Who Will Win The Portal Battle?

Possibly not home-sellers it would appear, according to a report on the internet pages of today’s Daily Telegraph:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/constructionandproperty/11246981/Estate-agent-wars-could-make-it-harder-to-sell-your-home.html

It is claimed that those estate agents who have committed to the new “OnTheMarket” website – due to be launched in January – are now being offered the chance to delay marketing their clients’ properties.

“Why on Earth would they want to do that?” I hear you ask.

Well, the answer might be, perhaps surprisingly: “for their own gain”.

OnTheMarket has, until recently, had the working title AgentsMutual. As that name suggests, the portal site is being set up for the advantage of its member agents, rather than (in my humble opinion) for the good of the property market as a whole.

Agents who become members of OnTheMake will benefit financially, in the long run, should the venture be a success. The people behind the idea will presumably also gain significantly (although I confess I have no idea how, but find it difficult to believe that they are committing so much time and effort into the project out of sheer love of property portals) if OnTheJunket makes any money – or eventually sells out.

Member Agents have already had to make a difficult decision in signing up to OnTheBuses: they are contractually obliged to sever their connections with all but one other property portal site. It seems that Rightmove may be the winner of this particular lottery, as word has it that Zoopla is losing the larger share of clientele (although quite how damaging this will be is, as yet, unclear).

Now, members are being encouraged to delay putting properties onto their chosen A.N.OtherPortal for a few days after they first appear on OnTheGoodShipLollipop.

The reason?

To make the Agents’ site seem better than it actually is, I presume.

“Oh look, Mr Vendor, how much early response we had from marketing your property on OnTheTitanic compared with Rightmove/Zoopla/InsertPortalNameHere. Aren’t you glad you instructed us now? Hm? Took several days to appear on the other sites? Oh really? Can’t explain that, must be a technical glitch. What do you mean you think the property would have had even more early responses if we had marketed it properly, and extensively, from Day One?”

In this day and age of fairness and competition in the market place, not to mention the duty an agent has to their client to offer the best service they can, and to advertise their properties as extensively as possible, this strategy would seem a little, er, underhand. Wouldn’t it?

Estate agents earning themselves a bad name? Whatever next?

 <