New property portal gets set to launch promising to be agent led and beat ‘the dictatorship’

A new portal is getting set to launch on February 1, promising to be the “first agent led challenger portal in Europe that will be fully open and inclusive to everyone”.

OpenBrix states its intention to “truly disrupt the market”, charging agents £100 per month per branch. It says it will be community led, and that its future pricing will be controlled by members.

Inviting agents who “wish to escape the clutches” of the big portals to “join the revolution”, it asks them to get in touch, saying they won’t be disappointed.

The new challenger is suggesting agents register their interest now, and has launched a strong attack on the “dictatorship” of the existing portals.

On a blog page, it says: 

“The UK property market has long since been dominated by the likes of Rightmove and Zoopla, with OnTheMarket joining in recent years. These big name brand portals have a firm grip on the industry from top to bottom, controlling the fees they charge agents and end users alike. In fact, the influence that these portals have on the property market in this country is such that agents are forced into using them.

“It becomes a case of pay up the extortionate fees to get eyes on your properties, or face a reality with no interested parties. This is a very dangerous position for agents, and the market in general to be in.

“After a while, it becomes a sort of dictatorship, with the big name portals able to demand whatever they want from those lower in the food chain.

“So, for those who wish to escape the clutches of Rightmove, Zoopla, and OTM, why is OpenBrix the best option out there? We can give you a multitude of reasons: Agent controlled – The OpenBrix platform is controlled by agents, not big name corporations, and not OpenBrix itself. This means that as an organisation, using blockchain technology, we have decentralised the power to the agents, and simply become the caretakers of the platform, similar to a building manager who looks after a building.

“Following a very successful BETA test, with a handful of selected estate agents, we are now ready to announce that from 1st Feb 2020. Estate agents will have full control of the prices and full control of property listing market, without having to buy shares or run the portal themselves.

“In simple terms, it removes the huge profit margins taken by the current portals and distributes it throughout the property market. That makes cheaper fees, lower prices, and greater security for agents.”

OpenBrix, based in London, is led by banking expert Amy Orivel, as CEO. Members of her team include bloc chain expert Shahad Choudhury, and chief commercial officer Adam Piggott, an experienced estate agent who is also a director of Credit Ladder and online letting agent Make Ur Move.

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42 Comments

  1. AgencyInsider

    ‘Truly disrupt the market’. ‘Join the revolution’

    Oh god, please make it stop!

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    1. J1

      I am with you brother…………

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    2. Eyereaderturnedposter12

      For some reason, “The Young Ones” springs to mind…

      “Burn the Reichstag!”

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    3. Bless You

      its crazy. We have portals happy to charge £100 but we want to pay rightmove £1250 for the same thing….

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  2. J1

    Thinking about all of this seriously for a moment, Rightmove is obviously hated by most agents, even the staff hate working there from what I hear.

    OTM is a failed concept due to the policies of IS at the top and the pure hipocritical mess it has made of itself – some huge responsibility lies with founder agents too for failing to drop RM (spineless).

    Zoopla is pretty good value!

    Just a thought.

     

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  3. GPL

    Change the Brand Name.

    Charge nothing until you have 75% of the UK Agents on board, then introduce charging ……then you’ll have The Industry’s attention.

     

     

     

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    1. J1

      The name doesn’t inspire, does it?

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      1. GPL

        I struggle to imagine that any “New” Company, especially an “Online” one….can’t come up with a Dynamic Brand.
         
        As we witness with OTM, if you don’t inspire the Agents with your Brand (although I did like the name OnTheMarket) then it’s yet another unticked box on the route to success. OTM’s TV Ad is memorable for all the wrong reasons – Chas n’ Feckin’ Dave!
         
         

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    2. Eyereaderturnedposter12

      I’m not entirely sure of the costs involved with that particular approach (£20m-30m+?), but I imagine they’d struggle to fund such a strategy…

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      1. GPL

        No need to worry about funding if you can’t attract the critical mass ……it just limps along then suffocates itself. 
         

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        1. Eyereaderturnedposter12

          Well, in the sense that reaching ‘critical mass’ would require no small amount of investment in and of itself (onboarding 75% of the county’s agents would require quite a large contingent of ”boots on the ground”, not to mention support services, marketing, premises, etc. etc)…

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    3. LordElpus56

      It’s not as simple as that unfortunately. You could have 100% of the UK’s agents on board, but if you’re not generating buyer traffic then there’s no point to it.

      The only way rightmove’s dominance will be stopped is if the public change their “go-to” property search portal, whatever that may be. Whoever comes into the market needs to go after the traffic as well as the agents. It’s not enough to just have the agents on board, as OTM have proved.

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      1. GPL

        Take the Agents, You’ll take the property.

         

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        1. LordElpus56

          True, but you have to build buyer traffic as well, and if OTM have proved anything, it’s that you can’t rely solely on the agents themselves to build the traffic for them.

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          1. Property Pundit

            ‘Buyer traffic’ or as it’s better known Brand Marketing. Traffic follows listings, always has, always will.

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            1. LordElpus56

              Naive.

              If that was the case, then Zoopla and OTM would be market leaders, wouldn’t they?

              You simply cannot rely on the agents to do all your marketing for you – it has to come from the portal itself.

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  4. NotAdoctor32

    So what is the marketing plan?  How do the public find out?

    The man on the street only know about Rightmove and Zoopla so no matter how good, cheap and user friendly you portal is, it is absolutely pointless without a sustained nationwide TV, radio and social marketing campaign.  Which will cost £10m+ a year

    Just ask OTM, OneDome and all the others.

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    1. Trevor Gillham

      If all the agents who uploaded were to promote the website on their brochures/shop window etc that would be a start. But is that ever going to happen? It would be like trying to climb Mount Everest in a T-Shirt and shorts whilst smoking 2000 bensons on the way up.

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    2. wardy

      I’ve never seen car guru on TV but I understand its wiping the floor with Auto Trader these days.

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      1. TOZ4

        Ive never heard of car guru

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    3. LogicR

      Surely Google SEO and spiders will do a lot of work on this front. If all agents start feeding this website, the rate at which it will climb through the google rankings in of itself with people searching “houses in X” “flats in Y” could be interesting. Agents support across the board may just be all it needs, especially with some sort of planned Rightmove exit date. They could have a ticker on their site that shows the countdown and number of agents who plan to leave each month depending on their contractual arrangements? Just a thought.

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      1. J1

        Are you behind this venture?

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        1. LogicR

          No I genuinely have nothing to do with it, just decided to post for the first time after being a long time reader.

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    4. NotAdoctor32

      Well, I’ve never heard of Car Guru so can’t comment.  OTM went with the ‘agents self-promotion’ route, and look how far that has got.  Only pockets of the country even know what it is, 5 years in.

      Others are offering portals for free and that doesn’t seem to work.

       

      Good luck with it anyway.

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  5. Woodentop

    Wrong brand. Basic idea confirms what many have said your over the decades, agents have been over charged for a web server but this isn’t the future. A revolution is starting to show that will move away from the big property portals, not overnight but its coming.

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  6. Agent Derbyshire

    There must be one of these ventures popping up every three months at the moment and then disappearing just as quick…..very poor name….the only way to combat rightmove’s aggression is to get rid of the silly extras, premium listings, banners….I know it’s only an extra £200 per month “in the scheme of things” but it makes absolutely no difference to buyers and sellers…..I’ve been without these now for over two years…just think about it it….I’m nearly £5k better off….go on, do it, be brave….you won’t regret it!

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    1. Robert_May

      #backtobasiconly- drop all the bells, whistles and features and then stop the utter madness of listing lettings.

       

      The portals aren’t actually the  brilliant marketing channel  agents hold them out to be, .  The portals established because of a change in technology, they filled a consumer need at just the right time; getting property onto the internet. Technology has shifted again and the portals along with the agents who use them are facing the same challenge. The tech switch is a subtle one, moving the internet from  a PC or Mac onto Android or IOS.

      The duopoly portals are massively disadvantaged, Rightmove makes so much profit its shareholders won’t tolerate the inevitable drop in revenues the new technology  will introduce. It has a very nice but very difficult  legacy conundrum; it has the money to develop (very rapidly) the tech agents now need but slashing  ARPA  by about 90% isn’t something the BOD’s will want to put their name to.

      ZPG has a tech legacy problem it is going to struggle to overcome-  5 or 6 legacy CRM systems (some with very demanding client responsibility) gives ZPG an enviable database of agents [who could quite easily be given the next generation tech as part of their CRM  subscription]but until they solve the CRM  issue, the tech legacy will prevent them delivering the good stuff the CRM client responsibility is hampering  their ability to roll out new tech  because unless it is put into the older CRM systems  not enough agents are on the new platform.

      OTM is actually well placed to deliver a solution agent would benefit from, they don’t have and  any  tech issues that couldn’t be easily overcome.

      The problem  agency faces is the same as the one they faced  getting their listings onto the internet (1996-2001) individual agent can build new tech solutions for themselves but they end up with a piecemeal solution where the listings are in multiple places.

       

      There is a wonderfully simple and cost effective solution available to the industry but it won’t happen until agents understand what is possible  rather than worrying too much what their competitors will say if they ditch technology that is now 10 years past its best before date.

       

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      1. Woodentop

        You are right Robert. Web portals like RM fitted into the scheme of things when internet property was in its infancy. It is old hat and milked agents who jumped in with the new thing like lemmings. In the last 5 years we have seen Android and IOS is the new revolution, everywhere you go someone has their head buried in it. Smart phones have replaced PC for the general public, the customer and that is the future for the time being. Google had a stab at property in the early days and was a flop because the consumer available technology wasn’t mainstream but it is now and I said some years ago that as soon as someone comes out with an App that links to social media and the likes of Google that will be the end of property web portals which are passive marketing and had their day.

         

        The future is Android and IOS with a simple App for agents to load their properties onto Social Media and Google. Just depends on how greedy the provider wants to be. Yesterday SpicerHaart announced a new director and it wouldn’t at all surprise me if we see the resurrection of ‘iSold’.

         

        The distant future, agents will be offering 3D tours. That technology has jumped from its early poor quality, to some very clever stuff and when the conveyancers/Land Registry/Local Authority searches come on line from the “protective attitude” (the technology has been here for years, but self-interest is blocking it), agents and consumers will be able to receive real-time information at the push of the button.

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        1. Robert_May

           I was with you up till the word ‘app’; the problem agents have to overcome- they can all build apps same as they eventually all built websites. If they do that the  duopoly dominance remains; the portal apps top trump 000’s of individual agent apps.
           
          What it needs is someone to defy all the odds, work out the shift in technology that’s coming, understand the oportunity and build a platform that delivers what  naturally and essestially replaces portals apps to provide a multi platform system that  aggregates the 000’s of agent’s  PWA’s before the portals dominate the new space that’s emerging.
          My advice to any agent signing new contracts with an expensive legacy portal is don’t  sign up for extras that  don’t bring any benefits to the agency or their clients, don’t bother listing lettings at all and make sure the notice period is as short as can be negotiated.
           
          In the same way the portals reduced newspaper spend, PWA property search will deliver savings on portal costs if agents understand the opportunity available to them….. and take it!    

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          1. Woodentop

            We are on the same wave length, but I’m not as technically minded when I used the phrase App. I have to get my children to work some of these new fangled gizmos and gadets. “Platform” noted.

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            1. Robert_May

              Apps is a clunky way of  shifting platforms from ancient to modern. The wonderful thing is  how PWA’s open up the possibility for micro portals that operate on a #hyperlocal level or  for individually niche properties.
              The  BIG portals can’t operate that way, it destroys their model but suddenly town by town it is possible  for agents to collabrate to control  excessive portal costs.
               

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  7. APE

    Knowing the contempt Agents have for the falsehoods and failings of the Purple ones, why choose that name?!?!?

    If i wanted my newborn son to live a long & happy life and be popular, I’d avoid christening him Adolf.

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  8. Spare Room

    Can someone please tell me why everyone wishes to disrupt the industry???

    Asking for a friend…

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    1. Property Pundit

      Apparently it’s the ‘in thing’ or is it ‘buzzword’ or something else.

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  9. watchdog13

    Good to see Russell Quirk is the PR behind this new disrupter…all sounds great then!

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    1. GPL

      If Quirk is anywhere near it then it’s Dead already.

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  10. Charlie Wright

    No new portal has ever come up with a meaningful new proposition to the consumer. Until that happens, nothing will change. The consumer will stay put.

     

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  11. GPL

    A Portal is not just for Christmas….

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  12. Peakofthemarket97

    Whilst the number of agents joining is important its all about consumer awareness and that costs £’M’s. So unless these guys are very well funded they have little chance of success.

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    1. GPL

      ……and there lies the oft’ peddled property myth. Millions to promote? …..or die??

       

      So, today let’s take Rightmove as an example – a financial war/marketing chest of Millions, a well accepted/No 1 brand, with the vast majority of UK property advertised on its website.

      Let’s take a hypothetical tomorrow….. and a hypothetical company – MoveRightUK starts up, and over a 30 Day period it accumulates the identical stock level as Rightmove ….and then the vast majority of agents choose MoveRightUK as their UK wide property advertising provider ….and switch off their feed to Rightmove.

      Tell me why the public/consumer won’t switch/start searching MoveRightUK …..because Rightmove suddenly has a fraction of the property it had the day before.

      Liken it to “Fuel Shortages” of the past. So, your local Shell or BP runs out of fuel and you simply park outside their station and await a fuel tanker delivery …..meanwhile the rest of the public go to the surrounding fuel stations to search for fuel. Despite Shell & BP spending Millions?! ……the public/consumer are fickle – No Supply, NO Loyalty.

      All hypothetical yet reason enough to push against the “it would fail without Millions” Naysayers!

       

       

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      1. Property Pundit

        Exactly. People will always follow the listings. Switch off the internet, houses will still sell. Listings are the tail to Rightmove’s dog, it really should be the other way round.

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  13. padymagic

    does anyone know how many new portals we’ve been offered in the last 5 years? I can’t remember.

    Perhaps that’s the problem, agents forget about “new portals” because like London buses….

    If a portal wants to be taken seriously they have to get the public’s attention first and demonstrate high visitor numbers in our geographic region, don’t need high visitor numbers if they are all in Turkey or somewhere. If our customers demand we list on a new portal then I expect we shall.

    Just listing properties for sale doesn’t make people visit the website

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