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Time for ‘challenger portals’ to do some challenging, SayNoToRightmove urges

Representing 4,000 agents, campaign says it's time Boomin, Homesearch, OneDome, OpenBrix and PropertyHeads began upping their game.

Nigel Lewis

rightmove portals

The campaign representing the many agents unhappy with Rightmove’s relentless price rises has called for the so-called challenger portals to step up to the mark.

This has come from the #SayNoToRightmove campaign led by estate agency Acorn CEO Rob Sargent, which together with three other groups claims some 4,000 estate agent supporters.

An update from the organisation calls on the many platforms that claim to the ‘next Rightmove’ to up their marketing efforts and tackle the portal head-on within the public domain.

These include the soon-to-launch Boomin but also portals such as Homesearch, Onedome, OpenBrix and PropertyHeads.

“Perhaps the first of the challengers to launch with a properly funded, direct [B2C] marketing strategy will be Boomin,” the statement says.

“Only time will tell if they can live up to their promise of being the ‘agents’ friend’.”

“The dichotomy remains that UK independent estate agents really are the ‘kingmakers’ of the portals industry, if only they believed it.

“If we did all choose to align where our instructions are all listed, we could equally control what we spend.”

#SayNoToRightmove claims Rightmove has ‘learned nothing’ from the pain of the Covid months for agents and is returning to full tariff fees regardless and, as The Negotiator recently reported, increasing fees to some agents from their pre-Covid levels.

“Only the hardest negotiating and most confident agents have either held out for a better deal or, when forced to the limit, walked away,” the statement says.

“The inequity of the estate agency industry’s relationship with the UK’s biggest portals remains – for many – their most frustrating and biggest challenge.”

What do the challenger portals say?

OneDome – Babel Ismayil, CEO

“I agree that in order to adequately challenge the household portal brands, there is a need for large financial backing and I am pleased to say that the funding market is open for companies. OneDome has just raised £5 million from a group of investors and we will raise double of that amount in the next 16 months.

“I am also pleased to say that since our launch of the portal in Autumn 2019, we are going from strength to strength and after 12 months we are currently generating up to 80 leads per estate agency branch listing with us per month and we are growing.”

PropertyHeads – Ben Davis, founder

“We stand should to shoulder with SNTRM, and all estate agents, in our determination to bring about structural change in the UK portal market.

“But SNTRM seem to be suggesting the need for a single portal to topple Rightmove – we do not believe this is the case.

“Rightmove came to dominance during a time where pay-to-list was the only viable portal business model. We see portals increasingly moving to the ‘freemium’ model. In this situation the logical thing for all agents to do is to list with all credible portals.

“Believe me, if you have five or even eight portals listing all available stock, in the inter-connected world we live in today, no one player will be able to maintain a majority of the public’s attention.”

Visit the #SayNoToRightmove website.

October 8, 2020

One comment

  1. Interesting report by Rob Sargent. My reply to our reference that OpenBrix and the other challenger portals will “need huge marketing budgets to go toe to toe with Rightmove, Zoopla and On The Market” is to point out that he later goes on to show the solution. He states, “The dichotomy remains that UK independent estate agents really at the ‘kingmakers’ of the portal industry, if only they believed it”. I agree with him completely and I am certain all agents do to. The public will go where the properties are. This very point is the proof of Rightmove’s success. Agents pushed all consumers to them. So the power is with the agents. My only other comment is that OpenBrix is the only differentiated entity that is on the agents side and controlled by the agents, as it is powered and run by a public community platform. This means that the consumer benefits are also secured for them. Proper democratisation of a portal that can never hold a sting in the tail! Adam Pigott – CEO, Openbrix

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