SMG’s Advertising and Sponsorship Agreement Terminated by The Swiss Property Federation

July 2, 2024
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It was a nasty surprise in Switzerland last week as the Swiss Marketplace Group (SMG) discovered it will no longer receive advertising and sponsorship support from the Swiss Property Federation (SVIT).

After ongoing pressure from stakeholders regarding SMG's supposed dominant position in the Swiss real estate market, SVIT has opted to terminate virtually all of its support for SMG, which operates leading portals including ImmoScout24 and HomeGate.

SVIT had been advertising SMG's real estate offerings for roughly the past 12 months, but a disagreement dating back to February 2024, which saw nine brokers and trustees call on SVIT to boycott its support for SMG products, has now come to a head with SVIT voting in favour of terminating all sponsorship, advertising and other service agreements with SMG.

SVIT, a trade group that lobbies for the interests of member stakeholders across several business sectors, received a letter from nine disgruntled brokers and trustees in February, which stated:

"All advertising/sponsorship and other service agreements between the organizations, companies and bodies of the umbrella organization SVIT Switzerland and the Swiss Marketplace Group AG (SMG) and its organizations must be terminated immediately.

"No new service agreements are to be concluded with the SMG or compensation or sponsorship contributions of any kind to be accepted."

The letter was a response to price hikes enacted by HomeGate, the SMG-owned market-leading Swiss real estate portal.

The argument stemmed from the fact that SMG—a joint venture led by TX Group, Ringier, Mobiliar and General Atlantic—has a stranglehold over the Swiss real estate industry via ImmoScout24 and especially HomeGate, whereby price hikes in a near-monopoly are deemed unethical.

Such was the fallout from the proposed price hikes, that the Swiss price supervisor was called in to examine whether SMG was engaging in "abusive" behaviour.

July 2, 2024
Harvey is an experienced property journalist and copywriter. He has written about the property industry since 2015, starting at The Property Franchise Group in the UK, before moving to Spain to work for Spotahome. He has blogged for the private rented sector, ghostwritten for UK property experts and written case studies for franchise owners around the UK. Harvey joined Online Marketplaces as a News Editor in 2022.

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