Portal Choice Underpins Healthy Markets

I was saddened to hear of one recent market development as it is surely inappropriate for any property portal to suggest to Scottish letting agents to restrict their choice of property portals (adopting a one other portal rule) …..whilst themselves engaging in the wholesale distribution of property listings to Zoopla, a site co-identified by the Sunday Times on 25/5/14 as having the UK property search market in no less than an ‘iron grip’. 

It is simply not consistent in our view to position oneself as the protector against large publishers whilst feeding, and hence I believe growing & deploying, one of them to the local market. Claims that the situation is controllable for all future time should perhaps be guaranteed. 

Moreover it would be contradictory for a property portal to seemingly acknowledge the potential of property listings, through the suggestion of limited distribution by its agent members, to constrict some sites but deny their power to construct and strengthen others (through their own wholesale distribution of same). 

Conflicts aside, the concept of listings containment itself as a ‘weapon’ in portal wars originates from England and precipitated by agents, not a portal, in response to perceived oppressive market conditions. It will be road tested in 2015 and faces challenges of its own and indeed raises interesting questions for agents detailed here shortly. 

However the Scottish portal market is healthy for lettings with around 4 viable choices per major location. Indeed it is still the only region in the UK that has independent lettings portals providing choice for agents and acts as a natural foil to market dysfunctionality. To that end, with interests wholly aligned with our agents, Citylets chose to remain independent of the UK-wide two. 

Perhaps it would be better if all local portals took the plunge to stand on their own two feet, adding to that local choice for agents and abandon partnerships with billion pound (London based) sites and elaborate schemes and associated risks thereof.