Earlier this week I wrote a small piece on the launch of the Propertylive.co.uk site in the UK market. I have given this some more thought and i fail to see what the fuss is really about. Here is some food for thought.
Firstly, propretylive.co.uk will have, in theory, access to significant volumes of listings in the UK. However, will they have noticeably more listings than rightmove.co.uk, propertyfinder.co.uk, dothomes.co.uk and so on? I doubt it. Remember, when a consumer does a search in a suburb, they rarely see all the listings available and as long as the consumer feels like the content is significant enough for their needs, they are likely to be satisfied with looking at one or two sites.
Secondly, as they are not charging to place listings on the site, how much will they really have to spend on marketing? Remember, the UK market is extremely crowded with traditional brands such as rightmove.co.uk, propertyfinder.com, findaproperty.co.uk and primelocation.com having strong brand recognition. (See my previous article on propertylive.co.uk http://propertyportalwatch.com/2008/08/new-site-backed-by-naea-to-launch-in-the-uk/) Dislodging these incumbents is extremely difficult - even globrix.com, backed by News International, has a long way to go to break into the top echelons of UK property portals.
Thirdly, in a tough market, agents should be looking at the efficacy of the sites that they advertise on. While they may want to save money by not advertising on rightmove.co.uk, the reality is that they still need leads and therefore would rather pay to receive leads than save GBP 400 per month and potentially receive little or no leads. The true businesses likely to be impacted by the economic down turn are the print guys as they struggle to justify their high costs of advertising.
Finally, i dont know of any industry owned property portal site being successful in a market. The challenge is that most industry bodies find it difficult to make the tough decisions and dont have access to the funds. The often start with the right objectives but fail to achieve their goals.
The bottom line is that i dont believe that rightmove.co.uk or the other paid for portal sites have anything to fear from propertylive.co.uk. The bigger challenges for them are to justify the prices they charge for the volume of leads they generate and to manage their infrastructure as the number of agents in the UK declines.