certain aspects of Rightmove’s trading statement, made to its shareholders and the City last week.
This includes the increase in Average Revenue per Advertiser - a key metric for portals - by a further £83 compared with the first half of 2018.
OTM says Rightmove “downplayed the 4.6 per cent year-on-year reduction in agents” and with regard to leads “chose not to publish the metric in its regulatory report for the half year to June 2019” - Rightmove now says that leads dropped 7.6 per cent compared with H1 2018, reducing the leads total from 22m to 20.3m.
Rightmove attributed the latest fall in leads to a recent bid to improve lead quality rather than quantity, but OTM tells its agents: “A more straightforward explanation is that portals do not create enquiries and there is a finite stock of active property-seekers at any one time. Portals compete to be the channel to connect these property-seekers with the relevant agents and OnTheMarket is gaining share.”