• Dotloop, owned by Zillow Group, has unveiled a new privacy policy guarantee stating that dotloop customers own all their data and dotloop won't use the data without dotloop customers' permission.
  • The guarantee appears to be designed to ease the concerns of some agents that Zillow Group will use their data for products and services without their consent.

Dotloop, a digital transaction management provider that was acquired by Zillow Group earlier this year, has unveiled a new privacy policy guarantee stating that dotloop customers own all their data and dotloop won’t use the data without dotloop customers’ permission.

Zillow Group appears to have introduced the “Dotloop Data Privacy Guarantee” to ease the concerns of some agents that Zillow might use data entered into dotloop to build or improve the real estate firm’s services and products, such as the Zestimate, without their consent.

“Since our acquisition by Zillow Group, there have been some questions from dotloop customers about how their data would now be used,” said Austin Allison, founder and general manager of dotloop, in a statement.

“Data privacy has always been a top priority for us; that has not changed. We are introducing the Dotloop Data Privacy Guarantee to provide increased transparency on this topic, making it very clear that dotloop customers own their data and that their data will not be used for Zillow Group products or services without their permission.”

Zillow said in a statement that the Dotloop Data Privacy Guarantee “builds upon dotloop’s existing privacy policy” but would not tell Inman how, only commenting, “We don’t discuss the terms of our contract.”

Dotloop’s Data Privacy Guarantee states that:

  • Dotloop customers own the data they put into dotloop, including all customer data, from user information to transaction data.
  • Dotloop will not use this data as part of other Zillow Group products or services unless customers have given dotloop permission to do so.
  • Dotloop does not disclose customer data except where required by law or authorized by the customers in question.

The guarantee applies to all data previously entered into dotloop as well as to data entered into dotloop in the future.

Zillow told Inman that it considers the Zestimate to be a Zillow “product,” meaning dotloop user data wouldn’t be used for Zestimates without dotloop users’ permission.

When asked how Zillow would ask for permission from dotloop customers to use their data for Zillow products or services, Zillow said, “We have many types of agreements with our partners and we don’t discuss the specifics of them.”

Asked if some dotloop users have already given Zillow permission to use their data for products or services based on how dotloop’s privacy policy is written, Zillow said it doesn’t discuss the terms of agreements with partners.

But Jay Thompson, director of industry outreach at Zillow, commented on an earlier version of this story that Zillow Group previously didn’t have access to dotloop user data under dotloop’s terms of service, “and nothing has changed — we still don’t have access to it.”

In November, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced a deal with zipLogix that gave Realtors access to free transaction management software. It was speculated that NAR’s move was a response to Zillow Group’s acquisition of dotloop.

Greg Robertson, the author of Vendor Alley, wrote in a blog post that he heard that dotloop was “forced” to amend its privacy policy “if they wanted to keep licensing forms in certain state.” The post received a comment from dotloop CEO Austin Allison:

“Following the acquisition, several customers have raised questions about this topic…and since we value our customers’ input, the ongoing nature of such questions led us to believe that additional transparency on the topic was warranted,” Allison wrote.

“So to answer your question: YES, you could say that we ‘forced’ ourselves to listen to our customer’s input. We’ve operated the business in this way from the very beginning and have incredibly strong customer relationships because of it.”

Zillow did not provide a clear answer when asked if access to forms played a role in dotloop’s decision to add the new privacy guarantee.

Email Teke Wiggin.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated.

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