Profile picture for omiz

Transforming Zestimates

I have a question regarding Zillow's API ToS. My company is interested in obtaining Zestimates for modeling purposes via the Zillow API for members in our database who have provided their addresses. Under normal circumstances I wouldn't expect this to be allowed under Zillow's ToS. My question is related to the fact that in our case these Zestimates would be immediately (i.e. programmatically) transformed into a score that is entirely relative to the dataset under examination (e.g. a rank of valuations, which cannot be tied back to the zestimates obtained from Zillow). The Zestimates acquired from Zillow are not stored locally in any way for any period of time -- the API pull and transformation are hardcoded and are out of reach of end-users. Futhermore, we would be far under the 1000 per day limit -- we would only query the database occasionally and with small datasets (maybe a few thousand queries a month in total). If Zillow is appropriately credited when this data is distributed internally, is this still a violation of the ToS? Many thanks!
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July 24 2013 - US
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Profile picture for DrewMeyers
That's a derivative work of Zillow data...which is against the TOS. I wouldn't have been able to allow it when I ran the api program from 2007-2010, and my hunch is that nothing has changed from their perspective.
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August 09 2013
Profile picture for wetdawgs
Your interpretation that it is against the Zillow Api ToS seems to line up with the way  I (not a Zillow employee or lawyer) would read the ToS.    If you touch the Zestimates in any way (even transforming), you should comply with their terms of service.

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July 31 2013
Profile picture for Ronald N
Hi omiz -

You can check out the link regarding Zillow API ToS.

For other helpful information, please visit our Zillow Help Center.

Thank you.

Ronaldo N.
Zillow Customer Support
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July 31 2013
Profile picture for Pasadenan
Yes, it is a "requirement", you can't get a code to use the API's if they will not be used on a publicly accessible website.  They are not for "internal use"; Zillow allows you to freely use them on free publicly accessible websites to market their brand and services.

Also read paragraph 1 of the Zillow website Terms of Use again too.

If you need data for "research purposes", you might want to check
http://www.zillowblog.com/research/data/
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July 27 2013
Profile picture for omiz
These would be for internal use only (not on a publicly available website). This would seem to contradict the ToS but for the fact that the zestimates are completely transformed, so is this still even a requirement?

Thanks for the help. 
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July 27 2013
Profile picture for Pasadenan
I don't work for Zillow either, but the one issue I see is that it "must be on a website available to the general public for free".  Since you state it is "distributed internally", it implies it is not on a publicly available website, which would be problematic.  But that seems like a simple thing to correct. (As long as you don't mind random users like me being able to access the "scores" you calculate).

As long as you properly credit the source, and make it clear that the score is your own calculation but uses Zillow estimates as one of the inputs, it should comply.

It is also not clear if you will be E-mailing the "scores" derived from the Zestimates and data about the homes on Zillow... it appears this could be problematic, as it appears that would violate Zillow's contracts with the numerous data provider companies.  It appears they actually have to visit the website, and see the Zillow notifications there, rather than being "sent" a score.  But you could send them a link and a note that the score was available.  It still needs to be done on the fly instead of stored, at least the way I read it.

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July 26 2013
I am not authorized to speak on behalf of Zillow. Based on your description above, I think it is safe for you to do what you are proposing.

Many folks practice "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy when coming to crossing the line of T&C!
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July 26 2013
 
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