Investors have long viewed Zillow as having more potential for growth than rival — Zillow went public in 2011 with a market cap more than twice that of operator Move Inc. Based on what shares in each company trade for today, investors now think Zillow is worth about 10 times more than Move.

To those unfamiliar with the importance investors place on growth, those valuations might seem strange, since Move has always generated more revenue than rivals Zillow and Trulia.

That’s likely to change in 2014 if the big three portals’ full-year revenue projections come in on target.

Zillow expects its 2014 revenue will be up 54.9 percent from the previous year to approximately $306 million, $50 million more than Move anticipates it will pull in this year, according to the firms’ first-quarter earnings reports.

Company 2013 revenue  Projected 2014 revenue* Projected % YoY 2014 revenue growth
Zillow $197.5 million $306 million 54.9%
Move Inc. $227.0 million $256 million 12.8%
Trulia $143.7 million $251.5 million 75.0%

Source: Zillow, Move Inc. and Trulia *Midpoint of the firms’ projected revenues.

If things go as the firms expect, Zillow will achieve the full-year revenue throne based on steady, quarter-by-quarter revenue growth.

Zillow’s quarterly revenue surpassed Move’s for the first time in the last three months of 2013, when the nation’s most visited real estate site brought in a total of $58.3 million, compared with $56.5 million for Move. Zillow’s fast pace of growth helped it extend its revenue lead in the first quarter, bringing in $66.2 million to Move’s $58 million.

Trulia, with an anticipated 75 percent year-over-year growth in revenue to $256 million in 2014, is in striking position to overtake Move as well.

Move’s projected full-year 2014 revenue would represent a year-over-year growth of 12.8 percent, the lowest among the three competitors.

The large jump in revenue that Trulia expects in 2014 comes, in part, from last year’s acquisition of real estate marketing and software giant Market Leader Inc., which itself recorded $45 million in revenue in 2012.

Zillow’s assumption to No. 1 status will begin to align the firms’ revenue ordering with that of their market capitalizations, which have tracked separately based on Wall Street’s differing perceptions of each firm’s respective growth potential.

Company Market cap as of market close May 19, 2014
Zillow $4.38 billion
Trulia $1.30 billion
Move Inc. $423.7 million

Source: Google Finance

Zillow, Trulia and Move make the bulk of their revenue selling leads and advertising to brokers and agents around the listing detail pages they host, what the firms call marketplace revenue, or “consumer advertising” revenue in Move’s case.

The firms, given their different business models, segment their marketplace revenue in different ways. Zillow and Trulia, for example, include the revenue they receive for providing software to agents, but do not include revenue they get from display ads in their marketplace revenue.

Move does not include revenue it receives from providing software to agents in its consumer advertising revenue, but does include display ad revenue within it.

These differences make apples-to-apples comparisons difficult.

Company 1Q Revenue 1Q Marketplace revenue 1Q Display revenue
Zillow $66.2 million** $46.2 million $12.9 million
Trulia $54.5 million $45.8 million $8.7 million
Move Inc. $58.0 million $44.8 million $13.2 million*

Source: Quarterly financial statements for Zillow, Trulia and Move Inc. *Software-as-a-service revenue **Also includes $7.1 million from Zillow’s mortgage marketplace

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