Over 600 agents have now signed up to the Say No To Rightmove campaign including some of the biggest names on the High Street.
Fine & Country, Hunters, Northwood and Belvoir are amongst the company names cited on the Say No To Rightmove website as being signatories: however, the website makes clear these were opposed to the deferred payment plan initially put forward by the portal.
On Friday that plan was pulled and instead a much more appealing 75 per cent reduction was announced for the near future – bringing some support for the measure from critics of Rightmove.
The question for the number one portal is whether critics will continue with their threat of de-listing from Rightmove, seeing the current Coronavirus crisis as an opportunity for the wider industry to reset its marketing priorities.
Meanwhile Zoopla’s more complicated ‘two options’ offer to agents has drawn criticism because of what some see as its opportunistic nature.
The portal is to be free of charge for agents with fewer than 30 branches, which it says comprises 80 per cent of its client base.
This free period will be nine months if an agent leaves Rightmove, and up to five months for free if the agent does not. Both options then require agents to sign to an 18-month contract with Zoopla after the free listing ends, and the portal’s normal fees resume.
On Property Industry Eye one critic wrote of the Zoopla offer: “Is this really the time to use the virus for your own benefit? For me, the Zoopla offer is tasteless – why can’t they just make it free or reduced with no caveats? Maybe they are RM in disguise”.
On Twitter the digital consultancy Propportunities tweeted: “Zoopla’s supporting Zoopla! Is their response to crisis just a misleading opportunistic offer to prise agents off RM and on to long-term contracts?”
And property commentator, agent and PR company chief Russell Quirk tweeted: “Crass from Zoopla. PR rule number one – don’t try to capitalise on a crisis, at least not publicly.”
Industry analyst Anthony Codling summed up the situation by saying on social media: “You couldn’t make this up – Zoopla now offering agents nine months free if they leave Rightmove – as if times weren’t interesting enough. Who will be the first portal to pay estate agents to list?”