Date Published 18 January 2013
Zoopla has said it is not surprised by the decision to ditch PropertyLive, while there was fury at this week's meeting of agents in Surrey over NFoPP`s closure of the portal after a cost thought to be over £2m.
At the meeting, attended by both NAEA and ARLA members, agents expressed heated anger to NAEA managing director Mark Hayward, who was present.
Agents insisted that a viable commercial future was possible for the portal, and urged Hayward that this should be discussed further.
Surrey NAEA chairman James Wyatt said in an outspoken post on a social networking site after the meeting that members had been very upset.
He said: `PropertyLive needed to be commercialised but for some reason it never was. [PropertyLive] could have been a success if the management had been up to the job.`
Earlier, he said there had been widespread disappointment and dismay among members at the meeting – although they also voiced concern over the management and availability of sufficient marketing budgets for PropertyLive.
Wyatt said that with over 90% of property buyers starting their search online and high street names such as Jessops and HMV going into administration because of the growth of online consumerism, the decision to shut down PropertyLive was ‘madness'.
He added: `Our members here in Surrey bought into and supported the PropertyLive model for four years, with some even cutting ties with the likes of Rightmove and Zoopla.
`Where does that leave them now? As [we are] the ones who funded this ambitious project, the board has a duty to provide a full and detailed explanation about the decision to its members.`
Wyatt – who had been spearheading a campaign for all NFoPP members to use PropertyLive, which was revamped just one week before the closure decision was announced – said: `Within minutes of hearing the news about PropertyLive's intended closure, I received a number of emails from interested parties keen to take the now defunct site on.
`It will be very interesting to see what steps the board takes next.`
He added: `It seems that there's nothing even the 14,000-strong members of the NAEA and ARLA can do to stop the might of the Rightmove and Zoopla – even if it is much to the displeasure of members.`
A spokesman for Zoopla said yesterday of PropertyLive's demise: `We are not entirely surprised by this move. In a two-sided market like property portals which require listings inventory on the one side and consumer traffic on the other, it is tough to gain significant traction without both of these at a high level.
`Regional or niche portals suffer from limited inventory and free to list portals suffer from the lack of ability to spend on marketing at scale. It also takes significant investment in technology to operate and maintain a portal to a level that provides a good consumer experience.`