The Real Deal New York

Zillow nixes data-sharing requirement for Premier Broker

Agents worried it would cause them violate ethics standards
January 07, 2019 12:45PM

(Credit: iStock)

Zillow Group has removed a data-sharing requirement for its Premier Broker lead generation program, following ethics concerns.

The initial contract, in September 2018, for the Premier Broker Flex Pricing program, required agents to share information about each transaction with Zillow, including deals with clients outside done outside of the portal, Inman reported. In December, the company updated the agreement to exclude the disclosure clause.

Information required under the clause included sales information as well as the name, email address, phone number and mailing address of both the buyer and seller. The move would give Zillow insight into clients who hadn’t used their service.

Many agents questioned the requirement, the report said, and wondered if it would cause them to violate confidentiality rules under the National Association of Realtors’ Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

A Zillow source told Inman that the company was gathering the information in an effort to improve its lead generation algorithm.

While its Premier Agent program has drawn strong criticism from industry players, many firms have signed on to Premier Broker, the corporate program that lets companies buy leads in bulk. The Flex Pricing program is a departure from Zillow’s traditional model. It allows brokerages to receive a limited number of leads with no upfront cost. They instead pay a Zillow a portion of their brokerage commission once a deal is closed — which Zillow has dubbed “performance advertising expense.”

Since initially launching in Florida, the program has expanded into other states in New England and the Midwest. [Inman] — Meenal Vamburkar