An Estate Agency Today story claims that 75% of agents are threatening to quit rightmove. The article stated "an astonishing 75.7% of agents who participated in the Estate Agent Today poll say they will not be renewing their annual subscriptions to Rightmove. A total of 1,230 votes have been cast so far. Of these, 931 (75.7%) say they will not renew while 299 (24.3%) say they will stay with the hugely successful portal, which claims a 90% share of the listings market."
Now a couple of comments about the survey. Firstly, anyone can complete the survey - i did and i am not an agent. Therefore there is no way that Estate Agency Today can know that it was agents who completed the survey. Secondly, the survey does not systematically interview agents to find out their true intentions rather it is most likely to be answered by those unhappy with the service and can be bothered to answer the survey. Therefore i am not surprised at the results - however i dont believe them.
Now in a recent email chat with the PR guys at rightmove.co.uk, they stated that "Rightmove customers take the Rightmove service under rolling contracts under which they are able to give one month’s notice to leave at any time". Assuming this is true, why wouldnt the 75% who are theatening to quit rightmove just give notice and cancel their subscription today?
I think the reality of the situation is that in a tough market an agent looks at cutting all costs and as rightmove costs £400 and £500 per month per estate agency office, an agent would naturally want to cut that cost. In tight situations, marketing is always the first cost to be cut.
However, there is also the reality of the situation that rightmove.co.uk attracts the greatest number of visitors to any portal site and therefore are most likely generating the most leads. Now lets compare it with Globrix (a free site). In August 2008, according to comScore, rightmove had 2.4 million unique browsers while Globrix had 253k unique browsers. Therefore, although you have to pay, you are probably getting 9.5 times as many leads from rightmove as you are getting from Globrix.
The question agents really have to ask themselves is losing ~90% of your leads worth saving £400 and £500 per month - i seriously doubt it. And if they do leave, the consumer numbers are likely to stay with rightmove for some period of time and therefore those agents that do stay, will get an increased volume of leads for their investment.
I know what i would do ... i would find £400 and £500 per month in savings in other places - like print!