Crossing the Line?
I’m a big fan of real estate-related websites, if you couldn’t already tell. The internet continues to put more and more real estate information at the fingertips of the consumer, where it rightfully belongs. And informed clients are empowered clients, in my book. When it comes to putting as much useful information on one page as possible, I think Redfin has one of the best real estate websites out there — even though they are a competitor! Even Burbed, one of my all-time favorites, has good info hidden amongst the snarky commentary. And there are many more good, informative websites out there that educate both buyers and sellers.
But is all the information out there necessarily useful information? Or relevant? I don’t think so. I recently found a website called BlockShopper that illustrates my point.
A Home Sale Becomes a “Press Release”.
BlockShopper, which describes itself as a “San Francisco real estate news, data and statistics, home sales and real estate listings” website, is packed with lots of useful real estate information — listings, neighborhood sales information, and even a section that refers you to cleaners, carpenters, etc.. Like Redfin, they do a nice job of packaging lots of information in an easy to use website. So far, so good….
But when you click on the “News” tab, you’ll see a list of articles that contain an unnerving amount of information about the buyers and/or sellers in a particular transaction, almost in a “press release” format — where they are employed, how long they’ve been employed there…perhaps even where they went to school. Here’s a Castro Valley listing that I picked at random that’s typical of the kind of information you’ll see: Arabic teacher, eBay exec lists Castro Valley 4BD.
Voyeurism, or Useful Information?
While all of this information may be highly entertaining to some, is it really relevant to a real estate transaction? More important, does it cross any privacy boundaries? It seems that BlockShopper pulls a lot of this data from LinkedIn and other publicly-available websites, so it’s probably fair game. But I can imagine that most people who are buying or selling a home right now can’t be too pleased that this fact is being blasted all over the internet, along with their life story.
The news tab is even segmented by City, which means you can find all kinds of useless and personal information about just about any city, even those people who have bought and sold recently in San Carlos.
What do you think? Is this a case of TMI? If you were selling your home today, would you care if anyone knew all of this info? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this… Leave a comment below.
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