A portal has launched with what appears to be an impressive number of agents advertising on it – and offering search engine optimisation for agents’ own websites.
Hot-houses has almost 22,000 estate agency offices plus some 20,000 letting branches – making it highly likely that you and that maybe at least some of your properties (past and present) are on it.
Altogether, as of yesterday, it says it is listing about 180,000 properties.
We could not find any indication on the Hot-houses site as to where it is based, its company number, or who is behind it.
However, a number of the agents advertising properties on it would appear to be – perhaps unwittingly – in breach of the ‘one other portal’ rule that is still in place at OnTheMarket.
The portal also appears to have set up in direct competition to Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket.
Under a section titled “information for estate agents and letting agents” it says: “Does this sound like you?
“You have invested heavily in your own website. You also input all your property details into other property portals.
“These portals charge you to do this. They then keep property buyers away from your own website by keeping them at their own site and then charge you for every email enquiry you get through them and every phone call you get via them.
“If instead there was a portal that charged you nothing to upload your property details, that charged you nothing for any leads, that drove users to your own website, would you be interested?
“And what if the upload was done automatically – computer talking to computer, rather than employees typing away all day?”
The information says that for each property on the site, the agent will get three links to their own websites.
It also says that it does not link to other portals.
When EYE searched the site for a specific location known to us, we found properties listed that were well past their ‘sold’ date. One, listed with Hamptons, advertises an open day in January of this year.
The site does give an email address as its only point of contact. EYE used this and asked Hot-houses to make contact with us, making plain that ours was a journalist request, but so far we have had no response.
We asked Knight Frank, whose properties appear on the site for a response; we also asked Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket. OnTheMarket replied to us specifically declining our invitation, but Rightmove, Zoopla and Knight Frank have yet to give any kind of response.
The domain name appears to have been registered by Ian Murdie, of Harrogate back in 2014, but was updated in February this year. There is an IT consultant called Ian Murdie who says on his LinkedIn profile that his hobby is his house sale website.
Last night, the website was showing that some properties – listed by the Connells’ brand Sequence – seemed to have been made invisible.