Brand new British real estate portal PropertyHeads.com has attracted the ire of some agents in its first 48 hours. The free-to-list site bills itself as “the property social network” and claims to have signed up more than 25 percent of U.K. agencies.

Not all professionals are happy about their listings appearing on the site, however. Estate Agent Today (ETA) reported that at least two agencies have contacted PropertyHeads about their names and logos being used without consent, and have threatened legal action.

The startup’s CEO Ben Davis (LinkedIn profile) told ETA that PropertyHeads uses “third-party data suppliers” who supply its listings. “We definitely do not ‘scrape’ listings from anywhere,” he said. Which is, of course, not to say that the third party is not scraping.

Davis said that agents were able to opt out of appearing on the site, and said he was confident that what they are doing is legal.

PropertyHeads announced itself as a platform where real estate agents can benefit from free listings, instant messaging, free profiles, and “important insights into buyers and renters property tastes”. It also allows agents to post content.

Free listings may appeal, but it sounds like agents would need to put a lot of time and energy into marketing themselves via PropertyHeads, without any guarantee that it offers more effective promotion than their own websites or existing portals.

PropertyHeads claims to have around 500,000 properties in its catalog but agents are probably more interested in traffic and audience. The startup told Estate Agent Today that it’s planning a major marketing campaign.

In addition to listings, PropertyHeads wants to be a tool for homeowners, people moving house, and tradespeople. It also claims, “We can find you the best mortgage deal, and we also have exclusive offers on home insurance, energy switching, and broadband.”

All of this suggests a high level of industry knowledge and connections, but it’s not clear where those are coming from. Davis’s background is in finance. According to his LinkedIn profile, he has no previous real estate experience.

 

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