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Murray Lee – Say No To Rightmove has sadly stalled, but OTM offers agents hope

A leading figure in the Say No To Rightmove (STNR) campaign says the attempts to get agents to ditch Rightmove have stalled, but he would personally back any resurrection of the plan.

More than two years on from the launch of the pressure group, which gained serious momentum in the early days of the first lockdown as unhappiness with Rightmove reached a peak, Murray Lee – managing director of Dreamview Estates in North London and an estate agency veteran of more than 48 years – says the campaign has rather fizzled out, but the angry reaction to recent Rightmove price hikes shows the strength of feeling among a group of agents is still very much there.

In the very early days of the pandemic, when Rightmove and the other portals were criticised for their approach at a very uncertain time for agents, SNTR picked up significant traction, with over 600 agents saying no to Rightmove by the time the first lockdown had been introduced.

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As of now, its website says more than 1,850 agents have signed up in saying no to the UK’s biggest portal, which has been regularly criticised by agents for its soaring fees.

It was led from the front by Acorn’s Robert Sargent, Murray Lee himself and others, but by late 2020 the momentum behind the campaign had started to flag, and little has been heard about SNTR since.

“Despite lots of goodwill raised, we weren’t quite able to achieve our aims,” Lee, speaking in a personal capacity, rather than on behalf of SNTR, told Estate Agent Today. “We weren’t quite able to get enough wind in the sails.”

He has, however, been impressed with OnTheMarket under the stewardship of Jason Tebb, who has been widely praised for turning the portal around and making it a genuine challenger to Rightmove and Zoopla.

In January 2021, SNTR became an advocate of OTM, with its website giving agents three pieces of advice which it claims will use OTM to ‘bring about an end to spiralling portal costs’. 

“Jason looked and listened and I’ve been very impressed with the work they’ve done in the last few years. The support we’ve received from them has been excellent,” Lee says. “And, of course, they offer a very fair premium.”

But he remains unsure about how much more traction they can get. “To coin a football analogy, it’s a bit like getting above Liverpool and Manchester City. It’s not easy to do, but they are really trying their hardest to do so.”

And what of Boomin, now one year old, which SNTR had previously said may change the landscape?

“We thought they’d wrest the mantle away from Rightmove, with Michael and Kenny from Purplebricks on board and all the investment, but they have also struggled for traction,” Lee said.

“There were, of course, lots of disrupters around at the time – around 20 or so jostling for position – most of which have fallen by the wayside. So at least Boomin are still there, and they are working really hard to grow. They are constantly in touch and really trying hard to generate momentum.”

He says, like OTM, they are very agent-focused and proactive, with agents at the forefront of what they do. “But, again, to return to the football analogy, can they get above Liverpool and City (Rightmove and Zoopla in this case), which is very difficult to do.”

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    You can’t stop Rightmove so in the U.K. you need to factor their stupidly high fees into any fee you are going to charge OTM will never have the money to compete and will disappear as soon as investors stop chucking cash on the fire. Boomin has some great features but will struggle to catch zoopla for the number 2 position and I’m guessing it will cost 150 mill to get to that stage so it all depends how deep the pockets are at boomin


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    It's a binary choice - learn to live with rightmove and their ridiculous, incessant price rises or learn to live without it. Many offices have been successful at the latter.

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    Best to focus on your own website, social media, and the less expensive portals, in that order..... its only agents that bleat about Rightmove, consumers don't care so stop promoting them you don't need them you just think you do.

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    I quite agree! Imagine the damage we could do if we all spent the same money elsewhere! 🤔

     
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    Ironic this should come out the day they send out their increased charges… again!

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    Be Ripe for Something
    A new unique most advanced low cost pays as you go (PAYG) property portal (little as £2.00/per month) launching in September 2022.

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