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 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."
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 !!!
Good question, especially since Guggennheim have a very small position in Zillow with only 4,631 shares according to the March 31 filing after disposing of 10,256 shares in the 1st quarter of 2015. It will be interesting to see the SEC Form 13F Filing for June 30 to see if they have increased their position in Zillow and decided to give it a pump. OR, maybe they are bidding to participate in some future funding requirement that Zillow might be planning.
The announcement that CFO Chad Cohen is departing " to pursue other business interests" seems to indicate that Zillow 2nd Quarter Forecasts have been missed previous guidance and as a consequence Cohen had to go. Looks like my 2nd July Zestimate on Zillows performance is more accurate than the nonsense Zestimate they impose on my home. How long before questions about CEO Spencer Rascoffs failings in running a tight ship are asked? Growth is stalling despite $100m TV AD campaign, costs are spiraling out of control, and his failure to have a strategy for the Trulia Market Leader business is disastrous. Just my 2 cents.
Any meaningful threads on here are buried by a mountain of irrelevant spam comments. One can only assume that's the objective of Trolls, like dolf.nacht and a few others. The big question is "are they paid to post these spam comments"? If so, by whom?
Morgan Stanley were Zillows 4th largest shareholder with 3.7 million shares on March 31. It will be interesting how many shares they are holding when they file Form 13F for June 30, as they had disposed of 8.1% during the first quarter of 2015, and the recent downward spiral in Z stock price isn't helping MS if they are in sell mode. We all know about 'Chinese Walls' but one has to ask the question if MS was sitting on a hefty loss on their Zillow investment which a plug from one of their Analysts sure would help mitigate .
Thanks Ron - much appreciated. The Goodwill on Zillows Balance Sheet is its single biggest business risk. Even more so as Zillow has stated that they don't know what to do with the Market Leader business that Trulia acquired 2 years ago and transferred $250M of Goodwill to Zillow.
Considering on Day 1 of the Trulia integration Zillow laid off the ML Sales team it is hardly a surprise to anyone that Revenues have plummeted and probably destroyed much of the Market Leader business valuation. Watch out for a BIG write off soon as any announcement is made. My guess is there will be a smaller Goodwill write off in the Q2 Earnings in respect of the disposal of Active Rain to Ben McKinney hurried thru in a week to close before Zillows Quarter End on June 30th
But surely the Display Ad Revenue is far more profitable than Market Place Revenue? Zillow is nothing more than an old fashioned Boiler Room Sales scam with 100's of Call Center staff cold calling Realtors trying to sign them up as Premier Agents but the incremental revenue hardly covers the cost of recruiting and supporting all the extra sales staff. Zillow is an unprofitable business and will continue to be unprofitable when a handful of Executives receive Stock Based Compensation of more than 10% of Revenues.
I agree with your comment that DotLoop is probably making very little money and was burning its way through the $14M PE Funding it has raised, so selling out to Zillow at a substantial premium for the business was an easy decision for the Investors in DotLoop.
If youI look at Zillows track record at integrating acquisitions then it isn't great, just ask David Vivero who was CEO of RentJuice, and he lasted less than 6 months after Zillow acquired his business and received $7m in respect of Restricted Stock that vested on his departure. Michael Smith the founder and CEO of StreetEasy didn't last long after the Zillow takeover and at least 6 other StreetEasy executives left in the first 18 months. So the DotLoop guys better understand that they most likely won't be at Zillow long enough to get a long service watch!!
My guess is Zillow wants the Data that Dotloop processes, especially in non-disclosure states where sales price isn't available for their BS Zestimates. It will be interesting how State Attorney Generals and Real Estate Commissions react if data leaks from DotLoop into Zillow. Would you trust Zillow to properly protect secure data?
Excellent 10 point Analysis published today by Citron Research explaining "why Zillow stock price cracks $40 within a year". Well worth a read as it highlights Zillow self promotion and failings. Look at Citron website
Maybe Zillow will start charging Homeowners a fee to correct or delete the inaccurate Zestimates they impose on homes and refuse to correct. That would be a new source of revenue that even Don Corleone would admire.
They show Depreciation as a 'specific' line item, but NOT Share Based Compensation which is a 'none cash' item of $34.085M in 2014. In addition there was a 4th Quarter Impairment Charge of $3.529M; Amortization of Bond Premium charge of $3.505M; which adds up to $41.119M of the $43.315M shown on that line on the Yahoo cash flow statement for 2014. I may be wrong but that's all I could see in the Zillow detailed breakout without spending more than 5 minutes analyzing. Hope that makes sense
Another concern is the $93.2M Goodwill & $27.7M Intangible Asset valuations on the last Quarterly Balance Sheet. This represents 20% of the Total Zillow Assets of $621.5M, and what is the potential risk of Impairment Charges in respect of these assets?
Well that's one way to divert Analysts attention from lousy Earnings tomorrow. When you consider the Zillow Executives NO zero about real estate maybe they like the idea of amateurs doing key roles with specific skill sets. No doubt "Smug Spencer" will state that he was CFO when Zillow started and it didn't matter that he has no financial background. The biggest worry is Kathleen Philips failed to keep costs under control as COO and she seemed invisible.
The worst part of the joke is (according to the Press Release) that Kathleen Philips has been responsible for integration of Zillow Acquisitions, and every one of them have had BIG issues that have not been handled well. The Founder & CEO of RentJuice was gone in months with $7.6M of Restricted Shares vesting immediately which hit Zillows earnings badly in that Quarter. Virtually all the senior StreetEasy staff were also gone in the first year as well. With Trulia the SEC delay gave her an extra 8 months to plan Day One tasks and she failed to have any strategy for the Market Leader business, that Trulia acquired 18 months earlier, and now looks like a big Goodwill Impairment charge will hit earnings sometime soon when ML is disposed of at a fire sale price.
Pick & Mix accounting when using Pro Forma numbers except the ones you don't like - eg they excluded the Market Leader Revenues as they went down. Display Ad Revenues down 15% too. The only REAL numbers are those reported using GAAP.
Raymond James the Zillow Investor Relations VP was asked by CEO Spencer Rascoff on Twitter to provide 'apples to apples' clarification of GAAP Earnings. He confirmed a loss per share of ($0.66) for Q2 2015 compared to a loss per share of ($0.26) for Q2 in 2014. In another Tweet he states Non GAAP loss was ($0.01) but thats after backing out $53M Shared Based Compensation and a kitchen sink full of other adjustments. And the share price jumps 10% ???
When a handful of executives receive substantial Share Based Compensation there is no way Zillow can be profitable. In the earnings reported yesterday there is a line item of $52.9M for Share Based Compensation which represents 30% of Revenues compared to a SBC charge of $15,5M in same quarter 2014. Zillow report on EBITDA basis which excludes SBC costs which is ridiculous when it it their single biggest cost item in the quarter. That is one of the reasons companies are required to report GAAP, and on that basis Zillow lost 66 cents eps compared to a loss of 21 cents on EBITDA basis.