Various websites spotted an Amazon web page, later taken down, that they described as a placeholder page for a future offering of “hire a realtor” services.

Share story

Amazon.com once again struck fear into the heart of a yet-un-Amazoned sector of the economy — realty websites — when rumors surfaced that the e-commerce giant was planning a realtor service along the lines of Zillow or Redfin.

Various websites spotted an Amazon web page, later taken down, that they described as a placeholder page for a future offering of “hire a realtor” services.

The reports coincided with — or perhaps sparked — a nearly 4 percent plunge in Zillow’s stock price early Wednesday to $44.42. (The stock has since recovered somewhat, and on Thursday closed at $44.92.) A realtor from New York e-mailed this reporter asking for a contact with the person inside Amazon in charge of this formidable venture.

The thing is, the rumor may be just that — a rumor. A person familiar with the company’s thinking called the speculation “fake news.”

Observers could be forgiven for thinking otherwise, however, as Amazon is famous for tinkering with business plans to squeeze profit out of every field of human activity.

In recent weeks Amazon has announced the launch of a fashion shopping service and stepped up its bid to conquer the grocery space by agreeing to buy Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion.

Also, Amazon likes to maintain its aura of mystery: The company politely declined to comment for this story.