Jay T. from Zillow Group here...

Real Estate Technology with Zillow


If you've been around the social sites on the Interwebs, you've probably seen me comment on discussions about Zillow. I usually lead off my comments with, "Jay T. from Zillow Group here..." (hence the title of this post. Clever, huh? ;)

I'm sitting at my desk at Zillow Group HQ in Seattle, and I can see the top of the head of your favorite AR Staffer, one Kerrie La Guardia. Ever met her? She's quality people...

Anyway, just thought I'd introduce myself, tell you a little about me, get to know you and jump back into the AR community. 

Wait. Did he just say, "jump back into the AR community?"

Yep. You see, I was here in the Rain, long ago. I mean LONG ago. As in I joined AR in 2006, back when there really was nothing to do here but build a simple profile and invite other people to join.

Don't believe me? Check out who was AR's "top referrer" for October, 2006 --> look here.

I'm also credited by the founders of AR for publishing the very first blog post on AR. Unfortunately, I deleted it one night in the midst of an emotional hissy fit (UPDATE: The good folks at AR have restored all of my old posts). But our old friend Bob Stewart asked me if I'd restore that post, "for historical purposes," and so I did, here (don't read it, it's pretty awful).

Back in those early days of ActiveRain, I was a real estate agent and then opened my own boutique independent brokerage in Phoenix, AZ. I had a successful real estate blog at PhoenixRealEstateGuy.com, that I recently sold, but blogging is in my blood. It's a sickness sometimes! 

What Happened Three Years Ago

Just over three years ago, I accepted a full-time position with Zillow as their Director of Industry Outreach. What does that mean?

Since I've lived and worked as an agent and broker, and at least in theory understand what agents and brokers need and want, I serve as a "liaison" between the real estate community and Zillow. Internally, I also help our products and development team understand the agent / broker "mindset."

It's challenging, fun and always changing. All things one wants in a career.

So Why Am I Here?

I'm here to help! Have any questions about Zillow? I can either answer them, or find the answers. Want to know what's going on at Zillow Group? I'll share what I can. (As a publicly traded company, the Securities and Exchange Commission would deeply frown on me sharing certain proprietary information. So I can't share everything.) I'll even take your constructive criticisms and pass that info back to Zillow Group's leadership.

Endless rants about our business model don't really do anyone any good. So let's try to avoid going down that rat-hole.

What I REALLY enjoy the most in my job is helping agents be more successful. Of course a lot of that is geared toward our Premier Agents (those agents that pay Zillow for advertising) but I can also help those that are not Zillow Premier Agents. There is a ton of things one can do on Zillow for free, and I'm happy to share that. Ditto with more general things like online lead follow up and conversion, blogging, using social media for business, lead generation -- all that sort of stuff. Love talking about those things and you may find that once I get on a roll, I'm hard to shut up... 

I'm happy to be back in the AR community, let's work together, have some fun and get more real estate sold!

Photo Op!

Every blog needs an image, right? I spun around in my chair at work and snapped the photo below of Seattle's Pike Place Market and Elliot Bay.

Sometimes I just sit and stare out the window...

If there's something I can help with or you just want to chat, drop a comment or shoot me an email - JayT@Zillow.com

It's good to be back in the Rain! 





Comments (84)

John Karadsheh
KOR Properties - Mesa, AZ
ABR, CRS - REALTOR - Mesa, Arizona - Las Sendas

Welcome back to AR Jay!

Apr 09, 2015 02:44 AM
Mark Gregory Gingrich
Keller Williams Realty Palm Beaches - Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Pat and Wayne, #57, what we hate is what Zillow has done to our business, our model, they abused everyone  involved to get what they wanted, money and domination. They lied to me repeatedly, over and over, and then raised my rates by almost 80%. It's a disgrace! And I still do not understand how the hell they still get access to any of our listings at all and how they get exemption from playing by the rules (IDX) that everyone else has to play by...yeah pretty much hate them, and I don't know Jay, but I'm pretty sure the only reason he is on Active Rain is to help stem the bleeding

Apr 09, 2015 02:49 AM
Jay Thompson
Zillow - Seattle, WA

"yeah pretty much hate them, and I don't know Jay, but I'm pretty sure the only reason he is on Active Rain is to help stem the bleeding"

That's not why I'm here, Mark Gregory Gingrich . I outlined why I'm here in the post. We're not bleeding. Quite the opposite in fact.

Apr 09, 2015 05:10 AM
Nogui Aramburo
Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® - Raleigh, NC
Real Estate Professional in the Raleigh Area

Welcome back man. I've never been a cheerleader of Zillow nor a debbie downer, sky is falling cause Zillow either. I tell everyone who will listen is that Zillow is just one of many tools. An inaccurate tool at best, but it allows me to shine with my clients when I show them real the deal... Honestly, I don't see the big deal. Companies like Zillow raise the value of the service provided by agents.

Apr 09, 2015 05:58 AM
Mark Gregory Gingrich
Keller Williams Realty Palm Beaches - Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Jay your, Zillow, is not bleeding? Really? I know about 50 agents on various forums, personally, and at different offices in my area that have quit Zillow. Inman news posts at least one article per day about this issue. I don't think Zillow has done right by a lot of people and you see it everywhere and you see it in this thread. Nothing against you at all. I don't know you, but you work for Z and that is going to bother a lot of people. I do not like what Z has done to real estate. I don't care what any agent says that uses the service. I did. I bought into it. I made money, luckily, but it was Z that kept changing the rules, raising prices, adding more agents, lying all the time! Then just after I confronted my rep straight on, I have the emails, about a raise in pricing coming and he lied direct to me about it, that is exactly what they did, with no feeling or value to me at all. You pay this, you will pay this starting next bill, your choice is to quit, or pay it, from $435 to $690 thanks a lot Zillow and then they turned off my website without even telling me, even though I never quit that. just no stinking reguard for anyone or anything.

Apr 09, 2015 06:01 AM
Will Nesbitt
Nesbitt Realty at Condo Alexandria - Alexandria, VA
Nesbitt Realty is a family-run brokerage.

Welcome Jay Thompson at 206-757-4224.

Apr 09, 2015 06:23 AM
Jay Thompson
Zillow - Seattle, WA

Sorry you had such a bad experience, Mark Gregory Gingrich, that's never something we want to have happen. And we certainly don't condone lying. I've been here for three years and can assure you that no one on the management and leadership team encourages lying. That's just not how we operate.

Sometimes price increases happen. We will, of course, always honor the rate for impressions that were promised, but yes, when contracts expire, pricing is evaluated and sometimes adjusted to market rates.

But no, we're not "bleeding." You know 50 agents that have stopped advertising on Zillow, but there are 65,000+ that still are. Many zip codes have waiting lists. Site traffic and brand awareness are increasing. We're far from bleeding.

Apr 09, 2015 07:58 AM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Hi Jay.  So nice to hear from you.

I too joined in 1996 but can't find myself on the roster for that time. 

Oh well.

Lenn Harley

Apr 09, 2015 08:10 AM
John DL Arendsen
CREST "BACKYARD' HOMES, ON THE LEVEL General & Manufactured Home Contractor, TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments - Leucadia, CA
Crest Backyard Homes "ADU" dealer & RE Developer

I wasn't sorry to see Trulia's abysmal blog go south. But I wasn't very happy about the way T disc'd all their dedicated members who worked so hard helping so many folks who had questions.

The best thing that ever happened to T was their Q/A platform reaching out to the public. I know AR has issues with that inasmuch as it did introduce a fair inundation of SPAM and self aggrandizement.

But when you filtered through all the minutia there really was some pretty good stuff. I hope Z can work with AR and the remnants of T to come up with a solid Q/A public platform at some point.

What do you plan to do with all the dedicated member/contributors from T who worked so hard to earn their status and recognition as so many AR members have over the years. I hope there'll be some carry over going forward for them.

On another note Kerrie is the best ever person you folks have in your midst. She deserves the best treatment Z has to offer and if we ever lose her it will be a very sad day in ZLand.

I think it's about time Janis and I paid another visit to Seattle and check out the new digs. Kerrie certainly showed us a great time whence we visited AR a few years back.

Apr 09, 2015 08:18 AM
Dan Derito
Success! Real Estate - Brockton, MA

Welcome back Jay.  I'm always open to learning new things, and know that many clients use Zillow as an easy to reach resource.   Our Realtor dues help to support Realtor.com, which has provided me with fewer leads than Zillow. That isn't a complaint, just an observation.  

Apr 09, 2015 11:53 AM
Lynn B. Friedman CRS Atlanta, GA 404-939-2727
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty - Love our Great City - Love our Clients! Buckhead - Midtown - Westside - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Dear Jay -
Interesting that you returned! Glad to have a direct connection with Zillow reaching into personal old "stomping grounds" at AR. I plan to read your posts.

Hopefully, you will encourage Zillow to support the AR Blogging Platform. Please ask Kerrie La Guardia and Kris Neese what invesment  they need to keep AR on top. They are amazing people ---

AR Members who Blog have contributed to the growth of the asset that ML took over, then T took over, and, now Z has taken over. 

As a premier Agent, and a recent Video 30342 agent, I co-exist with Zillow and wish success to everyone!






Apr 09, 2015 01:49 PM
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) www.Progressive-Realty.info - Boise, ID

Welcome back Jay T from (the rabbit hole) Zillow.

Hopefully in the near future we can blend our blogs here on AR to Zillow and Trulia since they are supposed to be one big happy family (or are we that weird uncle?)

Apr 10, 2015 01:16 AM
Margaret Kapranos
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services - Novato, CA
San Francisco Bay Area REALTOR. 415-608-5070

  Welcome back.  I think it's good that you are open to listening to live 'in the trenches' experiences which may not be great.  Here's a couple from this seasoned veteran who adjusted to the Zillow/internet world after paying my MLS dues which initially was presented to 'provide me with exclusivity to listings'.  Recently I bought into Coldwell Banker's Fab program to ensure that we can keep our name and picture next to our listings on Zillow as opposed to Zillow taking them and putting the faces of the realtors who pay for advertising.  The public doesn't know better.  Of course, I have to pay extra for that but at least I get to keep my listings.  I can't tell you the number of clients I've had to wait, impatiently, for them to get that the value of their house was not what Zillow said it would be.  The sellers grumble of course...it's cost me a few listings but what do I know?

I think it's good to provide a joint forum but Zillow is in business to stay in business, as we are.  Where can we agree to agree?

Apr 10, 2015 05:51 AM
Christina Sanchez Hood
Palo Alto, CA
#SiliconValleyHOODS | Inspired Living

Welcome back, Jay!  

Apr 12, 2015 04:18 PM
Maia Whitaker
Superior Notary Service | Allstate Insurance - Boulder, CO
Your Trusted Notary & Insurance Advisor

Welcome back, Jay.  I'm just getting back in the Rain after a long time away myself - nice to see folks coming back!

Apr 12, 2015 07:42 PM
Pat & Wayne Harriman
Harriman Real Estate, LLC (203) 672-4499 - Wallingford, CT
Broker/Owners, Wallingford CT Real Estate

Mark Gregory Gingrich , sorry you had that experience. We have not. Zillow is a tool, and we use it and use it well. We pay just north of $250 a month for 90% of the impressions in our zip code. Who pays the rest? Four lenders that we do business with on a regular basis. Do we get leads from it? You betcha. Are they 100% good leads? Nope, there are always a few duds, but you see that in just about any lead generating service. If Zillow went away tomorrow, would we go out of business? Hell no, our business comes from a multitude of places so we'd be fine. How does Zillow have access to your listings? There's plenty of places you can find that info, start by asking your MLS or R.com. As for why Jay is back on AR, he's already explained that, and refuted your explanation. And as for you not knowing Jay, all I can say is, that's your loss, as he's one of the most honest, upstanding and compassionate people I know in the real estate world. Am I Zillow fanboy? No, not at all. Like I said, it's a tool to be used or not, nothing more. Am I a Jay Thompson fan? You bet. If you knew him even a little, you would be too, regardless of his employer. Now, I'm done with this thread.

Again, best to you, Jay!

Apr 13, 2015 03:00 AM
Winston Heverly
Coldwell Banker Access Realty - South Macon, GA

Hi, I can't believe I missed this post, great read on todays hot topic. Thanks for sharing.

Apr 14, 2015 02:43 PM
Shannon Thomas
Selling Indy Metro, LLC - Avon, IN
Managing Broker, E-Pro, ABR,SRS, SFR

I've been with Zillow for several years.  I have never received many leads but the couple of good ones every few months kept me there.  I just recently received a call from zillow stating my fees were going up from 225.60 per month to 767.00 per month.  another was going up from $185.52 to $420.oo another from $107.10 to $136.  

So its going up from a little over $500 per month to $1336 or $14,556.  

I can tell you I didn't close $50,000 worth of zillow leads last year, which is what I believe you would need to do to support these fees.  Probably more like $8-20K is what I closed.  Who ever buys my zipcodes are going to be hurt badly. I didn't make alot but was content to be in my area and have some of the impressions.  

I work my leads very hard and try to get to clients as soon as possible.  Lately I received like another Real Estate Agent in my office an influx of leads (11) in the month of march.  All of them junk.   Thats when I got the call that they were increasing the monthly amount by almost 300% in my area.  

I'm sorry but this won't work for me.  I just simply can't make any money with these fees.  I understand you have people waiting in line to sign up but they will throw you rotten eggs when they find out what they will get in return.  


Apr 14, 2015 10:38 PM
Jaclyn Erwin
Jackson Erwin Realty, Inc. - Charlotte, NC

Hi Jay! It's so good to hear from you again. Welcome Back to Active Rain. I also think it's awesome for Zillow to have you on their team. I remember all the wonderful advice you provided in the past regarding topics such as Point 2 Agent...we'll before Zillow, Wordpress etc. 

Apr 15, 2015 11:15 AM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Jay ... have an upset real estate seller asking why her property is showing up as off market when it is not. Not able to access site, no person to reach through lots of calls, emails going unanswered at the Big Z. Help. Listing is 1157182. 26 Highland Avenue Houlton Maine 04730. Thanks for any help you can give from the inside man.

Apr 21, 2015 03:01 AM