Boomin’s Michael Bruce pens open letter on the state of the portal market

Michael Bruce
Michael Bruce

Michael Bruce, CEO and co-founder of Boomin, has written an open letter reflecting on the state of the portal market and specifically what he sees as the the inequity of mortgage referral leads, which are sold to the highest bidder by Rightmove and Zoopla, with the agent, according to him, getting nothing.

“We are looking to call them out over this”, says a Boomin spokesperson.

The letter is clearly designed to generate fresh publicity for Boomin and its new MortgageMaker service, which is due to launch over the next few weeks, as it continues to try and convince agents to sign up to its platform.

Property Industry Eye has offered Rightmove and Zoopla an opportunity to respond.

 

Michael Bruce’s open letter: 

2022 is likely to be a different year for the property market when compared to 2021. For most in the market business will be harder won, unless that is you are of one of the big property portals, where the usual rules don’t apply. It is not just their ongoing annual double digit fee hikes, which are likely to create their own cost of living crisis for agents but other, more hidden areas of their business models, where a lack of meaningful competition has allowed poor practises to thrive and for nest feathering to be taken to a whole new level.

A prime example is mortgage referral income. As an industry, how did we ever let it come into existence that Rightmove and Zoopla could effectively sell agents mortgage referral leads, which have only come to them through agents paid adverts on the portals, to the highest bidder. Without agents paying for property adverts, this additional income stream for the portals would not exist. I wouldn’t mind so much if they shared the income, which is pure additional profit to them. But instead they choose to pocket it all.  And it is not that they need the money. Rightmove has the highest profit margin in the FTSE 100 index of Britain’s largest companies and 4x that of Alphabet, owner of Google, a company regularly the subject of monopolistic concerns.

We are not talking about small sums of money either. Not surprisingly there is a lack of transparency and disclosure in this area. But we understand that the amounts earned by Rightmove and Zoopla from mortgage referrals are likely to be in excess of ten million pounds per annum. For agents, who would be able to fully monetise these mortgage leads, the lost value would likely run into tens of millions of pounds. When I ran estate agency businesses it hadn’t dawned on me that this injustice was happening with my property listings, not that I could have done anything about it.

Whilst I do not consider Boomin to be a classified advertising property portal, we are an agent centric new business generation platform, what is certainly true is that agents need and deserve a better deal and that will only come through increased competition, rather than relying on the benevolence of the captors. None of the new competition in recent years have truly innovated in any meaningful way to create a compelling end to end proposition for agents.

Boomin is that competition and can be a voice when classified advertising portals are acting against the interests of agents. Specifically we will address, amongst other things, the unfairness of mortgage referral income, with plans to launch our own integrated MortgageMaker technology in the next few weeks. Details will be provided shortly but rest assured the new feature will be totally free for all Agent partners, rightfully giving agents with their own mortgage services arrangements all their income and providing a new income stream for those who do not.

I have talked many times before about re-setting the balance of power in the industry back in favour of all agents and using technology to equip agents with new tools to earn additional income. The launch of MortgageMaker is further evidence of our intent to make good on our promises. There is so much more to be done and we will continue to work tirelessly to become the competition that the market so clearly needs.

Michael Bruce

CEO and co-founder of Boomin

 

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18 Comments

  1. JustPlainSavage04

    Slating the competition again – a move which gives off a smell of desperation!

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  2. AgentQ73

    And obviously the good old Bruce Bros would never look to monetise all the data they have been collecting. About as credible as Boris.

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  3. skipdale

    To be fair, it is news to me that Rightmove and Zoopla used our leads for mortgages referrals. £10 Million sounds a lot mind.

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    1. AgentQ73

      It is a nice round number isn’t it, almost the sort of number you would expect someone to pluck out of thin air.

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  4. FudgeNugget

    Michael Bruce pens open letter on the state of the portal market – yes from his perspective.
    This isn’t an open letter, this is just a long winded advert, trying to get agents whipped up into a fury over “unfair” portals.

    No matter what the portals do, it will be nowhere near in comparison to what the Bruce brothers have done to agents and the market. And we have long memories.

    So come on PE, how about you focus on matters that concern agents instead of this clickbait blowhard that no one in the industry wants to hear from?

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  5. RussellQ

    Yes, it’s a letter that promotes Boomin just as we all promote our own businesses. But wouldn’t it be refreshing and potentially advantageous for the commentariat here to play the BALL and not the man here for once?

    If you can see past the usual venom within this forum, Michael Bruce surely has a point, doesn’t he? In that 17,000 of you dutifully sing to the tune of Rightmove and Zoopla, paying them to advertise your own stock, putting up with awful lead quality and having ancillary leads sold back to you. All the while being fleeced for massive cost increases each year. It’s ridiculous and if it was sold to you today as a new proposition you’d laugh the rep out the door. It’s a kind of ‘buy me some drinks, take me back to your place, let me have my way with you and I’ll nick your wallet on the way out’ type of thing. ‘Oh, and can you pay for my cab too please?’

    Whatever you think of the Bruce brothers and Boomin, they are highlighting a problem that you all have yet up until now have done nothing about – rising portal costs that threaten your business and from which you get little in return – especially in actual revenue terms.

    Just stop a second and think about what he’s saying here. Or as ever, just carry on getting rogered.

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    1. AgentQ73

      That may well be the case but in my opinion Boomin is not the answer.

      Rightmove are a parasite that feeds of the host (estate agents), the Bruce Brothers in their previous guise tried killing the host. Not a great choice I agree but I know which I prefer.

      I assume by your comments Keller Williams no longer use Rightmove ?

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    2. FudgeNugget

      And how many times have we heard this same old spin from these disruptors? How many portals have we seen come and go promising to take on the might of Rightmove and Zoopla?

      They dominate because the public want it. They are associative to the public psyche of house buying and they are good at what they do.

      Boomin’ isn’t. It’s another complicated mess, that the buying and selling public don’t understand in an already noisy market.

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  6. iainwhite87

    I understand peoples view regarding motive behind the open letter but it’s hard to argue with its actual content as it’s all accurate as far as I can see

    The listed properties create the traffic that creates the revenues alluded to for the portals, why shouldn’t Estate Agents  share in the monetisation the portals subsequently make ?

     

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  7. ScottL

    I’m yet to receive one lead from Boomin, now Michael Bruce is hectoring about FS income.This from the man that has taken £ms in funding from Mortgage Advice Bureau to launch Boomin. who are clearly now twitching about any return on that investment.Instead of trying to innovate why not be transparent about your visitor numbers Michael? One look at social channels shows dismal follower numbers for Boomin considering what they are spending on ads. Brodnicki must be looking at this mess and the reaction by agents and wondering what on earth hes done.

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  8. Quags

    If you think for one minute this man has anything but his own self interest at hand you are deluded.

    And where are these figures coming from? Pure speculation.

    Yes, rightmove is a cancer of the industry (much like the Bruce Brothers), but until all agents get together (which will never happen), they will continue to win.

     

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  9. OneManBand

    Are they still here?

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  10. Eagle60

    He really thinks us all morons with short-term memories.

    Boomin is a flop and having bitten the hand that feeds with the aggressive anti-agent Purplebricks lies and false advertising it will never succeed.

    Even the OTM launch was more successful.

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  11. PeeBee

    “The letter is clearly designed to generate fresh publicity for Boomin…”

    ’nuff said.  I would have ended the article there.

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  12. TheJC

    Interesting claims, any proof? Aren’t Boomin going to start charging soon? The investors must be squeezing.

    I know where my clients place their mortgage business if it’s not with my company. Not one has ever said they went through RM or Zoopla.

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  13. Truthspeaks

    Agents don’t even want to use Boomin when it’s free, it will be even worse when its chargeable.

    It’s the most anti user friendly website  ever seen.

    they just need to give up and leave the property market alone before they do more damage!

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  14. AcornsRNuts

    Only here for the comments. I have a busy life so don’t waste time reading adverts from Bruce or Quirke.

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    1. aSalesAgent

      Ditto.

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