BEWARE: THEIR POLICIES AUTHORIZE THEM TO CLAIM AND OWN "PERPETUALLY" (forever) ALL OF YOUR CONTENT. They take it and suck your SEO life right out of you - leaving you no recourse. They have literally stolen all of ours, down to 7 visitors to our dot com each day, after we've been in business over a year.
The customer traffic is great. But ever since my store went "live" on Houzz, it has taken months to have products correctly listed. I am spending a ton of time answering customer questions - which is great for customer interaction. But when the issue is, "Why does it say 'wood' when the product looks like metal?" it becomes a real headache. The problem is in the Houzz data feed.
Users beware of one major issue I've been working to correct for well over a month: If the "system" prefers your content from Shopify products over competitors' content, your actual content from each of your products (for us, almost 4000) will soon be advertising for your competitors. The data system takes one product description and uses it as the preferred one for every listing of that UPC item.
Now, if you just upload manufacturers' blurbs and go with that, no big deal. But if you painstakingly and with much cost work very hard to provide fuller text for your items on your store as part of your brand experience, Houzz takes that costly text you believe is under your ownership and will use it for competition to sell your products. They literally pirate your brand experience on behalf of your competitors. This is insanity to me.
This is a MAJOR problem for us. How does Google look at this? So much for our year's investment in brand bios, product details, etc. I've worked since January to get anyone to listen to me about this at Houzz. Not a peep in response, until I basically was told to email their legal department.
I'm just hurting all over for wanting to reach their customer base, but having the energy drained out of me due to the amount of back and forth it is taking.
Our first customer order was approx $2000. Awesome. However, refund requested. Cancellations occur with no reason after we have already started production or ordered from the manufacturer. Also, customer credit cards may not work after you have had items constructed or readied for shipment, but you are out those costs because you don't know about the credit card problem until it is time to ship.
It is so painful to have these things happen when you are a small establishment working every day to sustain growth. We literally went far backwards the first month. Then, with the 15% commission, profitability for time and energy spent, on top of the above problems, may not pan out. Sellers have almost no rights, just as with Amazon and other large channels. They say you accept the return and refund, regardless of the circumstances.
For us, the return was an item that had very questionable damage (customer inflicted?). Our policy is that you immediately refuse a large item if you receive it damaged. But using Houzz, "no questions asked," even if the customer has banged it up staircases, bumped it on thresholds, etc. Our item was so fragile that we couldn't even have it returned to us, because the customer packing would not protect it. So we had to let the customer keep/dispose of the $2000 cabinet...plus we ate the cost and shipping.
I believe in these vast channels (want to, at least). But there are many things being lost in the system here. I was formerly at the head of a $28mil eCom retailer and had a voice. As a small "guy," I have zero real voice with these problems at Houzz.
I'm so unhappy because we want it to work, so we keep investing so much time, thought, energy...bouncing back with every single problem. But I see the content "grab" as a real problem. I am not paying for, nor investing in, content development for all of Houzz retailers to benefit from it. I don't understand how they can do this and not see it as a problem. It's befuddling.
So I would definitely say beware, even though we are committed to still trying to work with the system. At some point, I will likely be kicking myself in the head for this decision. I hope not, as an eternal optimist. But I can't herniate content, product and money for very long.
Note, also that I think they stop sending you orders if you complain about something or get what they may consider "demanding." After the broken cabinet issue, it seems we were put on some sort of sales hold. That's all I can fathom. Great customer flow...then the broken cabinet issue, complaint...no orders, no orders, no orders two weeks (Feb 7 to Feb 21, so two weeks exactly)...then a burst of orders again. So this makes you feel held hostage when making a rightful complaint or claim, like my content issue. Meanwhile...while you are in a penalty box...your competitors are continuing to sell using YOUR lovely, painstakingly written content.
Just go in with your eyes wide open and expectations to lose a little in the beginning, at least. Maybe, hopefully, it gets better. But we are only at month three. I'm exhausted, but still trying.
Also...careful what you wish for and what you sell. You might want to reconsider selling fragile and expensive things. Learn from my issue and lesson.
And just for context: I've been in digital marketing since 1993, the very beginnings of the web. And yet, this is only the second review I've ever left. I'm conscientious about what I say and where, about a brand. I really just want this entity to realize that policies and data management ways/means are great, but not if they aren't working in a win-win. You can't parasite off the little guy.
Hopeful I won't be penalized for my truths. If they fix it all and stop hurting us more than they are helping, I will definitely come back and update this. It's on you, Houzz. It's all on you. Prove this wrong.
Want proof of the magnitude of this issue? Use our written text in a Google search: "Founded in 2005, Cyan Design of Ft. Worth, Texas features "beautiful objects for beautiful lives." The innovative brand is unafraid of color, fluid lines or edgy design."
Check out the listings for our competitors on Houzz. Sickening.
Want to get REALLY sick? Click on the bottom of the search "If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included." Or just click here: https://tinyurl.com/hsncn88
They are LITERALLY stealing every one of our customers from Google.
The problem here is that the issue is simple:
There is a primary feed of product descriptions that descriptions for all of the same product upcs are pulled from. That one feed (algorithm, actually) propagates all companies' representations of the same product.
All they have to do to fix this is:
1) reference the four blurbs I told them are from my website
2) remove MY content as the "primary" for the brands' upcs by adjusting the algorithm
3) use someone else's content (perhaps the brands themselves????) as the primary for all of these brands' upcs
4) take the four blurbs I provided and make sure they are not still on their site
That's all it takes!!!! Literally could be fixed in minutes.
If they wanted to do this the hard way, they could just search my phraseology on Google....then clean up every single one of tens of thousands of pages with my content on it. But I think the quick process above, to simply take 20 minutes and remove my blurbs in the algorithm as the primary feed HOUZZ-wide would be easier, right???
I am so put out. Here's what will happen: They will either stop my sales again like they did from Feb 7 to Feb 21, or they will shut me down completely...meanwhile pirating all of my pages' content.
I have been so patient, in trying to get this done. I'm so very disappointed in HOUZZ' handling. So disappointed. They pirated a full year's progress from us.
Search anywhere on the web basically for Fine Mod Imports, Cyan Design, Zuo Modern or DV Kap...you will find Houzz front and center. And click on the products...what you read is all Chez Roulez where it says "About Cyan Design," "About Zuo Modern," "About Fine Mod Imports," or "About DV Kap." And yet, Chez Roulez is not top in the search results...they sell our competitors FIRST.