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HJ: How Photographers Can Resist Zillow’s Threat To Monopolize Real Estate15250

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Image courtesy of HomeJab

How Agents And Photographers Can Resist Zillow’s Latest Threat To Monopolize Real Estate

by Joe Jesuele
Founder and Owner
HomeJab
Reposted with permission

Zillow Group, Inc., is currently pursuing a patent that would drastically change the way in which real estate content is shared and distributed online.

This move is the latest in a series of patent grabs that highlights Zillow’s relentless campaign to monopolize the real estate marketplace, not to mention stifle independent agents and brokerages that wish to run their businesses unencumbered by larger corporations.

To be clear, Zillow’s recent grab for power isn’t the first of its kind. Since the company’s inception in 2006, Zillow has acquired more than 20 patents that govern how real estate content can be presented to users searching on mobile and desktop.

But it doesn’t end there. Zillow’s tactical approach to controlling real estate search has been so far-reaching, in fact, that they’ve even procured a Blackberry Application patent and one for the Apple TV in 2011 and 2015 respectively.

What is a Patent?
To better understand Zillow’s latest patent application, it’s important to know what patents are and to consider the legal ramifications behind them.

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a patent is “an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem.”

Over the past few decades, numerous landmark patents have been filed to protect their intellectual properties. These innovative technologies have changed the world arguably for the better. And as the WIPO put it, they offered new technical solutions to a problem and new ways of doing something.

By contrast, Zillow’s latest patent application offers no groundbreaking technologies to speak of and no innovation that would merit the government’s approval. Be that as it may, the government has already granted Zillow a swath of generic patents time and again, doing so in a manner that feels reckless and unchecked.

What is Zillow’s Latest Patent Application?
The abstract for Zillow’s latest patent application describes “techniques for generating and presenting a GUI (graphical user interface) [i.e. a visual way of interacting with a computer using windows, icons, and menus] on a client device that includes a computer model of the building’s interior with one or more first types of information.”

One example of “first types of information” is a featured, large pane generated from a search query with additional, smaller panes complementing the information displayed in the featured pane.

In graphic design, this technique is called “visual hierarchy” and has been around since the early 1900s.

It’s hardly avant-garde, and yet Zillow’s generic argument over “first types of information,” namely how search results are presented in the large pane + smaller complementary panes GUI, suggests that they’re the ones to have invented it. When in reality, GUIs that feature a large pane + smaller complimentary panes, as well as “multiple user-selectable controls” (verbiage imported from one of Zillow’s recently approved patents), have been commonplace in mobile, app, and desktop searches for some time now.

Zillow’s patent abstract goes on to say that this GUI “may be a 3D or 2.5D representation generated after the house is built and showing the actual house’s interior (e.g., walls, furniture, etc.), and may be displayed to a user of a client computing device in a displayed GUI with various user-selectable controls.”

In other words, any 3D or 2.5D models that denote progression through the home (e.g., front door, entryway, living area, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and so forth) are subject to a potential lawsuit by Zillow if they are uploaded, distributed, or marketed outside of the Zillow interface.

How to Keep Control of Your Real Estate Content
If you’re a real estate professional, it’s important to keep exclusive control of your content. This is key to broadening your audience reach, expanding your sphere of influence, and growing your real estate business. More importantly, maintaining ownership and flexibility over your content can help you sell the home faster and win more listings.

To encourage free enterprise in real estate, it’s good to remember that Zillow won’t offer you exclusive ownership and control of your content. As we pointed out in our review of the Zillow 3D app, uploading content to an independent platform that guarantees source files is in the real estate agent’s and brokerage firm’s best interests.

Why?

Because independent platforms keep your content malleable. That’s to say, you get to control where the 3D real estate tour is hosted and viewed. Not only will this maximize your potential to generate more leads. But you’ll also avoid a patent debacle and potential lawsuit from Zillow if the content is shared elsewhere.

Sadly, real estate agents and photographers are too tempted to use Zillow’s 3D app because it’s free and gives the property a free promotion when listed. But in the long run, both agents and photographers will end up losing big if they keep handing key visual assets of the property (videos & virtual tours) to Zillow.

The way to stop this brash takeover of the real estate marketplace is to avoid using Zillow’s 3D app and opt instead for a free web app that will allow real estate agents and photographers to save their properties to the Blockchain (Ethereum network.)

This way, the listing agent’s name will always be attached to the property and publicly verifiable — the same goes for photographers who take pictures of the property. With their work saved to the Blockchain, credits are given to the photographers responsible for the photos.

At HomeJab, we’re excited to announce that we’re currently developing this app!

This is good news for real estate professionals who wish to break free of the restrictive Zillow model. After all, Zillow presents properties with no mention of the previous listing agent. Worse still, it sells leads to other agents. This is why the blockchain method of recording property is crucial: it will always keep the listing agent’s info linked to the property.

Lastly, unlike Zillow, Blockchain is decentralized. This keeps the real estate industry independent — not dependent on a company whose ultimate goal is to monopolize the real estate marketplace.

Source: HomeJab Blog

HomeJab is a nationwide, real estate media production company that applies innovative technology and a user-friendly customer experience to make on demand, professional quality media services available to the real estate market. HomeJab’s professional videos, HDR photography, aerials and immersive 3D virtual tour services – the most comprehensive offering in terms of immersive digital media in the marketplace - can be scheduled with a professional photographer or filmmaker within the day and once shot are edited and delivered online within 24 hours making it one of the fastest most efficient media services available.
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Reprinted in its entirety with the permission of HomeJab Founder Joe Jesuele.

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What are your thoughts?
Post 1 IP   flag post
lilnitsch private msg quote post Address this user
Personally I do not see Zillow as a threat as a photographer while they are toying with the idea of Zillow Photo services in larger metros once you get out of the high density areas the model breaks down and no longer pencils similar to instant offers these are easier to value when you have large areas of track homes once you get out in to the less populated areas & have to start dealing with property pins, well rights along with what ever else might pop up it's not quite as appealing of an opportunity

My location even Matterport's Capture Services didn't pencil just do to geography and travel times along with it's handicaps of not being able to sell additional services as a photographer

Zillow is doing some interesting things these days and they are a company to keep an eye on
Post 2 IP   flag post
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Ricoh's new Virtual staging offering is a interesting new feature that they are now including in their tour platform: (Ricoh actually co-developed the Zillow 3D home tours app for Zillow)
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One day, there will be a class action lawsuit. The MLS & these real estate websites have no problem stealing our intellectual property such as images to be exploited on their website for their own profit and benefit.

I predict a more independent version of the MLS will rise, simply because people are tired of monopolies controlling every facet of our life.
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Okay, I am ready to weigh in here with my comments. It took me a couple weeks to do my research to confirm a couple things with my own Zillow 3D Home account and check in with my contact at Zillow to confirm a couple of points.

Just an aside: I bet the company is regretting the choice of their company name amidst the current national foment over "the jab"...

This article above and the related HomeJab blog post mentioned in the article here spends a lot of ink pointing at the specter of patent infringement attempting to create a narrative that Zillow will strip your rights to your media. The phrase used in the article “any 3D or 2.5D models that denote progression through the home are subject to a potential lawsuit by Zillow if they are uploaded, distributed, or marketed outside of the Zillow interface” sounds scary. There are a lot of things that could trigger “potential lawsuits” in our business. What’s real, though…?

Here are the points raised by HomeJab in the article and the blog post that I find misleading and not the true facts:

“What’s more, Zillow has primed their website to be the only place where content submitted to them can be viewed.”
and
“But if buyers wish to access an agent’s virtual tour, which is critical these days when time is money, then they should be able to access it on the listing agent’s website.”

TRUE or FALSE?
What’s real is that Zillow currently enables 3D tours created with their app to be Unbranded and shared to other platforms. I have used this function since I became a Certified 3D Home photographer last year. I paste the unbranded link from my Zillow 3D Home Tour into the Show and Tour single-page website that I create for listings and it works fine, with NO sign that it’s hosted on the Zillow platform. Proof: check out a 3D tour I created, hosted on Zillow’s platform as it is displayed within the Show and Tour web page.

HomeJab: “Once files are sent to Zillow, whether accidentally or not, Zillow owns them.”

TRUE or FALSE?
I also know that in June, Zillow began enabling DOWNLOAD off their site of photos uploaded by the creator/photographers. I confirmed via a phone call with Dan Mudge, Zillow’s Photography Account Coordinator, that photographers retain all rights to the photos they post on Zillow directly or that get scraped by Zillow from the MLS listing where they are usually posted originally.

HomeJab: “Allow us to point out that “Zillow 3D” is a misnomer. That’s to say, there’s no 3D view (whoops!)”

TRUE or FALSE?
I don’t understand what point they are making. I looked at their example tour which provides the same kind of visibility as the Zillow 3D tours. I see that the HomeJab example has a dollhouse view. Is HomeJab asserting that a dollhouse view must be included to qualify a virtual tour as “3D”? There have been a couple threads on this forum considering terms and how there is no industry standard specification for some of the ways immersive media has been labeled over the years. Without providing more specifics, I find HomeJab’s claim to be lacking substance.

To complete my research, I applied online to become a member of HomeJab’s photographer team. My application was quickly accepted with a note that “we are expanding our service area and will contact you when we have a need”. I note that the company is based in Pennsylvania, I’m in northern California. Compared to my experience applying and being accepted as a photographer with Snappr, the Snappr process included submitting a portfolio and a live Zoom interview. The Snappr web platform and mobile app seem much more mature in their development and interface.

Closing comments: I was disappointed with HomeJab’s promotional strategy. The facts are that Zillow and it’s Trulia sister-site hosted 39% of the real estate-related website traffic WORLDWIDE when I pulled some stats last summer for the month of August 2020. (910 million hits on the top 10 international sites, 355.7 million of those were to Zillow and Trulia. Source: Pro.SimilarWeb.com website performance report on September 9, 2020.)

If real estate agents are not closely scrutinizing how they can optimize and leverage the kind of exposure Zillow offers for their client’s homes, they are not exercising their professional fiduciary responsibility.
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@Dataventurer

Thank you for your research to help move this conversation forward. Looks like I will have more questions for my guest on WGAN-TV Live at 5.

I am confused about:

Quote:
Originally Posted by @Dataventurer
I also know that in June, Zillow began enabling DOWNLOAD off their site of photos uploaded by the creator/photographers. I confirmed via a phone call with Dan Mudge, Zillow’s Photography Account Coordinator, that photographers retain all rights to the photos they post on Zillow directly or that get scraped by Zillow from the MLS listing where they are usually posted originally.


If I, as the photographer, own the copyright on images that I upload to Zillow:

1. Can I tell Zillow I want downloading disabled?
2. Can I tell Zillow to remove my photos once the property sells?

For clarification, long after a family member sold a property, the photos are still live on Zillow.

Thanks,

Dan
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@Dataventurer which is why professional real estate photographers should be charging at least $750 minimum - minimum I said - for any photo shoot because that content is going to get stolen, reclaimed and redistributed without the copyright issuers permission. Who's protecting us?

It is our content, the pro photo guys and girls which Powers the reason people look at these sites to begin with. Nobody cares about text they want to see pictures videos and 3D tours when shopping for property.

I'm almost wondering if all us photographers and 3D photographers can form our own Union, and get Federal protections and legal power to challenge these big corporate elites that want to suffocate our intellectual property.
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Hey, I just came across at attempt at defining 360 vs. 3D. I had raised an objection in my earlier post to HomeJab's "jab" at Zillow's 3D Home platform. Here are the definitions from Spencer Davis, a guy I just came across on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCP_SOq1DDY



3D:
- Most expensive, most immersive, high image quality
- Can use Matterport camera (most expensive, best quality)
- Or you can use high-end 360 camera with Matterport hosting service
- Matterport Pro2 3D Camera, Ricoh Theta Z1, Insta360 One X

360:
- Looks VERY SIMILAR to 3D tour with less freedom of movement
- Still provides immersive and interactive experience
- Economical option
- Many 360 cameras of various qualities
- Can use many hosting platforms
- DSLR provides extremely high image quality (requires pano head, fisheye, and PTGui software)
Post 9 IP   flag post
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R/E photography is a tough business. It is unfortunately one of those "jobs" that people look at and say "gee that looks like fun, and I could make GREAT money!!"

And if by some miracle, photo shoots were going for $750, that would just attract more no talent dreamers who would quickly drag down the value of photo shoots. Which is what's happened in the 6 years since we started at this. Although the baseline wasn't anywhere near $750!

Agree 100% that photos and video do the heavy lifting for eyeballs and clicks and that Zillow without "our" photos wouldn't exist as we know it. But keep in mind, we licensed those photos to the agents "for marketing usage". Zillow would seem to be a legitimate marketing use. If you want to try to keep your agents from posting listing photos to Zillow, good luck with your business.

Theoretically, real estate photographers could form a guild or association. But you could NOT in any way suggest pricing guidelines for your members.

I tried to get together a county wide R/E Photographers association, with no success. A bunch of people said they were interested. My goals were modest. To make membership contingent upon a minimal level of professionalism: x amount of experience, proof of insurance and having a business license.

My goals: to differentiate pros from side hustle dreamers and hacks in the hope that this would boost our "perceived value". And to present a united front at the MLS level so we could influence policy. This effort fell apart when a couple chicken little types starting cooking up scenarios where we would be financially liable if X, Y or Z happened. And then some were put off by the fact that we proposed making membership $100/year or something.

R/E photogs are kinda dumb.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GETMYVR
@Dataventurer which is why professional real estate photographers should be charging at least $750 minimum - minimum I said - for any photo shoot because that content is going to get stolen, reclaimed and redistributed without the copyright issuers permission. Who's protecting us?

It is our content, the pro photo guys and girls which Powers the reason people look at these sites to begin with. Nobody cares about text they want to see pictures videos and 3D tours when shopping for property.

I'm almost wondering if all us photographers and 3D photographers can form our own Union, and get Federal protections and legal power to challenge these big corporate elites that want to suffocate our intellectual property.
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The "funny" part that we are simply being used by agents to earn more money for them doing less & less work. Do you think they really charge $100(photography fee) for property photos? No they charge their vendors $200-500 for them. Even $750 drone video including video walkthrough paid by agents appears on a bill to a vendor as $1500 media. And then they will tell you that their vendor has no marketing budget left for a Matterport tour.

That guy who has made that 360 vs 3D video has another one where he explains how much he charges. You will be surprised to watch how low people can go just to earn quite a low rate. He is part of the problem that is driven prices for professional photography down.

I have used to work and seen invoices from professional studios that do not offer any real estate photos, just business photography. Their bills are $2000-$4000/day and businesses are paying them. I am sure it will degrade too with companies such a Snappr but at least they are getting paid very well for delivering professional photos, can tolerate longer travel time and even delays caused by their clients. At $100/shoot even when everything is perfect it is still nothing.
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@Wingman you're exactly right in your last thread comment. We're producing content worth thousands of dollars, and as soon as we get rid of the race to the bottom like car dealer mentality, we will be so much better off.

This is an exceptional group of professionals, and I feel very fortunate to be associated with you all.
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@Wingman

I have a $300 minimum to show up my average shoots hover around $500 ~ I have $3900 worth of scheduled shoots this week. While, it is still a job, it does pay decently
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilnitsch
@Wingman

I have a $300 minimum to show up my average shoots hover around $500 ~ I have $3900 worth of scheduled shoots this week. While, it is still a job, it does pay decently


$300 vs $100 is a huge difference. I charge the same in numbers for property photos but mine is in AUD and it is workable even with delays. At the end of the day even if it is complex, starting late than scheduled and takes 3 hours with travel to/back and editing I can do two a day and it is very good money worth running it as a full time business. Drop it to $100, consider fuel for travelling about 80-100km a day and it is simply a job paid at the same rate as an entry job for a school leaver with no skills. And being cheap does not mean you will get all jobs, you will be still looking for them.. so dropping your rates so low won't make your business very profitable. To me it is like a dead loop these cheap photographers are putting themselves in
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Consider the listing agent that hired you for the $500,000 property. When it sells they're almost guaranteed $15,000 in commission, for the 3% listing commission. Almost 100% of my jobs are for photographs and then VR tours possibly. I've said this in other posts, those images are what drive activity which drives opportunity which creates success. The universe will deliver very fair pay for all of us I promise. I'm not interested in cheap customers, please call somebody else, I'm looking for partners in success. What I create.
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WGAN-TV Live at 5: How Photographers Can Resist Zillow’s Threat To Monopolize Real Estate

Hi All,

After reading this blog post (reprinted in the WGAN Forum with the permission of the author) ...

How Photographers can Resist Zillow's Threat to Monopolize Real Estate

... I invited the author, HomeJab Founder and Owner Joe Jesuele, to be my guest on WGAN-TV Live at 5 on Thursday, 2 September 2021 to discuss this topic.

What questions should I ask Joe during the show?

Feel free to post in this WGAN Forum discussion on continue the lively discussion going on here.

Enjoy your weekend,

Dan

P.S. Reminder that this show is today - Thursday, 2 September 2021 at 5 pm EDT.
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@lilnitsch
@GETMYVR
@Dataventurer
@Wingman

Questions that I should ask on today's (Thursday, 2 September 2021) show:

How Photographers can Resist Zillow's Threat to Monopolize Real Estate

Dan
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@DanSmigrod I signed up with HomeJab after you had posted the article at the top of this thread 2 months ago. Compared to Snappr, their onboarding process was simpler (no Zoom interview required). The HomeJab platform does not seem as mature as the Snappr platform.

Dan, I think for your audience here, the main question from members would be around quantifying the potential income opportunity from working with HomeJab. They are located in Pennsylvania. I haven't hear boo from them in the past two months (I'm in northern California). Their initial reply after they accepted my application was "we'll contact you when we have a requirement", indicating that they weren't particularly seeking photographers to meet requirements in areas where they were seeing growth, just at this point collecting a stable of service providers.

I'd press during your interview today for some details about where their hot spots are in the country. What kind of numbers are they seeing regarding the different categories of photography? Where is the thrust of their marketing efforts to enterprise clients? These kinds of details would provide a basis for deciding if it's worth the time to engage with their platform.

Thank you for your efforts to maximize the opportunity from your interview today for your members!
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@Dataventurer

I can introduce you to the founder via email tomorrow (Friday), if you like, about the potential for gigs in your area.

Today's WGAN-TV Live at 5 topic: How Photographers Can Resist Zillow’s Threat To Monopolize Real Estate

Dan
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@DanSmigrod Wow! Thanks for the offer! Tell him I would be happy to share some comparative experience so far with Snappr.

Dave
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116-WGAN-TV | How Photographers can Resist Zillow’s Threat to Monopolize Real Estate with HomeJab Founder and Owner Joe Jesuele | Aired: Thursday, 2 September 2021
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Hi All,

From this WGAN Forum discussion:

Transcript>How Photogs can Resist Zillow's Threat to Monopolize Real Estate

Quote:
Originally Posted by @Dataventurer
Well, Dan, you put the bait in the water and I’m going to bite!...

Let me offer a short “executive summary” at the beginning of my “opinion piece”.

Every business must craft and promote their Unique Selling Proposition as the reason to do business with them over other options. In the case of HomeJab, I think they have focused upon a narrow and insignificant Benefit Set. The company expends a lot of ink attempting to create the perception of value for their target market, real estate photographers. I’m just not persuaded…

Targeted Stakeholders - #1 - The Real Estate Listing Agent
I see two distinct stakeholders involved here with separate concerns. The primary stakeholder creating the opportunity is the real estate agent who is representing a home owner, known as “the listing agent”. His fiduciary responsibility is to market the property to obtain the best deal available in the current market. There are lots of things involved: advising home preparation, improvements, staging, pricing, time of going on the market, negotiating offers, and taking the lead in marketing the property.

The Listing Agent makes decisions about when to list the property, when to host open house times, and where to advertise (social media, magazines, brokerage TV programs, brokerage websites, print media, flyers, post cards mailed out to the neighborhood, etc.) Almost always, the listing agent posts the property on the local MLS board with photos (at least!) and often with other media: photo slideshow, 360 tour, video, drone, single-page website where these media assets can display the property with everything in one location for easy viewing.

The information that the listing agent posts on the local MLS sometimes also gets posted by the brokerage (Coldwell Banker, Intero, ReMax, etc.). The listing information is “scraped” from either the listing brokerage site or the MLS and reposted to all the other search sites. This is where a savvy real estate agent will consider his options well (and some, admittedly, are oblivious to the details here in the deep weeds!). The agent’s fiduciary responsibility makes him responsible to place the property listing where it gets seen by the most eyeballs and for the most exposure time.
Many listing agents post their listings to the local MLS and their brokerage automatically also posts the listing to their company website. And that’s the end of it. But where are the eyeballs searching for homes? Here is a screen shot showing website traffic for August 2020 for Zillow and three other real estate websites.




As Dan mentioned during the webinar with Joe, Zillow and Trulia (a subsidiary), received 39% of WORLDWIDE real estate traffic (Monthly Visits) of the top ten international sites. I know that we are talking about a pie that can be sliced lots of ways to get a desired statistic. Let me just point out that Zillow that month had 289 million total visits. The second place on the list was Realtor.com with 145.9 million visits – HALF the traffic!

So if you are a big game hunter and you know that most of the animals in the area are hanging out around the biggest water hole, doesn’t it make sense that you’d want to get set up nearby? And if you had the choice of fishing at three different lakes but you heard that one lake was stocked last week with fish, where would you head? And, wouldn’t you think ahead about how to make best use of the opportunity to hunt at the big water hole or fish in the lake teeming with fish?

I assert that Zillow is the big watering hole and the teeming lake of fish. A wise real estate photographer would be counseling his real estate agent-client how to make best use of the Zillow platform for promoting their property listing.

Practically, to me that means optimizing the immersive media opportunities offered by the Zillow platform to present photos, 360 pics, and video in the most accessible manner. Photos are easy, they get scraped off the MLS site automatically. The 360 pics shot with the Zillow 3D Home app are featured in second position on the photo carousel. In the past couple months Zillow has also begun posting Matterport tours in the same spot. That’s nice because before, if you had put up a Matterport tour on the MLS, the link to it in the Zillow listing was buried as a text link down the right column in a place that required some searching to find. In addition to the 360 tour being featured on the Zillow listing, video can be uploaded to their platform and is displayed at the bottom of the photo carousel. Convenient!

Now here is where I found a real gap in understanding by my fellow-agents in my Coldwell Banker office. I found that many had very nice single-page websites for their listings whose URLs they added into the media links on the MLS (my MLS has four fields for media links). The problem – Zillow didn’t scrape those URLs into their listing info and many Zillow listings SHOWED ONLY PHOTOS! I found that most of the smaller real estate platforms did scrape the URLs, but it’s small consolation when there is comparatively fractional volumes of traffic on those smaller sites seeing that wonderful media.
Just to note where we are in our discussion, I am still focused on the first stakeholder, the real estate agent. What does HomeJab say to them to create value? Fear!

“…they (Zillow) really are competing with you at the end of the day,”
“At the end of the day, Zillow is your competitor. It's the wolf!”
[00:35:28]
“Do what you can to control your listing content and control the leads.”

“The way that you do that is by making sure that the videos and the virtual tours, the content that
people want to see when they're really serious; not just the photographs but the actual videos and
the virtual tours, make sure that, that's hosted off Zillow and I think that would be really
helpful.”
[00:38:29]
"Why are we doing this? We're feeding the beast" type of comments?
From a real estate photographer's standpoint, again, I think it's helpful because this is the
language of the customers. This is what the real estate agents are talking about. This is what
they're concerned about. This is a major issue for them and it involves their livelihood."

"As a business person, as a photographer, that's what resonates."

"I think it's, not only is it the truth, and I think it's good for the industry, but it's also a good
business strategy for the photographers to be doing this and telling their customers that “I will
help you to present this media off Zillow and it'll help you to help the industry, help your
career”.

"One thing that they can be doing and one thing we can do to help them is to shoot these beautiful
virtual tours and videos, and then help them to market them on their own sites, on their own
property pages, on their own hosting platforms, and keep it off of these big tech Silicon Valley
platforms and that's the idea.”

I cordially disagree with the ideas quoted above. Strongly…

Regarding the quote above “Do what you can to control your listing content and control the leads”, in the specific situation of a listing agent posting a property on Zillow, the main concern and main benefit of the Zillow platform for him is exposure to potentially interested buyers, not capturing leads! The listing agent’s phone number is shown in the listing’s right column information with a pop-up form to send a message. I call that a lead!

There are real estate agents who love to hate Zillow, but I would contend that most of those Zillow-hating agents are NOT listing agents selling the properties. Zillow captures buyer leads and then sells them for an exorbitant price to agents, giving them a reason to complain. But for a listing agent, Zillow provides incredible FREE visibility for properties, especially if every opportunity is taken to optimize the media presentation.

#2 - The Photographer
Let’s talk about the other stakeholder in this situation, the real estate photographer.

“By working with HomeJab, you have better control of your content.”
“Controlling your content is a valuable thing to the photographer and the agent.”

This pitch is not really creating a Unique Selling Proposition with perceived value for a photographer.

First, HomeJab presents the illusion that Zillow somehow will “control your content”. I know for a fact that Zillow strongly supports the rights of photographers to their media. I heard that directly from a director-level employee at Zillow during a telephone conversation with another employee, the Photography Account Coordinator of the Rich Media Experience Growth Group.

My experience is that once a listing is sold, the 360 tour and video are removed from the listing page.

As Dan mentioned, the Zillow 3D Home tour can be easily placed onto another website with an embed code, unbranded without any indication of origination at Zillow (let them host it for free!). And I have found that the Zillow 3D Home tours I created are still accessible to me after they are removed from the listing page. So I can use them for addition to my portfolio site.

Joe mentioned using EyeSpy360 as their platform of preference. I signed up for EyeSpy last year when it was first offered at a discount to members of the California Association of Realtors. It’s a great service with features beyond the Zillow 3D Home offering. But…. what benefit is a “better virtual tour” if it doesn’t get hits, displayed on a low-traffic brokerage site? EyeSpy just wasn’t providing enough incremental benefit to create a separate virtual tour in addition to the one I shot with the Zillow 3D Home app. I admit that there are some pretty slick alternative virtual tour platforms out there, but consider the cost/benefit situation. Fast and free is pretty compelling for a major segment of the housing market!

Here’s where I developed a two-pronged approach to the quantity/quality conundrum. Shoot the Zillow 3D Home virtual tour, shoot the walk-through video and upload it to Zillow, with pro photos. Then create a single page website on the Show and Tours site to combine all the media assets, property description, agent contact info and map. Grab that web page URL and use that in all the fields on the MLS listing for media. That single page website shows up on most of the other real estate websites for that property. One click and the viewer sees all the media assets in one beautiful presentation page. And you maximize the opportunity on the Zillow site.

With that idea, you could use EyeSpy360 or any other virtual platform on the single page website. But I find that simply adding the link to the unbranded Zillow 3D Home tour works fine. I discovered recently that Matterport tours were being positioned in the same location on the photo carousel as the Zillow 3D Home tours created with their app. I am exploring the cost/benefit equation on that option, might be worth it to have that as a higher-end offering to agents.

Lastly, the mention by Joe of “NFT”. First time I’ve heard of that. I am not looking to resell any of my media photos for property listings. So that angle has no value to me. Anybody else? Waiting…

Summary
Here are the claims I addressed here:
- Controlling your content - Posting media to Zillow gives it to them “in perpetuity”
- Zillow being viewed as a competitor
- Off-site hosting is better than using the Zillow platform
- Traceability of copyright ownership using NFT and block chain technology.

Epilog
I will stick with the Zillow platform but I did sign up a while back with HomeJab as a photographer. No calls yet. Maybe they read my previous post on the initial interview with Joe…
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