Request for Comments "Real Estate Workshop"
Dear FTC I am Alan Glasband and am a Realtor, DRE#01880760. I'm writing to ask you why the government allows a company, especially Zillow, to take free information, all of our listings and photos, from us then charge us exhorbitant fees to advertise ourselves next to our own listing on their site? If we refuse to pay or even if we do they still put three other Realtors picture and contact info next to our listing as well, along with a lender or two who pay them to advertise or pay a portion of the Realtors fee monthly. I paid Zillow thousands of dollars a year, some pay over a thousand per month, for years only to find it that they're creating a platform to do away with Realtors by going direct to consumers, circumventing the Realtors who paid for their business model for the last 10 years while they got all information for free. Zillow, Redfin and other online Real estate companies are confusing consumers with their false advertising of "area experts" which is simply a Realtor who pays to advertise in that particular zip code for a fee whether they've sold 100 homes or 0. I agree that information should be available to help consumers make good decisions with these large transactions and if Zillow and online companies want that information to come from them, as they have done while inserting themselves between Realtors and the consumer for the last 10 years, then they should have to pay us for our listings and photos so that we will be compensated from those online companies. This is a free market, capitalism, and we are the ones getting pushed out of business because the government has, since 2007, allowed one company to operate with completely free information (our listings and photos) then turn around and sell back shares of space on that advertising platform. Please do not allow Zillow and other online companies to dictate to the DOJ what consumers need. They are benefiting from an unequitable ruling, again, where they are manipulating the consumers, confusing them with false adverts, as well as giving their Zestimate which is, many times way off (5-10% is a lot for a home seller). Buyers walk into an open house debating the value of a home based on that Zestimate. How dare an online company dictate the value of a home without a brokers license or ever having seen it? So many of my home sellers have been hurt by Zillow. Please do change the way they acquire information and disseminate it. We pay hefty fees to belong to our Boards, MLS dues, etc and they get our info for free? If it seems like I'm repeating myself it is for the benefit of my point, lest it gets lost. Stop letting Zillow and others take our valuable information and disseminate it for free while raising capital from the people who provided it to them, we the Realtors. They should pay for the information we give, our listings and photos just like we all do on our MLS free. Thank you and I will be happy to share, confidentialy, any bank statements, credit card statements etc showing the amount Zillow charged me for their services. Perhaps an investigation of Zillow's relationship with CAR and NAR would be in order? Are they already getting Paid for our information and not sharif that profit with us? Stop this UN-American practice. Nothing is free that is of value.