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The Zillow.com shake-down: BloodhoundBlog’s take so far — and a chance to win a BloodhoundRealty.com Tee Shirt . . .

If Inman Blog sent you here, here is our side of the story so far:

A question might arise in a thoughtful mind: Why am I defending Zillow.com from this outrage?

First, because they have the right to run their business however they choose. If I can persuade them to add a disclaimer to their front page, that’s great. If not, it’s still their business, their private property.

Second, and of much greater importance, if Zillow.com caves in to extortion, that will open the net up for raids by every flavor of “non-profit” piracy. It is very rare that anyone can make any difference at all in the way things are done. This is one of those times, a transition point, and what Zillow.com does may have decisive impact on future events. Will the net become another corporate cash-box for “non-profit” groups who will — for a fee — “protect” you from legislation they got passed? Or will the net remain the exception to the way business is done in America?

The Future of Real Estate Marketing has more today, as does Realty Thoughts. For my own part, I believe the crux of the issue is racial politics and Fair Housing legislation, rather than the plights of starving appraisers or disgruntled Realtors. These groups may have their own axes to grind, but every NCRC shake-down I have been able to uncover has been related to Fair Housing law or the Community Reinvestment Act.

These are the three instances I have found, having invested less then ten minutes’ research time:

  1. NCRC routinely shakes-down banks.
  2. NCRC shakes-down lender for red-lining. Note that the article reads like the lender was fined, but the payment actually went to NCRC.
  3. NRT hires NCRC to teach its Fair Housing classes. In this instance, NCRC was the white-hat protector called in to fend off the black-hat protectors.

My belief is that fleas don’t come in threes: If every story I found about NCRC resulted in NCRC getting paid off, my bet is that there are plenty more stories with essentially the same plot line. If you can dig one up, let me know by email and I’ll send you a BloodhoundRealty.com Tee Shirt. All the Tee Shirt Contest ideas we got were great, but this is my kind of game…

Our story so far:

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Related posts:
  • Zillow.com shake-down: Creeping disclaimerism as a subject-changing gambit . . .
  • Zillow.com shake-down: This is the first shoe dropping . . .
  • The Zillow.com shake-down: At last a discouraging word about NCRC . . .

  • 9 comments

    9 Comments so far

    1. CJ, Broker in L A, CA October 30th, 2006 8:34 pm

      This info may not be Tee-Shirt-Winning quality… But isn’t interesting that Realogy owned real estate companys (Century 21, Sotheby’s, etc.) carry this little paragraph on their web sites

      “As an adjunct to the foregoing commitment, both Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates, Inc. and Realogy Corporation actively promote, and are committed to, creating and fostering an environment of diversity throughout their respective organizations and franchise systems, and each views such a concept as a critical component to the on-going success of their business operations. Each of the Realogy Corporation real estate brands are also a proud signatory to a national alliance agreement with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) which provides for links to NCRC’s fair housing information on each of the real estate brand websites.”

      Are we seeing evidence of a shakedown settlement?

      http://www.ncrc.org/pressandpubs/press_releases/documents/2006/2006-5-15NRTNCRC.pdf

      http://www.century21.com/learn/content.aspx?refstr=6.18

      http://www.sothebysrealty.com/ServicesDisclaimer.aspx

    2. CJ, Broker in L A, CA October 30th, 2006 8:41 pm

      This info may not be Tee-Shirt-Winning qaulity, but isn’t it interesting that Realogy owned companys (Sotheby’s, Century 21, etc. are carrying this paragraph on their web sites:

      “Each of the Realogy Corporation real estate brands are also a proud signatory to a national alliance agreement with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) which provides for links to NCRC’s fair housing information on each of the real estate brand websites.”

      http://www.century21.com/learn/content.aspx?refstr=6.18

      http://www.sothebysrealty.com/ServicesDisclaimer.aspx

      http://www.ncrc.org/pressandpubs/press_releases/documents/2006/2006-5-15NRTNCRC.pdf

      http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=PRNI2&STORY=/www/story/10-05-2006/0004446631&EDATE=

    3. [...] 1. Trulia.com asks: Are Agents in Trouble? 2. Mike Davidson of Newsvine shows: How to piss off 1086 People with 1 Click 3. Greg Sawnn defends Zillow.com 4. ProvidentBlog point out an odd story: Naked Dad fights off Home Invader 5. Sellsius shows us the video of Allan Dalton of Realtor.com and Lloyd Frink of Zillow.com at the California Association of Realtors annual convention. [...]

    4. Chris Guldi October 31st, 2006 5:30 am

      Zillow defended by an unlikely source…

    5. [...] The Zillow.com shake-down: BloodhoundBlog’s take so far — and a chance to win a BloodhoundRealty.com Tee Shirt … [...]

    6. [...] Zillow is simply a fun tool to look at homes and get a very broad range of a possible value of a property. A professional Realtor will obviously give you a much better idea of a home’s market value, and Zillow knows this and does not claim to take the place of a Realtor. They rely on the real estate agent to advertise on their site, yet many in the industry are so paranoid of what Zillow might do that they whine and complain about everything they do. Why? What’s the big deal with a company giving people a fun way to see a very broad range of value? [...]

    7. Patch Tuesday November 1st, 2006 6:35 am

      Greg, you guys just don’t get it. You should be turning your real estate companies into nonprofits, so you can also can help the public. Then, you simply make yourself employees and write-off everything.

      CEO Pay: $174,588

      View the evil NCRC tax return here:

      http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2004/521/766/2004-521766126-01ca1202-9.pdf

    8. [...] The Zillow.com shake-down: BloodhoundBlog’s take so far — and a chance to win a BloodhoundRealty.com Tee Shirt… [...]

    9. GMartin June 5th, 2007 1:31 pm

      Zillow.com helped me to prove the square footage of my condo that was for sale. My buyer had a drunken appraiser who shorted me in square footage.
      Anyone who takes a websites price estimate as hard fact is not doing their homework. Zillow usually gives a broadrange estimate anyhow.