The chief executive of Boomin says agents have asked him to do something about rival portals “pocketing income from mortgage referral leads generated from their listings.”
Back in the New Year Michael Bruce wrote an open letter on the subject, criticising Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket for “their ongoing annual double digit fee hikes” which I were “creating their own cost of living crisis for agents.”
Now Bruce - who 12 months on from the launch of Boomin, has still not released comprehensive figures on agent members or visits - has introduced a feature called MortgageMaker.
This, he claims, ensures for the first time that agents receive mortgage income from their sales listings for free.
In a launch statement for the service he again attacks the Big Three portals, saying they currently either sell agents’ mortgage leads to Nationwide and NatWest and pocket “what is likely to be in excess of ten million pounds of referral revenue per annum” - or instead they charge each branch a monthly premium for a low-converting banner link.
Bruce says MortgageMaker is different, putting an interactive mortgage calculator on every agent listing for sale, allowing buyers to get direct access to mortgage advice and for agents to get qualified motivated mortgage opportunities.
And he adds that for agents that work with a broker, in-house or third party, their advisor’s brand will be prominently displayed and Boomin will drive all of the leads to that broker if that is what the agent wants.
Boomin does not receive a fee for this service.
The portal says that agents that do not offer mortgages an additional income stream with leads being sent to the Mortgage Advice Bureau - the agent then shares in any revenue earned.
MortgageMaker is free for Boomin’s partner estate agents.
Bruce says: “Agents have reached out to me following my earlier open letter highlighting this industry-wide issue, to say that they are fed up with portals pocketing all of the income from mortgage referral leads generated from their listings.
“If portals earn over ten million pounds a year just for referring the leads how much actual sign up and protection income are agents losing across the industry as a result. We estimate that it is in excess of £50m a year.
“Portals justify high annual increases based on so-called increased traffic but then use that traffic to sell agents’ mortgage business.
“Boomin was founded to modernise the market, harnessing the latest technology to move away from yesterday’s classified advertising model, and in doing so reset the balance of power and the revenue share back in favour of agents.
“MortgageMaker is further evidence that we are making good on our commitment.”
Bruce’s statement then extends on to Boomin’s impact a year after the portal’s launch.
He continues: “In our first year we have started to bring much needed competition and more innovation to the portal and lead generation market than ever before.
“Our features, unique to Boomin, including SmartVal, ChainMaker, MatchMaker, and now MortgageMaker are designed to drive new business and earning opportunities for agents.
“Agents finally have a credible alternative; no longer do they need to give up tens of millions of pounds of mortgage income to portals and pay unfair, inequitable and unaffordable annual fees for so-called increases in traffic that are neither unique nor create more annual transactions for agents.”