Technology

How to recover (and profit) from the Trulia review purge

Zillow has taken some remedial action, and one agent found 'opportunity lurking around the corner'

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Takeaways:

  • Get copies of any of your wiped Trulia reviews by contacting Zillow.
  • Use the loss of your Trulia reviews as an opportunity to reconnect with past clients.
  • Don’t lose hope: Reports — but not Zillow itself — suggest some Trulia reviews may be restored.

Many real estate agents continue to lament the loss of some of their Trulia reviews in the wake of Zillow’s consolidation of Trulia and Zillow agent profiles

Some agents insist that many of their now-defunct Trulia reviews should have satisfied Zillow’s review requirements, and question why Zillow didn’t do more to alert agents that some of their most treasured online testimonials were on the chopping block.

But things may be looking up a little.

Zillow has taken some remedial action, and enterprising real estate professionals may have found a way to actually profit off the loss of their Trulia reviews. Here are three ways agents can recover, and perhaps even benefit, from Zillow’s review purge:

1. Ask Zillow for copies of your wiped Trulia reviews

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After Zillow’s nixing of Trulia reviews caused a stir, Jay Thompson, Zillow’s director of industry outreach, began spreading the word on social media that Zillow would send copies of wiped Trulia reviews to agents on request.

... By the way, how do you like your home? I am still working hard and here to assist you or anyone you know! Thank you!

Agents who take Zillow up on its offer can weave the reviews into their websites or marketing materials.

You can recover deleted Trulia reviews by emailing content-library@zillow.com.

2. Use the review purge as an opportunity to contact past clients

Broker Carol Wise said she discovered an “opportunity lurking around the corner” as she pondered the loss of her Trulia reviews. Here’s the play:

1. Write a personal letter to each client explaining the disappearance of your Trulia reviews.

2. “… Let them know that they are the building blocks of your business” and send them a copy of their review (perhaps retrieved from Zillow).

3. Tell them you’ll send a link to your Zillow profile.

4. Ask them if they’ll click the link and post their review.

Then work your magic:

“… By the way, how do you like your home? I am still working hard and here to assist you or anyone you know! Thank you!”

Dennis Murphy, senior business consultant at Zillow, suggested giving past clients the same spiel on the phone.

Finish off by asking if they know anyone buying, selling or moving in the next six to 12 to 24 months. “Then be quiet and let them speak …,” he said.

dennis murphy

Murphy provided instructions for how to request a review.

Another option may be to vent about the review culling to past clients.

“Already drafted an open letter to my clients who took the time to register on Trulia and give out their personal information telling them the reviews they took their valuable time to leave are no long deemed ‘worthy,'” said Realtor Robyn Phipps.

3. Keep your fingers crossed 

Zillow has stated that it won’t “remoderate” or restore any of the Trulia reviews that it’s already removed.

But CJ Hays, director of marketing at Agent Reputation, said that clients of his whose Trulia profiles lost all their reviews earlier this week report that generally around 25 to 50 percent of those reviews have since been restored.

David Schoenbrun, a Westlake Village, California-based agent, said Zillow Group representatives told him Wednesday that his Trulia reviews “should be back by Tuesday.”

He later clarified that “there was no assurance” provided by the representatives that his reviews would go back up by Tuesday. “They said only if my reviews fit their guidelines would they be restored.”

“If a review has been taken down from Trulia, it didn’t meet our review guidelines and will not be remoderated,” said Amanda Woolley, communications manager at Zillow, in an email statement.

Nick Baldwin, a Montclair, New Jersey-based agent, said he’s heard from other agents that Zillow has told agents that removed Trulia reviews “are being looked at and the ones that meet the criteria will be put back up.”

“We are still in the midst of migrating Trulia profiles, which includes moderating reviews,” said Woolley via email. “As we moderate agents reviews, a small number of agents may experience reviews being temporarily absent from the profile as they go through the moderation process. If the reviews pass Zillow Group guidelines, they will appear back on the agents’ profile.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include comments from Amanda Woolley, communications manager at Zillow.

Email Teke Wiggin.