Today online real estate brokerage Redfin sent real estate portal Zillow an open letter basically calling Zillow out for not playing nice SEO-wise and demanding that Zillow change its ways to benefit Redfin’s and other brokerages’ websites’ SEO.
Redfin’s SEO complaints boil down to:
- As a “portal”, Zillow is under some kind of obligation to provide users with a clear link back to Redfin and other sources. Here’s the exact quote:
“We’re asking Zillow.com to render the listing attribution in the same simple way as the rest of the listing, so consumers can find the full source listing via search engines.”
- They also compare Zillow/Redfin to Google/Amazon with the following statement:
“We see a portal like Zillow as just that: a portal to data on other sites — a broad starting point for a consumer seeking general real estate information — not the only point, not an ending point. This model is well-established on the Internet. Google, for example, displays only a small snippet of information about a product being sold by Amazon, with a very prominent link to Amazon. Imagine if Google redisplayed most of Amazon’s product page, kept it up when Amazon took it down, and didn’t show the link to the original Amazon listing in an easy-to-find spot?”
Couple of thoughts:
- Redfin’s only recourse I can see is to play a game of chicken and withhold its listings from Zillow. Or delay the publishing of the listing on Zillow until Google has indexed the Redfin.com listing. But that assumes that Redfin’s SEO gain will outweigh the loss of leads from Zillow.
- Redfin’s Google/Amazon argument is flawed. In this case I see Zillow acting more like Amazon than Google. They post products (listings) from vendors and try to sell them (send leads to agents). And you’ll notice that Amazon doesn’t link out to its vendors.
I’m not saying that Redfin doesn’t have a point. Zillow is being a bit dickish with their links. And some of the other non-SEO arguments may be legitimate industry issues. But in my experience SEO issues between companies are no different than any other business issue: the guy with more leverage tends to win the argument.