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Graham Awards


Is OnTheMarket changing portal rule? It says No

Estate Agent Today has seen a copy of an email sent by an OnTheMarket representative to an agent stating there may be a way of supporting it “without having to drop a portal.”

The email, sent this week by an OTM Business Development Consultant, has “New Joining Options” in the subject field.

The body of the email opens by saying that in its first five months the site has recorded some 15m visitors and is delivering “solid” sales and lettings leads. It goes on to say that the rep will, in the coming weeks, be visiting agents who “are not ready to join right now.”


Then the email says: “I now have a way that will enable you to stand with the thousands of independent agents that have already joined, support the growth of OnTheMarket, but without having to drop a portal or make any financial commitment at present.”

An OnTheMarket spokeswoman has told Estate Agent Today that the portal is “absolutely not about to drop the 'RM or Z' rule” and a statement from OTM today explains the email as part of a new 'letter of intent' campaign.   

The portal has fairly rigidly adhered to its much-publicised rule of agents joining it advertising only on one other major portal; it is known to have made explicit exceptions in two cases, for a student accommodation portal and a Scottish lettings portal, both major outlets in their specific markets.  



Meanwhile Rightmove is circulating some of its member agents with the latest data on visitors to property portals, produced by independent internet monitoring service Hitwise.

The data refers to May, the latest available information. 

It shows Rightmove secured 1.1 billion visits during that month - its third successive month with over a billion, each apparently higher than the previous month.  

During the same period Zoopla recorded 258m visits while its sister-site Primelocation secured 38m visits.

OnTheMarket recorded 2m visits.

Rightmove’s total for the month makes it the eighth most visited site by UK users according to Hitwise, behind only Facebook, Google, eBay, YouTube, Amazon, Google Maps and MSN - and actually just ahead of the BBC’s homepage. 

Still with portals, a press release from Zoopla claims it has delivered record levels of appraisal leads to its members over the first half of 2015, despite a loss of agents to OnTheMarket. 

Zoopla says that since January, prospective vendors and landlords have sent over 135,000 enquiries to member agents requesting appraisals, up 40 per cent on the same period last year. 

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    While this article uses statistics to support the story from "Hitwise" a known independant web monitoring Co, when it then tries to "Support" Zoopla, it is happy to use figures that are unsubstantiated and provided by the Portal itself - not exactly a level playing field for comparison is it?

    We are currently getting more enquiries from OTM than we ever did from Zoopla and this is rising (Both from Vendors and Purchasers), Market share is shifting (for us at least) and to be totally frank, OTM has outstripped Primelocation (Who?) by far already.

    And no, I do not have independant statictics to back this up, but then nor does Zoopla apparantly....

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    Very funny Graham.

    As much as the fervent supporters of OTM want to believe that the thing will work, it won't. Anyone who is on OTM, unless they happen to be in a freak area where its got some traction, will be experiencing a vastly reduced number of leads compared with Zoopla - and even more so Rightmove.

    OTM is a new site and is far more reliant on paid traffic than either of the main portals. Anyone who does that sort of marketing will know that paid search is always lower quality than traffic that comes to your site because it has consciously chosen to.

    Unfortunately enough information is out there, and enough conversations have been had between staff members on a Friday night to know that OTM has disappointed on all fronts.

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    I respect you view and opinion, but then I am in possibly the only location in the UK where OTM does indeed have traction and the only agents who are not with OTM (Several dozen) are the Corporates with vested interests.

    If it is working for us, I am sure it is working for others, but then perhaps we are just all "Freaks"!

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    You have a vested interest Graham. In fact, I would say that your vested interest is far greater than any of the corporates who simply have a financial investment in Z & RM because if OTM backfires you a scr*wed. The corporates can cash out at any point and join OTM - they would be welcomed with open arms and be given the best deal available.

    You have staked your reputation within your business and with your customers. From what I am seeing, customers are slowly becoming aware of what this means and those of us who stuck away from it are winning as customers are far more willing to believe that a bunch of crooked agents have got together to save a few quid than they are on some righteous cause - especially when I point out it only costs about £30 to advertise their property on Z and £60 to advertise it on RM.

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    What on earth are you on?
    If (and there is no indication yet, in fact quite the contrary), OTM "Backfires" then I will be in EXACTLY the same position as any of the Corporates and take up other portals as necessay; I am committed to OTM as a business model, not to give them my first-born.

    Secondly, I appreciate that you a tarring a huge number of agents as being [Quote] "Crooked" - I bet you have a lot of fans for that little snippet.

    I just love this agument (and wonder if you are Simons alter ego), it goes round and round and is always the same, those with a view (to which they are entitled to) are thrown abuse while if I (polietly) point out that there is a slant on this report that quotes independent figures to make one point, and then takes a Portals own numbers to make (or support another), that is wrong also?

    You people make me laugh.

  • Robert Ulph

    I love this debate, but the fact is I made a decision to stay with both as I get 50% rightmove leads and 50% Zoopla leads all of equal quality so I had no need to try an untested portal, if OTM dropped the one other portal rule I would give them a go with the other 2. OTM is created a very Cartel like plan and was the only niche in the market they had, it would of dies the death with out it, so I have no interest in being part of it until this changes, but I am not sure this is about to happen but I wish it did.

  • London Agent

    Like Robert, I would also advertise with OnTheMarket, but I am not going to take a risk with an untried and untested service. Broadly speaking it is almost the same plan as PrimeLocation, with many of the same people running it. I have asked the question why was PrimeLocation sold in the first place and have yet to receive an answer. I suspect a big payout for the management was at the heart of it, therefore, once bitten twice shy in my case. In London Zoopla and Rightmove produce a pretty similar number of enquiries, to drop either would be foolish my opinion. We show Landlords and Vendors the Hitwise figures, Rightmove 1.1 billion visits, Zoopla 258 million hits, OnTheMarket 2 million and pretty quickly landlords and sellers are convinced - the fact the agents save money and 'own' the data doesn't seem to worry them. We have won business from firms that have moved. Therefore I suppose OnTheMarket works for us but perhaps not in the way it was intended!

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    Graham - you actually make me laugh - out loud.

    I am not saying that you ARE crooked, I am just saying that customers are prepared to believe that you are. Especially with docs like last night's.

    At some point maybe you and others will realise that the principle of OTM was great, but the execution and outcome achieve nothing except lose some agents market share, waste a load of money, and strengthen Rightmove. If someone had stated those as the objectives of OTM, would you have signed? No.

    Oh, and to Richard's - very sensible - point. The sooner you realise that this is simply a cover for the posh boys to get their own top end website back, the better. That is why so much money is being spent in broadsheet newspapers etc.

    I keep getting asked why I am being so vocal about something that I am not involved in. You lot are like the Greek public voting in Syriza. Caught up in the euphoria and stupid, unrealistic promises of the party (quote Springett "we will be number 2 by January 2016), completely ignoring the negative consequences.

    You are a member of the Greek public. Well done, give yourself a big pat on the back, and now get ready to get kicked out of the Euro, half of your savings wiped out, and spending the rest of your days serving lamb kebabs to ungrateful tourists who are only in your broken country because of the cheap drachma.

    Sorry to rant at you Graham, but you really do deserve it...

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    Well well well, if there's one thing to get people going... Some interesting thoughts. I'll leave Eileen and Graham to it. But Richard, are you suggesting OTM might be establishing itself to be sold in the future then?

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    On the article, an email from a BDM is exactly that and not conclusive proof of anything. Seems that, having seen the article above, the rule isn't going to be dropped anytime soon. Hardly surprising when you think how many member agents it would upset, and rightly so! As for the visits war, well we wouldn't be expecting a six month portal's traffic to be anywhere near RM's would we? Agents are reporting good leads from all three portals but of course everyone is going to publically back the portal they have financially backed!

  • Simon Shinerock

    So imagine you are an OTM rep. 'would you like to join OTM'? Agent 'no' Rep 'Ok how about if we get to 7500 offices, would you join then'? Agent 'Please leave' Rep 'I have a wife and four kids you know' Agent 'leave now or I'm calling the Police' Rep 'spare a cooper Squire'

  • London Agent

    John, I don't think it will or could be sold, firstly, I understand due to its ownership structure and secondly does it have any value to anyone? Almost all the agents already advertise with either RM or Z, therefore unlikely they would be buyers. OnTheMarket is not a bad idea - it's just 15 years too late!

  • Kristjan Byfield

    I find comments that 'we would market with OTM if they dropped the one other portal rule' bizarre. The whole & sole point of OTM was to disrupt the 'monopoly' of the big two with the aim of SAVING agents money. Portals do not CREATE tenants and buyers and client leads they simply funnel them. So, if you are willing to join OTM on this basis then what you are actually sayting is- not only am I happy with the pricing of RM & ZPG but I am happy to pay a much smaller site another fee in addition to those 2 to steal a small percentage of their traffic and deliver them to me under a new brand. If OTM does not break the monopoly (and it wont) then it should be wound down as that was its sole purpose behond launch. Supporting it under any other model is madness- it just says ' I am happy to waste my money on an unnecessary 3rd wheel on my marketing bicycle'.

  • Simon Shinerock

    It's catch 22 then, they can only recruit enough agents if they keep the one other portal rule but if they recruit enough agents they can't keep the one other portal rule. Actually they won't recruit enough agents for the second part of the paradox to take effect but it's pretty neat anyway


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