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.”