This didn’t go down at all well, and sensibly it is no longer part of company policy. The point here is that if one estate agent in a given area left Rightmove and was not joined by other estate agents in the area it would be committing commercial suicide, so the idea now is to create incentives to encourage estate agents to move en masse. And early indications suggest that this is working. Having been admitted to trading on the Alternative Investment Market (Aim) in February, the new offering hit the ground running, and has already signed up nearly half of the UK’s residential estate and lettings agency branches.
We have to take a step back to see how this level of success has been achieved. OTM was created from Agents’ Mutual, whose board membership included Savills, Knight Frank, Strutt & Parker and Chestertons. These heavyweight names were reacting in response to what was and is regarded as the level of control exerted notably by Rightmove, which currently has virtually total market penetration. It’s worth pointing out that Rightmove was created in a similar way by Countrywide, Connells, Halifax and Royal & Sun Alliance.