Zillow-like Zoopla gains ground in UK

Property portal serves up information on 27 million homes

Zoopla Ltd., which claims to operate the United Kingdom’s most comprehensive property search website, says it’s launching a national television advertising campaign with the goal of making Zoopla a household name.

The company says 87 percent of adults are expected to see its ad at least once during an initial five-week run that’s part of an extensive television, print and online campaign.

"Our marketing to date has been largely focused online and we are now ready to turn Zoopla into a household name targeting property buyers, renters, sellers and landlords so that we can continue to be the most effective marketing partner for all U.K. estate agents," said Zoopla founder and CEO Alex Chesterman in a press release.

Like Zillow in the U.S., Zoopla.co.uk attracts consumers by providing access to not only listings, but valuations, public property records and local market statistics.

Zoopla.co.uk claims to have information on every property in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — 27 million homes — whether they are for sale, rent or off market. The site provides selling prices for more than 16 million transactions dating to 1995.

Zoopla says it also builds relationships between homeowners and local estate agents, creating leads for agents with tools like "AskAnAgent."

Last month, Zoopla announced that it had signed long-term strategic partnership agreements with the U.K.’s three largest estate agent groups — Countrywide, LSL Property Services plc and Connells Group — which operate more than 2,000 branch offices.

Each of the agent groups agreed to advertise all of their properties on Zoopla.co.uk and provide additional marketing and advisory support to the site.

Zoopla also has listing distribution partnerships with eBay, Gumtree, MSN, Yahoo, TalkTalk, Sky, Virgin Media, and other websites, which it claims give agents "the opportunity of being seen" by more than 73 percent of all U.K. Internet surfers in any given month.

After acquiring its larger rival, Propertyfinder.com, and other sites from PropertyFinder Group in August 2009, Zoopla.co.uk said it climbed from the fifth-most-visited property portal in the U.K. in October 2009 into second place in March 2010, behind only Rightmove.co.uk.


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