A mysterious company called Phase 2 Systems will take over the Web site operations of Informedia Group, a real estate Web site vendor, effective March 15, according to an unsigned e-mail Informedia sent its customers last Wednesday.

Little is known about the company, which appears to be a new entity. The Informedia e-mail didn’t supply any information about where Phase 2 is headquartered, who heads the operations or what Informedia customers can do in the meantime to resolve problems with Web services.

Many real estate agents who subscribe to Informedia’s Web site development services haven’t been able to log into their Web sites since January to update for-sale home listings, add photos or refresh information.

The Phase2Systems domain name was registered anonymously on March 2, one day prior to the e-mail announcing the takeover of Informedia. No Web site currently exists at that domain, so it is not clear whether it belongs to Informedia’s new business partnership.

No one answers Informedia’s telephone or replies to voice messages left on the company’s answering system. One of its telephone numbers has been disconnected, and the other numbers connect directly to pre-recorded voicemail.

Informedia suffered a blow when its technology was hacked in January. An e-mail message the company sent to its customers at that time explained what had happened and told them some agents’ listing information and photos may have been lost in the incident.

But after that, the company became silent. Customers said no one responds to e-mail or telephone messages. This silence has infuriated some agents who have been trying to obtain service support for their Web sites.

Informedia’s e-mail said Phase 2 will honor all pre-paid Web service contracts after it takes over this month and will have more resources for customer service.

“The recent circumstances have overtaxed the ability and resources of the company, making it difficult to maintain the service levels we feel are necessary. Phase 2 has greater resources available and is more able to handle a large client base while continuing to improve the product and providing a high level of security to clients going forward. Phase 2 is also planning an aggressive schedule of site improvements and new product development,” the e-mail stated.

The e-mail urged clients to ignore sales efforts of competing firms, one of which was started recently by former Informedia employees. But some clients have already switched to new Web site vendors.

Other clients like Nigel Bettencourt, a broker with Century 21 Executive Realty in Pompano Beach, Fla., are waiting for their domain names to be transferred from Informedia so they too can switch services. Bettencourt said he has been trying to gain control of his domain name since January.

Several agents who subscribe to Informedia’s Web site service suspected the company had registered their domain names in Informedia’s or its chief Alan Isabelle’s name rather than their own names as promised in their contracts with the developer.

Bettencourt said Isabelle recently approved the transfer of his domain name, but nothing has happened yet. He claimed the company breached its contract with him by not providing the level of service promised.

“They breached the contract. They haven’t performed, and at this point, they’re doing nothing,” he said.

Send tips or feedback to Jessica@inman.com or (510) 658-9252 ext. 133.


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