The Real Deal New York

More shakeups at StreetEasy as public face Sofia Song departs

By Adam Pincus | December 16, 2013 12:52PM

Major shifts continue at StreetEasy since the company was acquired by listings giant Zillow. On Friday, the company’s longtime head of research and communications, Sofia Song, left the firm.

She is the third high-level executive to be pushed aside or leave in the four months since Zillow paid $50 million for the city’s leading residential listings website.

Before Song, the real estate community was shocked when Michael Smith, company co-founder and CEO, was replaced in September with Susan Daimler, the general manager of Zillow New York, which includes StreetEasy; and around the same time Robin Allstadt, company chief operating officer, departed the firm. In addition, Zillow shuttered StreetEasy’s expansion websites in South Florida, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia.

It was not clear where Song would end up. She did not respond to a request for comment. Two sources close to Song said she was not immediately joining another company.

Song was a popular voice for the firm, and for many in the public relations, journalism and real estate industries, she was the public face of the company. She joined StreetEasy in 2007.

“Sofia was on the front line of StreetEasy’s efforts to win over the [New York City] real estate market,” Jonathan Miller, CEO of appraisal and analysis firm Miller Samuel, said. “She was a data maven. I’ve long appreciated her efforts and her expertise will be missed, and she will be successful wherever she ends up.”

While Zillow has executed successful acquisitions in the past, the changeover period is often rocky, as with any merger, Miller said.

“When a big firm — Zillow — takes over a little firm — StreetEasy — the highest brand risk is the transition period they are going through right now,” he said.

Last week, Song notified reporters through emails and conversations at the firm’s holiday party Dec. 11 at Umami Burger in the West Village that Lauren Riefflin would replace her in public relations matters, but did not divulge that she intended to leave the company.

A spokesperson for Zillow said the firm does not comment on employee matters, but added, “Sofia’s contributions to StreetEasy over the past six years have been instrumental in building the company into the real estate powerhouse that it is today. We wish her all the best.”

All eyes are now on the developers behind StreetEasy, insiders said, as programmers are in high demand in New York City.

  • dontpissmeoff

    I see SE dieing in a few years.

    • barry

      Change this to a few months

      • guest

        streeteasy does not work anymore. the new website is terrible and I have had a 90 percent drop in action from the site since the change.

    • I am NYC Real Eatste

      I agree…but that’s no reason to kill the English language too. It’s “dying.”

      • dontpissmeoff

        No ‘dieing’… Its changing it color.

  • Jerrod Hill

    The sad part is that most of the people in my firm have sort of stopped using it. It goes to show how important their packaging was.

  • M.T

    Urban Compass

  • TJJ

    We all agree at my RE firm that many are now shifting away from SE since Zillow took over.

    • Musashi

      And which RE firm is that brah?

  • MGates

    thats funny… i havent used the website in like weeks now!!

  • dontpissmeoff

    Its the dead season now. Not much happening anywhere. Wait till February. zooooooom

  • Vivian

    So sad to see StreetEasy headed down the steep slope to oblivion. Zillow is a horrible website and it’s like a disease which has spread to StreetEasy. StreetEasy was a really fine source of business for my firm and we regret Zillow’s involvement.

  • Anon

    What is left that hasn’t already been said? The acquisition of StreetEasy was purely competition driven. I can understand Michael’s position to sell and cash out, but he had something special and could have grown the brand nationally. It is to this day, the most transparent real estate data source available. Interesting, that it was acquired, but what many in the industry regard as the worst in Zillow. Their stock has been selling quickly this quarter and I expect by end of 2 QTR of 2014 for the stock to plummet. It’s been massively overvalued in the market place. It just can’t hold. I’m calling for a $45 price in 6 months time. That said, Sofia was pretty much the final piece of the puzzle that made StreetEasy run. From here, well, now this is when things could get interesting.

    Thanks Zillow for making my investment property hunt in a non New York City location (namely Miami) about 500% more difficult now.

  • Musashi

    Awwww. So sweet all this compassion. You people almost made me cry… :(. Anyway, Good luck to the new SE Owners: tons of challenges coming up… Yaaaay

  • Chris Morley

    I like

  • dingdongSE’sdead

    Streeteasy was a New York Gem, and a great resource for buyers, sellers, and renters alike. now it’s just another corporate vehicle. such a shame. As soon as Zillow took over the difference in performance of the site was very easy to notice.

  • CMwallwatcher
  • dontpissmeoff

    Is Jarrod still there?

    • Guy

      I’m quite sure he still is, I believe he spoke at REBNY yesterday

  • Aspen

    SE execs . . . get together and re-launch another new company! A product is only as good as their employees.

  • MItzi Malone

    Is Susan Daimler really the Geico Gecko (but with bad teeth)? Obviously the Zillow health plan doesn’t cover cosmetic procedures or orthodontia. Hell if I had worked there and had to look at that mug everyday I would have just walked out. Bless her heart.