Property porn has a nation entranced. It started with Kirsty, Phil and the stream of TV homes shows, then exploded onto the internet, where thousands of nosy neighbours still spend hours salivating over the price Wayne and Sally paid for 38B. But if there was one site that lifted Britons’ obsession with property values into a new league of mania, Zoopla was surely it. When the online start-up launched in 2008, it offered visitors the chance to move beyond browsing previous sale prices to estimate current values for their homes. Zoopla was instantly popular and now has some ten million visitors a month. Yet the man behind the site, 37-year-old Alex Chesterman, had never previously worked in property.

Zoopla’s launch also came ...

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