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Rightmove boss insists portal ‘continues to deliver’ for its estate agent customers

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Mon 09 Dec 2019

Rightmove boss insists portal ‘continues to deliver’ for its estate agent customers

Rightmove boss Peter Brooks-Johnson has issued a robust response to critics, saying that the portal “continues to deliver” value and innovation for its agent customers.

EYE had requested an interview with Brooks-Johnson, saying that we would like to ask about Rightmove’s pricing strategy, including the claim that it simply puts up its prices without doing much else, and also about any potential conflict between duty to deliver value to shareholders and customer care.

While our interview request was not granted, Brooks-Johnson wrote a response which he said was to help answer our questions.

His response revolves around some 900 changes that have already been made to Rightmove’s platform, together with other changes that are coming up.

Brooks-Johnson said: “For Rightmove to be valuable, it has to be a long term viable proposition.

“It can only be a long term viable proposition if it continues to deliver for its agent customers.

“We are always trying to balance the needs and demands of both agents and home hunters to make sure we deliver value to both, for now and in the future.

“Rightmove continually upgrades its underlying technology encompassing advances in technology, and we make the changes gradual to make it easy for all to adapt and change with us.

“For example, a few years ago we moved our entire search to use a tool called Elastic Search to speed up searches and allow us to add new features such as Keyword Sort.

“When talking to agents there are three key things they say they want from us: more ways to win more instructions, quality leads, and tools and products that don’t take up too much of their time to use.

“So that’s what we continue to focus on. As there are so many different local markets with very different challenges, we always look at our products and tools to make sure they work for both over-supply and under-supply markets.

“We’ve been making improvements to our tools to make them quicker and easier to use like the recent upgrade of the Best Price Guide, and we’ve been creating new products that work without an agent having to manually do anything, like auto featured property.

“We have a new product launching in January, Sold By Me, that gives agents a prominent place within the search results pages to shout about the properties they’ve sold, which again works automatically.

“We’ve also created a new tool called Opportunity Manager, which is a way for an agent to prioritise the leads they receive by highlighting to them people who are the most likely to be selling their houses.

“Our teams work with agents continuously, helping them come up with new ideas for their marketing campaigns on Rightmove, making sure they’re kept up to date with the latest industry news and best practice through hundreds of hours of webinars available on the Rightmove hub, and showing them how best to use our tools to help them grow their business.

“We will continue to innovate for agents in 2020.”

On pricing, a Rightmove spokesperson told us:

“Agents can choose from three packages, Essential, Enhanced and Optimiser, and the cost of the package reflects the amount of exposure an agent gets on Rightmove.

“There are wide variations of the business needs of different agents which is why we have different levels of packages and products that an agent can choose from.

“Some agents use Rightmove to help market their stock and find new opportunities, others use Rightmove to grow their business by choosing to pay for additional products that help advertise their brand to home-hunters. The higher level packages have a reduced core membership fee because they purchase additional products.

“All agents get a breakdown of all the costs of their core membership and products for the package that they choose.”