A new website called Hutbook.com that claims to “allow neighbours to interact in the same way they would on Facebook” is publishing the name and contact numbers of property owners publicly on their site. In a recent News Limited article concerns have been raised about the privacy of home owners being violated as home owners are not aware that their details have been made publicly available.
Even the opposition leader Tony Abbott had his name and email associated with a property. Whether this was a publicity stunt or an actual live listing we don’t know. Through the advance search you can enter a last name or full name and perform a search for listings belonging to that person. Here is an example of a listing where the owner’s contact details are available.
Having the ability to find the owner details for a property is not new as sites like Australian Property Monitors and RP Data have been supplying this information to subscribers for years. But they make it harder by only displaying who lives there and it is only available for subscribers which are usually agents.
Albert Cohen site founder believes it is in the public interest to have this information made public.
“Knocking on your neighbour’s door can be somewhat confrontational. This is a better way of doing that, by posting on their wall and saying: ‘Hello, I live next door to you, would you like to come round for a coffee?”
The look, feel and usability of the site is horrible and will never pick up traction as an online social network. However, I would think if it continues to publish owner details then it could be used as a resource for marketers to collect information on property owners.