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Zillow, Inc. Message Board

surbiton99 28 posts  |  Last Activity: Sep 12, 2014 2:49 PM Member since: Aug 10, 2011
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  • Zillow Unique Users increase by a lousy 5.2% from 81.486M in May to 82.989M in June, despite a $65M national TV advertising campaign to increase awareness in the Zillow brand. Admittedly the TV Ad is as useless as Zillows flawed Zestimates, but the $65M is on top of a $45M TV Ad campaign in 2013. Seems that Zillow is missing the spot with potential users, or maybe its reputation for inaccuracy stops people even bothering to look at its website.

  • Despite spending huge sums on nationwide TV advertising Zillow Unique User numbers fell by over 2.5 million to 86.3M versus 88.8M in July. A 3% drop compares to an increase of 4% for the comparable month last year with only limited advertising. Doesn't look good for Zillow 3rd quarter revenues, which most likely will have lower than forecast growth, whilst costs are out of control in a desperate attempt to sign up Premier Agents.

  • surbiton99 surbiton99 Jul 15, 2014 9:47 AM Flag

    sm081969 you make some excellent points and I can only agree with you. Interesting that when Unique User numbers are disappointing that NO comment from Spencer Rascough.

  • surbiton99 surbiton99 Jul 30, 2014 7:56 PM Flag

    Zillow is building a balance sheet loaded with Goodwill and other intangible assets that need to be amortized impacting future years profits. If the merger is to generate $100M annual savings then the reorganization costs and write offs on Trulia Intangible assets will be substantial as if consolidating on one platform then under GAAP there is a potential big Impairment charge relating to the $114M intangible assets on Trulias books at last reporting date. There would be a similar review of the $256M Goodwill to determine what value is Impaired on any aspects rationalized into the bigger Zillow.

    And with the ballon effect from how both companies stock price has increased dramatically Share Based Compensation costs will go thru the roof hitting profits even more.

  • surbiton99 surbiton99 Jul 15, 2014 9:51 AM Flag

    Now that Zillow Unique User growth has run out of steam there is NO comment from CEO Spencer Rascoff explaining why growth has slowed substantially despite a $65M TV advertising campaign. Zillow Unique Users increase by a lousy 5.2% from 81.486M in May to 82.989M in June, after being flat from April to May.

  • surbiton99 surbiton99 Jul 19, 2014 9:07 PM Flag

    With 2nd Quarter Unique Users at 243.3M compared to 212.0M in 1st quarter Zillows growth slowed to 14.8% Year on Year compared to the same Quarter in 2013 when it grew 16.43%. The difference being that Zillow did no TV advertising in the same period last year, but spent $45M in the 3rd &4th Quarters and is spending $65M in 2014. The answer is obvious that Zillow has run out of steam and can no longer be considered a growth stock. Put that into context that incremental costs of additional revenues are greater than the revenue growth and it spells di-Zaster.

  • surbiton99 surbiton99 Jul 3, 2014 9:34 AM Flag

    Substantial reputational damage as Zillow and CEO, alomng with Errol Samuelson, demonstrate a disregard for ethics and integrity by poaching key employees from a competitor company induced with very generous Restricted Stock options worth over $6m. Am I surprised? No, as a homeowner with a substantially inaccurate Zestimate, I was informed by CEO Spencer Rascoff in an email response 'that thanks to the First Amendment Zillow can publish any value it likes' . How arrogant is that?

  • surbiton99 surbiton99 Aug 12, 2014 6:36 PM Flag

    I have been commenting for some time about Zillow including duplicate Users in its Unique User count. But when the CEO claims a First Amendment Right as justification for publishing inaccurate Zestimates on homes then nothing surprises me regarding the accuracy of any statement he makes.

    I recently posted the following comment on seeking alpha regarding Zillows Unique Users

    "Zillows 80 million Monthly Unique Users is a myth with the 'real' number for June being 46 million according to ComScore. The reason for the difference is that Zillow counts Users accessing with multiple devices as different Users."

    Back in January this year when Zillow reported 69.9M Unique Users which was a staggering increase of 34% over the December UU number and I was surprised no Analyst didn't ask Zillow to clarify what drove this increase, or if they have changed the methodology for counting Unique Users. It seems that smooth talking Spencer Rascoff has had an easy ride with Analysts who never ask 'real' meaningful questions on what is really happening at Zillow. Too much hype and puffery.

  • On June 3, 2013 Trulia filed a Form 8K with the SEC describing the structure of a performance based stock scheme following the acquisition of Market Leader by Trulia. Restrictive Stock Units (RSU) were awarded to executives as follows:

    Peter Flint CEO 300,000
    Sean Aggarwel CFO 250,000
    Paul Levine COO 250,000
    Daniele Farnedi CTO 30,000
    Scott Darling Counsel 30,000

    The Performance-Based RSUs are subject to the attainment of a Company performance milestone as well as a continued service requirement after the milestone is achieved. The Performance-Based RSUs generally only become eligible to vest if the Company’s stock price is in excess of $48.40 for 20 trading days in a 30 consecutive trading day period during an 18-month period that begins on the first trading day on or after the first Company earnings release date to occur after the 12-month anniversary of the Closing (such 18-month period, the “Achievement Window”). For the avoidance of doubt, the performance milestone must occur during the Achievement Window to be considered achieved.

    With the Zillow takeover being completed early 2015 these guys have a home run on meeting the $48.40 share price target and even with the 0.44 Zillow share adjustment they are in the money. Assuming the Z stock price falls to $100 with dilution Pete Flint gets over $13 million from the scheme which was most unlikely had Zillow not come along. Good luck to the Trulia guys good fortune as I have admired the quiet business focused way they have developed their company with a major strategic acquisition of Market Leader, compared to hype and puffery from Zillow as the made bolt on acquisitions and then failed to integrate effectively. Just consider RentJuice where a few months after completion the CEO 'departed' at a cost to Zillow of over $7M in the Q2 as RSU's vested immediately.

  • Reply to

    Zanta comes early for Trulia executives

    by surbiton99 Aug 2, 2014 8:48 PM
    surbiton99 surbiton99 Aug 2, 2014 8:53 PM Flag

    And in the case of change of control "With respect to the named executive officers, if after the date the performance milestone is achieved (or for Designated Participants after the performance milestone is not achieved), there is (i) a change in control and (ii) such named executive officer’s status as a service provider terminates on grounds that would entitle him to accelerated vesting of equity awards under the “double-trigger” change in control protection for equity awards currently in place as of May 29, 2013, then 50% of the remaining Performance-Based RSUs and/or Remainder RSUs will immediately vest and become settled within 60 days following the event gave rise to such acceleration."

  • Reply to

    Lieing on their numbers

    by b11567 Aug 25, 2014 10:57 AM
    surbiton99 surbiton99 Aug 25, 2014 3:20 PM Flag

    I have been commenting for some time about Zillow including duplicate Users in its Unique User count. But when the CEO claims a First Amendment Right as justification for publishing inaccurate Zestimates on homes then nothing surprises me regarding the accuracy of any statement he makes.

    I recently posted the following comment on seeking alpha regarding Zillows Unique Users

    "Zillows 80 million Monthly Unique Users is a myth with the 'real' number for June being 46 million according to ComScore. The reason for the difference is that Zillow counts Users accessing with multiple devices as different Users."

    Back in January this year when Zillow reported 69.9M Unique Users which was a staggering increase of 34% over the December UU number and I was surprised no Analyst didn't ask Zillow to clarify what drove this increase, or if they have changed the methodology for counting Unique Users. It seems that smooth talking Spencer Rascoff has had an easy ride with Analysts who never ask 'real' meaningful questions on what is really happening at Zillow. Too much hype and puffery

  • Reply to

    No Terms on Retsly Deal???

    by pigroast11 Jul 16, 2014 8:04 PM
    surbiton99 surbiton99 Jul 17, 2014 9:53 AM Flag

    Retsly has Angel funding of $575K and 5 employees according to the Angel Investors website. Their Twitter has a bunch of pictures at a Realogy conference lasy November so I am guessing this is a 'spoiler acquisition' by Zillow to eliminate the Retsly tools that Realogy maybe using. I can't imagine Zillow paid more than $2M or $3M, but when they have such an inflated value maybe they paid $20M. As twhite113 says it is Zimbabwean dollar values.

  • surbiton99 surbiton99 Jul 27, 2014 11:31 AM Flag

    So forgive my naivety but isn't this the type of thing the SEC investigates ?

  • Reply to

    Teflon stock - defying gravity - too many negatives

    by sm081969 Aug 14, 2014 12:47 PM
    surbiton99 surbiton99 Aug 14, 2014 1:25 PM Flag

    One other big negative that you missed is how Zillow imposes nonsense inaccurate Zestimates on 106 million homes and refuses ALL requests to correct or delete when 17% of Zestimates are more than 25% incorrect. Zillow claim a First Amendment Right to publish any valuation they want. Any company that treats consumers in such a disgraceful way will never be successful long term. The only reason for publishing inaccurate Zestimates must be to generate controversy in an attempt to boost Unique User numbers and should be declared illegal because of the impact on home prices.

  • Reply to

    Z CEO on CNBC

    by tpljmpr_50 Sep 10, 2014 1:02 PM
    surbiton99 surbiton99 Sep 11, 2014 10:14 AM Flag

    When I saw Rascoffs "TwitterStorm" my first thought was this guy is looking for a job with Alibaba with his usual hype & puffery about how wonderful he is.
    Probability is the 6 large investors in both Zillow and Trulia want a CEO who can actually run a business and make a profit after the merger, and Rascoff has demonstrated that isn't him with Zillow costs out of control in a desperate attempt to grow revenues.
    Having made a fortune from bailing out of $Z at every opportunity Rascoff is looking for his next ATM machine and my guess is that he is putting himself forward as "Mr IPO expert" hoping to attract Alibaba's attention. Rascoffs problem is Jack Ma and Jonathan Lu are not stupid and are asking the same question "Does the Zillow CEO actually work?"

  • Reply to

    Zillow Unique Users drop 3% in August

    by surbiton99 Sep 6, 2014 11:52 AM
    surbiton99 surbiton99 Sep 12, 2014 2:49 PM Flag

    Zillow obviously agree with you about the drop in MUU's being disastrous as they have increased their TV Ad spend for 2014 from $65M to $75M according to an article in MeadiaPost 's Marketing Daily published yesterday.

    Not sure if the link will be allowed here

    "Zillow is increasing its ad budget for its current campaign with the launch of the fourth TV spot in its “Find Your Way Home” campaign. The original advertising spend was estimated at $65 million. However, Zillow has increased that estimate to $75 million, according to a spokesperson. The company spent $40 million in 2013. Zillow’s decision to invest in advertising has helped the company grow market share and reach record high traffic and revenue, with nearly 89 million monthly unique users visiting in July."

  • Reply to

    The Numbers

    by muzzy4444 Jun 25, 2014 12:39 PM
    surbiton99 surbiton99 Jun 25, 2014 7:02 PM Flag

    The 80 million Unique User number is as inaccurate #$%$ Zillows nonsense Zestimates. Zillow counts the same person accessing its website on a device basis so if a user has a cellphone, a tablet, a home computer, a work computer, etc, then that would be counted as 4 Unique Users even though its the same person accessing the site using multiple devices. CommScore recently published that Zillows real user number is 45.1 million. Lots oh hype and puffery by Zillow executives to boost the share price to make themselves richer.

  • surbiton99 surbiton99 Aug 9, 2014 12:40 PM Flag

    The BIG winners of the merger are the Trulia executives if the stock price remains above $48.408 for 30 consecutive days. The Barrons article could jeopardize that.

    On June 3, 2013 Trulia filed a Form 8K with the SEC describing the structure of a performance based stock scheme following the acquisition of Market Leader by Trulia. Restrictive Stock Units (RSU) were awarded to executives as follows:

    Peter Flint CEO 300,000
    Sean Aggarwel CFO 250,000
    Paul Levine COO 250,000
    Daniele Farnedi CTO 30,000
    Scott Darling Counsel 30,000

    The Performance-Based RSUs are subject to the attainment of a Company performance milestone as well as a continued service requirement after the milestone is achieved. The Performance-Based RSUs generally only become eligible to vest if the Company’s stock price is in excess of $48.40 for 20 trading days in a 30 consecutive trading day period during an 18-month period that begins on the first trading day on or after the first Company earnings release date to occur after the 12-month anniversary of the Closing (such 18-month period, the “Achievement Window”). For the avoidance of doubt, the performance milestone must occur during the Achievement Window to be considered achieved.

  • surbiton99 surbiton99 Jul 31, 2014 9:13 PM Flag

    "There would be a similar review of the $256M Goodwill to determine what value is Impaired on any aspects rationalized into the bigger Zillow"

    The reference to Trulia Goodwill relates to any Impairment charge not amortization.

  • surbiton99 surbiton99 Jul 24, 2014 4:50 PM Flag

    Well with several investment funds owning substantial holdings in both Zillow and Trulia maybe the merger rumor is a diversionary tactic to cover big 2nd quarter losses from both companies and avoid both stocks crashing.

Z
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