By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
Graham Awards


Consultancy accuses OnTheMarket backers of "inward focus" and "fear"

An international portal consultancy not previously known for its outspoken comments has sharply criticised OnTheMarket for its “protection of the status quo.”

PropertyPortalWatch - which acts as a monitor of property portal developments around the world, and is holding its next conference in New York later this month - took the unusual step of commenting on its website about a trio of testimonials released by OnTheMarket last week.

The testimonials came from agents with offices in the Home Counties, and one with a Mayfair office, and PropertyPortalWatch reproduces the agents’ comments in full.


However PPW’s founder and chairman Simon Baker then goes on to write that the testimonals ”all have a sense of fear and ‘circling the industry wagons’ about them.”

He adds comments which are likely to provoke fierce comment within the agency industry in the UK: “What is interesting about these comments is their inward focus and the protection of the status quo.

“The reality is that the world is changing. Uber has disrupted the taxi industry by turning everyone into a potential driver, AirBnB the hotel industry by turning everyone into a potential hotelier, and Expedia (and co) the travel industry by turning everyone into their own travel agent.  

“The same is happening in the real estate industry and companies such as Zoopla, Rightmove, easyProperty and Purplebricks are the way of the future and, no matter what the industry tries to do, are here to stay. It is time to embrace, learn and change.”

OnTheMarket is releasing a series of testimonials in the run-up to the portal’s first anniversary in two weeks’ time. 

These include testimonials from directors of Agents’ Mutual, the parent company of OTM. 

One such testimonial came last week from Noel Flint, a partner at Knight Frank; it did not specify visitor numbers to the site, nor did it repeat earlier claims by the portal that it would be the number two by the end of its first year.

Another testimonial, from Spicerhaart chief executive Paul Smith, says OTM is led by an experienced executive team "in whom we have every faith."

  • Andrew Goldthorpe

    Simon knows his stuff. Probably the most respected individual who has been there and done it in the portal world.

  • Chris Arnold

    Uber, AirBbB and Expedia are surely examples of not turning amateurs into professionals. Having a satnav and the technology to portray oneself as an experienced driver is someway short of the 'knowledge' that licensed black cab drivers are required to possess. AirBnB allows anyone with a roof over their head to play at being a hotelier, just as the portals allow vendors and anyone to become an agent. Where's it going to end? Have your medical case resolved by our panel of online experts! Defend yourself online and avoid rip-off barrister fees! The BMA and Law Society would have something to say.
    Vendors pay more because they demand experience. Those, for whom experience is of little concern, will be tempted by a cheaper offering and good luck with that.
    Inward focus and protection of the status quo, in this case, are much to be admired. OTM has someway to go, but first steps are required on any long journey.


    Great estate agency is made up of great people. Chris.

    Give great people (who may or may not be agents today), great technology and a more attractive proposition and they will win.

    You can kid yourself that taking a few pages in the local rag, and having an office on the high street are important, but you will lose as a result.

    Adapt and change, or die. If you seriously think that Agents Mutual is the change that will win out, you need your head examined.

  • icon

    Its funny that on Property Industry Eye today, Paul Smith - who is mentioned above - is quoted having one of his barely comprehensible rants about the virtues of Agents Mutual/OTM. I have an image of him cowering in the corner of his office while the world closes in on him.

    I have to congratulate this website on their coverage on this subject over the past year. Time will show them to have taken the right position on the 'one other portal' rule put in place by that bunch of dinosaurs. It does nothing for consumers and barely nothing for its members. Disaster.

  • Chris Arnold

    Steve, my position is that agents should become their own media owner. Publish a local magazine, property audio podcast, etc so that they control their own destiny. It's not for the lazy thinkers or work-shy but it does establish any agency as the authority in their area. Portals may be here to stay, but there are other alternatives.
    OTM hasn't got it right, yet. Not many businesses do first time.


    You can publish magazines and podcasts all day long Chris, but if consumers are looking on Zoopla and Rightmove, I would recommend advertising your customer's (sorry to use the 'c' word) properties there.

    Equally, if consumers are looking on OTM I'd advertise there, but they aren't, so I won't.

  • Trevor Mealham

    OTM is simply a clone of the now dated single directional schema that RM created and zoopla have run off too or should in OTMS case that be clown.

    Agents need tech to give them access to more listing. Also legislation allows long sole selling right contracts. Take both and you have a new model to open stock to collaborating agents B2B which disrupts budget only operatives and helps get fees back up.

    OTM and especially AM directors have squat zero idea of next gen property tech considering the funds they've burnt through.

    AM and OTM could be compared to Ray Charles leading Stevie Wonder

  • Chris Arnold

    Sorry Steve, I appear to be at cross purposes My comments were related to the generation of quality leads via any portal and you appear to be looking at the most effective portal on which to advertise the clients property.
    I am in favour of agents creating their own media business for the sole purpose of gaining new instructions.
    How that instruction is then promoted is obviously another issue and on that, I might even side with Trevor.


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up