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Rich Barton CEO of Zillow Risks Certain Criticism- does it anyway…

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zillowcom-on-realtorgeniuscom.jpgOne thing is absolutely certain- I can truly respect anyone the stands behind their product, knowing the world might criticize the outcome. Rich Barton, CEO of Zillow.com risked it all by placing his own home on Zillow with a Zestimate that even he didn’t fully agree with. Facing certain criticism, the Z.E.O. did it anyway. As a Tech Celeb, he could have hidden behind privacy or any number of excuses, but he chose to stand behind his product. Whatever one wants to say about Zestimates, you certainly have to respect him. Cheers to you, it says a lot about your personal character… The home is now pending.

Read the full article by Rich Barton:

“I’m sure thousands of you have been following the saga of my attempts to sell my house in Seattle (OK, maybe not thousands, but it certainly feels that way). Even the Wall Street Journalgot involved in ribbing me, highlighting the fact that even the CEO of Zillow can’t seem to price and sell his own house with an article recently entitled, “The Boss’s Product Test.”

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Sock Puppet

    May 23, 2007 at 1:50 am

    Don’t miss the all important point. He used a realtor too. It’s not Zillow vs Realtor, it’s Realtor vs Realtor + Zillow.

    -Athol

  2. B. R.

    May 23, 2007 at 7:43 am

    No doubt, excellent point…

  3. Louis Cammarosano

    May 23, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    As I see it, Rich Barton had no choice but to stand by his product as accurate or inaccurate as it may be.

    Afterall Zillow has gone to great public lengths to convince people that somehow their web site can accurately value homes for sale. Zillow has gone as far as claiming that they are the “Kelly’s blue book of homevaluations” (a foolish analogy as cars are fungible depreciating assets while home are unique and generally appreciating assets)

    Zillow lives on hype and having Barton’s home for sale on Zillow is just another example of it.

    Zillow is doing nothing new or innovative by providing their “Zestimates” based on publically available data. HomeGain, the company at which I am the General Manager had an instant homevaluation tool on our site seven years ago!

    We recently relaunched our instant home valuation tool and will add upgrades to it tomorrow night.

    You can check it out at https://www.homegain.com

    Unlike Zillow, we do not claim that it will provide pinpoint accuracy but rather an estimate (a real word, not a sale pitch).

    HomeGain also provides a range instead of an exact number to drive home the point.

    For some real differences between HomeGain and Zillow see blog thread “Why HomeGain Beats Zillow” at https://www.futureofrealestatemarketing.com/why-homegain-beats-zillow

  4. Sock Puppet

    May 23, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    So just how accurate is the HomeGain AVM then? How close to actual sales prices does it get?

    Which AVM gets closest to actual sales figures?

    -Athol

  5. louis cammarosano

    May 23, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    It depends. Both HomeGain and Zillow use publically available information to come up with their estimates.

    The difference is that HomeGain believes that Realtors play an important role in not only assessing how much your home is worth but going out and actually getting that value for you.

    For that reason, HomeGain’s Homevalation tool does not strive to give an exact valuation – we provide a range- as we believe that its nearly impossible to provide such precise valuations.

    A house is only worth what you can get for it and a Realtor helps you get your price. Trying to value homes precisely through market data is not the same as the minute by minute market values provided by Nasdaq with respect to heavily traded stocks.

    Because of the transparency of the stock market you don’t need a stock broker to get you a better deal on Yahoo or Microsoft stock.

    But often to get the best deal on your home you need a Realtor.

    HomeGain’s service is designed to help consumers who are interested in working with Realtors find one.
    But why not do a side by side comparision of Homegain and Zillow? (just for fun) https://www.homegain.com

  6. Sock Puppet

    May 23, 2007 at 8:12 pm

    Oh I’m tempted to side by side them believe me.

    I’m a newer agent and my split isn’t that great just yet, so I’m kind of concerned that your 30% on my gross commission will eat 80% of my profit though. At least the money gets removed from me at the sale rather than with that HouseValues monthly [not my blog so not using this word].

    I think I’d have to do 4.5 times the volume to break even with what I make now. That sounds drastic I know, but I’m crunching the numbers to see how that affects earnings over the long run.

    Assuming HomeGain can actually supply me with leads that actually result in a transaction, I’d view these transactions as a strategy of nothing but break even sales in order to seek market share, a higher split and a higher profile.

    On the other hand, the average home price in my town is just over $200,000. I figure HomeGain’s slice would be $1800 on a 6% commission. I could get 180,000 Zillow impressions for that much. Basically have my face on every Zillow viewed page in my area for the next 12 months.

    Please advise.

  7. louis cammarosano

    May 23, 2007 at 8:18 pm

    Sock puppet. Sounds like our agent evaluator program may not be for you.

    We have other products that may suit your needs.

    Our buyerlink product allows you to pay per visitor to your own web site on a cost per visit basis.

    Our Source For Seller product allow you to be the featured agent on each hval we deliver and to receive some leads, emails and phone calls from the exposure.

    Try this for a complete description of all our products
    https://www.homegain.com/agent/realestateagent?ht=hp_rnav_agent_enter

    If you have further questions, let’s take this discussion of this thread. You can email me at louis@homegain.com

  8. Sock Puppet

    May 23, 2007 at 9:06 pm

    Um all those pages seem to do is ask for my personal information.

    If I’m to have my name and face beside the AVM, I kind of need to know how accurate it is…

    If people are looking for a realtor online, can’t they just Google search for one? I’m so confused why you charge 30% of a gross commission to get someone introduced to a realtor.

    -Athol

  9. Louis Cammarosano

    May 24, 2007 at 8:01 am

    Hi Athol

    I’d love to answer your questions here, but this is a blog about Rich Barton and Zestimates and we need to respect the topic.

    Please contact me and I can give you more information about HomeGain’s products.
    Regards
    Louis

  10. HomeGain Hype

    October 22, 2007 at 11:10 pm

    Why is Louis Cammarosano so hell bent on attacking Zillow every chance he gets? He is always disparaging the Zillow tool yet he trumpets his own tool on HomeGain which is even more inaccurate than Zillow’s. I think it is just a bad case of envy because of the attention Zillow is garnering. BTW anyone who thinks a computer generated program can substitute the services of an appraisser or real estate agent deserves the ill-effects of their lack of common sense.

  11. Barry Preusz

    October 18, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    I admire anyone who exhibits true character. Zillow could be a more valuable tool to consumers and Realtors if the fake FSBOs were cleaned up. Somehow a validation tool needs to be implemented to screen out the homes for sale that do not even exist.

    Barry Preusz

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Business Marketing

How one employer beat an age discrimination lawsuit

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Age discrimination is a rare occurrence but still something to be battled. It’s good practice to keep your house in order to be on the right side.

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Jewel age discrimination

In January, the EEOC released its annual accounting for reports of discrimination in the previous year. Allegations of retaliation were the most frequently filed charge, which disability coming in second. Age discrimination cases accounted for 21.4% of filed charges. As we’ve reported before, not all age discrimination complaints rise to the level of illegal discrimination. In Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., the federal court dismissed the claims of age discrimination, even though seven (7) plaintiffs made similar claims against the grocery store.

What Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores was about

In Cesario, all but one of the seven plaintiffs had spent years with Jewel Food building their careers. When Jewel went through some financial troubles, the plaintiffs allege that they began to “experience significant pressure at work… (and) were eventually forced out or terminated because of their age or disability.” Jewel Food requested summary judgment to dismiss the claims.

The seven plaintiffs made the same type of complaints. Beginning in 2014, store directors were under pressure to improve metrics and customer satisfaction. Cesario alleges that the Jewel district manager asked about his age. Another director alleges that younger store directors were transferred to stores with less difficulties. One plaintiff alleged that Jewel Food managers asked him about his retirement. The EEOC complaints began in late 2015. The plaintiffs retired or were fired and subsequently filed a lawsuit against their company.

Age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA). The ADEA prevents disparate treatment based on age for workers over 40 years old. However, plaintiffs who allege disparate treatment must establish that the adverse reactions wouldn’t have occurred but for age. Because none of the plaintiffs could specifically point to age as the only determination of their case, the court dismissed the case.

A word to wise businesses

Jewel Food was able to demonstrate their own actions in the case through careful documentation. Although there was no evidence that age played a factor in any discharge decision, Jewel Food could document their personnel decisions across the board. The plaintiffs also didn’t exhaust all administrative remedies. This led to the case being dropped.

Lesson learned – Make personnel decisions based on performance and evidence. Don’t use age as a factor. Keep documentation to support your decisions.

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Business Marketing

in 2021 the EU will enforce ‘right to repair’ for phones and tablets

(BUSINESS NEWS) The EU says NO to planned obsolescence by…letting you fix your own stuff? The right to repair has started to make headway again.

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Right to repair

Not to be a loyalist turncoat about it, but sometimes the European Union comes out with stuff that makes me want Texas to go back to being Mexico, and then back to being Spain.

The latest in sustainability news from across the pond is that in 2021, the Old World is saying no to Euro-trash, and insisting on implementing:

Right to repair laws
Higher sustainable materials quotas
Ease of transfer for replaced items (ie: letting you sell your old phone without the need for jailbreaking anything)
and Universal adaptors for things like phone chargers, and connection cables

Hallelujah!

Consumers worldwide have been feeling the pinch of realizing their (cough cough, mostly Apple brand) technology not only breaks easily, but either can’t be fixed afterwards, or requires costly branded repairs.

The phenomenon has given rise to rogue mobile repair shops, Reddit threads, and renegade fix-it philanthropists like Louis Rossman. And while they certainly HELP, the best thing for a problem is to cut it off proactively. Since companies were making too much money not picking up the slack, the EU’s decided to take the steps to force their hands.

I’m always on my soapbox, but I’ll stack another one on top for this: Planned obsolescence and the assumption that a company has any right to tell you you can’t repair, restore, revamp, or re-home your own possessions are obscene. And to be fair to Apple fans, it’s not just in tech—it’s in damn near everything that’s not meant to be EATEN. Literally.

I bought a STAPLER for a volunteer gig I had. A good, sturdy Staedtler one that I figured would serve the project and continue to stand me in good stead for a while. After a few dozen price tags attached to baggies, the stapler jammed, as staplers do. No worries, you find a knife and wedge out the stuck staple…except I couldn’t. Because the normal slot for that was covered by a metal plate literally welded in place so that I couldn’t perform a grade-school level fix on something I paid for less than 24 hours prior.

Rather than stand behind a product that’s supposed to last, companies, even down to simple office ware, have opted to tinker away to force consumers to trash their current products to buy newer ones. Which I did in the stapler case. A rusty second hand one that didn’t HAVE that retroactive BS ‘Let’s create a problem’ plate on it, meaning no company but the resale non-profit I was helping out in the first place got any more money from me.

Consumers are wising up, and fewer lawmakers are still stuck in the fog of the 90s and 2000s surrounding our everyday machinery. The gray areas are settling into solid black and white, and SMART smart-businesses here stateside will change their colors accordingly.

Now while we’re all still quarantined and hoping for these laws to wash up onto American shores…who has craft ideas for the five-dozen different chargers we all have?

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Business Marketing

Uber Eats waives delivery fees during COVID-19 quarantine

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Uber eats has decided to take a friendly helpful step forward while everyone seems to be quarantined, they have started to waive delivery fees!

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Uber eats

With everything canceled, including dining out for social distancing’s sake, food delivery service Uber Eats is waiving delivery fees in an effort to lessen the financial strain local restaurants are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the company, Uber Eats has more than 100,000 independent local restaurants on its app. In addition to Uber Eats, Grubhub said it will waive commission fees up to $100 million for independent restaurants across the country.

“As more people stay home, local restaurants need your business more than ever. That’s why we’re waiving the Delivery Fee for all orders from every independent restaurant on Uber Eats—more than 100,000 local restaurants on the app,” the company said in a news release earlier this week.

To find the local independent restaurants on Uber Eats, just look for the EAT LOCAL banner. Delivery fees will automatically be waived, according to this story on Tech Crunch.

Uber Eats is also making it easier for locally run restaurants to get paid faster, offering daily payments rather than the normal weekly payouts, according to Endgadget. Also, the company is giving back saying it will provide 300,000 free meals to health care workers and first responders in the US and Canada.

Not only will waiving fees help restaurants and customers, it’s sound business for food delivery companies. Local restaurants drive roughly 80 percent of business on Grubhub.

“Independent restaurants are the lifeblood of our cities and feed our communities,” Grubhub Founder and CEO Matt Maloney said in a statement published on Endgadget. “They have been amazing long-term partners for us, and we wanted to help them in their time of need. Our business is their business — so this was an easy decision for us to make.”

To limit human interaction Uber Eats and other food delivery services, including Grubhub, Postmates, and Instacart, are encouraging users to select the no-contact delivery method. According to Uber Eats, as is the norm, once packed at the restaurant food items are not touched or opened.

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