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A Look at Zillow’s Acquisition of Follow Up Boss: What to Know

February 21, 2024

Late in 2023, real estate giant Zillow made headlines with their announcement of a massive $400M+ acquisition of Follow Up Boss, now FUB, one of the largest customer relationship management softwares (CRMs) in the real estate industry. 

Although Follow Up Boss will remain a separate entity from Zillow, many in the real estate space have been left to wonder how this acquisition may impact not only Follow Up Boss users but the real estate industry as a whole. On a recent episode of the National Land Podcast, Chief Marketing Officer Steve Pacinelli was interviewed on the details of the acquisition and what it may mean for users moving forward.

Here’s what you need to know about Zillow’s acquisition of Follow Up Boss!

What is Follow Up Boss?

One of the leading customer relationship management systems in the real estate sector, Follow Up Boss is designed to help real estate professionals manage client relationships and stay on top of potential leads. It’s essentially a digital organizer tailored specifically to the needs of real estate agents and brokers that enables mass communication and provides automations to make the process of maintaining contacts easier than ever. Follow Up Boss’s capabilities to organize contacts, schedule appointments, and track conversation details have made it one of the most popular CRMs for anyone working in real estate. 

Given that innovation and data-driven improvements are at the heart of what makes Follow Up Boss so successful, it should be no surprise that these factors were crucial to the decision to accept Zillow’s offer. Pacinelli explained this, stating, “When we identified that we were going to need some more resources, we had the choice of going to these [private equity] companies which all wanted to buy us with different offers, but it was all just cash. 

When you look at Zillow and what we can do together with Zillow, we’re not only getting cash of course, but we’re getting resources, we’re getting knowledge and insight. We have more AI devs and engineers [now] than Follow Up Boss has employees. So yes, it’s not only cash but it’s the know-how, the insight, that Zillow has as a technology company.”

What Does This Acquisition Mean for Existing Follow Up Boss Users?

For current users, this acquisition will have a few implications that improve the overall functionality of the system, especially as it relates to Zillow. Users who also list on Zillow will have the opportunity to allow Zillow access to their Follow Up Boss account to further their ability to track lead activity on their listings. By integrating these two ecosystems, users can keep a better eye on who is viewing their listings and what they’re looking for, and communicate with that lead accordingly! 

The other major benefit for current Follow Up Boss users is the continued innovation and advancement of Follow Up Boss’s capabilities, which Pacinelli highlighted, stating, “You’re going to see some features released here soon with AI transcriptions and summaries of calls. We’re really diving into that portion of the contact record in Follow Up Boss and how we can use AI there. That’s the most immediate thing coming out, in addition to automations.

We’re revamping automations within Follow Up Boss, and we had hit a couple roadblocks but now we’re getting help from the Zillow team in realizing our new automations 2.0 which is going to make it even easier to build out the automations. The action plans that were previously in Follow Up Boss are going to connect those together and make it even easier to build out and visualize. So those are some of the new things that are coming because of the acquisition.”

How Will the Acquisition Impact the Real Estate Industry?

While these advancements are certainly exciting for existing users, many are likely wondering what this acquisition will mean for their privacy and the security of their data. Fears of leads being mishandled or passed along to other agents have circulated in the wake of the acquisition, which is understandable given the competitive nature of the real estate industry.

Users can rest assured though, as Follow Up Boss has committed itself to protecting users’ data and leads, ensuring that Zillow will only have access to the things that users give their express permission to access. Pacinelli reinforced this point, explaining the following:

“Let’s make it really clear. Can Zillow Group access, use, or scrape your customer data? That answer is no. The customer data you enter into Follow Up Boss stays within Follow Up Boss. Zillow Group won’t be able to use it unless you give permission.” 

Zillow’s integration with Follow Up Boss will allow users to better track their leads’ activity on the Zillow site, but opting into this data sharing will be necessary for Zillow to see that data in FUB. “You do have to give permission for something like that to happen, but they can’t go and look at your other contacts and your database. It gets very nuanced with the data, but if you don’t have a Zillow integration or want Zillow to access your data, then that answer is no, Zillow will not have access to your information.”

“Zillow is a publicly traded company and they don’t want to do anything that would jeopardize their company whatsoever. Just as an extra layer of security, we hired a third-party entity over top of Zillow and Follow Up Boss to make sure that policies are being adhered to and they’re being followed. We wanted to make absolutely certain that people felt comfortable with their data. We know how important everyone’s data is to them, and we understand that. It was a crucial part of the decision-making process, and I don’t think it could be in a more safe place.” 

With their commitment to protecting and improving the overall user experience of Follow Up Boss, the Zillow acquisition appears to have the potential to significantly improve the functionality of an already impressive CRM. To learn more about how Follow Up Boss can benefit real estate professionals, click here! To reach a land professional at National Land Realty, please click here.

About the Author
Bryce Berglund is National Land Realty’s Content Marketing Specialist. He is currently residing in Minnesota, where he attended the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Bryce is an appreciator of all things artistic, and likes to spend time at his cabin with his dog and family.