If you think Zillow is your friend, you need to rethink this. Zillow is a publicly traded company with only ONE mission: make as much money as possible for their shareholders.
Russell Shaw is a broker in Phoenix, Arizona. Russell spends more on marketing in one year than most agents gross in 5. Below is a recent post from Russell. Please read it and then consider the cold hard truth that enabling Zillow in any manner, is not in your best interest.
"How Zillow Cheated Me – Part 1" by Russell Shaw
When I finally discovered in late January what Zillow had done to me and all of their paying customers outraged me so thoroughly that I called and made several demands. Working my way through their channels it became obvious that they had no intention of doing any of them. From their point of view they had done precisely nothing wrong. They had sent a notice. It was all legal. In other words, they could get away with it.
The 2nd person I spoke with is named, Martin. Martin’s job was to handle people who wanted to cancel their account with Zillow. I told Martin that I was aware of the continuous price increases but that what they did in October was a covert and underhanded move designed to hide a massive price increase and that they had actually cheated me and all of their other customers when they did it. It was about the same as a Realtor filling out a listing form, charging the seller 6% and then going back in to an elderly person and having them unknowingly agree to a 15% commission. Martin didn’t see it that way at all. But that is exactly how I saw it.
You can see the specifics at this link: http://zillowripsoffagents.com/zillowcostsandresults2012.htm
I am accustomed to advertising vendors attempting to overcharge me. I spend a little over $800,000 a year on marketing. Every year at contract negotiation time pretty much every TV and radio station wants to explain why we should pay more for even less. It wasn’t the fact of a price increase that outraged me – but the disingenuous method they chose to use. And no TV or radio station (or other source of internet leads I’ve ever used) has ever attempted to trick me once I made a deal with them. According to Martin, Zillow had simply “changed their business model”.
I explained to him that based on what each lead cost me the cost per closed deal (buying Zillow leads) went from about $1,100 a deal to about $1,900 a deal. He became agitated that I kept insisting on using a cost per lead – he let me know “we don’t sell leads, we sell number of impressions”. Really, Martin? Cost per impression? Fine, if you hadn’t at the very same time tried to hide the fact that you REALLY jacked the price this time. So high that I believe any agent who sees and understands what your company just pulled and can see what their true cost is now will simply stop doing business with Zillow.
My demands were:
1. Refund to me the money they had overcharged me.
2. Refund to all of the other agents they had overcharged.
3. Issue a public apology for having been sneaky about it.
4. Promise to never do it again.
Martin made it clear Zillow wasn’t going to do any of these things.
They didn’t have to refund me or anybody else. They had “sent a notice” they were making those changes. It was legal.
Insights From Vanessa Fox on Decreasing Availability of Search Data
Given that Ben Franklin said "a penny saved is a penny earned", I thought I would post this for those of you who manage or want to manage their own PPC. How you set up your campaign(s) is as important as what you target with those campaigns and can save or cost you money.
I want to take 7 years worth of receipts, tax info, etc from paper to paperless. If you were me, what would you do to accomplish this?
What happened to Google rewarding up-to-date credible information? Oh, never mind.. Zillow is a paying customer.
I am in agreement with Jimmy and Jeff, my point is spend the money to drive traffic to your sites and systems vs simply buying the leads.
Who ever owns the leads owns the business, at which pint they own you.
I wish my stupid blackberry could have gotten smart.
Phil - there are a few bumps in the bromance you and Greg are having about crowd sourcing - to start, it is difficult to ascertain the validity of responses from the "community" (are the members good at real estate or good at Facebook? Are they listing agents or buyer agents or brokers who employ the two? etc etc) , secondly business processes differ between individuals, offices and companies depending on size, geography, business models etc. third, without a "stake" in the development, attention to the product is low priority for busy people, fourth, the expectation that helping someone else develop their business(even for your industry) is going to help you develop yours is a logical fallacy :) there's more, but I have work of my own to do now (point made?)