A donor with the name ‘Michael Bruce’ has contributed - at least a little - to a fighting fund for review site AllAgents to mount a legal case against Purplebricks.
The real Michael Bruce is one of Purplebricks’ founders and its current chief executive, and is presumably not the contributor using that name who has pledged a modest £5 towards AllAgents’ crowd-fund target of £50,000.
AllAgents removed all reviews of Purplebricks late last month after receiving legal letters from the agency suggesting some reviews were fake; it has said it will reinstate them all if it secures crowdfunding support to pay any legal costs that might be required afterwards.
AllAgents launched the fund-raising on Tuesday; as of early this morning over £5,000 had been pledged.
There has been a relatively small number of contributors - around 30 so far - with donations from £5 to £1,000.
Research by US data analysts Quora suggest that around 20 per cent of crowdfunding final totals are secured in the first 10 per cent of the fund-raising period, meaning AllAgents needs to hit about £10,000 by the end of the weekend if it is to be on target.
There are 40 days remaining for the crowd-fund, which closes on November 21.
A statement from AllAgents on its website - entitled ‘Help us raise £50,000 legal fund to stop Purplebricks from suppressing customers reviews on our website’ - disputes Purplebricks’ high profile allegations that some negative reviews are fake.
“This is about free speech, and Purplebricks are trying to quash it by bullying us into submission. We’re just a small business and they have a £60 million cash pot at their disposal” says AllAgents.
Meanwhile Purplebricks has claimed that it has repeatedly asked for information from AllAgents to prove the authenticity, or otherwise, of the reviews.
AllAgents, in its website message, says it has been “inundated with messages of support from both the reviewers and people in the industry.”