The launch of OnTheMarket (OTM) and its aggressive and expensive efforts to catch up with main rivals Rightmove and Zoopla have been criticised by a leading proptech expert.
A year after the formerly mutual property portal launched, Mike DelPrete claims OTM’s efforts appear so far to have only marginally reduced Zoopla’s visitor traffic, although the portal recently revealed an increase in leads to its agents, and Rightmove’s traffic levels have ‘hardly changed’.
“The top two portals are equally and exactly as dominant as they were a year ago,” says DelPrete. “Trying to launch a new portal and compete against the leaders is at best expensive, and at worst futile. Consumer habits are hard to change.”
DelPrete is referring to what digital gurus call ‘first mover’ advantage. This is the loyalty that property sellers, landlords, buyers and tenants tend to give the creators of new markets.
Rightmove launched in 2000 and was the first portal to gain significant traction in the property market and has never looked back.
The most recent claimed visitor traffic for the portals reflects this. Rightmove says 140 million people visited its website during January, followed by Zoopla at 58 million and OTM at 22 million, twice that of a year ago.
These figures, and DelPrete, suggest that Zoopla is unlikely to overtake Rightmove any time soon.
“The evidence doesn’t suggest that the No.2 portal can overtake the leader, let alone make a dent in its leadership position. It’s not a horse race; it’s static trench warfare,” he says.