Interview with Lee Bramzell - propertyindex

December 3, 2008 by Emma Sorensen 

From creating for Dixons, to launching P&O into the consumer events market, starting Thomson Holiday’s website, and running “Chemistry” dating evenings, Lee Bramzell has worked with some diverse clients.

Since 2006 he’s been Managing Director of, originally an overseas portal, which is taking on the UK domestic market with its innovative ‘pay for results’ model. spoke to Lee about portals and the UK market.

You’ve had an illustrious and varied career so far. In 2006 you joined forces with Darren Richards to launch – but before this your background was not in property websites. What led you to start
I’ve been very fortunate over the past 11 years to have had the chance to work on some exciting business development opportunities, both within the corporate and entrepreneurial sector. Darren and I first started working together when he sponsored Chemistry - the live dating event business I developed – with his brand. Darren subsequently bought that business from us, and I went on to start my own bus dev consultancy. Darren introduced me to his vision for at an early stage, and together with our CTO, David Eccleston, we developed the proposition and implemented launch. We felt very strongly from an early stage that there was a demand for different financial model in the marketplace as the incumbent portals were not offering their clients the fairest and most transparent proposition. started as an overseas property portal for the UK market. But since September this year you’ve been taking on the major portals with full UK residential sales and rental listings – what has the response been so far?
When we launched the site in September 2007, we had 12 pre launch partners listing 18,000 properties. Just over one year later we have over 1,000 agents and developers all over the world listing over 120,000 overseas properties for sale and rent. We started talking to UK agents last November and the response we got to our £1 cost per lead ‘pay for results’ model was phenomenal. Up until we broke cover with our advertising campaign in August, we continued to acquire more agents via word of mouth and face to face prospecting, now we have over 3800 UK agency accounts signed up and this figure is growing every day.

Who do you see as’s competitors in the portal market?
We don’t feel that we are taking on the major portals specifically, we’re working to establish a pay for results model into the industry, which can rank alongside the subscription and ‘free’ portal models that agents may already be using as channels to market. Our sales approach is to demonstrate how a pay for results portal can offer agents an opportunity to really harness the power of the internet and empower to them to create an online marketing campaign that’s optimised to meet their needs and deliver return on investment. As in any competitive market, there are and will be other portals who will try to replicate the pay for results model we’re offering, but we believe strongly in what we do, have an outstanding team of committed professionals, and a range of new ideas and future developments that will keep propelling our business forward over the short, medium and long term.

How does the model differ from others? offers a pay for results model. Our clients only pay for what they get. That means that UK agents pay £1 for a buy lead, £5 for a vendor lead, while overseas agents pay £10 for a sales lead. There are no monthly subscriptions, no set up fees, and no commissions on sales. All of our agents have the right to dispute each lead that does not come complete with a name and a valid email address and telephone number. They can dispute their leads in their advertiser area where they can also add and amend listings, and importantly view their campaign stats; we show listings views and leads generated by week and month, and the all important conversion rate. Agents are able to set a maximum budget and specify a timeframe and we will deliver against that, which negates the need for minimum term contracts.

Further, we offer a range of premium advertising placements on a cost per click basis. This means that any agent can take a ‘feature’ position and only pay for the clicks generated, this ensures that there is no wastage in our client’s marketing spends and is consistent with our pay for results approach. The cost per click approach puts the emphasis on to deliver relevant traffic direct to an agents listings and give us the license to promote that agent across the site. As an example, a ‘featured property’ will appear at the head of every relevant destination page (e.g. Spain, Costa del Sol, Marbella, and Puerto Banus), and at the top of every relevant search.

Finally, we also offer our agents a range of opportunities to generate revenue from Our recently launched affiliate scheme enables agents to download a range of search boxes, banners, and links that will pay out a 50% share of all the revenue generated from the traffic referred. We have had a very positive response to this, particularly from UK agents keen to tap into the £5 revenue per lead available from our overseas sales search.

What are the key challenges you are facing?
The key challenge we have is to effectively communicate the fact that there really is no reason not to give a try! We are using our investment to reduce every barrier to trial and we believe there is no financial risk involved as agents only pay when they receive a lead. Another key message is that as a privately funded independent portal we reinvest all the cost per lead and cost per click revenue we generate back into the lead generation cycle. We have no shareholders to please, no loans to repay, and the goal that drives the management team is growth and value creation, not short term returns.

How do you hope to win in the markets you’re operating in?
By delivering a great service that provides our agents with a clear return on investment.

Where do you see the business going, and how are you going to grow it?
For the UK, our current goal is to maximize the number of properties we can offer in our UK sales and lettings listings. Now that we have launched the UK search we will use some the high conversion rates our clients are enjoying to continue to stimulate positive word of mouth.

Where do you see the UK property portal market heading overall, and why?
The current market conditions will continue to accelerate the pace of change in the market. We will see continued consolidation, there will be many more new entrants into the portal market and there will be some established players changing their propositions and financial models. It will continue to be a very competitive and very exciting place to be.

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