Profile picture for chenmingi

Has anyone else noticed that realtor reviews are looking fake?

In looking at prices in my neighborhood, I recently saw a new realtor's name pop up. I've lived here more than a decade but haven't heard of this one. Suddenly, on Zillow there are a bunch of great-sounding reviews of them, making it seem they've been active here a long time. They look like they've been written by the same person. Has anyone else noticed this sort of thing?
  • December 31 2011 - San Diego
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Be a Good Neighbor. Be respectful and on-topic. No spam or self-promotion! See our Good Neighbor Policy.

 
 

Answers (106)

Best Answer

I agree; it seems to be one more unethical thing some agents will do to get business, and it's unfortunate. BTW, it takes only a few minutes to create some Zillow accounts with some free email accounts.
  • December 31 2011
  • 5Yes

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The realtors PAY for this. Are they true or not? thats hard to say. I would interview the agents.  Theres a great video about hiring an agent that maybe you should look at [Hotlink removed by Zillow moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy for more information.]
  • June 12 2013
  • 0Yes

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[Off topic removed by Zillow moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy for more information.]
  • May 10 2013
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Profile picture for blue screen exile
Highly unlikely that anyone would go to prison for trademark infringement, nor posting reviews of a party they "discussed" something with.

On the other hand, a financial settlement is not out of the question.  But it is much easier to stop the behavior when notified prior to being assessed damages.
  • April 15 2013
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Profile picture for hpvanc
Hopefully Zillow will fully explore the possibilities of charging the website owner with any kind of criminal fraud might be applicable.  Unfortunately this type of behavior won't stop until someone goes to prison for it.
  • April 14 2013
  • 0Yes

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Profile picture for Bill Eckler
Absolutely....my thought is that they may be created by other office mates or friends but you are absolutely correct they are too general and come across as contrived....something smells fishy!

Bill
  • April 14 2013
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Profile picture for blue screen exile
Interesting... some of those other sites with that phone number have also been taken down.

Wondering how the "price" compared...

Instead of $20 per review, it comes to about 10 cents to buy a fan from a foreign country, and about 12 cents to buy a fan from one's own country...

They claim they sell over 2 million fans per day.   And apparently, if you "sign up" you become one of the fans they sell, and then they flood you with "news" from all the organizations that you became fans of.

So, since the price of a review was 200 times that of a fan purchase, does that mean they expected to sell 10 thousand Zillow reviews per day after they got established?
  • April 13 2013
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Profile picture for blue screen exile
Thanks for pointing out the phone number...  I see that the facebook one has been around since July 11, 2010; and that the website page layout is identical to the Zillowreviews  site that was taken down, with just a few minor changes in wording.

That means it took less than 10 minutes to create the website, so the only "investment" was purchasing two domain names, and buying some Godaddy webspace.  And maybe no webspace was purchased as it was likely shared with the other buy-self-promotion sites.  So it now looks like the total investment was less than $10.

Even this phrase in the facebook fans webpage looks surprisingly familiar:
"The Largest Facebook Fan Supplier in the World"
  • April 13 2013
  • 0Yes

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Profile picture for Go Huskers
"I keep wondering if the intent of the website was irony, satire, mockery, and/or some other form of humor? "
-----
The site was real and is part of a larger "enterprise" dedicated to fakery. If you google the phone number that was posted (I won't repost here), you will see all the other options available for fakery including Fake Twitter friends, Facebook fans, Instagram followers and YouTube views just to mention a few.
  • April 13 2013
  • 2Yes

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Profile picture for Dunes ..
chenmingi

You posted this thread in 2011 and returned, kept tabs on it, kept it alive

Kudos to you and everyone should be giving you a thanks and thumbs up in my opinion...I sincerely wish there were more consumers like you, more people posting at Zillow like you....
Thumbs up from me



Debbie..lol
Also I'm fairly impressed with the forum on the other site
(Found it by accident)..a number of the same questions word for word in their Real Estate section that you see here
and it seems to be zillow oriented free ;)
Course I've only looked at it a day or so and still haven't figured out how to make a link in that forum cause I's a rookie..a junior member lol
  • April 13 2013
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Profile picture for chenmingi
Wow, it looks like I wasn't the only one noticing all the fake reviews.
When I mentioned that here at the end of 2011 I didn't realize there would be anyone dumb or desperate enough to pay for fake reviews. 
Now it looks like what I saw was only the tip of the iceberg. Dunes and Pasadenan and MikeEmery have managed to spot at least one "black hat"
I wonder, though, whether anyone at Zillow has actually seen any of this discussion. Sure, we can all speculate, but that the zillowreviews.com site went down may only mean that whoever is behind it just got nervous.
Hopefully, Zillow will get a handle on it, because all the fake reviews simply don't pass the smell test and frankly stink up the whole place.
I'm glad there can be forums like this with all you active and thoughtful folks to keep some attention on this.
  • April 13 2013
  • 4Yes

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well hurray for this thread (thanks to Dunes for bringing it to everyone's attention) and all the comments!

Yes I do agree that  all the yadda stuff here helped bring about the demise, at least for now, of that site.........lit a fire as someone said.

Now, as to the link Mike provided regarding that discussion elsewhere about zillow reviews (interesting to see what people are saying away from the site)...the person's impressions of the agents she spoke to (those who had stellar reviews , but then again, who doesn't have stellar reviews here?) ...anyway, she said:

"Another just seemed ditzy and rambling"

hmmmmmmmm, try as I might, I don't recall speaking to her - thank goodness it wasn't me she was referencing!

:)

enjoy the weekend everyone!
  • April 13 2013
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Profile picture for blue screen exile
"Score one for the squeaky wheel imo" -

That is what it takes.... but before anyone can do something about it, someone has to bring it to others attention... posting the link was the catalyst.  No change would have occurred without that.  As it is, the creator of the site got away with it for over 2 months.

Still, there was the expense of registering the domain names, and the expense of buying Godaddy webspace, and all the time to create those multiple pages of the website.  Probably not worth the effort for only 2 months of being on line, especially if it was only intended as a joke.  Sure, I can see someone spending that time, effort and money for a "good joke", but I think the person may have expected a "return on investment".
  • April 13 2013
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Profile picture for blue screen exile
I keep wondering if the intent of the website was irony, satire, mockery, and/or some other form of humor?  Especially with the "terms of use" posted, and the "copyright protection" notices, and the use of the term "white hat"...

But then, why would they bother to set up Paypal and credit card payment options?  Or were those just "fake" since I didn't bother to check to see if they do anything?

It reminds me a lot of that agent extortion site we saw a few months ago.  But at least this wasn't extorting money from people nor publishing bad press on people &  business they don't know.

I also wonder if the site may have come down due to the possibility that someone might sue them for "breach of contract" since it appears evident that they would not have been able to deliver what they promised after Zillow decided they will trash any reviews created by such an organization?

Still, I think there are a lot of reviews that party (or individual) created that Zillow has not found yet, and has not deleted yet.  Nor do I think it is as easy to find such reviews as Rachel implied.  (There are multiple ways to use other I.P. addresses in addition to the ease of using proxies).

I still say the majority of reviews on zillowreviews.com look fake to me.

And is that website domain name a creative acceptable SEO method according to Zillow?  It doesn't infringe on their trademark any?
  • April 13 2013
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Profile picture for Dunes ..
Thank you for the kind thought Pasa but I honestly believe it was the discussion of that link plus not letting the issue drop even after the usual PR Zillow rap...
I'm still amused by the TU's always given for the paid for opinion/indignation/we're gonnas/we value ya's

Everyone who participated, shared, checked, asked, didn't let it drop
should give themselves a pat on the back imo..
I know those who participated have my thanks
Score one for the squeaky wheel imo
  • April 13 2013
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Profile picture for blue screen exile
I had thought Kathleen might write an Email or letter on Monday after she comes back from vacation, but she does have a fairly decent staff, so maybe someone else handled it for her while she is on vacation?

Obviously, if it wasn't for Dunes posting the link to the site, nothing would have been done for months.

Of course, I still wonder if the "review" I wrote yesterday for the person that owns the zillowreviews.com domain had anything to do with it?  (It should never get posted, and it takes 7 days for Zillow to review, supposedly; but do the agents see the reviews while they are in Zillow review process?)  But since attempted "communication" includes reading their posts on their profile and, according to ZIllow's policy it seems like my "review" should be just as acceptably worthless as any of the others.
  • April 12 2013
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Profile picture for Go Huskers
I opt for the notion that the person that owned the site, read this thread and pulled it on his own. I'd bet $1,000,000  that someone contacted that person with a link. 
  • April 12 2013
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Profile picture for Dunes ..
I think your guess is in the ballpark Michael.
I think " simple folks sticking our noses into it lit a fire under the proper authorities" is a Home Run

If people spoke up more, were a little more vocal, insistent I think Zillow would act or respond in a more positive manner for the consumer and the site.....just my opinion
I also think doing so would actually be consumer oriented and not Zillow oriented..but then I'm a grumpy nut case
  • April 12 2013
  • 2Yes

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My guess is the website domain manager got a 'cease and desist' order today due to copyright infringement. But I'd like to believe that us simple folks sticking our noses into it lit a fire under the proper authorities.

Most corporations will withhold legal action in lieu of first using a cease and desist. This method is far less expensive than a full blown lawsuit - especially when the merits of the case are specious at best.

Just speculation - but speculation can be fun.
  • April 12 2013
  • 3Yes

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Profile picture for Dunes ..
I was/am finding the same thing Michael..outside this forum there is a lot of criticism...

Zillow acting quickly (Zillowreviews.org) may have been due to the yadda here and concern about the word spreading..may have been
Zillow musta talked tuff...know it was/is unlikely/fantasy but I woulda loved seeing a
"Bring it on..I's got reviews to sell" But then perhaps I/someone will notice that market just got more open ;)

I don't know about the Trademark side of this issue (Not close to being a Lawyer) but I'm truly interested in the possibilities of the issue (selling reviews) if the Trademark issue was not a factor
Perhaps they are or will be sold without the "Zillow" touches
Reviews sold for the top RE Sites and ....kinda like a Postlet's site for Reviews..Reviewits




  • April 12 2013
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I like this link the best.

Zillow may have a hard time proving that Zillowreviews.org has harmed them as there was already a lot of criticism about the review process on Zillow.

But it may be all for nothing as Zillowreviews.org has been taken down.
  • April 12 2013
  • 1Yes

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Profile picture for Dunes ..
Just so anyone browsing can quickly see what issue/topic has been discussed on this thread recently/currently


Buy 100% Real Zillow Reviews

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The Largest Zillow Reviews Supplier in the World
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  • April 12 2013
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thanks for the clarification - misunderstood you - that's what happens when one comments in the middle of the night!
  • April 12 2013
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Profile picture for Dunes ..
Buy Zillow Reviews now comes up first/#1 out of 34,000,000 results if you do a Google Search for Zillow Review

Google Search/Zillow Reviews

The link to the Better Business Bureau's F grade for Zillow is now the #6 result
  • April 12 2013
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Profile picture for Go Huskers
'"are you saying that 1 person left 7 reviews ("all match to ONE of his facebook friends)?"
----
No, I'm saying that 7 reviews are from 7 people listed as one of his FB friends. This may or may not be unusual, just an observation.
  • April 12 2013
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"7 have first and last names that all match to one of his Facebook friends"

are you saying that 1 person left 7 reviews ("all match to ONE of his facebook friends)?
  • April 12 2013
  • 2Yes

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Profile picture for mamtazchowdhury
We trust Zillow,that's why we are in Zillow. If anybody Fraud ,Zillow will Review & get out.
  • April 12 2013
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Profile picture for blue screen exile
I find it interesting that Zillowreviews.net & Zillowreviews.org were created on 2/6/13, and that from the beginning the owner advertised:
1) largest Zillow review suppler in the world
&
2) "We have never had a client's business removed due to our services being rendered."

That can only mean:
1) they were in the habit of creating faked reviews months before the website went on line
and
either 2a) They never had any clients, or 2b) they have not been doing this long enough to have any profiles deleted or users banned...

Which likely means it would have stayed "under the radar" if they didn't decide to make a commercial venture out of it and advertise the practice.
  • April 12 2013
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Profile picture for blue screen exile
Of the 52 reviews I flagged for "appears to be....", so far, I have received 3 Emails stating "we re-reviewed, and decided it will stay"...

I don't know if I will get any Emails on the rest or not.  And it is really not my problem one way or the other.  I generally find all the "reviews" worthless, as they have no means of measuring the items I'm looking for, and I have no means of verifying anything they say.
  • April 11 2013
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Profile picture for Dunes ..
I do think it's important to remember that they also sell Zillow Lender Reviews...


We Review Everything!

"Whether you are a real estate agent, lender, property manager, home improvement service, appraiser or moving company, we can provide reviews for any profile on Zillow." Buy Zillow Reviews



  • April 11 2013
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