TV advert about OnTheMarket’s ‘new and exclusive’ feature ruled misleading by watchdog

A complaint about OnTheMarket has been upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority as being misleading

A second complaint, also about OTM’s advertising of its ‘new and exclusive’ feature, was investigated but not upheld.

The first complaint was about OTM’s television advertisement, seen in May, and which had been cleared by the broadcasting company Clearcast.

In the advert, the voice-over stated: “… agents have moved to OnTheMarket.com from other sites and many are advertising their new properties exclusively with us first, 24 hours or more ahead of other portals. So to be first to see these.”

A second complaint was about a poster on the London underground which stated: “OnTheMarket gets thousands of new properties every month, 24 hours or more before Rightmove or Zoopla.”

The complainants challenged whether the claims that properties could be seen exclusively on OTM 24 hours or more before being seen on other websites or portals were misleading.

OTM told the advertising watchdog that some of its agents had committed to launching some or all of their newly instructed properties by advertising them on OTM before other portals.

OTM supplied spreadsheet information showing the number of agencies and their branches that had uploaded a property exclusively, and the overall number of properties that had been on OTM for at least 24 hours.

However, OTM said it would be the case that many agents also advertised their properties on their own website.

OTM believed consumers would interpret the ‘exclusive’ claims as being in the context of property portals.

OTM also acknowledged an example provided by one of the complainants where the ‘new and exclusive’ banner continued to appear despite the property appearing on another portal.

OTM said it had removed this as soon as its monitoring identified the situation. It said that it took considerable steps to avoid such situations, but there was some margin for errors.

The ASA upheld the complaint, saying that the claim to advertise new properties exclusively for the first 24 hours was a “significant” one which would encourage consumers to visit OTM before other portals.

Viewers were likely to interpret the claim as meaning that almost all estate agents were advertising new properties exclusively with OTM for the first 24 hours.

However, only “a small percentage” of properties advertised with OTM each month were advertised exclusively for the first 24 hours.

For that reason, the TV advert was misleading.

Regarding the London underground poster, the ASA said that OTM did, as it claimed, have several thousand new properties advertised exclusively with it each month, 24 hours before appearing on other portals.

It dismissed the complaint, but told OTM that it must not run the TV advert again in the same form.

A spokesperson for OTM said: “We are disappointed that the recent complaint about a phrase within our long-running TV commercial has been upheld by the ASA.

“We had certainly never intended to mislead consumers but we respect the ruling of the ASA that the phrase ‘advertise their properties’ could be interpreted to imply ‘advertise (all) their properties’.

“More positively, we are very pleased that the ASA rejected a complaint about our factual claim on posters that OnTheMarket gets thousands of new properties every month, 24 hours or more before Rightmove or Zoopla.”

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19 Comments

  1. smile please

    ASA should not have wasted their time. OTM seemed to have completely stoped advertising.

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  2. ArthurHouse02

    Until receiving the complaint the ASA had never heard of On The Market!

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    1. Ric

      Great innit… best way to get noticed some would argue. Still see agents with “The Areas Leading Estate Agent” make me wee a little… very funny… 

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  3. Ric

    Perfect! #Airtime

    Keep em coming…

    Get the next advert out there  “OTM The Worlds Number 1 website for the BEST properties for sale”

    Week 2 advert “If you are not OTM with an OTM agent, you have no chance of selling”

    Week 3 “OTM agents charge less the Online Agents to get your home sold (subject to contract – I added this edit after the next EYE Story LOL)”

    ASA slap on the wrist and bing bang bosh, another great bit of airtime.

    PS – Week 3 is factually true! (subject to contract in really really really small letters)

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    1. Bless You

      Why not just say you don’t pay a fee with onyheMarket agents….

      Like it’s free.

      Purplepricks made a business out of doing this.

      Peopple think they are free and still won’t use them. Haha

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      1. PeeBee

        SO, Bless You…

        How’s your second… MUCH CHEAPER… experience with OTM panning out?

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  4. JonnyBanana43

    What a joke. We know the ASA is a waste of time – look at the purplebricks fiasco.

    I advertise my properties using “New and Exclusive” they appear on OTM 24 hours before Rightmove.     FACT. Savills and Strutt & Parker do the same nationwide.

    New & Exclusive is the key to OTM’s success. If they can’t advertise it, that is a major problem.

    Maybe I should rejoin the hugely successful Zooplankton. (Cough cough)

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    1. ArthurHouse02

      BUt it doesnt state that you and a few agents do it, it states “thousands of properties”. The ASA isnt bothered by what is best for OTM is supposedly is bothered by what is accurate and how it influences the public. They have deemed this statement isnt true so it must be changed.

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    2. PeeBee

      JonnyBanana43

      “New & Exclusive is the key to OTM’s success. If they can’t advertise it, that is a major problem.”

      Why?  The ASA investigation has seemingly proven that the great majority of OTM Agents don’t use N&E.  I don’t.  I won’t.  But that’s for another conversation entirely.

      So it’s not really a “key”.

      I know of several Agents that have marked properties as N&E then stick their properties on Rightmove straight away.  That way, they are advertised on RM before they even appear on OTM.

      And yes – I have made AM/OTM aware of this.  Several times.  Regarding several Agents.  In several locations.

      ASA have ruled.  As others have said – based on what other companies clearly do – OTM need only make tiny amends that only go part way to address the claim and then wait for the next complaint to ASA to find its’ way through the system… then rinse and repeat…

      The next offering should be “…OnTheMarketDotCom advertises thousands of properties that are not advertised on Rightmove or Zoopla.”  That’ll set the complaints away – but it’ll be a case of they can try – but they can’t deny!  That tiny little word “or” will sink any battleship that certain concerns would like to send steaming in.

      Interesting to watch how the game is played.

      But wouldn’t it be far more interesting to know ‘who’ raised the complaints…?

      PS – I won’t expect payment from OTM for the above advice.  Always a pleasure,… never a chore… to try to keep them on the good & righteous path. ;o)

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  5. Russell121

    I must have blinked and missed that advert. .

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  6. smile please

    The new and exclusive is dud on many levels.

    One of which is if i list a property right now it is instantly online on my website, Rightmove and Zoopla.

    OTM if i am lucky will be showing later this evening.

    So we upload to everything the same time My website, Zoopla, Rightmove all have the march on OTM as it takes forever to show on their portal.

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    1. PeeBee

      Yup.

      And that means buyers see it hours later than they should.

      Three and a half years down the line… no signs of improvement on that front.

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    2. Russell Williams

      It sounds like your software may be dud.  Ours allows us full control of what websites receive what data when, which also allows us to send our new instructions to OTM as new and exclusive – and this is indeed in realtime.  My guess is that you’re on a software ultimately owned by Zoopla, which we used to be too, and who are refusing to build realtime as they want to scupper OTM’s chances.

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      1. smile please

        Nope independent software.

        You can not update real time with OTM – Not that it bothers me, just another example of how shambolic OTM is.

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        1. Russell Williams

          Fair enough.  However, we switched software in the Spring.  The guys we were with before always told us there was no possibility of a realtime update to OTM, but the firm we switched to does have a realtime update – to OTM, Rightmove, etc.

          It’s only since switching that we have been told that our old software firm was discussing realtime with OTM, up until Zoopla bought them, at which time they were told to pull the plug.

          It really aggravated me that our old supplier basically lied to us, so I’ve made it a bit of a mini crusade  🙂

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      2. PeeBee

        Mr Williams

        Our now-ZPG owned 5h!tware uploads to Rightmove within 5 minutes, usually.  It takes a minumum of 4-5 hours to sync with OTM.

        From what I understand smile-please Estate Agents and PeeBee & Co are 250+ miles apart and using different software.

        Maybe you’re the lucky one to have a direct line into the main drain.

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        1. Russell Williams

          Mr PeeBee,
          It’s Qube.  It’s not groundbreaking, but it’s better than what we had before, and it does the job.  My second guess of the day is that your 5h!tware had a realtime upload to Rightmove in place, before Zoopla bought it?  Whereas sadly it would seem that Zoopla are blocking their softwares setting up realtime uploads to OTM.
          I will count myself lucky, though.  It all seems to be working well (just dreading Brexit a little).

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          1. PeeBee

            Mr W

            You are correct – the SW has RT upload before Z acquired.  BUT – we were also on OTM before Z acquired PSG – so work that one out… especially when you take into account this article, courtesy of EYE’s wonderful Archive

            https://www.propertyindustryeye.com/business-as-usual-otm-tells-agents-as-contract-with-psg-continues/

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  7. SLF

    There should have been a prize for spotting an OTM advert.

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