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Blow for Zoopla as Chestertons leaves the portal

Zoopla was dealt a blow last week as Chestertons, one of London’s largest estate agencies with 30 offices across the city, announced that it would be leaving the site in to list its properties with Rightmove.

The firm, a founding member of Agents’ Mutual, continues to list properties on OnTheMarket (OTM) and is therefore not permitted to list homes on more than one other rival website, under OTM’s ‘one other portal’ rule requiring, in effect, their member agents to stop advertising on either Rightmove or Zoopla. The typical scenario has an agent sticking with Rightmove and choosing between OTM and Zoopla, so Chestertons is unusual.

Robert Bartlett Chestertons image“We had more and more of our clients telling us that they expected to see us on Rightmove and you have to listen to your clients,” said Chestertons Chief Executive Robert Bartlett.

The launch of OTM earlier this year had an adverse impact on Zoopla’s business. A number of agents have cancelled their subscriptions with the online property giant in order to list homes with OTM.

OTM is now claiming to be on course to replace Zoopla as the number two property portal by the end of 2016 on its way to achieving their medium-term objective of challenging the market leader, Rightmove. That is the bold prediction put forward by Ian Springett, the CEO of OnTheMarket, who is feeling optimistic after the latest data from Google Analytics revealed that the level of traffic and unique visitors to the portal hit a record high in August.

The Google Analytics figures – which are not confirmed by any independent monitoring services – show that the property website recorded more than 5.4 million visits in August – a rise of over 220,000 compared to the previous month.

It also attracted in excess of 2.5million unique visitors, an increase of 100,000 compared with July.

Ian Springett OTM imageIan Springett, Chief Executive of OnTheMarket.com, said: “In just seven months we have dramatically changed the portal landscape but this is still only the beginning.

“Our traffic, agent membership and property listings all continue to grow month-on-month. We remain confident that it’s only a matter of time before we overtake Zoopla as the number two portal in terms of property listings and then focus directly on providing agents and consumers alike with a credible alternative to Rightmove.”

However, despite OTM’s growing success, their level of website traffic and brand awareness at this early stage of their existence remains a fraction of what Zoopla – and Rightmove – are achieving.

According to its latest trading update, Zoopla, which earlier this year acquired online price comparison site uSwitch for £160 million in a move designed to differentiate it from rivals Rightmove and OTM, attracted a net rise of 213 branches in the four months to 31 July, after winning back 100 agents – many from OTM – in recent months.

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