Boomin founder Michael Bruce says his new site has enjoyed a stronger start than any other portal in terms of visits, viewings, traffic and engagement.
Some 600 agency branches have been added to the 5,000 signed up prior to the early April launch and “thousands” of valuation bookings have been arranged, with tens of thousands of visitors to those features not found on rivals.
These are chiefly Sneak Peek - where visitors not only see properties instructed but not yet marketed, those in a chain and which may come back to the market if a deal falls through, and in some cases those currently being valued - and Property Playground, where visitors can look at utilities, lifestyle and design supplies, landscaping and other ancillary services, rather than just property listings.
Specific figures for visits to Boomin are not yet being released - Bruce promises they will be forthcoming in the future - but he states that he’s “really, really delighted” at performance so far.
However, he concedes that progress on its own terms and against the Big Three will be gradual and dependent largely on building brand awareness. “It’s progressive. People aren’t just going to change what they’ve been doing for the past 20 years” he told EAT editor Graham Norwood in an interview over the weekend.
Key points include:
Agent Numbers: Bruce insists that while Boomin has currently specialised in independents, he has been talking to and will talk in future to all others, including the large corporates so far monopolised by Rightmove and Zoopla. “Getting all of the agents is definitely an ambition” he says. An update letter from Bruce has just been sent to existing member agents.
Anti-Purplebricks Agents: “Agents have been ultra-competitive and ultra-professional in our experience” says the Boomin founder, but he accepts that there is resistance to the new offer amongst some “who will take longer” to see the new opportunities. Both Michael and Kenny Bruce are “interacting with agents on a daily basis” although the large number of webinar sessions held prior to launch have now been replaced mostly by account manager activity.
Boomin Structure: Announcements are due, probably next month, about greater agent involvement in strategy, through representation at board level. Meanwhile the search goes on for a managing director - interviews for this post are being held this month, from a headhunter’s shortlist.
Boomin Features: Bruce emphasises that what makes his service unique, and will be the driver for change amongst rivals, is that it’s not merely a set of listings - important as those are. He admits that a key long-term challenge is to get users to come to Boomin for non-listings, rather than go to existing ‘consumer advice’ sites. “It’s a long-term reconditioning of the mindset” amongst customers.
Rival Portal Initiatives: He suggests that while there has been considerable talk in recent months of “so-called innovations” by other portals, the reality may be less exciting. However, he says improvements undertaken by Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket “in response to what we’ve done” will be good for agents and the public.
Future of Portals: Bruce insists that the current Big Three offer basically the same service, based almost wholly on simply being classified ads for properties for sale or rent. “We’ll lead the change in that because there are longer-term relationships with agents and consumers that can be achieved.
The Future of Boomin: “We’ll look at anything that creates the best outcome for agents” says Michael Bruce, although he comes back to the underlying philosophy that fairer fees and longer-term revenue raising potential exists than are currently offered by the leading portals. He would not be drawn on speculation that already is rife of Boomin being floated on the London Stock Exchange but he did say that once his new service had made portals generally “more meaningful” for agents and consumers, “everything will follow on from that.”