More Accusations Against Trulia- Now Cloaking?

Trulia has been caught in some allegations recently that question the integrity of the company, and imply that Trulia is involved in some shady practices that help it’s own site at the expensive of the agent/brokers/partners who work with it. Most of the accusactions have to do no-follow links (temporary 302 redirects) that give Trulia links, but prevent links going back to the “partners” it works with, so it can cause it’s own site ranking to go up and hurt the ranking of the partner sites.

Now, accusations of cloaking, or displaying different content to web visitors and search engines to gain one-way inbound links to it’s own site, while looking like it is giving content to partner sites. Obviously, if true, this would further erode the confidence agents and brokers have in the website.

Trulia’s PR machine will most likely be in high gear again, so look for explanations to come from their side soon.

I like Trulia, mostly because they are doing new things and bringing new things into the industry. But I also believe agents/brokers need to build their own online identity and brand themselves, not a third-party listing aggregation website (Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com, etc).

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4 thoughts on “More Accusations Against Trulia- Now Cloaking?

  1. Hi Greg!

    Here is my comment from SEOMOZ:

    http://www.seomoz.org/blog/white-hat-cloaking-it-exists-its-permitted-its-useful#jtc63152

    Hi All!

    Thanks to Rand, Matt Cutts and everyone else on this dialogue. We did not see this as a black or even a grey-hat technique , but this issue has seemed to stir up some debate. The Trulia Publisher Platform was designed to provide publishers with a robust real estate search utilizing Trulia’s search technology. User experience and content on our co-brand pages and Trulia pages is the same and 301 redirects were put as an additional precaution to avoid duplicate content (not every search engine seems to respect User-agent: *Disallow: / directive in robots.txt). There was never an intent to deceive either users or search engines, but given recent feedback, the perception that we may be violating Google Webmaster Guidelines is something we absolutely want to avoid. We removed the 301 redirects to be as conservative as possible.

    Thanks to everyone here for your insight!

    Rudy

    Social Media Guru at Trulia

  2. If you read through the comments on that link, I think that you’ll see that Matt Cutts doesn’t endorse cloaking in any way, and chastises Rand for suggesting that it is a recommended practice in any situation.

  3. Greg – I totally agree with your last statement that Realtors need to brand themselves. I love ActiveRain for what it does, and the great Google Juice, but am not focusing on that as my primary blog, by any means.

    I also feel that way to some degree about our “mother” organizations, Coldwell, ERA, Remax etc.. they spend millions branding, and while I am associated, I am still Heather Rankin, Realtor, if that makes sense. I appreciate the tools and the branding they do have, but at the same time, I need to be independent and have something to carry forward if I ever leave.
    Cheers!

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