I was wrong: Russell Quirk admits online agency is ‘too cheap’ to work

Russell Quirk has admitted his predictions about the online agency sector were wrong.

Emoov founder Quirk predicted in 2013 that online agents would have a 35% share of the agency market within five years ie, by 2018.

He now says it will be no more than 10%.

A  decade on from launching Emoov – which has since entered administration and been relaunched with a different owner – Quirk, now concentrating on public relations, warns that online agents suffer from being seen as “too cheap” or “too good to be true”.

He said: “In 2009 I launched Emoov and I have rarely been so passionate about an idea or a project. The internet was disrupting everything.

“Every industry and every sector – giving birth to greater and greater numbers of pioneering start-ups. The ‘Amazonification’ of everything was upon us – Choice. Value. Immediacy. Service. These were all better able to be served digitally.

“I researched travel, retail, online grocery delivery, insurance – and also witnessed the relentless rise and rise of digital property search via the portals. I saw that each sector, albeit at different stages, was either at a 50%+ market share of online vs ‘bricks ans mortar’ or was well on its way to that level.

“Therefore, estate agency had to follow the inevitable and I began to evangelise within the property industry that ‘online estate agency will command a market share of 35% within five years’.

“Because that’s what the world was seeing everywhere else. Sure enough, later entrants to the space began to repeat my mantra over and over so that eventually it became pseudo-fact and was adopted as the threshold that was enthused to media, staff, potential customers and investors.”

He has now written  in a LinkedIn post: “I was wrong.”

His new prediction is that online agents won’t get beyond 10% market share.

Quirk said: “Of course, my predictions have been wrong before. But now, longer in tooth and with many battle scars to demonstrate my experience, I reckon this forecast is most likely to prevail.”

EYE queried if his article meant Quirk, founder of Properganda PR, is preparing to re-enter the agency market.

He said: “PropergandaPR is seeing considerable success already and it’s important to focus on that – our many new clients and achieving substantial media coverage for them.

“But after 25 years on both sides of the industry, I do have estate agency ‘built-in’ and therefore it will always be very close to my heart. And my knowledge and experiences will, I hope, prove to be valuable to the journeys of others too.”



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  1. 40yearvetran08

    Trouble is Russell not sure anyone is really interested in what you have to say or think. You blew any credibility you may have had when you dumped on all the people you left in the lurch when you saved your own neck at Emoov at the expense of them. Just go away.

    1. Bigbee73

      Dear 40yearvetran08,


      Trust me, you can be sure that no one is interested, in anything he has to say. (Sentence removed as it breached posting rules)

    2. Bless You

      The one variable that no other industry has to worry about = people are our raw material. You can’t control them.

      Books yes, buying a hotel to rent out in Spain , yes .

      People = no

  2. Moveaside01

    How can this guy even claim to be a self crowned industry expert when all us mere mortals could have told him and anyone else listening that cheap call centre agency would never work! If it did we all would have done it?

    I’d rather take advice from next door’s cat frankly!

  3. Ric

    No 5h1t sherlock

  4. smile please

    Go back under the rock you crawled out from under.

    He knew all of this while at Emoov, we all told him as well.

    At best he is incompetent at worse he misled people.

  5. Hillofwad71

    No shame .No apologies to the investors who were suckered in on Crowdcube  with a frothy valuation just to keep the lights on as one of the investors failed to materialise.
    No apologies  to those vendors ,suppliers who lost their money.
    No apologies to the local experts who lost their jobs You really couldn’t make it up  .He has crawled back to promote his new company!   ” PropergandaPR is seeing considerable success already and it’s important to focus on that”    

  6. jeremy1960

    Not really sure why any publication is giving this guy column space, unless he’s paying for it? He has nothing new to say, is completely non apologetic about the money he scammed and lost or the people he trampled on in his rush for self promotion. He just needs to go away and stop harming our industry, we have enough to contend with without looking over our shoulders for his next scheme!

    1. The Blame Game

      Because reference to his name is toxic and makes compulsive reading when in a PIE headline

  7. ArthurHouse02

    People really need to question the intelligence of this chap and those “clients” (if he really has any) of his PR bedroom need to look at his track record.

    We knew back in 2009 / 2010 that the online/call centre agent had a very limited market and we still know it now. Your predictions show you up to be lacking in knowledge in something you claim to be an expert in.

    Estate agency is a long standing service for people who understand moving home is one of the most stressful things in life and the relationship between vendor / estate agent / purchaser goes on for some time, to compare it to buying a hairdryer from Amazon is ludicrous.

  8. EAMD172

    Trying to regain credibility by humbling yourself and admitting you’re wrong is great. But then coming out with another unsubstantiated prediction is absolutely pointless and rather sickening. To think that anyone will treat him seriously after mistreating employees and investors, using pipe dreams for a business model and making our business a worse place for everyone- clients, business owners and employees through watering down the services that are required by removing much needed money with reduced fees. Idiot!!! Now Public Relations!!!

  9. Agent Derbyshire

    The amazing thing is….before the month is out there will be a new cheapo start up on here, telling us that it’s going to revolutionise this industry, backed by muppets with more money than sense. It’s hard graft selling a house and getting it through to exchange of contracts. No new gizmos or gadgetry will replace good old fashioned experience and professionalism…..the future is bright!

  10. J1

    Dignity is not on his list of virtues clearly.

  11. GPL

    How could anyone believe anything you have to say?  

  12. PropertyInvestor68

    Mistranslated from: “I cant make an online agency work.”

    I can’t stand this guy, failed in every venture now, no doubt the latest 2 will go the same way within 2 years – see for yourself



    Furthermore, hybrid agency is tough, but it’s possible, PurpleBricks are profitable in the UK, there’s no getting away from that. Even ******* Easy Property are profitable.

    When does the property industry realise that this guy has no idea? Surely it’s becoming obvious now?

  13. The Future Is Tech

    Why is the RQ given so much press? What a waste of space.

  14. Topsy Taiwo

    Why are people so horrible on here? lol

    1. PeeBee

      Because they are big boys and girls living in an adult world.
      Don’t like it – then bu99er off back to La-La Land where the cotton wool that precious sorts are wrapped in keeps them nicely cushioned from nasty-pasty people.


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