‘Reliance on Rightmove and Zoopla carries significant risk’, says Paul Smith, CEO of Spicerhaart

Paul Smith, CEO of Spicerhaart and a Non-Executive Director of Agents’ Mutual comments:

OnTheMarket.com launched less than a year ago into a highly competitive marketplace but in this short space of time, the brand has already become familiar to millions of property-seekers across the country. The website was carefully designed to create a search function which was extremely consumer-friendly and even in its first few months, OnTheMarket.com attracted impressive numbers of genuine property-seekers, thanks to a heavyweight and strategic marketing campaign. All the while, support across Britain’s traditional estate agents continues to grow for this 100% agent-owned and agent-controlled portal. It is providing high quality leads to its members and in our own case, OnTheMarket.com provides us with a high level of genuine enquiries from motivated sellers and landlords.

As agents, our reliance on Rightmove and Zoopla carries significant risk to our businesses, livelihoods and our entire industry so it is essential that we take a stand now. We are all guilty of handing over the responsibility for our web leads, traffic and our inventory to the portals and as a result, we have created the duopoly which exists today. We have provided a lot of shareholders with enormous dividends and as our own industry faces increased competition from online players, we cannot afford to hand over any further power to the portals or we will weaken our position and increase their dominance.

Spicerhaart voted with its feet and was proud to back OnTheMarket.com from an early stage. It remains a committed Board member firm of Agents’ Mutual because we want to control our own future. Agents joining OnTheMarket.com have the ability to fix their fees until 2020 and as a mutual without shareholders, OnTheMarket.com will ensure its focus remains on the consumer by providing them with what they need – a simple and well-designed website which displays properties in the best possible light.

Led by an experienced executive team – in whom we have every faith – we believe that OnTheMarket.com will achieve what it set out to do by becoming a genuine alternative to Rightmove for estate agents and consumers. As the portal approaches its first birthday, it’s clear that it has achieved a great deal in just 11 months, so imagine what it can achieve throughout 2016 with its growing levels of support!

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