The Say No To Rightmove campaign is to release a set of options for member agents to consider if the portal continues to offer no indication of a permanently reduced and reformed fee structure.
There are now some 60 days remaining before Rightmove’s 75 per cent fee reduction offer expires - a timescale that coincidentally mirrors the reduction in the government’s furlough scheme, meaning agents’ budgets are likely to become heavily stretched towards the end of July with no furlough support and the return of full Rightmove charges.
In an interview with Estate Agent Today, Say No To Rightmove campaign leader Rob Sargent - whose Acorn agency business in London and the south east of England pays almost £500,000 to Rightmove in normal non-discount years - says he is personally in negotiations now with the portal for his own company.
He will be putting proposals to the portal next week on behalf of Acorn, but if there is no change of mood from Rightmove itself - “and there’s nothing to suggest there will be” he says - then he will release options which different SNTR member agents could pursue.
The campaign now has “a conservative estimate” of 3,300 branches owned by around 1,600 agents - exact numbers are difficult to say, according to Sargent, because each applicant has to be verified. Although agents are now back at work ‘on the day job’ the SNTR campaign is still receiving some 30 new applicants a day.
The options will not simply be ‘leave Rightmove’ because he says for some member agents that is not a realistic option - they may be looking for long-term fee reductions, or a deal which involves greater assistance from the portal in marketing and driving business.
For other agents, however, leaving is not only an option but the right one, says Sargent.
“We have a number of agents who have already left but don’t want that publicised in case they get some kind of comeback from Rightmove. So my range of options will be just that - a range” he says.
There will also be practical marketing assistance for agents to illustrate how they can combat any perceived loss of marketing impact by leaving Rightmove.
SNTR members have been invited to a webinar next Wednesday with industry consultant Iain White to look at marketing option, while an edited version of the webinar is to be released publicly to illustrate to non-member agents that they could exist without being on the number one portal.
As before, Sargent is concentrating his campaigning on what he considers to be the 5,000 or so branches that are the smallest and with the least leverage, who he believes are paying proportionately the highest sums to Rightmove.
He says that while he has not spoken with the big three corporates - Countrywide, LSL and Connells - he has spoken with what he calls “the next layer down” and while they have not yet joined his campaign “they have a similarly poor view of Rightmove and has equally difficult relationships with Rightmove as the smaller independents.”