Two complaints regarding advertisements for property search website OnTheMarket.com have been investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority, with one being upheld and the other not being upheld.
The first complaint focuses on a voice-over line of dialogue on a TV advert that states “… agents have moved to OnTheMarket.com from other sites and many are advertising their new properties exclusively with us first, 24 hours or more ahead of other portals. So to be first to see these properties search [website address]”.
The second complaint is about a poster seen on the London Underground, part of which reads: “OnTheMarket gets thousands of new properties every month, 24 hours or more before Rightmove or Zoopla”.
Both complaints asked if these statements were misleading and if they could be substantiated.
ASA reports that OnTheMarket.com “supplied spreadsheet information that showed the number of agencies and their branches that had uploaded a new property exclusively with OnTheMarket in any month and the overall number of new properties that had been advertised with OnTheMarket exclusively for at least 24 hours.”
However, the authority also noted that in some cases, manual checks were required to make sure that these properties were exclusive, and that in the case of estate agents advertising properties on their own websites, “they [OnTheMarket] believed consumers would interpret the ‘exclusive’ claims, in the context of them being made for a property portal, to refer to exclusivity in relation to other property portals.”
“While the evidence held by OnTheMarket showed that several thousand new properties were advertised with them each month, a small percentage only were advertised exclusively with OnTheMarket for the first 24 hours. We therefore concluded that the claim was misleading,” reports ASA.
OnTheMarket.com must now remove the TV advertisement and ensure ads or claims do not suggest that all new properties listed by agents “were advertised exclusively with OnTheMarket.com unless they held adequate evidence.”
In the second case, the regulatory body concluded that the claim was not misleading, because the website does in fact received several thousand new property adverts “24 hours or more before appearing on other portals.”