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OTHER FEATURES

A call for questions from Alex Chesterman and Zoopla Property Group

What will Zoopla Property Group (ZPG) do if it is overtaken in agent numbers by OnTheMarket? 

Does the acquisition of uSwitch risk diluting the ‘property’ focus of ZPG?

Why do portal fees have to be so unremittingly high?

What’s next in property portal development?

These are just four of the questions which you could, if you wish, ask the Zoopla Property Group founder and chief executive Alex Chesterman.

In an exclusive opportunity for readers of Estate Agent Today and Letting Agent Today, you are being invited to take full advantage of Chesterman putting himself in the firing line – he is happy to consider any question.

It’s not an opportunity to be missed – Chesterman is one of the leading figures in the residential property industry and in the world of business, too.

In addition to running the highly-profitable ZPG it was only in 2011 that he sold Lovefilm, the DVD rental website he started in 2003, to Amazon for £200m. His diversification of ZPG by purchasing the uSwitch price comparison website earlier this year has been widely praised.

But Chesterman and ZPG appeared to be on the ropes this year with the launch of OnTheMarket and the initial loss of agent members. However only a matter of weeks ago, they announced their return to growth.

So what now? Will ZPG’s next set of figures show the fightback continuing with another growth in agents, following its success in August?

This is your opportunity to ask Chesterman about this week’s decision by high-end London agency Chestertons to defect to Rightmove. 

Or perhaps you would prefer to ask the ultimate question – is ZPG interested in buying OnTheMarket, and putting an end to the rivalry which has allowed Rightmove to become so dominant?

Readers of EAT and LAT are now invited to post their questions online – you have until the end of Friday September 11. 

You will see that users now have the ability to 'like' comments across the Today Sites. As with commenting, you will need to be logged-in to your Profile in order to 'like' a comment.

Chesterman will be answering a selection of readers' questions which receive the most 'likes', so make sure your question hits the right note with other agents.

His responses will then appear in the Industry Views section on Monday September 14 and be carried for several days.

*The call for questions is now closed. The answers to your questions from Alex Chesterman and ZPG will appear next week in Industry Views

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    I personally would like to know if Zoopla would consider purchasing OnThe Market at any price?

    Thanks,
    A.TT

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    Are you going to do anything with uswitch or was it a move just intended to impress the city / attract investors?

  • Algarve  Investor

    Alex, are there any plans to expand Zoopla's operations overseas?

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    With more property portals appearing and a company like OTM causing shockwaves throughout the industry, do you think Zoopla will always be able to innovate and stay ahead of newer rivals?

  • Richard Newman

    The launch of OTM this year has definitely given agents something to think about. Some agents have jumped on board immediately, others, like myself are carefully monitoring events first. I'd be interested to know what Zoopla's strategy is for the rest of 2015 and moving into 2016 to attempt to retain existing clients and win back those that have jumped ship.

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    Do you think that being plcs has contributed to your business as well as rightmove alienating your customer base of agents?

  • Rob  Davies

    Do you realistically believe you can challenge Rightmove as the No 1 portal? Or have you resigned yourself to playing second fiddle for the foreseeable future?”

  • Anna  Dickson

    What do you see the plan being for Zoopla in the next 12 months? How do you plan on winning back those agents who chose OTM?

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    Hi Alex,
    I am very much looking forward to your interview!
    How do you see the position of OTM v Zoopla and Right Move in 12 months from now?
    Would Zoopla consider reducing prices to regain those agents they have lost to OTM?

  • Simon Shinerock

    Alex, do you think OTM is a Cartel?

  • Jon  Tarrey

    Why are most property TV adverts so naff and instantly forgettable?

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    Alex, what are the plans with the Find a Pro service?

  • Karl Knipe

    Rivalries aside, do you think the industry would function far better in the interests of estate and letting agent businesses (and, accordingly, the public) with 3 major portals rather than the duopoly we had at the start of the year? If not, why not? To balance this question, I’m not advocating the set-up of OnTheMarket but thinking more along the lines of another commercial portal competing equally along the lines of Zoopla and Rightmove but with its own USP.

  • Karl Knipe

    And another quick one from me...

    With 3 major portals do you think the industry would find that it was better served in terms of value for money? Would that also mean that all three companies could still make a good profit but not have accusations of profiteering, to quote a phrase that is regularly thrown at them?

  • Marc  Cox

    Zoopla who are they?

    I seem to remember some website once but it was so long ago I really cant think of anything!

  • Simon Shinerock

    Alex, do you think agents who have joined OTM realise it's not just the CMA but any affected commercial entity that could decide to issue proceedings under the competition laws?

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    Do you have any plans to dispose off rest of your remaining shares?


  • Fake Agent

    Location, Location, Location or Homes Under the Hammer?

    On a more serious note, what was the inspiration behind the (now iconic) purple branding?

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    Has the emergence of OTM made you question how you interact with agents?

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    What is the impact of find a pro feature so far?

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    I'm a big fan of Alex's. I remember back in 2001 before Google image search was as extensive as it was today cutting out a picture of him and framing it and putting it on my mantle piece.

    I would like to know what his star sign is? And also Pepsi or Coke?

  • Rookie Landlord

    That made me laugh out loud, Darby OGill.

    Anyway, my tuppence's worth. Alex, do you understand why there is so much frustration over the high fees you charge? Do you not think agents deserve a better deal?

  • Simon Bradbury

    Hi Alex - Are you able to categorically confirm or deny that Zoopla will never accept private listings. I simply can't imagine that it would make financial sense for you, but a number of "conspiracy theorists" think that you might!

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    A lot has been said about how legally sound the Agents Mutual contract is and whether this could lead to competition authority issues for those agents involved. What are Zoopla's thoughts on this?

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    It have read that over 100 agents have returned to ZPG. Who are they and how many more are talking to you about returning?

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    Will Zoopla ensure that any agents returning pay a higher price than those who stuck with Zoopla?

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    What lessons have you learned during the last 9 months (OTM launch) that will help you for the future?
    and
    Are you going to develop Zoopla into something more than a property portal? if so will the properties be central to this plan or will it just tick over until everyone leaves for greener pastures?
    And where do you see Zoopla's place in the market in 5 years?

  • Simon Shinerock

    Alex, do you think OTM would be in a better or worse situation now if they had targeted Rightmove rather than Zoopla?

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    What is Zoopla's view on how enforceable the Agents Mutual contract is? Do think they can hold me to it Alex?

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    Two questions from me:

    Will Zoopla ensure that any agents returning pay a higher price than those who stuck with Zoopla? Basically will you penalise us?

    Do you think that the 'one other portal rule' is a good idea or will survive?

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    You and that Ian Springett chap seem to have had a war of words of late, especially over performance of onthemarket so far. Do you think he has it in for Zoopla??

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    It has been reported that over 100 agents have returned to ZPG. Who are they and how many more are talking to you about returning?

  • Simon Shinerock

    How real do you think the threat to the private rented sector and in particular, to the private landlord really is?

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