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  • Rightmove and ZPG have 90% of the market between them
  • Both have spent tens, if not hundreds, of millions building huge consumer followings
  • Both deliver lots of exposure and enquiries to agents on a national scale
  • Agents’ Mutual is seeking to disrupt the market. But for what purpose and to what end?
  • Could their strategy light the fuse that leads to the end of estate agency as we know it?
  • Has the Agents’ Mutual strategy been fully thought through to its natural conclusion?

We are raising the questions but we want to hear your views.

Have your say, take our survey

2014 is shaping up to be a potential game changer for estate agency marketing and potentially for estate agency itself. The catalyst for change is a company that currently doesn't even operate and yet, is threatening to polarise the business by trying to break the stranglehold of the duopoly that is Rightmove and Zoopla Property Group. The intention is to weaken their proposition and pricing power, but could this bold plan backfire and have dire unintended consequences for estate agents themselves?

This company is of course Agents’ Mutual, an aspiring co-operative of estate agents backed by some of the biggest names in the industry that wants to set itself up as a portal in its own right. Agents’ Mutual’s strategy is to polarise the industry and break the Rightmove/ZPG duopoly by imposing upon its members a simple choice, advertise on only one other portal and drop the rest. In practice, what this means is that members of Agents’Mutual will advertise on Rightmove or ZPG (Zoopla, Primelocation and other sites form the ZPG package), but not both.

Is it right for Agents’ Mutual to impose a market restricting condition on its members? Many may feel that by trying to weaken Rightmove and ZPG, they are damaging the user experience and by doing that are they going to face a backlash of resentment from their ultimate customers. Agents may resent paying portal fees but could the Agents’ Mutual approach take them out of the frying pan into the fire?

This also raises the tantalising question of which portal would agents choose if the Agents’Mutual exclusivity rule survived? Would it be ZPG or Rightmove? Or, when it comes to the crunch, despite having apparently attracted some 2000 gold member applications pre-launch, will Agents’Mutual get the cold shoulder because of its 'only one other portal ' rule?

Here are some more questions we think need answering

One of the assumptions that is driving Agents' Mutual is that the big portals are over-priced but is this assumption really true?

Given their cost per month compared with local print publications, given the number of leads they produce, do the  portals actually offer good value for money?

Another key driver of Agents' Mutual is the assumption that the existing duopoly is a bad thing but is it really?

If Agents’ Mutual succeeds will its success necessarily make things any better for agents? Can the restrictive ‘one other portal’ rule really work and survive?

Could Agents’ Mutual be an emotional reaction by the establishment rather than a logical commercial response?

Will agents who reject Agents’ Mutual and remain on both big portals gain an advantage over those agents that choose Agents’ Mutual and have to drop one of the big two?

Can Agents’ Mutual justify the fees and investment it is seeking?

Will Agents’ Mutual be able to compete on a national level with the existing portals?

Could there be unforeseen consequences of taking on Rightmove and ZPG?

So far, the mega portals have shunned private listings – could Agents' Mutual force their hand and start the beginning of the end for agency as we know it?

Does Agents’ Mutual’s stated intention of trying to weaken Rightmove and Zoopla’s inventory harm consumer interests and if so, is that an acceptable business strategy?

Here at EAT we think that this could be THE story of 2014 and we propose to follow it throughout the year, reporting on every twist and turn as the battle for the estate agency portal market rages on.

Agents will have to decide whether the current state of the portal market is so bad that the risks of going with Agents' Mutual are worth taking or whether it is a case of ‘better the duopoly devil you know'!

Tell us what you think. Take our survey and we will represent your views, now and as they change over the coming weeks and months as we give all three players a platform to make their case.

Comments

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    @Worried Agent;
    Brilliant, focused post...Based on FACTS.
    Especially liked the fact that RM have told their shareholders they will increase revenue from us to the tune of 20 % p/a...I looked this up on their report to shareholders and it it is true.
    Zoopla will float, we know that...they will then have to make similar promises to their shareholders.....doesn't seem like there is much of a choice really. Back AM or your business will, in a way, be owned by Zoopla and RM shareholders!!! Not yourselves.
    And for those that fear private listings from RM or Zoopla it will play out like King Canute...none of us can stop it one will definately do it (probably Zoopla) But giving them money to stave it off for a few years is nowhere near as wise as joining the 2000+ agent offices on AM so that we have our own site to compete in the industry...Also worth bearing in mind the holding companies involved with Zoopla and why smaller agencies would want to back them...makes very interesting reading!

    • 22 January 2014 15:43 PM
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    @Worried Estate Agent

    Good post, you should work for AM… you will convert the masses! ha.

    I do believe its a great idea but getting everyone on it is going to be hard with the one other portal limit IMO. AM need to copy and paste your post to all agents!

    I know they have 2000+ agents currently but no one has contacted me, no letters, emails or phone calls? Maybe its early days but I know nothing about it to comment, but with 7 offices in the top 3 RM stats on new listings and stock I would have thought I would be a good agent to get on board.

    Anyway, enough forum talk… I will consider AM when someone makes contact with me.

    • 22 January 2014 14:30 PM
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    YOU MUST READ THIS POST !!!

    Never done this forum stuff b4 but feel I need to enlighten a number of fellow estate agents of the guaranteed fallout if we do not support the property portal Armageddon that will come upon us later this year!

    My intention is not to disrespect your views but I feel I must give you the insight to my research and hopefully not worry you too much other than hope you will take your decision seriously. I have spent many many hours looking at both the business views of Rightmove as a company listed on the stock market and Zoopla, who are not listed on the stock market, but let us watch this space over the next 6 months! I have also torn apart the pro's and con's of the AM proposal to understand the benefit to me as a business.

    I am a simple but passionate two branch estate agency operation with market share in both our localised areas and with a full awareness that buyer leads and marketing from property portals is the life blood of our business. So I must take my decision to drop one of the portals very seriously if I support AM.

    First, to all readers I must share my view that I feel forums like this are potentially littered with Rightmove and Zoopla field agents playing as estate agents and posting comments to rubbish, panic, scare, frighten and brain wash you into believing that by supporting AM is a way to destroy your business, give your competitors the edge and lose endless instructions.

    Remember this is an £80,000,000 profit for Rightmove alone and it has to increase year after year to please their shareholders, so they will do whatever it takes to stop this fight back! Oh and if you don't think Zoopla also want the same profit levels then you need to research the reason why a business will float on the stock market and how they promote their share price!

    First, some questions you should consider!

    -What is Rightmove and Zoopla made up of?
    ANSWER – A nice website with the total content supplied by agents who load their properties on to their site!

    - Do you use Google or Yahoo in your daily personal search life?
    ANSWER – The majority will say one or the other, but does anyone need to use both? So let’s say Rightmove is the Google and Zoopla is the Yahoo, because they do the same, but as property search engines! We do only need one but they make us think we need both, which is true if we promote both of their portals free of charge for them and we pay for the privilege! The audience is very fickle and if we take away/replace a name then they soon forget. That is why Google is so dominant, just like rightmove and Zoopla, they buy out the competition and dissolve the name and we forget!!!! But AM is owned by us agents so these giants cannot buy us, because we make the decisions! Take control, we hold the cards……

    - How much will Rightmove or Zoopla charge in 2015 or 2016 or even 2020!!!
    ANSWER- No one knows, but one thing we do know is that it is highly likely that within 12 months Zoopla will also be answering to shareholders, and what do shareholders demand? INCREASED PROFITS!!!! Who will pay for that? You, because as many of you comment on this site is that this duopoly have virtually maximised the agents already. So there is no growth option with new agents other than to increase their profits with the clients they have. Those clients are you!!! So you will have both portals thinking they can charge the same as each other because we have no choice. Rumours are, research yourself maybe, that rightmove tell its shareholders that they intend to grow income per agent by 20% per annum, so if this is the case then Zoopla will want to do the same, won’t they?

    - Can you ever see the day when we have no choice but to spend £3000 - 5000 per month per branch with these portals? Or could this prove to be conservative as their grip gets tighter!

    - Will the day come, if we don't stop this, that the duopoly will take complete control of what you actually earn? Think carefully, it’s not a ridiculous thought. They both have experts who know exactly what our outlays are and they will keep taking, right to the point of starvation but allowing us just to breathe and survive.

    Why must you drop one of the portals?
    ANSWER – Many of you think this is a negative but in fact it is a must have situation, because automatically we are reducing the size of both portals overnight by coming off one or the other and at the same time AM closes the gap on comparable sizes of the duopoly! But most of all it protects our position from being played and having to increase our spend and be forced to go on all three just like we’ve all been forced on to Zoopla over the last few years.

    In each town across the country there is a dominant force whether it is Rightmove or Zoopla, so this isn’t nationally as one but in fact locally. Each town need to join as one and gain the negotiating power to choose their preferred portal and if you can’t agree then at least the duopoly will be competing for your business! So you do have a choice and it is not forcing your arm, you can have the one you want but on your terms hopefully!

    So, to the part I feel a lot of agents are missing. Here are a few Pro’s and Con’s to consider? Ask yourselves what questions will arise by supporting ‘Agents Mutual’?

    - Can we cause Rightmove and Zoopla to start competing with their fees?

    - Can we get more for our money, If we own the 3rd competing portal, competition is healthy?

    - Can we guarantee to never see the day when we spend £5000 - £10000 per month on portal advertising?

    - Can we benefit from only needing to use either Rightmove or Zoopla?

    - Do we need to be as competitive as we can when the Online agent brigade start to make a change to our industry?

    The answer has got to be 100% YES! Because if we don’t then expect the opposite to happen.

    CONCLUSION- The question you have to ask yourself is if you would prefer to own a portal that competes with Rightmove and Zoopla, that has controlled monthly costs without stock market profit pressure, fixed at a cost for 5 years with the potential to reduce in future years to as little as £250 per month and also allows you to drop one of the duopoly to save on your overheads? Rightmove know the answer, Zoopla know the answer, 2000+ Branches signed up to AM know the answer and so do a lot of agents know the answer, but the more agents that sit on the fence and wait will cause this to fail. The worst case would be that it becomes a thorn in the side of the duopoly and they have to compete for our business! The duopoly will do whatever it takes to save their £billion industry from being taken back by the agents.

    Ok, so that was my pitch, but now consider an AM defeat and that is the really frightening point. If you do not get behind this and this really is the truth, the duopoly will then know, but so will we know, that this will never happen again, it is the last time for agents to gain back control and then we really are in trouble. We really will be jumping to their demands just like back in the days of local paper monopoly!!!

    Oh and final point I forgot to mention, in my research, do you know how of the corporates own some part of Zoopla, maybe there is your answer why they haven't supported AM, YET!!!

    • 22 January 2014 12:44 PM
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    Sorry, still not convinced to change and leave RM or ZPG.

    We have got to look at the effects of such a sharp change could do... if we all decide to jump ship and leave ZPG what's to stop them spending sheds loads of cash on TV commercials and press adverts and introduce private listings. They aren't just going to go away. That's what I would do if all my agents were leaving my website in favour of competition. This would then cost us all a lot of sales... in my opinion more than the cost of the subscription. Some agents may even lose there business.

    I'm all in favour of an Agents Run agency which has all agents interests at heart... but only as a 3rd option at this stage and maybe in the future after we all get behind it, stick their logos in our windows and in the local press we can help it (like we have helped rightmove) become the No1 portal... sure it will take time but trying to muscle in from day one (even with all its good intentions) doesn't work for me and I feel my business will be better without them for now. I know I should be all guns blazing and try and change the system but we have to be real... it isn't gonna happen unless we all make the change and that simply wont happen.

    Dezza

    • 22 January 2014 11:11 AM
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    @ Pee Bee
    "Far as I'm concerned - cancel the bl00dy lot. Turn it off - let's go back to basics and see who's still here in five years."
    Never a wiser word spoken in this debate and I'm in total agreement with you....Where is the mains switch?
    I think we are also in agreement, from your last post, that our business,and ability to gain instructions, is still dependent on many aspects other than portals and with this in mind I find it hard to see how a new agent owned portal used in conjunction with Rightmove would a.fail and b. cause an agent to lose business.It is, of course about much more than internet advertising in isolation.
    The company that will lose the most is Zoopla, as this is the site that 2000+ estate agent branches will drop in favour of AM. Are agents really that distressed about Zooplas impending losses? I shouldn't think so...but I couldn't say for certain.

    • 22 January 2014 10:25 AM
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    Wilko.

    Who are you trying to convince (or kid) here?

    You load all the dice and shove the three legged donkey forward in the hope that people put their shirts on it. Your ridiculous scenario is meant to prove what, exactly?

    For the record, I have NO DOUBT WHATSOEVER that 'Agent 1' will gain SOME instructions; just as he/she will lose some to his competition. That's the way of our business, in case you don't know - sellers choose who THEY want, for reasons sometimes only THEY understand.

    Back to reality - let's even out the field somewhat and remove the ridiculous handicapping system you imposed to make your 'point'.

    Same basics - small town; three Agents. Let's just pretend this time that all three are equally professional; of similar age and experience; have relatively similar Fee packages, give appraisal figures that actually represent the true worth of the property, and all share equal reputation. (...yeah, okay - it's a totally ridiculous scenario - but, remember, YOU started it!)

    Agent 1 is on Rightmove and Zoopla
    Agent 2 has decided to save some money - sorry, made the business decision - of dropping Zoopla in favour of (name to be announced)
    Agent 3 has decided to save MORE money / made a shrewd business decision (delete where applicable) and drop Rightmove and gone with the brand new bright and shiny offering.

    1. What will Agents 2 & 3 tell potential vendors is the reason for their 'business decisions'?
    2. What will Agent 1 tell the same vendors?

    For the record, my opinion of t'internet is that it is an necessary evil. It is a tool that, by their (our) own doing, has overtaken the importance of the Agent in the public's opinion of the homeselling process.

    Far as I'm concerned - cancel the bl00dy lot. Turn it off - let's go back to basics and see who's still here in five years.

    I'm up for it - but there'd be many who would rather sh!t alternate fireballs and icicles...

    • 21 January 2014 21:02 PM
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    One of the biggest issues that every agent needs to remember is the RM & ZPG support the no private listing rule, this is a fundamental part of their success with their respective clients “us the agents” should any portal ever gain momentum and allow private property listings then the need for these portals and the cost attached to them would fall downwards.
    In effect we the agents have a private listing club that is good for the industry and good for our clients should we stay or should we go isn’t the main bloody question it’s how are AM planning to pay for the servers and back up IT services required to cope with national coverage without charging similar fees to RM & ZPG That is the key question that needs to be asked until that is resolved they are just another noisy child jumping up and down looking for attention, portals in the property game needs to be left in the hands of those who know what they are doing in other words AM need to shut up be quiet and go away......

    WJC

    • 21 January 2014 20:28 PM
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    Agent 1 say I advertise on RM and ZPG
    Agent 2 says I advertise on RM and AM
    Agent 3 says I advertise o ZPG and AM

    They all charge the same, given that advertising on portals is a prime reason for vendors using an agent, which one do you think will get the instruction?

    • 21 January 2014 18:43 PM
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    @PEE BEE

    . "Vendors don't give a fuppeny tuck how much we pay to market their home - they only care about bang for buck. End result. Success".

    They may not care what we pay to market their home...but they sure care about what THEY will pay, and what price an agent believes they can get for their property, and their proffessionalism.

    If you were selling your house and there were 3 agents in your town.
    Agent 1 is 18, jumped up, doesn't know what he's talking about , values the property innacurately,charges 3.5 % sa, but milks the fact that he is on RM and Zoopla-you gonna choose him?....No,of course not.

    Agents 2 and 3 are proffessional, have agreat track record in your area, good value fees, a good approach to value of property, but are on RM and AM, Is that a deal breaker....really?.....
    You know it isn't .
    You know you would instruct one of the latter 2.....So why do you try and simplify it and say "that is why AM will fail"? you know estate agency is more than 3 portals?.....or do you?

    You make it sound like those that will sign up with RM and AM will not be able to compete with the ZPG and RM members....If you really think that portals (other than RM) are worth milking to the extent that you think it will make AM fail and the duopoly supporters the victors of the commencing portal battle, with the other agents left floundering then you must be wrong, assuming you agree that there are many many many reasons why someone would instruct an agent aside from wether they are with ZPG or AM along with RM?.

    • 21 January 2014 18:36 PM
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    " "Rm and Zoopla" or "RM and AM"...I really don't think that vendors will mind either of those pairings....Only AM members will be paying less for their pairing than the rm zpg subscribers."

    ...and THAT is exactly WHY this will fail. Vendors don't give a fuppeny tuck how much we pay to market their home - they only care about bang for buck. End result. Success.

    They KNOW RM. They KNOW Zoopla. Jeez - SOME even KNOW 'PPP' or whatever it calls itself - but they DON'T KNOW this new site - and those Agents who stick with the 'duopoly' will milk that for all it's worth... which I would consider to be an awfully big lump of potential instructions.

    • 21 January 2014 14:58 PM
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    wilko

    "I have never heard anythng so ridiculous from you..."

    You clearly don't read much of what I post then... ;o)

    "Or have you maintained your cinema advertising..."
    nope - it closed and is now a pub.
    "manual postal send out..."
    ABSOLUTELY - for those that want it
    "large adverts every week in the papers..."
    DEFINITELY - doesn't it work where you are?
    "large ad in the Yellow Pages(paper edition)..."
    nah
    "concession at the local supermarket..."
    I leave supermarkets to 'sell' what they 'sell' best
    "adverts on the telly in the doctors surgery..."
    You obviously haven't SEEN me, either... ;o)
    "highlighted entry in the phone book etc etc etc???"
    No, no and thrice no.

    In answer to your question regarding my 'jump' onto the RM bandwagon - it was as soon as I was able to do so. When RM became in the eyes of the vendor the MUST-HAVE marketing edge to have (thanks, in main, I remind all here, to AGENTS promoting it as such...), I was USING Estate Agents to market my company's homes, and was not an Agent myself (although 'was' previously to when we are taking about and 'am' once more...). I guess we are going back to early 2000s here. Agents 'sold' RM as a USP over their competition. Not so now - more like 'leave if you dare'. Every few weeks the old cherry raises its head - half a dozen scream they are going to cancel their subs and go it alone - but never do.

    Does AM offer 'the key'? Who knows - I certainly don't. I have said before - WHEN it proves itself to be a worthy contender, THEN it will grab my attention. Until then - the jury is out, I'm afraid.

    Last point - I think your rose-coloured specs need adjusting with regard to the numbers of 'pro' and 'anti' AM posts are concerned. Okay - I may have been inaccurate in my suggesting that the majority of comments were negative toward AM - but having read now a couple of dozen or more of these 'news' stories on the subject I have had the 'opinions' of hundreds flashed before me and of those, many like me are doubters of its' ability to show to match the blow.

    Call me a chicken if you wish, wilko - but I am not going to jeopardise what I currently do on the promise of a bang that could simply squeak like a damp f@rt..

    I'm just waiting for the announcement of the ridiculous portal name when it comes... any guesses?

    "Agents'r'Us" maybe? Or what about ""SonOfPropertyLive"?

    Who gets to decide? If it is put to a 'Members' Vote' - we'll still be up in the air in 2020...

    • 21 January 2014 14:51 PM
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    You make some good points...However.
    If, as you say, (and we all agree) that all vendors ask "are you on Rightmove" Then if, as will happen 2,000 + agent offices (current AM membership) immediately came off Zoopla, and advertised those properties on AM and Rightmove then why would you feel more confident of getting the instruction as you are on RM and Zoopla?
    "Rm and Zoopla" or "RM and AM"...I really don't think that vendors will mind either of those pairings....Only AM members will be paying less for their pairing than the rm zpg subscribers.
    Also you say that the AM will be "run by corporates who like to charge alot and are untrustworthy"
    This is not true....it is set up as a mutual organisation and will be run by it's members. EG Spicer Haart group have 1 vote, the same as a single office member who would also have 1 vote.
    Hope that has cleared this up for you.

    • 21 January 2014 13:50 PM
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    I have 7 offices across the north west. Ill be staying with RM and ZPG, its costs me approx £6k per month for both portals as a gold member with loads of add on's (microsites, local home pages, premium listings etc) and I see that as good value. It generates more leads than local press and for sale boards (we count) and the risk of dropping one isn't one im going to take on a website no one knows about and not all agents are on. I know its a short term view but I think its asking a lot to expect us to drop one.

    If AM were ok to add along 2 others it might stand a better chance of slow growth to be the 3rd biggest and then maybe fight for top spot but personally I think it will just be 'another' portal.... ran by Corporate Agents who in my experience like to charge a lot and are rather untrustworthy!

    But, if someone held a knife to my neck I would drop ZPG. Everyone asks 'are you on rightmove'.

    Just my opinion.

    • 21 January 2014 12:44 PM
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    No, I do not work for AM or work with Harry.

    • 21 January 2014 10:28 AM
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    Not withstanding the bias of the author(s) of this article, I will not naming singular arguments here but offer the following thoughts;

    If AM does not get off the ground, let alone succeed it will be because of the in-fighting, disagreement and general mistrust that exists between agents; much to the delight and hope of RM and Zoopla and their shareholders [see respective share price movements if you want confirmation of this].

    Co-operation amongst agents, a pioneering spirit and an awareness of the bigger picture is what is required to make this project work. There are a number of ‘posters’ here whose glasses always appear to be half empty. Apologies if some readers do not like this comment, but it is accurate.

    Please remember:- When Harry Hill first proposed the concept of “an electronic newspaper”, what we now know as RM, he was taking a punt on a project which lost £1m plus in its first year of operation. He had the foresight and vision to run with it, a pioneer. The result needs no further comment here.

    As has already correctly been mentioned, the AM ownership/membership structure will not allow the larger and more powerful members to take control or impose conditions and/or charges which the majority will not want. It would however be interesting to see the ‘articles of association’ that govern the voting and future decision making and what percentage of votes are required to carry a proposal? Majority vote or threshold vote?

    If anyone is aware please post.

    Rest easy:- Paul Smith will have no more of a vote than any other member, thankfully..!!!!

    On the subject of ‘LIMITED RISK’ :– Whilst I do not agree with the ‘one portal’ rule entirely I can see why it is being introduced; an attempt to fast track the project to a place of achieving critical mass with regard to listing numbers. Without it the strategy will require more time to reach its stated goal.

    The RISK in this brave venture is the seed money put up by GOLD members.

    Promotion and marketing of AM:- All member agents control all the vendors in the market by default. Apart from the marketing spend within AM’s budget [see proposal] each and every member agent has the opportunity and a duty to promote the AM website. Why wouldn’t they?

    Agents are perfectly placed to manage the expectations of vendors, and as we all know a large proportion of vendors are also buyers.

    And lastly, apologies for the length of the post.

    • 21 January 2014 10:21 AM
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    "If AM aims to take down the 2 players RM an ZPG, then they'd create a monopoly on the market and become an even bigger monster than RM and ZPG. Then how long before they would introduce astronomical fees that we'd have to pay?"

    You do know the meaning of the word mutual do you?
    Why would members charge themselves astronomical fees?.....I think you have really not looked into the AM proposal.

    • 21 January 2014 09:37 AM
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    And, hands up folks, how many here would trust something with Paul Smith involved?

    • 21 January 2014 09:22 AM
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    Poor piece of journalism this as many have already eluded to. Why would it be the end of Estate Agency as we know it. Unjustified attention grabber if ever I saw one.

    If AM aims to take down the 2 players RM an ZPG, then they'd create a monopoly on the market and become an even bigger monster than RM and ZPG. Then how long before they would introduce astronomical fees that we'd have to pay?

    • 21 January 2014 09:10 AM
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    If they used the exact words you quoted It could be considered misleading because "not on both the leading portals" could be considered to imply the properties are not listed on either of them.

    Nobody seems to be able to answer this......As a seller I would want my property on the market with maximum exposure as soon as possible. So how would an Agent who uses AM be working in my best interest.

    • 20 January 2014 18:24 PM
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    PEE BEE....sorry I forgot to mention;
    "but it simply ain't gonna work as you can see from pretty much every comment posted."
    This is simply not true.
    3 (poss4) posts out of 66 here clearly suggest that they believe AM will not work.
    7 (poss 9) out of 66 clearly believe it will work .
    The vast majority of posts here are simply critical of the way eat have dealt with the issue.
    So how can you say that when it isn't true?

    • 20 January 2014 16:32 PM
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    Pee Bee;

    "But you are advocating a "limited risk" that will potentially LOSE vendors enquiries from tried and tested..."

    I have never heard anythng so ridiculous from you in spite of your prolific posting.......Surely every decision any agent takes (including yourself) when marketing property could potentially LOSE vendor enquiries?....Or have you maintained your cinema advertising, manual postal send out, large adverts every week in the papers, large ad in the Yellow Pages(paper edition), concession at the local supermarket, adverts on the telly in the doctors surgery,highlighted entry in the phone book etc etc etc???
    There are many media that, as agents, we select and review regularly. In sacrificing or cutting back on newspaper adverts for example, we may LOSE enquiries from what was a tried and tested source but we have done it.....and continue to do it in favour of other media.
    At what point did you start advertising on Rightmove and Zoopla? as I would be very interested in the point at which you considered them "tried and tested" enough to start to use it (no doubt potentially losing applicants from switching some of your other media spend to pay for it)

    • 20 January 2014 16:17 PM
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    No they are not on both, but they are on one or the other they would need to be careful that strap line is not considered misleading. Also, you seem to be admitting ZPG and RM are still the main portals and probably will remain that way.
    1.How can a FACT be misleading?
    2.RM and Zoopla are, and will probably be at AM launch, the main portals...where it goes after that no one knows but the AM model works wether it becomes larger than RM and Zoopla or not.It will still play a part.

    Blue; As a vendor, any offer received in the first week before my property is fully marketed 'aint going to get my full attention....How can you say that...you could never know if you would accept an offer in the first 7 days...you may get a perfect offer and be inclined to accept.It is just an opinion..not a FACT.besides the choice would be yours as to wether you wanted it to go on Rightmove or Zoopla after 7 days to see if you got a betterresponse.But most serious buyers will register to AM (albeit with RM and Zoopla as well) as they wont want to miss out...you would register with AM yourself if you were looking - as it is consumer nature to not want to "miss out"
    I know it is hard for some people to accept but AM will work. There are no facts to indicate otherwise, just poorly grounded opinions.

    • 20 January 2014 15:52 PM
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    'MPA' - "Take another limited risk and back AM."

    But you are advocating a "limited risk" that will potentially LOSE vendors enquiries from tried and tested - and what is more important, ALREADY UP AND RUNNING - sources.

    AM's USP to date is that they will offer a cheaper alternative to 'the big two'. They claim to be a sensible alternative - but they want to load the dice in their favour pre-launch. Fair enough - I suppose I'd do the same - but it simply ain't gonna work as you can see from pretty much every comment posted.

    The ironic thing that your comment skates over is that in order for all these websites to become what they are, they clearly see the need to advertise in the media - whether it be press, radio or TV.

    Hmmm... funny, innit - those who make their fortune in cyberworld fill us with the belief that t'internet is some kind of self-sufficient miracle...

    • 20 January 2014 14:41 PM
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    There have been a number of references to the “zillions ££” and scale of the RM & Zoopla advertising budgets here and how AM could not possible compete etc etc, so it might be worth re-capping on the numbers in order to re focus the debate?

    RM’s last public accounts show;

    Revenues of £119.36m

    Costs £36.28m

    Profit (EBIT) £83.08m

    Therefore the total cost of running the RM business, including all forms of advertising and its 300+ staff equates to only £165 per month per subscriber, ALL IN.

    Most agency owners are risk takers otherwise you wouldn’t be in business on your own account, correct. Take another limited risk and back AM.

    • 20 January 2014 09:59 AM
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    What kind of post is that? Ignore the Haters????

    Is this suddenly facebook? the people commenting on the revised quality EAT are doing so because a trade news forum needs to be a bit more informed than bolting a question onto anything that comes in.

    Debate on AM? there are two polar opposite views for and against, end of. This hasn't added anything to the discusion but asking will AM change mean the end of estate Agency as we know it shows that whoever put this together doesn't understand what AM is or who is behind it.

    If the question was " Will AM manage to pull off the One other portal restriction?" you might have added a single percentage point to the credibilty of EAT.

    I have already unsubscribed to the newsletter and will rely on Property Drum.

    • 18 January 2014 22:14 PM
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    EAT:

    Brave publishing, we'll done.

    Ignore the haters. Obviously if you dare to question something people love, then you'll attract vitriol. All I can say is I hope you are chuckling into your Google Analytics as those page impressions rage.

    Publishing under the previous era could broadly be categorised as "oh, another press release, topped and tailed, and perhaps if we were lucky maybe twisted (somewhat bitterly) into a tabloid stab".

    Finally you are asking the questions that need to be asked.

    You were a bit negative in your bias - I agree with that. Though frankly it's hard not to be if you are posing the tough questions. Nobody has done that in public yet. Good on you.

    The comments in here, to address a critics point, are 20% aimed at the publishing standard. Half of them will be AM boosters crossed at the journalism asking questions at a critical juncture (as the cheques need signing). But 80% of them are debate on AM - and that's a healthy thing for agents, for the market, and especially for the publisher.

    So ignore the haters. They used to slag the churning out of Press Releases before (don't forget).

    Now to hone my arithmetic skills, here we go...

    • 18 January 2014 19:13 PM
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    Good point from Happy Chappy.

    As a vendor, any offer received in the first week before my property is fully marketed 'aint going to get my full attention.

    As a buyer, I'm going to get pretty hacked off when every property I bid on gets knocked back because the vendor wants to wait and see what happens when he gets on RM / Zoopla.

    AM might look good to agents but it has little or no benefit to buyers and sellers. They matter, we don't.

    • 18 January 2014 17:23 PM
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    "AM will only house 10-15% of the property so why would consumers look there? TO SEE THEM, OF COURSE!!!"
    they can see them without going to AM on RM or ZPG?

    "bearing in mind the advertising strapline that will, no doubt, go with the launch stating to the public the FACT that AM has circa 250,000 properties a year that are NOT on both the main Portals"

    No they are not on both, but they are on one or the other they would need to be careful that strap line is not considered misleading. Also, you seem to be admitting ZPG and RM are still the main portals and probably will remain that way.

    • 18 January 2014 16:50 PM
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    Wardy - I was inviting an alternative view to my own, something that would make me see why big on the market for 7 days with AM before another portal is a good thing.
    either for the buyers or the sellers

    As buyer I would only be interested in the first place to buy property if I know that I could see make an offer and the offer be accepted before anyone else sees it.....the likelihood of that is slim to none. Investors are interested in seeing properties first and they tend to see them first anyway.

    As a seller I would want my property on the market with maximum exposure as soon as possible. So how would an Agent who uses AM be working in my best interest.

    • 18 January 2014 16:40 PM
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    @MCS

    "But even if true, what if the very property they want is on that site of 10-15% and not on any other?"

    It will be within 7 days.

    • 18 January 2014 12:43 PM
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    Does everyone remember the fears over iSold?

    That went well.

    • 18 January 2014 12:42 PM
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    @ NON BELIEVER on 2014-01-17 17:31:14

    But even if true, what if the very property they want is on that site of 10-15% and not on any other?

    • 18 January 2014 09:57 AM
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    Of course EAT should address this subject.

    It is easy for the lemmings to jump on the AM waggon at the first whiff of cheaper fees, BUT, there are other things to consider which could have serious consequences.

    Debate and more opinions, for and against, are good.

    • 18 January 2014 08:22 AM
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    Not that long ago, on this very site, agents were predicting the fall of the portals due to the entry of Google property search.

    That went well.

    • 18 January 2014 08:12 AM
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    Has anyone seen the am business plan? It's a joke? They've got enough £ to advertise in my local chippy and that's about it! Big talk from little boys!

    • 18 January 2014 02:12 AM
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    "AM will only house 10-15% of the property so why would consumers look there?"
    TO SEE THEM, OF COURSE!!!...bearing in mind the advertising strapline that will, no doubt, go with the launch stating to the public the FACT that AM has circa 250,000 properties a year that are NOT on both the main Portals.Customers WILL register.. would be crazy not to. The big 2 can't advertise that they have ALL properties on their website in response as it wouldn't be true.
    You are lying to yourself if, say 2 years time, YOU want to move and you say you wouldn't look at property on AM? No way... you wouldn't want to miss out on potentially finding your ideal purchase.FACT again.

    • 17 January 2014 18:21 PM
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    The world was not created in 6 days - fact

    Some people believe otherwise - but it's still fact.

    Your stupid analogy that 250,000 properties will vanish from one of the portals in a year is bonkers. Whatever happens, a buyer will only need to visit RM and Z top get the whole market

    AM will still only offer 10-15% so why would they look there at all?

    And do you really think Z & RM will take it lying down?

    • 17 January 2014 17:31 PM
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    EAT & LAT.

    Just who and what are you now?
    It would seem you have become a mouthpiece and advertising platform for the 'big boys'

    • 17 January 2014 17:30 PM
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    WHEN AM LAUNCHES CIRCA 250,000+ PROPERTIES P/A WILL IMMEDIATELY DISSAPEAR FROM RM OR ZOOPLA TO THE AM SITE. and with them will follow potential buyers when the multi million £ site launch tells them to.FACT.
    Everyone is entitled to their own opinions but not to their own "facts"

    • 17 January 2014 17:03 PM
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    Anyone thought about this??

    So we are being asked to drop either RM or ZPG to go onto AM.

    If I decided to drop ZPG and remain on RM what would stop RM seeing this as a green light to increase my rate further? After all they will know that I'm not paying Zoopla anymore and I won't leave them because I need to be on at least one of the leading portal?!?!?

    • 17 January 2014 15:54 PM
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    Happy, Why ask a question then give your response in the same sentence?
    First day marketing is a massive USP.
    As a consumer would you be attracted by:
    a: 'The first place to find property' or
    b: 'Another property website'

    • 17 January 2014 15:48 PM
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    @@ Dave Evans also does it matter how soon listings go on AM, if the use of open house viewings is on the increase? This USP is pointless

    • 17 January 2014 15:37 PM
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    To give any new portal a chance the Agents would have to have dividend paying shares in the company - that would give them an incentive to promote it - just as they did for Rightmove. It was the agents who made RM a success - before the so called millions spent on subsequent advertising. - unfortunately they did not see the writing on the wall. The big boys set it up (the Whales) the independents (the Plankton) fed it!
    Exceptional marketing would also be required.

    • 17 January 2014 15:07 PM
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    Many portals have tried and are currently trying to knock Rightmove / ZPG off of the top. A cheaper portal is attractive but nothing unless they can direct buyers / tenants to their site - something which, as the above report suggests, would cost millions in advertising alone to do.
    Making a portal and getting agents on board is the easy bit!

    • 17 January 2014 14:05 PM
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    'Observation' -

    I couldn't agree more.

    Let's all post under a new headline -

    "The end of EAT as we knew it"

    Now, THAT is accurate... but it's old 'news'. The change was made two weeks ago but was not 'released' until pressure from the readership forced it out several days too late.

    Shame, really.

    • 17 January 2014 12:53 PM
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    @@DaveEvans

    And imagine the number of sole agencies NOT on agent mutual - like 90% of them which appear on BOTH Zoopla and Rightmove.

    You seem to want to break a duopoly by promoting the potential success of a monopoly. I am confused.

    Nevertheless - I think AM is a brave move and the people behind it don't know the meaning of failure. I wish them well and will as always watch with great interest.

    When you are unhappy, put up or shut up. AM have put up and done something rather than moan as son many have done for years. I respect that.

    I will also add that since their inception, I have always been happy with the service from RM & Z though I confess some of the pricing remains more complicated than quantum theory.

    Choice and competition can only be a good thing for the industry.

    • 17 January 2014 12:37 PM
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    If I were a serious buyer I would get to know the Agents not the portal and if you argue otherwise you are unfit to call yourself an Estate Agent for you are truly a passive intermediary.

    • 17 January 2014 12:35 PM
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    Explain why the 1 other portal rule is needed

    what it will achieve

    which one you are dropping

    • 17 January 2014 12:31 PM
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    I believe Agents Mutual will not have an impact unless it retains the 'only one other portal' rule.

    My views on these questions:

    1. It is irrelevant to ask if RM and Zoopla are not good value for money. The question is can we get much better value for money from Agents Mutual. The answer to that question is answered by the profit margins that RM and Zoopla maintain.

    2. I don't think that the key message from Agents Mutual is that a duopoly is a bad thing. In fact if Agents Mutual is successful they are likely to be part of a duopoly or hopefully even a monopoly.

    3. If Agents Mutual is a success of course it will make things better for Estate Agents. We will be saving money and have more control.

    4. Is the idea of Agents Mutual just an emotional response? I don't think so. It seems a very logical way forward.

    5. I can't see that dropping either Zoopla or RM would lose our agency many instructions. Vendors do not tend to make their decision on this issue. As long as you are on 1 or two top portals, you should not lose instructions over this.

    6.Can Agents Mutual justify its fees and compete on a National level? The fees seemed justified by the investment in setting up the portal and securing great brand awareness. It should be able to compete on a National level level because of this investment. As far as I can see the only thing that could stop it's success is agents' fear of change.

    7. Could there be unforeseen consequences? The fact that Zoopla and RM have 90% of the market and could become passive intermediaries is the main reason why we have signed up to Agents Mutual.

    • 17 January 2014 12:08 PM
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    I'm sorry but you are missing my point.
    I have been an estate agent for 36 years and am well aware of the points raised in your last post.
    You asked why people would potentially look on the AM site. It is a recognised fact that AM members will be taking on up to15,000 new sole agency instructions per month.(this will rise as membership does)
    Imagine...You are a potential buyer sitting at home watching Corrie or another prime time programme and when the ad break comes you see an ad for the AM site....The ad says something like "up to 15,000 properties a month will only appear on this site...if you are a serious buyer register now at....." or " 2000 estate agents will give you first choice of their exclusive properties for just 7 days if you register at...."
    I'm guessing that if you were a serious buyer you would start using the AM site if you thought you might get a "first look" at properties to market, or see properties that may not be on zoopla or rm.
    These are just 2 ways that the public could be engaged with the new site....there are many more.
    It is not as black and white as you see it.
    Hopefully this explains it a bit better.

    • 17 January 2014 11:17 AM
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    Joining AM is a political rather than commercial decision.

    • 17 January 2014 11:07 AM
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    @daveevans

    Good heavens. I will be telling vendors at valuation that A1 Estates only offer your property to 10% of the market for the first week - we advertise it to everyone"

    Thanks for the tip though.

    • 17 January 2014 11:06 AM
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    @DAVE EVANS

    Do you actually work in this business?

    Most applicants are registered via RM & Z.

    As soon as a new instruction comes on and before adverts are even produced, a good neg will have phoned it out mostly to applicants regiatered through the sites they are trying to break.

    The 7 day exclusivity model implies all properties sell in 7 days and that applicants start their search on day 1.

    Add in the fact that most offer received in the first week are met with "That was quick, lets wait a bit longer and see if we can get more" or "You sold that fast - was it too cheap?" or "Lets see what response we get from Rightmove" - because thats what your competition will tell people.

    • 17 January 2014 11:03 AM
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    As I said(I thought clearly) AM agents put their sole agency instructions exclusively on AM site for first 7 days from instruction...they would not appear on RM or Zoopla until after that period. Public will not want to miss out so will all use AM site to see poss 12-15,000 properties BEFORE they appear on other sites.

    • 17 January 2014 10:58 AM
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    I have been reading this site for a very long time.

    I have never seen so many articles with so few comments - many have NONE.

    This one only got a response because of the poor standard of the article rather than the actual content.

    • 17 January 2014 10:56 AM
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    One thing you have missed is that RM & Z are actually very good products.

    The rewards v risk of delisting to save peanuts isn't worth it just because people object to their profit margins.

    And do you really thing they will let their market share fall significantly?

    They only need to reduce their prices and AM is screwed - OR imagine they open their doors to vendors....

    Instead of £500 per office, they could get a few hundred quid PER LISTING

    • 17 January 2014 10:54 AM
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    Ros will be back to reporting on the industry before very long. Just not on this site. Watch this space.

    • 17 January 2014 10:44 AM
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    Good Grief!

    Why would an agent us a portal with 10% of the market?

    You delist from Rightmove and Zoopla and they have zero (0)% of the market! ZERO!!!!

    You are the market, you have the properties. Rightmove and Zoopla don't win you instructions, you give them the properties.

    The market goes where the properties are. No properties on RM or Zoopla, where are people going to go?

    AM provides you with one member one vote. The big boys signed up to AM won't be able to push anyone around or steamroll anthing through because the members (YOU) all have the same vote? (Unlike Primelocation where agents had bigger shares)

    How about not listing on RM, Zoopla or AM and forget portals altoghether.

    Promote your own website, your local presence and win instruction like you used to? Its a bit radical I know, but come on everyone. The record is broken.

    But if you don't fancy that radical change, get behind a company that will give you a voice and you have control of.

    I think I've got more chance of seeing Elvis in Tesco's than getting agents to work together for a common goal!!!

    • 17 January 2014 10:37 AM
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    Seriously I am fed up with this 5hit. Is there no-one in the building who knows the answers or has an opinion.

    Every single story for the past two weeks has been a shockingly amatuer rehash of a story with just a single question shoved on the front or end.

    • 17 January 2014 10:35 AM
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    It's not sniping. Fact is, the only value EAT has is the readers. It determines the value of their advertising.

    If they continue to ignore the fair criticism from it's consumers, it will fail.

    People will stop reading it whether or not they express their views, but by expressing them offers the opportunity to fix it before its too late.

    • 17 January 2014 10:33 AM
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    @@Dave Evans

    "EXCLUSIVE PROPERTIES is the answer"

    How are they exclusive when they will also appear on either RM or Z?

    • 17 January 2014 10:29 AM
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    There are some salient points but they lose their impact when objectivity and impartiality are so blatantly dismissed.

    Really EAT - you need to re-read the myriad of excellent article written by Ros which questioned, challenged and provoked.

    Get some decent blogs from people who have the readers respect and really know what they are talking about.

    Where are these people? Have they left with Ros?

    There is something odd happening at EAT.

    • 17 January 2014 10:28 AM
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    In answer to your question "why will consumers go to AM when they can see everything on an alternative site?"
    EXCLUSIVE PROPERTIES is the answer...If the TV ads etc for AM say AM agents will exclusively put their properties on AM 7 days before ANY OTHER SITE the public wont want to miss out and will save to favourites immediately....initially with agent registrations for AM as they are now there would be 10-15,000 new instructions that would go on AM 7 days before those agents will put on their other 1 site.Buyers will love it.

    • 17 January 2014 10:27 AM
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    Let's not snipe at one another nor indeed at EAT, doesn't really help.
    Good luck to AM, its a brave idea to help us agents to pay lower fees than Rightmove have pushed us up to. Or is it? Will agents really have enough control of AM to ensure its fees don't blow out too once they become successful? Hopefully yes.
    I do understand why they want to 'divide & conquer' but sorry, as a bloody minded independent I do not see why I should support AM in practice, whilst they want to tell me where I may or may not direct my marketing spend. Until they drop this demand for just one other website (or however they have worded it) I see no reason to support them ... but I want to.

    • 17 January 2014 10:25 AM
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    This, to me, is transparently an article sponsored by one of the duopoly. My question is are they fearing that their arrogance, exorbitant fees and "profiteering" profit margins under threat? It's not just about the money; one of the duopoly suggested we "sack staff and spend more money with them instead" when we suggested renegotiating our rates during the downturn.

    • 17 January 2014 10:19 AM
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    Shame, shame, shame EAT....and ridiculously obvious!!

    I will be going with whichever portal openly shuns private listings the most. Simple as that. Their is simply not enough business from private listings out there for either portals to survive on these alone. And try asking general public for near £758 a month (what we pay zoopla) for them to sell their house themselves!!

    I think agents should use these posts to show what they are being charged by RM & Z as I've noticed their pricing model is not regular in the slightest.

    We get charged £758 pm from Z and £836 from RM. How much do you get charged?

    • 17 January 2014 10:11 AM
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    If you look hard enough you can spot the Zoopla employees or the PR company reps (who have been recruited by Zoopla) leaving their negative posts about AM on every single article in an attempt to quash the new portal before it takes off.

    Float coming up soon remember!

    • 17 January 2014 10:08 AM
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    Actually Tevor & Nat

    Zoopla has over 90% of the market listed and so does RM.

    90% between them would imply 45% each.

    That said, the key here is the consumer. Why would anyone use a portal which offers 10% of the market when then can get whole market from either RM or Z.

    Remember, that half the people who visit Z dont visit RM as they realise the results are the same.

    Why would an agent risk business where an average deal is worth £3k in order to save a couple of hundred quid a month?

    • 17 January 2014 10:05 AM
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    Mr expensive , local print and portals do a different job don't they ?

    I presume you mean portals give us buyer leads and papers give us vendors . Do you really belive that people sit at home engaging with the Internet , sending you emails and then say " well that's my interest in the houses I'm going to buy registered , now I need to select an agent . I must go to the shop and get the local paper to see which agents are in so I can pick one of them "

    Probably why your names quite apt...

    • 17 January 2014 10:03 AM
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    Whatever anyone says it is the AGENTS themselves who hold the key - just a matter of turning it.

    • 17 January 2014 10:03 AM
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    Well done EAT. You have turned an important issue into a non story.

    Regardless of views on AM, it is just a portal and not as the headline claims "beginning of the end of estate agency as we know it?"

    Its just an alternative.

    • 17 January 2014 09:59 AM
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    Goodbye EAT- this is the most one sided, biased and journalistically bankrupt piece of rubbish I've read in years.
    The more Zoopla (oops I mean EAT) shout the more obvious it is that their business model ends in 12 months. unlike my subscription to EAT which ends. Now.

    • 17 January 2014 09:55 AM
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    @ david AND disgusted wilko

    A duopoly with a stranglehold on services to estate agency ...

    like the MON opoly of EAT you mean ? You're right DW we need an alternative ... with a good name reflecting the agency community ... hmmm ...

    Estate Agency Mutual Times !

    • 17 January 2014 09:53 AM
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    @ david - that's the problem...they can't ! (see notes about RM & Z household names, zillions advertising budget etc.)

    • 17 January 2014 09:47 AM
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    @ disgusted wilko - quite agree. another pointless diatribe on the same old subject. Come back Rebecca, all is forgiven methinks ?

    • 17 January 2014 09:45 AM
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    The fact that two private Companies can have this stranglehold on the estate agency market cannot be a good thing. They are making tremendous amounts of money and can almost name their price as far as monthly fees are concerned.

    If Agents mutual can provide a rival service at a more reasonable cost then I am all for it

    • 17 January 2014 09:43 AM
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    Very interersting story and many of these questions are the ones I have asked myself. Exactly why I will NOT be supporting Mutual and neither will nay sensible agent I know.

    • 17 January 2014 09:39 AM
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    TO EA TODAY - THIS IS SIMPLY APPALLING.
    Do you think we are so thick as to play along with your sponsors demands to get you to do a factfind on readers intentions?
    TO RESPONSIBLE AGENTS-DO NOT INDULGE THIS PUBLICATION BY DOING ANYTHING RE POSTS OR SURVEYS. The purpose of which is for the portals to find out what the intentions/feelings are in the industry so they can plan accordingly to continue to get the most out of you.,...Whether you support AM or not.

    This is the last straw for me with this publication.....never mind a new portal.....someone start up a DECENT trade publication......I'll put in!

    • 17 January 2014 09:35 AM
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    If Agents Mutual is to survive it needs to have a critical mass of advertisers so that it can generate traffic to the site, let alone having an income to compete with ZPG and RM.
    If Agents Mutual drops the exclusivity +1 part of its contract it will weaken its ability to attract and maintain its agent base. I am still on the fence about whether or not to join, I only run RM now having dropped ZPG for trying to gouge me on charges after the merger. Since then ZPG have come back to me several times with much more sensible price policies, but you know what I am doing better than ever without ZPG. I constantly ask their sales reps what they offer that is different and they have no answer. Probably explains why its a different rep every few months.
    Long story short, Agents Mutual needs to justify its existence through ability to bring traffic to the site and to do that it needs money.

    p.s. this is certainly a very different editorial style from EA Today

    • 17 January 2014 09:29 AM
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    I'm sorry but this stinks.

    All those questions raised have been asked in a negative light. Where's the questions about what AM could bring to the table and the benefits we, the agents see in it?

    • 17 January 2014 09:20 AM
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    Comments working OK. Responses coming in thick and fast from the survey.
    @Trevor, thanks and sorted.

    • 17 January 2014 09:07 AM
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    SURVEY??

    "We are raising the questions but we want to hear your views."

    NONE of the 'questions' you pose above appear in your "survey".

    Thanks for wasting a few seconds of my time clicking onto it.

    You can't even hyperlink properly to enable a new page to open.

    • 17 January 2014 09:00 AM
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    First bullet point - surely they have 90% between them? Big T

    • 17 January 2014 09:00 AM
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    Agents' Mutual represents an Armageddon scenario for ZPG and a temporary strengthening of the monopoly of Rightmove.

    Will it work?

    Probably in the long term, yes.

    • 17 January 2014 08:59 AM
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    It is a good story and certainly food for thought. Maybe all thoughts and comments are just going into the survey...

    • 17 January 2014 08:58 AM
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    "Given their cost per month compared with local print publications, given the number of leads they produce.........."

    And the evidence to support this statement is ........?

    Local Press and portals do a different job, don't they?

    • 17 January 2014 08:56 AM
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    Most unusual? - As a "Hot Topic" this article has been viewed nearly 1000 times before 9 am on the day of its publishing yet there are no comments?? Something wrong with EA comms me thinks!

    • 17 January 2014 08:53 AM
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