While most agents are headed toward beach towels and White Claws, summer is your prime time to hone in on your business and set yourself up for dominating the second half of the year. Join us for BAM BBQ, our FREE virtual event on July 17 to do just that! Sign up here

BAM Key Details:

  • As of Tuesday, July 2nd, 2024, Realtor.com’s parent company, Move, Inc., is suing CoStar Group, accusing the latter of acquiring proprietary trade secrets. 
  • Filed in California, the lawsuit focuses on alleged data theft by a former Realtor.com employee. 

    On Tuesday, July 2, Move, Inc., the parent company of Realtor.com, filed a lawsuit against CoStar Group, parent company of Homes.com. 

    The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in California, accuses CoStar of unlawfully acquiring trade secrets through a former Move employee, escalating a long-standing rivalry between the two real estate portal giants. 

    Move’s Allegations Against CoStar

    The allegations center around James Kaminsky, the former head of the News & Insights group at Realtor.com. Move claims Kaminsky accessed and stole confidential information to benefit CoStar. Kaminsky joined CoStar as an editor for Homes.com in March. 

    From the Move, Inc. filing

    “There is nothing wrong with lawful – even intense – competition. But competitors should never be allowed to cheat and steal to get ahead. Mr. Kaminsky, a former Move employee now working for Move’s direct competitor, CoStar, systematically invaded Move’s secure computer systems, secretly exfiltrated Move’s trade secrets, and spied on Move’s real-time confidential electronic documents to give CoStar a massive unfair competitive advantage and to help CoStar increase traffic to its competing real estate listing website, all to the detriment of Move.” 

    Move alleges Kaminsky accessed Realtor.com information “at least 37 times” after his departure, violating computer fraud laws. Stolen data reportedly includes information related to:

    • Business strategy
    • Employee lists and contact information
    • Employee salary information
    • Internal budgeting
    • Industry contact lists
    • Third-party collaborations
    • Publication subjects
    • Publishing schedules
    • “…and a vast array of other competitively sensitive and valuable information”

    “CoStar apparently wants to create a rival News & Insights platform for Homes.com, copying the success of the News & Insights team at Realtor.com. CoStar recently hired the former head of Realtor.com’s News & Insights group, Defendant James Kaminsky. For nearly a decade, Mr. Kaminsky led Realtor.com’s News & Insights group, with knowledge of nearly every facet of the business, including strategy, organizational structure, and operational details. He has referred to the News & Insights group at Realtor.com as “an essential branding and monetization engine for Realtor.com.” Now at CoStar, Mr. Kaminsky is managing a team of writers, just as he did at Realtor.com…” Move, Inc. filing

    CoStar’s Response

    In a statement, a CoStar Group spokesperson told Inman that it plans to fight the “baseless suit” in court:

    “Realtor.com is attempting to divert attention from its business troubles by filing a baseless suit, rather than competing in the marketplace. Move’s transparent tactics involve complaining about the actions of an employee who it let go months ago, and its pleading contains no factual allegations that CoStar engaged in any wrongdoing. We look forward to prevailing in court.”

    CoStar Group spokesperson

    Realtor.com vs. Homes.com Rivalry

    The lawsuit is the latest development in the ongoing feud between Realtor.com and Homes.com. Earlier this year, the rivalry intensified when Homes.com claimed to surpass Realtor.com in web traffic

    According to Move, independent third-party sources have consistently ranked Realtor.com as the second most visited real estate listing website in the U.S., behind Zillow. 

    Stay tuned for updates on this developing story.