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Under the skin of the letting market

Here we share news and views on both the local letting market in & around Oxfordshire and all planned and recent legislation.

Finders Keepers – Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket

Three portals

This blog post explains why Finders Keepers is not currently joining OnTheMarket.

What is OnTheMarket?

It is a new property portal (portal meaning a website which aggregates listings from estate and letting agents) which is trying to challenge the dominance of Zoopla and Rightmove. It is driven by many estate and letting agents feeling livid at the ever-increasing fees which the two big property portals demand and wanting to have more control over their destiny.

The crux of OnTheMarket is that each member is only allowed to advertise on one other property portal. Agents have to jettison either Rightmove or Zoopla if they were on both before.

How did Zoopla and Rightmove develop their duopoly?

Rightmove was an early mover in the industry and built a business with approximately 70% margins by marketing itself as simple, lowest common denominator product.

Zoopla is a “roll up” of many property websites and led the market in providing theoretical pricing data. When Zoopla merged with the Daily Mail’s websites (Prime Location, FindaProperty) it left only two big players in the market.

Rightmove and Zoopla market themselves heavily and, yes, they deliver lots of enquiries to their estate and letting agents. Not all these enquiries are good quality and that is important – at Finders Keepers we want good quality applicants, not just any applicant.

Why is Finders Keepers not on OnTheMarket?

Our new tenants come to us in four main ways:

  • Via our network – our best applicants come via our hard-won relationships with local employers, relocation agents, our existing tenants and landlords, word of mouth, etc.
  • Via
  • Via the portals (Rightmove etc)
  • Via our other marketing (Boards, our offices, etc)

We have done extensive analysis on our Rightmove and Zoopla’s results. We have spoken to City analysts tracking the portal war and taken soundings from clients and partners across the industry. Our conclusion is that we do not think that OnTheMarket will deliver enough enquiries for our customers in 2015.

Why not? As even OnTheMarket’s biggest supporters acknowledge it will take a while for OTM to catch up with Zoopla and Rightmove who have high brand awareness and powerful Google search listings.

We do not think our clients should have to suffer during OnTheMarket’s early stages when the number of new enquiries will be low. No portal is perfect but Zoopla and Rightmove are our portals of choice in 2015.

What happens next?

We are open-minded. We will keep a close eye on the three main portals and keep selecting the marketing channels which are best for our clients. If OnTheMarket delivers on its promises then our position might change for 2016.

A word of warning: bear in mind that the three companies (and their members) will be spinning their own brilliance in 2015 – take any results with a huge pinch of salt – the PR battle is well and truly under way.

Dan Channer
MD, Finders Keepers