Move, Inc is back to it's old (corrupt) self once again. This time around, they've gone at it with ActiveRain. ActiveRain alleges that Move stole company information including customer (real estate agents and industry professionals) information during a "failed acquisition".
From Glenn Roberts, Jr of Inman News:
"ActiveRain, an online real estate blogging community and social network with about 47,000 members, has filed a lawsuit against property-search giant Move Inc. that seeks millions in damages and alleges that Move broke the law when it backed out of an acquisition plan and launched its own blogging platform…..
ActiveRain seeks $33 million in damages, and alleges Move violated the California Trade Secrets Act, among other allegations, including breach of contract, unjust enrichment, promissory-equitable estoppel, unfair competition, violation of the Washington Unfair Business Practices Act, and fraud-deceit."
Kevin Boer posted an article on this topic on his 3 Oceans Real Estate Blog, which brings up some excellent points. One of the points Kevin brings up is how Move "took a page out the Microsoft playbook of the 1990's":
- Make your competition/enemy an offer that blinds them with dollar signs
- While they're distracted by the money, start stealing all their trade secrets including technology, business model and customer information
- Once you have all that information, break talks
- Make the same product and try to put your competition out of business
(Maybe this is why "Let's Talk" by Realtor.com looks so much like ActiveRain)
The second point was made by Laurie Manny. Here's an excerpt (pay particular attention to the second sentence):
"I think you guys at AR are fantastic, but I have to ask. Why the hell did you jump into bed with such losers to start with? If they were going to pay it somebody else would have as well.
Live and learn."
This lack of smarts brought up in the second point ties in with what Brian Brady said over at the Bloodhoundblog regarding the "Dustin Effect" and how AR missed some warning signs that were visible well in advance (let's go back to point one, #1 above).
Is anyone really that surprised by Move, Inc's actions? Based on past company debacles, everyone should know that they can't be trusted. But what some people don't realize is that the customer's information they alledgedly stole includes those of Realtors. Realtors are real estate agents who are members of NAR, the company who Move, Inc has a direct connection with. NAR is supposed to be protecting Realtors from things like this (illegal and unethical practices) and setting an example for us through it's Code of Ethics yet, they do these illegal and unethical things themselves. Quite the irony.
If you wish to check out the actual documents:
Update: ActiveRain has since removed the documents from their site