Property portals accused of selling data feeds to other agents

An agent has warned agents that some of the free and cheap portals appear to be selling their data feeds to their competitors.

Faisal Yousuf, director at Citydeal Estates in London, said: “I would like to warn everyone out there that some of the low end portals appear to be selling the data feed to other agents, which is used to target properties with marketing mail.”

He told Eye that each time his firm listed one particular property earlier this year, a letter was delivered to that address from another agent pitching its services.

He added: “The problem has just resurfaced. We recently uploaded a property with a slightly incorrect address and the owner of that property called us to say that they are receiving letters from agents offering their services. The owner is angry and fed up.

“We are ensuring our systems only feed subscription portals and any free portals are removed.”

He said other agents may want to do the same.

He added that the only portals Citydeal Estates subscribes to are OnTheMarket and Rightmove.

He admitted that under the “one other portal” rule, his firm should have taken steps to remove itself from other portals, including the free ones.

He said: “The big decision for us was coming off Zoopla. We actually didn’t realise the large number of free portals we were publishing to until recently, and they don’t generate any enquiries.”

He said he is still trying to get to the bottom of what has been going on but has in any case asked to be removed from four websites.



Email the story to a friend


  1. Trevor Mealham

    Maybe Mr Yousuf should be asking himself by removing himself off bigger hit portals under OTM’s cartel ruling.

    Is he not contravening his consumer obligations under the Estate Agents Act.

    Equally, is there any info on big portals selling consumer intel?

    1. Robert May

      Morning Trevor, I have got a list of over 90 searchable portals I don’t think coming off 1 portal and going on with another changes the fact that  Agents are still only listing with two portals.  Because  the rules of one of the portals  says they can’t advertise on the other 90 portals doesn’t mean they are suddenly obliged to.
      An Agent who was only ever on two and is still only on two but a different two is no more contravening regs now than they were. What has change is those borrowing or using their data now have even less right so to do. When found out Agents are more apt to do something about it.

      1. Trevor Mealham

        Its likely to change Robert – CMA had a white paper out as to commercial use of consumer data. I think commercial use of consumer data will rise so that gov don’t see the next US facebook, linkedin, or twitter pop up aboard yet service here too.

        1. Robert May

          I have to say  I  have struggled to understand that post Trevor, are you saying the government is  condoning commercial firms rummaging about in client data for their own use?

          1. Trevor Mealham

            Back in March there was a consultation paper on commercial use of consumer data.

            The paper appears to support greater data collection for commercial revenue usage.

            Google ‘Big Data’ platforms.

            Platforms like facebook, linkedin, twitter are all data capture platforms that are based in the USA, yet operate and capture UK + other countries data.

            My view was that CMA accepted they couldnt change US or other models coming here via the http://www.  As such they wanted to learn how this is and could affect future consumer capture models.

            1. Robert May

              Consumer data is one thing surely  data  hosted  and supplied by customers is another?

              I am sure you would not be happy if your bank let me have access to your banking details and therefore access to the cash in the accounts, how can it be right to pass the opportunity  for income between firms?

  2. Woodentop

    Trevor maybe you could be more clear, you have made these comments before but never coming out with what you really mean.

    1. Trevor Mealham

      Hi Woodentop – Ive been accused of pushing for advertising in the past, so don’t always mention INEA which is a mls. Basically we have broken the restraints of the rightmove data schema that by design is anti- agents working together.

      Agents need more local stock. The more the better. If agents collaborate not all agents need be on all portals. ………………….

      RM was clever in that they launched a data schema that doesnt allow property data sharing easily.

      Break the barrier (which we have) and agent A’s applicant can be shown listings from agents B-C-D-E-F.

      Imagine estate agency more alike an insurance brokerage where you can offer more (all) of market.

      MLS could reduce portal costs, help rise selling fees (for greater sub agent exposure and bring local agents more listings.

      The ones that would struggle would be the budget agents as their fees are too small to share. Traditional agents could then (IF THEY WANTED) block budget agents from their listings

      At this link, there is a video that shows vendors happy that they achieved £400k more than a prior agent failed to sell at.  The second agent subbed the home out:

  3. MF

    Who are the “low end” portals referred to?

  4. wilko

    Nothing new here……..We sent out an e mail flyer (through RM) last weekend to 10’s of 1000’s of applicants registered with local agents in a big town (where we do not have any offices) offering them new homes in that area that we are instructed on……it costs us, but it works. I’ve said it before that I don’t agree with the principles involved with this, but it will continue to happen unless an alternative portal becomes as effective – but doesn’t sell buyer/seller data on to competitor companies.

    1. Trevor Mealham

      What worked Wilko was sending out available stock to other agents applicants.

      MLS allows sub agents to access listings they wouldnt have had via main agents and introduce sub agents applicants.

      Pre the web, many listings sold as between 2 local agents – one with the buyer one with the property. Vendors will happily pay for results too, so premium fees can be charged for results.


You must be logged in to report this comment!

Leave a reply

If you want to create a user account so you can log in, click here

More top news stories

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.