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There’s always something to howl about

There aren’t enough advertising dollars for Zillow.com to go IPO, but adding Google Street View makes the site a little more useful

So far, in 30 months since Zillow.com launched, precisely one client has shown me a Zestimate. I mention the site all the time, just as a matter of casual conversation, but only the INTx types know what the hell I’m talking about. Last night on the the phone with Brian Brady, I equated the Realty.bots with model trains: We fool around with these model train layouts because they’re interesting and fun — and then we get up and go back to our real jobs on the railroad.

That’s not completely fair. I’ve been using Zillow more and more in my own real estate practice, as one of my pre-listing tools. Because our current MLS system sucks so bad — it’s gone on July 28th — often I will go to Zillow first.

One thing I’ve wanted and missed at the site is Google’s Street View.

Guess what we’re getting today? That link is dead for now, but I’m not under any embargo, so here’s the news:

Even though it uses Microsoft’s satellite imagery, Zillow will also be adding Google’s Street View technology for exterior elevations of homes and views of the streets and surrounding areas.

The other bit of Zillow news this week was the announcement by Zillow.com CFO Spencer Rascoff that the start-up will not be going IPO in 2008.

The problem? All of Zillow’s services are built on an advertising-based revenue model, and it is struggling to sell enough ads.
 
“There’s an online advertising recession right now, and we are not immune,” said Rascoff. He did not show any signs of departing from the company’s advertising-based business model, or its eventual plans for an IPO.

Street View doesn’t seem to be turned on yet, as I write this. The IPO spigot may be turned off for quite a while.

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