Citylets attracted over 1 million visitors in the 1st quarter of 2013, up 19% on 2012 and more than the entire annual audience reach for 2007. The figure, which excludes additional users from our Android and iPhone Apps, represents over 300% growth in the last 6 years.
We believe it is essential for Scotland to maintain its own, strong regional portals to provide long term choice for local agents and counter the corporate duopoly currently sweeping the rest of the UK. Many Scottish letting agents support this view – it was certainly a key driver in our decision not to continue content sharing last year.
Content networking with large UK-wide companies accelerates their local brand development and in our view now represents a clear conflict of interest to both the regional portals- including those participating- and Scottish letting agents if competition is ultimately diminished as a result. The network model was designed to tap into additional (English) tenant markets, not pave the way for the corporates to enter the local Scottish portal market which has been functioning well without them.
Consolidation in the UK property portal market in recent years rendered the network model obsolete. Remaining potential mainstream partners became too big and as much a threat as an opportunity. It is no longer viable to get the rose of added distribution for clients without the thorn of assisting large competitors into the region.
It was also a record quarter for visitor traffic to Citylets, outperforming our previous best recorded in Q3 last year by 18%. We now expect records to fall throughout the busy middle half of the year and to achieve 20% growth for the full 2013 year.
Citylets remains the best performing regional lettings portal in Scotland with a market share of visitors (to the 3 main regional sites) standing at approximately 50% as at April 13th. (source: Experian Hitwise). We are still the No 1 dedicated residential lettings site in the UK.