Active Rain May 23, 2009

Just When I Was Starting to Like Zillow…

Zillow used to be on my last nerve. It seemed that no matter how compelling my rationale was for pricing, a seller would claim that Zillow had their house at $50,000 higher or a buyer would lament that the value of the home they were buying was $50,000 lower. It was maddening. Zillow seemed arrogantly unapologetic about the dreaded “zestimate,” which no doubt killed more than it’s share of deals. 

However, over time, Zillow seemed to become more agent-friendly. Their responses on blogs like Sellsius seemed to be less defiant. They syndicated listings. They created profiles for agents,  and indexed us by locale and even specialties. Moreover, they have become far more transparent in the accuracy of their property value estimates. 

Good stuff, huh? I even posted a link to my Zillow profile in my Sidebar. 

Then, things started to creep away from the warm fuzzies again. An Inman News article expressed dismay that aggregates like Zillow and Trulia hijacked the SEO of individual brokers.  Not the end of the world, but food for thought. Or so I thought. 

This past week, I got a call from Amanda at Zillow. This wasn’t your garden variety solicitation for a banner ad. The upshot is that they want to position agent ads so that people searching for properties will call the agent who bought the zip code and not the listing agent. The extortion selling point was that I should buy my zip code before someone else does. 

How galling.  No content from agents like me, and Zillow is out of business. Why do I have to buy the privilege of getting the call on my own listing? It is MY content! I already paid for the right to market it with my blood sweat and tears. 

I’m not so jazzed about syndicating my listings to Zillow anymore. I am all for Zillow making money, but not by sandbagging me or hijacking my listings. They can do whatever they wish; So can I. I’ll consider unchecking them in my syndication options. 

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