A core team of founders and managers has resigned from eNeighborhoods, a real estate technology company that provides neighborhood information and other data services and tools for real estate professionals.
Company co-founders Stu Siegel and David Meyer, along with the company’s general manager and technology manager, have resigned.
Dominion Enterprises, a media and information company based in Norfolk, Va., announced in March 2007 that it had acquired eNeighborhoods. The company announced last year that the plan was for Siegel to remain in place at eNeighborhoods and to "take on an additional strategic role helping guide Dominion’s efforts to maximize the company’s opportunities within the real estate space."
Siegel said Monday that he had committed to staying on board for at least a year after the acquisition.
"When the year came up I decided it wasn’t a good fit for me and I think a few other people decided it wasn’t right for them," Siegel said. "It wasn’t a place that I wanted to be involved in any longer."
He also said the distraction of a possible sale of some business units by the parent company of Dominion Enterprises factored into his decision. "Dominion as a company is a pretty good company, but … I haven’t really agreed with the way they’ve reacted to market changes. I’m kind of a growth guy and always have been. (The company has) retrenched quite a bit in their agressiveness. When we joined them they were doing a lot of acquisitions."
Siegel said it was an emotional experience to leave a company that he had built more than a decade ago. "It’s like my baby. It was … a great team," he said. Siegel and Meyer created eNeighborhoods in 1996.
Peter Ill, president of Dominion Homes Media, said Monday that Greg Robertson, the company’s general manager, and Dan Woolley, senior vice president of technology, have also resigned but will stay on with the company until the end of the month.
Siegel and Meyer, who left the company May 9, had both transitioned into "divisional roles" with Dominion, Ill said, in working with a range of real estate companies under the Dominion umbrella. Their roles will not be replaced, he said, while positions held by Robertson and Woolley will be filled.
Ill said he will serve as interim general manager of eNeighborhoods during the management transition. "All of them have been very upstanding. We wish them the best. We’re sorry to see them leave but we understand."
"Our overall strategy remains the same. We are looking for efficiencies between the companies and we’re looking for advantages by the companies working together," though the plan is for the companies to "absolutely remain autonomous." There are no plans to close offices, he also said.
There will be no service interruptions for the users of eNeighborhoods, he added. The company reports that 400,000 real estate professionals use its technology.
Dominion Enterprises is a part of Landmark Communications Inc., a private media and business services company that owns newspapers, television stations including the Weather Channel, a broadband company and other businesses.
In January, Landmark Communications issued a statement on the "possible sale of Dominion Enterprises." The company announced that it had retained the services of investment banks to "assist in exploring strategic alternatives, including the possible sale of the company’s businesses."
The New York Times has reported that Landmark is seeking more than $5 billion for The Weather Channel and its Web site, and TheDeal.com reported last week that the latest round of bidding for that channel was due on May 8. Hoover’s reported that Landmark generated $1.75 billion in revenue in 2006 and has 12,000 employees.
Formed in 2006, Dominion Enterprises has about 500 paid and free print publications with a weekly circulation of about 5 million, and its assortment of about 40 Web sites reach 12.5 million unique visitors per month, on average. The company has about 6,000 employees nationwide and annualized revenue of about $946 million, according to a company announcement in April.
In addition to its purchase of eNeighborhoods, Dominion also had acquired real estate Web site and lead management company Katabat, real estate Web design and marketing company Advanced Access, and the Best Image Marketing/Number1Expert marketing company.
In November, Dominion announced the merger of Homes.com and Harmon Homes into a single real estate marketing company operating as Homes.com.
ENeighborhoods helped to develop a nationwide online real estate data exchange platform for real estate brokerage networks Help-U-Sell and RE/MAX, and in November 2007 the company announced a partnership with franchise and brokerage powerhouse Realogy Corp. to build a national property search platform for consumers visiting Realogy’s Century 21, Coldwell Banker and ERA real estate brand Web sites.
Siegel said he doesn’t know where his career path will lead next. "I’m going to take my time," he said. "I will figure out what I want to do."
ENeighborhoods has weathered several management changes over the years. ENeighborhoods had been packaged within another real estate venture called iPlace Inc. and in 2001 sold to Homestore.com Inc., the predecessor to Realtor.com operator Move Inc., in a transaction valued at about $150 million in stock and cash. IPlace offered consumer access to credit reports online.
After Homestore’s near collapse amid a major accounting scandal that led to a new management team, Siegel bought back eNeighborhoods and moved the company to its current headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla.
"ENeighborhoods is still pretty healthy — a very healthy company — so hopefully the legacy will continue," Siegel said.
What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below or send a letter to the editor. To contact the writer, click the byline at the top of the story.