Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

Move sues CoStar over trade secrets

CoStar hit with trade secrets lawsuit over dueling real-estate websites

“According to the complaint, Kaminsky headed Realtor.com’s “News and Insights” platform until he was laid off in January. The lawsuit said that Kaminsky took a similar role at Homes.com in March.

Move said it discovered last month that Kaminsky had stolen documents related to business strategy, industry contacts and “a vast array of other competitively sensitive and valuable information” for CoStar.”

Blake Brittain, Reuters

Shades of 2014 when Move sued Zillow over the departure of Errol Samuelson and Curt Beardsley. That was pretty messy and Zillow finally settled (without admitting any wrong doing) for $130 Million. Someone once told me that you are never really successful until you start getting sued. So I guess it’s official that Homes.com is getting traction.

Funny that it’s usually CoStar doing the suing. It will be interesting what tidbits come up in discovery if things get that far.

Why CoStar bought Matterport

With Matterport buy, CoStar makes it a ground game

“For example, I believe CoStar can move quickly to democratize the digital twin by allocating future blocks of Homes.com’s $1 billion ad campaign to influence consumers to think a fully immersive 3D tour is the only way to get the most value for a home. It can then advance Matterport’s mobile capabilities to make it easier than ever to publish its experience to the homebuying public.”

Craig Rowe, Inman News

The above quote is just a tidbit of Craig’s great insight and analysis on the Matterport deal. One small quibble I would ended the article with a different quote;

“Begun, the Clone Wars Have!” – Yoda

CoStar acquires Matterport (as predicted)

Matterport soars 187% after CoStar to buy company in a $1.6 billion deal

“The transaction, which is expected to be completed during the year, has been unanimously approved by the MTTR board.

“CoStar Group and Matterport have nearly identical mission statements of digitizing the world’s real estate. I look forward to welcoming Matterport to the CoStar Group family and believe that we will be stronger together, in pursuit of our common mission,” said CEO and founder of CoStar (CSGP) Andy Florance, Founder and CEO of CoStar Group

MTTR is headquartered in California and has ~440 employees, with FY revenue of $158 million.”

Sinchita Mitra, Seeking Alpha

Rob and I predicted this on a November 2022 Industry Relations Episode.

The Homes.com Super Bowl Ad I would run

As an exercise I thought it might be fun to write a script for the Super Bowl Ad I would run if Mr. Florance would let me. Enjoy!

Ziltorfin just peed in its pants

“Over $1B invested” 👀

Homes.com teases Super Bowl Ad

Watching the Grammy’s last night I caught an ad for Homes.com.

The ad features Lil’ Wayne and Dan Levy with the tag line, “Home Shopping goes back to school” and then the date “2.11.24”, which is the date to the Super Bowl.

There are also two other ads on their YouTube channel. The one above features Dan Levy again and Heidi Gardner riffing on new Homes.com slogans.

The last video appears to have CoStar’s CEO Andy Florance in a cameo board room scene (:15). Both of them teasing the “2.11.24” Super Bowl date.

We are already know that Mr. Florance likes to go big with their promotion, and nothing is bigger than a Super Bowl ad. Should be fun to watch!

Andy Florance teases new Homes.com celebrity spokesperson

A little birdie told me that Costar CEO, Andy Florance dropped the name of the celebrity spokesperson for Homes.com. The news dropped while Andy was being interviewed by Brad Inman at Inman Connect NYC. And who is it? Dan Levy. I think Dan Levy is a great choice, although I think his father, Eugene Levy, would have been awesome too. There will be other celebrities featured too but it sounds like Dan is the man.

The first commercials start dropping February 11th.

[UPDATE: Clarification, Mr. Florance said there were 4 new actors and Dan Levy one of them and the only one he disclosed.]

Authenticity, CoStar and the craps table.

If you haven’t caught our last episode of Industry Relations that just dropped today you hear Rob talk about the desire for industry entities such as NAR to stop the corporate word salad and speak authentically. This conversation made me think about an article and podcast that caught my attention. It was in relation to the letter (email?) Andy Florance, CEO of CoStar, sent regarding a few statements made at NAR NXT. The entire letter is available (and link to the podcast) so you can go read it here at:


In the letter Mr. Florance make a few statements:

He calls out Bob Evans, VP of Industry Relations at realtor.com, for making false statements “that Homes.com was working against real estate agent“.

He (Andy F.) takes full responsibility for CoStar News naming Sitzer/Burnett plaintiff attorney Michael Ketchmark, “newsmaker of the week” and states “It will not happen again.” [Small quibble; Ketchmark was named “Person of the week”]

He also points out the fact realtor.com and the WSJ is owned by the same company and then makes a damn good point. Here’s a quote from his letter:

Many people mistakenly believe that Realtor.com is part of NAR. In fact, it is not, it was sold years ago and is now owned by News Corp. The Wall Street Journal and Realtor.com are sister companies. They work together closely. The folks that call the shots for The Wall Street Journal and Realtor.com are one and the same.

The Wall Street Journal has been prolifically writing more than most about theSitzer/Burnett class action lawsuit and the NAR defeat. They have published article titles such as “Home Sellers Take On the Realtors Cartel”, “Almost No One Pays a 6% Real-Estate Commission-Except Americans”, “The Upending of One of America’s Most Popular Professions”, “The Way You Pay to Buy or Sell a Home is About To Change”, “Jury Finds Realtors Conspired to Keep Commissions High”, “Real-Estate Commissions Could Be the Next Fee on the Chopping Block”, “Realtors Face an Antitrust Reckoning” and more.

Letter from Andy Florance, CEO & Founder of CoStar

Zing! Pow! Authentic enough for you yet? Love him or not Andy Florance is not in his box seats, he is on the field, and I’m here for it.

As a prolific player of craps I have an analogy for you. In the game of craps you have the concept of “right way” and “wrong way” bettors. In simple terms “right way bettors” are betting on the shooter, and “wrong way bettors” are betting “against the shooter”. When a hot craps game is going on and a “wrong way bettor” shows up at the table everyone gets pissed off. They think having a “wrong way bettor” at the table brings “bad juju”. CoStar, in my view, has been perceived by the industry as a “wrong way bettor”. This was due to the fact that CoStar’s business model does better with the elimination or neutering of buy side compensation. And guess what? It’s looking like Andy made the right bet.

“7 OUT!”

Here’s the thing as these so called “portal wars” heat up. There are many things that we can argue about regarding the business models of all the portals. Dual agency, agent responsiveness, etc. But the Sitzer/Burnett ruling and all the copy cat lawsuits are making it very clear that the game has changed. CoStar isn’t the wrong way bettor any longer.

We need to move on. CoStar, Zillow, Realtor.com are all going to have to adjust. We as an industry are going to have to adjust.

We aren’t play craps anymore. Feels to me more like poker.

Stay Classy CoStar, Stay Classy

WTAF? “Person of the week”? Michael Ketchmark (the attorney who brought and won the commission lawsuits against NAR and other industry players) is CoStar’s hero now?

Homes.com was #2 portal in September

CoStar’s Homes.com beats Redfin, Realtor.com to become No. 2 portal

“In a monumental sign of the real estate listing portal’s growing influence, CoStar Group’s Homes.com hit over 100 million unique visitors in September, besting Realtor.com and Redfin in monthly unique visitor traffic for the first time since acquiring the portal nearly three years ago, the company announced Monday.

That level of traffic made Homes.com the No. 2 most visited listing portal during the month of September, second only to listing giant Zillow. Realtor.com reported 74 million monthly unique visitors and Redfin reported 52 million unique visitors for the month.

CoStar founder and CEO Andy Florance told Inman that the company’s achievement was no accident since a lot of time and energy went into getting the Homes.com portal to where it is today.

“I know we’ve surprised everybody,” Florance said.

Lillian Dickerson, Inman News

I’m not too surprised, I see Homes.com ads everywhere online, but I will say I’m very surprised how quickly this happen. Congrats to the entire team at CoStar!

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