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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Don’t kill Rightmove - it could be the agent’s friend, says industry stalwart

An industry stalwart has urged critics of Rightmove to fight for the portal to offer agents a fairer pricing system, not to kill it off completely.

Robert May, who entered the agency industry in 1986 and in recent years has operated his own portal called Rummage4property, has long been regarded as an expert on industry IT developments and the portal scene in particular.

He says consumers actively use and like Rightmove as a main point of entry into the property market and insists this has a strong value to agents as well. Although May is critical in particular of Rightmove’s lack of technical innovation and its lower quality service to the lettings sector, he insists it is a highly valuable asset on the sales side.

In a video interview with industry analyst Christopher Watkin, May says the recent flurry of criticism of Rightmove has been understandable and triggered by the unfairness of its pricing policy and by the portal’s poor reputation in agents’ eyes in recent years in particular. 

May, who is based in Devon, says some years ago agents in his area ceased advertising en masse in a local newspaper, returning “on our own terms” after the paper revised its advertising rates downwards.

He believes a similar result with the number one portal would be best for the industry as “Rightmove at a fair price is very much the agents’ friend” he insists.

In the interview, May gives his view on the different campaign groups that have sprung up in opposition to Rightmove, about how Zoopla and OnTheMarket have responded, and how the industry may change in a post-Covid 19 era.

The interview is the latest by Christopher Watkin and is available exclusively to Estate Agent Today readers below - and Watkin is keen to speak with other players in the wider industry portal debate, and he gives details at the end of the video.

Poll: Rightmove - more good than bad?

PLACE YOUR VOTE BELOW

  • Colin Bain

    TOO late the share price although hit recently will now allow this..........

  • Murray Lee

    Totally agree with Rob. IF they do survive the share fall then a fair price for the subs will appease many of the agents including me

    It may be to late for those that have left already

    Time will tell

  • Simon Shinerock

    Love you to bits Robert but it’s very simple, to preserve any value from RM they have to have their wings clipped, divide and conquer

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    Please don't mistake what I've said as being anything other than what I believe Rightmove HAVE to do if they want a business that can generate them normal profits (£50m- £60m) once this global crisis subsides and allows whatever the new normal is.

    That interview is what I would take back to the board if i were Miles or Harry having spoken to agents of all sizes and business models.

    " It will cost us about £3.93m a month to give Rightmove free to agents until the crisis is past and the mark establishes itself, 12 months is going to cost us £47m- that's 1/4 of last year's operating profit, if we don't do that 35% of agents won't be with us because they're no longer in business, 15% generate of agents contribute about 5% of our profits so we really have to be nice to the the likes of Powell, Manning, Bent, Sargent, Prescott and co who'll determine what the other half of the industry do.
    If we don't we are ....really going to struggle to have a business at all."

     
  • icon

    Share prices move up and down.
    Looking cheap now.
    Need new leadership That's less greedy and arrogant if that's possible in propertyportal land.
    Also need an investment in innovation which is lacking.

  • icon

    Do you seriously think that right move will keep prices reasonable? As soon as they have re-established their dominance they will resume their aggressive stance o n pricing... it will be like walking straight into a trap! Leopards don’t change their spots. If you want to ensure continuance of domination, therefore prices, they must unequivocally loose their monopoly position... otherwise why should they?

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    They have to, the duopoly is broken, that was the only thing that supported the runaway ARPA.

     
  • James B

    I think they will look back and see the virus triggered their downfall

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    It has been overdue since 2008 (Fannie Mae) but GMGPS failed to execute the opportunity they had with Think property

     
  • icon

    Future is still bright.
    It's really hard to kill a number one .
    I think Italy is the only place it's happened in over ten years.
    Rightmove will learn and adapt Consumers will still go to Rightmove first and Zoopla second no matter what

    Paul Barrett

    You are TOTALLY INCORRECT!!
    As a consumer I regard ALL of the 3 major portals equally.
    I check them all out knowing that not everyone uses RM exclusively.
    What does annoy me is seeing the same property on different portals.
    Just use one and we consumers will find you!!

     
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    Angus......Consumers will only keep going to R/M first if we as Agents keep giving them our stock......why as a Consumer would you go to R/M if they only had say 50% of the stock that OTM or Zoopla had.......over time you wouldn't bother.....remember Woolworths......Thomas Cook.....Flybe.....FocusDIY.......etc etc

  • icon

    Yes but this has been tried all over the world. Otm tried and failed at this.
    Smart agents use their CRM properly and use what I would call Pre portal strategies.
    End of the day the industry has conditioned the market to list on the leaders. hard to go back from that.

  • Georgina  Cox

    I believe there is a place for Rightmove and agents should not forget that for the public it is the place to go to for property. It would be very difficult for another portal to move quickly into that space and agents will need leads. Sadly the culture they have created with agents is toxic and I do not think they will ever be able to change that as they have been the enemy for too long. They are a necessary evil but if their pricing remains lower and they do not make unjustified annual hikes I think agents would continue to use them.

    I hope another player can take the number one slot but then there is always the danger of the “animal farm” situation!

  • icon

    Don’t forget it’s the public that matter and they love using Rightmove. They go and we’re left with a vacuum and a lot of people not knowing which portal to use. Probably Zoopla. There will be a long period where this works itself out before another portal becomes the clear market leader with potentially the same issues. I’m retired now but always found the Rightmove account managers really useful in driving what we could get out of the information held in their systems. They came to staff and managers meetings to present all the functions available.
    I really don’t understand all this bad stuff about them. Best ROI in the marketplace bar none.
    You need a recognised market leader that the public can feel comfortable with using and trust.
    Beware what you wish for.

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    'I'm retired now', yep, all I needed to read.

     
  • Marcus Parkinson

    Is it comedy day - "Rightmove could be the agents friend" do me a favour.
    - I worked in the pre Rightmove days and since they have come along they have been anything but our friend they taken as much money as they think they get away with.
    - When this is over they will revert to business as normal as soon as they can get away with it.
    - And lastly who are these Rightmove "stooges" who think there will be some sort of vacuum if Rightmove goes and the general public will not know what to do or where to look for properties and we'll all be sitting in empty offices with the phones silent.
    - Are the public going to stay at home forever because Thomas Cook has shut.
    - Has Nobody got a mobile phone since Nokia Has anybody got a bank account since Nothern Rock
    Does Everybody walk since Rovers demise.
    You guys posting we need Rightmove after the years of abuse are quite frankly clowns. Rightmove is Russian roulette they gave pistols with 4 bullets in with there prices rises they have dropped it to one because of the current crisis (after much lobbying) and after this crisis and they start there inevitable price increases you'll be getting pistols with 5 bullets to slowly kill yourselves off.
    WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE GUYS YOU WILL NEVER GET AN OPPORTUNITY LIKE THIS TO LEAVE & SLAY THE BEAST THAT IS LITERALLY DEVOURING YOUR BUSINESS PIECE BY PIECE!

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    Their best line is; 'the general public love it'. They truly don't realise how much they have been brain-washed over the years.

     
    Matthew Payne

    I dont think the public care one way or another provided they get to see what is for sale where they are looking. More and more people just google what they are after, eg: 3 bed house for sale in Watford, and page 1 delivers you links to all the portals stock and local agents. No messing around going onto each site and ten clicks on dropdowns times 3 to get to the same place.

     
  • Mark Walmsley

    “Rightmove at a fair price is very much the agents’ friend”. How can this comment be misconstrued?

    There is a passion at the moment to shout the benefits of constant social media posts, quality content in the right medium (facebook, instagram etc) and social and digital networking.

    This is because we are all trying to find a way into the minds (and hearts) of possible clients and customers.

    If agents STOP thinking about what they want (clients and fees) and start thinking more about what the customer wants, posts and content will become more honest and less disingenuous and the customer will be happy.

    What would make a buyer more happy than ONLY having to look in one place for their ideal home! That's the simple truth and it's that which Rightmove have profited from so greedily. Let them do what they do (but improved) and with sensible and lower fees! I don't know of any buyer that enjoys looking in countless different places for a new home.

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    You had me right up to your last sentence. Is this the type of question you ask clients?

     
    Paul Barrett

    You are simply incorrect.
    As a potential buyer I have no problem in using multiple sites to check all the market.
    If I was searching for a property these are the web portals I would use

    RM
    Zoopla
    OTM

    Facebook
    Gumtree
    Loot
    Craigslist
    Local press in FREE papers
    Newsagent windows Supermarket bulletin boards.
    As far as I am aware I haven't missed anyone out apart from the new entrants who don't have sufficient market presence yet.
    I might check out these new entrants but I don't really know who they are
    Though I suppose a google such might tell me who they are.

    So EA providing you use at least one of these online portals you will get in front of the eyes of all prospective purchasers and sellers.

    Don't concern yourself about just using one portal.
    No way would I only check out one portal no matter how big it is!

     
  • Michael Brain

    You are all forgetting the power of the agent , it is us who got them there , wouldn’t take us long to point our valued clients somewhere else , don’t forget the power of yourself

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    They're too busy being the lapdogs for Rightmove Michael.

     
  • icon

    Does anyone remember Myspace? Exactly!

    No one is too big to fall!

    If Rightmove want to be the agents friend they should slash their prices accordingly!

  • Welsh  Cynic

    Nobody can really be thinking that this will kill Rightmove and why would we want this? What we want to to stop their dominance of the portals. Zoopla were the hope originally and that didn't come to anything, so OnTheMarket are our only hope. How much healthier would it be for the portal market to be shared? If there are properties that are exclusively available on one portal, how hard would it be for the public to click on two apps, instead of just one? If that were the position, Rightmove would be no longer able to extort high fees from agents and their monopoly would be broken. The alternative, is to just keep the status quo, through fear and be for ever at the mercy of a company who have proved over many years, that they are 'the Wolf of Wall Street' with the interests of the shareholders (many of whom are themselves) being best served.

  • Marcus Parkinson

    Hi Mark,
    Fair comments but,
    Do You always eat in one restaurant
    Go to one Pub
    One car dealership for a new car and just one insurance quote and trust it's the best?
    Goto a shopping centre and visit one shop
    Holiday in the same place every year via the same package holiday provider?
    Truth is we all shop around all the time - I even do it for better deals on dog food let alone anything else.
    So why wouldn't the general public when looking for houses or agents to sell/let them.
    To a man there cannot be one "genuine" agent that thinks Rightmove has had their back - it is a one way street and agents have been lemmings to the slaughter. no matter where agents go so will the
    public they are not stupid a property portal without properties is of no use to anyone.
    I just think Rightmove is the most immoral company that I have dealt with and if agents leave in their droves and save tens of thousand a year at these critical times it may just save there business whilst still offering the same service's via a portal at less than a third of the costs.
    Trust me those that don't will be on here 12 months from know bleating on about there latest increase and how it's not fair.
    It's amusing as an ex-rightmove customer watching this same scenario played out annually and literally nothing changes just hot air - well now with the market effectively shut down this is the big chance to switch and save and when the market re-emerges it will become an accepted normal to go
    to Zoopla / OTM or wherever else they choose to go.

    But when I read an article saying "Don't kill Rightmove it could be the agents friend" I do start questioning whether the authors insane or it's April the 1st.

  • Andrew Harvey

    I think that rightmove has been mugging estate agents for at least the last 10 years. They have a greedy monopoly on our advertising spend. Now is an ideal time for the WHOLE industry to abandon the portal and FORCE the public to change their appetite for property information to another portal(s). I have no sympathy for Rightmove who have manipulated their costs to suit their corporate greed. The tide is turning on this monopoly and Rightmove should now be thrown under the next bus!

    If ALL agents stick together we CAN and WILL change client habbit, it will take time and patience. #saynotorightmove

  • Phil Hathway

    Can anyone remember spending £3-400 per week on newspaper advertising...?
    Asking for a friend.

    Matthew Payne

    Yes I can, and the same fear factor existed then that exists now with RM. We were pretty dominant in our London borough and we took 10/12 pages in the local property rag, used to cost a fortune, just at about the same time RM was launched. The thought of coming out the paper at the time was horrifying when a similar debate happened then, so I can understand the dilemma now from agencies who are considering leaving but havent. We told ourselves at the time it was just a comfort blanket and we could better spend the money on other things, but actually kicking the habit and pressing the button was hard.

     
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