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How Zillow Has Reached Beyond Listings and Zestimates

by Shilpi Paul

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Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff with President Obama. Courtesy of The White House.

How has Zillow’s multi-pronged marketing strategy disrupted the real estate industry?

Yesterday, the Washington Post’s Lydia DePillis analyzed the real estate listing website’s myriad methods of establishing themselves as a major player in the real estate world.

Aside from hosting a website populated with current listings, Zillow throws housing conferences with big-name speakers, publishes a Home Value Index, calculates values via a Zestimate, and publishes a blog. They host Google Hangouts with high-ups in the Administration, and have even interviewed President Obama.

Their interviews and panel discussions are often available via video, making them a resource of housing market and mortgage-related topics.

In the process, noted DePillis, Zillow is “taking on traditional real estate agents, media companies and publishers of housing data — and it’s threatening all of them in the process.”

From the Post:

“Zillow saw this opportunity, about five years ago, to fill what we perceived to be a massive void in academia, government and in the media,” says Spencer Rascoff, the company’s 37-year-old chief executive. “Nobody was providing objective, unbiased data and analysis about what was happening in the real estate and mortgage industries. The people that were providing it represented trade associations with agendas and were advancing particular policy prescriptions for their constituents.”

While Zillow has been growing, earning $47 million in revenue last quarter, some parties are frustrated with what they see as inaccuracies in the listing information and Zestimates.

Zillow defends their metrics. Unlike other actors who have a stake in encouraging buyers to buy, Zillow claims to aim for pure accuracy: “our business only works if people trust us to be telling them the unbaised truth,” stated a Zillow representative in the Post article.

For the full story, check out the Post.

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This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/how_zillow_has_reached_beyond_listings_and_zestimates/7758

5 Comments

  1. Scott Pomeroy said at 5:26 pm on Wednesday October 30, 2013:

    I personally have no faith in Zillow as they have not addressed a concern I identified regarding their neighborhood boundaries and why they made the changes they did related to U Street, NW in their last revisions.  The changes they made resulted in placing buildings that are part of Dupont, west of 14th in the Shaw neighborhood, artificially raising the median and average cost,.  There was absolutely no discernible reason as to why they altered the previous boundaries which were historically accurate.  One can only assume it was to sell more real estate at a higher rate.  I only noticed the change because the walk score for U Street dropped from 98 to 94 while more activity was occurring.  Upon examination I realized they had redrawn the boundary line right down U Street all the way to 16th . So that the buildings between 16th & 9 from S to U became part of Shaw, and not a part of U Street.

  1. Surbiton said at 10:09 pm on Wednesday October 30, 2013:

    Zillow behaves like a cyber bully the way it imposes its nonsense Zestimates on 110 million homes and refuses to correct or delete erroneous valuations when requested to do so by the homeowner despite 17% of these Zestimates being more than 25% inaccurate. Such arrogance by a $3Bn Nasdaq company is totally unacceptable and it is time that Zillow was subjected to some form of Regulation by our elected officials to stop this nonsense.

  1. Kevin said at 8:32 am on Thursday October 31, 2013:

    Welp back to RedFin it is then lol.

  1. T Street said at 2:25 pm on Thursday October 31, 2013:

    @Scott—

    Please explain how the neighborhood that you have described is “Dupont.”  It isn’t now, and never has been.  Everything from the east side of 16th going east is Shaw.

  1. Scott Pomeroy said at 5:31 pm on Thursday October 31, 2013:

    T Street

    The area from 14th to 16th, and S to U has been part of the Dupont ANC since 2002 and realtors have been calling that East Dupont since I moved to the area in 88.

    However, if you read what I was complaining about it was the re- designation of that area as Shaw from its previous designation as U Street.  U Street is the historic designation and what I will alway refer to the area as, not Shaw or Dupont.

    Wouldn’t you agree that it doesn’t make sense to put the southern half of U Street in Shaw when a U Street area exists and it is already part of that area?

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