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.
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.