April 16, 2018
The CEO of Zillow, Spencer Rascoff was recently interviewed by Forbes Magazine, and he shared a detailed look into the strategy that has turned his company into a $10 Billion real estate listing giant. In 2007, after Apple’s announcement that the company would allow third-party apps on the iPhone, Rascoff bet everything on mobile development and compatibility.
“Literally within the week we had pivoted towards mobile,” Rascoff said. “We basically stopped all desktop development and redeployed all resources toward mobile web and mobile app development.” Rascoff believed that accessing real estate information was most important when you were out and about, viewing neighborhoods and houses.
The mobile-first strategy paid off big for Rascoff and Zillow. Today, mobile traffic makes up approximately 80 percent of Zillow’s total usage. Zillow, which has a market cap of $10 billion, also took in around $1 billion in revenue last year. There is no visible sign of slowing down either. Rascoff fully expects Zillow to exceed last year’s earnings.
In addition to talking about earnings and mobile strategies, Rascoff also addressed the much maligned Zestimate feature of their website. Zestimate uses public data and algorithms to estimate the price of homes, whether or not those properties are on the market. Critics say it distorts consumer expectations, and it has been the subject of lawsuits in the past. Rascoff said the company has used machine learning and artificial intelligence to make the property estimating tool much more accurate than it has been in the past, stating the error rate has dropped from 14 percent to 4 percent.
Rascoff also spoke about the future of Zillow. He plans to expand its presence in the rental market and wants to streamline the deal-making process offering automated showings, automated applications, digital leasing and digital payments.
Source: The Real Deal
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