OnTheMarket's recently appointed ex-agent CEO Jason Tebb has been forced to respond to claims made in national newspaper The Times that the challenger portal is "limping along".
A recent article by seasoned financial journalist Patrick Hosking entitled "Rightmove left rivals in its wake and it doesn’t look like that will change soon" laid out the property portal landscape in the UK for the general public and obviously piqued a few in the industry as well. Despite the article's title and a nod to the incredible amount of traffic it receives, Hosking is unflattering about the country's market-leading portal saying that Rightmove "offers a perfectly good service, but takes a large chunk of money for adding very little — and keeps raising its prices".
As for industry newcomer Boomin, the piece doesn't rate its chances. Of former Purple Bricks boss Michael Bruce who is the portal's founder, Hosking says:
“Bruce is an energetic innovator and disruptor. With Purplebricks, he moved the dial for a while, but it ultimately didn’t transform the business of house-selling... With Boomin, he will need even more luck to even discomfort, let alone dislodge, the industry elephant.”
The journalist saves his most withering assessment however for OnTheMarket. The majority agent-owned #3 challenger portal may have posted its first profitable quarter last week, but that didn't save it in Hosking's eyes with the article describing the portal as "limping along" in third place and its share price as "drifting lower".
These comments and the prominent platform they were published in were enough for OnTheMarket's top executive to post a riposte in the UK agency press. Estate Agent Today quoted the OnTheMarket CEO as saying:
“OnTheMarket isn’t ‘limping'; indeed, we had a robust and strong start to the year with more than 1.8m leads generated in January, which is an average of 146 per advertiser. Visits to the site in the month were 28 million and weekly site visits exceeded six million every week since the start of February 2021.”
Tebb also revealed that the portal would be unveiling a new "forward-looking" strategy in the coming weeks. Although he didn't disclose any details, we can almost certainly expect a marketing and agent-PR campaign to rival that of Zoopla's multi-million pound 'Transformative Vision' announced at the end of January.