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Rightmove shares slide as agents grumble

Rightmove customers give negative response to data sharing.

The Negotiator

Rightmove announced full year results on Friday 24th February, reporting further success. Pre-tax profits rose from £137.1m in 2015 to £161.5m in 2016, up by almost 18 per cent. Revenues rose by 15 per cent to £220m. So why, on that day, did their shares slide down a steep hill – down 5.8 per cent to £40, wiping over £200 million off its value?

Rightmove Chairman, Scott Forbes said, “Our audience, best in class platforms and significant property inventory advantage coupled with our focus on innovation at the core of our business drives our value proposition for the benefit of both our trade customers and consumers. Property data has always been at the core of what we do and we are excited about continuing to harness the power of our data to drive further transparency and efficiency in the property market, predict market opportunities and drive success for our customers and consumers.”

There’s no doubt that Rightmove is doing well for its investors, so it is possible that the fall was due to the announcement of Nick McKittrick’s (pictured right) forthcoming retirement, as the national papers deduced, but could there also be growing unrest among Rightmove’s 20,121 Agency and New Homes customers?

RIGHTMOVE CUSTOMER SENTIMENT

On Friday, anger grew about the news that Rightmove is to support a new venture in which the entire database of Rightmove’s 20,000 agency customers is to be subject to a ‘major study’ by The Property Academy, a trading name of Estate Agency Events, a commercial organisation owned by Peter Knight, who said,

“We have decided to undertake the first ever, independent appraisal of all estate agents. We will identify and shine a light on the very best and provide them with opportunities to stand out from the crowd. The search is already underway, with every estate and letting agency branch included. We are in the process of analysing hundreds of thousands of data points and conducting mystery shops involving tens of thousands of telephone and email enquiries. The Property Academy has teamed up with Rightmove for this new initiative and we are very excited to be working closely with Rightmove as our primary data source.”

Rightmove’s head of marketing Iain Kennedy said, “We’re excited to be partnering with the Property Academy and offering our market-leading tools and data to help with their ambitious new study that will recognise excellence in the industry. The appraisal will make use of Rightmove data from 25m interactions with agents and consumers, as well as reviewing the performance of over 4m individual property listings.”

NEGATIVE REACTION

The reaction from Rightmove member agents has been less than supportive, with many viewing it as “an unwelcome intrusion to our business,” a “misuse of our confidential data” and a “money-grabbing scheme”. Other customers, who did not wish to be named for obvious reasons, said that it is outrageous that a commercial organisation such as Estate Agency Events, should be allowed access to – and use of  – their company data generated through their business operations with the portal, which they believe should be confidential.

We’d like to hear more views from estate and lettings agents. Leave your comments below or email The Negotiator at:

opinion@thenegotiator.co.uk

http://plc.rightmove.co.uk/investors/financial-reports-and-publications/2016.aspx

(1) Source: Advertising Association Warc report December 2015

 

February 27, 2017

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