Category : Zillow


Who owns Zillow?

I have watched the stock value of Zillow since the company went public. In the past 12 months, the stock has dropped from the $160s per share to the $80s per share. Unfulfilled expectations, or truth?

I have never owned the stock, and never owned any options on the stock, or invested in the company in any way.

Personally, I have always been skeptical when I hear the estimates of market size…how can it be $13 billion? In conversations with many people, I continue to question how this number is calculated.

None the less, I found it interesting on Google this morning, that Zillow is 112% institutionally owned 🙂

82.97 -2.10 (-2.47%)
Real-time: 10:17AM EDT
Range 82.82 – 85.04
52 week 81.07 – 164.90
Open 85.04
Vol / Avg. 97,175.00/1.37M
Mkt cap 4.87B
P/E – NA
Div/yield – NA
EPS -2.05
Shares 52.25M
Beta 1.53
Inst. own 112%

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The Zillow Effect – 1000Watt

Joel Burslem of 1000 Watt makes a very important distinction between intent and result.

Original Zillow thinking:

“REALTORS® currently sit at the middle of transaction. I think in the future they will sit more on the outside, offering specific services… People want REALTORS®, but is it rational to pay REALTORS® what they are paid? They are overpaid because customers are doing more of the work themselves. What kind of value are REALTORS® adding?”

Rich Barton, CEO Zillow - New York Times 2/9/06  – 2/8/06

1000 Watt Article

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Zillow Whistle Blower

I was surprised to learn who it was. I met Chris right after he had taken the position at Zillow and he was so Gung Ho for Zillow. He has a credible background and history in the real estate business.


Whistleblower alleges Zillow is stealing listing data from agent websites

Anonymous letter to Move Inc. also claims Zillow scrapes from
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Data Licensing Listing Syndication MLS (Multiple Listing Service) Zillow

Basic Data Rights To Photos

It seems at least once a week I hear a broker complain that Zillow Group (ZG) is still displaying listing photos and property description remarks even after the listing has been sold or removed from the syndication feed. How can that be, they ask? What right does ZG have to continue the display when the property is now off-market? In some cases, even the new owner is heard to complain that they do not want photos of their home made public on an active website.

Well, typically ZG refers to the very broad language in their Terms of Service such as “For materials you post or otherwise provide to Zillow Group in connection with the Services (your “Submission”), you grant Zillow Group an irrevocable, perpetual, royalty-free worldwide license to (a) use, copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, modify, prepare derivative works of or incorporate into other works, and translate your Submission, in connection with the Services or in any other media, and (b) sublicense these rights, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law.”

Similar language covering perpetual license and derivative works was found in past syndication agreements, although questions arose whether photos and agent remarks were considered “data” and could be used off-market.

Fast forward to today and we see some clarification of the issue of using photos and remarks when the listing is no longer active and part of the feed. If this truly is a change in ZG policy, it is indeed a very good sign that ZG is making greater effort to work closer with the real estate industry.

Specifically, where are we seeing some clarification with respect to ZG no longer seeking a perpetual license to property photos and descriptions?  When ListHub stopped sending its syndication feed to Zillow Group effective April 8, 2015, Zillow introduced a “Stopgap License Proposal Agreement” with MLSs as a temporary measure (6 months) to continue the flow of listings to ZG while negotiating for a permanent direct syndication arrangement. In that stopgap agreement, ZG claimed a right to “Basic Data” but specifically excluded photos and free form property descriptions (agent remarks). Here’s the key language:

“MLS grants to Zillow a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free license and right to reproduce, distribute, publicly display and perform, and create derivative works of the Licensed Data only on and in connection with the operation, marketing and promotion of the web sites and other properties owned, operated or powered by Zillow and Zillow’s authorized licensees. …(b) Licensed Data includes only active listings (listings currently for sale) and, except as provided in Section 4 subsection (c) below, when a listing is no longer active and is dropped from the RETS feed, Zillow’s license to that listing terminates. (c) Notwithstanding the foregoing, MLS grants to Zillow a perpetual license to “Basic Data” as defined in Exhibit A attached hereto (see Zillow Listings Feed Guide at

For avoidance of doubt, “Basic Data” does not include any free form property descriptions or photos and in no event will Zillow receive a perpetual license to free form property descriptions or photos.”

In its FAQs, ZG asks “Why does Zillow need to retain some of the “basic data?”

Their response: “When new home facts and information are added to our database, it helps to build information about the history of a home and assist in the overall customer experience. Since we will get this data from county records anyway, we prefer to not give our customers an inconsistent experience when looking at homes by adding data, removing it, and adding it again. So, when “basic data” is added to a home via a listing feed, it becomes part of the house history on Zillow.”

Will the ZG clarification of Basic Data rights along with its exclusion of property photos and remarks carry over to its long term direct syndication license agreements with MLSs and brokerages? Will ZG discontinue use of photos and remarks that it acquired in the past? Time will tell, though it is a healthy sign that MLSs are starting to see some gains in their negotiations with the portals.

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Zillow Vision, The Center of the Conversation on all things Real Estate

Zillow calls it a Living Data Base of All Homes. I call it a PropertyWiki. Partnering with MLSs (a pipe dream at this point, seems to be one of Zillow’s intentions.

n 2008 in my Paper, MLS of the Future, MLS 5.0 I stated that the next generation of MLS…MLS 5.0, will be a Property Wiki – a Parcel based and not listing based MLS.

A wiki is a collection of web pages, where the content is written by contributors (Wiki in plain English). Wiki software can have many uses and applications, the most well known being Wikipedia, which is an encyclopedia written by volunteer writers and editors. Companies today often use wiki software to create searchable, retrievable information about the company. A wiki begins with something referred to as a “Stub,” which can be a word or a phrase and then contributors write about the stub. Because of a concept known as the “wisdom of crowds” the information about that stub becomes more and more comprehensive and accurate. Wikis are fundamental to Web 2.0. Do not be led to believe that wikis are not accurate. To test, go to and search for a word or phrase that you are familiar with and check the accuracy.

The word wiki is the Hawaiian word for fast or quick. If you have every flown into the Honolulu International Airport, you have probably taken a ride on the Wiki Wiki Shuttle.

A property wiki then is a wiki where the stubs are property addresses or parcel numbers, to which information from contributors and editors can be added to create a comprehensive record.

Imagine a blank web site for every property address in the US. To that blank Web site imagine adding anything publicly known. Now imagine inviting the property owner and REALTORS® to add what they know about the property. While there are some concerns about accuracy, Web 2.0 concepts, self-policing, flagging, and social capital will in time minimize the inaccuracies.

This is a key to understanding MLS 5.0. A listing is merely a moment in time of the life of a property. MLS data is a subset of a larger body of data relative to a parcel of real property. Of value to REALTORS® and consumers is information about a parcel before the property is listed for sale. Property history, in one convenient place, is a valuable asset that grows in value as more information is accumulated over time. Pictures, video, audio, text and other formats of information relevant to a property and conveniently aggregated have value. A prospective buyer might be interested in pictures of a home before and after a remodel.

Zillow understand the value of a propertywiki…and from what we have heard…so does RPR.

And as the battles now escalate in earnest, remember that Zillow is an advertising site. To call it a consumer site is a push to the outer limits of my imagination, how about yours?


Property Wiki - Zillow Property Wiki 2

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Zillow has been slowed down…adjustment says Spencer.

One way to build revenue is to buy it…

There is a better way for the real estate marketplace.

Zillow cut its full-year revenue guidance, calling 2015 a transition year. Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff, provides insight to the Trulia acquisition.

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Zillow Group Inc. Operational Update – Prepared Remarks April 14, 2015

“…Advertisers follow audience, and the $13 billion in advertising spent in and around real estate will eventually move online to the media brands with the largest audience, especially on mobile. ”

I have heard this $13 Billion in advertising before. I don’t believe that is an accurate number. It seems to me that the annual advertising spend in real estate is much less than $13 Billion. How was this estimate of the real estate advertising spend calculated? It doesn’t matter what research company has come up with this figure…the real question is how was the number arrived at? I have spoken with a number of people who think this number is terribly inflated, which is why the method of its calculation becomes important to REALTORS, and to the investing public.

How was the $13 Billion Spencer has mentioned calculated? (not asking who calculated it).

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Zillow: Barclays Cuts to Hold; Traffic Slowing, RealtorDotCom a Threat

I have been saying for over a year that the traffic figures on Zillow were ridiculous. Who cares if Zillow has 80 Million Unique Visitors per month? Only 5 Million residential properties change hands each year.

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Zillow, Move, Curt and Errol – More

Zillow, Errol, Curt_Page_1 Zillow, Errol, Curt_Page_2 Zillow, Errol, Curt_Page_3 Zillow, Errol, Curt_Page_5 Zillow, Errol, Curt_Page_6


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Zilow vs MOVE – Declaration of David Singer

Doesn’t sound good for Curt, Errol, or Zillow, and it appears there will be documentation available.


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