Following Find a Property and other parts of the Daily Mail promoting the services of Harry Hill’s www.indeed.net
conveyancing service Rightmove have decided to copy the model and start to sell conveyancing services.
Whilst we are only days into alternative business structures it is clear that the ownership of conveyancing firms is not going to be the biggest change brought about by the Legal Services Act. This is a clear indication of large brands using their marketing power and brand to channel the distribution of conveyancing services to the public.
Estate Agent Today reports that 30,000 emails were sent to people who have registered on Rightmove promoting conveyancing. Very few conveyancing firms even have 30,000 client email addresses never mind that amount of people who are actively seeking to move home.
Whilst this isn’t popular with estate agents the market dominance that Rightmove has built up means that few estate agents are brave enough not to advertise with Rightmove. In any event the reason why many are upset is because it means that independent estate agents have less chance to gain referral fees by selling conveyancing themselves.
For many independent agents, the fact that Rightmove has partnered with the captive legal firm of the largest estate agency business in the country is relatively uncomfortable.
Estate Agent Today reported that estate agent Nick Salmon who previously led the anti HIP campaign SPLINTA, and is now the managing director of Harrison Murray, said he felt many agents would not know that their clients were being targeted by Rightmove and predicted an outcry.
“My view is that it is totally unacceptable that a company which we pay to feed should go into competition with us, and if this were to prove to be a regular commercial activity, then I think it would be the tipping point for a mass exodus from Rightmove — which I would be very happy to lead.”
EAT also spoke to a Countrywide spokesperson and reported that they said “As we’re still at an early research stage in the project, we used a one-off email campaign offering a range of relevant services to home-movers to gather data about levels of consumer interest. We’re closely monitoring feedback we receive about the trial from both our consumers and member agents and will be incorporating that in our future plans.”
For conveyancers this move potentially gives further evidence to those that seek to ban referral fees for conveyancing but for others represents just another example of smaller conveyancers failing to adapt to the changing market.