The managing director of a Home Counties estate agency has described how leads “fell off a cliff” when he signed up to OnTheMarket almost a year ago - and how they remained that way until he returned to the Big Two portals early this month.
Ken Whittaker, managing director of John Curtis estate agency in Hertfordshire - now part of Hamptons International “Like many independents we were incredibly enthusiastic about OnTheMarket and really wanted to get one over on Rightmove and Zoopla for being so expensive and so controlling.”
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“The problem was that my friends outside of the industry hadn’t heard of OnTheMarket, my customers hadn’t heard of it, even my wife hadn’t heard of it” says Whittaker.
John Curtis is a two-office sales and lettings agency. It was acquired in March by Hamptons International - which uses Rightmove and Zoopla - but it was allowed to remain with OTM until it made its own decision on which portals to use. It returned to Zoopla in early October.
“Throughout everything Rightmove was king - utterly dominant. It provided the most leads by far before anyone had heard of OnTheMarket and it does the same now, only more so. The difference for me is that I’m now getting from Zoopla and PrimeLocation the same number of leads in a few days that I got from OnTheMarket in a month” explains Whittaker.
He says he contacted OnTheMarket about the lack of leads and the portal staff were understanding but “made no headway” against the major portals.
“OnTheMarket was probably too late even when it started. A lot of strong-minded independent agents that signed up for a year will move away and it will be in a difficult position” he predicts.
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