A Realtor's Guide to "Farming" Zillow.com

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Zillow.com announced new features today that include a social networking aspect that allows homeowners, neighbors, lenders, and Realtors to directly interface with the consumer. 

READ: Zillow.com New Features: "Ask Questions, Share Answers"

My inital reporting and analysis caused me to reverse my thougts that Zillow would compete with the real estate brokerage community and is embracing their earlier stated goal of becoming a highly specialized media company fueled by advertising.

READ:  Active Rain to get competition ?

           Smoking Cigarettes is Cool !

           Here come the Zmokers once again!

Why the reversal of opinion?  Was the slick presentation provided by the Zillow PR department that influential?  Quite the opposite.  I tried to open my mind to the potential of the promotional aspects of the frequently visited site and relied upon my expriences as a contributor to their Real Estate Guide; it drove an insane amount of traffic to my site.



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Sandra Williams
Rancon Real Estate - Temecula, CA
Brian, I like your ideas and I intend to follow thru with your ideas.
Apr 03, 2007 06:11 PM #1
Suburban Chicago Illinois Real Estate
Suburban Village Realty - Barrington, IL


When it comes to Zillow, I don't even read past the first two sentences anymore.  Two more sites came out last week with the same concept and two more will come out next month.  In the age of Technology, Zillow has come and gone.  $57 Million invested by Venture Capitalists into something not too hard to duplicate sounds like a bad investment to me and obviously, there are some changes to try to salvage a $57 million dollar investment.

I don't know, personally if I had $57 Million to invest, I could come up with something better... like investing in actual real estate!

Apr 03, 2007 06:53 PM #2
Ray Saenz
Exit Realty Laredo - Laredo, TX
Homes for Sale in Laredo, TX - Texas, Realtor


Awesome blog, I will keep an eye on this one, this is a monster, it has a lot of advertising. thanks for sharing that with us


Apr 03, 2007 07:05 PM #3
Randy Prothero
eXp Realty - Mililani, HI
Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645
These on-line entities are not going away they are multiplying.  You can chose to utilize them to build your internet presence or you can complain.
Apr 03, 2007 07:20 PM #4
Cheryl Johnson
Highland Park, CA

I left this question on the Zillow blog, but I will post it here, too... in case you know the answer, Brian, or in case Dave from Zillow is reading.

Ok.  We post all of our listings on Zillow.  If someone enters a question on one of our listings, will we receive an automatic email?  If not, we are going to have to check all of our listings on Zillow several times a day to be sure we don't miss something.  With the number of listings we carry, that could be a full time job.

Also, will a listing agent have the ability to delete inappropriate comments or questions?  I could see some of our local "free-thinkers" feeling compelled to post something like "This place is a P.O.S.!"  :-)


Edit:  Well, duh.  I just needed to read further down in Zillow's FAQ: 

Is there a way for me to be notified if someone posts a question on my home?

Yes. If you are the homeowner and have claimed your home, you will be notified by e-mail when someone asks a question about your home. Since these are automatically-generated e-mails, you cannot opt out of receiving these e-mails.

Back to Top

Someone posted a negative remark on my house. What can I do?

You can add your point of view for everyone to see. If you have claimed ownership of the home, any question or answer you write about your home will indicate that you are the owner. But if someone has written something that is inaccurate or malicious, please click the "Flag content" link under the question or answer, and Zillow Customer Support will review it. If it is off-topic or violates our Good Neighbor Policy, it will be removed.

But ... the first answer says if I am the "homeowner".... so maybe my question still stands?  Will the agent receive email notice of a pending question?

Apr 04, 2007 12:19 AM #5
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time
Brian, I just don't know where this is going to lead to. Fortunately in my market most folks don't have a clue what Zillow is. I've been asking my sellers about it for months and not one has a clue about Zillow except for maybe hearing the name. So we'll see.
Apr 04, 2007 07:27 AM #6
Mike Stankewich, MBA, e-PRO - ZipRealty, Inc.
ZipRealty, Inc. - Huntington Beach, CA

In my market in Southern California almost everyone knows about Zillow.  Buyers use it to look upthe price on a home they are considering.  When I go to listing appointments the owners already have their zillow estimate printed out. It makes it very difficult when the Zillow estimate does not reflect what the property is worth using the conventional CMA approach.

Brian, an excellent blog.  Keep informing us of the Zillow changes and how we can cope with them.

Apr 04, 2007 08:13 AM #7
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO

Hey Mr Brady. I spent a lot of time on their site today. Some of it seems to be a bit glitchy but then they just reconfigured a lot.  I put my little toe in the water there, we'll see how it goes before I plunge in wholeheartedly. There has been a lot of discussion on Jonathan's blog today about MLS rules and whose listing you can 'advertise'.  I'm going to say what I said there: until you know for sure you are meeting your individual state guidelines, it's easy to just advertise your own listings. It's not against the law however to go in and comment on any house you have seen in your area's inventory.  So that would be the approach I would take. Any thoughts?

As for the q and a section. Thousands of homes. Not as easy a thing to do as it is on Localism. Maybe they will tweak it but even narrowing it down to zipcodes it's cumbersome right now.

Anyway, those are my initial thoughts my friend :-)

Apr 04, 2007 01:36 PM #8
Stefan Scholl
Buyer's Broker of Northern Michigan, LLC - Petoskey, MI
Northern Michigan Real Estate

Unfortunately, I think Michigan is way down on the list as far as Zillow is concerned.  Last time I checked, you can't hardly get information on anything.  They will have a heckuva time getting any advertising dollars in my neck of the woods unless they start offering some useful information.

Apr 04, 2007 03:17 PM #9
Cheryl Johnson
Highland Park, CA

For anyone with my same question .... David G answered it over on the Zillow Blog:

  • CJ --
  • Good question. As the listing agent, if you posted the listing on Zillow, you will receive an e-mail notification each time someone contributes to Q&A on the home. If your seller has claimed their home, they will also receive an e-mail.

I feel much better now.  I would not have wanted questions posted on our listings to get missed and go unanswered -- or worse yet, have some loose mangy mutt peeing on my trees.  :-)  (You need to read the coverage at Bloodhound to understand that metaphor)

Apr 04, 2007 11:15 PM #10
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