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May 2 / Brian Balduf

San Diego Broker Questions Zillow’s Ethics in New YouTube Video

The battle with big aggregators heated up again this week with Jim Abbott, President and Managing Broker at San Diego-based ARG, posting a new video on YouTube suggesting Zillow has engaged in bullying tactics after the brokerage pulled its listings from big syndicators.  Abbott questioned Zillow’s “motives and ethics” in contacting ARG’s customers and sellers after it stopped sharing listings and said the aggregator “went so far as to call into question our competence.”

Three months after taking back its listings, Abbott said “every single ARG seller has stayed with us” and its agents are selling homes faster.  “Let me assure you, there is life after listing syndication and it’s a better life. No more sad messages from disappointed buyers calling on properties that sold months ago. No more frustrated buyers forced to comb through thousands of unavailable homes.  No more wildly incorrect value estimates and improbably mortgage offers. “

Abbott compared Zillow to the old file-sharing site, Napster, which “engineered the criminal theft of millions of copy-protected songs and movies…Napster in many ways is less guilty than the real estate syndicators…(that) take our creative content and resell it to our competitors. And it’s not a $10 petty theft, it’s more like grand larceny,” he said.

Abbott urged brokers and agents to read the fine print in their user agreements with aggregators.  “Once they get your listing data, your photos and your virtual tours, they own it – lock, stock and barrel,” he warned.  “They may use it any way they want to and forever.”

Click here to view the full video

One Comment

  1. Jay Thompson / May 2 2012

    Jay T. from Zillow here…

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion and that’s especially true in our industry. However, when facts are asserted that are patently untrue, we need to defend ourselves and correct the record. Mr. Abbott states several untruths in his video; for example, we did not call ARG’s sellers in the San Diego market regarding the brokerage’s decision, and our employees did not pose online as consumers. It is our policy as a company to always identify ourselves in social media truthfully and as representatives of Zillow.

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