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.