So, um ... I know how much you paid for your house. I also know how many bedrooms your house has, how many bathrooms, how many levels, how many square feet. I know the year it was built. I know what your mortgage payment is.
And if you rent someone else's house, I pretty much know how much that costs, too.
I don't actually want to know any of this. I am not actually, save for my obsession with that cute little blue-doored Colonial down the street, a shameless real estate voyeur. But when I was planning my visit to your place the other day, and Googled your address to get directions ... there was the link, just below the Google map, to your house's Zillow profile. (Which was situated right above nearly identical links from Trulia, Redfin, Realtor.com, Homesnap, Homes.com, Remax, and Property Shark.) I didn't mean to look, I promise. But the cost of your house—what you paid for it the year you bought it, down to the dollar—was included right in the Google returns. There was no way I couldn't see it. And now there's no way I can unknow it.
Which, awkward. I really do apologize.
You could say, of course, that it should be Zillow doing the apologizing. I was an unwilling spy, after all; it was the real estate megasite that led me to my home-value voyeurism. And now that site has gotten even more mega: It just announced that it is buying its closest rival, Trulia, for $3.5 billion. The biggest Real Estate CyberStalker Sites, combined into one! This would not seem to bode well for those of us who'd prefer to keep private things, well, private.