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Are estate agents beginning to look for another alternative to Rightmove?

7th September 2017

With reports emerging that Onthemarket.com has lostover 800 agent branches to Zooplain the last two years, many are starting to wonder if the portal is slowly running out of steam. When the website launched in Jan 2015 it was marketed to estate agents as the “only feasible hope to combat Rightmove" – a response provoked by Rightmove’s continuous agent subscription fee increases.

In the first few months,Onthemarket.com enjoyed a spike in the number of agents jumping on board but two years on, the hype is starting to settle and it seems that it is now on a downward spiral. It appears that many agents are also, once again, beginning to search for another, more viable, alternative to rightmove.

Agents who signed up to Onthemarket.comwere swayed by the new portal’spromise to maintain lowprices and its pledge to ban online agents which at the time, wereincreasing in popularity and posing a serious threat to traditional high street estate agents.

The new member agents were also asked to sign a promotion exclusivity deal with Onthemarket, meaning they could only refer their customers to the new platform. However, the website still failed to gain any meaningful market share or brand awareness. The public just did not warm to it and seemed unwilling to make the switch from Rightmove, with its larger inventory. At the same time, Onthemarketwasn’t able to define its own image and ramp up its marketing efforts sufficiently enough to distinguish it as a go-to brand in its own right.

Not only is this a huge blow to those who had supported the website for years, it also makes justifying the monthly membership fees difficult. After all, why would an agent pay out an expensive monthly subscription fee if they are not receiving the required leads in return?

 

As one of the largest property websites in the country,Rightmove is using all of this to its advantage.A number of reports by city analysts have stated that Rightmove will continue to increase its agent fees. Currently, the average agent is paying a staggering £1100 per month to use Rightmove’s services and it is thought this will continue to rise. Although a long way off, it is possible that the figure could even reach over £2,500 per month at some point in the long term future. Despite this cost,Rightmove has recently announced a sizable increase in its agent portfolio and large website traffic figures.

 

With Onthemarket not able to mount a serious challenge, many agents feel they have no option but to continue to use Rightmove and Zoopla. While there is a demand and a need for an alternative, to date no viable contender has emerged.

 

Despite its failings, Onthemarket.com did create a concept that had the potential to challenge the duopoly. Their mission to provide an alternative service with low and long term subscription rates to agents is a positive. Agents were also seen as equal members of the website who had a say in the portal, though they would not be able to list elsewhere.While both appealing concepts and a step in the right direction, other failings meant it didn’t ever get off the ground to the extent that it needed to make its visions a reality.And with recent reports of OTM consideringfloating on the stock market, can thisbe seen as a sign that they have failed in their original mission? As this would surely mean an end to the principles they stood for and which agents had initially signed up for.So what’s next?

 

Will There Ever BeAn Alternative?

When it comes to finding a viable alternative to Rightmove and Zoopla, many people assume there’s very little option. After all, both have done a good job of turning the market into a duopoly. However, we feel there is still hope out there.

Ultimately there were several avenues which OTM failed to capitalise onwith its marketing efforts, especially considering they were the newest player on the scene and already at a disadvantage. Most notably their lack of use of social media.

 

Sweet Locationis free to list. We guarantee our free package will remain a no cost service meaning there’s no worry of us bumping up our prices shortly after you join. Our low cost premium package has a cap at a 25% fee increase over every 5 year period to ensure a low cost and fair inflation rate.Plus, we’re always on the hunt for unique and innovative new ways to market which gives you the best shot at property success.

 

We will be also adding a new feature which will allow agents to convert theirSweet Location listings into their own customisable website. To find out more about this and our other exiting plans, get in touch.

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