Realtor.com operator Move Inc. says the company’s losses ballooned from $4 million in 2007 to $32.7 million in 2008, despite having slashed $20 million in annual operating expenses by year’s end.
At $242 million, revenue for the year was down 3 percent from 2007. The company saw a sharper 8.2 percent year-over-year drop in revenue during the last three months of 2008, to $57.5 million, that was driven by fewer new-home listings and fewer display ads.
The $3.2 million loss for the quarter was an improvement from the last three months of 2007, when Move lost $5.3 million. Driving the increased losses for 2008 as a whole was a $27.2 million loss on discontinued operations, including Move’s Welcome Wagon business, the company said.
Move acquired Welcome Wagon, a lead-generation site that offers consumers information about local businesses and services, in 2001, and hopes to complete a sale of the company by the end of the year. Move took a restructuring charge of $1.6 million and an impairment charge of $16 million related to Welcome Wagon operations in 2008.
Briefing investors for the first time since taking over as Move’s chief executive officer six weeks ago (see story), former Ask.com CEO Steve Berkowitz said Realtor.com continues to dominate the industry in Web site traffic and viewer engagement.
After relaunching Realtor.com in 2008 Move begins the new year "positioned to continue our market leadership in online real estate," and with a renewed focus on profitability, Berkowitz said.
Move’s cost-cutting measures mean that last year the company spent 24 percent less on product and Web site development than the $34.7 million outlay made in 2007. Expenditures for sales and marketing were up 4 percent, to $93.5 million.
Almost 90 percent of the company’s revenue for the year — $217.2 million — came from the real estate services segment, which includes Realtor.com and Move’s Top Producer applications for Realtors. The segment generated $53 million in profits during 2008, a 12 percent drop from 2007.
Revenue fell by 12.5 percent to $24.8 million in the consumer media segment, which includes advertising products, lead-generation tools, and content sponsorships on Move.com and related sites. The consumer media segment generated $303,000 in profits in 2008, compared with a $1.4 million loss in 2007.
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