TOP FIRMS TEAM UP AGAINST STREETEASY
By Ali Ebrahimi
StreetEasy and the NYC brokerage community are in for the fight of their life, and things are about to get HEATED!
In a direct attack on StreetEasy, top New York real estate firms (including Douglas Elliman) have partnered to expedite plans to create an independent Residential Listing Service (RLS) with the Real Estate Board of New York – a mission in the works for the past 18 months, with an anticipated launch date of August 1st. Needless to say, I, and the entire brokerage world are very excited!
This move toward an independent RLS system is an attempt to win back leverage against StreetEasy, who has been pushing aggressively to increase its revenues (and control) in New York. The major concern this is raising among real estate professionals is completely understandable and 100% justified.
It started back in March when StreetEasy launched its controversial ‘Premier Agent’ program that unfairly directs buyers to agents who have purchased advertising on their website, NOT to the listing broker for the property. Obviously this has caused great confusion for buyers and enraged the brokers.
Real estate companies, having taken part in giving rise and power to the behemoth that is StreetEasy, whose control of the market has become a threat to the industry, are more than ever feeling the pressure to act. The goal is to keep the content in the hands of the Real Estate Board of New York and the brokerage community, as opposed to a third-party company that holds their content hostage, mines the data, and charges them for it.
Don’t get me wrong, technology and tech companies have helped propel and transform the New York real estate industry in the last decade, leading to much-needed transparency and access to information; not to mention building a deeper level of trust and exchange between clients and agents. But StreetEasy has crossed the line and misused its position, transitioning from a company the industry trusted and relied on for accurate, up-to-date information, to one with questionable business practices and an erratic no-holds-barred attitude.
I must say, while I’m somewhat skeptical about this new RLS system’s ability to match StreetEasy’s powerful presence, comprehensive data and ease of use, I’m certainly hopeful and eagerly awaiting its launch on August 1st.
HOW WILL STREETEASY USERS BE IMPACTED?
Missing listings and information: Some top firms have suggested removing their listings from StreetEasy altogether, which would put an end to the site’s comprehensive aggregate nature that people have come to expect.
Need for data verification: If brokerages decide to remove their listings from StreetEasy, buyers will have to start using multiple search databases to get the full picture.
Misleading practices: StreetEasy’s ‘Premier Agent’ program has been directing web surfers to agents who have paid for advertising instead of the listing broker for the property.
IT’S NOT ALL A TOTAL LOSS
What’s interesting, and even refreshing, coming out of all of this chaos is the renewed sense of partnership and camaraderie among the New York brokerages – something that had been missing for quite some time.
– Ali Ebrahimi, firstname.lastname@example.org