Agents to be asked whether whole industry should be automatically opted in to new platform

Estate agency industry figure Charlie Wright has finalised a series of roadshows, starting at the end of this month and running until early December, launching a new industry platform – an ‘all agent’ marketplace.

On Twitter, software supplier Wright asked: “Would you share your listings in return for free appraisal leads?”

Wright told EYE that he has a database of over 29m addresses in the UK, which he estimates at around 99% of all properties, for which he holds owners’ details for over 70%.
These will be made available on a pay-per-click basis, which Wright described as “pay as you go prospecting”. Details of this will be explained at the roadshows.
He said that the data has been acquired from a number of constantly updated, legal ‘big data’ sources’.
The site currently has 100% of all sales and property listings – obtained “from a wonderful place called the internet” – and attendees at the 13 free conferences will be asked whether all agents should be considered as opting in, unless they specially opt out of the new business, BestAgent Marketplace.

One agenda item says: “How to remove your copyright material from the Property Marketplace before it goes live if you don’t wish to participate.”

He says that the roadshows will showcase the new business on a first come, first served basis, offering vendor and landlord leads “from the UK’s first all agent marketplace” which “aims to give agents back control of their businesses”.

Any agent attending one of the conferences will get early access to free vendor and landlord leads, before the official launch to consumers next year.

Wright tried to launch a new industry body CIELA, but failed to get sufficient support.

He has already presented his new business at an event in June that was open only to industry suppliers and seemed to focus on CRM.

Wright, who runs software company Easymatch, said that the aim of his new venture is simply to make home moving easier.

The agenda is as follows:

– How to offer movers the opportunity to volunteer “proceedability” criteria more easily

– How to handle new instruction leads fairly, in a way that leads to best results for all concerned

– What to pay, if anything, for new instructions won from vendor and landlord invitations to pitch, and when

– Our plans to promote higher fees for agents to the consumer

– How to integrate this with your portal leads

– How to remove your copyright material from the Property Marketplace before it goes live if you don’t wish to participate

– How we plan to raise high profile consumer awareness of the Agent and Property Marketplace

– How to direct more traffic to your own website

– How to use the “Book a viewing” and “Book a Valuation” widgets in your own site

– How some agents can use BestAgent without needing a CRM

– Connecting your existing CRM system

– Online offer processing

– “Instruct me online” idea

– ‘Proceedability’ profiles

– What options would be chargeable and how you would best like to pay

The venues and dates are here:

https://bestagent.co.uk/bestagent-property-marketplace-roadshow-dates-and-agenda/

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15 Comments

  1. MarkRowe

    I obviously wish Charlie the best of luck with this. However, why is it reminding me of the terrifying moment a certain website (Houser), scrapped our data without permission?

    If I remember rightly, this pushed me to contact their website hosting company with a threat of legal action for them to take my properties off.

    How are you legally displaying the data without the permission of the agent, Charlie? (Genuine question). Isn’t it a bit like me displaying all of my competitor properties on my website without the permission of the seller and the agent??

    I may have missed something in the article that explains this, but I’m pretty sure it says that I have to turn up to a business event for you to explain how I take my copyrighted data off your portal? Please forgive me if I’ve missed something! 🙂

     

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    1. BestAgent Marketplace

      Dear Mark, we’re aware of the strong feelings of a minority of agents who quite rightly feel protective of their hard earned listings data. That’s precisely why we won’t launch anything until we’ve heard the views of agents around the country, and their feedback on our proposals.
      We hope that once agents hear exactly how we plan to share new appraisal leads (direct invitations from property owners to pitch agency services) with ALL agents covering that owner’s property, free of charge, that each of you will be able to formulate a decision for yourselves as to whether you wish to shut yourself off from these completely free instruction leads.
      To directly answer your question, no, of course it isn’t necessary to attend a conference to find out how to de-list. In the event that there are still agents who don’t want to be included on the free instruction leads when we’re ready to launch, we will publish and distribute the easy method agents can use to ensure their copyright material (photographs and floor plans) are withdrawn. It will be a two minute, online process. We would then verify that you are the agent you say you are (otherwise some agents could get others’ listings removed) and the listings will be removed.
      However, given that well over 95% of the agents we’ve had contact with have expressed support for this idea so far, we will be genuinely surprised if any agents (who don’t have vested interests elsewhere) would want to go out of their way to have listings removed, when by doing nothing they could be receiving new instruction leads.
      But, to clarify, an agent who doesn’t want their listings published will easily be able to make sure they’re not.
      It may interest you to know, however, that legally, the only copyright information on publicly advertised properties for sale or to let are the images. The basic listing information is public and not subject to copyright, which is how all the search engines are able to index and store all this information.

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      1. MarkRowe

        Hi @BestAgent Marketplace,

        Thank you for the response, and appreciate the detail. Don’t get me wrong, what agent would want to shy away from receiving appraisal leads!? Totally agree that this is powerful, if it does provide that.

        You mention…

        “To directly answer your question, no, of course it isn’t necessary to attend a conference to find out how to de-list. In the event that there are still agents who don’t want to be included on the free instruction leads when we’re ready to launch, we will publish and distribute the easy method agents can use to ensure their copyright material (photographs and floor plans) are withdrawn”

        ‘Photographs and floorplans’ being the main highlight in that paragraph. Yet your last comment was…

        “It may interest you to know, however, that legally, the only copyright information on publicly advertised properties for sale or to let are the images. The basic listing information is public and not subject to copyright, which is how all the search engines are able to index and store all this information.”

        With respect, it seems like a contradiction. Before any haters get on the bad wagon, I’m simply asking the question, I have nothing against the idea but worth clearing up this issue of a portal scrapping copyrighted data and then having to contact that company to have it removed, even though it wasn’t asked for in the first place – which we’ve all experienced before.

        So, if for example I wasn’t a member, will you be displaying the photos of the properties I have anyway and then I have to contact you to have them removed, or is it simply people who sign up that will have them displayed? This is what I wasn’t clear on and apologies again if I’ve missed something or if I’m misunderstanding, it’s Monday and I’m still in weekend mode!

        As I said above, I have nothing against this idea, it’s simply understanding where, when and how our copyright data is used.

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        1. ARC

          It reads to me that you are going to have your data scrapped and then if you want to opt you can. This seems to me to be the wrong way round to be honest and in return you might get a few appraisal leads that go to every agent not opted out in the area as well.

           

          Serious question to Bestagent ‘will the appraisal leads be qualified by you as genuine and looking to move before they are sent out?’ or will it be the case that when we make contact we will be told it was a mistake we’re not moving?

           

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          1. BestAgent Marketplace

            Hi ARC, “Will the leads be qualified by [BestAgent] before being sent out?” That’s a great question. Leads will only be sent out because a seller or landlord has, themselves, asked for their invite to pitch to be sent out. Owners will be offered the option to send out a video, audio or just written invitation to pitch, but they will be asked to include all the information relating to the reason for their sale, their timescale, price expectation and property information. These will be sent out to agents without owner’s contact details, and it’s then up to you if you feel it’s worth your while responding or not. We know some agents will be keener for some instructions than others. This is why we are making it easier for potential clients to volunteer their full story behind their need to move, in a secure confidential way. They will then be able to review all the responses they receive, which can likewise be done by video, audio or in writing, so they can more easily choose which agents they feel most comfortable inviting into their home.

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        2. BestAgent Marketplace

            Thanks Mark, delighted that you think this is a powerful idea! To your question, will we be displaying the photos of properties agents have and waiting to be asked to remove them: This is exactly what we will be asking the agents who attend the conferences. We will be having a simple “yes/no” vote, with one vote per brand. At the end of the conference series, we plan to publish the result, along with a number of other questions we will be putting to agents. The outcome of the votes will inform our decision. Is it possible that we may proceed on the basis of publishing unless requested otherwise? Yes, it’s possible, but only if the majority of agents approve it. As they say, you can’t please all the people all of the time. But if, as we suspect, most agents are in favour of the simple proposition of sharing listings in return for appraisal leads, we wouldn’t allow the views of a small minority of agents to stand in the way of what the majority wanted. We would follow the conventional protocol of other aggregators and search engines, and respond to requests to remove data as and when received. It’s important to note that this opportunity will be made available before full launch, so any agent who objects will be able to prevent any publication after launch, and that requesting removal would take less time than it has taken to write these comments, which we hope is reasonable.

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          1. MarkRowe

            Hi,

            If it takes me any time to remove my copyrighted data, I’m not going to be pleased. Why not just ask if agents want to be listed? Surely that’s a better way to start of a relationship with a customer?

            I’m still a little lost, as you can tell lol

            So there’s a democratic vote at a conference, that I may not want to attend, where not every agent will attend, on something that legally (if it’s copyrighted images) should be asked for from the owner of said copyright before it’s use, but you may just go ahead and place copyrighted images on the portal beforehand anyway, is that correct?

            Once again, although the above sounds very sarcastic! I respect the way that you support and talk positively about agents across the UK, so please don’t think this is an attack on your new service, I just find it very difficult to comprehend why you wouldn’t have approached this differently? Especially after all the news surrounding data, copyright and new tech companies doing whatever they like to get going.

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            1. BestAgent Marketplace

              We hear your point. We’re fascinated to see the outcome of the conferences, and based on the almost unanimous support we’ve experienced so far, the majority of agents who do want to be involved will be grateful that they didn’t have to lift a finger to be part of it. As we said, it’s impossible to please all the people all of the time, but we’ll do our best.

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  2. LetItGo

    Erm, No. We don’t need another scrapping portal.

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  3. Woodentop

    H’mmmm I do believe the legal point is you have to opt in, not out with copyright and GDPR!   Scrapping isn’t necessarily illegal dependent on what information and how it is used.
     
    Regardless of this being or not being a good idea, what is happening is that our data is being used to support his venture and using your hard earned work first and foremost for his business, not yours. Selling the idea “good for you”, before you have taken a look  or given permission smacks of unscrupulous shenanigans  ……  
     
    I’ll take you data and use it without your permission. If you don’t want me to, you have to tell me, not I have to ask you!  
     
    In some jurisdictions, using automated means like data scraping to harvest email addresses with commercial intent is illegal, and it is almost universally considered bad marketing practice.
     
    It was reported in the press when CIELA failed …. Wright signed off his letter by thanking those who had chosen to support CIELA, adding that the personal touch in estate agency would never be replaced, and word-of-mouth recommendations would always win out over advertising, gimmickry and clever ideas.
     
    How things have changed!

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  4. qweasdzxc

    I have visited bestagent.co.uk to find your address, but you have not included it on your website. As a limited company, it is a legal requirement for your registered office address to be included on your website.

    Wright told EYE that he has a database of over 29m addresses in the UK, which he estimates at around 99% of all properties, for which he holds owners’ details for over 70%.

    Please provide me with the contact details so that I can request that you remove all references to me and the properties I own from your databases.

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    1. Property Pundit

      I believe they would only have to display a company registration number (from which you could find the registered address by simply visiting Companies House).

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  5. seenitall

    Having worked as a solicitor years a go in copyright law by chance this made me smile !!  (the basic setup has not changed afaikt)   As others have said you can no longer require people to opt out. that’s the default.   You are  saying in advance that you will breech copyright law because it suits your business and don’t care about the Law or moral aspects. So rather than an innocent breech of copyright which the normal course of action would be to remove when asked and then little chance of legal action you are deliberately setting out to breech copyright law and steal the pictures for your buisiness and personal gain plus  telling the world that this is what your going to do becasue the law sucks and doesnt work how you want it to.    That throws this into a totally new ball park of damages and culpability for breaches of Copyright.  Tread carefully.
     
    You are making a calculated risk of not if you are in breach but will anyone claim and then will an award be made against you.    **** business plan and one likely to have the book thrown at you by a judge as its premeditated and for your buisiness gain.

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    1. Woodentop

      What I find worrying, this is from someone who came out with setting up a professional trade body (that failed)

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  6. Londonbound

    I think I know how this works…

    Draw in the agents with charm and freebies, lull them into a false sense of security, and when you have the audience and agents, turn it into a Rightmove/OTM challenger (fee based).

    This is a despicable idea.

    I can’t wait – Where do I sign?

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