Thursday, April 2, 2009

A SIREN Exclusive Interview with StreetEasy

Dawn Doherty, the VP of Strategic Development for StreetEasy, provides SIREN with an exclusive interview that gives valuable insight on the fastest growing and largest real estate listing site in New York City.

SIREN: Who founded StreetEasy, and what was the inspiration and reasons for starting up StreetEasy?
Dawn Doherty: StreetEasy was founded by a small team headed by Michael Smith. His intentions were to deliver a transparent and deep information experience for the consumer.

SIREN: When did they first come up with the concept for StreetEasy and when did it go live to the public?
Dawn Doherty: The concept was hatched in mid 2005 and StreetEasy launched in January 2006.

SIREN: Do you feel that PropertyShark, Trulia, New York Times Real Estate, Yahoo Real Estate, Zillow, and Homes & Land are your direct competition? What differentiates StreetEasy from these listing sites?
Dawn Doherty: All of these sites deliver Real Estate information. The difference between StreetEasy and others is:
1. StreetEasy is locally focused. We have the highest integrity listings (we cross reference several sources) most comprehensive set (not just REBNY).
2. StreetEasy archives every piece of information posted. A user can access a past listing from 2005 for instance. We keep a running chronological history of every listing.
3. One can see the listing in context of its surroundings (in NYC- within a building) in a snapshot view.
4. Price reduction alerts and updates several times per day from sources insure that consumers plugged into StreetEasy are the first to know about status changes.

SIREN: What are the incentives and how do you encourage real estate companies to list their properties on StreetEasy?
Dawn Doherty: We show agencies that we are currently sending tens of thousands of transfers to agency websites- for no fee.

SIREN: I’ve noticed that Manhattan and Brooklyn are the boroughs with the most listings on StreetEasy. Are Manhattan and Brooklyn your main target markets and are you actively looking to grow your listings for the other boroughs?
Dawn Doherty: StreetEasy will be adding 6k+ listings from the Brooklyn NY MLS over the next few weeks extending our reach in boroughs.

SIREN: How much traffic does the StreetEasy website get a month?
Dawn Doherty: Close to 10MM page views (up from 4.5MM in September) monthly

SIREN: How has the current economic situation impacted consumer traffic on your site and how have you been affected by this from a business standpoint?
Dawn Doherty: StreetEasy’s traffic has exploded over the past few months. We attribute this occurrence to the consumer’s desire for “confidence”. Since we offer complete transparency and the most comprehensive set of listings in NYC we fill this research need.

SIREN: Some of the other listing sites have direct feeds from MLS and have a comprehensive database of information? Why doesn’t StreetEasy feed from MLS and is that an enhancement you are looking to make in the future?
Dawn Doherty: We are pursuing this while maintaining our transparency (history, price reductions). For instance, MANAR and the Brooklyn NYC MLS listings will be on StreetEasy shortly.

SIREN: What types of developments and housing (Condos, Co-Ops, Single Family, Multi-Family, New Construction, etc.) are mostly listed on StreetEasy? Can individual homeowners list their homes or does it need to be listed by a broker or developer?
Dawn Doherty: All of the above re: types. StreetEasy only posts sales listings from licensed agents. We just introduced “For Rent by Owner”.

SIREN: What type of growth have you seen since the inception of StreetEasy? Are you looking to broaden your listings to areas outside of NYC, such as Long Island and Westchester, or to expand to other areas in New Jersey?
Dawn Doherty: You can access our recent growth history from We are expanding throughout the Metro area.

SIREN: What types of marketing and advertising do you do in order to bring more visibility and traffic to StreetEasy?
Dawn Doherty: We have strong relationships with key real estate and business writers in all of the top publications. PR is the new marketing- this is working for us. Our users come to us direct, therefore they are serious. Our average pages viewed per session are 20+ (the other like sites that you mentioned above have 8 page session lengths)

SIREN: Besides advertisements what are your other sources of revenue streams?
Dawn Doherty: Subscriptions from “Insider” (recorded sales) accounts, Featured Listings and creative ad units.

+ For the most comprehensive list of real estate properties in NYC click here: StreetEasy [Official Site]

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