Im sorry, buy you come off sounding bitter. I can't help but believe this is something personal for you.
All I really care about is the dollars and sense of it and can tell you most assuredly, like them or not, the founders of this company are doing a better job of holding back the dilution than most. I could easily counter your arguments (try IMAX for size) one by one but given the overall tone of your post, I dont feel like wasting your time or mine as your mind is made up. Zillow is currently #1 in its niche and still after all of these horrendous misteps you believe they've made, Zillow is still taking market share from the likes of Trulia and Zip Realty. Here's some interesting commentary from today's Motley Fool: (enjoy!).
"Zillow (Nasdaq: Z ) : Even as the market lost interest in residential real estate, Zillow was growing. Revenue soared 67% in its latest quarter, fueled primarily by the growing number of real estate professionals that are becoming premium Zillow members for enhanced access to Zillow's growing base of home seekers. Yes, Zillow's magnetic. It attracted 37 million unique monthly visitors to its mobile apps and namesake website in the month of July alone. A secondary offering and stiff valuation have tripped up Zillow lately, but it's positioned well to capitalize when it comes to home ownership and the rental decisions that folks will continue to make.
PS. Perhaps the idea of paying in CASH was Zillow's preference? Not to completely obliterate your argument re:managements negligent dilution, but to create new shares for the purpose of a buyout instead of paying in the cash would have been far more damaging to the price per share as we still have plenty of cash on hand, a slow burn rate and no debt. Using CASH likely lowered the purchase price while simultaneously spared us, the innocent shareholders from dilution.
Now I don't mean to scare you off by jumping in on your conversation with "stop this fraud", but please do respond when you're ready to articulate an argument that is the by product of reason, rather than emotion.
Its not bitterness but pragmatism. If Zillow feels that they can publish a meaningless valuation of my property and refuse all reasonable requests to correct their erroneous valuation then I am prepared to highlight the nonsense that the Zillow website and business is based on. If any homeowner wants to raise a question about the zestimate Zillow publish on their home there are NO contact details to either email or telephone Zillow. The homeowner has to post in public on the Zillow Advice Forum where they are subjected to snide, snarky and hostile attacks for daring to question the fallibility of the mighty zestimate.
There are a handful of Zillow 'cheerleaders who have made tens of thousands of posts putting down homeowners in this way. Don't believe me? then Google 'Zillow zestimate nonsense, accuracy / inaccuracy' or something similar and read some of the threads on the Zillow forum to see for yourself how outrageous Zillows approach to customer service is.
In my case after repeated posts ridiculing Zillows zestimates they deleted me from their website which I don't have a problem with as I have no desire to ever look at it. However, by doing so they also took control of my home, and and also deleted the updates that I had made with the effect that an already inaccurate zestimate was reduced by a further $30,000, making the zestimate totally meaningless. Is this how homeowners should be treated? It's one thing saying that zestimates are a starting point, but when enough facts are presented to demonstrate it is meaningless, then continued publication of a significant incorrect valuation becomes harassment of the homeowner. What zillow depend on is that people who make complaints on the Zillow Forum make 1 or 2 posts and give up after being viciously attacked. Well some of us are more persistent and will continue to highlight Zillows failings, whether they are related to its flawed zestimate algorithm or the conduct of how it operates as a listed company.
So the real question is what motivates Zillow to refuse all requests by homeowners to correct erroneous zestimates? Surely Zillow would be a more useful consumer tool if the zestimates were accurate. Eventually our elected officials will catch up with technology and impose regualtion on companies like zillow that ensures they operate in a fair minded way without trampling over the front yard of private property the way they currently do with their cyber trespass by imposing inaccurate home valuations.
Well, I guess it is "personal" while being pragmatic at the same time. But are the vast majority of Zillows users experiencing this same problem? If so, then I would concur with you. Yet still the growth rate of their websites unique visitors per month is phenomenal, so the question remains, is your experience widespread enough to pose a threat to their business model? Remember, most of us are only interested in the service itself when it's time to sell our property, but for now, we're concerned with the company and the stock.
It appears as though Zillow did sue a competitor in the past specifically for copying the Zestimate business model, so your complaint seems strange to me. For the record, it has always been my observation that "comp values" have served as nothing more than tools of manipulation by unscrupulous real estate traders and mortgage brokers who have usually inflated valuations to stimulate stagnant markets to further their income and more recently deflated them to achieve those same ends. However, what would you suggest is a "pragmatic" approach to home valuation? I foresee a time where "comp value" will be laughed at as the folly of our times and a new truly pragmatic approach is applied as follows:
1) The replacement value of the home as it applies to the cost of goods and labor in a given market (to reconstruct the house), minus wear and tear based depreciation.
2)And then on a completely separate basis, the cost of the raw land averaged over a wide area by square footage - lets say 10-15 mile radius, and then adding in bonus valuations based upon some aspect of desirability or not as it were ie, a creek lot to a creek lot, an acre in a wooded area to an acre in a wooded area nearby or proximity to a desirable shopping area, school etc etc.
As it currently stands comp values are taken with too much emphasis on location and small areas of coverage at that. By separating the replacement cost of the house out of the equation, the only thing the bank is actually taking a chance on is the land itself. This concept could have done a great deal in preventing the drastic reductions we've seen in homes that were devalued down to a fraction of their replacement cost simply because no one could get a loan at the time.
Ok, please indulge me, of what benefit is it to Zillow to post false inaccurate, meaningless valuations and then prevent you from revising? Im just not clear on exactly what or why you're experiencing this problem.