The figurehead of the SayNoToRightmove pressure group in the UK has taken his 40 branch Acorn Group agency back to Zoopla. In a press release yesterday, Rob Sargent said that the decision to return to the #2 portal “revolved around a desire to build a genuine working partnership with the businesses Portal suppliers and Zoopla appear to be demonstrating a clear understanding of the challenges facing the UK estate Agency industry”
Zoopla has been able to up its customer numbers by 2% in the past 12 months thanks to free listing deals worth a reported £30 million for new or returning agencies such as Acorn and Charters. Rightmove on the other hand has seen customer numbers dip, and in August reported a 3.3% drop since the start of 2020, a fact that Zoopla’s press release subtly alluded to: “The Acorn Group’s return to Zoopla follows recent news that the portal has enjoyed 2% growth in customer numbers year on year, bucking the trend seen for portals more widely”.
Acorn’s return to Zoopla may mean that it is about to put its money where its mouth is and leave Rightmove. Until now, despite generating headlines by courting yet-to-launch Boomin and listing on challenger Homesearch, the agency group did not have a fallback option for marketing its properties at scale if it were to actually terminate its relationship with Rightmove. The rhetoric from SayNoToRightmove so far has been to pressure the portal company into changing its price rather than necessarily encouraging agents to leave the portal.
With no mention of “price structure” forthcoming from Rightmove despite its discount period extension coming to an end this week, Acorn’s announcement may mean a change in message from the pressure group with its figurehead perhaps about to make good on a threat to leave the portal.