Since the acquisition of DotLoop, I do not believe that any harm has come to any of their customers. We have not witnessed the use of transaction data or data exhaust causing any concern. With DotLoop, the transaction is done, or nearly done, by the time ZG gets the data.
Nevertheless, the ShowingTime acquisition should put customers on alert. In addition to reviewing your agreement, keep your eyes and ears open. Did you listen to the Zillow Group quarterly investor webcast? Here is the link.
Here is an excerpt from the transcript where the CFO and the CEO agree that they are going to use the ShowingTime data for driving revenue in their Premier Agent and Mortgage businesses which might create a breach of your contract.
Allen Parker (CFO)
Yes, yes. And so I guess what I talked about is — yes. What we look at when we look at the opportunities in our Premier Agent business is high-intent customers and there are actions that customers take which are more sticky than others.
For example, touring is a great example – as we invest and develop the touring technology, especially with ShowingTime now part of the Zillow Group, we believe that those actions to schedule a tour generate a higher-intent customer that we can connect with an agent in a much more friction-free basis with a higher actual face time connection.
3D homes and floor plans allow our customers to engage in a variety of different homes and then pick the ones they want and so they’re higher intent. Zillow 360 and a lot of these discussions we’re having about what — how do we drive an integrated transaction with ZHL and sellers or buyers who need financing when they’re buyers or need to free up equity when they’re sellers of an old home and want to buy.
All of these things, as we think about moving forward in Zillow 2.0, are going to generate additional, as Rich mentioned, partner leads that are coming off of other channels or other areas of our funnel, then the current channel, which right now is HDP submits that we have that then turn into connection.
So we continue to get better about monetizing our current traffic and transactions, but we’re also investing and developing tools and technologies that create higher-intent, slightly stickier actions that get our customers to agents in a way that are driving conversion up and we get paid for that either in as part of a return on the ROI through MVP or through just number of transactions based on conversion rates with a flex transaction, if that helps. Would you add anything, Brad or Rich?
Rich Barton (CEO)
That was great.
We all know how ShowingTime® works. It is a great service that simplifies the scheduling of property showings. In the text above, I believe that two senior executives have clearly said that they plan to use the data to drive revenue opportunities in Home Lending and Premier Agent. I am quite certain that these features were never intended or discussed when folks signed up with ShowingTime before the acquisition. Furthermore, I am pretty sure that the consumer is not aware that their home buying intent – in which they have shared with their Realtor® – is being shared with Premier Agents or Zillow’s lenders, unless it is tucked away in a new click-through agreement somewhere.
Another issue that MLSs and Associations have concerns about is the relationship with Zillow being a member of the Association, and a Subscriber to the MLS, and also a vendor to either the Association or MLS. I keep saying Association or MLS because ShowingTime is normally site-licensed by one of those two entities. In a number of MLSs and Associations, they do not like the idea of their dues and subscriptions enriching a competitor.
What’s Your Plan?
WAV Group is available to help you with your plan. We can help review your agreements and point out opportunities to amend the agreement with your vendor and continue to use ShowingTime. ShowingTime has always been a great service. Alternatively, we can help you select a new vendor if amendments are not accepted, or if you simply want to explore other options.
The world is not ending, but it is constantly changing. MLS subscribers to the WAV Group WAVes of Change program are able to stay informed about changes in the industry that impact your business and discover best practices and tactics that keep your organization well positioned for positive growth through change management. Last week’s WAVes of Change meeting was fantastic! Reach out to Marilyn Wilson if you would like to view a recording, so that you may see if WAVes of Change is right for your organization.
If you are a broker – consider joining the Broker Resource Network to stay informed on changes impacting your business, along with opportunities to collaborate with other firms advocating for positive change and exchanging best practices.
I like the idea of MLS Aligned, right now there are seven MLSs that are in.