Getting a clear picture of the Indian online real estate market is not straightforward, as as least four of the country's property portals claim market leadership. If one conclusion can be drawn about India, which had a population of 1.21 billion in early 2011, it is that this is a particularly competitive market with portals working hard to gain the advantage. Here is a run-down of some of the key industry players:
Launched in August 2006, magicbricks.com is a subscription-based property portal that also generates revenue through on-site display advertising. Its parent company is Times Business Solutions Ltd, which runs a number of other online portals in areas such as jobs and match-making.
magicbricks.com claims to be India's leading property portal in terms of traffic, and provided propertyportalwatch.com with comScore figures to support this claim. These figures, covering December 2010 to May 2011, have magicbricks.com consistently in the lead with a high of 1,149,000 unique visitors in May 2011.
Like magicbricks.com, 99acres.com is also part of a larger network of online portals covering jobs, match-making and other areas. It is owned by publicly listed company Info Edge (India) Pty Ltd and was launched in September 2005. 99acres.com now claims to have over 15,000 brokers and builders as paid clients.
In early 2011, Info Edge CFO and director Ambarish Raghuvanshi said he expected 99acres.com to break even some time over the next six to nine months. The portal sells listings on a subscription basis and also sells on-site display advertising.
99acres.com has also claimed market leadership a number of times, and in March 2011 released a statement saying it saw a 56 percent share of traffic in January 2011 based on comScore figures, compared to 22 percent for its next closest competitor. 99acres.com added that it saw a total of 25 million page views during January 2011, which is more than the combined page views of its two closest competitors.
Similar to both magicbricks.com and 99acres.com, indiaproperty.com operates on a subscription-based model with paid on-site display ads also available. Parent company Consim Info Pvt Ltd also includes a number of match-making portals and a jobs portal in its portfolio.
indiaproperty.com describes itself as a "No.1 property portal," and according to the comScore figures referenced by magicbricks.com above, it saw substantial growth over the six months to January 2011. The portal also displays figures from Google Trends, comScore and Alexa that place it ahead of its competitors, however these figures are not dated.
makaan.com is owned by People Group, which also runs a network including match-making websites and other portals. Agents are offered a limited number of free listings when they register, and makaan.com generates revenue through other advertising packages including on-site advertising. The portal claims to be "the leading Indian real estate site," however the above comScore figures from magicbricks.com place it fourth in the market.
Previously known as realacres.com, in.iproperty.com is part of the iProperty Group network of portals that operates across Asia. Like the portals above, it sells on-site display advertising, however it switched from a subscription-based model to a pay-for-performance model in mid-2009.
in.iproperty.com's parent company is Horizon InfoVentures Pvt Ltd, and unlike the portals above, in.iproperty.com is not linked to a network of portals covering areas outside of property. In March 2011, in.iproperty.com said it had over 216,857 listings available and claimed to be "India's No.1 property portal," however no traffic figures were available.
Alongside these five portals, the Indian market also includes a number of other players. Some of these, such as propertywala.com, operate on traditional subscription-based models subsidised by display advertising sales.
Other offerings, such as clickindia.com, list property along with other classifieds all on one website. A number of international classifieds networks, including OLX and Locanto, also cover this space.
[Image: Rohit Rath]