Purplebricks uses local paper to slam agents

Picking up the property section of our local newspaper yesterday, Eye was surprised to find a bright purple insert tucked in the centre pages.

It was a four-page leaflet for Purplebricks.

And it was headed: “Save a fortune on estate agents fees (and get a better service).”

On the inside, it said: “We’ve taken away all the things that frustrate people about estate agents …”

It even managed to give a local (and glowing) testimonial, as one of four on the back page.

This was from a seller who said she would “recommend Purplebricks to anybody – the eZie platform is amazing and so easy to use.” Her asking price was apparently achieved in two weeks following negotiation from an initial offer.

This was just one local paper, the Basingstoke Gazette, whose property section has been well supported by agents for many years.

No doubt this is being replicated in other local newspapers using the same insert, as Purplebricks tries to gain traction.

However, one wonders how agents feel about simultaneously paying for pages of advertising, while an insert in the same property section tells would-be vendors and landlords how they can “save a fortune on estate agents fees and get a better service”.

It gives another aspect to the debate about whether it is worth advertising in local papers.

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  1. PRman

    The same insert was in other locals papers from Newsquest as well, rather rubbing it in the noses of agents who pay a fortune to keep these titles alive. The flyer promises to put sellers' or landlords' properties in front of "millions" of potential tenants or buyers. Who is going to be first to get to ASA with that claim? Local paper advertising does work though – a client of mine gets instant website hits on any property advertised in that week's paper and activity on Rightmove and other portals always rises on publication day. The two go together and have to be used as part of a combined marketing plan. Agents who are aggrieved by the flyer should take it up with the paper as a written complaint.

  2. shocking

    Rosalind, I find it astonishing that as a credidible journalist / editor you are even giving these jokers any of your time or energy writing these articles about their poxy, un-imaginative business model. Please, you are only fueling MB's already overinflated ego. Most of your content is interesting to read however, if I have to read another lame advertorial of PB, I am going to kill myself (with laughter).

    1. Ajax


      So you think this is an advertorial???????????????

      1. Trevor Mealham

        @ shocking – its a hard call for Ros. Yes it promotes budget marketeers and knowing Ros for some time I know this wouldn't be an advertorial to help them, im sure few if any Joe Public bods would even know this site is here. Equally she's trying to highlight to proper agents what's out there in our industry.

        Any agent reading thios should be asking Mr Chesterman (DPG) and Mr Shipside why they are allowing Z & RM to allow Purple Bricks and any other budget model in. There ability to place adverts at low cost next to proper agents is wrong.

        The best deal any agent could take from Zoopla isnt to take their shares at 20% discount, but to serve notice and take business elsewhere, leaving just budget agents to populate Z & RM. Budget agents also can't offer traditional agency service. there are things traditional agents can do to get clients better offers that budget agents CAN'T do.

        1. PeeBee

          It's NOT a hard call for Ros at all.

          What she is doing is not only PERFECTLY CORRECT – giving industry-related "news" an airing (whether good or bad…) – but also she/EYE should be THANKED, for giving Agents who would not necessarily know that this was taking place a heads-up on the situation.

          Anyone who wants a biased, blinkered view of our industry need go back to the "other" site. You'll be happy as a chicken in a universe of foxes.

  3. shocking

    * credible oops

  4. shocking

    Let's hope he hasn't employed any pregnant employees when his latest business folds…http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/Mums-facing-redundancy-pay-pain/story-11613196-detail/story.html

  5. clarky46

    Don't worry about PB they are doing an amazing job of stuffing their own business! I logged on and registered to get a valuation of my property. 3 days later I got an e-mail saying 'choose my appointment'. I chose a sensible time of day but then got an e-mail saying they couldn't do it in my location. 2 days after that I got another e-mail inquiring why I hadn't booked an appointment. My reply saying 'I'd tried' went unanswered! I thought maybe we were too rural so someone else 50 odd miles south (nearer London) tried and got the same result. So thousands spent on 2 'typical estate agent' fellas on TV adverts but no troops on the ground doing the job. Smacks of a business seeing the market stronger and feeling that they must launch now – regardless of the fact their back-office and field sales are not in place. What will a cooler market do too?

  6. cmRENTandSALES

    I can't quite understand why anyone would suggest complaining to the newspaper about another company advertising in it's publication. Yes, if they are making wild, unsunstantiated claims (which i agree they are on their website), then complain to the ASA. PB are just another 'potential' competitor just like the other agents advertising their estate agency services in your area. If you don't like that, then don't advertise in the paper, but then PB will get all the exposure in that publication. So you make your choice. Just like the public will. Promote your own services as best you can and you will triumph over PB and other competitors covering your area.

    ps. I'm not an online agent, I have 3 town centre offices (4 by next Saturday!). I'm just a realist in a competitive world of business.

  7. phoenix

    I find it amazing that a print publication would not only supply the hammer, but the nails for their own coffin.
    Property advertising in print has been a vendor tool for as long as I can remember now and has waned considerably over the years. This kind of short-sighted approach from firms that really do not see the wood for the trees, regardless of their noble intentions, will just add to the stream of agents pulling out of print advertising.

  8. danny

    Phoenix,is that is your standpoint then why comment ? If you intend on pulling out of print then whats the fuss ? I suspect you may be annoyed that another boy is playing with your toy.Why dont you send your mum round to see his and explain that you where playing with the paper first, then im sure they can sort it out . If results arent good then surely youll be overjoyed that a rival service is wasting its money on it. If however your annoyed that you cant justify in the front room why someone cant sell a house quicker/smarter/better than you then you need to take a look at your business model,not the papers , there just advertising ….

    1. phoenix

      appears I may have struck a nerve with you danny?
      In regards to "why comment", as I understand, that's the whole purpose of this forum, or again, perhaps I must be mistaken and require educating from either you, or your mum as, by the sounds of it, that's who you defer to.
      My point was that, as illustrated by clarky46 above, I have no fear of the purple bricks model or them as a competitor, what I do struggle with is their unsubstantiated and unchecked claims appearing in a local property paper, that seeks revenue from their local agents.
      Anyway, must dash now as have to arrange a mothers meeting.

      1. PeeBee

        phoenix – don't think I've seen your comments before – welcome to EYE!

        The beauty of the written word is that people pick out the words they want to read – then 'hear' them in their mind in the tone THEY think they are intended to be delivered in. Not a good combination (or use..) of senses, I'm afraid – but unfortunately we ALL do it.

        Using the above rule of thumb, I can sort of see where 'danny' has picked you up. I read your post very differently to him – but still have an issue with it, albeit a different issue… and your second post cements my thoughts.

        Firstly, local papers (add to that magazines) distribute flyers with their publications. Pizzas… Asian Cuisine… Taxi firms and supermarket coupons in bright and shiny shades of puke-inducing colours are guaranteed to drop on your lap the second you pick up your local rag to read whatever it is that lights your fire within its pages. Oh – and Estate Agent flyers as well, of course – nearly forgot them…

        But do you actually think that those that write, publish or own the publications 'know' what is being shoved in to be delivered? Of course they don't. To them, it is a simple source of revenue. They will tell you that this revenue "helps to keep down YOUR advertising costs" if you ask them about it (and will say it with a straight face to boot!) – but YOU will simply believe that it adds to their profits. Either way same result so it doesn't matter.

        Now – I'm sorry to appear to turn nasty here, considering that I started with a "welcome" (which was genuine and still stands…) – but to then suggest that the publications will lose advertisers as a result is, in my opinion, a tad naïve ESPECIALLY when in your second post you refer to the "unsubstantiated and unchecked claims" in these flyers.

        Agents make these claims in ALMOST EVERY advert, don't they:
        "SOLD IN 2 DAYS"
        "SALES WORTH £(think of a number and double it) MILLION IN LAST (think of a number and half it) MONTHS"
        – the list goes on. And on. But how many are REAL? Does anyone ever check?

        No. We all get away with it – whether genuine or not.

        Please, before you type it – I'm not trying to educate you, or anyone else here. But we as Estate Agents don't operate on a flat, level surface. We endure more waves, dips and floating debris (and dare I add 'sharks' seeing as this has developed an oceanic theme…) than most other professions – and as I see it, burplepr!cks are just another piece of flotsam that will eventually sink to the bottom without too much intervention or effort. Their leaflets will do a load less harm than the "canvassing" activity of your local Numbers-Game Agent.

        But lets face it – 99% end up in the recycling anyway…

        Look forward to continued discussion with you.

        How about I come to your next mothers meeting? 😉

  9. Paul H

    Let's be honest, it's a shoddy way of trying to win business. But it's nothing knew from most of the online brigade who seem to structure their whole model on 'slagging off' to win business. As I said, it's shoddy.

    1. phoenix

      Agreed. Always mindful of those whose opening gambit is to knock their competitors

      1. PeeBee


  10. DoS

    I think it may be time for a marketing campaign of my own!
    – Who has years upon years of local knowledge and experience?
    – Who's going to do your viewings in a professional and knowledgable manner?
    – Who's going to negotiate the deal passionately for you?
    – Who's going to get you the best price possible?
    – Who's going to save the sale when your property gets under valued?
    – Who's going to progress the sale, deal with the chain, harass solicitors and deal with all the issues that arise?
    – Who gets paid only on their results?
    – Who's your one point of contact at the end of a phone and who knows your name?
    – Who can give you honest testimonials? And why because we have earn them!

  11. Hound

    Lets have a little reality check.
    The simple facts are that whether us on the high street like it or not, the online model is here, and will, in all probability grow as we can't control advances in technology, or the way the public choose to use it.

    Newspapers will sell advertising space to whoever wants to pay for it, like us, they are running a business too.

    And, shock, horror, Purplebricks are advertising by saying they will do things better and cheaper than their competitors! Other agents have been doing this since way before the online agents were ever deamt of, it's nothing new, and of course happens all the time in all sorts of other businesses. (Never had a client tell you that another (high street) agent has been 'slagging you off' Paul?)

    I do admire the conviction of those who steadfastly believe that a high street office is the only way this business will ever operate, (although I doubt their judgment) It is up to them to promote their business in such a way that proves that they can provide a better service and better value for money than a cheaper competitor. What's happening here is nothing new!

    1. Paul H

      "Never had a client tell you that another (high street) agent has been 'slagging you off' Paul?)"

      They are STILL claiming on their website that traditional agents are not "Honest, open and straightforward" …Why are sticking up for this shoddy company Hound.


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