The agent-lead SayNoToRightmove campaign against the British market-leading portal may not have achieved its ultimate goal of keeping Rightmove's prices in check, but that doesn't mean that the campaign has not helped agencies across the country pause to consider their expenditure on portals. Inspired by the movement, a group of agents in The Midlands is set to launch its own regional property portal.
“We don’t have to say no to Rightmove, but we do want to develop an option where some agents might say bye to Rightmove and the like, if the platform proves an effective alternative,” Mike Cleary, director at Sheldon Bosley Knight, told PropertyIndustryEye.
The portal is to be launched in February under the domain wearethemarket.com and will cover the Warwickshire and Coventry area of the country. According to Cleary, the portal's membership costs are low but already cover operating expenses and a decent advertising budget to support a marketing effort around the site's launch next month.
Although the creation of a local portal by estate agents is unlikely to ruffle many feathers at Rightmove if viewed in isolation, the fact that there may be other groups of similarly galvanized agents around the country waiting to see how the wearethemarket.com experiment turns out may be worth keeping an eye on for the incumbent portals.
In any case, the new portal's founders doe have plans to expand wearethemarket beyond its Midland launch base according to Cleary:
"There is no doubt that, in time, the current geographical patch, which we restricted so that a launch date could be set, will grow...We also intend to plough revenue back into continual improvements to the portal, enabling us to deliver an excellent, locally focused, nationwide property platform in the future.”
Although often suggested as a solution for some of the UK property market's problems, a US-style MLS network has never been established across the pond, and successful localized property portals which work along the same egalitarian lines as an MLS are rare in the UK.