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Zillow Doublethink

Apr 4, 2007 Michael Wurzer

“His mind slid away into the labyrinthine world of doublethink. To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully-constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them; to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it . . .”
— Wikipedia quoting George Orwell’s 1984.


Here’s David Gibbons from Zillow commenting over on ActiveRain (with emphases added by me):

Hi, it’s David from Zillow.

First, please all note that we have not launched a feature that lets you advertise other agents listings on Zillow. I ask [sic] is that you please try some of these new features for yourself before you decide whether they’d benefit your business.

Only listing agents or owners can advertise a home for sale on Zillow. By the way, it’s free.

The feature Joel mentioned is exciting though. While you cannot advertise someone else’s listings — you can now assist buyers in your community by answering their question; “Is this house for sale?“.

So, the next time you’re visiting a home on Zillow that you know to be for sale, you can tell the Zillow community that — and let them know what price it’s going for. You cannot however post an advertisement for the home or pretend to be its listing agent if you are not. So why do this? Simple — we let buyers know that you reported the home for sale and they can now go tyo [sic] your profile page on Zillow and contact you for more details — it’s an awesome opportunity to be known as the neighborhood expert. Likewise, anyone in the community can update this information if the house sells. This feature is not only available to agents but to all members of the Zillow community.

If however you’re the listing agent or owner and you have advertised the home for sale, we disable the report for sale functionality.

Jonathon —

Please check it out — we’re not allowing anyone to advertise your listings and this is not a semantic maneuver. I don’t know where you got that quote, but it’s not from Zillow and it’s not accurate to suggest that you can “Advertise another agent’s listings”. The feature, which Joel describes quite accurately is labeled “report for sale” and does not allow you to advertise another agents listings on Zillow. I am glad however to read in your takeaways that this innovation triggered some thoughts about the benefits of more transparency in the industry — that sounds like a win-win scenario.

From the Zillow press release:

Anyone (not just owners and listing agents) can now indicate whether a home is for sale. If you report a home is for sale you get your name, a thumbnail picture, and a link to your profile — for free.

From the American Heritage Dictionary

ad·ver·tise (ād’vÉ™r-tÄ«z’) Pronunciation Key
v. ad·ver·tised, ad·ver·tis·ing, ad·ver·tis·es

v. tr.

1. To make public announcement of, especially to proclaim the qualities or advantages of (a product or business) so as to increase sales. See Synonyms at announce.
2. To make known; call attention to: advertised my intention to resign.
3. To warn or notify: “This event advertises me that there is such a fact as death” (Henry David Thoreau).

v. intr.

1. To call the attention of the public to a product or business.
2. To inquire or seek in a public notice, as in a newspaper: advertise for an apartment.