StreetEasy redesign rankles users | Bedford Corners Real Estate

It was a rough couple of months for New York City brokers who rely on technology — and, really, isn’t that nearly all of them? Not only did the Real Estate Board of New York roll out its new, long-awaited listings transmission system (which some had doubts about) and Apple unveil its much-maligned new operating system, but StreetEasy debuted a website redesign that has rankled brokers and inflamed some consumers.

“I am a big StreetEasy fan – it’s the biggest driver in the market,” said Donna Olshan, president of residential brokerage Olshan Realty. “But there are a lot of issues with the new interface that they need to work out. My brokers are complaining.”

The popular listings provider, greeted with skepticism when it first launched in New York City in 2006, has since become an indispensable tool for residential brokers to advertise homes, connect with clients, and mine data on listings, sales and rentals. Now operating in a handful of markets across the U.S., the site proved successful enough to catch the eye of Zillow, which acquired the company in August for $50 million.

Some brokers who spoke with The Real Deal assumed the new interface, launched Sept. 30, was tied to the Zillow buy, and some warned that StreetEasy would soon mimic Zillow’s sites around the country, which they criticized for promoting agents who do not have exclusives on listings.

“The word that’s going around my office about it is that it got ‘Zillowfied,’ meaning it looks like Zillow,” said Eric Benaim, founder of residential brokerage Modern Spaces. “That can be a good thing or bad thing, depending on who you’re speaking to.”

But the switchover had nothing to do with Zillow, said Sofia Song, StreetEasy’s vice president of research and communications.

“The redesign has been in the works for months,” she said, adding that the roll out had been planned for the third quarter of 2013.




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