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Rightmove ‘vulnerable’ because of its bad relationship with agents - claim

There’s a warning today that Rightmove could be vulnerable to losing its number one portal status because it has such a poor relationship with agents.

In a video interview, outspoken industry commentator Russell Quirk says that Rightmove currently carries an attitude of being untouchable, having seen off Zoopla for many years and in the light of OnTheMarket’s apparent failure to gain traction amongst consumers. 

But he warns: “Maybe not next year or the year after, but I think Rightmove have a fair degree of vulnerability around them because of the perception - whether it’s right or not - that agents have about what Rightmove think of them.”


And he goes on to say: “Rightmove are not known to be warm, fluffy, lovely, cuddly individuals are they? And they should be - why not?”

The claim is made in a video discussion with Christopher Watkin, the industry analyst who has made a series of hard-hitting interviews with key figures in the agency business. 

In this interview - shared by Watkin exclusively with Estate Agent Today readers - Watkin reveals that he recently interviewed the head of Australia’s version of Rightmove, REA. He likened REA’s previous relationship with agents down under, with Rightmove’s current relationship with agents in this country.

Watkin says in the interview: “Three or four years ago REA realised there was a total lack of empathy between them as a portal, and the industry. It sounds very much like Rightmove doesn’t it?”

He says REA recognised this and began two ‘earn its stripes’ with agents by providing high quality training, becoming arguably the leading organisation for agency learning in that country. 

“Now there’s love and the empathy from Australian agents to REA. Yes, they charge a lot of money but there’s a lot of love there now” continues. Watkin.

The eight minute interview, which you can see below, includes a reference by Quirk to Zoopla’s strategy since being taken over by US equity firm Silver Lake. Instead of being acquisitive and keen to buy additional agency-related companies, Quirk suggests it’s much more focussed on improving its relationship with and service for agents.

“Maybe that is the way they [Zoopla] eventually beat Rightmove” he suggests.

Watkin says in the interview that he will later this year be conducting similar video conversations with representatives from both Rightmove and Zoopla. OnTheMarket has declined because it says it is too busy.  

Here’s the Quirk interview - thanks to Christopher Watkin for making it available to EAT.

* The business pages of The Times have given Rightmove cautious backing for investors. It says the portal has shown more resilience than expected in the light of a challenging sales market and competition including OnTheMarket.

  • Velgram Quaid

    Rightmove are onto this and plan to beef up their PR.
    From next month, every new agent that signs up, will get a free toffee!


    Brand of toffee called Sweet FA.

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    Is there any way on this forum to filter out and suppress any article with this blokes name on it. I want to hear meaningful news not pointless garbage.


    What are your thoughts Andrew on the power of Rightmove?

  • Simon Shinerock

    RM is vulnerable that’s for sure but not because they lack soft fluffiness but because they are gouging their customers and exploiting a dominant position. We have mounting evidence that there is life after RM it will take courage to test the theory but the time is getting ever closer


    Hi Simon,
    We, probably like many are close to our breaking point with Rightmove, hopefully we are not the only ones to jump locally as they know other agents will use this against anyone who does which feeds their arrogance.
    How close is close for you?

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    Russell we are running business' we dont need fluffy we dont need training by RM we dont want extras and add ons agents want an advertising portal at the best cost full stop.
    If RM want to expand they should start a second portal for say short let's or concentrate on new markets abroad etc

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    Russell has got a very good point. It wouldn’t take much to break Rightmove. If they were to lose, say, 20% of the listings, the public would look at Zoopla or OnTheMarket instead. The public are quite fickle when it comes to web browsing, so if they’re not seeing what they want on Rightmove, they’ll soon learn to look elsewhere.
    Every one of the Rightmove customers I speak to feels they are being charged extortionate rates. From the shareholder report published in March 2019 and a quick calculation, the cost of running Rightmove works out to around £262 for every branch, with the rest of your fees being pure profit for the shareholders. The ‘average’ spend per branch was £1088, so they are marking up by a factor of around 410%. What ever happened to the concept of charging a fair price for a product or service?
    Our own Rightmove bill was set to jump by 43% from 1st January, so we made the bold decision to ditch Rightmove altogether. I was slightly concerned that our customers might change agents, but so far, I’ve not lost one instruction. My approach has been to tell the clients exactly what Rightmove charge us and how the rates have gone up this year. I’ve used the annual figures, which really hit home. I’ve been amazed how supporting our clients have been. They’re as disgusted as ourselves.
    There is no doubt that estate agent fees are being inflated unnecessarily to pay for Rightmove and the other portals. In this digital age, advertising a property should be much cheaper than in the days of the newspapers. Sadly, I don’t think that is the case. If you add up the fees you spend on all the portals and divide by the number of completions in 2019, the figure is not going to look pretty. In our own branch, it worked out to around £500 including VAT per property.
    This equates to terrible value for the consumer. Quite why the CMA haven’t got involved is beyond me.
    I can’t agree more that Rightmove is walking a tightrope and could very easily fall with a little push from a number of agents. If you bite the hand that feeds you, you could well end up very hungry!


    'I’ve been amazed how supporting our clients have been. They’re as disgusted as ourselves'.

    This is the message agents MUST get out there if they are ever to untangle themselves from this nightmare. £420 + VAT per property for rightmove in cold light of day is SHOCKING.


    Totally agree with this, Rightmove's attitude stinks. Don't forget that without an agents listings, Rightmove is nothing. I've found more and more clients coming to us from OnTheMarket and Zoopla than ever before.

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    Windows 98 technology that constantly drives applicant enquiries back to a list of aggregated listings from competitor agents is great as an entrainment channel where consumers can browse away the hours when there's nothing on the telly or while away a commute but when you look at the traffic stats portals are a nonsense that do not make competitive sense.

    Traditional, pre technology estate agency could be reliably measured. 50 applicants would yield 10 viewings with the best two buyers determining the best price/deal for the vendor.

    For each category of property sold by an agency there was a running 50 applicants that would deliver; a sale, at least 3 valuations, and at least 1 instruction. the instruction replacing the one just sold.

    Portal technology was a point in time era that allowed consumers to get their digital details from one place, it was easy to remember a single URL of a portal rather than on average 6 website addresses for the agents that typically cover an applicants search area.

    It is not ideal that agents share their applicants and enquiries with their competitors; their successes at winning instructions is diluted by the applicants those instruction attract being shared with their competitors.

    Two comments in the past 3 weeks have confirmed to me things are about to change; "Robert, I get this, I do, I get it" " I don't really want to be sharing my buyers with other agents do I?"

    It is now possible to give consumers the aggregated listings they demand but at the same time satisfy an agent's need to keep an ever declining register of applicant/ buyers and potential vendors as close to their agency as possible.

  • Proper Estate Agent

    "Agents relationship with rightmove" ? there is no such thing, impossible, doesn't exist.


    There is one. RM - Master Agent - Slave.


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