Monday, October 30, 2006

Is Zillow really accurate?

Just like what we expressed as an early opinion weeks ago that Zillow is popular site but yet not truly accurate seems to have other supporters in this respect..., the fast growing (at least in popularity) real estate appraisal mash-up service based in Seattle, has hit an air pocket1. The National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) is complaining that2 the “Internet financial services and real estate provider is misleading consumers, real estate professionals and financial service providers in on-line home valuations.” They have filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission which at this point is just a complaint, not an investigation. (Zillow president, Lloyd Frink gives his side of the story on the Zillow blog3.) The specific charges are:

Zillow is falsely representing to the public that its on-line valuations are within ten percent of the home selling price.

Zillow has a less than 30 % accuracy rate when offering the valuations for public consumption.’s over and under valuations are causing substantial injury to consumers nationwide when they consider selling their home, using their home equity or buying or refinancing property.

More info...

With $10.8B Per Quarter Microsoft is still alive

If you were impressed with Google's successful financial quarter, consider this: their much-ballyhooed competition with Microsoft ends at the balance sheet, as Redmond's juggernaut pulls in as much quarterly revenue as Google will do this year.

Co-writer Jason Lee Miller was making some painful squeaking noises, caused by his observance of Microsoft's fat revenue stream. "They make this much money?" he asked. Yeah, they do. For their first financial quarter, Microsoft absorbed $10.81 billion in revenue, beating the year over year quarter by eleven percent. Net income also jumped to 35 cents per share, or $3.48 billion, for the quarter. "The solid revenue results for the quarter were at the top end of our expectations and represent a very good start to the fiscal year," said Chris Liddell, chief financial officer at Microsoft. Google had $6.1 billion in revenue for all of 2005. They are on track for $9.3 billion in 2006. Yet it's shares of GOOG that have money madman Jim Cramer shrieking that Google is the value buy, and they're well on the way to $560 per share.

Full story...

Yahoo - Overshadowed by Google

Yahoo must have a new appreciation of how Burger King feels about McDonald's: Constantly looking up at No. 1 gets vexing. So it should come as no surprise that Yahoo's chairman and CEO Terry Semel is mulling a number of moves that would impress Wall Street and steal the spotlight from the Google behemoth.

FORTUNE has learned from multiple sources that Yahoo (Charts) recently approached Time Warner (Charts) (parent of FORTUNE's publisher) about buying America Online - essentially trying to jump-start talks that broke down a year ago. A source close to Yahoo disputes that Yahoo approached Time Warner and says that there are no active conversations between the two companies. Regardless of which version is correct, a Yahoo-AOL merger would be a face-saver for Semel: Last year Google (Charts) outflanked Yahoo and swooped in to become AOL's exclusive Internet search provider, picking up a 5% stake in AOL for $1 billion as part of the deal.

If AOL rebuffs him, Semel has other dealmaking options. The 63-year-old former co-chairman and co-CEO of Warner Bros. has a considerable checkbook available for acquisitions. (Yahoo's market value is $35 billion, and it has about $3 billion in cash and securities.) A Yahoo purchase of youth-oriented Facebook for as much as $1 billion has been rumored for weeks. Semel could also sell his company. Microsoft and others would love to own the web's biggest single audience. So, too, would Google - if only to keep Yahoo away from Microsoft (Charts).


Is YouTube really Web 2.0?

It seems that YouTube is a "cool" poster-child of the Web 2.0 trend, but doesn't meet the basic requirement of allowing the user to download videos from the site. While it is "sharing", it is what Larry is calling a "fake sharing site". I think Japanese sites such as Mixi are as well. (Mixi is a social network site that doesn't syndicate or allow remixing or including of content in the site but encourages users to create and upload content.)

Although we can't really expect users to initially understand the distinction, I think in the long run, users will understand that stand-alone or closed services do not allow them the freedoms that are becoming exceedingly more common in the Web 2.0 area. I do hope that the rush to Bubble 2.0 doesn't allow companies to trample over the core principles of the Web in their drive for more ARPU (Average Revenue per User). I think it is important to keep our eyes on the ball and not lose our focus on what is driving the innovation and the increasingly rich user experience.

The full story...

TopTenSources Lands an Investor

TopTenSources Raises $3.5 Million and Acquires Blogniscient according to Techcrunch.

Top10Media, parent company to Massachusetts based TopTenSources, a human edited blog aggregator, has raised $3.5 million in a venture round led by Highland Capital (see our previous coverage of TopTenSources here). They are also announcing their acquisition of Blogniscient, a TechMeme-style blog news aggregator. We compared Blogniscient to TechMeme and other competitors in October 2005 and again in February 2006.

The full story plus comments...

$1 million for, any candidates?

No one was buying hell on Friday - or at least its red-hot Web address. was among hundreds of Internet domain names up for auction in Hollywood, Florida, by domain asset management provider, a unit of marketing services firm Seevast Corp.

The owner put a minimum price of $1 million on the underworld's domain, confident of high interest after the salacious address,, sold for about $12 million earlier this year. But there were no takers with bids failing to reach the reserve price.

"The world is still alive and well. Nobody is going to hell right now," Seevast Chief Executive Lance Podell told Reuters, adding that the domain would now be part of a silent auction.
Moniker was selling on behalf of a group called BAT Flli LLC, whose founder Kenneth Aronson registered the name in 1995.

It's not the first time that Aronson has tried to sell He put the address on the auction block in April 2000, at a starting bid of $8 million.

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