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Boomin founder – Rightmove dominance is ‘not healthy’ for property industry

Industry's marmite figure Michael Bruce claims only his platform has the financial and marketing muscle to prise consumers away from Rightmove.

Nigel Lewis

michael bruce boomin rightmove

Boomin founder Michael Bruce has launched a forensic attack on rival Rightmove, criticising its huge profits, lack of tech investment and unhealthy dominance of the property portal market.

Bruce has made the comments on the morning that the portal reveals its latest results, claiming that its shareholders will be delighted by the firm’s return to ‘business as usual’ following its fees suspension, which ended in October.

As The Neg reported recently, Rightmove has returned to increasing its monthly fees even though, Bruce claims, its agents face a choppy business environment this year as the stamp duty holiday ends and the real state of the economy is revealed post-Covid.

“The property portal market has been broken for the past decade, lacking meaningful competition,” he says in an open letter.

“Rightmove is an example of market failure. By its own admission it has a market share approaching 90%. Impressive? The consequences for now and into the future are anything but.

“And Rightmove’s profits don’t reflect the housing market. Between 2008 and 2019 the volume of annual housing transactions has fallen 27% – while their average estate agent customer has been hit with fee hikes totalling some 350%.”

Bruce also blasts Rightmove for its lack of investment in new tech; £14 million over the past decade while at the same time making a profit of £1.3 billion.

Bruce claims that without ‘meaningful competition’ – a sideswipe at Zoopla and OTM – Rightmove will continue to increase its fees.

“Continuous innovation and fair competition are essential for any properly functioning market and for the good of the estate agency industry that we all serve,” he says, claiming – unsurprisingly – that Boomin has the marketing and financial muscle to take on Rightmove.

February 26, 2021

One comment

  1. I’m pretty sure my view will be unpopular but I am a fan of Rightmove, not because they are startlingly advanced with their technology and not because they appear to be greedy ‘bar-stewards’ but because they fought their way to the top and could lay claim to carrying circa 96% of all available UK property. Before the dominance of Rightmove there was no single place to show a client’s property where you could be sure that it would/should be seen by almost all currently active buyers – there were endless sites/portals offered by newspapers and others, all wanting hefty payment and not producing the goods – the only option was to advertise property on a wide range of sites in the hope of getting the coverage. The recent anti-Rightmove movement with every man and his dog now claiming to be setting up the best ever property portal is going to take us back to where we were 20 years ago – a large number of Wannabe property portals offering discounts, claiming the earth and not delivering. They may all be infinitely more sophisticated than the current leading portals but until the public adopts one as their ‘go to’ property search portal, agents will be left wandering which way to turn, spreading themselves thin as they try to back a number of ‘horses’. If and when a winner emerges we will all breathe a sigh of relief as the winner ups their charges and becomes every bit as greedy as the current market leaders.

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