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I'm a journalist, ex-national papers, now working in what we call "new" media.

A side note on the current stock markets crisis. For some reason market crashes almost invariably happen in October. Black Monday, the crash of 97, the Wall Street Crash of 1929 - all in October. Four of the biggest single-day falls in market history took place in October, and the fifth was in November. So the worst could yet be to come.
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The BBC is reporting that two men have been taken into custody after setting a fire at a publishing house in Lonsdale Square, Islington. The only publisher I can find at that address is Gibson Square, which has recently taken on the novel The Jewel Of Medina.

This book tells the story of Mohammed's relationship with his nine-year-old bride Aisha (a historical fact that allows a certain kind of person to make provocative comments about 'the paedophile Mohammed') and was dropped by Random House after an academic warned that it might expose them to attacks by angry Muslims.

The BBC is not yet making these connections but it is fairly easy to put two and two together. 
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Estate agents have been badly hit by the recession, to the point that they can only sell one property a week. It seems fair to point out that estate agents have organised things so that their earnings are linked to property prices, by insisting on percentage fees. They do very well out of this when the housing market is booming so shouldn't complain when it is flat.

Stephen Pollard wonders why estate agents exist at all, in the internet age. The reason is that people like to use internet property aggregators, which bring together all the homes available from all the agents in a given area. These aggregators will not take ads from private individuals because they know that, if they did, the estate agents would boycott them. This is what happened to Tesco when they tried to launch a website that mixed estate agents' details with those of private buyers. This was the result.

My suspicion is that the vast majority of buyers find their homes through one of the big property aggregators. This means, in effect, that sellers are paying agents a fat premium simply to get their details listed on an aggregator, rather than being allowed to deal with the aggregator directly. It's a restrictive practice and I can't see why the OFT hasn't taken an interest.

This won't last. The story of the internet has been cutting out the middleman - travel agents, bricks and mortar shops, newspapers - and estate agents won't be able to resist the trend forever.
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