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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

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October 30, 2007 2:18 PM

Zillow rolls out its new ad platform

Posted by Brier Dudley

Zillow just announced an impressive new ad platform that targets homeowners using the site. I wonder if we're seeing the company's master plan unfold.

Called Zillow Home Direct Ads, it's aimed at companies that want to reach a lucrative bunch: homeowners, homebuyers and potential homesellers.

A highlight is the platform's own sort of Zestimate: It guesses when homeowners are preparing to sell or upgrade their homes, presumably by watching for an increased level of attention to the information Zillow provides about their home.

Advertisers can tap into the detailed database of 70 million homes that Zillow has built, targeting people by address, home value, neighborhood characteristics, or as Zillow put it in its news release, "by psychographic cluster such as urban families with children."

Zillow claims this is the first time such targeting has been available to online advertisers.

From the release:

"What we're offering advertisers is pinpoint accuracy on the purchasing intentions of homeowners, including the ability to forecast that they are highly likely to move or remodel well before they start the process," said Greg Schwartz, Zillow vice president of ad sales.

The timing of the announcement is interesting. It came just after a potential competitor, Curbed.com, was written up in the New York Times after receiving $1.5 million in funding to expand to more cities. That's probably less than the interest Zillow earns on its war chest, but they're both going after the same national advertisers.

I'll refrain from ranting this time about how Zillow is going after newspapers' bread and butter.

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