Frustrations with the Houzz platform existed long before the IVYMARK acquisition last month, but seem to have escalated ever since. On March 1, a group of designers introduced a petition outlining a list of demands of the platform, revolving around what they allege is inappropriate use of designers’ images. Some are suggesting the platform could be in danger of copyright infringement. As of this morning, the petition has garnered 1,920 signatures—its original goal was 1,600, and the designers have since upped their goal to 3,200 signatures.
Designers first took issue with Houzz when the platform started tagging their project photos with links to buy merchandise. The products for sale aren’t necessarily those that the designer originally used, but as the petition points out, “lower priced and inferior.” For many of these designers, it feels as though Houzz is using their own content against them.
The petition makes a number of demands from the platform, including that Houzz stop selling products from designer images; that designers be allowed to remove their photography at any time; and that Houzz disallow third-party partners from using the designers’ photos (such as for ads or articles) without their permission. Other asks include allowing designers who opt out of using Houzz to be removed entirely from Houzz search results; permanently removing designers who don’t purchase advertising on Houzz from the platform’s call list; providing designers who do advertise on Houzz with analytics “proving that what they have paid for—namely higher billing in searches in their marketplace—is actually what they are receiving”; and obtaining permission from designers before using their photos in digital editorial content.
KATY B. OLSON & MELISSA STUDACH