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

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August 13, 2008 9:00 PM

Zillow steps up local realty ads; Craigslist 2.0 for newspapers?

Posted by Brier Dudley

Zillow's announcing a new local advertising service for real estate agents, banks and service providers.

The company's providing a self-service console for advertisers to target ads by zip code. It's already been offering them "EZ Ads" since April 2007, but today's upgrade adds tiered pricing and the ability to buy some or all of the ads targeting people searching Zillow for homes in a particular zip code.

Also being announced is a national ad program called Zillow Home Direct. (Update: I misread this in the release - Home Direct was mentioned, but was actually announced previously, in October).

"Zillow is committed to offering local professionals affordable and easy-to-use tools to get in front of our large audience of consumers interested in real estate and buying and selling homes," Zillow's vice president of ad sales, Greg Schwartz, said in the release.

Seattle's best-funded Web startup is also partnering with 282 newspapers, so they can sell ads on Zillow as well as their own products. That may give the papers a little more revenue, but doesn't it seem like a huge risk that papers will lose the community of real estate shoppers and vendors inhabiting their classified pages to flashy Web services like Zillow?

Maybe I'm too paranoid. Papers still reach far more than Zillow's 5 million monthly visitors. U.S. newspaper Web sites had 63 million monthly viewers as of December, and daily newspaper readership is 154.3 million, according to the Newspaper Association of America.

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