Date Published 15 January 2013
The announcement was made yesterday and brings to an end an expensive project for the NAEA and ARLA. The cost is thought to have been upwards of £2m.
Some members may also be surprised at the timing of the closure. Just one week ago, on January 7, they received an email announcing the relaunch of the site, saying: `It is with great excitement that we announce the brand new PropertyLive brought to you by the NAEA and ARLA.`
The email went on to eulogise the site's `fantastic new features" including its crisp visual interface, effortless navigation and its search optimisation, all making it `a website for you to be proud of and a valuable resource for your business".
However, the relaunch proved another false dawn for a site that seemed doomed from the start in its costly four-and-a-bit year history.
PropertyLive launched – or rather re-launched from an earlier model – in October 2008, but even that was bodged.
Journalists had been specifically invited to go and see the live launch at the Agency Expo show in London, but instead, there was just a demonstration. Glitches meant it did not go live for another week – and as soon as it did, the site went down.
Despite NFoPP members rooting for its success – and despite the City taking news of its launch so seriously that shares in Rightmove briefly went down – PropertyLive never lived up to expectations.
Billed as a free alternative to the paid-for portals, agents complained it gave them few leads, with very low levels of public awareness.
An attempt in 2010 to get agents to pay a suggested £840 per office per year in order to promote the site, was roundly rejected by NFoPP members. At the time, NFoPP was losing in the region of £1m a year.
Yesterday, in a joint statement by ARLA managing director Ian Potter and new NAEA managing director Mark Hayward, a restructure of staff at Arbon House was announced.
No redundancies are expected with a communications department to be beefed up and given a new head of communications.
The statement said: `Following recent changes to its management framework, the National Federation of Property Professionals – NFoPP – (which includes NAEA, ARLA, ICBA and NAVA) today announced it is embarking on a restructure of its staff. This reflects a change in focus to promote its core brands and advocacy role within the sector.
`As part of the restructure, NFoPP's property search website, PropertyLive, will be closed by the end of January. This move will enable NFoPP to redirect investment towards those brands and marketing activities that deliver the most benefit to members. Every endeavour will be made to integrate staff into several new roles being created.
`The Federation is exploring opportunities to distinguish properties available to buy or rent from its members on other portals, ensuring its resources are focused instead on driving industry reputation with and for its members.
`A full and open consultation is under way with all staff at Arbon House and the review is expected to be completed over the next few weeks. The overall objective is to better deliver on NFoPP's strategic priorities.`