The Real Deal New York

The second-day adventists: Warburg, Fox, Garfield and Kleier join StreetEasy boycott

8 firms have now cut off the platform; Corcoran, Elliman, Nest Seekers hold out
By E.B. Solomont | August 03, 2017 06:00PM

More firms are joining the boycott against StreetEasy (Credit: United Artists)

You can now refer to them as the G-8.

After four of the city’s top brokerages stopped feeding sales and rental listings to StreetEasy, four others — Warburg Realty, Leslie J. Garfield, Kleier Residential and Fox Residential — said Thursday that they planned to follow suit. The brokerages said they’d syndicate their listings instead through the Real Estate Board of New York’s new residential listing service (RLS).

During an interview at Warburg’s Madison Avenue office, Clelia Peters, the firm’s president, said feeding listings to StreetEasy would defeat the purpose of syndication.

“StreetEasy could and should be a user of the RLS,” she said. “Susan [Daimler] — who I like and respect — has been saying this is better for the consumer,” she added. “That is patently not the case.”

Jed Garfield, owner of townhouse specialist Leslie J. Garfield, said he decided to pull his firm’s listings from StreetEasy after several larger firms led the way.

“We can’t be effective in fighting StreetEasy without the big entities,” he said. “We don’t want to shoot ourselves in the foot.”

Like many in the industry, Garfield was irked when StreetEasy introduced a $3 fee for rental listings, which firms have been feeding to the listings portal for no charge. “StreetEasy overplayed their hand,” he said.

So far, the Corcoran Group — which stopped feeding rental listings to StreetEasy last month — has declined to say whether or not it will turn off its sales feed, as well. Douglas Elliman, which is participating in the RLS, will continue to feed listings to StreetEasy.

“To all of a sudden shut it off, and stop the flow, because people are mad because of certain fees in other parts of the website, it’s not good business,” Scott Durkin, COO of Elliman. “We wish them well but I don’t think that’s the right decision because there’s no alternative now.”

Nest Seekers International’s founder Eddie Shapiro said his firm will continue to feed StreetEasy — for now. Without the big dogs joining the boycott, it lacks teeth, he implied.

“We’re taking it one hour at a time, watching to see what’s going to happen,” he said. “Unless Elliman and Corcoran decide they’re pulling back, it’s not going to stop,” he said. He said the firm will also feed REBNY’s RLS, which sends listings to more than 200 third-party aggregators (excluding StreetEasy).

“It doesn’t hurt,” Shapiro said, “so absolutely let’s use another platform for now.”

On Wednesday, StreetEasy went around the firms to encourage agents to post listings directly to the site. For the first time, individual agents will be allowed to load and update listings manually. “The sellers and landlords are the ones who are getting the short end of the stick,” Daimler said in an email to agents at the firms which had pulled their listings. “We want to make sure there is always an open path for their properties to be seen by the largest audience of buyers, renters and real estate professionals.”

But some said manually uploading listings could backfire. “Do you know how junky StreetEasy will be if agents manually their listings?” one source said.