Agent’s claims about Rightmove and Zoopla rejected by advertising watchdog

An estate agent that claimed Rightmove and Zoopla have different audiences has been scolded by the advertising watchdog.

East midlands firm Kirk Estates used a Venn diagram in local press advertising, with intersecting circles showing how property listings were distributed across the two giant portals.

The circle representing Rightmove properties was slightly larger than that representing Zoopla properties.

The diagram showed “properties unique to Rightmove”, “properties unique to Zoopla” and “properties on Zoopla and Rightmove”.

Under the diagram, a table gave the number of visitors, agents and properties available on each, and said that 554,000 properties were on Zoopla and 727,000 on Rightmove.

A headline on Kirk Estates’ advert said: “Different audiences use Rightmove & Zoopla, that’s why at Kirk Estates we use BOTH to market your property.”

A footnote quoted theadvisory.co.uk* as its source.

Spicerhaart complained to the Advertising Standards Authority, saying that the Venn diagram presented the data in a way that implied Zoopla had a larger share of available properties than was the case.

Spicerhaart specifically challenged whether the claim that distinct segments of the property-buying public were exclusive to specific portals was correct and could be substantiated; and whether the way in which the data was presented was misleading.

Kirk Estates told the ASA that it had taken the number of properties from the home pages of the portals themselves. The diagram had been sourced from the third-party website which it described as a highly credible and recognised impartial advice site.

Regarding the claim “Different audiences use Rightmove and Zoopla”, Kirk Estates stated that it carried out a survey on Facebook and other social media platforms, and also sent letters to their clients and other members of the public.

It said that some individuals preferred one portal and some the other, but that the majority use one first and then the other, in order to benefit from functions on both sites.

It stated that a documented survey was not required because it was a fact widely reported across property news.

Kirk Estates also provided an email from Rightmove, which post-dated the publication of the ad, stating that on January 29 there were 973,951 properties for rental and sale on the site.

However, the ASA upheld both Spicerhaart’s complaints.

It said that Kirk Estates had not provided the results of its survey, and had not produced evidence to demonstrate that the portals each had an exclusive audience not shared by the other.

Of the Venn diagram, it said that Kirk Estates had not provided evidence to demonstrate that the numbers quoted in its advert were correct when it went to press. The email from Rightmove which gave a figure for listings post-dated the advert and did not break down the number of sales properties.

The ASA noted the source was credited to a third-party site, but Kirk Estates had not provided details as to where the diagram could be found or the veracity of the data. It was the responsibility of the advertiser to provide evidence to substantiate the accuracy of the diagram.

Kirk Estates, whose registered address is in Poole, Dorset, has been told not to use the advert again.

*Eye note (not part of ASA ruling):

www.theadvisory.co.uk is a website which advises sellers how to sell fast, including sale and rent-back. It also advises sellers on how to avoid estate agents’ fees, and strongly promotes online agents – specifically Tepilo, Hatched and Housenetwork.

The site tells users that the key to selling a home is to put it on the portals. It names the top five as Rightmove, Zoopla, FindaProperty, Propertyfinder and Primelocation, giving figures alongside each of “unique buyers” per month. Neither FindaProperty nor Propertyfinder operate any longer as brands. The site displays a Venn diagram updated in January to show OnTheMarket.

Below is the Venn diagram now displayed

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12 Comments

  1. The Outsider

    That is one ugly looking Venn Diagram.  That alone should have drawn complaints.

    Report (13)(2)
  2. garret

    Certainly back in 2013 the claim COULD be substantiated – http://www.estateagenttoday.co.uk/news_features/Different-audiences-use-Rightmove-and-Zoopla-says-analyst

    Be interesting to see if it still holds true (I would imagine it does).

    Report (5)(0)
  3. IndAgent

    I wonder what the ASA would think of OTMs claim of seeing properties you won’t find anywhere else? I bet even the mad few who are giving OTM a head start are showing the new properties on their own site or in their window display etc

    Report (11)(5)
    1. new life

      LOL OTM more smoke and mirrors than Paul Daniels(for those old enough to remember him).

      People will find out to their cost tie ins and conditions i thought we were a free nation not a dictatorship.

      Report (7)(9)
    2. Ric

      Have to agree IndAgent – I have a local agent who is on OTM (Like myself) who advertises property as “exclusive” whilst they appear on not only their site but also RM. Shocking, really.

      Not something I have moaned about as I think it makes the agent look stupid more than anything, but does reflect on OTM too.

      I think fortunately for OTM or I would hope for OTM the ASA would say it is down to the agent to be honest and if the agent chooses to display as “exclusive” you would expect the agent to do just that.

      Report (10)(0)
    3. PeeBee

      IndAgent – some might ‘Dislike’ your comment – but they can’t deny its’ validity.

      Ric – I have the same here – but interestingly have noticed that the ‘exclusive’ period is subject to fluctuation, from two days down to only a few hours in some instances.  Funny, that…

      ‘new life’ – it IS a free nation we inhabit – with regard to OTM, we all have the free choice whether to agree to AMs Ts&Cs and become Members, or simply not to join – so I’m not sure which alternative reality you have beamed in from where that qualifies as a dictatorship… but live long and prosper regardless!

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      1. smile please

        We only have a few agents in our part of the world with OTM they all advertise OTM with exclusive properties etc in papers, their websites and so on.

        None of them keep to it, we have RM, Z & OTM property alerts set up and RM & OTM come through within minutes of each other.

        I am not fussed but does water down the USP of OTM which i thought was a really good idea.

        Question for anybody with OTM, Are you attaching OTM slips to the posts on your boards? I was wondering if this is local or national?

        Report (2)(2)
        1. IndAgent

          I’m not sure why an agent would want to push traffic away from its own site to benefit OTM by attaching slips to boards. Surely a visit to your own site is much more benificail tha

          Report (1)(1)
          1. IndAgent

            Please excuse this. #fatfingers

            Report (2)(0)
        2. IndAgent

          I’m not sure why an agent would want to push traffic away from its own site to benefit OTM by attaching slips to boards. Surely a visit to your own site is much more beneficial than a visit to a portal.

          Report (3)(3)
  4. new life

    Ha Ha Spicerhaart making a complaint about advertising now there’s the pot calling the kettle.!!!!

    Report (16)(0)
  5. PeeBee

    “A footnote quoted theadvisory.co.uk* as its source.”  Oh, dear – steep downhill path to oblivion, then.

    That would be the same ‘The Advisory’ that pushes out billshut like “Do You Want a FREE & Accurate Property Valuation?… Do You Want to Find an Honest Estate Agent that Will Secure You the Highest Price for Your Property?… Do You Want To Save At Least £2,862 In Fees?… If you answered, “YES” to any of the above questions keep reading because we are about to show you how to quickly & easily find the best estate agent for your sale & save £1,000’s…”

    I’d LOVE to see them to “save” people in my town that figure.

    I’d LOVE to be able to reduce my average Fee by that amount (even though I should really ‘hate’ the idea…).

    I’d LOVE IT MORE if my average Fee was ANYWHERE NEAR that amount in the first place.

    These people claim the majority of their ‘experience’ to come from the new build sector.

    Funny that – scaffolders, joiners, brickies and roofers all over the world find planks extremely useful at times.

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