A free to list portal has blasted Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket for using agents' data to boost their profits.
Christopher May, chief executive of free to list Residential People, says agents are increasingly unhappy because their data is used this way by the major portals which have built sophisticated CRM systems.
This in turn gives them huge control over agents’ inventory to generate multiple income streams, beyond just listings.
He cites the example of comparison service uSwitch which was bought by Zoopla for £160m. “As a result of this deal, the portal can farm agents’ data and promote their own products” claims May.
He adds that the ancillary products marketed through the top portals - including conveyancing, referencing, mortgages, insurance products and credit cards - all drive incremental revenue streams and profits.
“For example, thousands they can be made just by building an insurance book. Most agents are simply unaware of how much potential profit they could generate and what additional revenue streams they are missing out on” explains May.
He says agents should start benefiting financially from their data; hence his Residential People portal has changed its business model so that the agents can own and control their own data - agents will have to vote on every aspect of how the portal makes money.
“This is important because without an agent’s inventory, a portal is not a portal. We need to learn from the mistakes of the past and remember the old saying ‘a leopard never will change his spots’. Now is the chance, whilst we are all at home, to reflect on what world we want to come back to, to hit the reset button” says May.
Residential People says it’s also developing a new US-style Multi Listing System; participating agents will be able to search a database and retrieve information about all homes for sale, by all participating agents.
“The MSL listing service will allow agents to collaborate and share fee income, whilst also benefiting vendors, who will have whole of market exposure, with every agent in an area working on finding a buyer – a much better proposition than just being on the current duopoly of portals” says Residential People.