Many designers have a love/hate relationship with Houzz
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I am not the only one who has had success from the platform but without a doubt there are issues- and a declining quality of leads too- even though one of my best ever projects came from Houzz and just last week we got a great lead from the project match system which has been abysmal in the past. Issues across the board and many disruptors in the design industry today.

So I question- do we not think the entire design landscape is changing?

2018 note- Yes, Since Houzz was launched the game has changed and this post was first written 2015 – and yes the photo tags are beyond hideous- and yes I do not like their  tactics either of selling off of our photos.  But my original point was some people are missing out on an opportunity without the benefit of having investigated far enough for their own business model. It is not for everyone- for sure. And large markets have more competition on all fronts and this includes Houzz- I think it works far better in small to medium sized markets but still only if you optimize your profile. And far too many designers have not done this- it is easily verifiable- go look. 

Houzz has gone beyond what they originally put out there as a platform without any doubt and it is has not been met with  love by many designers. And  some people do have an agenda- not speaking about designers but about other media who want to direct attention to their own platforms. And is also true- some have bashed me because I dared to not merge with the traffic- So be it. I will continue to cash the checks. 

Take it how you like. I have no agenda. I am not paid by Houzz. All I state is my success- other designers get leads too and have mentioned it- but now- lordy. To defend the business you get from Houzz can be tantamount to design treason. This bugs me- I think facts are facts- and not disputing it does not work for all but geez people- it is ok if someone has a different opinion.

Let me be clear:  I do not like certain aspects of the site either and for sure am ever vigilant in case things change.  And not professing to be an expert in digital marketing either….but am pretty successful in my field and think am brighter than the average bear.

 
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The fact they use your photos that are really owned by the photographer- to sell other product is really a sticking point for me too.

Houzz does tag your photos with the ugly green tags- however at least for paid pros- not in your markets sponsoring. 

So YES they make money off of you and NO they do not cut you in for any of the profits nor your photographer. Not unusual here for a for profit business to only consider THEIR needs and success and not MINE.  It would be awesome if they would make it so that designers could make money on the photos they provide but this is not a business reality right now and not sure it ever will be- but one can hope.

click on photo. The image tag is what you want to use if do not have a "shop" on Houzz.
click on photo. The image tag is what you want to use if do not have a “shop” on Houzz and want to tag your own photos.

screen shot houzz More talk about their google rankings being so high that it out ranks your own site.  If your Houzz profile is done right and you have the website button right smack in someone’s face…who cares how someone found you? Or your site? I am sure there are some that this may not work well for…but not sure is the designer crowd. And I ran checks today without cookies, on random computers and my website came up first time always but this is a function of the google local kick as well as my organic SEO but if Houzz comes up first, I just need to make sure my profile is looking sweet!Unknown

AND if someone is searching for a designer, they do not know to search for your site anyway. But then they search Houzz and find pix they like and they happen to be your work…well, maybe they will hire you. Most Houzzers are DIY who want to get info for free…this is true.  Some are just people who like getting ideas and will never ask a question but some do. Some are RUDE as hell and it annoys me to no end. But, I will answer in this way…( If I answer which usually do not have the time to do) “Thank you for your kind comments about my work. Glad you like the paint color/sofa/chandy/suitcase on the chair but we are under contractural restrictions to not reveal sources on this project.” BOOM. End of it. Now if they are nice and use their pleases and thank yous then I say answer if you know the info off top of your head and if not, say sorry this project is archived.

Yeah yeah…I would prefer to be able to exit stage left if I chose and take my toys photos home with me.  This is probably the biggest lament to me and agree would be better to be able to leave without a hassle.  Not unusual but does kind of stink. SO WHAT DO I DO ABOUT IT?  I never add projects until after published in print OR I know they are unlikely to be picked up OR I only post second tier photos of a hot project. Teasers I call them. I have plenty of work to choose from to populate my profile with pictures that represent my firm.

A word on my track record with Houzz.

I never used any sponsored posts until two years ago. (And even now is for out of market business for my shop.) I loaded photos about 4 years ago and then have added sporadically…from my stinking iPhone. So for an ROI ..it is working. Because I DO NOTHING and have had some awesome projects to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars over the past few years.

Maybe more that is not even directly attributable. As a working designer, I need to be on this site and so do you. It is a mega pull for consumers. Hate it all you want but it is a necessary if you are not going to do more grass roots marketing of your firm. Remember: ” What was sufficient to get you where you are today is not sufficient to keep you there.” 

What can Houzz do should they give a rip about what designers like or do not like? Get rid of the hideous green tags, stop the insane and ridiculous matching of pieces in our photos with cheap walmart barely look alikes, and if really want to make people happy- throw a bone to the designers if their photo does generate a sale. How hard would this be? You will get more designers posting more quality work. 

Thank you and we welcome comments. Good, bad, ugly. Just do not use more than 5 curse words and you can stay in my club. Ok, max 7. But after than I gotta kick you to the curb. Ain’t got time for that.