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DATA COUP (no, this isn’t CO-OP misspelled)

Zillow Purchases DotLoop and All Its Data.

Do you still own your data?  Recently in a little publicized acquisition Zillow purchased DotLoop and all of its’ data and if that doesn’t concern you then it should.   Zillow for the past several years has been trying to get into the real estate business anyway that it can that makes money for them, without creating too much liability.  Securing DotLoop was a good move on their part, giving them an excellent transaction management platform and digital signature program.

Years ago, when I was president of the Texas Association of Realtors and met with Zillow representatives, they told us that they were just an advertising company and they had no intention of being in the “real estate business” and for a while that seemed to be the case.  As an industry we gave away our data for free and then bought back the leads it created – not the greatest of business plans in my opinion but that is water under the bridge.  Over the years Zillow continued to expand their business to include mortgages, iBuying, and Zillow Offers where they buy your property and then sell it without your involvement, as well as other ancillary real estate related business even though they kept telling us that they were just an advertising and marketing business.  What’s next and are you part of the plan? 

Those of you that use DotLoop’s platform have populated its’ database with all of your contracts and the information that is contained therein.  Think about that, Buyer’s and Seller’s names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, Title companies, Sellers proceeds, Buyers loan information, all of the Brokers information including commissions and commission rates, etc.  All of this information is in there and it was held in confidence by DotLoop and not shared with anyone.  Now that they have been purchased by Zillow, all of that info is there for Zillow to use however it sees fit.  

Zillow/DotLoop a few weeks back sent out an update to its Privacy Policy stating that if you did not opt out by Thursday July 17 then all of DotLoop’s information could be used by Zillow or any other third party that it decided to share it with.  If you were astute enough to catch this notice and signed the opt out agreement prior to the 17th then your data would supposedly still be secure and not shared with anyone, including all of your historical data.  However, if you didn’t opt out then all of that info is now in the hands of Zillow as well as any future contracts that you use with that platform.  The following is an excerpt from the new Privacy Policy of DotLoop.

“We or these affiliates may use the information we collect for our internal purposes, for example, to understand and gain insight into trends in the real estate market and to improve our home valuation models.” Link: https://www.dotloop.com/privacy-policy 

Also, even if you opt-out, or your Brokerage opts-out, your information on specific transactions could STILL BE SHARED.  If the buyer, seller or other agent does NOT opt-out, the information in THAT transaction can be shared.

In this age of Big Data, data mining and predictive analysis is the name of the game and if you are not properly securing your data then you are losing out to your competitors who are probably purchasing it from a third-party vendor.  This is one of the things that makes the Land Broker Coop unique, as an owner/member, you get to decide what happens to your data and who gets to see it and use it.  Think about it, nearly every company that you deal with in today’s society monetizes your data and information in some way.  The collection and sale of your data is a multi-billion dollar a year business, that puts you and your information at the mercy of all kinds of companies and people that purchase that data for advertising, marketing and other purposes.

Your Co-op Board of Directors has identified Data collection and security as a Phase II priority for new Member benefits.   As you know, Phase I was to provide a broker-owned listing site that limited the ability of other websites to raise your digital advertising costs.   We all know how much more you would be paying to list properties on competitor sites if the Co-op didn’t exist.

As land brokers and agents, we understand the value of our proprietary data and what it can be used for.  Consequently, the Co-op will become the data warehouse for the land industry so “our data and information” will be used for our benefit and not have someone else profit from our hard work.  Phase II website upgrades to the website are in progress and we will be implementing an expanded data collection effort and reporting capabilities.  This data will be available to our membership to utilize for market data analysis and information helping you to be the true professional that you are.  Keep an eye out for an upcoming webinar on Data:   What is Data and how can you benefit from it?

– Dan Hatfield

WHAT TO KNOW:  
Effective July 17, 2020, DotLoop will be permitted to share aggregated transaction information with Zillow and other affiliated companies, going back to January 1, 2016.  This means that if you currently use DotLoop, your transaction information is being shared with Zillow, unless you notified DotLoop prior to Thursday, July 16 that you did not want your information shared with its affiliates.  The complete DotLoop’s information sharing policy can be found here.

For your convenience, provisions of the policy are stated below:

DotLoop may share information provided to them on or after January 1, 2016 with Zillow Group and its subsidiaries (“Affiliate Sharing”). DotLoop or these affiliates may use the information DotLoop collects for their internal purposes, for example, to understand and gain insight into trends in the real estate market and to improve their home valuation models. These insights are applied at an aggregate level; neither DotLoop nor their affiliates will use data from individual transactions or properties to obtain leverage regarding specific transactions or inform decisions about individual properties.  If you have registered for a user account (a “Registered User”), you can opt out of Affiliate Sharing by emailing DotLoop at support@dotloop.com. As a Registered User, you control the sharing permissions applicable to your view of your loop(s); other participants in the same loop(s) may make different choices regarding whether to share their loop views, which may contain similar or duplicative information. If you opt out of Affiliate Sharing prior to the Effective Date of this policy, none of your information will be shared with DotLoop’s affiliates; if you opt out after the Effective Date, your choice will be effective only for information you provide after you opt out.

WHAT TO DO:  
If you wish to prevent this information sharing, you can send DotLoop a note stating, “I do not want my information shared with your Affiliates, including Zillow,” to support@dotloop.com to prevent the sharing of future transaction information. 

WHO TO CONTACT:  
You can contact DotLoop by emailing support@dotloop.com
information provided by: 
Carl DeMusz, RCE, CMLX2
President & CEO
Yes-MLS
216-485-4121
Carl@Yes-MLS.com