‘Agents will rue the day they cashed in their OTM chips’

Leading agent and OTM founder Trevor Abrahmsohn says the hope that the portal would help crack the Rightmove/Zoopla duopoly have faded with its sale to CoStar.

costar otm trevor

Sadly, agents’ last vestige of independence and control will be gobbled up by CoStar as the majority of shareholders in OTM have agreed to take the money and run!

Unfortunately, this is ‘short termism on steroids’ and they will rue the day that they took gain today for pain tomorrow.

I must congratulate CoStar; they have bought significant market share at a bargain price and the ‘lemming syndrome’ is alive and well amongst our estate agent brethren.

I conceived OTM as a utility site for agents to try to defend against the abuse that was being meted out gratuitously by the duopoly of incumbents Rightmove and Zoopla.

It was a 70% agent owned bastion and all those well-intentioned aspirations are now in the hands of CoStar.


Not only have agents given up a chance to multiply their investment but, as they will find out to their cost, tariffs will rise exponentially, and they will be on the menu when the BBQ banquet is being organised by not two, but three portals.

It’s incredible when you think about the fact that agents own and control the data and the money that the portals thrive and depend on, and yet, counter-intuitively, you would have thought that the control of the process would, or should, never be lost.

Having set up OTM in the first place and worked tirelessly for eight years without a scintilla of remuneration and invested half a million pounds in order to encourage other institutional agent shareholders to do the same, I think I have done more than my bit for King and Country!

I bid a fond farewell to the high hopes and ideals that was the bedrock of my rationale but unfortunately; ‘non so blind as those who don’t want to see’.


Trevor  Abrahmsohn – Founder OTM, CEO, Glentree International

One Comment

  1. The best opportunity for agents was lost by the NAEA in the early 90s when a sub-committee chaired by the extremely able John Pring put plans to the main board for an NAEA portal – before Rightmove even existed – and they turned it down. That was a massive lost opportunity, and I’ll never understand why they did that.

  2. Selling for the best part of £100M on an adjusted operating profit of just £4.3M is a pretty good deal in the present ‘down round’ environment in the global technology industry, where Unicrons are getting written down to zero and WeWork, FTX and Binance are showing that many pretender brands are being called out as their operations (or lack of them) would fail DD day one.

    As for missed opportunity, well if having a real choice to Rightmove is a bad day for agents, then my understanding of the global property portal ecosystem is definitely very different to Trevor Abrahmsonn, who of course has his own personal reasons to feel it was not a great deal for himself. I see it as a victory for agents, and I will be interested to see if in 2024 Rightmoves looks to ratchet up licence fees, or actually has to start giving a value add instead.

  3. Thank-you Trevor – and to all the other guys who busted a gut to provide an “Agents” portal – we all wanted it. But its gone. If you voted to cash in your chips, you voted for higher fees. Remember folks, these buyers are aggresive Americans! Fortunately, our best buyers simply walk through our doors! So where now?

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