“Second pisses me off”: Realtor.com boss goes on the offensive

CEO Damian Eales sets his sights on Zillow two months into his new role

Realtor.com CEO Damian Eales Wants to Dethrone Zillow
Realtor.com CEO Damian Eales and Zillow CEO Rich Barton (LinkedIn, Zillow, Getty)

The game of thrones for online home listing supremacy is afoot.

Move Inc. CEO Damian Eales — a mere two months into his role as the chief of Realtor.com’s parent company — brought the challenge to Zillow in recent comments at Inman Connect, Inman reported. Realtor.com is considered the No. 2 real estate listings portal in the country, trailing only Zillow.

“We are the original listings site,” Eales said of the company’s history, which dates back to 1995. “We were No. 1 for many years. Something happened where Zillow took that crown off us — and I want it back.”

Prompted by Brad Inman, Eales confessed that being “second pisses me off.” The former News Corporation executive also spoke to the growth mandate he was handed when Rupert Murdoch moved him from the parent company to Move.

Among the ideas Eales is kicking around is leveraging News Corp.’s media brands for content and leaning more on its relationship with realtors.

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Eales took over as Move’s chief executive in June when David Doctorow stepped down following three years in the role. The leadership change came months after News Corp. was reported to be in talks to sell Move to CoStar Group, a transaction that would’ve valued Move at $3 billion. CoStar would’ve been able to push deeper into the residential space following its acquisitions of HomeSnap and Apartments.com.

The talks fizzled, though, and CoStar’s Andy Florence confirmed the deal wouldn’t move forward during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call. While Move reportedly received interest from other buyers, it remains a subsidiary of News Corp.

During the first quarter, Move’s lead volume declined by 30 percent and revenue dropped by 17 percent. News Corp. is set to report its earnings for the second quarter — which the conglomerate refers to as the fourth quarter in Fiscal Year 2023 — on Thursday.

Holden Walter-Warner

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