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Property Index in administration

publication date: Dec 15, 2009
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This week’s news is that PropertyIndex.com, created with huge sums of money and launched with massive fanfares of confidence just over one year ago, has gone into administration, with MB Insolvency appointed.

But the company is continuing to trade under licence from the administrator as Managing Director Lee Bramzell (right) stages a management buy-out.

Lee Bramzell, MD Property IndexLee Bramzell told PROPERTYdrum, "PropertyIndex.com was placed in administration last Thursday due to the underperformance of the UK side of the business. However, backed by a small group of private investors I am buying the business back.

"At present, a team of eleven displaced employees and I are operating the business ‘under licence’ from the administrator. We are committed to all our clients, in the UK and overseas, and our lead generation partners and are working to ensure that it is business as usual as far as they are concerned. We continue to generate thousands of leads each day and have even signed up new clients since we took the business over on Friday.

"It's business as usual. We have a responsibility to our clients and we won't let them down. There's a small team here, like me, determined to make it work. And everyone is being very supportive - the phones are ringing and we have leads going out to clients."

PropertyIndex founder and chairman, Darren Richards, has apparently decided not to continue to fund the project and to write off his £5 million investment.

As Google prepares to enter the market, it is another turn in the digital landscape in property. In July, Zoopla acquired Thinkproperty.com from the Guardian Media Group, which came as a surprise to some, quickly following that purchase two weeks later with another – the Australian owned Propertyfinder Group which included HotProperty.co.uk and UKPropertyshop.co.uk.

At the time of their acquisition stampede, Zoopla said that the strong brand names would all remain, but just a few weeks later, all the portals bought by Zoopla were merged so that whether you keyed in Propertyfinder.com, Thinkproperty.com, HotProperty.co.uk or UKPropertyshop.co.uk – what you get is Zoopla; one portal, one website, just a few different brand names in a corner at the top.

Property IndexIf Propertyindex does close, or is sold to another portal, will the property world miss it? Consolidation can be good and the market – especially in tough times – can only support a finite number of portals and with Google looming on the horizon, there is a lot more still to be played out.