Zillow.com Directory Overrun by Realtors

A couple months back zillow.com launched a local directory of professionals that extended to things like painters, landscapers, and various other contractors in the home improvement market. An obvious move for Zillow and expanding its reach in localized internet traffic. So I wanted to check back on the site after a bit and see how it was working and if it might be a worthwhile site to recommend to some of my local search clients, since I do a fair bit of website design and search marketing for contractors.

It’s a Spam Fest for Real Estate Agents

If you go to any large US city, take LA, Las Vegas, Chicogo or Houston for example, then search the professional directory for maybe a painter or a plumber and you see a pile of realtors dominating the listings. It appears its easy for a realtor to add tags to their profile to include other categories and many are taking advantage of it.

For the few contractors that do have listings they get outranked by these agents because it appears that they are listed by order of “contributions”. Here a contribution includes things like uploading photos which for the case of a realtor would be property listings (hello, zillow is a property listing service). So what contractor is going to take the time to upload 100’s of images just to help their rankings? Why should a contractor need to upload hundreds of images?

How can Zillow attract real contractor listings when its such a free for all dominated by overly aggressive real estate agents?

Are these agents seeing any real benefit of being listed as a landscaper? engineer? carpenter? I highly doubt it.

And the bigger question, what value is this to Zillows visitors who might go and search for an electrician or other contractor? Very little. And what does that then do to Zillows quality image, and the brand? Damage, is what it does.

If they don’t clean it up they won’t stand a chance at encroaching on Angie’s List or ServiceMagic’s market share in the home services market.

If your sole purpose of listing in the Zillow directory was from an SEO perspective, then sure, go ahead, they do provide a nice do-follow link back (likely the key reason the realtors are spamming and jamming it). But if you also expect some traffic, convertible traffic, in the home services market then I would think twice.

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2 Comments to “Zillow.com Directory Overrun by Realtors”

Ryan @ Linkbuildr (1 comments.) on January 20th, 2009 wrote:

Hey Stever,

I don’t even see a directory and the sites looks like it’s nothing but real esate.

Stever on January 22nd, 2009 wrote:

Look a little deeper. Every city has a professional directory with a home improvement section.

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