Zillow, Inc (NASDAQ:Z) runs a web marketplace for real estate. The website allows homeowners, buyers, sellers, renters, and real estate agents to connect through the website. In addition, the site provides estimates on the value of homes using a proprietary algorithm. Zillow makes money through subscriptions paid by real estate agents and professionals in order to post their profiles on the site. This allows real estate professionals to gain access to customers and allows customers to more clearly understand their options. The company also makes money through traditional advertising displayed on the website.
For the full year 2010, Zillow reported a total revenue of $30.5M, a 74% increase over the previous year. The company had a net loss for the same period of $6.8M.
The company's initial public offering of stock on the NASDAQ occurred on July 19, 2011. The company offered 3.5M shares each for $20. This was above the revised price range of $16-$18. The initial price range was $12-$14. The deal raised a total of $70. The lead underwriter was Citigroup (C).
Zillow's business model is to allow free access to individuals who want to buy, sell or rent, while only charging professionals. As a result, Zillow must continue to provide enough value to real estate professionals in order to provide reason for them to pay their subscriptions. The page views of individuals is important as it translates to more valuable subscriptions for professionals, yet this is only indirect. Real estate professionals will only be willing to pay for subscriptions to the extent that it helps them attract new customers.
Because Zillow's revenues are closely tied to the level of traffic and the level of subscriptions to the site, its performance is based on the real estate market. A slow market where relatively few homes are being bought and sold will result in decreased interaction on the site and so less revenue. By contract, increased market activity may cause usage of the site to rise.