Property portals no longer have a ‘stranglehold’ on agents, says Zoopla boss

June 20, 2019
Share this Post: 

The boss of Zoopla has said that portals no longer have the “stranglehold” on agents that they had when OnTheMarket came on the scene.

Charlie Bryant said: “Things have changed over the last four or five years. Agents are no longer so reliant on the portals – they have other ways of marketing properties digitally and they’re using them and exploring them.

“There is more opportunity now for agents to service their customers, including the use of Google and Facebook. Things are not the same.”

Bryant was speaking in the context of OnTheMarket’s latest results, and what could happen should the portal sector revert to two major players – Zoopla and Rightmove.

The OTM results show that the challenger portal had cash of £15.7m at the end of January, but £10.2m at the end of May.

There has been speculation that this means that OTM is burning through cash at such a rate that it may have reserves for only eight months – unless it ups its recruitment of paying agents by around 700 a month, or raises more funds.

Bryant said that he found the results “interesting”.

He said that the conversion of 1,000 branches from free to paying was also intriguing, claiming: “Agents just don’t seem to be making the conversion. It clearly calls into question the leads figures that they [OTM] are giving out.”

He said that OTM – which says it provided 102 leads per property advertiser in May – is understating Zoopla’s leads by about 25%.

Bryant said: “Anecdotally, agents tell me that OnTheMarket’s leads are nowhere near Zoopla’s. I think OnTheMarket’s claims should be taken with a pinch of salt.

“The other piece of the vicious circle is OnTheMarket’s brand awareness. This is not something that can be built overnight, so clearly there are some challenges.”

Does this mean that portal wars are back with a vengeance?

Bryant insists this is not the case, saying that this would be a downward spiral and that competition serves customers well.

However, last week Zoopla issued a press release saying that the public weren’t interested in OTM’s key offering of ‘new and exclusive’ marketing where properties are listed 24 hours ahead of being advertised on Rightmove and Zoopla.

Zoopla critics – and by extension, OTM’s supporters – say that the public were simply asked a leading question (the actual question was whether sellers would like their property to be marketed to the largest possible audience from day one, or to a smaller audience on a single portal).

Bryant simply says: “OnTheMarket are making a lot of ‘new and exclusive’. But the feedback we had was a resounding no.”

So, maybe full-blown portal wars aren’t back.

But it sounds as though there is still a battle or two to come.

Read more here.

Join us in Madrid, November 12-15 for the Global Online Marketplaces Summit.

Property Portal Watch Madrid Summit 2019

June 20, 2019

Subscribe to our mailing list to get news updates!

Enter your email address and get updates from Online Marketplaces.

Related News

Zumper Movoto Deal
US Portal Operators OJO Labs and Zumper Sign Listings Deal

The US real estate portal operator OJO Labs has announced that it has signed a listings partnership deal with rental...

Read More
Women In Tech Rea And Zoopla
REA Group and Zoopla Backing Women in Tech Initiatives

Both leading Australian portal operator REA Group and British property portal Zoopla have today announced measures to back women in...

Read More
Idealista Apartments Barcelona
Idealista Wins Legal Fight Over Responsibility of Listings Content in Barcelona

Authorities in the Spanish region of Cataluña have closed the cases against Idealista which could have seen the portal company...

Read More
Alma Media House Symmetry
Alma Media Q3 Figures Show a Healthy Company as Stock Trades at Record High

Alma Media, the operator of Finland's two largest real estate marketplaces, has released figures from its Q3 that show record...

Read More

Popular News