There’s always something to howl about

Rainman house foreclosure

Note to Zillow: You have, in my opinion, been scraping traffic and (either accidentally or on purpose- I cannot know) in the process getting tons of irrelevant traffic via SEO. You have also been APPARENTLY been charging your advertisers for those same views. (For those who wonder what I am talking about, go to their home page and scroll to the bottom. They currently are featuring the largest home in the US and something about one of the Real Housewives of New Jersey. Or you can Google “largest house in US Ira Rennert”.

I have long had the thought that some of us bloggers ought to do a similar thing and drive you from the front page and ease my annoyance at your apparent practice. It has been bugging me for months. Clever? Maybe, but not something that I’d want a “partner” doing. (grin) Of course, I don’t “partner” with you, but you get the idea.

The home in the beginning of the movie Rainman is actually located in Cincinnati. The East Walnut Hills home on Burnett Avenue was featured at the beginning of the movie and the owners are now facing foreclosure. It was once valued at $1.5 million.

Let’s learn from the principle. It is one that Brian Brady taught us with Elliot Spitzers hired lover. These types of terms build TONS of irrelevant traffic because they are carried on the current media. It is a tactic that many SEO types use currently as well.

We all see foreclosures all the time in this business. I wish the current owners as well as the bank who will apparently soon own the home a speedy dispatch and sale of the property to a new owner.

To Zillow. Guys I hope you are not “milking” traffic to aid your profitability by billing CPM to unsuspecting advertisers who are losing because they are not getting relevant eyeballs in exchange for their dough. That is THEIR call and not mine. I wish you guys well and would be happy for you to join this conversation and set me straight. As I said above, I cannot judge intent. I can only look at what is, and what is seemingly apparent to me.


4 Comments so far

  1. Eric Bramlett October 6th, 2009 8:13 am

    Hey Eric –

    Since Zillow doesn’t charge CPM, it’s a little bit of a stretch (IMO) to say they’re blatantly ripping off their customers (brokers/agents.)

    Zillow salespeople quote their “average impression volume” when they attempt to sell ad space. A savvy agent will crunch that to CPM, and ultimately to CPC. A really savvy agent will track that traffic source’s conversion rate and see what their ROI is with that specific advertiser. But I’m off on a tangent…

    You raise a great question here, “How qualified is Zillow traffic?” While their salespeople will tell you that it’s “more qualified than Google PPC,” I think your example illustrates how it could be otherwise. This is also a great example of why impressions isn’t the best metric for evaluating potential advertising space.

  2. Robert Worthington October 6th, 2009 10:08 am

    Point well taken Eric. Is Zillow being like a Washington Politician? Instead of doing anything to get reelected, Zillow is doing anything to get traffic.

  3. Greg Dallaire October 6th, 2009 7:51 pm

    Wow you guys are both Eric B 🙂

    Bramlett you touch on the importance of actually evaulating the traffic and the CPC beautifully on other blogs.

    This is the big problem with all types of PPC type solutions to drive traffic we all know that some of the traffic is irrelevant just like a fake registration.

    Thankfully i’ve been blessed to be around people that have educated me on the importance of building my own web presence over time it’s pretty tough for a national site to beat out a well optimized local guy. Google likes relevancy thank goodness 🙂

    When Eric Blackwell speaks I listen!

  4. James Boyer October 6th, 2009 8:53 pm

    I have not looked into this personally, but I would not put what you are talking about past them. All I can say is, all that traffic that does not mean a thing, hmmm I guess the bottom line at Zillow will be good this year.