Detractors are wrong: OntheMarket is here to stay
It has been just six months since the launch of agent-owned, agent-controlled OnTheMarket.com. In this very short period in the history of property portals, we have already made significant in-roads in disrupting the current duopoly of Rightmove and Zoopla Property Group.
Rightmove and Zoopla are both almost entirely dependent on estate and letting agent subscriptions to advertise the properties they have on their books. Over 5,000 agent offices have already signed up with OnTheMarket.com with the strategic objective of challenging the current duopoly and creating a superior alternative for consumers and agents alike.
From a standing start we have created a compelling challenger brand and business with hundreds of thousands of properties for sale and to rent at all price points across the UK.
Traffic levels are impressive: we are on schedule for 5m visits to the site this month alone. Our national advertising campaign continues to deliver very strong growth in traffic and our property stock is increasing. We are at the start of a new long-term strategic venture, one that will take time, but with the excellent support received from our agent members we have reason to feel confident.
With the millions of visits that are now coming to the site, we are delivering quality leads to our members and already, in some parts of the country, OnTheMarket.com already displays more properties than Zoopla.
Web users are relishing the clean and responsive website that is not cluttered by adverts or widgets but is devoted to selling properties clearly and efficiently. This point is backed up by the robust number of return visits to the site and excellent agent feedback. The digital platform is state-of-the-art: according to independent Alexa statistics, OnTheMarket.com loads considerably faster than either Rightmove or Zoopla.
Our members and our property-seekers know that the properties displayed at OnTheMarket.com are all on the market with high street estate and letting agents and not mixed in with those of online-only agents or private vendors. Property-seekers, as well as vendors and landlords, have confidence that the agents at OnTheMarket.com can provide a wealth of experience and local market knowledge, a full end-to-end service and the opportunity to deal face-to-face if they so choose.
With the launch of OnTheMarket.com, our members have created more choice for consumers and agents and are pursuing a longer term strategy to prevent dominance of the portals market by just two firms.
Success attracts its detractors, not least from online-only agents such as Russell Quirk, who wrote recently in these pages that "OntheMarket will fizzle out before its first birthday", and from challenged competitors such as Zoopla Property Group, which lost almost a quarter of its agents between the end of March 2014 and the end of March 2015 and whose chief executive has said that he believes we are "a short term event".
With such strong support from agents all over the UK, we are confident not only that we are here to stay but that we can ultimately achieve our objective to develop a credible alternative to the market leaders.