Hutbook.com publicly names homeowners

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.

Albert Cohen, Australian Property Monitors, Hutbook.com, RP Data

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About The Insider

Ryan has been involved in the real estate industry for a number of years. During this time he has operated web based real estate businesses along with provided consulting to the real estate software development industry. Ryan operates Agentpoint.com.au and is actively involved with the design and development of real estate systems, software and web sites in the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

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6 Responses to Hutbook.com publicly names homeowners

  1. Mark November 23, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    Well, I’d like to know how they’re going to police the virtual squatters who will probably be living in my cyber property….. And what about the people who are renting the property in the real world – they can’t legitimately link to a house.

    And then what about the people with a sick sense of humour who decide to ‘virtually’ occupy a house and then announce a street party!

    Interesting idea, but not alot of thought has really gone into it. Shouldn’t even be given any publicity to kick it off the ground at all!!

  2. David Crombie November 23, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

    Sites like this cause issues for the industry and I think you will find that Agents in NSW as with some other states will soon lose access to information such as the Owners Name in Property Sales Information due to misuse and privacy related concerns.

  3. Nick November 23, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    Oh my eyes! Man that is an awful site design. It will never work.

    Cool idea though. If done well it could really take off. Perhaps by linking in to Facebook and only letting you see your friends and your (proven) immediate neighbours rather than the entire country?

  4. Jen November 23, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

    And the creepiest and most amateur website award goes to……

  5. Glenn Batten November 27, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    It is just a reverse phone book with a pretty crappy front end. Quite sad really.

  6. Nick December 5, 2012 at 7:05 am #

    They didn’t use any databases to construct the site. It relies on users to enter in the information.
    How would that affect the information you access as an agent?

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