Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

Industry Relations Episode 61: Diagnosing Zillow Angst – with Errol Samuelson, Chief Industry Development Officer at Zillow Group

Zillow has been consumer-centric since its inception in 2006. And in the early days, the tech company didn’t pay much attention to agents. Now Zillow realizes that reducing friction for consumers means helping agents respond to online leads and schedule showings, for example. But is it too late to earn the industry’s trust?

Errol Samuelson is the Chief Industry Development Officer at Zillow Group. With 25 years of experience in proptech, he served in leadership roles at Realtor.com, Top Producer Systems, and Move, Inc. before joining Zillow in 2014. On this episode of Industry Relations, Errol sits down with Rob and Greg to explain why Zillow is acquiring ShowingTime and explore what’s behind the industry’s volatile reaction to the announcement.

Errol discusses the real estate industry’s distrust of Zillow, acknowledging the frustration the tech company has caused over the years and assuring us that his team will not misuse ShowingTime data. Listen in to understand how Errol thinks about CoStar as a competitor and learn why he believes an industry without cooperation and compensation is not good for agents, brokers or consumers.

What’s Discussed:  

Why the real estate industry went apeshit over Zillow’s acquisition of ShowingTime

Zillow’s assurance that ShowingTime will remain an open platform with a strict privacy policy

What problem Zillow is trying to solve by acquiring ShowingTime

Errol’s insight on the rumor that Zillow bought ShowingTime to keep it out of CoStar’s hands

How Errol thinks about the fact that people assume Zillow is lying

Errol’s acknowledgement of the frustrations Zillow has caused agents over the years and how the company’s behavior may have amplified the industry’s distrust

The possibility that social class and age are a factor in the industry’s mistrust of Zillow

The focus of Zillow’s Q4 earnings call (Zillow Offers vs. streamlining the consumer experience overall)

Why innovation in the lending space is limited by federal regulations

The unique opportunity Zillow has to innovate around ownership models

Errol’s thoughts on CoStar as a competitor and why CoStar’s success hinges on the government putting an end to cooperation and compensation

Connect with Errol:

Errol at Zillow

Errol on LinkedIn

Errol on Twitter

Connect with Rob and Greg: 

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website


Rob’s Post on Zillow, ShowingTime & Paranoid Realtors

Zillow’s Press Release on Acquiring ShowingTime


Steve Murray at REAL Trends

CoStar News

Greg on Twitter

Zillow’s Q4 2020 Earnings Call

Zillow Offers

Nick Bailey at RE/MAX

Gary Keller’s 2021 Family Reunion Vision Speech Recap



Jay Thompson on Inman

Susan Daimler at Zillow

Rob’s 2020 List of the Seven Most Interesting People in Real Estate

Zillow Home Loans


Federal Regulations on Mortgage Finance

REA Group

Andrew Florance at CoStar

Rob’s CoStar Red Dot Report

CoStar’s Q4 2020 Earnings Call

Rob’s Interview with Joe Rand

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  1. One thing all of y’all missed in the “why so much Zillow angst” conversation is the Expedia connection.

    Rich and Lloyd founded Expedia, and that had a pretty big (negative) impact on the careers of many travel agents. Fifteen years ago, on Day 1 of Zillow’s existence, some agents immediately assumed the sole purpose of Zillow was to do to real estate agents what Expedia did to travel agents.

    That baggage exists to this day.

    I know, selling plane tickets and hotel rooms isn’t remotely the same as selling homes. But I can assure you the Expedia connection is real, it hasn’t been forgotten, and it’s a significant part of agent angst toward Z.

    Great show! Though it’s a little annoying that Rob doesn’t equate my education at St. Edward’s University to Stanford and Harvard. 😉

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