Nick Salmon's call to agents to support the concept of PropertyLive as an agent-owned site becoming a ‘line in the sand' against excessive portal charges has provoked a very strong and positive response, he said last night.
Over 100 agents posted their views on EAT and many more than this number have privately emailed Salmon with their views.
Assessing the response, Salmon said: “It is very clear that there is profound concern among agents over the power and charging structure of the big portals.
“I would go so far as to say there is a genuine fear that one way or another these portals will slowly but surely exert a stranglehold on agents – perhaps by direct-to-consumer offerings – and as a result there is a strong appetite for the creation of a credible, viable, agent-owned portal that will give agents the ability to say 'no' to excessive charging.
“I have been immensely impressed by the fact that none of the comments and expressions of support I have received has talked about taking Rightmove/Zoopla head-on. That was never the intention of my call. Both these portals are, and will probably continue to be, a vital part of agents' marketing mix.
“But to create a buffer, many agents are willing to pay for PropertyLive, subscribe for shares, and pay a subscription.
“It is evident that if they own it they will promote it. If they promote it they will list their properties on it. If their properties are on it, the public will view and buy, and in time expect their properties to be listed on PropertyLive.
“It will take time but it really can become a virtuous circle. And while it is but a dream, the reality is that if all agents joined PropertyLive and only listed their properties on PropertyLive, that is where the public will go. I do not for one moment expect that to happen overnight. But it might. Over time.”
Salmon said he is confident that NFoPP will take note of the response to his call and that it is by no means a foregone conclusion that PropertyLive is a dead duck.
He said: “If a coherent and commercially sound proposition is made to NFoPP, I have every reason to expect that it will be seriously considered.
“PropertyLive is sick, but it can be made well and it can thrive for the good of all the industry.
“I do have a certain sympathy for NFoPP in that it is clear, just in these few days since I made the call, that there are an awful lot of firms and individuals who think they could run PropertyLive more effectively than NFoPP.
“Perhaps one should be sceptical of the claims, and part of the resurrection of PropertyLive should be to have a completely dispassionate review of the softwares on offer by an independent third party that can assess the merits of each one.”
One of the most telling comments made was that, whilst a laudable and desirable aim, bringing agents together to make PropertyLive work would be akin to herding cats.
Salmon says he has not got the time or inclination to go herding, but that if agents keep sending him their support – and, he stresses, they need to do this quickly – the case to build PropertyLive into the buttress against the big portals inexorably ramping their charges will grow to unstoppable proportions.
Salmon said: “Agents have a one-off opportunity to alter their future for the better. We all need to grasp it. Now.”
Nick Salmon can be reached at email@example.com