Agents up in arms over latest Rightmove price hikes
Wednesday 12th January 2011
Agents are protesting angrily about the latest round of price hikes being introduced by Rightmove.
In reply, the portal says that agents can choose between higher subscriptions or paying for more Rightmove products. It has not explained why the price rises have been introduced or were felt necessary.
One agent complained that his subscription is going up 30%, another put the hike at 20% and a third firm said they had been asked to pay another £115 a month as from March 1.
One agent said they were being asked to pay £840 more per year, and that the increase is “totally unjustified” in today’s economic climate. The agent suggested that Rightmove had got “too big for its boots” and that smaller independent agents would quit.
But a spokesman for Rightmove said: “Our pricing review for 2011 is ongoing and has already been widely reported.
“We are still in the process of communicating these details to our membership.
“We can’t comment on individual cases.
“However, as was the case last year, all agents are able to freeze their current core membership rate based on their level of product spend.”
Although traffic to Rightmove this week hit an all-time high (see below), the price rises come when some agents in certain areas are currently experiencing virtually no business, with both buyers and sellers staying away from the market.
The protests could prove a challenge for the new managing director for Rightmove.co.uk, which is a subsidiary of Rightmove plc.
The appointment was announced to the stock market this week.
The new Rightmove.co.uk managing director is former management consultant Peter Brooks-Johnson. Rightmove co-founder Ed Williams stays on as Rightmove plc managing director.
Last June, Williams sold nearly half of his shares in the company.
Rightmove has continued its own buy-back programme of shares, a strategy that City analysts say is used by some companies to maintain their share price and hence the value to shareholders.
Brooks-Johnson joined Rightmove in 2006 and has held the role of agency director since the start of 2009, where he had responsibility for the estate agency business, marketing, the proposition to customers and the operation of the website.
Rightmove chairman Scott Forbes said: “The board would like to congratulate Peter on his promotion into this key role and welcome him to the Rightmove plc board.
“We are confident that Peter’s knowledge and skills will enable him to make a valuable contribution to the board and support the achievement of the group’s ambitious goals.”
Meanwhile, Rightmove has reported a new record for website traffic, with over 28.3m pages served in a single day. The new record was created on Monday this week.
Director Miles Shipside said: “The new year period is traditionally a busy time in terms of property market interest.
“It’s too early to gauge whether this activity heralds improved market conditions in 2011 but it certainly offers a lot of encouragement."
Rightmove also recorded a new record for mobile traffic on Monday of last week when over 1.5m pages were served via its iPhone, iPad and Mobile platforms.
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