Zillow: Taking a Look at the Real Estate Marketing Giant

Zillow provides prospective homebuyers and renters with a toolkit to search for their next residence. Users can filter by price, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, home type, square footage, lot size, and gain access to Zillow’s famous Zestimate – all for free. Even better, homeowners, agents, and rental property managers can list residencies for free as well.

How is it, with so many free services, that Zillow earns over $1 billion in annual revenue and employs thousands of people? As is the case with many online media platforms, it is primarily through the sale of ads.

Much like ads on Google search pages, Zillow allows advertisers to reach specific audiences through advertisements on their platform. Advertisers range from rental agencies to interior designers – all people who need to reach subsets of prospective renters and buyers.

An ad from an internet service provider in Texas

Zillow maintains other revenue streams too. In combination with ads on Zillow’s website, Zillow advertisers can take run ads on other sites in the Zillow Rental Network. This network of websites includes Trulia, Hotpads, and even AOL Real Estate.

Beyond advertising, Zillow has started Zillow Offers; This program provides cash offers for homeowners who wish to expedite the sale of their home. Zillow connects sellers with a representative who helps them work through the sale and closing of their home.

Zillow also offers real estate agents the opportunity to become a Premiere Agent. Premiere Agents pay for Zillow to provide additional services to help run their agency. Premiere Agents can receive leads from Zillow’s network of sites and Facebook. They can also gain access to a CRM and even a website for their agency.

Zillow is owned by the Zillow Group, a company which oversees Zillow, Trulia, Hotpads, Zillow Home Loans, and a number of other organizations. With such a broad network of websites, services, and users, its no wonder that Zillow attracts people from all over the housing industry.

National Planning Conference 2018: My Experience

In the fall of 2017, I was presented with the opportunity to complete a major project in lieu of several class assignments.

After personally witnessing the decline of several shopping malls in north Dallas, I wanted to focus on how mixed-use developments can help revitalize areas previously occupied by shopping malls.

I selected a Collin Creek Mall in east Plano, Texas for my project. This mall, built in the early 1980s, has lost foot traffic and shop leases in recent years.

Using the existing property lines, I designed a mixed-use development that includes commercial and residential spaces. The following is an aerial view of my design:

An aerial view of the proposed development.

At the end of the semester, I presented the design to my classmates. It was around this time that my professor suggested that I submit my project to the 2018 National Planning Conference.

A closer look at the River Side Community.

I submitted the project and was accepted as the only undergraduate student from Texas A&M to present in at the conference in New Orleans! The school also agreed to reimburse me for my conference expenses.

By now, it was February and I had until April of 2018 to prepare my presentation. By April, I had my poster printed and ready for the conference.

When I arrived at the conference, vendors and other speakers began to set up their booths. I found a spot for my poster among graduate students from Texas A&M and other schools.

Presenting my poster at NPC18.

I presented my poster to economists, urban planners, data scientists, and real estate professionals throughout the day. I spent my time answering questions about why I chose Collin Creek Mall, the software I used to create the models, and different aspects of the design.

Overall, presenting at NPC18 was a great experience. I had the opportunity to speak with well established professionals and share my work over the past two semesters, an invaluable exercise.