Designers have been angry with Houzz lately, accusing them on taking from the industry: tagging designers’ images to sell their own products, having designers put a Houzz badge on their website to complete their profile…

1 – To Houzz or not to Houzz

Back in 2009, Houzz was created to connect home owners and home designers and contractors.
Houzz was built on designers and contractors work. Houzz would not exists without them.
So why so much negative feedback from designers?

Houzz in 2018

  • 40M global users

  • 1.5M home pros

  • 25M unique monthly visitors (75% US)

  • 4M photos

2 – Houzz people are very Smart.

  • The designers do all the work.

They have their subscribers do all the work for them. They tell them how to optimize their content; include your keywords within you text, describe your images and your projects with keywords and locations. Be active in the community, answer questions and ask your customers to post reviews on your Houzz profile.

Therefore, they get FREE optimization from their subscribers. Isn’t it smart?

  • The designers gave them their work.

By agreeing to their terms, designers have given them the right to use their images any way they wish.

  • Ever heard of link juice?

All those cute little badges Houzz award their designers, and ask them to proudly display on their websites are linked back to Houzz.

To put it simply, every single link is a “vote”, telling Google how important Houzz is. Ever wondered why Houzz does so well in organic search results?

Moreover, there are two kinds of links:

  • “no-follow”, meaning search engines do not follow them – worth nothing!
  • “follow”, meaning search engines do follow them – worth a lot!

The links from designers’ websites back to Houzz are “follows”.

The links from Houzz back to designers’ websites are, you guessed it, :”no-follows”.

With 1.5M pros, imagine how many of those links Houzz accumulated over time.

In addition, we always ask to our designer/ contractor customers, with Houzz badges on their website:

Why in the world would you want to send your visitors/ potential customers to Houzz, a platform where zillions of your competitors also are???

3 – Houzz uses their subscribers’ images to sell their own products.

They have tagged products on images and linked them to “similar products”. We have checked  many of “the similar products”, which were not even close to being “similar” to the designers’ ones. Just low-quality products for Houzz’ DIYer base.

4 – Comments from around the Web.

houzz versus pinterest
houzz or pinterest
  • from

I’ve come to find on one hand I find Houzz intriguing, and on the other infuriating. I’ve come to the conclusion that Houzz simply won’t work for small high end/boutique designers like myself. I’m nearly at the end of the “Pro+ experiment”….so much time, effort etc, not to mention money and free advice out, & absolutely zero ROI….But you live & learn. My (small) client base is majority organic/local/direct referral, portfolio varied and eclectic and highly customised professional services that arguably cannot be marketed simply by boosting “impressions” & categorised and commoditised photos…..Also the Houzz User from my observation is generally “lower end”, grabbing free advice/ideas and that also doesn’t align well with my service……unless Houzz have a massive about turn on what their approach, balance more over to work as much for the Pro’s as for the User and work out the serious legitimate connection points between the User and the Pro they’ll be nothing more than a glorified directory that won’t convert sales and arguably only valuable to the User (which is Houzz’s origins at the end of the day) but arguably useless/no value to the Pro’s particularly the smaller and Front-end ones….the confusing thing is that “on paper” my service should be reasonably naturally aligned to the Houzz user base, and I could seriously help most of the Users trying to “Design their own Home” (& how ironic their catch phase is in direct competition to my own service !!) ….However after doing this for long enough now, forget about visual marketing, statistics, impressions, hashtags and all that stuff, bottom line for a successful residential project and professional relationship comes down to having the following fundamental factors 1. Money 2. Trust……..any other factors are far secondary IMO

5 – In conclusion

Sadly, this feeling is not uncommon among the Houzz’s designers/ contractors community. They have help Houzz build the platform, and now they are feeling used and cheated by it.