How ShowingTime’s Privacy Policy Ties Zillow’s Hands

David Klein for Inman.com: How ShowingTime's Privacy Policy Ties Zillow's Hands

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Written by Patrick Kearns for Inman.com

February 16, 2021

In the wake of Zillow’s acquisition of ShowingTime, real estate agents who used the platform were concerned about data. The fear expressed was that data from their clients, data regarding showings, is now sitting in the hands of a company it sometimes considers a competitor. 

Zillow was clear that the deal shouldn’t change the way ShowingTime handles data and the company’s existing privacy policy would remain in place.

David Klein, the managing partner at Klein Moynihan Turco LLP, a legal firm that focuses on consumer data privacy issues, confirmed that the existing privacy policy will continue to pertain to Zillow.

“It’s written in a pretty standard fashion with a provision that contemplates the sharing of customer information in the event of an acquisition or a sale,” Klein told Inman.

Essentially, Zillow steps directly into the place of ShowingTime in the privacy policy, meaning “the provisions of this privacy policy will not be expanded or contracted,” according to Klein.

“[Zillow] can’t do things that ShowingTime couldn’t do is what I’m saying.”

A number of agents who spoke with Inman last week, essentially said that they didn’t believe Zillow would keep the privacy policy in place, despite its insistence it would do so. Those concerns are unfounded, Klein explained.

“[Zillow’s] hands are tied by the privacy policy, and Zillow can only do more with the data than ShowingTime could if and when these real estate agents authorize them to do so,” Klein said.

The privacy policy specifically lays out what data ShowingTime collects and how it is used. In conversation with Inman last week, Errol Samuelson, Zillow’s chief industry development officer broke it down.

“When users enter information into ShowingTime that complements the data that we already get from our MLS relationships, that is private information that they enter into the product that isn’t viewable or accessible by any other party,” Samuelson told Inman. “It is used exclusively for the purpose of appointment scheduling. So nothing has changed with that particular item.”

A Zillow spokesperson also told Inman “security is a top priority for both Zillow Group and ShowingTime,” in response to the original concerns expressed by agents.

“ShowingTime will maintain its existing data privacy policies,” the statement added. “We have robust processes to secure the data of our customers, many of whom already use other offerings from Zillow Group, such as dotloop, 3D Home, and Bridge Interactive.”

Photo by Expect Best from Pexels

David O. Klein

David O. Klein

David Klein is one of the most recognized attorneys in the telemarketing, technology, Internet marketing, sweepstakes and telecommunications fields. Skilled at counseling clients on a broad range of technology-related matters, David Klein has substantial experience in negotiating and drafting complex licensing, marketing and Internet agreements.

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