Profile picture for RussHatfield

About recent changes to Zillow Advice...

Hi all,

An overdue public response to feedback related to various recent changes -- intended and not(bugs) -- to Advice:

RE: A separate Zillow Questions category

This was intentional for purposes I shared previously. The jury is still out on whether this change is helping non-Zillow discussion here in the forum, as well as what impact is to responsiveness to Zillow-specific questions.We are tracking metrics related to these two key areas, in addition to a few others.

Appreciate the feedback that the name of this category, "Zillow Questions", might not be the best fit. Pasa has suggested "Website Issues". Any other ideas?

(post continued below)
  • July 03 2012 - US
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Answers (20)

Profile picture for RussHatfield
RE: Zillow Questions not included in default "All Real Estate Advice Topics" list, or the "All Topics" top-level category

Again, this was intentional. Yes, by removing these questions from the default Advice view we are de-emphasizing them somewhat and emphasizing the non-Zillow specific discussions/questions. Obviously, our intent is to de-emphasize the ZQs in this manner without negatively impacting responsiveness to them. Yes, we've failed to this point at achieving this objective.

We're exploring a few changes to filtering and configuring your own default views so that one might have more control over this(eg to choose whether to include Zillow Questions in default view or not). Agree with feedback that it's not intuitive that ZQs category is not included in "All Topics" or the default view labeled, "All Real Estate Advice Topics". We're exploring breaking this out further, messaging options and, overall, ways to make this separation more obvious.

I've read suggestions to rename "All Topics" to "All real estate and mortgage topics"(Pasa) and "All Real Estate Advice Topics" to "Featured Real Estate Advice Topics"(Dunes). Any other suggestions?

(post continued)
  • July 03 2012
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Profile picture for RussHatfield
RE: "General Discussion" subcategory

Feedback on this heard loud-and-clear. We're open to moving this to its own category. And we are absolutely not trying to hide the Tavern and Watering Hole :)

RE: Stickies

Yes, that was a big mess even before the sort order problems. We didn't organize that well or maintain it. Dumb. We've cleaned it up and will do a better job of it going forward.

(post continued below)
  • July 03 2012
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Profile picture for RussHatfield
RE: Default view(sort by "Last Updated") for Zillow Questions category

Looks like it now includes the new posts(without replies), regardless of ZQ subcategory(or lack of one). And now that we don't have to wade through almost two pages of stickies we're hopeful that there is better visibility on and, as a result, responsiveness to these posts.

Certainly, though, this isn't just about sort orders. We are committed to increasing and sustaining our own presence in Advice, as well. We do acknowledge feedback that we often rely on our community members too heavily. I'll acknowledge, personally, that as head of Customer Care here at Zillow that I take it for granted at times, as well. 

It shouldn't be the case, of course. I apologize and sincerely thank you all for what you do. We'll continue to do our part(yes, it's our site/product, after all) by being present and active in Advice and by championing improvements to the product so that we're ultimately helping users get the most out of Zillow AND get answers to their Real Estate questions so they can succeed at whatever it is they're trying to do through and with us.

Thank you for keeping us accountable.

Russ
Zillow Customer Care
  • July 03 2012
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Profile picture for Dunes ..
Yes.... but you'll Ban me
  • July 03 2012
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Profile picture for sunnyview
lol Hopefully making suggestions won't lead to a Club Penguin without the Penguins. 

I would like to see a category in the larger mix with general questions that may not fit neatly into Buying Selling Mortgage Pro etc since sometimes people have a hard time putting a tight label on their real estate question.

Posters seem to be finding the Zillow related/Zestimate category ok so far, but it would be nice to see some general discussion out from under cover of the tighter Zillow Questions heading.
  • July 03 2012
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Profile picture for RussHatfield
@Dunes

Nah, you won't be banned. Though feel free to send me the suggestions in private, just in case ; )

@Sunny

Agreed. Most larger online communities do have a separate "general" category. This makes sense to me any way we look at it. The decision is ultimately made elsewhere here but it has much support and I'll update you all once I have more.

Thanks!
Russ
  • July 05 2012
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
Five things that I would really like to see, already posted on the threads:
Zillow Asks How would you re organize Zillow Advice?

and
Seeking Feedback Advice Category Re-Organization

1) Allow each user to selectively filter out posts by selected users, maintaining a "black list" of users the individual user doesn't want to see on their profile.  (To assist users deal with posting like Long Island Real Estate was doing)  (Selected white listing might be nice too if there are only a handful of users that one wants to read posts from).

2) Allow the thread titles to be searched independently of the thread posts.

3) Allow symbols and phrases to be used in the searches.

4) Allow the user on their profile to select whether a thread shows "newest first" or "oldest first" for the posts on each thread as a default.  Having them "random" and different for each thread is very confusing.

5) Fix the links on the user profile to get to the correct page on the thread for the specific post.
  • July 05 2012
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
It may also be necessary to revise the name "pricing" under the "selling" category, as there recently seem to be many "Zestimate" questions there rather than under the "website issues" category.  The pricing sub-category is not supposed to be about Zillow estimates, but rather CMA's, CMA methods, and strategies for selecting a listing price to get a home sold quickly for as high an amount as possible.

Perhaps, if Zestimate questions are posted under "Selling Pricing" they can be automatically relocated to "Zestimates"?
  • July 05 2012
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Profile picture for Dunes ..
My opinion is this is just another Preaching to the Choir PR post

The entire time I've been at Zillow the "Response"..The few answering all the questions for Zillow...the problems with the lack of response by Zillow to issues they create with their "improvements...My Estimate ect. has been blah blahed to death & from Zillow the smoke has flowed..

A...We know, we're trying, we listen, we are aware and will, thank-you every couple of months and nothing changes that actually helps the Consumer/User or those asking questions where Zillow tells them to ask...
All that happens is the same few people show up on these PR posts you do every once in awhile, read the same We we we and they make the same suggestions., it's the same every-time imo and has been totally unproductive,,

I'm not in the choir and am sad anyone is..you'll do what you do and PR how you did good things and the choir will sing imo until the next PR post about caring and working and trying because Zillow popped out another poorly planned, implemented and responded to "Improvement"
IMO you're batting 0 at everything except getting a few people to do your Customer/User Service/Zestimate complaint/issue response for you for FREE
And your latest "improvement imo is nothing more than Out of Sight Out of mind for the Zestimate complaints/discussions ect. and all the User questions Zillow does not respond to

Look at the high % wetdawgs and sunnyview handle for you....and you say you don't have enough Staff...if the people being paid (just 2 of them) did as good a job as W & S we wouldn' be having this discussion/exchange

You didn't fix a thing,,you just hid it

And I've heard all the Rah Rah from members and Zillow so please spare me that..an opinion was asked for and given

My intentions are to enjoy the Fact the Tavern was getting 1500-2000+ views a day until your "improvement"..that it got more than 95,000+ views since April 27, 2012
The watering Hole got 80,000 plus in 6 months...I'm also impressed with that. Then your "improvement"
and yes I do expect to be Banned because I'm gonna say what I think

Time for Zillow PR talk & Cheerleading is over in my opinion...put up or...
  • July 05 2012
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Profile picture for Dunes ..
And why did you post this here instead of your Featured Category page where people would see it..
60 views and at least 10 of those are mine lol
  • July 05 2012
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Profile picture for the_country_hick
Russ, I decided quite awhile ago not to reply to questions about how the site malfunctions or misleads. That is zillows responcibility not mine. I might change my mind if I recieved $20 an hour or better for replying to those questions.

Why was this thread not posted where it could be easily seen? Did you forget this section is effectively invisible or did you plan on it not being seen at all?

Once zillow put up a special category for zillow specific questions they should have had staff available and ready to reply to those questions. If that was not done zillow was not trying to clean anything up. Zillow was trying to hide a real problem by attempting to make it invisible. Is management incompetant or sneaky?

I now have 60.07% thumbs up. I am debating about continuing here once it gets below 60%.

Here is how zillow works.

The Q&A section has a problem or a percieved problem. At a corporate level zillow decides to make changes without input being asked for (or accepted if asked for) about those changes or testing them before implementing the changes.

Once the change is made which is done in a day the screwups quickly become obvious. A zillow employee comes along and begs forgiveness but nothing changes for weeks or months if ever. The same employee then explains how powqerless they are to do anything. Why bother replying at all only to say zillow is impotent(not important) ?

If new software is written for this site I strongly suggest that zillow needs to invest in some thumb drives. They are not that expensive. That way you can set up some folders with the old programs by version number and date that get deleted with the almost always worse replacements. Once the problem is obvious even to zillow employees the thumb drive can be brought to the computer and the old program reinstalled. This should take under 5 minutes.

Do not take those who post regularly here for granted. Many of us left trulia and can leave here also. Get some employees to take care of those things that are zillows responcibility.

It is obvious to me that zillow does not have any employees who look at the questions posted much if at all unless a flag is posted. Get someone to just look at the questions. I am tired of flagging zillow specific questions so a zillow employee will do their job. 

How long do you expect those of us who contribute and make the Q&A section work to hang around when zillow keeps making it less and less desirable to remain here?
  • July 06 2012
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Profile picture for Dunes ..
I'll bump this and we can see if it gets any views in this Backwater County;)
(116) in 2 days so far




  • July 06 2012
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Profile picture for Dunes ..
23 more views since yesterday...woo who!
Bump




  • July 07 2012
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
Just wondering... (from Zillow Customer service)
1) when will Zillow move the "general discussion" category from where it is to it's own major category?
2) when will Zillow rename "Zillow Questions" so that it is more intuitive?
3) when will Zillow reformat the "advice" left margin topic listing category presentation, so that it is clear that "website issue" threads are NOT included in the "all topics" listings?

All three corrections seem to be pretty easy to me and should not take 3 weeks of "executive staff meetings" to resolve.
  • July 09 2012
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Profile picture for Dunes ..
And how would moving General Discussion be more than just something done to calm Tavern/Watering hole Egos?
Zillow Questions is a Black hole not just "General Discussion"
Regular members get their Discussions posted by just posting them where they will make the "You can see me" Page because they know how to work it...but the casual user?

What about the real problem/issue?
Zillows response/presence in the Forum..
The lack of which imo appears to be the entire reason for this Format change......to hide that lack of response/presence

Why don't you just work on answering questions/issues/complaints directed to or at Zillow...by getting more answered by Zillow?
Why all the BS about how difficult that is?
  • July 09 2012
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
The "purpose" of my original request to separate the "website issues" from other topics was so that Realtors wouldn't just post "call a Realtor" when a site user asks how to do something on the website, such as how to search for "waterfront" on the home search page.

It is easy to fix... put a separate box above the existing box in the left hand margin, and put "website issues" in that box, (IN RED) with the subcategories beneath it in the same box.  And remove anything in that category that is not a "website issue".

Then PRIORITIZE having customer service answer threads that end up in any of those categories, since those are primarily questions for Zillow, and only secondarily for those site users that have experienced the issue before.  They don't need Realtor answers stating "CMA's are free", "call me any time", "I agree with the last answer", "try your local MLS", "FSBO is too complicated for people that didn't take the 140 hours "training" and pass the license exam", "Realtor.com is a better website", "I can give you the "exact" value if you call me", "it can't be done on Zillow"...
  • July 09 2012
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Profile picture for Dunes ..
Well the Presence/Response on this Zillow thread is impressive

What a waste of time....Adios
Got more opinions and views on my illegal Discussion thread on the "You can see me" Topics page in just one day anyway ;)
  • July 09 2012
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
Illegal discussion thread?

I don't think there is a such thing, except when those that are not agents post solicitations stating they are, or scammers try to scam money from unsuspecting public, or people post how to "steal" Zillow data.

If the moderators don't think it is in the right category, they will just move it anyway.   But moving it implies they see it, and we already know they don't see the majority of what is posted.

I'm still surprised that Russ never posted on my "how long will it be..." thread.
  • July 09 2012
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
I guess it would also be illegal to post how to blow up the White House in Washington DC from easily accessible materials purchased at Home Depot and Lowes, as that could be considered "terrorist activity", especially if one showed "intent" to follow through with such actions, and had the "means" to do so, and actually took steps toward that "goal".  Of course one would still have to show some means of getting it "delivered" and "detonated" without interception.  But as they say, "nothing is foolproof because fools are so ingenious".  I certainly wouldn't want to "work in the mail room" with all the "crazies" out there.
  • July 09 2012
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Profile picture for Dunes ..
LOL..."My opinion is this is just another Preaching to the Choir PR post"

Still think my previous post on this Zillow PR Ad is the Truth


"The entire time I've been at Zillow the "Response"..The few answering all the questions for Zillow...the problems with the lack of response by Zillow to issues they create with their "improvements...My Estimate ect. has been blah blahed to death & from Zillow the smoke has flowed..

A...We know, we're trying, we listen, we are aware and will, thank-you every couple of months and nothing changes that actually helps the Consumer/User or those asking questions where Zillow tells them to ask...
All that happens is the same few people show up on these PR posts you do every once in awhile, read the same We we we and they make the same suggestions., it's the same every-time imo and has been totally unproductive,,

I'm not in the choir and am sad anyone is..you'll do what you do and PR how you did good things and the choir will sing imo until the next PR post about caring and working and trying because Zillow popped out another poorly planned, implemented and responded to "Improvement"
IMO you're batting 0 at everything except getting a few people to do your Customer/User Service/Zestimate complaint/issue response for you for FREE
And your latest "improvement imo is nothing more than Out of Sight Out of mind for the Zestimate complaints/discussions ect. and all the User questions Zillow does not respond to

Look at the high % wetdawgs and sunnyview handle for you....and you say you don't have enough Staff...if the people being paid (just 2 of them) did as good a job as W & S we wouldn' be having this discussion/exchange

You didn't fix a thing,,you just hid it

And I've heard all the Rah Rah from members and Zillow so please spare me that..an opinion was asked for and given

My intentions are to enjoy the Fact the Tavern was getting 1500-2000+ views a day until your "improvement"..that it got more than 95,000+ views since April 27, 2012
The watering Hole got 80,000 plus in 6 months...I'm also impressed with that. Then your "improvement" "

  • July 21 2012
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