Zillow has been down this afternoon as the popular real estate site adds a number of new features.
They may have been taking a look at the runaway success of Yahoo Answers – Among the changes is a new product called Home Q&A, which allows users to ask and answer questions about any of the 70 million U.S. homes in the Zillow database. Answers are rated by other Zillow users.
Every home in the Zillow database has its own dedicated page. Any user can now also add photos and information about any home and its neighborhood to the site. Users can also indicate if a home is for sale, and the asking price, as well as additional information. This is an expansion on user-generated content features added last September. Previously only the 600,000 registered users who claimed their homes or over 150,000 real estate agents could list a home for sale or post photos of the home. Now any registered user can list a home for sale and post an unlimited number of photos for the home, although the prime real estate on the listing is still reserved for a certified owner or agent. Bad photos and information can be flagged by other users.
Zillow is moving beyond the general site wide advertising they got from brokerages and home improvement stores, enabling registered users to carry out targeted advertising campaigns for their home listing. The new ad units are called “EZ Ads”. Users will be able to target their campaign by zip codes and specify the number of view or bank roll their ad will run for. The effective CPM for these ads will be a penny per impression.
Zillow claims 4.1 million unique visitors came to the site in March (Comscore (U.S.) says 1.8 million, down from 2.3 million a year ago, and 33 million monthly page views). They say that 90% of visitors own a home, and 54% play to buy or sell in the next two years. The company has raised $57 million in venture capital.