Zillow.com Privacy Policy

I’m not a lawyer, and I have no formal training in Internet Security or Privacy policies.  I do have an interest in these things.

Below I review the Privacy Policy of Zillow.com, a web services company that I really like.  Text stricken through is text that in my opinion should not be in a Privacy Policy.  Red Bold text is suggested replacement/additional text.  Bracketed green text are my comments or questions about the policy.

Below is my marked up version of the Zillow Privacy Policy, which can be found in it’s current form by clicking here.

Zillow actually has a quite fair Privacy Policy.  It is certainly better than many others.  The Privacy Policy is only half of what you and Zillow agree to when you go to their site – you are also agreeing to the Terms of Use.  The Terms of Use is/can be a legal agreement while the Privacy Policy is basically a web site’s statements it makes in regard to them protecting your privacy. 

Below is the Zillow Privacy Policy with my suggested changed and my questions for Zillow.

I have e-mailed this  to privacy@zillow.com – the email address they give for questions regarding the Privacy Policy.

Rob

__________________________________________________

 

Zillow.com respects your privacy and recognizes the importance of protecting information collected from you through Zillow.com’s Web site, related data, and/or related services (collectively, the “Services”). We have adopted this privacy policy. Zillow.com will comply with this policy, and applicable privacy-related law, when we gather and use information from users of the Services.

This policy is current as of its last revision date below. However, please note that this policy may be amended from time to time to reflect changes and additions to the privacy policy. You should check back for the most current version before relying on any of the provisions in this privacy policy.  We will notify you any time this Privacy policy is changed.  Similar text is found in the Terms of Use, making it the customer’s responsibility to scan legal documents for potentially minute changes, and this just isn’t realistic, fair, or appropriate.  I agreed to a Privacy Policy and Terms of Use – if you change any of it, let me know – credit card companies certainly do it.  Don’t make me dig for it.

Collection of Information

Zillow.com collects a variety of information relating to usage of the Services.

  • Information you provide. You may provide us information about yourself, such as providing your e-mail address so we can send you information about the Services, or sending us e-mail. We use this information to respond to your requests, and to provide and improve the Services. We may combine this information with other information we collect from the Services or from other companies. [This is too ambiguous and just shouldn’t be here.  I am agreeing to share a certain amount of data with Zillow – data I provide them.  That does not make it ok to go and gather information from other sources and associate it with my data in my Zillow Account}
  • Cookies. Cookies are bits of electronic information that can be transferred to a user’s computer to uniquely identify the user’s browser. When you visit the Services, we place one or more cookies on your computer. The use of cookies helps us improve the quality of the Services in various ways, such as identifying which Services are most interesting to you, or storing information you may want to retrieve on a regular basis or tracking user trends. You may adjust settings on your browser to refuse cookies. Also, we work with one or more service providers to track and manage cookie information; you may opt out of cookie tracking and analysis as identified below in Opting Out. Some Services and features may not function property if you disable cookies. [Which functions, specifically?]
  • Usage logs. When you access the Services, your computer communicates a variety of information to computer servers operating the Services, including the existence of cookies, your Internet Protocol address, and information about your browser program. Your usage also creates a record of what information you are requesting from the Services.
Usage and Disclosure

In general, Zillow.com uses the information collected to provide the Services and to communicate with you.

We will only share personal information in the following circumstances:

  • Consent. When you consent or direct Zillow.com to share the information.
  • Affiliates and service providers. When Zillow.com provides personal information to our affiliated companies or service providers to manage and use on our behalf, consistent with the terms of this privacy policy.
  • Legal Obligation or Protection from Harm. When Zillow.com has a good faith belief that access, use, preservation or disclosure of the personal information is reasonably necessary to (a) satisfy any requirement of law, regulation, legal process, or enforceable governmental request, (b) enforce or investigate a potential violation of the Terms of Use, (c) detect, prevent, or otherwise respond to fraud, security or technical concerns, or (d) protect the rights, property, or safety of Zillow.com, its users, or the public against harm.
  • Merger or sale. When and if Zillow.com is involved in a merger, acquisition, or any form of sale of some or all of its business, personal information may be transferred along with the business. We may share with third parties aggregate information or information that does not personally identify individuals. [I assume since this is under the clause “Merger or sale” that this applies only to a merger or sale?]

We may share with third parties aggregate information or information that does not personally identify individuals. [Since this is specifically called out here, why is it called out separately in the “Merger or sale” clause?]

Opting Out

If you want Zillow.com to cease sending you e-mail about the Services, you can discontinue such communication by following the instructions included in our e-mail. If you do not want Zillow.com and its marketing service provider to follow your usage of the Services via cookies, you can opt out of the Web site analysis tool by clicking here: http://www.omniture.com/global/privacy.

Windows Liveâ„¢ Virtual Earth

Windows Live Virtual Earth imagery is supplied by Microsoft Corporation, and use is subject to the Microsoft MapPoint Privacy Statement. [Actually, I’m not sure you can assign the liability and responsibility for the MapPoint service to me.  You are providing me YOUR service, Microsoft is providing MapPoint to you.  I have no control over your use or misuse of MapPoint]

Third Party Web Sites

The Services may include links to the Web sites of other companies and/or individuals. These third party Web sites may collect personal information about users, and Zillow.com’s privacy policy does not extend to these external Web sites and third parties. Please refer directly to these third parties and Web sites regarding their privacy policies. [What personal information of mine, if any, does Zillow pass on to these “third party” sites?]

Children Under the Age of 13

Zillow.com will not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from any person under the age of 13. The Services are not designed to attract the attention of persons under the age of 13. [What mechanism (I can’t find one) do you use to determine if someone is under 13?]

Storage and Security of Information

Personal information will be processed and stored by Zillow.com in databases hosted in the United States. Zillow.com has taken reasonable steps to protect the information users share with us, including, but not limited to, setup of processes, equipment and software to avoid unauthorized access or disclosure of this information.

Contacting Zillow.com

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, or the privacy practices of Zillow.com, please contact us by e-mailing privacy@zillow.com .

— Updated April 2006