Following Tuesday afternoon’s formal announcement that Zillow (Z) and Trulia (TRLA) are now one and the same, Zillow Group’s new leadership hosted a call Wednesday morning announcing that they plan to be aggressive in 2015.
"This is a pivotal day in online real estate, and we couldn't be more excited to welcome Trulia to Zillow Group," said Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow Group. "Each of our brands share a consumer-first philosophy, and our powerful combination of insights and expertise will drive even greater innovation for consumers, empowering them with essential information they need to make critical financial decisions. Our combination will also enable real estate professionals to more efficiently and easily reach the nation's largest audience of engaged buyers, sellers and homeowners, and extract even more value from their advertising."
Rascoff said they will be pushing the major brands hard.
“A lot of the synergies we discussed were cost avoidances. In 2015 we’re advertising all four of our consumer brands,” he said. “We are advertising Zillow and Trulia quite significantly (in 2015).”
“When we started Realtor.com had massive advantage. Out of nowhere Zillow and Trulia surpassed it,” he said. “The current competitive environment – there still is a lot of competition but not more or less than last 10 years. I like our chances. We have great people and great brands and a running head start. But we are not resting.”
On that issue, Rascoff said he is very cognizant of the loss of Listhub listings, which comes April 7.
At the time of the announcement, a Zillow spokesperson told HousingWire that it expects a “few hundred thousand” out of the 3.6 million listings currently on Zillow to be affected when the Listhub agreement ends, but said that Zillow is attempting to contact all of the potentially impacted MLSs to secure listing agreements to avoid any listings disappearing from Zillow.
“When we announced we were parting ways with News Corp we were constrained on being reliant on a competitor for listings,” Rascoff said Wednesday morning. He said Listhub, which is ultimately owned by Move, sent inferior listings to emphasize that Move’s Realtor.com had “higher quality listings.”
“Two of the three largest MLS have decided to send Zillow listings feeds. Several other deals are in the pipeline,” Rascoff said.
He said he was aware of the number of listings Zillow is losing with Listhub, but he was not going to share that with investors.
“It’s something I’m feeling comfortable with going into the spring,” he said.
The company also wouldn’t quantify how much it was saving with its slew of layoffs as the companies were “right-sized.”
But when Zillow announced the completion of the merger, the company said it was laying off 280 employees, primarily in the San Francisco and Bellevue, Washington, offices. Zillow Group said that it eliminated the positions “due primarily to redundancy in the combined company's sales and administrative organizations.”
Additionally, the company expects to eliminate 70 more positions in the near future. Once the positions are eliminated, Zillow Group will have approximately 2,000 employees. Zillow Group said Tuesday that the 350 affected employees have already been notified.
Rascoff also mentioned that Erroll Samuelson is expected to be back in play at Zillow Group.
Samuelson is currently the chief industry development officer for Zillow but he has been sidelined by an ongoing lawsuit.
He was hired away from Move and Realtor.com in early March. Later in March, Move and the National Association of Realtors sued Zillow for breach of contract, alleging that Samuelson stole trade secrets and intellectual property from Move and brought it with him to Zillow.