Date Published 13 September 2012
Rightmove is once again putting up its costs to agents across the board. It has strongly defended the rises.
Zoopla said it has no ‘immediate’ plans to up prices across the board but, amid speculation that it is ending a number of agents’ existing deals, says it will continue to review individual cases.
One small single-office agent handling sales and lettings has been told that as from November 1, its monthly costs to be on Rightmove will rise from a current total of £790 a month to £885 – a 12% increase.
Core membership for the agent will rise from £670 to £710, to be made up of £575 for sales and £135 for lettings. The £710 subscription is conditional on the agent continuing his current spend on additional products.
Rightmove’s letter to the agent also says that it is putting up its Brand Plus rates, after upgrading Brand Plus to include mobile coverage. It quotes £140 for sales and £35 for lettings, up from the £95 and £25 the agent currently pays.
The letter says that cancelling Brand Plus will mean that the membership subscription will ‘automatically revert to the prevailing rate of £735’.
Whilst Rightmove’s letter does offer a 12-month freeze on current rates if the agent signs up to new ‘Silver membership’, the small print specifies that the agent must hit certain spending targets.
The agent concerned was, ironically, unclear as to what Brand Plus actually is, but said: `Of course, if you don’t take these extras, the cost of the core memberships would fail to attract discounts.`
Rightmove yesterday confirmed that it has started communicating details of new advertising rates to its membership of sales and lettings agents. The initial changes will be introduced from November.
A statement said: `As agent membership details vary, full information about pricing changes will be communicated to each advertiser on an individual basis. However, reviews will again provide agents with a range of membership options depending on their level of advertising exposure on the Rightmove site.`
Jason Bushby, head of Rightmove’s estate agency division, defended the rises.
He said: `We have invested strongly throughout the year in advertising and marketing, website improvements and new mobile platforms, to increase the level of exposure that Rightmove advertisers benefit from and to help support them communicate key messages.
`Rightmove’s suite of advertising products continues to offer a highly effective means of standing out in front of the massive home-moving audience that Rightmove provides.
`Around 80% of Rightmove’s member advertisers use at least one additional advertising product to help their brand and properties stand out on Rightmove, and our pricing model is designed around the demand for these products.
`Rightmove’s enduring popularity is underlined by its position as the seventh most-used website by the British public – a position it has held throughout 2012. Only global web brands Facebook, Google, eBay, YouTube and Amazon are higher in the monthly rankings in terms of traffic by pages viewed.
`To achieve this, Rightmove has made more than 2,500 website improvements over the past 12 months, covering everything from enhanced data quality detection and smoother image loading to new commercial property search functionality.
`Rightmove’s market-leading range of mobile platforms has also been further enhanced this year with the launch of a new Android app and iPad app.
`There has been rapid growth in use of mobile platforms amongst home-movers and Rightmove’s new pricing structure will provide agents with more options to reach this audience. More than three million Rightmove mobile apps have now been downloaded and traffic to Rightmove’s mobile platforms has grown by over 100% year-on-year.`
Bushby added: `As well as investing to ensure we put advertisers in front of the largest and most-engaged audience of home-movers in the UK, we are also focusing on ways we can deliver a service that supports estate agents and lettings agents in their local markets.
`This includes our high-profile Market Intelligence campaign, which has been designed to support agents’ key messages on price, promotion and presentation, as well an enhanced version of our highly popular RightmovePlus service which we will roll out next year.`
Rightmove also said that its ‘Britain Moves At Rightmove’ TV ad campaign is set for another airing this autumn, with a new TV advertising campaign to be launched in 2013.
A spokesman for Zoopla denied it has plans to put up prices.
He said: `We have neither announced any price rises nor have any immediate plans for across the board price increases. We review individual customer pricing on a regular basis and have a track record of always relating our pricing to performance, on a customer by customer basis.
`We will of course continue to review pricing in this way following our merger but remain committed to being the most cost-effective marketing partner for our members.
`The merger delivers the credible alternative that agents and developers have been seeking for years and we know that we have to make our value