Earlier this week a new service called Zillow opened up for a Beta (is there anything else these days?). It is all about automated valuation on homes in the US.
'How much is your house worth? Zillow knows' A CNET article on the 7th february
'How scared should brokers be?' BusinessWeek on the January 13
'Zillow aims for realty riches' RedHerring, october 26, 2005
'Vad kostar Bill Gates hus?' Realtid.se, february 15th, 2006 (In Swedish)
Zillow's CFO Spencer Rascoff's Blog about "what's going on in my work life at Zillow.com"
Their company blog is found here ZillowBlog.
A great link is to Inman which have had a 'What is Zillow?' contest going prio to the launch. (Yes, Zillow has been quite secretive.. "to develop a new kind of online real estate service..." ). You have to read the posting on this one!
Not only is it interesting that a company is able to raise some $32 million but also the fact that their business model seems (?) to be based only on revenues from advertisment. In other words, maybe the thoughts back in 2000 wasn't that out of the scope... It sure works for Google to release services that attracts enough users in order for business to put in some major dollars for ads.
Using Zillow you are able to define a street (in the US) and zoom in to street level and get a overlay of the size of the property and the "the Zestimates", which is based on, among others, tax asssesment record. However, according to blogs the value is less than most people expect...