The Negotiator email alert informed me yesterday that Rightmove is putting up is prices for new lettings members by 30% odd.
Lettings are arguably more buoyant and no doubt Rightmove has spotted an increase in residential agents moving into the lettings game or upping their involvement within it.
Rightmove are quoted as saying ‘…We haven't got customers over a barrel; we have created the biggest marketplace for lettings. It is very tough for agents but frankly most will cut back on advertising in the papers…’
I am not sure how to take this comment. On the one hand it smacks of arrogance and on the other hand it is woefully naive. Many agents stopped offline marketing some time ago and to arrogantly assume that agents will cut back on other spending just to be on Rightmove is way off the mark. As we have mentioned many times before, agents are now looking very much at their cost per lead and will look at this price increase from the standpoint of their overall online marketing spend.
Notwithstanding the free options available, agents I know would rather spend their precious online marketing budgets on performance based models and would see the rightmove increase as merely an increase in their base line cost per lead, which is already too high.
Frankly, this is shameful and misunderstands the future of the market by a mile. Indeed, if Rightmove were lucky enough to sign 100 new agents in the next six months (which I doubt), is this price increase really going to effect their bottom line and/or their share price, I don’t think so. They will lose more in poor PR, will put off the very few agents who may have been thinking of signing up and may even be the final straw for some of the many who are considering leaving.