Executives at Zillow and realtor.com have let it be known that in their minds, winning real estate industry hearts and minds will be the key to dominance in the portal business.

Zillow doubled down on industry relations this year, bringing top realtor.com reps Errol Samuelson and Curt Beardsley on board in March. It has since added three more industry vets to its team.

Today, realtor.com operator Move Inc.’s vice president of industry relations, Russ Cofano, put a call out via LinkedIn, advertising four openings on his team. Move brought Cofano on in June to fill the industry relations roles left empty by the departure of Samuelson and Beardsley.

Zillow’s year-end highlight video touts the company’s growing consumer reach.

Murdoch behind the scenes

Rupert Murdoch, media mogul and new kingpin of realtor.com, took in some sweaty backstage action from “American Idol” this week at the House of Blues in West Hollywood.


Murdoch is the CEO of “American Idol” producer Century 21 Fox, and chairman of Century 21 Fox’s sister company, News Corp., which now runs realtor.com. Will Murdoch soon be sweating it out behind the scenes at realtor.com as well?

A glimpse inside Trulia’s new tree-inspired digs

The layout of Trulia’s brand-new 52,595-square-foot headquarters in downtown San Francisco, conceived by the international design firm Rapt Studio, was inspired by the structure of a tree.

Trulia headquarters in downtown San Francisco. Photo credit: Rapt Studio.

“Upon entering, the plan radiates into rings of spaces, materials and textures, signifying the building and strengthening of the community,” says Rapt. “All the rings converge on the point of arrival, right at the heart of Trulia.”

Exec stock sales

Each time execs at publicly traded firms sell company stock, the company’s file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Here’s who at the portals sold what and for how much in the last week:

Who Company, title How many shares sold $ amount
Spencer Rascoff Zillow, CEO 10,000 $1.2 million

Source: insider-monitor.com

Note: Some Zillow, Trulia and Move execs are on programs to automatically sell stock they own each month at predetermined times. Stock sales do not necessarily reflect a lack in confidence by execs in their respective firms.

Zillow a ‘best place to work’ 

Zillow was ranked as one of the best large companies to work for in the U.S. in an analysis of employee reviews conducted by jobs site Glassdoor.

Glassdoor ranked Zillow as the 33rd best place to work among companies with 1,000 or more employees. Zillow earned 3.9 out of a possible five stars based on employee reviews submitted between Nov. 13, 2013, and Nov. 2, 2014.

This a welcome bit of news for Zillow, which in recent weeks has been hit with four labor-related lawsuits tied to its Irvine, California. That Glassdoor was co-founded by Rich Barton, Zillow’s co-founder and chairman, didn’t seem to diminish the impact of the news one bit.

Some perks Zillow employees have access to (as reported by ABC News):

  • Each new hire gets a Fitbit.
  • Access to treadmill desks in each office.
  • Weekly in-office yoga classes at Zillow’s Seattle headquarters.
  • All full-time employees received a Kindle Fire HD 6 tablet at the firm’s year-end all-hands meeting. The devices came preloaded with a few of Rascoff’s favorite books, including “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell, “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg, “Creativity, Inc.” by Ed Catmull and “Built to Last” by Jim Collins.
  • An “IT Happy Hour” where they can get tech help from Zillow IT guys and gals over a beer.
  • Breast milk express: Nursing mothers who have to travel on Zillow business can send their breast milk home overnight on Zillow’s dime.

The Orange County Register also ranked Zillow a top workplace in 2014, which Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff duly noted on Twitter. Although he’s refrained from tweeting about the Irvine lawsuits, Rascoff is often on Glassdoor, checking out employee reviews and posting responses.

SmugSpencer trolls News Corp.

SmugSpencer — aka “Spencer Rascough,” the snarky Twitter account employing a phony version of Rascoff to spoof the portal space — ribbed Murdoch a bit for his alleged stinginess on Wednesday.


Stock activity

Company Market cap* Share price* (% change from last week)
Zillow $4.72 billion $118.90 (3.4%)
Trulia $1.83 billion $50.63 (2.8%)
News Corp. $8.77 billion $14.65 (-3.8%)

Source: Google Finance *As of market close on Friday, December 12, 2014

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