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« List of Listing Sites | Main | What's All The Hype About Transparency in Real Estate? »

December 11, 2006

Comments

Greg Swann

> I went to put in the second listing and it asked my to verify my account by entering in credit card information.

It's a security level. They want your card info in case you're claiming houses that aren't yours.

Jonathan Dalton

Is this a new change? Greg, did Cathleen get asked for a credit card? I entered a couple of properties last week and never was prompted.

Tony Arko

I tried it on Friday and yesterday and both times it asked for a credit card. But I don't understand how my credit card info will verify that the 30 or so listings I have are mine. Hopefully someone can clarify this for me.

CJ

We have entered about 15 listings on Zillow so far. No, they do not charge you. They do ask you to verify your identity by inputing a credit card number. This verification request turns up every 3rd input. I'm kinda with Tony Arko on this - what exactly will having my credit card prove? Other than making me think twice about what I'm doing.... and I did complain to David G about receiving ~both~ "activiation" and "confirmation" emails on each listing.

Maureen Francis

Security is a good thing, but how will having a credit card number secure it?

jf.sellsius

Security? Another buzz word thrown out by zillow advocates to justify an illogical practice. What is the penalty for claiming the wrong house? Do they charge your credit card a fee? And who's checking the card numbers? Makes no security sense to me.

Funny how former zestimate detractors have no problem listing their sales price right next to them and proclaiming zillow the next coming of realtor.com. Amazing how the free listing carrot silences the loudest critics.

David G from Zillow.com

Hi, this is David from Zillow.

There is no charge to post your listings on Zillow. It is free.

We enforce a security verification step when posting a listing. Usually that step requires you to identify the owner's name from a drop-down list. A more rigorous version of that security check requires credit card validation and kicks in after a certain threshold of posted homes is exceeded -- or where we don't know the owner's name (7% of houses). As we state on our site, your credit card is not charged in this validation step and you have the option of faxing us a copy of the signature page of your listing agreement instead -- so, entering your credit card is optional.

We enforce these controls as a security measure to prevent malicious users (particularly robots) from spamming the site with fake listings. I'm sure you appreciate the importance and the challenge of maintaining a fresh and accurate inventory.

Your feedback is very useful. We have reviewed the time limits and the quantity of homes we allow to be posted before credit card verification kicks in and agreed to relax those limits. Those changes will be made today and should ensure that you are not repeatedly asked to go through the your credit card verification process.

I hope that clears up any confusion about this process. Thanks for your feedback.

Tony Arko

David, unfortunately your site does not list a listing agreement signature page as acceptable proof of ownership of a listing. It does however list 4 things that I never get from my clients.
You mention that the credit card will not be charged during the verification step but you don't say when it will be charged. Is that something you are going to tell us about or do we have to check our credit card statements for charges?
Also, the malicious users and robot reason is prevented by asking for a verification code not a credit card. Every other site does that but your site chooses not to. Why is that?
And finally, I still can't figure out how my having a credit card is proof of being a listing agent for a particular property. I just don't seem to be able to make the connection.

jf.sellsius

Good point Tony. Bots are stopped by captcha & other verification codes---thus that credit card explanation is illogical.

David G from Zillow.com

Tony --

Sorry for my delay, I'm on leave. For a more prompt reply, feel free to e-mail me [davidg at z].

We mistakenly re-used the list of items that home owners fax to claim their homes instead of asking for your listing agreement. That should now be repaired. My apologies for any inconvenience this error may have caused.

There are no credit card charges relating to this process. We will not charge you and do not archive the credit card information you provide. To verify your card, we systemically ask the bank to "authorize" a $1 transaction which is then expires without settlement. You will not see any Zillow-related transactions on your monthly statement but should see this authorization if you review your online bank statement shortly after posting. This is a common e-commerce process, also used by companies like Amazon.com to ensure that the user's credit card is valid before they will initiate a shipping process.

Please review my earlier comment which addressed the purpose of this verification. I have also passed on your feedback in this regard to our product managemers. Based on early feedback they have now changed the posting thresholds and frequency with which agents are asked for credit cards -- in most instances you should now be able to verify your relationship to the owner by merely selecting their name from a randomly generated list.

Tony Arko

David,

Thanks for updating the site and making it easier for the agents to list a property with zillow. I still have one question that you failed to answer. How does having my own personal credit card verify that I am the listing agent for a property. There is absolutely no connection that I can think of. I will give my listings another shot this week and let you know how it goes in an updated post. Thanks for staying on top of this.

David G from Zillow.com

Hi Tony,

It's a pleasure. We are still working out a few kinks and appreciate the feedback.

You are correct that the credit card process does not allow verification of your professional status. The reason we request it is that it's the most secure way to ensure that listings posted on Zillow are not spam.

I have received suggestions that we rather request that agents provide their license numbers and that we publish those to be verified by our site's users. What do you think of that idea?

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