Zillow had a few things to say about Wednesday’s post, “Zillow and WSJ: Honeymoon’s Over.”
Spokeswoman Amy Bohutinsky said she was surprised that I saw the Journal story as “largely negative.” (She must have come from Microsoft PR, where “surprised” is synonymous with “PO’d”).
Bohutinsky said the Journal story “basically says the accuracy stats we report on the site ring true — our reported median margin of error is 7.2 percent.” Zillow claims a median margin of error in the Seattle area of 5.6 percent.
I think the Journal was saying what a lot of people think about Zillow and other online real estate valuation services — they’re neat, but not the final word. The story said Zillow estimates are often pretty accurate, but when they’re not, they can be way off — “terrible” was the word used in the story.
She also said Zillow’s traffic is doing better than the Alexa chart I mentioned. Zillow had 3.6 million unique visitors in January, up from 3.1 million in December and 3.2 million in November, she said.
I’m not surprised by the traffic, since Zillow has partnerships with big Web portals and recent news about the real estate market is making people wonder about their house’s value.
But implying 94 percent accuracy in Seattle piqued my interest in doing a story similar to the Journal’s.
I started the research by Zillowing my own house, of course, and the result seemed pretty far off the mark. Before I report any further, though, I’ve got to finish a few home improvement projects.