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Interview: Industry leader backs Boomin despite previous run-ins with Bruce brothers

Iain White's dislike of Purplebricks means agents may be surprised he’s backing Boomin but says it’s industry's big chance to challenge portals

Nigel Lewis


Leading industry consultant Iain White (pictured) says he is backing Boomin despite previous run-ins with its founders, Michael and Kenny Bruce, when they ran Purplebricks.

White tells The Negotiator that his 30 years’ experience as a senior director and board member of several well-known agencies, and long track record of questioning the leading property portals, has convinced him that Boomin is the best chance agents have to weaken Rightmove and Zoopla, particularly as he believes that OnTheMarket has run its course.

White says he has met the Bruce brothers and was given the chance to scrutinise their offering in detail, despite his vociferous criticism of Purplebricks in the past.

Challenged on whether he has a commercial link to it, White says: “I am not employed by them but I am acting as a liaison in the capacity as a representative of my consultancy between them and the many agents who I work with, most of whom have chosen to sign up with Boomin, some following discussions with me, and some of their own accord.

“I feel strongly that the current portal space is not in the best interests of estate agents or the consumer, but I know that the many people who know of my opposition to Purplebricks will be surprised by me backing Boomin.”

White says he met the Bruce brothers recently because his clients kept asking about the venture, and he went to find out what the ‘million-dollar’ catch was but couldn’t find one and, after being shown the contracts agents are signing, including their data usage provisions, became a convert.

Not a patsy

“I am not a patsy or a puppet of Boomin, but I felt compelled to back the solution and become a channel through which agents can air their worries and issues about it,” he adds.

White says he wants agents to decide whether to go with the platform or not based on the facts rather than on the opinions of ‘keyboard warriors’ who spread disinformation.

“I wouldn’t put my name behind it and risk my reputation if I didn’t believe it offers a genuine alternative to the big portals and creates a much more positive environment for estate agents and a better experience for home buyers and sellers,” he says.

“If agents stay with Boomin after the free period and start paying it will – if it succeeds and it may not – have done enough to either change or reduce the other portals’ ability to charge such high fees by moving enough customers’ eye balls to make it a viable proposition,

“This could shift the one-sided relationship agents have with portals and in particular Rightmove, on fee negotiations.

“If it fails then after the two-year free period agents will be released, and even if they have started paying, they will also be free exit too – as Boomin has no long-term tie that the portals have traditionally insisted on.”

November 27, 2020

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