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What's A Zillow Certified Photographer?

Published: 29/07/2016

ZillowCertifiedA couple of days ago Cindy in VA asked me:

A friend and I noticed a reference on the Internet to "Zillow Certified Photographer".  So we just spent the last 30 minutes on the Internet trying to find anything out about this with no answers, just Everbrite invites to locations in the US on dates that have past.  They show workshop at hotel locations in Virginia Beach, Dallas, Phoenix, Atlanta having these workshops to get this certification but no other info. We even look ALL over Zillow's site and use other search terms to see if we could find anything else out - hoping you might know where to direct us or if you know anything about this "Zillow Certified Photographer".

I'd never heard of a "Zillow Certified Photographer" either and until just a while ago I had no clue as to what that might me. I noticed a clue to what it is in the intro text for an event that when on 7/27/2016 in VA Beach. Notice in the description of the even it says. "Learn about our latest release - video walkthroughs - and how they can help photographers get free advertising to Zillow's network of real estate agents."

So my guess (totally a wild guess) is that they are releasing a new video walkthrough capability that will allow agents to have professionally shot walkthroughs on their Zillow listings.

Has anyone been to a Zillow certified photographer meeting and know what the details are?

Larry Lohrman

24 comments on “What's A Zillow Certified Photographer?”

  1. @Brian - I'm literally stunned that they are promoting using SmartPhones for walk-through video!! I suggested to the Zillow guys that contacted me about the post I did on their App a while back ( I suggested that they allow professionally done real walk-through video with quality cameras and stabilizers... and they sounded like they agreed that was a good idea.

  2. Hey Larry I will email you the packet they sent me. They basically what you to sign up and load cell phone video walkthroughs to their site. Once they approve the quality of your video work your considered "certified". They also offer to send you a free stabilizer, a badge for your website and free T-shirt!!! yippee

  3. @Bob - Yea, I can believe that. A secret society;)

    Some guys from Zillow wanted to talk to me about a month ago about their "plan to help real estate photographers". I told them if they were serious about "helping real estate photographers" they should start by stopping their flagrant disregard for copyright by keeping listing photos on their site after the listing expires. They got so upset they wouldn't talk to me anymore.

  4. They called me last week and said they looked at my web site and were impressed (ya right...) They said he wanted to offer me the opportunity to be a Zillow Certified Photographer and that shooting these videos would help me get clients. I told him I currently bill six figures and turn clients away. His response Oh my!

    I said thanks but I was not interested in shooting shaky videos with a cell phone and calling them professional to make $50 at best, most likely $25 and then to pass up other business where I can make $60 to $100 and hour shooting what is actually selling these home and what is attracting qualified enthusiastic buyers.

    We parted ways respectfully, but with prejudice.

  5. The ultimate objective for photographers would be free ad credits. DeVore Design is a Zillow Certified Photographer and the biggest benefit I see is the more Zillow Walk Through Videos were put out there the more ad credits Zillow gives us to market our services to realtors through Zillow's platform. I'm not a huge fan of the quality of the walk through videos, especially considering we produce "real" videos on a daily basis. But, the videos do give listings top placement in Zillow and receive twice the number of clicks according to their analytics. Additionally, they are very easy to produce in the field - super easy! DeVore Design consists of three photographers and we are all recording Walk Through Videos at this time.

  6. Another note... this has been out for a while and I have a hard time finding any videos on listing in my area (Pittsburgh). In other areas they are sparse and not a single on was any good.

    That could be why they are trying to promote themselves (and their bad idea) more then help Pro Photographers. If they wanted to help pro photographers they would allow them to use professional equipment to produce professional videos and post hem on Zillow. They won't do that because of their investment in this program and the infrastructure they have built for the videos that have yet to show up.

  7. Cindy and I talked about this and tried it out. Totally created through the app...bare bones. No substitution ability to add professionally created content. The bait here is that if you create the video, when it is approved by the agent and added to the listing it takes first position ahead of any photos. Listings with Zillow walkthrough video is "ranked" higher and can be seen by more potential buyers. Photog gets page and free promotion. They are hoping that professional photogs will take the time to master the app, use stabilization and sell this as an add-on service.

  8. We were approached by them to do the same thing. They basically wanted you to upload a video of the property with a smart phone. Our clients would kill us if we did that. they are very used to quality photography and video for their listings.

  9. To be fair, I'm pretty sure if I used a stabilizer on my S7 Edge I could get some pretty quality video out of it. A lot of cell phone bashing here while many forget that "cell phone" cameras have come quite a long way.

    For the record, no I do not shoot with a cell phone 🙂

  10. I think everyone is missing the very big picture here. Zillow's ultimate goal is to eliminate the Local and national agencies and then the Realtors in all marketing matters. Outside of the legal matters, all an agent does in this Brave New World is handle the keys, of what value are they really. Zillow becomes the agency. Call centers schedule viewings. Agents are like Uber drivers etc... Uber drivers with an App take pictures. Negotiations are now auctions handled by Zillow servers outsourced to Ebay. Legal matters are handled by (Zillow) Agency lawyers. Closings are via Skype or FaceTime. No need to even be in the same place. Signatures are electronic.

    Be afraid my friends very afraid...

  11. @frank - No doubt that's their goal. And it all looks good on paper and makes total, complete logic. The part you're missing is wildly intangible, but real as a heart attack: Babysitting. Emotional experiences need baby-sitters... The car manufacturers have hit that wall for 20 years trying to bypass the middle guys... Maybe Zillow has a plan to get around that - I seriously doubt it.

  12. I have attended the Zillow program due to my affiliation with another company. Partial disclosure done. Not a scam, did not realize info was hard to find. Its simple really.

    This is a program where you use a smart phone app and smart phone stabilizer to shoot a short walk through video and upload to the properties listing on Zillow. The app allows no editing to the video except that you can re-shoot a clip.

    Have not participated in the program, but hear fees of around $50 but assume this is an add-on to a full fee photo shoot.

    Seems like a good idea for some market segments, not sure if there is much nefarious energy behind the program as suggested in this thread. Zillow, as with all other real estate services company is trying to grow market share. No surprise eh?


  13. Zillow's business model is to steal content from the internet and sell it to others. Imagine a Zillow without our photos. You can't because there wouldn't be one. And they're worth several billion dollars. With a B. Have any of you ever seen a dime from Zillow for using content you created? Me either. Screw them.

  14. Scott, tend to agree with you. Putting on my Realtor hat rather than Photographer hat, I get cold called by Zillow and others trying to sell me premium services around placement of listings or either exclusive or typically small group shared referrals on available zip codes in the area. Of course the line "just one extra sale generated will pay for it." Assuming I have the time, I love it when they call as it gives me the opportunity o hone my sales skills with the goal to totally take them off their prepared scripts and counters to objections that they have written beside them. Get. Them so frustrated where they hang up on me. One of my common routines is to accuse them on copyright infringement where they have a top level counter script. Then take it deaper and dissect it, noting photos submitted under license to market the home, not to be used as raw material for a new product he is trying to sell to me. If using the raw material for a new product, like all businesses, they need to pay for the resource which in this case is the owner/copyright holder, usually either a professional photographer or the Realtor who took their own. They get increasingly frustrated as I continue to assertively support my argument and eventually hang up. If it goes too long or I get board, knowing they are in a call center where managers keep volume effectiveness statistics, I confront them that we have been on the phone for 'x' minutes and how many others on his list have I kept him/her from calling. They know they have been had and hang up.

  15. Zillow called me about a month ago, asked if I was interested in coming to their event in Orlando (I'm located in Jax) I didn't go to the event but I watched their webinar and completed a small survey. Now they're mailing me a "Zillow Care Package" containing a "Zillow Phone Stabilizer" and "Some Zillow Swag" Interested in seeing what this stuff is when it comes in.

    So pretty much they want me to start using their app to take listing videos for agents, after I shoot 3 homes I become a "Zillow Certified Photog". Not really sure what's the point of all this yet but I'm interested in the "free marketing on".

  16. A total newbie here...

    After reading these comments and seeing that Zillow holds onto photos and using content with pay or permission.. as a R.E. photographer, can you actually request the realtor not put your photos on Zillow?

  17. I started providing this service a while ago as part of my business services and must say that their are many appealing qualities of this service. If you know how to talk to customers it does give you a great added service benefit and extra cash to make a quick video. I didn't get a free stabilizer but it paid for itself in a two weeks.

  18. Zillow Certified Photographer. Adding a video to a listing does keep the viewers eyes on the listing longer (we already know that) My Agents don't want to pay additional for a video to move their listing higher in the search since they believe they are ALREADY paying Zillow for that.

    I have been working with Zillow to get "certified"

    I am not allowed to put my name on the video... so NO advertising advantage
    My clients view it as another Zillow fee

    The ones I have provided Zillow walk throughs (at no cost) have NOT purchased (as an add on) the branded slide shows with music OR the video walk abouts useful on Facebook, YouTube, etc

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