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CB Real Estate BlockShopper.com Won't remove home listings from Google search
BlockShopper.com

BlockShopper.com review: Won't remove home listings from Google search 12

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4:47 am EST
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These guys will not entertain opt out requests or in the least removing your personal information from being indexed by the Google search crawler. As a result, when someone Googles your name, the first thing people see in the result page is the price of your property. This is wrong because most people Googling your name are not researching real estate, which is the target demographic for Blockshopper. People Googling your name may include stalkers, business partners, hiring managers, envious neighbors, criminals - people who you generally want to avoid giving such private information to.

This policy also breeds erroneously perceived resentment among members of your peer group and society as a whole. It puts homeowners into a special category - those whom it's OK to resent and act negatively towards because of the high price they paid for their home, which could in the minds of some fools equate them to having a high income and a premium social status. The truth however is that most homeowners are struggling to keep it together given the financial downturn, loss of jobs, falling home prices, and resetting mortgages - do they really need more burden placed on them at this time?

It's true there's nothing illegal about Blockshopper exposing homeowner information in such a public and accessible way. But let's use a historical example as a predictor of a possible outcome. In 1930s Germany, all Jews were forced to wear a yellow Star of David on their shirt sleeves. This was the law at the time and there was no way to opt out, meaning if you were Jewish, every German knew it. Furthermore because of such a uniquely identified and resented status, people could hurt you and no one would care. We all know what happened next. I'm not saying that Blockshopper management are Nazis nor have any intentions to be, however they clearly have not thought through the consequences and externalities of their actions and policies.

The business model aspect of Blockshopper's strategy puzzles me as well. I can understand the need for a young startup site to attract as many unique users as possible and retain them for the long term in order to gain sustainable advertising dollars. However, most people that would benefit from Blockshopper and keep coming back are the same people in the real estate game that the company is pissing off right now, homeowners. No reasonable person I know would want to trade their privacy so openly violated to perhaps slightly better real estate intelligence. So while the model may be workable in the short term because the site is so new and fresh, long term people are going to go to a competitor that treats them ethically. Advertisers will follow both for profit reasons and for the fact that they will not want to be associated with such a morally bankrupt company.

So in summary, Blockshopper in its current shape and form is bad for business, for society, and is frankly scary enough for me to never use it to research real estate nor advertise on it.

Resolved

The complaint has been investigated and resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.

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12 comments
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Concerned Citizen23
New York, US
May 02, 2023 5:43 pm EDT

the problem is that people can just google you and find out where you live. that is what blockshopper does not seem to understand. while yes, property ownership is public, do you have any idea how hard it is to find a particular owner in a random county in the midwest? but if you just know the person's name, you can suddenly find their address and how much they paid, etc. the fact that they think they can unilaterally decide who is "threatened" or is sufficiently at risk is worrisome, because last time i checked, they are not a court. it would be best practice if they honored the few and far between opt-out requests that they get instead of pushing back and causing aggravation to the few people who seek privacy.

also, yes, the data is public. the issue, however, is that the data on a property assessor's website is rarely accompanied by ads. the ad revenue component undermines their "public data is public for a reason."

Public data is public for members of that community and for those connected to them. while property ownership is not secretive by its very nature, the purpose of those websites was not for ad revenue and to allow identity harvesting by people thousands of miles away.

solution? if you are going to buy a property, consult an attorney about putting it in the name of an LLC.

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bejden
Ft Worth, US
Nov 15, 2022 4:45 pm EST

I dont understand...if I request for my personal information to be taken off blockshopper, why they wont do per my request. What purpose is it for them to advertise everything about me on their website? Its so wrong. I have asked a couple of times to please remove my information in fear of being stalked. Yes, I have been stalked twice in my life time and have an estranged boyfriend out there that I would perfer not know where I am located. Why wont they do it? Its my choice as well not to have my personal information out there...and I dont see their purpose. Take my personal information off your web-site! Will you do it after the fact? When something could possibly happen? I am asking ...!

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Diana Posey
Burbank, US
Sep 27, 2022 1:08 pm EDT

I have been writing to blockshopper to remove my information and they refuse. I live in California and we have the privacy law. I don't know where to go to get help. I am older person and really would not like my information. Please help.

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C R
, US
Jun 21, 2022 12:36 am EDT

I don't know who to believe anymore, Scarlett Simpson from BlockShopper tell me to contact the recorder and assessor's office in the county you reside. If they are willing to remove you from the public record the information will drop off our database during our next update. I did so and the clerk at the assessor's office told me that it was not true, that I need to reach out to a lawyer! so who is telling the truth?

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zuzu111
, US
Jun 07, 2017 12:26 pm EDT
Verified customer This comment was posted by a verified customer. Learn more

Agree! Safety and privacy are violated.

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svbcc11
, US
May 09, 2017 12:14 am EDT

I wrote to Blockshopper as I was concerned about the safety of my family after an individual in our area found my name and began contacting me on social media with pictures of himself holding weapons. I had called the police to report the issue. Blockshopper still refused to remove our name with the associated address. It seems completely irresponsible of a company to behave this way if someone is concerned about their family's safety. VERY SCARY that this is somehow allowed.

Know_Your_Rights
Know_Your_Rights
Roanoke, US
Jun 04, 2016 6:20 am EDT

Although it is not illegal to post this information, it is illegal to not remove it upon receiving a protection removal request. The laws of some states require you to have a court order. But in some states or localities, a police report is enough. And in some others, if you even just have reasonable information that the safety of you or your children are in jeopardy, a commercial enterprise is responsible for acting upon your removal request or they can potentially be exposed to liability if it's discovered you are harmed or killed as a result of the criminal still locating you due to information supplied despite a removal request. If you live in either a state or locality where any of the above applies and blockshopper.com refuses or ignores your request, your should contact your attorney general's office and file a complaint. If you are a family member of someone this has already happened to, you should do the same and also consult a personal attorney.

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SqS4
, US
May 15, 2011 7:20 pm EDT

Write to your state congressperson. Public information used to be accessible only by visiting the courthouse or searching the specific information you're looking for. That way, there's a record of the entity seeking it. I feel that blockshopper abuses it for advertising dollars. The government provides the free info and they slap ads on it. If enough people complain and the government sees it that way too, they'll take action. The government hates to lose revenue.

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sumiruna
, US
May 05, 2011 6:31 am EDT

This has happened to me. Is there ANY LEGAL RECOURSE to get BlockShopper to remove this information?

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42sharlet
Fall City, US
Feb 28, 2010 10:55 am EST

Thank you for your comment. The Nazi comparison has crossed my mind as well. Especially now that Blockshopper has threatened to sue me for speaking out against them.

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wanda
las vegas, US
Feb 27, 2010 10:27 pm EST

I think what really has to be changed as well is how much information is publicly available online by the tax collector of your particular county. Contact the county as well to let them know you are not pleased so much information is displayed online and available for an easy search.

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wanda
las vegas, US
Feb 27, 2010 10:24 pm EST

It's scary to realize what little privacy each individual has these days. I'm in the same position. I don't like the fact that all of my info could be on public display. I can opt out of being listed in the white pages, so why not this? Why are my rights not being protected? Why should everyone have such easy access to my address and asset values? It will take a devastating incident to introduce new laws I'm afraid.