Just when you thought Rightmove and Zoopla were rulers of the property listing portals, two new platforms are making a huge push for the public’s attention, but can they provide anything the existing giants can’t?
OnTheMarket is not a new portal, it’s been operating since around 2015 with a reasonable presence in the public consciousness but has struggled to pull focus away from either Rightmove or Zoopla in any meaningful way.
This might be set to change as the portal signs a huge advertising deal with Reach, the UK’s largest news publisher. Owners of The Mirror, The Express, and Daily Star, as well as hundreds of regional and online news publications, Reach claims to speak to 80% of the UK population.
OnTheMarket will now be advertised far and wide through Reach’s many publications across the UK, forming a central part of the portal’s desperate push to become a true third contender in UK residential property portals.
The second portal about to make a big push for public attention is Boomin, the new offering from the Bruce Brothers who previously founded Purplebricks.
Unlike OnTheMarket, Boomin is brand new to the market. And unlike OnTheMarket, Boomin arrives with a huge budget and huge influence in the industry, the latter based largely on the reputation of the Bruces.
Launching on Good Friday, Boomin will announce itself with TV adverts premiering on primetime tele, during Channel 4’s Gogglebox at 9pm on Friday, and then ITV’s Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway on Saturday teatime.
From here, the ads are set to air every single day for three years, almost guaranteeing that Boomin is a household name in a matter of weeks.
Unlike OnTheMarket, Boomin has a genuine chance of usurpring or at least joining Rightmove and Zoopla and the UK’s most influential portals.
What’s the difference and which should I use?
If these two portals get their way, UK homebuyers and renters will have four major portals to choose from. But what’s the difference between them, and why do we need so much choice?
It’s important to note that the key differences between these 4 portals are industry-facing differences. In other words, they try to differentiate themselves by offering different or ‘better’ services to estate agents rather than the public.
Estate agents are the primary customers of portals, and the general public are customers of the agents. In other words, the portals make money off agents, not homebuyers, so when trying to dominate the market, it’s the agents they must appeal to most.
This means the biggest difference between the portals is the standard of service they provide agents, and the amount of money they make agents pay to list properties on their platforms.
Portals have a history of abusing their power when forcing agents to pay to list, so the likes of OnTheMarket have arrived to try and treat agents more fairly. As to how successful these efforts have been is a subject of constant industry debate.
But as a consumer, how do we choose which portal to use? To be honest, it’s all about stock.
Stock is all that matters. We recommend that you take time to search all of the portals until you find your dream property. From here, your customer experience will be down to the agent looking after that property, not the portal.
In other words, the only thing that makes one portal better than another for the public is the number of properties they are listing. To this end, Rightmove are by far the market leader with Zoopla following close behind. These are the two best places to start your property search.
But if OnTheMarket and Boomin find success in their new advertising campaigns, this could change as each of them increases the number of properties they can display.
In summary, you should feel no loyalty to one portal in particular and shouldn’t worry about which is ‘best’. It’s all about which of them happens to be listing your dream property. After all, once you’ve identified some homes you’d like to investigate further, it’s the estate agents who help you, not the portals.