Tue 06 Jan 2015
January 2015 will see the launch of a new property listing website called On The Market, backed by a consortium of high street agents. It aims to challenge the dominance of Rightmove and Zoopla, currently the two big “portal” powers in the online residential property world.
So what is all the fuss about?
Agencies, like mine, are being asked to sign up to the new website which will have reasonably priced subscription fees compared to the annual subscriptions for Rightmove and Zoopla. However a condition will be that the agents will have to drop one of these 2 well known portals. It is still not clear if other restrictions will apply such as, holding back property listings from other portals for 48 hours giving On The Market exclusivity during that period.
Whilst I am grateful that the emergence of this site has already had beneficial effects on the ever increasing fees charged by Rightmove and Zoopla I do not believe that now is the time for my agency to sign up.
As an independent Estate Agency it can be more difficult to attract vendors then say, well known large high street chains backed by national advertising campaigns. We have to think outside the box creating marketing strategies to suit the local area and build strong community links to engender trust and familiarity. Ultimately I want to offer my clients the best and fastest choice available to them to sell their property. Currently Rightmove attracts 90m visitors a month, whilst Zoopla, attracts 45m visitors, however evidence suggests Zoopla delivers more enquiries in London than any other portal. What is clear is that both portals enable property to be viewed online quickly by mass. I feel to drop one of these key portals would not currently be a sensible move as the vendor may lose out, their property may be on the market for longer than necessary and it may even put prospective vendors off choosing my agency to sell their property if they feel their properties marketing potential is being restricted.
Whilst On The Market have amassed a large marketing fund I am keen to see the site and its marketing campaign in action before I consider signing up. I think competition is good and I welcome the new property portal but at this early stage I feel it is a far too risky strategy to drop either Rightmove or Zoopla.
I am not alone as larger firms such as Countrywide (which includes brands John D Wood, Hamptons and Gascoigne-Pees) has rejected OnTheMarket and will stick with Rightmove and Zoopla, as have Connells and LSL.
I will keep a constant eye on the sites development and wish them well with their launch at the end of the month.
In the mean time if you are looking to sell or rent your home in Palmers Green, Southgate or Winchmore Hill please do not hesitate to contact us, we are here to help.
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