After the shambolic 1st Quarter pre-announcement that the Trulia integration was behind program there has been a void of real news about Zillows 2nd Quarter performance. Seems they have been in panic mode with wall to wall TV Ads to revive flagging audience numbers, and now that $Z no longer provides MUU's it will be interesting to see if the Growth rate has 'stalled'. My gut feel is that Trulia audience has fallen off a cliff edge as employees are laid off and morale slumps.
The 'fire sale' on June 30 of Active Rain to Ben Kinney without any financial details being made public raises the question of how much the Goodwill Impairment Charge will be on this disposal. The same will apply when Market leader is eventually disposed as again no further updates on that fiasco since the 'emergency announcement' a few weeks before Q1 earnings. My Zestimate is that it does not look good !!!
I just read the announcement from Zillow on the proposed sale of Active Rain but didn't see any mention of the terms of sale. Most likely a nominal purchase price which could result in a substantial Goodwill Impairment Charge in Zillows 2nd Quarter Earnings. Active Rain was acquired 3 years ago by Market Leader which itself was acquired by Trulia 18 monthas ago. Trulia was acquired by Zillow 3 months ago and there was a $2.5Bn Goodwill Charge on the 'closing balance sheet'. A chunk of that will relate to Goodwill carried for Active Rain and that will have to be accounted for in this Quarter if the transaction closes on June 30 as declared. No word yet on what to do with the rest of Market leader which Zillow has already said they don't know what to do with, but which cost Trulia $355M only 18 months ago.
"Zillow Group, which houses a portfolio of the largest and most vibrant real estate and home-related brands on mobile and Web, today announced the pending sale of ActiveRain®, a social networking, blogging, and training platform for the real estate industry, to the Ben Kinney family of companies. The sale is expected to close June 30, 2015.
"Ben Kinney taking on the ownership of ActiveRain is a positive step forward in the stewardship of this important and influential community of real estate professionals," said Spencer Rascoff, Zillow Group chief executive officer. "As part of Ben's organization, ActiveRain will be a major focus, benefiting from Ben's leadership and oversight, helping ActiveRain continue to flourish within the agent community. We look forward to watching ActiveRain grow and evolve."
You make very valid observations about the failings in Zillow Zestimates and it begs the question, " What motivates Zillow to refuse ALL homeowner requests to correct inaccurate Zestimates when brought to Zillows attention?". This question is key when 17% of Zestimates are more than 25% inaccurate according to analysis compiled by Reality Consulting and accepted by CEO Spencer Rascoff in a Bloomberg TV interview.
When Zillow proclaims itself as the leading online Real Estate website with 70% of traffic, then inaccuracies on that scale need to be investigated and, the FTC need to introduce regulation to protect homeowners from the misery & potential financial losses caused by erroneous Zestimates. As a minimum there needs to be a DoNotZestimate Opt Out in the same way as Phone Users can Opt Out of unwanted spam calls by registering with DoNotCall.
I too have a beef with Zillows nonsense inaccurate Zestimates and their refusal to correct or delete erroneous Zestimates when brought to their attention. When the CEO, Spencer Rascoff, states in an email that "thanks to the First Amendment he can post any home value he likes" then there is a serious issue with Zillow that needs attention from elected representatives. They need to make sure that they catch up with technology and introduce some form of Regulation to protect homeowners from Zillows BS. The easiest form of Regulation would be a DoNotZestimate opt out in the same way as Phone Users can opt out of unwanted spam calls by registering with DoNotCall.
Interesting to see that Zillow User numbers have declined in May which is peak home buying season. No wonder they stopped releasing monthly unique user information as they already saw the pattern of declining user growth, and most likely anticipated that numbers would drop back depite spending $100m a year on advertising.
The Zillow Form 10 Q Filing has some interesting details about Market Leader business performance for the 1st Quarter and projection for the full year. Revenues for Q1 were only $6M, and forecast to be $40M for 2015, down from $62M in 2014. Hardly a surprise when Zillow doesn't seem to know what to do with Market leader as it is still 'conducting a strategic review'. How long does it take to undertake a Strategic Review of what was a $62M revenue business?
An interesting comment regarding Goodwill Impairment in the 10Q states that Zillow assesses Goodwill for Impairment Charges in the 4th quarter - look out for a BIG write off on Market Leader Goodwill when results are released in February 2016
You have to understand that Zilow executives have priorities far more important that Investors. Firstly, they have their own interests to look after as they trample over Homeowners imposing nonsense inaccurate Zestimates; 2nd they need to make themselves even richer as they give themselves low cost stock options like confetti, and then pretend the $30M cost doesn't really exist by reporting EBITDA numbers rather than on a GAAP basis like 'proper' companies do. Also they have been busy with the Zillows Got Talent contest held last night compared by Raymond James, Investors Relations VP, dressed like a Pimp instead of looking after the interests of investors like yourself. Don't believe me look on Twitter under hashtag ZillowLife
Equally, what good is a housing information website when 17% of 106 million Zestimates are more than 25% inaccurate according to analysis undertaken by Clareity Consulting. What's even worst is Zillows refusal to correct or delete these substantially erronepus Zestimates when requested to do so by Homeowners.
When a $5Bn Nasdaq company behaves in such a dictatorial way then the time has come for some form of Regulation to be imposed to protect Homeowners from Zillows nonsense Zestimate 'gimmick'. As a minimum there needs to be a DoNotZestimate opt out in the same way as Phone Users can opt out of unwanted spam calls by registering with DoNotCall.
Is Joe_e_Smoe a pseudonyn for Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff, or another Zillow Insider? He keeps preaching that "TAM is $13Bn and Revenue will follow the audience" in the same way as Smoe does parrot like in a desperate attempt to hype & puff Zillows flagging stock price. Perhaps the SEC needs to investigate as this board seems to be dominated by a couple of people which spams any real content messages.
Bottom line is that both Zillow and Trulia were loss making companies prior to the merger and will continue to be loss making as Rascoff is clueless when it comes to cost control as he builds up a whole bunch of Intangible Assets on the Balance sheet which will act as an anchor on future earnings as they are amortized each year, or in the worst case written off as an Impairment Charge if there is no matching revenue to support the intangible asset. This may be the case if Zillow dump the Market Leader Business that Trulia acquired only 18 months ago for $350M with Goodwill on the Balance Sheet of Zillow now of $255M. With rascoff stating on the 'emergency announcement' a few weeks ago that Ml is supporting existing customers only with no new Sales support as Zillow looks to dispose of Market Leader. The $#$%$ the fan then as Goodwill is written down to reflect the asset disposal in the period any transaction is announced
When Zillow reports earnings I believe we will see a repeat of the Twitter disaster yesterday when stock fell 20% on disappointing results. Let's hope the Analysts following Zillow ask 'real' questions on the earnings call about what's really going on and not let Rascoff get away with hype & puffery statements. The first question they can ask is why wasn't there a Day 1 Plan for Trulias MNarket leader business which seems to be a disaster from the comments at the emergency announcement call - Zillow could face a substantial Impairment Charge if they dispose of Market Leader as a distressed sale, which is how it seems currently based on comments by Inman and others. Trulia paid $350M for Market Leader 18 months ago and Trulia had $255M on its balance sheet as Goodwill on the day of the Zillow takeover. With revenues of $40M from existing customers and NO sales to new customers this must be a topic that Ernst & Yong will look at closely during the interim audit prior to 1st Quarter earnings release.
I guess you missed the words "lack of stragic planfor integrating z & T business units, despite the extra 9 months gifted by the FTC" ? There is a difference between planning and integrating just so you know
Listening to CEO Spencer Rascoffs comment about the Market leader business acquired with Trulia highlighted the total lack of strategic planning for integrating Zillow & Trulia businesses units, despite the extra 9 months gifted by the FTC. What the heck was Rascoff and his team doing in this period? well other than writing a BS Book about nothing and posting 100's or puerile Tweets?
Reading the prepared comments for the 'emergency update' curiously timed before Nasdaq trading opened the day after Chris Crocker the Zillow VP blew the lid off Errol Samuelson working on activities restricted by a court Injunction awarded against Zillow in a case brought my Move Inc. What did Rascoff have to say about Market Leader?
"Let me now talk about Market Leader for a moment. While we are supporting the Market Leader products for existing customers, we are no longer actively selling Market Leader’s advertising or CRM products to new clients, and we are evaluating how Market Leader fits into Zillow Group. We are investigating a variety of possible scenarios and don’t have any specific plans to announce right now. But to facilitate better investor visibility, we have decided to share our annual pro forma revenue projection for Market Leader because we expect to transition its various products and technologies either to our partners or to other Zillow Group product offerings by the end of 2015. As I said, we expect Market Leader related revenue will be approximately $40 million for full year 2015 on a pro forma basis."
No mention that ML was a recent Trulia acquisition that cost $365M and that $255M remained on the trulia Balance Sheet as Goodwill. If Rascoff doesn't get a good plan in place he will have a potential $255M Goodwill Impairment charge hitting Zillow Group earnings as soon as he announces whatever future there is for this obviously unwanted business. What a DISASTER !!!
You seem to have the retention capability of a goldfish as I have stated on here numerous times that I don't have any financial interest in Zillow. My issue with Zillow relates to how they impose nonsense inaccurate Zestimates on millions of homes and refuse all reasonable requests to correct the inaccurate valuations despite 17% of Zestimates being more than 25% inaccurate.
When the CEO of a company justifies dictatorial behavior of this nature by saying he has a First Amendment Right to publish any valuation he considers appropriate with fear of prosecution. I have questioned the ethics of such a position numerous times and now we are all seeing that there is a serious lack of ethics and integrity in how Zillow operates, and not just regarding Zestimates. In the last few months there have been employee court filings for sexual harassment, age discrimination, race discrimination and now alleged theft of trade secrets when poaching 2 senior employees from Move Inc. This week we saw a WhistleBlower letter filed in court from a Zillow VP stating that one of the Move employees restrained from activities by a court injunction continued to operate in breach of that injunction.
Bottom line is it baffles me why Zillow deliberately provoke controversy about Zestimates and risk having a Regulatory framework imposed on them at huge expense. Just illustrates how dumb they are as they stick with a gimmick introduced 10 years ago to get consumer recognition which they have failed miserable to get despite having spent $100m on TV advertising in the last 2 years.
Now that the writer of the 'whistle blower letter about Errol Samuelson's breach of court injunction preventing him from working at Zillow was written by a senior Zillow VP it adds credibility to the allegations by Move Inc against Zillow. Looks like a substantial financial penalty will be a current fiscal year charge against Zillow Groups already challenged earnings based on the profit warning this week.
Seems like Zillow is a train wreck in slow motion when you consider the multiple other court filings for Sexual Harassment, Age Discrimination and Race Discrimination. When you put all of that into the context of how Zillow imposes inaccurate Zestimates on Homeowners and refuse ALL requests to correct despite the misery and potential financial losses to homeowners it makes Zillow one of the most unethical companies ever.
He was probably using Zillows proprietary algorithm when he did the prospectus projection. When 17% of Zestimates are more than 25% inaccurate that's in the ball park as far as CEO is concerned.
Well today we heard from Spencer Rascoff that everything is going great and ahead of any major acquisition integration but handicapped by extra 9 months to plan by the FTC. His record at integrating small bite size acquisitions is abysmal and not doubt the Trulia plan is a Hail Mary plan as he busy's himself promoting his book and posting puerile twitter messages about being a social CEO, whatever that means. If he cannot get the nonsense Zestimate on my home anywhere near correct or delete it then how can he expect to run a profitable company?
Why were you surprised? Since Day 1 Zillow has been a pump & dump case study with CEO Spencer Rascoff making statements based on hype & puffery and seems some people were stupid enough to believe him. Any business based on screwing homeowners with nonsense inaccurate Zestimates is doomed to failure in the long run.
Smells like panic to me after the whistleblower allegations, along with poor traffic as disclosed in Broker downgrade last week
Your response reminds me of the quote "never argue with an idiot as they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience".
When the CEO of Zillow is a prolific poster on Twitter with 13,600 posts I wouldn't be at all surprised. You do realize he has 3 computer screens on his desk with one dedicated to Twitter? Something he said with pride which is surprizing for a CEO concerned about employees slacking at work.
For a 'self proclaimed social media CEO" the only thing that surprises me about Spencer Rascoff is his reluctance to post on his Zillow Forum which I guess he recognizes as being 2nd or 3rd rate and beneath his dignity to share his opinion with minions complaining about Zestimate accuracy.
BTW Zillow is a $5.7Bn company, not $1Bn as you state. You need to do some better research!!!