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Former eMoov boss admits he failed and claims online agents have limited appeal

Russell Quirk says online sector will only ever reach 10% of property market and that there are too many operators in the sector, one of the key reasons he blames for eMoov's failure.

Nigel Lewis

Former Emoov CEO Russell Quirk has made an astonishing attack on the online agency sector criticising it for grabbing just 7% of the property market despite having spent £150 million on acquiring market share.

Quirk made the comments based on Rightmove figures and his own marketing spend calculations and went on to predict that online agents would only take 10% of the market.

He also pointed out that not a single founding CEO survives from among those who started up the UK’s original online estate agents following the departure of Michael Bruce from Purplebricks last week.

During the short presentation at the Future Proptech show at the Business Design Centre in London yesterday, he also admitted that he had failed during his time as boss of eMoov, describing the speech as a ‘cathartic’ process following the multi-million pound collapse of his hybrid agency.

Quirk said eMoov failed because too many online agents have entered the market and that the cost of acquiring instructions increased dramatically during the later years of its existence.

Too cheap

He also claimed that – most seriously for the surviving online agencies – consumers just don’t trust a service that appears ‘too cheap’ compared to traditional agencies.

“When eMoov started our only competitors were Hatched and HouseNetwork but there are now 55 online and hybrid agencies operating in the market,” he said.

All of these companies have been fighting to dominate paid Google results from searches and have pushed up the cost of ‘clicks’ from £2 when eMoov was launched to £50 a click.

“I don’t want to make light of eMoov’s failure, but we likened our weekly marketing meetings to burning bundles of £10 notes, such were the spiralling costs.”

May 15, 2019

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