Prototype ‘property sortal’ launches – could it be part of the future?

A new property project is under way – the development of a “property sortal”.

Suggesting a cross between a property portal  and a search engine, it is called Rummage 4, and it aims to put inquirers directly in touch with agents rather than a SEO dominating central portal.

Rummage delivers twin research results – Google, and the very different Duck Duck Go. The latter is described as the ‘people’s Google” as it delivers honest results rather then SEA and other artificially ranked searched results.

Developer Robert May – a regular Eye reader who has had a long track record in IT solutions for agents – soft-launched Rummage 4 on Twitter ten days ago.

He said: “The system is attracting global interest and almost unheard-of levels: 65% of people  who see Rummage 4 are coming back to use it again and one user has used the system to search the internet over 1,000 times in ten days. America, Canada, Europe and Asia all feature in the list of repeat users.”

May said that four Eye readers have helped to shape Rummage, of whom three are OnTheMarket members.

He said he has no plans to launch Rummage as a rival to the portals, but that his next challenge is to find a home for it. May thinks the cost is £36  per branch of which £10 could be given to charity.

May has released an early version of Rummage, complete with site tuition notes. He points out that it is not the property version, but that a search for an agent by name and location will demonstrate how inquiries can end up at the agent’s own website.

He suggests as a simple initial experiment that anyone interested types “Bramleys” into box 1 and “West Yorkshire” in box two. If you then hit search, you will see how the Google and Duck Duck Go results differ.

May said: “The idea is not to replace Google, Rightmove, Zoopla, OnTheMarket, etc, but just to provide better access to them.”

Eye has had a short play with it – and it’s fast. May himself says that it is designed to out-Google Google.

What do you think? It’s here



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  1. Robert May

    Thank you so much for sharing and covering my project Ros it means a great deal to be able to share my ideas with your readers.
    There is a property version which is unreleased and in beta testing, I am keen to share that with readers  like Smile Please, Ehenderson  HarryN or anyone else who would like to see my vision of Agent centric property searching.
    Rummage4 was built  as a demonstration piece to show  how Agency can move on from a reliance on central dominating portals. It is very possible to top natural search results without expensive SEO spend. Using adjective tags for property features and multiple term searching  even the  smallest firm can compete on an equal footing.  Effectively the playing field has been levelled.
    One thing that won’t be immediately obvious is the likely effect on the central office  area rep agencies/ passive intermediaries. Introducing ‘local’ into property search means it becomes difficult and expensive to be local  in all 3500 activity centres [Towns, city districts ,villages or rural areas] that currently support traditional agents. That said a traditional agent without an office will fair well  by servicing their local patch well. This will deal a blow to Agent who simply can not operate without the central portals providing a focus presence that simply does not/ can not be bought or influenced on Rummage4.

    1. Robert May

      Phew, I was beginning to think Eye was broken, if this doesn’t upset someone I haven’t got it right.

  2. PeeBee

    Nice one, Robert – who needs ‘Comment of the Week’ when you can get a whole bliddy article! ;o)

    Seriously – you’ve only been and gorn and done it – ain’t ya?  What was it I said a few months back – “build it and they will come”?

    You are taking building not only to… but way past… the next level, mon ami.

    Question, if I may.  Call it the start of a ‘PeeBeeing’, if you wish… the article above states

    “He said he has no plans to launch Rummage as a rival to the portals, but that his next challenge is to find a home for it.”

    What does that mean, for simple folk like me?  Is its’ home not ‘Chateau May’?

    1. Robert May

      Ouch  How do I answer that! I have tried to answer you Peebee, but I can’t  without being dull and appearing self promoting. is even more powerful than the cut down version I have released. It has a genuine potential to united  the industry  on a level playing field with each Agent at the centre of its own  focus.  This isn’t a product for Robert May, it is a product for the industry so the industry, corporate and independent, has to decide where it is going to live or indeed whether it is going to be allowed to live.
      I am not trying to disrupt the market I am trying to put it back together. One person can’t be allowed full control of a project like that.

      1. PeeBee


        “I have tried to answer you Peebee, but I can’t  without being dull and appearing self promoting.”

        HA!  Since when has that ever stopped anyone on this site, Robert – you should just go with the flow, Sir!  Take a leaf out of that goodwhassname’s book and spread the billshut thick and fast and hope some of it sticks.

        If they can raise var nigh half a mill on the strength of a duff video and some chuckaway figures, your venture’s gotta be worth a billion and a bit!

        If you numptyfund it – I’m in!

        1. wilko

          “If you numptyfund it – I’m in!”

          Me too… long as it will be disruptive in some way!

          1. Gump

            I will only be in if its “Game Changing” 🙂

            1. Robert May

              Have no doubt  this will disrupt the industry  to the tune of £30,000,000 according to Trevor Mealham’s estimate of all the money crowd funded into passive intermediary internet listing firms. I have  put local  focus back into agency  in a way that can not be bought, that will dent the business plans and returns of a few notable business people from other sectors who want to show us all what’s what.
              This will change the game, by ensuring there is fair play and honesty; levelling a playing field tilted for too long is going to be a good start.
              If you  really want the crowd funding experience just  send money and in 14 days  I will  do something un- related and un-worthwhile with the cash and barrage Ros with PR that says how great I am and how you lot are a bit gormless and stuck in the past.
              Things will accelerate now. Please spread the word if you like the idea, please raise concerns and objections. I have already proved I will listen and make the changes to make this as good as it can be.

              With Rummage4 now  live ,  will be slowly rolled out and I am  asking anyone interested to call me to see  how a sortal is different from a portal, and how that will put an emphasis on local, traditional, proper Agency. irrespective of the size of the window display or branch count.

  3. Paul H

    Congratulations Robert. As I’ve said previously, I think your definitly on to something with this and it certainly adds some fun into a typical online search for a property or anything!

    I shall keep my eye on this project with interest.

  4. Trevor Mealham

    Nice concept. I like the way the search allows specific social media searches (poss google competitors) like twitter, facebook that means not just google preferences come to the front.

    Many agents I talk to no longer do both RM and Z.  Some do neither. So there are property listings and other info out there now able to show.

    Think I’d make ‘All’ an option on social media

    Um……. What about adding the top 10 UK portals (and INEA of course 🙂 to a search so people don’t have to jump between different prime sites

    1. Robert May

      That is already built into Trevor.  In fact all 94 portals are listed and  the system  re-adjusts to the  sites the applicant visits most often. There are some really fantastic niche property and area specific portals who deserve the  same treatment as the main 3.

  5. Trevor Mealham

    @ Robert – Fab.  Good move.

    But how will public become aware and why would agents pay £36pcm when they don’t need to search own stock?

    I know when people (friends/contacts) ask about search saying that stock has often gone on RM and Z, I often say have you tried Google. Most say no. Then they see props that main portals don’t carry which turns into a big plus knowing others too may be missing some great places.

    So a search beyond just where Google points could be very valuable to searchers. ……………….

    1. Robert May

      The £36/ month/agent is the cost of the directory of agents not for . £10 /month will go to Agents Giving or Tenants Voice or the like to support some of the unglamorous not profitable holes in the industry such as proper advice to tenants.
      There idea is to build a data flow system that allows agents to control the flow of their data.  Effectively feeding the Agents site first with a searchable system that allows applicants to access new instructions on the Agents own site before properties are fed onto other portals.  In effect by building a filter box between agents and external data recipients Agents can be very sure of what data is being transmitted to whom and when.  Agents will set the rules not a 3rd party service supplier.  This creates an industry standard  which all service providers can code to.
      I simply do not like entrusting data to cloud systems, there is evidence of  data flow that simply can not be explained. I have evidence of  property data from an OTM agent  mysteriously appearing on two portals the Agent does not subscribe to, effectively this project is more than just being a property search and find tools, it is a lock down and protection system that hands data and sector control back to their rightful owners, the agents.
      This is a demonstration that with limited funding, a bit of hard work and a heap of experience it is possible to influence  positive change to the industry in the face of massive competition and challenges.

  6. OnTheFence

    A very complimentary ‘story’. However Robert should know with his ‘long track record in IT…’ there’s nothing new in this. Exact copy of ‘Yahoogle’ from a few years back and very quickly shut down by Yahoo/Google. The ‘global interest’ will attract the inevitable lawsuit soon…

    1. PeeBee

      So… someone pretty much clones an offering and even gives it an almost identical name and suffers the wrath of those that are directly affected and that makes this ‘old news’ and destined for the same fate how, exactly, OTF?

    2. Robert May

      Which bit would you like me to switch off? I will  gladly switch off a  free to use system that drives enquiries  into search engines and portals and simply sorts the wheat from the chaff.


      If you have the telephone number of the global interest I will give them a call.  Since 2009 they haven’t wanted to take my calls on the numbers I have for them and the likes of Ben Harris are too busy to reply to emails.



  7. Robert May

    Well it looks as if ‘on the fence’ has defeated  Rummage4  by coming up with a bit of internet history that  sort of defies finding. For the sake of  my precious 4 solid hours sleep I decided to go and research Yahoogle expecting to find the story of a brilliant mind scuppered  by corporate mafia.  For some reason I couldn’t find it, there was a familiar tale about two dominate search engines  doing a bit of jiggery pokery, but nothing that really fits with Chicken Lickin tale of woe and  threatened litigation.

    1. PeeBee

      Not only has OTF defeated Rummage4, Robert (hats off to the chap/chappess if it has been accomplished – I’ve been trying my hardest for weeks and failed miserably…) – but Bing (and no doubt also its triplet siblings Bang Bong and Bung), Dogpile (clearly named for a reason, I add…), AOL and good old Jeeves weren’t up to the challenge either of finding this seemingly mythical spawn of ‘the big 2’ – who both also deny all knowledge of their spawning this baby outside of wedlock.

      It hasn’t been so much swept under the carpet as vaporised – and as I have found when trying my d@mn hardest to break the bright and shiny new toy you kindly loaned me – that is var nigh impossible on t’interweb…

      1. Robert May

        The only thing that really concerns me is the  accusation that Rummage4 is a  direct copy of the some previous genius product  shut down by the a global cartel of heavies.
        You have seen all of the incarnations of Rummage4 in its  road test disguises. They were  designed to shield the project from scrutiny as the system was developed from Seenaboard to Boardhousewise (still my favourite just for the fun of it)  to Rummage4  and so you are able to testify how  agile development  has delivered the product not schoolboy copying. If Yahoogle does exist somewhere other than as brief screenshots of an attempted duopoly project, I really would be a genius to hack the skunkworks  of Google and Yahoo!
        The dual results of  Rummage 4  search are a transient feature that can  come or go; a feature designed to show the  skewing of search results and how SEO is the modern day Kings new clothes.    I have produced Rummage4 to explain  Generation 5 concepts  to an audience who have been sold a very convincing line.  The DuckDuckGo search results demonstrate one thing; an agent can totally dominate  a local area but  it is very difficult to dent the SEO capabilities of Rightmove, Zoopla, Nestoria and all the rest. That is the challenge OTM faces too; with 25% penetration it will be hard pressed to break that grip by simply replicating  the G3 systems. works differently (a hint at where I think rummage ought to live)
        For a given sales area Rightmove, Zoopla and OTM have single seo qualifying entries for each activity centre.  Rummage4 doesn’t!  In my village the   G3 portals each have 1 lump of SEO  I have 9!  On a national level  that means where  the Generation 3 portals have 3500 seo entries apiece, I could have 384,000,000 genuine, unique and  countable  lumps of local  SEO just  by knowing how numbers work and  creating a sortal rather than a portal.
        I am happy to explain how Rummage4 works to any agent but I am not going into too much detail on here.

  8. smile please

    Interesting! – So from what I understand it is a portal without all the paid for manipulated c**p so in essence people find what they are looking for and where they want it i.e 2 bedroom house in Rochester. instead of Z RM links it comes to the site of the agent – Is that right?

    Sounds great, only question i have is how do the public find the ‘sortal’? – Or is this too early a stage to ask this?

    1. Robert May

      You have summed it up quite well but we are a stage beyond  just a 2 bed in Rochester, we can get down to a 2 bed in Rochester  in Allhallows catchment area. If you are an agent with a listing  in that area the link is to your site with your contact details. The average test is  about 19 seconds to have the contact details or  to start live chat  24 hours a day if you subscribe.
      How do the general public find Rummage4?  the idea of introducing rummage4 foc  and  turbo charging Google is to provide  a site people become  familiar with and like. Add to that the 2 million or so vendors on the market at anyone time the ??? number of applicants and I have a  system based on a very traditional notion of dealing with people  motivated to move rather than  those using the system as a channel to  snoop or  be entertained, I am hoping that will be a good start.
      Additionally the SEO power of 19600 agents all with a local presence has an SEO weighting  that  can not be bought. That provides a strong natural search presence for the search engines.  The system is reliant on agent cooperation but the benefits   of being agent centric rather than portal centred ought to be a  very god reason to be on what is essentially an  intelligent directory of agents and their stock.
      It isn’t too early to ask, I am keen to share the beta version  with you in particular Smile, if you are now happy I am trying to build something worthwhile please get in touch. is ready to show you and at a stage where you can influence its direction. I would like that.

      1. PeeBee

        smile please – I’m not the most PC or tactful of folks at times as you may have noticed.  I really want to scream at you from whatever rooftop you would hear me from to ******* grow a ******* pair and get in touch with Mr May for ***** sake… but I’m not going to.  That would be rude and I have too much respect for you to do that.

        So… can I merely reiterate my previous comments – Robert doesn’t bite; your anonymity is absolutely guaranteed as at very least ‘Paul H’, ‘Ric’ and I can attest; and the worst that will happen is you will spend an hour (…or so…) of your life helping him to potentially help you (and the rest of us) an awful lot more.

        Oh – and afterward you have a real opportunity of coming on here and telling the world EHenderson is absolutely bang on the money with her(?) ‘full-of-billshut-moron’ character appraisal of me.

        If someone like YOU says it I might start believing it myself.

        What better reason could you possibly have for picking up that phone? ;o)

        1. Robert May

          The path to my door is quite a long one, and  no-one walks as fast as you Peebee, don’t be surprised if it takes some people a bit longer to get here.
          Contrary to what EHenderson says you have one of the sharpest minds on here, for as long as I can remember you have  been giving new  products a Peebeeing; researching and investigating what’s what about every new Hovis presented to the EAT  and Eye audience. Because Rummage4. property has been designed to withstand a Peebeeing in the same what as nuclear fuel cells are designed to withstand  train crash you shouldn’t  be surprised that you see the merits in this straight away.

          1. PeeBee

            Robert – I like to think I’m a fairly decent judge of character, and of people.  I get it wrong from time to time – but most times I do okay.  It is funny how you form opinions of people from the internet, without meeting them or even talking to them; how you form ‘connections’ – friendships, even… or fall out with someone good and proper.  When in ‘PeeBeeing’ (credit: Robert May) mode I’m always Rummaging4 stuff on various subjects – and your sortal makes finding that (…and much, much more…) info cleaner, clearer and WAAAY quicker to locate.  That alone gets my vote – but it’s the next level that is what, in my humble opinion not only has ‘legs’ (which as you know I have said less times than I have fingers on one hand in over half a decade of posting on here and EAT), but has the potential to be the ‘game-changing/disrupting/differentiating/insert-latest-buzzword’ breakthrough that the industry has been promised a million times previously but very rarely received delivery of.

            Anyways – what I started to say earlier was that I was Runnaging4 something – and the search brought a discussion here on EYE to my attention from almost a year ago and I think that what I copy below, from a little barrage between Paul H and myself is quite relevant to the whole ‘Robert May’ thing and why I firmly believe the industry should be getting behind you:

            “When backtracking Mr May, I have to dig very deeply. I have come to realise (but he had to spoon-feed me until the penny dropped…!) that this gent has, through several aliases, built up a large pool of individuals who respect his various characters – me being one of them (the ‘individuals’, I hasten to add, NOT the ‘characters’…).

            Dunno about you, young whipper-snapper – but I was brought up to ‘respect’. Respect your elders; respect a uniform – respect plays a big part in my make-up (believe it or not). But, I work on the following formula:

            A POSITION/TITLE ‘commands’ a degree of respect.
            The person in that position must EARN respect for it to be worth anything.

            Robert May’s ‘characters’ earned my respect when I had clue not one who was behind them.

            Now that he is, in his words, ‘outed’ – it all makes perfect sense.”

            I don’t know exactly how many of the ‘regulars’ I have engaged with over the years have been your ‘friends and associates’, Robert – I sometimes wonder if YOU know either – but those that stick clearly in my mind have all ‘talked’ real sense and with a rare passion for the industry.

            It is that passion that has driven you to do this – and will drive it to success.  I, for one, look forward to the ride – and urge all to hitch a lift… there’s plenty of room on board!

            1. Robert May

              😳 Thanks Peebee!

  9. David B

    Well done Robert. Something new at long last! About time an initiative came along that favoured estate agents rather than the big brother portals. Wouldn’t it be great if agents used the portals to power agent controlled initiatives rather than vice versa we could then gain back some control.

    1. Robert May





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      Sorry for the delayed reply David, once stories slip into the archive they don’t get much attention.

      Those that have  heard the full tale of what I am up to  have been able to see that what has been created gives agents full control of their industry not just some control. It isn’t just in the UK either; Simon Whale of Reapit has been in Oz for the AREC15 conference,  during  site testing yesterday I was able  to demonstrate  the full power of the system. Using the social media search function I could work out who he was having dinner with and then demonstrate how in 3 very simple steps I could highlight on of their prime properties without going near a portal.

      The contact  system on Rummage4 will put  you in touch if you would like to see I would genuinely welcome  the opportunity of showing you how the past is inspiring the future.

      1. ArthurJames

        Sorry Robert – but this Rummage4 thing is awful. Clunky and very basic tech. You’re just pulling into 3 search words into the search bar of the relevant website. Weak.


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