Oh Zillow, you fools

McMansion Hell

McMansion Hell

FWIW's NYC correspondent sends along this story about Zillow trying to shut down a blogger.

Zillow is dealing with a PR fiasco and a potential legal fight for going after a small, popular blog that makes fun of McMansions.
Kate Wagner — who spotlights large, ugly-looking houses on McMansionHell.com — received a cease-and-desist letter from the Seattle company this week, telling her to stop using Zillow photos on her site. She often makes memes out of Zillow home listing photos, pointing out features of home exteriors and rooms that are not exactly likely to win architecture awards.
“First of all, I was petrified,” said Wagner, a 23-year-old master’s student in Baltimore, who is working on a thesis on architectural acoustics. Zillow’s letter said Wagner ran afoul of Zillow’s terms of use and may violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and state laws. “It’s pretty terrifying when someone issues you a letter saying you’re a criminal and you’re going to jail.”
The internet backlash to the letter has been swift since Wagner posted it to the blog’s Twitter account on Monday. The vast majority of commenters have defended the tiny blog against the real estate giant, and some lawyers have given legal advice or suggestions online.
Wagner said Tuesday she received emails from about 200 lawyers, and has retained the Electronic Frontier Foundation to represent her, pro bono. They plan to respond to Zillow soon.
Outside Zillow’s headquarters in downtown Seattle on Tuesday morning, someone plastered the walls with many colorful signs reading “MCMANSION HELL FOREVER.”
Wagner said she took down the site’s public presence for maintenance and archiving this week — but she expects it to be back up soon, likely by Saturday.

Have the idiots at Zillow really never heard of "The Streisand Effect"? It's been a known phenomenon since at least 2003.


The Streisand effect is the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet. It is an example of psychological reactance, wherein once people are aware something is being kept from them, their motivation to access and spread the information is increased.[1]
It is named after American entertainer Barbra Streisand, whose 2003 attempt to suppress photographs of her residence in Malibu, California, inadvertently drew further public attention to it. Similar attempts have been made, for example, in cease-and-desist letters to suppress numbers, files, and websites. Instead of being suppressed, the information receives extensive publicity and media extensions such as videos and spoof songs, often being widely mirrored across the Internet or distributed on file-sharing networks.[2][3]