Zillow starts charging for listings

Starting tomorrow Zillow will be charging for all manual listing uploads to their site. This, as they also add rental properties to their site as well (here’s looking at you Apartments.com, you’re next in the crosshairs).

Adding a property for sale (or rent) on Zillow either as a homeowner or agent will now set you back $9.95 for a 3-month 6-month listing. Volume discounts are also available for individuals wanting to list 50 properties or more and can provide a data feed. Using a syndication tool like vFlyer or Postlets however, will still let you upload your listings for free.

Zillow has made steady gains in market-share since its launch. And in the early days it was all about building out its database. But clearly now, Zillow feels like it has hit its stride with the acquisition of new listings and either a) no longer needs the manual uploads or b) feels the heat and needs to start to monetizing that inventory.

In either case, it’s a way for them to shake the tree a bit and and see if they can loosen up any incremental revenue from within their network.

The shift to a pay-to-play model does run somewhat counter to the good corporate citizen image the company has publicly tried to espouse with agents. But I suspect Zillow knows this as well. Hence the soft rollout and the hedge with the syndicators.

Nevertheless, Zillow’s representatives claim only 3% of their 4 million listed homes are manually uploaded – the remainder come from bulk upload feeds from third-party syndicators, brokers and MLSs – so at 10 bucks a pop, that’s a tidy $1.2M in quarterly revenue a couple million bucks the company now hopes to pocket. Not huge dollars, but in this day and age… every dollar counts.

Photo by swanksalot