Playing the Recommendation Game with Zillow and Trulia

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Fred Strickroot - HomeNet - Tampa Bay Area - 727-478-8997 BK3187035

Fred Strickroot - HomeNet - HomeNetYOU Team We all love to have our customers say nice things about the service we provided to them, and we like to show these recommendations to others so that they can feel confident they are working with a good real estate agent. Well getting these recommendations posted online can be quite a cumbersome process, and I question whether the process is to ensure the legitimacy of the recommendation or to get more customers signed up using the site services.

I personally have struggled trying to get my customer recommendations on Zillow and Trulia. While I believe it is good to verify the legitimacy of a recommendation, it appears more that both Zillow and Trulia have other interests in mind. Zillow requires that the customer who wants to make a recommendation has to sign up for a profile. Trulia, used to let the agent post their own recommendations (this I do not think is good). Now, I learn from a customer who wants to give me a recommendation, Trulia is requiring the customer have a Facebook account. What! This is out of control.

First, not all customers use a computer, or email, or the Internet. So both the Zillow and Trulia sites are eliminating the ability of these customers to make a recommendation. I suppose I could sit with my customer in my office and step them through the process on my computer, but this would not be something that would make me feel comfortable.

Second, many people are reluctant to sign up for anything online in fear of being SPAMMED. I know that Zillow says the customer can opt out of email, but many people still believe that their email is going to be given out resulting in a barage of unwanted email.

Just for those two reasons alone, I have customers who want to give me recommendations, and are willing to do it on both sites, but do not want to go through the processes prescribed by either Zillow or Trulia.

In my opinion, there should be an alternative option for customers that meet the two criteria listed above.

If you are a Premier Agent or are actively using Zillow or Trulia, or any other real estate website where you are experiencing difficulties with getting your hard earned customer recommendations online, please chime in with your suggestions on what these services might do to help customers get their recommendations represented on these sites.

QUESTION: What alternative methods could companies like Zillow and Trulia use to ensure legitimate recommendations, but also include customers that do not want to provide their recommendations by having to obtain a profile anywhere, or even have to use a computer?






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Fred Strickroot, HomeNet, 1st Generation Google + User



Comments (15)

Irina Netchaev
Pasadena Views Real Estate Team, Inc. - Pasadena, CA
Pasadena CA Real Estate

I remember last year asking my clients for a recommendation on Trulia and it was a very cumbersome process for her.  You are right, both Zillow and Trulia's primary goal is to create more traffic on their sites not necessarily help agents to simplify the process of recommendations.  Not sure what they can do better, but I am asking my clients to recommend me on Yelp... a much easier process and seems to get more consumer attention.

Jul 31, 2011 07:59 PM
Fred Strickroot
Fred Strickroot - HomeNet - Tampa Bay Area - 727-478-8997 - Trinity, FL
Tampa Bay Area Homes For Sale

Irina, I will definitely look into that. Thanks for the tip!

Jul 31, 2011 08:01 PM
Ronald DiLalla
Century 21 Discovery DRE 01813824 - Anaheim, CA
No. Orange Cty Real Estate

Hi Fred,  I have experienced the same problem with boh Zillow and Trulia....clients declined to   adhere to their wishes so I just dropped it.

Jul 31, 2011 08:13 PM
Fred Strickroot
Fred Strickroot - HomeNet - Tampa Bay Area - 727-478-8997 - Trinity, FL
Tampa Bay Area Homes For Sale

Ronald, well, is not just me. I was reluctant to post about this at first because I felt a bit like I was just whining, but I worked hard for those recommendations. Do you have another service that you use to get your recommendations online? Thanks for the post.

Jul 31, 2011 08:17 PM
Edward Peterson
eDrake - Hamden, CT
eDrake; CT

It is all about eyes on a page and passive income.

Jul 31, 2011 09:24 PM
Carol Zingone
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty - Jacksonville Beach, FL
Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS

Fred- I have client testimonials on my webpage, and on A/R. My company sends out a post-sale/buy survey, which allows them to rank my skills, and write a few personal words; I tend to scan those, or pull out the best quotes, and post them to the sites I mentioned above.

Jul 31, 2011 10:22 PM
David Popoff
DMK Real Estate - Darien, CT
Realtor®,SRS, Green ~ Fairfield County, Ct

Carol has a great idea, most of my clients appreciate the great job I do but tend not to have time to go to multiple websites, log on, create accounts all to just write a comment.

Jul 31, 2011 11:53 PM
Fernando Herboso - Associate Broker MD, & VA
Maxus Realty Group of Samson Properties - Clarksburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

Have you checked Google plus?. . almost everyone has a gmail account. .

Aug 01, 2011 12:57 AM
Fred Strickroot
Fred Strickroot - HomeNet - Tampa Bay Area - 727-478-8997 - Trinity, FL
Tampa Bay Area Homes For Sale

To all of you, thank you for the input so far. I am a Premier Agent with Zillow. I pay Zillow to get the opportunity to help more homebuyers find a home, but why would someone chose me if there are not reviews listed? So, I figured, okay, that's easy, just get my customers to do a recommendation. That is where the fun began (or not so fun). The customers I have asked have been calling me and telling me that they can give me the recommendation in email, but they are not going to open a Zillow profile or Facebook (Trulia) account to do this. There are mixed messages that both Trulia and Zillow are sending to the real estate professionals who pay money to advertise on their sites. They want thier cake and eat it to, because advertising on Trulia and Zillow is not going to be effective for an agent that does not have the reviews. 

Aug 01, 2011 05:57 AM
Matthew Holder

Hi All.

I want to let you know that, here at Trulia, we take your suggestions very seriously.  Recommendations on Trulia were just launched last week ( as a part of 'Social Search' and every week we plan on making improvements with you in mind - it will only get better (and easier for you).

Social Search allows agents to get recommended by clients, friends, family, other RE Pros, etc. Consumers can then search our directory for a local agent recommended by their friends - giving you a word of mouth referral from a satisfied client. Trulia is allowing you to farm your social network to generate more referrals from satisfied clients.

For example, if i were to recommend Fred on Trulia, my recommendation would be posted to Fred's Trulia profile, my Facebook profile, and all my 800+ friends' Facebook news feeds - instantly.  And when one of my friends searches for a Florida Realtor, Fred would jump straight to the top of the search results in our directory showing my friend that I recommend Fred.

Ratings on other sites are good to have but they don't help people find you - they only see your rating if they're lucky enough to find you in the first place. Trulia's Social Search makes you more discoverable online - and then shows a person how they're connected to you making it more likely for them to get in touch.

Trulia is leveraging Facebook to do this, which will boost your exposure not only on Trulia but Facebook as well.  Just 10 recommendations can expose you to over 1,000 potential clients.  We realize not everyone is on Facebook, but over 700 million people are and we will be improving the process very soon.  Another benefit of using Facebook is that the recommendation can't be made anonymously since the person's name and Facebook picture is displayed.

If you have reviews that have been submitted via email, you can submit them in your 'Testimonials' section on Trulia.

We would love to here any suggestions on whays we can improve this product for you.

Aug 01, 2011 08:23 AM
Fred Strickroot
Fred Strickroot - HomeNet - Tampa Bay Area - 727-478-8997 - Trinity, FL
Tampa Bay Area Homes For Sale

Mathew, thank you for your input. Just so everyone is clear on how this can be done, a customer can email their recommendation in to Trulia? They do not have to have a Facebook account? I understand the value to an agent of getting more exposure, but what is the value to the customer who is placing the recommendation, and then having to do it on multiple sites. There has to be an easier option for customers who do not want Facebook profiles. I am interested in knowing more about how the email option works. I cannot find the reference to this on the Trulia site. I think if a customer signs a recommendation letter that is then scanned and emailed in, that should be sufficient evidence of a legitimate recommentation. The agent should be allowed to email the letter in the event there is a customer that does not use email. They DO exist.

Aug 01, 2011 08:42 AM
Matthew Holder

Hi Fred.

Right now, a customer of yours cannot submit a recommendation without signing into trulia with Facebook.  We do allow agents to submit their own testimonials - so you can ask your customers to give you thier recommendation via email and you can input it onto Trulia.

Trulia's Social Search actually has more value than the process elsewhere as their recommendation actually helps their friends find an agent they can trust (you).  People are 4x more likely to find their agent from a referral from friends or family and less than 10% foind them for a normal ratings site...Trulia not only helps people discover you, but helps people know that they can trust you since their friend's have recommended you.

I know this is not exactly the answer you are looking for; however, your feedback is very valuable to us and we take it all under consideration for future improvements.

Aug 01, 2011 08:55 AM
Fred Strickroot
Fred Strickroot - HomeNet - Tampa Bay Area - 727-478-8997 - Trinity, FL
Tampa Bay Area Homes For Sale

Mathew, thank you for taking the time to respond. I have a customer right now that wants to submit a recommendation, but they do not want a Facebook account. I will contact that customer and have them email me the recommendation, and then see what I need to do to get it listed on Trulia. I will let you know how that goes.

Aug 01, 2011 09:29 AM
Fred Strickroot
Fred Strickroot - HomeNet - Tampa Bay Area - 727-478-8997 - Trinity, FL
Tampa Bay Area Homes For Sale

Just heard back from Trulia on a customer recommendation I want to submit, but cannot because the customer has no interest or benefit in signing of for a Facebook account:


Hi Fred,

Thank you for contacting Trulia. At this time a user must have a Facebook account to make a recommendation on your profile. There is not a feature to submit a recommendation without a Facebook account but your feedback about having this option is appreciated and I will forward it on to our specialists.Cheers,

Customer Service Representative - Trulia, Inc.

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Aug 02, 2011 08:29 AM
Donna Quinlan
Keller Williams Realty - Newburyport, MA
Keller Williams Realtor & Career Consultant


I have been struggling with this as well. It is important for me to make things easy for my clients that are giving me recommendations. For years I have mailed out letters asking for testimonials and most get returned. I just asked a client whose home I just sold for a recommendation on Linked in. She replied that of course she would love to recommend me, but apparently thought she could just reply with the feedback. I do not want to have to ask her or any of my other clients to go on multiple sites to write recommendations. This is just too much. I wish, as you stated, that we could enter the recommendations ourselves that have been written by clients, that could be scanned and e-mailed if someone requests proof. I have thought about focusing on just one site, the one that is easiest for my clients. Thanks for the post.

Sep 16, 2011 01:54 AM