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Boomin’s Michael Bruce renews attack on big three portals

Boomin co-founder and chief executive Michael Bruce has returned to the attack on Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket with an open letter, sent to the trade press last evening.

In the letter - effectively a promotion for a MortgageMaker service launching on his portal in the near future - he criticises the big three for “their ongoing annual double digit fee hikes” which is “creating their own cost of living crisis for agents.”

In the first of several mentions of mortgage referral leads, he writes: “How did we ever let it come into existence that Rightmove and Zoopla could effectively sell agents’ mortgage referral leads, which have only come to them through agents paid adverts on the portals, to the highest bidder.”

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The open letter makes no mention of any specific regarding Boomin’s agent membership nor visits to the portal, including over the critical Boxing Day period, but he reiterates that “agents need and deserve a better deal and that will only come through increased competition, rather than relying on the benevolence of the captors. None of the new competition in recent years have truly innovated in anymeaningful way to create a compelling end to end proposition for agents.”

He says Boomin is that competition.

You can see the full text of the open letter below.

2022 is likely to be a different year for the property market when compared to 2021. 

For most in the market business will be harder won, unless that is you are of one of the big property portals, where the usual rules don’t apply. It is not just their ongoing annual double digit fee hikes, which are likely to create their own cost of living crisis for agents but other, more hidden areas of their business models, where a lack of meaningful competition has allowed poor practises to thrive and for nest feathering to be taken to a whole new level.

A prime example is mortgage referral income. As an industry, how did we ever let it come into existence that Rightmove and Zoopla could effectively sell agents mortgage referral leads, which have only come to them through agents paid adverts on the portals, to the highest bidder. 

Without agents paying for property adverts, this additional income stream for the portals would not exist. I wouldn’t mind so much if they shared the income, which is pure additional profit to them. But instead they choose to pocket it all.  And it is not that they need the money. Rightmove has the highest profit margin in the FTSE 100 index of Britain’s largest companies and 4x that of Alphabet, owner of Google, a company regularly the subject of monopolistic concerns. 

We are not talking about small sums of money either. Not surprisingly there is a lack of transparency and disclosure in this area. But we understand that the amounts earned by Rightmove and Zoopla from mortgage referrals are likely to be in excess of ten million pounds per annum. 

For agents, who would be able to fully monetise these mortgage leads, the lost value would likely run into tens of millions of pounds. When I ran estate agency businesses it hadn’t dawned on me that this injustice was happening with my property listings, not that I could have done anything about it.  

Whilst I do not consider Boomin to be a classified advertising property portal, we are an agent centric new business generation platform, what is certainly true is that agents need and deserve a better deal and that will only come through increased competition, rather than relying on the benevolence of the captors. None of the new competition in recent years have truly innovated in any meaningful way to create a compelling end to end proposition for agents.  

Boomin is that competition and can be a voice when classified advertising portals are acting against the interests of agents. 

Specifically we will address, amongst other things, the unfairness of mortgage referral income, with plans to launch our own integrated MortgageMaker technology in the next few weeks. Details will be provided shortly but rest assured the new feature will be totally free for all Agent partners, rightfully giving agents with their own mortgage services arrangements all their income and providing a new income stream for those who do not. 

I have talked many times before about re-setting the balance of power in the industry back in favour of all agents and using technology to equip agents with new tools to earn additional income. The launch of MortgageMaker is further evidence of our intent to make good on our promises. There is so much more to be done and we will continue to work tirelessly to become the competition that the market so clearly needs. 

  • Chris Arnold

    Good product = £
    Good product + good marketing = ££
    Good product + good marketing + Trust = £££
    There's something missing from Boomin and, I can't quite put my finger on it.

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    We signed up early for BOOMIN, and we have not had so much as a single enquiry in the 12 months (or whatever) since we signed up.

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    Just because it's someone saying something whom you don't like, doesn't mean it's not valid. Just saying...

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    Guess you get that a lot Russell.

     
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    Just because someone is saying something whom you do like, doesn't make it valid
    Just saying...

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    He is right in one respect but hypocritical in the fact that it's their aim to become another Rightmove, the article mentions OTM however, they don't sell mortgage leads and Michael Bruce doesn't direct his attack at them, Rightmove and Zoopla and completely different animals where OTM is majority Agent owned and has more of an interest in its members than any other portal, so it would be far more beneficial for agents to support OTM rather than a business that's formed by two unscrupulous brothers who have attached agents for years.

  • Algarve  Investor

    It would all feel much more sincere if it felt like there was a genuine desire from Boomin/the Bruces to help agents - which goes against pretty much everything they did at PB for all those years.

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    Whilst he was bad egg at PM he is no doubt he is correct
    Until agents stand together and leave RM they will just get shat and piszzed on and just take it like mugs
    No that booming is the answer it a rubbish site
    Slagging off boomin will not help any agent as Rm keep on increasing prices and having a laugh

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    In our area most have left RM we just sit back and laugh at the corporates who can't leave and undercut them. RM is a forgotten name for us.

     
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    Hit man - well done - I remember when I was an agent we were paying 2k a week for newspaper ads
    All the agents in the town went for a drink and we all pulled out.
    We agreed that when we were contacted by the paper we would not negotiate individually but would have a meeting where we were all invited.
    Those were days when we all met for a beer after work on Friday and got on well.
    Surprisingly enough a few weeks later we were paying £200 a page.

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    That exactly what we did with all the Agents Mutual members when we all sat down and decided which portal to drop when the one other portal rule was introduced. it a shame all agents in the country didn't do that.

     
  • Andrew Stanton CEO Proptech-PR    Proptech Real Estate Influencer

    Michael Bruce is right, as I have often said he is not starting up Boomin in 2000 like Rightmove and building a business model to replace newspaper advertising for agents. He is instead setting up a property business in the 2020's for the agents and end users who do property now.

    The most pressing concern is to build UX into everything you do, for agent and end user, this is what they are doing. And of course the old legacy models of portals will be called out.

    It is like the newest generation of smart cars, Tesla and many other brands utilise cameras, to 'see' objects a car might hit, billions of dollars has been spent on this route, for almost a decade by many car giants.

    But the latest (ALTERNATIVE) solution - which is much better is lidar functionality - The LiDAR sensor on a vehicle emits single particles of light, known as photons, that strike nearby objects such as cars, pedestrians, and trees. The photons then bounce back to the sensor. The LiDAR system records each photon's roundtrip data, measuring distance and time to every object in the vehicle's vicinity - so whilst everyone who has the old system (new tech not really) which means you can run that person in front of you over, the new kids on the block are the winners as they have a smart way of doing things which works, based on solving big problems using the best tools from now.

    Yes RM has the monopoly, but the end user will gravitate to platforms and portals that give them the highest UX, if MumsNet rates you, you get adoption. That is why I like Boomin - new big solutions that drive revenue to agent stakeholders, and speed the property process. Also they are the catalyst that is making other portals suddenly become interested in property technology, seizing the huge opportunities that tie ups with key digital architecture can bring.

    Are Booming one of Proptech-PR's clients NO - do I speak as I find ALWAYS. Am I arrogant and annoying - OFTEN - but I do know what I am talking about - 100%.

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