The @Zoopla #ZPP100 ‘game’
Is the @Zoopla #ZPP100 losing its value?
In a recent post, I wrote about how the #ZPP100 could be a useful benchmark to help decide whether your estate agent was able to market your home using one of the most powerful mediums in the world; Social Media.
Whilst I haven’t fundamentally changed my mind on this, the very competitive nature of the #zpp100 seems to have, in itself, created a problem. Before the list came into being, there were a number of, less publicised lists that showed a range of agents and agency suppliers who scored highly on peer index and Klout etc through, in the main, the fact that they were widely followed and quoted for their property knowledge and opinions. However, since the list came into being and, it’s usefulness as a means of increasing business prestige, personal ego and business levels has became apparent, it now appears that the list is being ‘gamed’.
What do I mean by this?
In simple terms, the #ZPP100 has a fatal flaw. It uses a relatively simple measure to assess score. Don’t get me wrong; simple can be good but, ‘simple’ is often open to willful/ cynical abuse and, simple just doesn’t do ‘subtle’ very well.
Let’s take the scoring. Klout uses a relatively simple algorithm to assess its score which it updates at around 16.00 hrs GMT every day. The scores are based on a certain number of points for a re-tweet (RT) or shares on Facebook, a certain number for number of followers (and followers to following ratio), a certain number for tweets favourited (‘likes’ on Facebook) and, for engagement etc. It also adds extra points if the people who like, share or RT a persons posts are, themselves, highly ranked on Klout. So far so good.
What Klout DOESN’T do, is assess what a persons posts are about or, whether someones followers are genuine or ‘bought’. For example. If I wanted to cynically increase my score on the Zoopla leader-board, I could Tweet all day about Justin Bieber or another high trending subject or personality and I could pretty much guarantee that my Tweet would be picked up and run with by a very large number of people; thus pushing up my score as an ‘influential estate agent’. But; would I still be an influential, knowledgeable estate agent or, just someone who makes a clever noise?
I could, just as easily, buy a load of new followers for my Twitter account (I’ve seen spam mail offering me this option for as little as a fiver for 5,000 followers!). This too, would have an almost instantaneous positive effect on my score. Another way of gaming the system might be to tweet or mention big name influencers who will almost always tweet back (corporate #SM account managers are required to ensure that mentions by customers are responded to promptly and treated politely; and so, will usually respond and engage with even relatively way-off-topic subjects, rather than be seen to be ignoring someone). Any such conversation will give an immense short-term boost to the score of anyone who employs such a tactic or, a good long-term strategy to keep a regular increase going.
I would like to say that this isn’t happening and that this blog is a ‘what could be’, rather than, what I believe it to be; a ‘what is’. But consider this:
- Klout scores generally increase slowly over time and, the higher you get, the more difficult it is to increase and keep that increase. Getting from 0 to 50 is a relatively quick process if you are using social media regularly. Getting from 50-60 takes a little more time and, once you get into the 60’s, your progress is usually measured in increases of 0.5 or less a day (and that’s if you are doing well and working hard at it). To illustrate this, see the attached graphic using the Klout API to see how the top 15’s scores change over the period of a day (a daily average change of just 0.12 across the board).
- Is it not odd, then, when some people in the top 100 make seemingly massive jumps up the leader-board and their scores increase by factors that are several hundred percent above the norm?
- Look a little closer at a few of these Twitter lines, follower numbers and scores and it would appear that, at best, their influence score is not exclusively based on property market knowledge*. This is not to say that these people are not experienced, professional agents, as I am sure they all are but, it does rather discredit the scoring system which aims to show “A leaderboard for the most influential Estate Agents in Social Media”
Will I withdraw from the #ZPP100?
Not at present. As I have consistently said, it’s just a bit of light-hearted fun with a relatively serious side to it.
Is this just sour grapes that I have dipped a couple of places in the past couple of weeks?
No; I have maintained a steady top 10 position since I entered the list shortly after it started and a few places up and down now and then don’t really phase me. I have always said that being in the Top 100 in the UK is an achievement in itself. I do, however, like to play on an even field and hope that an improved scoring system can be implemented to ensure that the list retains credibility
*Don’t get me wrong, almost everyone (bar the highly focused corporate accounts) has a bit of fun and off topic, lighthearted conversation on Twitter and Facebook (I certainly do) but, I am trying to make the point that the scoring for the ZPP100 should be, in the main, about property and property market opinion and knowledge.
P.S. Please don’t ask me where or how I worked out the API code for the index. ‘I’ didn’t but, I have a few friends who work in IT who occasionally like to be given a challenge for a bit of fun but, equally, like to keep their skills hidden from the limelight.
Chris Wood 31.8.13
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About Chris Wood: Chris is an estate agent with over 25 years of property experience. His business, PDQ Estates Ltd is based in Penzance and Helston, West Cornwall. He has worked with all sizes and types of businesses from single office independents to the management team and board of RBS and Tesco. A former President Elect of the NAEA and board member of NFoPP until he resigned in 2009, Chris has always championed the highest professional standards for estate agents in the UK. No stranger to the media, he has appeared on various programs including BBC, News 24, ITV, independent and BBC radio and is a regular contributor to trade journals, local and national Newspapers. Chris is on KloutLinkedIn Ecademy Facebook and Twitter Married to Amanda, he lives in Penzance with their children who are slowly flying the nest, his two dogs and his elderly Uncle. In his spare time; Chris likes to keep fit and is a long-standing member of the Territorial Army. In 2010 he mobilised for a tour of duty in Afghanistan with 1 Rifles as part of 3 Commando Brigade.