An online estate agent who a year ago predicted that OnTheMarket would not survive for 12 months has issued a statement about the portal - which marks its first birthday today.
A year ago today we reported that Russell Quirk, founder and chief executive of eMoov, branded OnTheMarket a “flawed concept” which would not last longer than 12 months.
Today Quirk returns to the attack in a ‘birthday’ statement which makes no reference to his prediction.
He says member agents advertising their properties on OTM should question the portal’s financing; he says £12m of its £20m budget is dedicated to marketing, meaning - he says - £8m is spent on salary payments to head office and sales teams.
“On the marketing side, it is plainly clear that OTM is by far the most expensive form of digital marketing out there. The cost per lead (if you care about enquiries) or cost per eyeball (if you care about brand exposure) to an agent is many many times more than that of Rightmove or Zoopla” claims Quirk.
“And OTM's (or more accurately its member agents) cost to attract visitors to its website is shockingly expensive” he adds.
Quirk says that on the investment side, OTM member agents should question what their payback will be, ultimately, for the current pain of more expensive leads and visits.
“OTM argues that [payback] comes in the form of reduced fees. But that argument doesn't hold true if OTM are massively overcharging now based on performance and audience, and in the future they move down towards a more reasonable market price. And it certainly doesn't hold true for overall portal marketing costs as OTM has had no constraint on Rightmove pricing and, in fact, most analysts believe it has had the opposite effect.”
Quirk says OTM agents are pouring money down a black hole.
Meanwhile OTM itself has issued a statement to mark the anniversary, saying it is now recognised as a “challenger brand.”
“We have already revealed this year that we have achieved the support of 6,500 estate and letting agent offices – a 50 per cent increase on this time last year – and we are now on our way to our next milestone of achieving support from 7,500 offices.
“There are many areas of the UK where we are already the number 2 portal in terms of available residential listings – and have been for a long time – and many others where just a few extra offices would push us over the line” says the statement.