The Real Deal Miami

Zillow amends lead-generation program to protect confidentiality of Realtors’ clients

Some Realtors complained that disclosures under the original version of Zillow's Premier Agent Flex Pricing program would compromise the confidentiality of their clients
January 06, 2019 02:00PM

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Zillow amended its newest lead-generation program for real estate agents after some Realtors complained that the program’s requirements comprised the confidentiality of their clients.

In September, Zillow introduced the original contract for the lead-generation program, called Premier Agent Flex Pricing. Zillow launched the program in Florida and subsequently introduced it in other states.

The contract included a disclosure clause that required participating real estate agents to submit information to Zillow about each property sale they completed during the term of the contract and six months after the term – including property sales that agents completed without Zillow’s involvement.

The disclosure clause required details about each completed transaction plus the names, email addresses, phone numbers and mailing addresses of both the seller and the buyer.

A real estate broker told Inman that the disclosure clause appeared to be “directly counter to Realtors’ requirements for confidentiality.”

In response to such criticism, Zillow quietly updated the contract for its Premier Agent Flex Pricing program by removing the disclosure clause.

The National Association of Realtors’ Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice prohibits Realtors from sharing confidential information about clients without their prior consent.

A Zillow source said the purpose of the disclosure clause was to gather information that would help the company improve its lead-referral algorithm.

The Premier Broker Flex Pricing allows participating brokers to receive leads from Zillow without making an upfront payment. Instead, brokers pay Zillow a share of the commission, or a “performance advertising expense,” when they complete a sale.

Zillow also has a lead-funneling program called Premier Agent, which requires brokers to make upfront payments for leads. [Inman]Mike Seemuth