BLOG: Could Rightmove become the next ‘Blockbuster’?

OneDome boss Babek Ismayil says that the real estate industry must transition from outdated, disjointed services to integrated, end-to-end solutions.

Rightmove has been the dominant force in property portals for almost two decades. But the question on everyone’s lips is how much longer this will be the case?

Disruptors have been seeking to dethrone Rightmove for several years now with suggestions ranging from class actions or boycotts by estate agents to outspending Rightmove in marketing and offering exclusive listings for a limited time.


More recently there has been a significant focus from both the investor community and the industry on CoStar Group‘s acquisition of OnTheMarket and it looks like their ambitious marketing plan to displace Rightmove from its top position may hold some traction.

Displacing a dominant classifieds player like Rightmove is extremely challenging.”

Displacing a dominant classifieds player like Rightmove with a similar business model is extremely challenging. While competitors can take actions that might have an impact, ultimately, they’re unlikely to be anything more than an annoyance and hen it comes to Rightmove, much more will be needed to unseat it from its top position.

Why? Because there is simply no compelling reason for home buyers to switch. And it’s this, the opinion of the consumer, that allows Rightmove to continue with its ‘Keep calm and increase fees’ approach.

Not a single would-be usurper has factored homebuyers into the discussion.”

The surprising thing in all of these machinations is that the home buyer and their experience is at the heart of Rightmove’s success, and yet not a single would-be usurper has factored them into the discussion.

Rightmove’s strength has always been its focus on property search. It revolutionised the housing market in 2000 by consolidating listings from newspapers into a single online platform, making it easier for buyers to find available properties. It made finding homes easy, accessible, even if you were looking at a long-distance move, even if you were looking overseas and that’s what the consumer wanted. But that model may no longer be fit for purpose as consumer expectations are changing.


The singular focus of Rightmove has also become its weakness. The brand’s success – with over 70% profit margins and strong influence over estate agents – has led to complacency.

With no pressing need to innovate, Rightmove has stuck to its original model, stopping at the search stage and leaving buyers to navigate the rest of the home-buying process on their own and that doesn’t gel with the seamless, integrated experiences that contemporary consumers expect.

A new standard for convenience and efficiency.”

To understand the potential for disruption, consider the evolution of e-commerce from old internet classifieds like Craigslist to comprehensive online marketplaces like Amazon.

Craigslist provided a centralised platform for classified ads but offered a fragmented experience. Users had to contact sellers, negotiate deals, and handle payments independently.

Amazon, on the other hand, integrated product listings, payment processing, and logistics into one seamless platform, making it incredibly easy for consumers to find, purchase, and receive products. This holistic approach set a new standard for convenience and efficiency, making Amazon one of the most loved consumer brands in the world.


The future of real estate lies in adapting to the evolving needs of consumers. Just as e-commerce evolved from fragmented classifieds like Craigslist to comprehensive platforms like Amazon, the real estate industry must transition from outdated, disjointed services to integrated, end-to-end solutions.

Imagine a world where buying a home is seamless and stress-free. Picture discovering a dream property, viewing it with an agent, securing a mortgage online, and handling all legalities on one platform.

This isn’t a distant dream; it’s the future and also the biggest risk for incumbent businesses like Rightmove. They are forced to reinvent themselves, think differently, and take risks—or face becoming the next Blockbuster.

Babek Ismayil is Founder and Chief Executive of property transaction platform OneDome

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