Feeding the shark with our own body parts.

Real Estate Agent with Jameson Sotheby's International Realty

This note to Zillow's shareholders in their fourth quarter report.  Just to pull out what I consider the important point, so that you don't miss it, they say "We are in the midst of a multi-year journey to expand Zillow beyond the place people turn to 'search and find' real estate, to the brand people also trust to help them buy, sell, rent and borrow..."

Hmm... Zillow has claimed for many years that they have no interest in taking over the real estate world... an accusation that has been hounding them for years.  And now, they have sent a letter to their shareholders indicating that they are trying to become the place consumers come to to buy & sell (and borrow).

Aren't those the jobs that we currently perform?

And, don't get me wrong... I'm okay with healthy competition in the marketplace... even stiff competition as Zillow clearly is.  But at the same time that Zillow appears to be targeting our jobs, we are also feeding them.  According to their fourth quarter report they anticipate income from Premiere Agents (that would be agents like us) to be close to one-billion-dollars.

We are "funding" their efforts to enter and dominate our business.

Please feel free to let me know if I'm misreading this... but it seems a little like feeding the shark with my own body parts.

Posted by

 ALAN MAY, Realtor®   
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate

Jameson Sotheby's International Realty, 2934 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
Office: 847.869.7300      Cell: 847.924.3313      Email: Almay@aol.com

Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate
Licensed in Illinois



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Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!


I need to check this out.  Thanks for sharing.


Sep 11, 2020 01:37 PM #4
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

Very well put. They are in fact trying to take over the real estate industry 'their own way'. We are all incompetent & not streamlined to their precision. Everything must be online - we will assimilate you!

Sep 11, 2020 02:09 PM #5
Ken Jones
Kenneth J. Jones, Inc., REALTORS® - Springfield, NJ
Real Estate Broker/Owner

Alan May This is what happens when greed rules.

First NAR sells us out by selling Realtor.com to News Corp, then pours salt on that wound by selling OUR data to Zillow. Then, stupid, greedy agents looking for a way to beat other agents out for new prospects feed this monster.

It's like Nikita Khrushchev said, "We will destroy you from within." And, that's exactly what's happening to the residential real estate brokerage industry.

Sep 11, 2020 02:28 PM #6
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

I have long lived by the phrase " no competitor  is ever an acceptable vender." I still live by it!

Sep 11, 2020 04:14 PM #7
Julie A. Black
KAUAI DREAMS REALTY Kauai Real Property Specialist - Kapaa, HI
CLHMS, CRS, GRI, Realtor, Broker

I just got this today from my property manager in another area;

"I hope this email finds you safe and well.  I wanted to give you a quick update about Zillow's advertising.  Effective September 1, 2020, Zillow is moving to a paid advertising platform for landlords to advertise their rentals.  Since Zillow represents over 60% of our traffic and provides us with the most qualified applicants, we felt it was in our client's best interests overall to sign a contract to minimize any vacancy loss on your behalf.  

The cost is minimal, and you would only see it reflected during times of vacancy when we advertise your property for a new renter.  We have negotiated a discounted rate of $1.23 per day, per property so on average we estimate you should see anywhere from $17-$20 billed back to you.  Again, you'd only see this cost reflected when we advertise your home for a new renter."

I told them NO WAY. I do not agree. I'm not paying Zillow anything.

Sep 11, 2020 05:08 PM #8
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


I’d say your title is right on target, although I don’t do any feeding myself - never have and won’t. As Pat pointed out, most of the buyers I have talked with (and worked with) prefer Redfin. Of course that does not change what Z apparently has in mind as their mission nor the fact that they are a huge presence in the busine.


Sep 11, 2020 06:35 PM #9
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

We certainly helped Zillow by giving them data and some folks even paid them to showcase the data and give it back to them. Always seemed wrong to me

Zillow is all about the quanity not the quality... 

Love the headline and premise Feeding the shark with your own body parts and pocketbook too!! 

Sep 11, 2020 10:30 PM #10
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

I do not think you are misreading that statement. We're going to have to make sure we have the services that will make buyers/sellers take note and use us instead.

Sep 12, 2020 05:14 AM #11
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

Despite what they had treied to say all these years that they were not, many of us knew they were looking to put Realtors out of jobs by what they were doing and saying behind the scenes. 

Sep 12, 2020 06:00 AM #12
Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector
SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno - Bourbonnais, IL
The Home Inspector With a Heart!

You sir, are dead on with these comments. Honestly never thought passing data to Z and buying it back was a good model. Glad I'm not an agent but agents are my lifeblood so I'm always worried when these "disruptors" jump in. 

Sep 12, 2020 06:01 AM #13
faye schubert
Branson, MO
Living the Branson Lake Life

Reading the post on the Ben Kinney zoom meeting of the decline of Activerain posting positioning on google, as zillow/trulia "tweaked" the code, tells me all I need to know.

I used to consistantly position activerain blogs highly, and that came to a quick halt. 


Sep 12, 2020 06:42 AM #14
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Alan May,

Your title is right on and you did not misread their message. We offer personal service but they are taking business away from us. Ken Jones is right what happens when "greed" rules. Zillow saw an opportunity to reach out from within to become the dominant mainstream and we played right into their plan!

Sep 12, 2020 06:49 AM #15
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

What Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR said. That is the current Z situation in a nutshell. 

Sep 12, 2020 08:17 AM #16
Dan Hopper
Dan Hopper - Gold Way RE - Westminster, CO
Denver Realtor / Author / Advocate/Short Sale

Yuck yuck yuck ... my comments about Zillow.  We see their listings with a brokerage or two in our City, and know what they are up to.  Even when they LOSE money on their Fix-n-flips.  A way to take over ALL real estate activity.  Then again... not happy with Realtor.com, either.

Sep 12, 2020 09:18 AM #17
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

Feeding the beast has produced this mindset of, "I'm going to take over the RE world now, thanks for helping you little peasants."

Sep 12, 2020 12:27 PM #18
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

It sucks.  I am not feeding the monster and never will. 

Sep 12, 2020 05:23 PM #19
Gwen Fowler-864-916-2019 SC Mountains Lakes Homes
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc - Salem, SC
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc.

Zillow really made it seem like we needed them when they first came out and now I just wish it would disappear 

Sep 14, 2020 08:06 AM #20
Bruce Hicks
Best Homes Hawaii - Honolulu, HI
Your Lifetime Friend/Helper!

YOur article is "RIGHT ON".  I'm sure Alan May that you know Z was originated by the former owners/managers/partners of MS, and MS basicaly runs our computers and software.

Sep 14, 2020 09:17 AM #21
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Of course they are moving into buying an selling!  It's all about more money for the shareholders, more power for the owners.  I'd like to hear from a seller who took the Zillow route--sold the house and closed--want to know all about the experience, was it worth it?  I can see the younger generations easily checking out Zillow to take care of selling a home. Now buying a home with no formal representation--that sounds scary to me.

Sep 14, 2020 09:32 AM #22
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

That just stinks.  Can't they stasy in their corner?  I'm brought buyers to their listings before.  It was an okay experience, but they didn't fix anything, just disclosed everything.  Argh! 

Sep 14, 2020 09:23 PM #23
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