A war of words broke out last night as the boss of property portal Zoopla labelled OnTheMarket – a new challenger in the property portal space – as “a regressive business model trying to stifle innovation”.
The new property sales website, mutually owned by estate agents including Savills and Knight Frank, is being launched this morning after estate agents claimed the rise of Zoopla and Rightmove meant they were paying higher fees.
But OnTheMarket has come under fire for the allegedly uncompetitive terms it is imposing on agents, including a rule stopping them from listing properties on more than one other site.
“This new portal… is a regressive business model trying to stifle innovation at the expense of home sellers up and down the country,” said Zoopla chief executive Alex Chesterman.
“It creates the single biggest conflict of interest we have ever seen between an agent and their client, where the agent is now trying to limit exactly what the seller is paying for – maximum exposure of their property.” OnTheMarket boss Ian Springett responded that his site offered “a much-needed competitor in the online property search market”.
“Agents are dropping other less effective portals to advertise at OnTheMarket.com, not least because it provides a superior offering to agents and their clients, which does not undermine their position by including data on their advertising page which is unhelpful to them, such as any price reduction history and spurious, statistically-driven estimates of their property’s value.”