OnTheMarket have given agents new joining options

Friday 10 July 2015  / Ruth Montia

There was a rumour that OnTheMarket could be changing their portal rule and it was yesterday stated that OnTheMarket will launch a ‘letter of intent’ for agents to sign which signifies a commitment for them to join the new portal once its overall support reaches 7,500 offices.

Estate Agent Today are claiming that they have had a glimpse of an email sent by an OnTheMarket representative to an agent stating there may be a way of supporting it “without having to drop a portal.”

The email says that in the first five months the site has recorded around 15m visitors and is delivering “solid” sales and lettings leads. They would like to visit agents in the coming months who are not yet ready to join them, to try and give them an incentive.

The email suggests that OnTheMarket now have a way to enable agents to stand with the thousands of independent agents that have already joined up and support the development of OnTheMarket, but without having to drop a portal or make any financial commitments at this time.

OnTheMarket spokeswoman has told Estate Agent Today that the portal is “absolutely not about to drop the ‘Rightmove or Zoopla’ rule” and a statement made by OnTheMarket explains the email as part of a new ‘letter of intent’ campaign.  The portal has strictly adhered to its much-publicised rule of agents joining it advertising only on one other major portal.

Rightmove has data that refers to May, produced by independent internet monitoring service Hitwise. It shows Rightmove had secured 1.1 billion visits during that month – its third most successful month with just over a billion visits.

During the same time period, Zoopla recorded 258m visits while its sister-site Primelocation secured 38m visits. OnTheMarket has recorded 2m visits.

According to Hitwise, Rightmove’s figures for that month make it the eighth most visited site by UK users, behind only Google, Google Maps, Facebook, eBay, YouTube, Amazon, and MSN , this is actually just ahead of the BBC’s homepage.

A press release from Zoopla claims it’s delivered record levels of appraisal leads to its members over the first half of 2015, despite the loss of agents to OnTheMarket.

Zoopla say that since January, potential vendors and landlords have sent over 135,000 enquiries to member agents requesting assessments, up 40% on the same period last year.

Ian Springett, chief executive of OnTheMarket, has said that “The email quoted simply refers to a new option for agents to show their support for OnTheMarket by signing a letter of intent. This approach was used to great effect in successive pre-launch phases. The letters of intent represent a commitment to join Agents’ Mutual when overall support for its OnTheMarket portal reaches 7,500 offices. The one other portal rule remains in place.” 

Springett has told Estate Agent Today that “The Hitwise data quoted is inaccurate and during May, OnTheMarket achieved 4.1 million visits”.

This is an ongoing debate throughout the property industry, as many agents believe that OnTheMarket are blocking access to their competitors. If agents don’t commit to them but say ‘maybe’, then these figures will be used. We will have to wait and see the outcome of their new proposals.