Zillow is acquiring DotLoop. Fires are burning in real estate social media.
Let’s get this out of the way. There are tons of brokers and agents who dislike Zillow. Call them what you want. They’re here.
I’m a regular critic of the company when they (regularly) make moves that don’t seem in the best interests of brokers, agents, or their clients. I was also a big user of Zillow in the early years, contributing to thousands of posts, discussions, photos, etc. There are plenty of really good things the company does. I’m a (low grade) Zillow Premier Agent and have a team profile where I ask my clients to go and review us. We don’t use DotLoop, though I’ve heard it’s a nice product.
The crux of the concerns with the DotLoop and Zillow marriage is transaction data. Brokers and agents who don’t trust Zillow will now not trust DotLoop, or so we’re told by those most vocal folks in the discussion. Zillow’s been cramming this “we’re just a media company” down our throats for so long that it’s easy to wag it back at them as they squarely enter the real estate transaction.
Here’s what we’re all asking:
If brokers decide to continue using DotLoop, will Zillow now be able to use their transaction data, their past sales data, even their clients’ data?
Let’s stick to the facts. Here’s what the DotLoop data agreement that’s being quoted wideline online right now says:
“You automatically grant, or warrant that the User Content owner has expressly granted, to us (DotLoop) a worldwide, royalty-free, sublicensable, and transferrable right to license to use, reproduce, distribute, create derivative works based upon, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, and publish your user content in connection with our services.”
But, that seems to be the verbiage from the terms when California Association of Realtors had a spat over dotloop. Today, this is what I read today on dotloop’s website:
In connection with your use of our Services you may submit documents and other content (“your Content”) to the Services.
Subject to ownership interests of third-parties, you will retain full ownership of your Content. We don’t claim any ownership to any of your Content. These Terms do not grant us any rights to your Content or intellectual property except for the limited rights that are needed to run the Services.
We may need to access or otherwise process your Content solely for purposes related to the Services. You agree that we have your permission to access or process your Content for such purposes. This permission extends to trusted parties we work with to provide the Services. Such processing includes technically administering our Services by, for example, backing up data or enabling documents in portable document format (PDF) to be edited.
So, yes, they will have access to it, but if these new terms continue in place, they’ll be significantly limited in what they can do with your content.
Of course, terms and conditions usually change when ownership changes. Will these terms change? You tell me.