It was a wild week in the world of NYC Real Estate - if you're not in the industry, let me give you the Sparknotes version of what happened: The largest listing site (StreetEasy) was bought out by another (Zillow) for $50 Million. The new owners made some changes that have everyone upset.
I don't want to bore you with specifics, but the gist is that with the new changes, rather than the customers being able to contact the listing agent directly, StreetEasy gate keeps their information and connects them with an agent who paid more in advertising. It's gross, deceiving, and probably illegal. Worst, it's terrible for the consumer. If you as a customer want to contact the listing agent directly, you should be able to. (I don't think you should; it's always smart to have a buyer's agent like me representing you, and doesn't cost anything extra.) Nobody should withhold that information from you.
Don't be gross, people. Not only is it just sleazy, it's not an effective business strategy. More than just this specific situation - in fact, in pretty much every facet of life, information is becoming more rapidly available thanks to the Internet. When you find a way to profit by the ignorance of others, it's only a matter of time before it bites you in the ass. People aren't stupid, especially in NYC. When you get shady, they know you've gotten shady. You lose trust, you lose respect, and you lose business.
Sure, there may be a few examples of nasty people being rewarded for it (the people we put on TV or in the Oval,) but don't let them lead you. Be a person your proud of when you go to bed at night. Look in the mirror and like who you see.