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Graham Awards


Big Three portals accused of abusing agents’ data

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.

  • Murray Lee

    No words needed Chris says it all......

  • icon

    You all should have read the user agreements!
    This is so hackneyed globally.
    It gets boring

  • Mike Riley

    MLS works in America because it is a demand led market. The UK is a supply led market. It doesn't work here for that reason. Scary that this company is wasting investors money considering it.


    It seems to be the buzz acronym at the moment.

  • icon

    Not only that it's the most expensive and in effiecent market in the world ...buy side and sell side all grasping for inflated commissions

  • Stephen Milton

    We all know that data is the key to the property market, and as long as Agents lend their data to the portals and then pay to have them advertise it, there will be no escape.
    Trulia.com and Zillow.com, who are the equivalent of Rightmove and Zoopla in the US, do not charge anything to the agent and certainly not the £'000s per agent per month that constitute major costs here.
    Agents need to work together to have bargaining power.

  • icon

    Virtually every big site and business uses customer data to market products etc. Amazon, Google and Facebook being king of this, Twitter, Tesco, Netflix, PayPal, LinkedIn, YouTube, BBC and many many more.


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