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A photo of Errol Samuelson.
Errol Samuelson

Move, Inc., the News Corp. subsidiary that operates Realtor.com, submitted a new filing in its ongoing trade secrets litigation against Zillow that includes a letter from an anonymous writer accusing Zillow executives of various illegal actions during their work at the company.

The letter-writer lays out a number of claims in the unsigned missive, saying that Zillow Chief Industry Relations Officer and former Move Chairman Errol Samuelson was working for the Seattle-based real estate search company in ways an injunction prohibited him from doing.

“Was (Samuelson) working while on injunction? yes, absolutely,” it reads. “Was he careful so you wouldn’t catch him, yes, absolutely.”

Curt Beardsley
Curt Beardsley

The letter also accuses Curt Beardsley, a former Move exec who now serves as Zillow’s vice president of industry relations, of stealing a number of Move’s databases including its “private MLS contact database” and “listing count database,” which have allegedly been added to Zillow’s own databases.

Furthermore, it also claims that Zillow’s sales team scrapes lists of Realtor.com’s real estate agent customers for the purpose of calling them and pitching its own advertising products, and also allegedly scrapes Realtor.com’s listing data for the purposes of benchmarking its own listing count.

Zillow didn’t address the specific accusations in the letter, but disputed its accuracy in a statement emailed to GeekWire.

“Zillow has acted and will continue to act with the utmost integrity in conducting its business and in defending this litigation,” Zillow spokesperson Amanda Woolley said. “This letter is unsigned and unsubstantiated with a mix of mischaracterized facts and false information.”

In a statement emailed to GeekWire, Move spokesperson Lexie Puckett said that the letter “raises extremely serious allegations” about Zillow’s conduct.

“We find it especially troubling that confidential industry data and agent websites may have been illegally accessed and used by Zillow for its own purposes,” she said. “That is a matter of great concern to our partners in the industry.”

As a result of the letter, Move has requested that the court revise a Special Master’s Order to allow a third party to conduct discovery in the case.

The letter is a new salvo in the contentious case. Move has accused Samuelson and Beardsley of taking the company’s trade secrets and using them to benefit Zillow. In another recent filing, Move accused Samuelson of using its trade secrets to assist with Zillow’s acquisition of Trulia, which closed earlier this year.

The letter and Move’s corresponding filing are embedded below.


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