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Zillow Publishes New Terms of Use; Read the Fine Print

January 10 2021

In the early days of listing syndication, WAV Group investigated the terms of use on third-party advertising websites like Zillow.com, Trulia.com and others. Zillow and Trulia, who received data through listing syndication feeds rather than though data licensing terms with MLSs like Realtor.com and Homes.com, had some shocking language. For example, brokers who provided listing data under the site terms of use were providing those websites with a perpetual license to the data with no restrictions on the use. Moreover, if you provide your data to Zillow or Trulia and their use of your data created a liability for them, the data provider was responsible for covering the liability. Yikes!

Last week, Zillow Group sent a message to their customers indicating that their terms of use have changed. The changes went into effect on November 4th. If you use any of the Zillow Group websites or product, you'd better go and take a look. Here is the link.

You should also take a close look at the Privacy Policy.

I would also strongly recommend that you have your lawyer review them. If you consider your personal data or listing data as an asset, you should be careful when you extend rights to that asset to Zillow Group or any other entity โ€“ especially an entity that generates revenue by leveraging your asset.

Here are a few highlights that we are concerned about. You might be too.

Zillow does not claim any responsibility for any consequences that may be caused by the usage of their websites or software application. That blanket statement covers all of their brands and products.

Once you provide data to Zillow, you are prohibited to reuse the data yourself other than limited use. This is outlined under prohibited use, item 5.

Any fee paid for services is not refundable.

Any information uploaded by you has the same effect of providing an irrevocable, free, perpetual license to use, reproduce, modify, or create other stuff using your data. And, as in the past, by submitting your data, you guarantee that you have all of the rights to do so and that you are not offending any other persons' rights. For example, when using a professional photographer to take photos of a home you are marketing, you need to make sure that the photographer has authorized you to give the irrevocable and perpetual license to use that data.

The terms of use gives Zillow an open license to provide your data to third parties, including your personal information, however they like, and Zillow takes no responsibility at all for anything that may happen to your data in the hands of a third party.

This is a big one โ€“ you are entering into an agreement that allows them to make a referral to a real estate professional and to be paid a valuable consideration for facilitating the connection. This is also true of referrals to loan providers, origination services, title, etc. Zillow claims the right to get paid for all of these referrals but is not in any way responsible for any harm that this may cause you or your company. They can even run a credit check through Checkr or Experian and share that information to others.

You do have the right to delete your account and all personal data โ€“ but not listing data.

You agree to indemnify Zillow Companies and agree not to receive any direct or indirect damages as a result of your use of their services or the services of any third party.

They make no warranties about their service.

I urge you all to take these terms of use very seriously and to perform your own review alongside your legal review. Be careful out there. These terms of use are your only guardrails to protect you and your data.

To view the original article, visit the WAV Group blog.