EYE Exclusive: Resurrect ‘one other portal’ regime, OnTheMarket boss urges agents

OnTheMarket boss Ian Springett has called on agents to revive the ‘one other portal’ regime – and not to keep feeding Rightmove.

Speaking on Friday at the Relocation Agent Network conference, he suggested member agents list their properties “with no more than one other portal” and release their new listings to OTM 48 hours ahead of elsewhere.

He said: “Commit your support to OnTheMarket and keep the other two on a short leash so that you can play them off against each other.”

Springett also said that to counter ever-increasing portal fees, “new thinking” is required across the industry.

He urged agents to use their “pricing power”, reminding them that they provide both content and revenue to portals.

In a fiery speech, he turned both barrels repeatedly on Rightmove, telling agents not to support its 75%-plus profit margins.

He said that OTM’s figures for the first half of this year show that it provided 28 leads for every £100 of monthly fees, based on a monthly payment of £331.

In contrast, he said that Rightmove generated 16 leads for every £100 across the equivalent time period, based on a monthly payment of £1,077.

He added that OTM is now sending over 100m property alerts per month to almost 1.2m people. Rightmove sent 781m alerts to over 2m people in 2018.

Springett went on: “According to its own figures, Rightmove lost around 800 branches between June 2018 and June 2019.

“OnTheMarket has continued to gain offices, with over 12,600 reported as at September 30 this year.

“Furthermore, independent data from Home.co.uk indicates that in October 2019, compared with October 2018, the number of agent offices listing either exclusively at OnTheMarket, or with OnTheMarket and only one other major portal, had increased by 731 to 5,543.”

Springett said: “Agents are the providers of both the core content and the revenue on which portals depend, so agents can shift pricing power away from Rightmove and Zoopla by supporting the agent-backed portal.

“OnTheMarket is 70% owned by more than 3,000 independent agents operating over 6,000 offices, and new agents committing to long-term listing agreements can receive shares alongside.

“OnTheMarket aims to continue expanding its agent ownership group.”

Springett said: “It’s clear that serious property-seekers find the properties, wherever they are listed.

“Many agents have told us that leaving Rightmove has made absolutely no difference to their business.

“Some have even said that their working day has become easier because they are no longer chasing unproductive leads.

“In the period from 2011 to 2018, Rightmove’s fees more than doubled, rising by 125%. This represents a compound annual growth of 12.4%.

“We have heard that some agents are facing a 30% increase in Rightmove fees.”

Springett said that the “annual ritual” of agents complaining about Rightmove’s prices and attitude, and then complying, would change nothing.

He said: “The core ethos of OnTheMarket is to understand and support the role of the agent.

“That is why we froze our prices next year for our customers on full tariff contracts.

“Given the challenges facing agents right now and the uncertain outlook for 2020, we believe this is the right thing to do to support all those firms who have loyally backed us as we have developed and grown your portal.

“We have seen before that the best agents come out of such periods stronger, and we want to help you do just that.”

Previously, the ‘one other portal’ rule was binding on OTM agents and chiefly hurt Zoopla. The implications from Springett’s speech are that it would be now be completely voluntary – and have Rightmove chiefly in its sights.

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55 Comments

  1. GPL

    Springett also said that to counter ever-increasing portal fees, “new thinking” is required across the industry.
     
    Ian? You had an “Open Goal”!!!  ……and you missed!!!  
     
    So….. Fire & Brimstone is going to work?!
     
    Get your finger out and dump that useless TV Ad. Get back to the drawing board and inject real spark into OTM’s public image. Then, Agents might just see that OTM isn’t a lost cause.  
     
     
     

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    1. Bless You

      Finally some leadership.

      What is really required is for on market to get agents together locally like when they first launched.

      I think the reason o.m. even happened was because of this progressive approach.

      Agents have to see the whites of their enemies eyes to agree to come off rightmove.

      This after All is for the benefit of the customer to keep our fees down by using a viable alternative.

      Plus promise to go private again once hit profit.

       

       

       

       

       

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  2. Property Poke In The Eye

    I think most agents are making their own mind based in what they can afford.   OTM had its chance and blew it.

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    1. Jrsteeve

      Did it have a chance though? Far too many agents were dead set against it and never even trialed it, but were happy to slate it on here etc. Now RM has upped fees yet again, as expected, those agents are starting to realise that OTM isn’t perfect but provides a possible means to ending RM’s complete monopoly and hatred of agents.

      We really do need to all get behind it whether you like it or not. Agents created RM and can do it again. It isn’t too late.

      And no I don’t work for OTM, I’m an independent with two offices in Manchester and sick to death of RM, who I pay £31kpa but not for much longer.

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      1. smile please

        Circa 20k branches in UK a dozen or so posters on here expressed why it would not work (and were right) I dont think a handful of posters on PIE can be to blame for the car crash of OTM.
        I guess the promised £5 shares that are in fact worth circa 70p is PIEs fault also?

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        1. Jrsteeve

          Yes but it’s those that don’t post and just read the negative comments about OTM, pushing them away from giving it a chance. 
          RM needs knocking down a few pegs and OTM really is the main way to do it for most independents who don’t have the marketing budgets of their larger competitors. RM wasn’t a monster in a couple of years so I’m not sure why anyone expected this of OTM, it needs a chance. 

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          1. smile please

            Give it a chance?

            I think they are out of chances, 5 years, numerous broken promises, less than transparent, favouring certain agents over another.

            It was and will never work, for one very simple reason OTM were disingenuous on why they set up. If that is not clear you are to put it politely naive.

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    2. JonnyBanana43

      Yes, we might not like Mr spring-it – but he’s only solution to conquer rightmove

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      1. Honest_Bloke_78

        Not true. These guys just made Rightmove stronger!
        #SprExit

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        1. Bless You

          Your both correct.
          Now for onthemarket to leverage its power and kill rightmove.
          I will support them 100% even though they have cost me £700pm more in portal fees, since our town went 100% rightmove. 

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  3. Reborncoyote25

    For me, as an original gold member, all of the gloss has now come off this offering – a great opportunity spaffed . I’ll be exiting as soon as the handcuffs are unlocked. 

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    1. Hillofwad71

      It is disappointing that you see there is no hope of the gloss being reapplied  despite the fact that you and  other   members have  legitimate grievances.  Aren’t there any changes they could make to allow you to possibly reconsider ?

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      1. Jrsteeve

        They’ll discount your monthly most likely, stick with it as much as it’ll pain you to do so. 

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      2. GPL

         
        HillofWad71…..  
         
        OTM V1? – They didn’t Listen. 
         
        OTM V2? – They aren’t Listening.  
         
        OTM V3? – They won’t Listen.   
         
         

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        1. GPL

           
          ……It’s why I wrote to OTM last month to confirm I am leaving OTM in January 2020.
           
          5 Years of OTM ……NOT LISTENING!
           
          Sound familiar? …..substitute OTM with Rightmove. 
           

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        2. Hillofwad71

           Suspect that Springo  will be more than  aware that with an increasing  shareholder base and  falling share price value  maybe his days are numbered . Time to pass the baton to somebody who can  make this sing ,restore confidence and mount a meaningful challenge
            

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          1. GPL

             
            As much chance of Springo stepping aside as…..
             
            Go on ……pick your own line
             
             

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            1. Hillofwad71

              Springo is a banker,.a numbers man who successsfully exited Prime location with a sale in 2006  He will be mindful that another round of fund raising is required creating more share dilution .Think Countrywide last summer who went to the market at 10p ,.a considerable haircut on the  then market  price

               

              This is inevitable unless a fresh face arrives on the scene

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      3. Reborncoyote25

        ….I can’t see any circumstances other than them offering me freebies as dished out willy nilly to the last tranches of ‘members’ getting me to stay. At least I won’t have to look at the sp every day. 

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  4. mmmm

    Step aside Ian, you have failed and earnt yourself the ‘least trusted person in the industry’ award.

    Everyone dislikes RM prices and either will or won’t pay them depending on value to them, but most also understand that you’re on your last legs at OTM and it isn’t the answer in its current guise.

    Your emotive rhetoric worked once before and you shafted everyone.

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  5. MichaelDay

    OTM say they produce 28 leads per £100 spend (ave monthly spend £331 so £3.56 per lead) whilst RM produces only 16 (ave monthly spend £1077 so £6.23 per lead )

    That means that on ave, OTM produces 93 leads a month and RM produces 173.

    The real question is – how much is a lead worth to an agency?

    If an agent converts just 1% of leads to business at an ave of £2500 per transaction (ave UK house price at 1%) then, on ave, OTM generates £2325 per month whilst RM generates £4325 but costs £746 more.

    Most agents don’t (but should) work out their true costs of acquisition but on the basis above, the question surely becomes – would you invest an additional £746 in your business to generate an additional £2000?

    This, of course, assumes that the quality of leads are the same from both portals which may, or may not, be true.

    Likewise, if the conversion from lead to business generated varies, this will have a massive impact on the value of marketing investment.

    When you take into account other costs this margin may or may not be enough but it certainly isn’t as simple as just looking at the outlay and the number of leads.

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    1. Bless You

      My for sale boards create £3000 for every £10 spent to put them up. Fake online industry stats. 
       

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  6. smile please

    I note they have not come out and come clean on the agents that decided not to pay them.

    A number of agents that signed up to 5 year agreements and stopped paying after the first year had been threatened with court.

    I know that OTM have now struck a deal with a number of these agents that if they list their properties for a reduced monthly fee circa £200 they will clear the debt in full.

    But in true OTM style they have been offering different terms to agents for how long they must stay with them. Between 1 or 2 years.

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    1. Woodentop

      You seem very keen to denounce OTM at every opportunity. How about being positive and coming up with the alternative plan that would make OTM work.

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      1. smile please

        Because its not fit for purpose.
         
        The plan of £100 per branch would work if OTM were trying to achevive what they set out to do …. Why have they not done that? Err Because it was never about that in the first place from the founders.
         
        Other than that, no idea what the answer is, its whatever the new form of ‘Advertising’ is after portals. I’m not that bright to come up with the idea. 
         
        Why did agents leave the papers? because something BETTER came along, OTM is not better than Rigntmove its a carbon copy which is not as good. 
         
        All OTM has done is split further agents from each other and cause more expense by being a third portal. 

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        1. AgencyInsider

          Why did agents leave the papers? Er, lots and lots of agents still use the papers to very good effect. It’s not all online yet SP. 

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  7. Ric

    Anyone chuck anything at him? (Hopefully not that IPO booklet they wanted us to read over the weekend though…that would break a Tesla Turck Window)

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    1. JonnyBanana43
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  8. Honest_Bloke_78

    Is this a joke???

    OntheMarket lied to all agents!

    You were supposed to be a Mutual, you lied to all of us so you could create a for profit, listed “another portal charging fees!”.

    All your original supporters who Trusted and backed you end up paying more than agents who joined later and received big discounts. You took agents to the court because they were not happy with your backstabbing and refused to pay.

    Now you are telling us that people should trust you? You a for profit publicly listed company and you misguided agents on a numerous occasions. You will do exactly what Rightmove did (increase shareholder return by charging more and more).

    #foolmeonce…..

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    1. JonnyBanana43

      Core-Binn?

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      1. Honest_Bloke_78

        #SprExit

        I better pay Rightmove than paying OTM who is just another “disguised Rightmove”. At least with Rightmove I know what I know.
        Onthemarket lost the trust of agents who relied on them and now losing trust of investors who backed them.

        These guys lost agents money and LET DOWN all agents who supported them, then they lost money to the investors who backed them.

        Only people who made money from onthemarket – Springett and his team (check out their salaries and share options- not bad for a money losing business!). Everybody else lost money and faith.

        #cutthebs

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  9. Alexwebb

    Sounds like “please help Onthemarket, the share price is down again as investors don’t like our story. We won’t charge you more Right now”. There is no need for a 3rd paying portal. If anybody wants to save money, stop paying OTM and that saves you £300 a month! Yes it is cheaper than Rightmove Right Now, but it is only Right Now.  

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    1. JonnyBanana43

      If you really want no results, pay Zooplankton instead! 

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      1. Honest_Bloke_78

        Btw, Rightmove was empowered by Onthemarket. 
        #SprExit

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  10. JonnyBanana43

    UNFORTUNATELY he’s right.
    Most people agree the set up and handling of OTM has been ridiculous – however the point remains… So we going to do with Rightmove? They are simply getting more cocky and upping their fees… If the property market takes a major downturn and we are all screwed.

    On the market is the only way I can see out of this mess we are all in with rightmove and their increasing fees/cost.

    We need to get behind OTM.

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  11. GPL

    The reality of Rightmove is that their price hiking will/is forcing Agents to leave as most Agents do actually have a “Rightmove breaking point”.
     
    Each Agents Rightmove “Financial Breaking Point” is compounded by Rightmove’s poor paying customer service, dismissive paying customer attitude and their unique ability to be almost entirely disliked by their paying customer base.  
     
    Rightmove’s relentless marketing of their relationship with homebuyers/sellers and revolving products that pit Agents against Agents is tiring. Combined with Rightmove’s Automatic Annual Pricing Strategy, it’s not surprising to see that they are contributing to their own demise (albeit an excruciatingly gradual demise!).
     
    OTM should clear out Springett & Co and reinvigorate OTM pronto. Like many a football manager Jose Springett has lost The Portal Dressing Room – Santa needs to deliver a New OTM pronto! …..and with long life batteries.
     
    The current OTM is well past its Use-By date        
     
           

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  12. AJP123

    ‘New thinking’ = failed 5 year old idea

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  13. smile please

    Agents want to save money?

    Dont pay more than £100 gross for OTM

    It simply is not worth more than that. If OTM was trying to help agents this is what they would be charging, would also attract a lot more agents.

    All OTM has done is create a third portal to pay for and set up a clone of RM which has the same lack of empathy as well.

     

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    1. GPL

      £99 a month for 3 Years sp. 
       
      OTM have moved their pricing/strategy?/promises? around like a shelf stacker on speed working in the dark.
       
      If £99 a month for 3 Years can’t attract every single UK Agent, and prompt the
      “BIG £99 RIGHTMOVE SWITCHOVER DAY!”
      …..then nothing will. 
       
       

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      1. Property Poke In The Eye

        @GPL  the £99p/m is an excellent idea.  This should attract at least 90% of the the agents.   That way agents can confidently say they advertise on the largest property portal in the UK.   It’s all about having the inventory and data.

        When Google go into a new market they test the market for free for at least 2/3 years before officially launching the product.

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  14. JRK1121

    I was not an original supporter of OTM, but this was mainly because my business was only around a year old at the time.

    I do think OTM/the industry missed a trick here by not remaining a mutual. Maybe slow growth forced their hand? Original members could probably advise better.

    OTM have by no means got everything right, but I find the lack of support strange considering the current alternatives.

    The share price was likely to go down once new share options were taken up by agents as it dilutes any potential dividend.

    Rightmove have no regard for us at the moment. During a recent meeting I expressed concerns over the lack of value my package offers (valuation leads going to five agents, two of which are out the area for example) their response was to offer a new package that cost more than my existing one!

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  15. JamesDB

    Wow.. the little things that wind up Estate Agents eh??   What about Labours plans to run the PRS instead eh but nooooo, lets all have a moan up about portal fees.   YAWN

     

    Happy Monday (or should that be MOANday) morning folks!!

     

     

    For the record, had OTM, it was ***** and all we got were leads for properties we had SOLD or LET, got Zoopla, its okay but definitely not worth the money we are paying for it… we have also Got RM – IT DELIVERS so while yes it is the most expensive, right now, it is also the one that is offering the best return of value based on leads and yes, I am aware that in certain areas of the country RM does not perform as well as others, but for us in the hear and now, it is most definitely delivering.

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    1. GPL

       
      It delivers….. aah that’s right, it delivers? …..as much as a Wet Fart in an Astronaut Suit!    
       
       

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      1. JamesDB

        What can I say – for us, it is the one that is consistently delivering good leads and for us, it currently represents good value for money.   If one of the others were stronger then we would always consider them but quite frankly the leads we get from Zoopla compared to RM are just not as strong.    As we are no longer on OTM, I have to rely on talking to other agents in our town that use them, they get nothing from them.   We spent over a year with OTM and it did nothing for us.

        For now, we are one that is happy to stick with RM. Sorry not to join your merry band of RM bashing. … and for having my own opinion!

         

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        1. AgencyInsider

          Nothing wrong with having your own opinion JamesDB!

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          1. JamesDB

            As long as it is the same as others eh AgencyInsider?    😉   (just kidding)

             

            My poorly worded and phrased point was that sometimes, no matter what the story, the thread somehow ends up at how much we all pay Rightmove/Zoopla/On The Market, and then it spirals in to doom and despair and I guess that I am just tired of it and today, decided to comment… more fool me!

             

            I like making waves

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            1. AgencyInsider

              So long as same as others? Nah, never. A genuine comment, expressed reasonably, is always good to read – whatever the view.

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  16. JWVW

    OTM works well for us – just sayin!

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  17. Woodentop

    The writing is on the wall for OTM …….

     

    SPRINGETT must go, period.

     

    Faith is the life line for OTM and that trust was abused by OTM management. The general principle of OTM is a very good one for agents and still is, but not under its current leadership. It was never necessary for it to move away from being a Mutual and a scandal that it was ever allowed to happen. It offers no bottom line advantage to agents or in-line with the original principles. All that agents required and asked for was a web portal to bring back control to within the industry and for many on tight budgets, a life line from every growing extortionate fees.

     

    TV advertising never made or continues to make any current web portal. There is a history of Pitiful advertising by all of them. It is the agents themselves that locally advertise these portals 24/7 and where the consumer is pushed into using them. You do not need TV advertising or third party advertising clogging up portals and cross selling your customer base. It is a non-starter and proven by the lack of effort put in by portals and the likes of PB who are loosing £m’s trying to stay afloat just to promote their name. While TV advertising is a very powerful weapon, you cannot afford or need it, you have a far better marketing strategy in full view of everyone in the high street.

     

    The combined effort of agents support in local advertising and a fair fee, is more than sufficient to cover the costs of a web server. Sounds a bit like a mutual !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     

    It would be far better for OTM to revert back to its core origins, new management, new equal fee structure and commitment by agents, who for some is ever more in need of change. Has Springett destroyed the trust in agents? Could OTM still work for agents? If the answer is yes, you all know what needs to be done. YOU the agents have the power to make those changes, just as you have with any other web portal, you just need to be talking to the right people.

     

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  18. Philip Norgan

    Hardly a revolutionary idea from Mr Springett. We did it earlier this year by dumping Rightmove. If agents could spend more time analysing where their genuine leads come from, they could easily adopt the same approach we did and get rid of the expensive portal. As well as costing an average of £151 per lead (not enquiry) in March 2019, we also had to stomach shockingly poor customer service, an arrogance that beggared belief and a volume of non-starter enquiries that meant we wasted time when we could have been doing more practical, income-producing things.

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    1. surrey1

      Ditto. Just served RM notice of our intention to leave at year end. Cost per lead once you strip the crud out is bonkers.

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  19. J1

    Come off all portals and stand proud in your local area.
     
    Promote your own website as being the place to visit for the latest news and properties.
     
    Agents cannot and will not stick together; its impossible for them to help each other.
     
    Portals do not consider agents to be their customers; they take them for granted and treat them like cannon fodder.
     
    Rightmove’s service levels are the worst I have ever experienced.  Its like a huge cruise ship with a massive dose of salmonella and no review site to vent your anger on; and no alternative but to take the same cruise next year.
     
    OTM is a waste of space; IS and its core agents are to blame. 
     
    Bad policies, bad promotion; and bad customer service.  Core agents took the shares and potential glory instead of sticking to the founding principles of the mutual.  Serves them right.
     
    Zoopla keeping its head down and costs down is an option, but its behind the scenes takeovers of tech companies is a worry.
         
    The past is the past and is in your heads.   The future is in your hands.

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  20. Charlie Wright

    I’ll never forget being in the Southwark offices of Assertahome in the early 2000s, (before it was bought by Alex Chesterman and became Zoopla) and being ushered into a meeting room to wait for whoever it was we were meeting. They had left a printed copy of the Assertahome strategy document on the table, open at a page showing the strategy headline: “TAKE AGENTS HOSTAGE” in big bold capital letters.

    I remember thinking to myself, that’s a hell of a way to treat your customers.

    From recent experience, I fear that there are still many industry suppliers who have the same contempt for their agent customers; as long as they’re making money, they don’t care about the agents or their businesses.

    The remarkable thing about the 20 year old story of the portals is that, despite the combined hundreds of millions of pounds paid by agents over the years, none of them have yet brought any real change, innovation or benefit to either agents or movers. Yes, portals are an improvement over paper advertising, but at least agents had control of those costs and the choice over whether to advertise each week or not. And yes, movers can now find lots of listings in one place online, but that’s just a small incremental improvement.

    But the house sale transaction time is still growing, not shortening. The pain of moving has not yet decreased, neither for movers nor the agents helping them.

    But, you never know what transparently-priced, pay-as-you-use, no-contract new option is around the corner. Change always comes eventually.

     

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    1. Property Pundit

      Every agent in the country should read and memorise J1 & Charlie Wright’s comments here. Depressingly 2020 looks like being yet another year of portal price rises and the inevitable constant moaning about them on here and other online sites. Anyone got a plan?

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      1. Charlie Wright

        Yup!

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