Mike, from Palm Harbor, FL recently wrote in to advise me of a survey he received from Zillow. I found it both interesting and disturbing at the same time. I thought it would make for an important post for a couple of reasons. First, to give our community a heads-up of what might be coming down the pike. And second, I thought it would give us all an opportunity to share our thoughts on what it might represent for our industry and how best to address it.
Anyway, here is what Mike shared with me:
"I just got an email from Zillow. They said they were surveying their certified photographers, and wanted me to participate. I, like many, am not real enthused about Zillow and what their end game might be. But, I thought I should participate in the survey and flag a couple areas that I thought could use improvement. So I clicked the link.
OMG. It was not a survey about satisfaction with Zillow or Zillow operations. They wanted to know all about my equipment and process. What brand of camera, resolution, lens focal length, if zoom or not, do I bracket, do I do my own processing... the questions did not stop. They wanted to know everything about how I shoot and my equipment.
I was flabbergasted. I answered all of the questions, and not a single one of them did I answer truthfully, or even in the ballpark of the truth.
Years ago, I was involved in another industry where the same types of questions were asked. Within a year, there were mass lay-offs. I suspect that Zillow is looking at getting more into the photography business and is collecting data to establish the procedures and equipment of successful photographers. That's a nice list to have if you are planning to enter the field competitively.
I think the alarm should be raised. Anyone who answers this survey truthfully is not thinking clearly. Zillow is not our ally or friend. They are a necessary part of doing business and we should step forward to hand over the "secret sauce" that makes a photographer successful."
So, what do you think?