One of the funniest real estate blogs on the internet, McMansion Hell, has temporarily shut down after its creator, 23-year-old architectural acoustics graduate student Kate Wagner, received a cease-and-desist notice from house hunting database Zillow. If you’re unfamiliar, the blog used humor and memes to point out the absurdity of “McMansions” — tacky, sprawling, suburban homes often associated with middle class materialism — and highlighted the basic architectural flaws of their designs.
— bad house tweeter (@mcmansionhell) August 29, 2016
The blog’s humorous tone and growing popularity catapulted Wagner into the realm of architectural influencers, leading to features in The Washington Post, among other publications. Unfortunately, it also put her on the real estate radar, leading to questions about image rights and copyright infringement. Wagner received notice from Zillow on June 26, shortly after an article featuring her commentary on the return of McMansions went live.
After temporarily shutting down the blog, Wagner issued a statement to followers about the current predicament:
Official Statement from McMansion Hell pic.twitter.com/YNM9M9QDia
— bad house tweeter (@mcmansionhell) June 26, 2017
Lawyers and real estate agents quickly jumped to the blogger’s defense, with some legal counsel even reaching out to offer representation. At the time of publishing, Wagner is working with the Electronic Frontier Foundation to resolve the supposed legal issue with Zillow.
We certainly hope that the image rights discussion is resolved quickly and that the blog returns to its former glory. After all, it wasn’t simply a place to rag on ugly houses; it educated followers about architecture and highlighted good examples, too!
— bad house tweeter (@mcmansionhell) April 12, 2017
We will be waiting for McMansion Hell’s triumphant return, as will the score of dedicated fans who support the blog.