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Zillow names new CEO in march toward 2011 IPO candidacy

Zillow has been an interesting real estate technology company to watch over the years, starting out recruiting top talent, then reorganizing and cutting staff in 2008, then earlier this year, we reported their plans to go public next year.

As they march toward IPO candidacy in 2011, they have been reorganizing behind the scenes as proved by today’s announcement that Spencer Rascoff is being promoted to CEO of Zillow.

With time at Expedia and under his belt, Spencer Rascoff joined Zillow in March 2005 as one of the original executive team members and was named chief operating officer in October 2008.

As for Rich Barton who has been the CEO since 2005, according to, he will “continue to be actively involved in Zillow as executive chairman of the board of directors. Fellow co-founder Lloyd Frink will move from president to the new full-time role of chief strategy officer.”

Challenges for Zillow

Although Zillow partnered with Yahoo! Real Estate earlier this year, widely expanding their offering and presence, Zillow’s bread and butter is still data which has recently been challenged.

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In May of this year, we reported a data reliability issue when named Denver as one of the worst housing markets in America, having used Zillow data as their primary source of information, conflicting wildly with local market data from Realtors and Board data.

Forbes had reported just ten months earlier that Denver is the best place in America to buy a home, leading agents, reporters and even a Gubernatorial candidate to question Forbes’ reporting who in turn pointed to Zillow as their data source and one they will no longer be using due to this issue. Zillow’s response was that Forbes should have contacted them directly which led us to ask if all consumers should contact the public relations department at Zillow when they perform a search?

This along with a rising number of competitors entering the market will provide Zillow with some steep challenges as they get closer to their potential public status and with Rascoff having been such a major part of the organization for many years, we doubt that these unaddressed challenges will be overcome.

All that said, we anticipate that whether in 2011 or 2012, Zillow will reach their goal of achieving IPO status.

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Drew Meyers

    September 15, 2010 at 7:03 am

    Spencer is no doubt the hardest working executive I’ve seen thus far in my career. Working on Spencer’s marketing team for the last 3 of my 4 1/2 years at Zillow, I quickly came to realize no one can outwork that guy. But his example kept me motivated to try 🙂

    He is going to do fantastic in his new role — looking forward to what he can accomplish in the next few years leading up to an IPO.

  2. Rob McCance

    September 15, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    Zillow doing an IPO?


    Have we come full circle back to the worthless IPOs of yesteryear like,, and all the others that went up in smoke?

    The site is a IDX aggregrator and the world’s worst and most inaccurate CMA provider.

    Where’s the reality anymore?

    As Jack Black said in School of Rock “aaaaaaaagggghhh!, What do they teach in this school!!???”

    • Drew Meyers - YouReach Media

      September 27, 2010 at 5:13 am

      “The site is a IDX aggregrator”

      Unless something has changed since I left end of January, Zillow doesn’t import a single IDX feed.

      • Rob McCance

        September 27, 2010 at 7:47 am

        Sorry about that Drew. I tend to lump all the nationals together with no differentiation. Too broad a swipe by me.

        I still don’t like any of them though. They are trying to do on a national level what is a local level job. And, they are putting themselves between the local professional and the consumer, for no real compelling reason.

        I realize they have their own compelling reasons, but is the consumer really helped in any way? (no need to answer…just talking out loud….via a keyboard…)

        Have a good day.

  3. balanced scorecard

    September 26, 2010 at 10:26 am

    The bread and butter of Zillow are been challenged. So we can expect a really challenging approach from his side.

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