Portal Wars

Published: 03/11/2016 By Stephanie Wright

With OnTheMarket.com (OTM) launching its new portal back in January 2015, estate agents across the country have since seen its fair share of portal wars between RightmoveZoopla Property Group (ZPG) and OTM. Everyday usage of the internet has increased year on year and now we are seeing more house hunters beginning their search online as well. Recent research reveals that the use of property portals in the UK has hit record highs and within the last year 47% of the population have used a property search website. For many estate agents this has raised the question of which portal they should be using for their property listings.

For many years the market has been dominated by two main players, Rightmove and ZPG. Rightmove is the most visited property search website and ZPG has taken its position in second place with its presence continuing to grow. However, it cannot be denied that both portals are being challenged by their new competitor OTM. The new property portal set up by estate agents was designed to break the duopoly which had formed and reduce the costs of listing properties online.

At Patrick Henry we have noticed that a large number of clients are now instructing agents based on which portals they use to advertise properties. As local agents ourselves, we are regularly asked which portals we use and why? For us, the lower number of visits which OTM receives compared to both Rightmove and ZPG is the main factor for our decision. We market our properties on the two leading portals to ensure that we receive maximum exposure for our clients. ZPG alone receives an estimated 50 million views a month, while Rightmove leads the way with an average of 120 million monthly views. Of course, we understand that the tables may turn as it will take time for the new portal to grow and claim its place amongst the leaders.

OTM have designed a strategy to help them achieve just that. In order for agents to begin using OTM they first have to choose to advertise through either Rightmove or ZPG as you are not able to use all three portals. For many agents they decided to drop ZPG and this meant that a quarter of agents left ZPG within the first month of the new portals launch. Conversely, over the recent months we have seen that those who were trialling OTM are now actually beginning to return to ZPG. This is a result of many agents not being satisfied with the number of leads they were receiving from the site.

However, only time will tell as to how far OTM can go. Will they successfully destroy the powerful duopoly which has so famously formed in the property sector? Let’s wait and see.