Real Estate Brokers Sue Trulia Over its Premier Agents Program

A group of brokers have brought a lawsuit against Trulia for its Premier Agents Program, which allows agents and brokers to purchase an advertisement on a listing without the permission of the listing agent, according to The Real Deal.

According to the suit, the Zillow Group subsidiary connects buyers with agents who “have no actual connection to the property being advertised, other than having paid defendant to be presented prominently next to the property.”

Premier Agents have long-enjoyed special privileges on the platform, including access to customer feedback and marketing data to help them succeed on the platform. The service nets at least $240.7 million a year for Zillow, according to The Real Deal. Zillow relies heavily on that revenue to finance other expansions.

The plaintiffs are seeking $5 million in damages, on the grounds that Trulia’s Premier Agents Program unfairly favors those willing to pay for additional services on Trulia rather than respecting the proper legalities and etiquette of a listing. The suit also points out discriminatory user interface design: while the box featuring the Premier Agent is emphasized by a number of design features, the design for the listing agent looks outdated and bland, Inman reports.