Zillow.com today announced a partnership with 11 newspaper chains that will allow it to take classified ads from 282 newspapers beginning next year.
The deal will give advertisers who place their print and online for-sale listings and open-house announcements with the newspapers the option of displaying the ads on Zillow, which claims 4 million monthly visitors.
The newspapers will also have the ability to use Zillow’s platform to enhance their own online sites with information on homes, neighborhoods and price trends, the partners in the agreement said in a press release.
Zillow, which currently claims nearly 300,000 listings and 92,000 “Make Me Move” prices set by owners, said it will benefit from more comprehensive for-sale listings and open-house announcements.
“Reading the weekend real estate section is a ritual that many enjoy, and to brokers and agents the paper is a core marketing tool,” said Lloyd Frink, Zillow’s president, in a statement announcing the newspaper alliance. “Now, the process of real estate discovery will be further integrated into the online world.”
The newspaper chains partnering with Zillow include Hearst Newspapers, Lee Enterprises Inc., Media General Inc., MediaNews Group Inc., Morris Communications Co. LLC, Paddock Publications, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, The E.W. Scripps Co., Times-Shamrock Communications and The Day Publishing Co.
More newspapers are expected to join the network before it launches in the first half of 2008, Zillow said.
Some of the newspaper chains that will feed listings to Zillow are already part of a consortium that allows them to share online text ads and content with Yahoo! The new initiative extends the consortium — formed a year ago around online help wanted ads — to the real estate sector, the companies said.
Classified Ventures, a Chicago-based company formed by five other newspaper publishers to build a stronger Web presence for their classified ads, this summer announced that its Homescape Web site would work directly with brokers and agents to gather property listings.
Homescape previously relied on the 100 newspapers in its network for listings, with coverage limited to the markets where those newspapers operated. The Web site now has partnerships with regional brokerage companies including Prudential Fox & Roach, Prudential California, ERA Masiello, GMAC Real Estate of Atlanta, and Prudential Gary Greene.
Classified Ventures is owned by Belo Corp., Gannet Co., McClatchy Co., Tribune Co. and Washington Post Co.
Last month, Zillow announced an agreement with ERA Franchise Systems LLC that it said would feed about 80,000 property listings onto the site each day.
Online real estate ads accounted for about 12 percent of newspaper companies’ online revenue in 2006, according to a recent report by media research and consulting firm Borrell Associates (see Inman News story). The report projected newspaper Web site revenues will hit $3.2 billion in the 2007 fiscal year, up 18.5 percent from a year ago.
But real estate professionals still devote more advertising dollars to newspaper print ads than to online ads at newspaper Web sites, according to another report by consulting company Classified Intelligence LLC and media company Realty Times.
Realogy Corp., owner of the franchise brands Coldwell Banker and Century 21, has said it intends to cut newspaper advertising to 70 percent of its home-sale ad spend by 2010, compared with 84 percent this year.