NotOnStreetEasy.com, a residential listings site launched by real estate search platform HomeCanvasr, received a cease and desist letter last month from online listings giant StreetEasy, contending the website’s very claim of providing off-market listings that can’t be found on StreetEasy.
HomeCanvasr launched the site – which currently has more than 100 off-market properties, or “whisper listings,” for sale – on Oct. 22 as an alternative to popular platforms like StreetEasy, where properties are widely seen and often snatched up immediately.
But the Zillow brand was having none of it, sending the cease and desist letter to HomeCanvasr shortly after the launch last month that took issue with both the NotOnStreetEasy.com name and certain listed properties.
The letter asked HomeCanvasr to “either take down the site or change the language on certain properties” listed on NotOnStreetEasy, according to HomeCanvasr co-founder Steven Szczur — with StreetEasy claiming that several properties on the site have, in fact, been listed on their platform.
“We’re not out there to dilute their name at all,” Szczur told The Real Deal, adding that the NotOnStreetEasy.com domain name “makes sense from a marketing standpoint.”
“Our kind of business model is very different than [StreetEasy’s],” he added. “This is just a way to get people to understand that there are special properties being transacted off-market that are never on the major sites.”
The properties on NotOnStreetEasy are off-market thanks in part to sellers who may not want their addresses publicized. The site also includes pre-market listings from brokers as well as estate sales and foreclosures.
While HomeCanvasr said it has no intention of taking the website down or changing the name, the company has made some changes complying with requests in the cease and desist letter – adding an asterisk to the NotOnStreetEasy.com homepage and swapping out several of the properties previously displayed on the homepage.
“Some of the requests we happen to agree with and have complied with,” Szczur said, though adding that “most of the properties [on NotOnStreetEasy] aren’t on their website.”
StreetEasy declined to comment on the matter. The company said last month that “anyone shopping for a home in New York City knows StreetEasy is the definitive source for listings.”