Despite broker backlash over its agent advertiser programs, StreetEasy revenue grew a whopping 73 percent in 2015, parent company Zillow Group said Thursday.
In a fourth quarter earnings call, Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff said the New York City-based listings portal “seems to be on a tear” with revenue that more than doubled since Zillow acquired the company for $50 million in Aug. 2013.
While Zillow doesn’t break out financials for its individual brands, a back-of-the-napkin calculation would give StreetEasy revenue of more than $11.2 million in 2015 – conservatively – based on an earlier disclosure that StreetEasy had $5.6 million in revenue in 2012, the last full year that revenue was disclosed.
Earlier this month, the Seattle-based real estate giant announced it would amp up StreetEasy’s rental foothold by acquiring New York-based rental listings site Naked Apartments for $13 million. The deal, Rascoff said during the earnings call Thursday, “will help accelerate our growth in the New York City rental market, which represents two-thirds of the residential living units in the city.”
He estimated there is $500 million worth of rental commissions in the market, compared with $1.2 billion worth of sales commissions.
Last year, StreetEasy — which generates revenue via agent advertising, featured listings and other advertising opportunities — introduced two new advertising programs for brokers, a Building Experts and Neighborhood Experts program, which led to a flurry of negative responses from brokers. In particular, the Neighborhood Expert ad program is open to agents who have brokered just two deals in one New York neighborhood over a 36-month period.
Companywide, Zillow had nearly 92,400 agent advertisers as of Dec. 31, 2015, who spend an average of $438 a month to promote their business, Zillow said. At the end of the year, Zillow’s consumer brands – including Zillow, Trulia, StreetEasy and HotPads – saw nearly 124 million average monthly unique visits, up 61 percent year over year.
In 2015, Zillow’s revenue increased 18 percent to $679.9 million. The company’s net loss in 2015 was $91.1 million, compared with $83.3 million in 2014, due to litigation with News Corp., which sued Zillow in 2014 after executives from its real estate website Move joined Zillow.