UK Property Portal News Roundup

Edmund Keith

July 29, 2020

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The property portal market in the UK consistently fills up our inboxes, and this week has been no exception. Here’s a quick rundown of the news in, perhaps, the most competitive portal market in the world.

While we’ve got you thinking about property portals in the UK…

Check out our UK Challenger Portal interview series. The latest edition saw us talk to the founders of Homesearch. These guys built their portal in just 100 days and have plenty to say about the industry.

Challenger OneDome signs up large agencies

OneDome which owns and operates both the portal of the same name as well as Nethouseprices.com has announced that it has signed up some big-name UK agencies in its quest to bring value and challenge the status quo in the British property market. The agencies that have come on board include Winkworth, Arun Estates as well as At Home Estates whose owner is the leader of one of the many Rightmove boycott groups. Make sure to read our interview with OneDome CEO Babek Ismayil which will be published very soon to find out more about OneDome and its non-traditional business model.

Mortgage site listing houses on Rightmove 

A new company has sprung up offering free listings on Rightmove for sellers. TechCrunch this week covered Free.co.uk whose founder Rayhan Rafiq-Omar claims that his outfit is set to challenge hybrid agencies such as PurpleBricks. The idea is that Free.co.uk will make its money from acting as a mortgage broker and in return for selling its users mortgages will list their house for free on Rightmove. According to Rafiq-Omar, his firm doesn’t compete with traditional agencies who “exist to hold people’s hands” and that Free.co.uk will eliminate the “BS and fees”. It remains to be seen what Rightmove thinks of this, but this isn’t the first such business to try something similar and they usually get booted off the portals as soon as the portals’ big agency customers read about them and complain.

Zoopla claims its new CRM tool increases audience by 350% 

British #2 portal Zoopla has released a new CRM system. It is claimed by the portal that the aptly named Audience Builder increases audience sizes for agent CRM outreach efforts by 350% by using algorithms to exclusively select customers most likely to respond from across the portal company’s huge pool of data. The product is part of Zoopla’s diversification strategy and is being offered in conjunction with email campaigns to its agent customers. Speaking about the new tool, Zoopla’s Product Director Dan Martins said:

“The launch of Zoopla Audience Builder is the next step towards our 360 degree digital marketing vision, designed to help customers reach and retarget the Zoopla audience effectively, wherever they are, delivering real business value to our customers. The algorithm is underscored by leading market intelligence to deliver best in class performance.”

OnTheMarket leadership delivers positive remarks at AGM

Agent lead portal OnTheMarket celebrates its AGM today and has published the speech to be given by Non-Executive Chairman Christopher Bell, robbing Bell of the opportunity to hear any potential audience gasps, and more importantly, giving a heads up to the London Stock Exchange. Among the highlights are the close to 14,000 advertisers on the portal and the average of 134 leads per advertiser sent in June (up from 126 in January) and what Bell will call “strong operational performance with financial momentum building throughout the second half”. OnTheMarket’s stock price recovered quite quickly from the dip suffered as lockdown shuttered the economy in March, but has struggled since its IPO back in February 2018. It seems that releasing the speech the stock exchange in advance has had the desired effect at least as the price jumped 14% at the start of trading today.

Otm Share Price 30.07

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Simon Baker is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Online Marketplaces and Property Portal Watch. Involved with property portals for 15 years, he’s a well-recognized expert and industry consultant.
As former CEO/MD of the REA Group for 8 years, Simon led the group to its current market-leading position. When he joined REA Group in 2001, it had $4m in revenues, $6m in losses and an $8m market cap.
By 2008, the company presided over $155m in revenues, $35m in EBITDA and enjoyed a peak market cap of $1b. Simon is currently Chairman of the Mitula Group and Real Estate Investar and a serial portal founder and, investor.