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Case Study Analysis – Zillow.Com



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    Company History

    Zillow is a company running an online website for homeowners, buyers, sellers, etc. that who are interesting in real estate. It helps the user by providing a free estimate value on the property. Zillow was found by Rich Barton and Lloyd Frink, both of who have previous experience in Expedia. The Zillow has been named after combining two words, “pillow” where lay your head at night and “zillions” which some data points the company wishes to provide. Zillow was started in 2004 and it filed go to the public in 2011.

    It covers more than 70 million homes all over America with convenient operation easily to find out the market value and estimate rental on a satellite map. To find all of this information only need to put in the address information on the company’s website where there’s a search engine. Not only all the records about the house such as photos and purchase and sale data and rental price estimates but also the website will provide listings and neighborhood information to generate a general and scrutiny look at every house that listens on the website.

    As the housing has yet to recover from the economic downturn there’s much doubt about the performance of Zillow. The price of Zillow has brought a slight uptick while the first half of 2010, since then the market turns to depression. The large amount which Zillow has raised from the IPO market is about 69$ million that the Zillow use it as fund and investments as the complement of its own business. The revenues of Zillow become $30. 5 million 2010 which had great growth from $17. 5 million in 2009.

    Even though the economic downturn has a great effect on the company, Zillow has attracted more visitors to the website which helps the company come through the depression. It has more than 12 million monthly unique users in the last three months of 2010 which has increased 65% from the same period in 2009. The display advertising is the most important part of Zillow’s business income which has occupied 56% of its total revenue. However, the fees and subscription sales to lenders and agents are becoming a more important source of revenue.

    The company’s Zillow Mortgage Marketplace connects borrowers with verified and rated lenders, while its Premier Agent program provides a directory of real estate agents. Together these products are classified as marketplace revenues and accounted for more than 40% of sales in 2010 (up from about 20% in 2009 and 1% in 2008). Zillow is build up partnerships with more companies thought it attempting to expanding its business market and customers. In 2011, Zillow has accomplished a deal with Yahoo! hough which it places home listings and ads from local real estate brokers on Yahoo!. Later in 2011, Zillow acquired the Postlet, a real estate agent and rental property manager marketing service. It is a platform for agents, managers, or landlords of the property to post listings on real estate and social media sites on the internet. Furthermore, Zillow has released an app on the website of the App Store, which could help customers easily access information on the Zillow, not only the user of Apple but also other company’s products, Android and Blackberry. Zillow released Zillow Advice, allowing people to ask questions and get answers about the real estate online from the group of experts in the field on December 16, 2008. Zillow Advice, linked through a tab on Zillow’s homepage, lets users tag questions by topic or geographic area. Users can tag questions by state, city, or neighborhood; search questions and discussions by keyword, and can note the “best answer” they get. Experts whose answers are frequently voted the best earn points towards a “Local Expert” badge.

    Professionals also can subscribe to specific locations or topics in their area of expertise, getting email or RSS feed notifications of new questions. Answers link to users’ free Zillow profile page. Zillow Discussions and Home Q already allow broader discussion topics or home-specific questions and answers. External Analysis Summary Zillow is the dominant force in the real estate market. Though there are other companies in these filed, such as and Market Leader. Both of the top competitors, and Market Leader could not shake the dominant position of Zillow. The amount of 2010 annual sales for a Market Leader is $24.43 million which is not comparable to the date of Zillow, $30.47 million. However, many companies provide all kinds of information that also could include information about rental and selling real estate. There’s more company has joined the competition, from the traditional search engine, the user also could have found out many pages about selling and renting.

    Many websites that have provided users with other information about selling and renting is trying to broaden their horizons by add in more renting and house selling information as Zillow. Majority companies have been benefited from that the temporary federal tax credit for homebuyers which were instituted in 2010 and had a good record in the first half of 2010. However, the economic depression keeps a negative effect on the performance of the real estate industry, so is Zillow, which has an intensive relationship with the real estate industry.

    Internal Analysis Summary Zillow has developed its Zestimate system which could assess the market value of the property by comparison of the data come from the Multiple Listing System (MLS). Zestimate makes Zillow the best choice for those who want to know more about the real estate or even a professional manager because the information is free. In addition to MLS listings, the people who are interesting in real estate can search by for sale by owner, new construction, and foreclosures which have come up with more options to the users to make scrutiny thinking of it. Meanwhile, Zillow has generated a platform for those who are interesting in their property value and who are interesting in buying. Zillow has achieved a great number of loyal users who are using Zillow as a free but important tool every day. The appearance of Zillow has a great effect on the traditional real estate industry that before Zillow the buyer could not get touch about the true market value of their property, in turn, Zillow gives everyone a chance to access the value of their property without any cost.

    It is an indispensable tool for the people who want to buy a house likewise. Not only show the deal records of the house but also could generate a 3D image helping the buyer check out the environment around the property to make a general view of it. SWOT Analysis Apple Strengths Zillow has permission to access the MLS, meanwhile, Zillow has built up its engine to provide its assessment based on the data of MLS and deal records of the property. The platform of the Zillow listing feed program offers a great amount of opportunity in marketing for the agent.

    It helps Zillow with more attention from the real estate industry and becoming a more powerful voice in this field. Providing more service and covering for more than 70 million homes all over America, Zillow is more than the dominant power on the website, meanwhile becoming the authority data for the buyer and agent to refer to. Zillow combines extreme ease of use with helpful tools that allow sellers to value and list houses for sale and allow buyers to find houses that fit their needs.

    In the recent past, prospective home buyers used to complaining about the need to use real estate professionals as tour guides who would offer few services beyond showing houses for sale. With Zillow, buyers can pinpoint property and rely on professionals for aid in the purchase and negotiating details. Zillow seems to make the agent’s job simpler since buyers can select their top choices from available properties based on the perfect information on the web site. Weaknesses The Zestimate system is based on the MLS listing system which could also be used as data for those competitors in the same industry.

    It doesn’t have a great barrier for those who want to join in the completion of the real estate on-line industry. The system of Zillow is not perfect. Not all properties for sale can be found accurately. Some addresses are incorrect and Zillow. com returns aerial views of properties across the street or several blocks away. The data could not cover all the cases. The revenue of Zillow is much more reliant on the income of advertising. Once there is a comparable competitor in the field, it will threaten that part of income and lead to a morass.

    Even if Zillow could provide users with all kinds of information about the property, including the 3D-view of it, the user could not make a full judgment until he or she been to the house and take it with his own eyes. Even if Zillow tries to make a more precise evaluation of each property, it is still doubted that if these evaluations are creditable without a license. The accuracy of Zestimate is a critical issue in the real estate market. Some of the expert’s query that if the Zestimate has the right to evaluate the real estate property without having a license.


    There is a great amount of demand in real estate investments from other countries such as China. Thought it is still gloomy in the real estate market in the U.S., more investors are taking an optimistic attitude. Comparing the market to other countries, the real estate market in the U.S. is mature and now at a comparatively lower price which attracts more people from all over the world to invest in the U.S., these people need a more convenient way to better understand the situation in the real estate industry in American and help them assess the value of different properties.

    To deal with the depression of the economy, the government would take many kinds of the plan which could have an advantage of the real estate industry, in turn, it will bring out more users of the Zillow. The development of the mobile telecommunication industry has a great effect on everyone’s life. It brings more users and helps people surfing the internet without the limitation of cable and time. All kinds of applications would help people with a variety of tools for different aspects of life. Attaching the Zillow with the mobile telecommunication industry could help the company generate more customers with 24-hours service wherever the user is.

    The user could find out the market value of the house nearby and get all the information for the first time. The time seems to be right for internet web sites devoted to real estate. Data from the California Association of Realtors announced that 70 percent of homebuyers now use the internet as an integral part of their home buying experience. Specifically, the data came from the 7th Annual California Association of REALTORS® (CAR) Internet Versus Traditional Buyers Survey. The survey findings reveal that use of the internet has grown as online access has become easier, faster, and cheaper. Threats The fierce competition would threaten the dominance position of Zillow with more competitors have joined into this field. The companies, and Market Leader are trying to build up a broad relationship with many real estate companies. And also as other information service provider on the internet could broaden their business area to attract more customers and agents.  The economic background is still into a depression that has a great impact on the confidence and willingness of the buyers.

    More people would rather hold on their money than buying real estate property active. The accuracy and authority of the Zestimate system is a critical issue. Though it provides the customers with free evaluations, it didn’t work well for some cases that underestimate or overate the market value. Corporate and business level strategy Zillow should specify different sections based on the different information requests. The request of agents and experts in the field is different from the people who just have interest on the real estate.

    To provide satisfied information towards different group of people that Zillow could maximize the market. Zillow should make a clear view of that if the company stay with the advertising income or have more broad source of income. Zillow could develop itself becoming the new platform of the real estate market. Zillow could help the buyer accomplished the deal and go through the whole procedure. Zillow should pay attention to the increasing demand for real estate information from the external market. Though the economy in the U.S is keeping on a gloomy track, however, there’s more fund from the rising countries want to join in the market. The Zillow should consider that to customize information for the different aspect of the users. Recommendations Specify the different customers of the market and customize the information towards the different requests of the users. Broaden the market, build up the website becoming the marketplace for the users that the company could become the e-business platform for the users. Pay more attention on the request from oversea, the rising force of other countries need more personal information.

    Improve the system of Zestimate that the user could post their evaluation about the property, and also the impression about the property after they had been to this place Develop the system that the user could ask for the evaluation from the expert in this field. Get a license for its qualified evaluation.


    1. Schein, Amy (n. d.) Zillow, Inc. retrieved Nov 16, 2011, from companyId=148451000000000
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    5. National Mortgage News, retrieved from

    Case Study Analysis – Zillow.Com. (2019, May 02). Retrieved from

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