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Clash Of The (Property) Titans: PropertyGuru Sues 99.co

Local property portal PropertyGuru is suing fellow property portal 99.co.

In 99.co’s opening statement that we received from an unnamed source, it states that “the Plaintiff (PropertyGuru) claims that the Defendant has been of wrong conduct in committing copyright infringement, inducing breach of contract and breaching the terms of a settlement agreement“.

In return, 99.co’s case is that these “causes of action are unfounded, and they are merely [PropertyGuru’s] attempts at stifling fair competition among market competitors“.

The pleaded case is centred around two items, namely the application ‘Xpressor’, which is a mobile application that lets end users (agents) cross-post their property listings, and the fact that the photographs which were ported over to 99.co had the PropertyGuru watermark.

It also states that 99.co had breached a Settlement Agreement, which called for the portal to delete the photographs and content from their website, and not put up any links that connect PropertyGuru.

99.co has denied all claims, and states that PropertyGuru will be liable for groundless threats of copyright infringement.

The hearing will be held this Wednesday, 20 Sep 2017.

Clash Of The Singapore (Property) Titans

99.co, co-founded by CEO Darius Cheung, entered the market in 2014 and was largely considered as a disruptor in the property classifieds industry, and has remained the fastest-growing real estate technology company in Southeast Asia, serving more than 2.5 million users in 2016.

PropertyGuru was founded in 2006 by Steve Melhuish and Jani Rautiainen, and is the number 1 property classifieds portal in Singapore, with 12 million users per month. They’re also reported to serve over 15,000 agents, half of all property agents in Singapore.

However, their reign was threatened just last month, when they ignited the ire of property agents after announcing their plans to increase prices for property agents to list on its platform.

Then, they had 3 packages that cost between S$630 and S$2,240/year.

Screenshot from PropertyGuru

A quick look on their site reveals that the price increase has already been put in place – with packages costing between S$880 to S$9,880/year.

This apparently led to “more than 3,000 agents [to join] a Telegram chat group called ‘No to Propertyguru’ to discuss the issue, with some calling for a switch to other similar portals once their subscription with PropertyGuru ends”.

99.co was mentioned alongside fellow portal SRX Property, both of whom have cheaper yearly packages.

Screenshot from 99.co

In their defence, PropertyGuru told Channel NewsAsia that the changes were made in order to “improve the property seeker’s experience”, which will “ultimately deliver more leads to the agents”.

Agents would also be able to upload floor plans to each listing, unlike what is offered under the older plans.

Regardless of the outcome, in the end, it’s all about the preferences of users and the one that they find more value in.

Watch this space for updates.

 

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