Archive for October, 2006

Trouble for Zillow

October 26, 2006

Funny – the same day techcrunch writes up zillow (again), they get hit with multiple FTC complaints.

“Zillow is placing the American dream of homeownership at risk for countless working families,” says John Taylor, NCRC President and CEO. “For a company that represents to consumers that they are the ‘Kelley Blue Book of Homes,’ this is a very dangerous situation. We call upon the FTC to intervene and ensure that Americans receive accurate appraisals and valuation information to protect the single most important investment of their lives: their home.”

“NCRC and its members are aware of a growing number of real estate and lending professionals who use the misinformation on Zillow.com to perpetrate fraud in our nation’s markets, often by targeting consumers in violation of Federal and State Fair Housing Laws.” continues Taylor. “During this time in our economy when the real estate market is changing and consumers are already at risk of being over extended due to the increased access to non- traditional loans, Zillow’s misinformation exacerbates the situation. Practices like theirs undermines the critical importance of valuation protections that benefit consumers and lenders alike, and guide the actions of all valuation professionals.”

It will be interesting to see what happens.

Companies That Know They Suck

October 17, 2006

companies that suck

Here is a funny list of domain name registrants I put together…Since this is a real estate related site – I started out with a few of the “big real estate guys.”

Domain Name: HOMEGAINSUCKS.COM

Registrant:

HomeGain.com, Inc.
1250 45th Street
Emeryville, CA 94608
US

Record expires: 22-Dec-2007
Record created: 22-Dec-2004

——————————-

Domain Name: ZILLOWSUCKS.COM

Registrant:

Zillow.com
999 Third Avenue
Suite 4600
Seattle, Washington 98104
United States

Created on: 01-Sep-05
Expires on: 10-Nov-07

——————————-

Domain Name: TRULIASUCKS.COM

Registrant:

Trulia
500 Treat Ave
San Francisco, California 94010
United States

Created on: 21-Sep-05
Expires on: 21-Sep-07

——————————-

Domain name: upssucks.com

Registrant:
 
United Parcel Service
340 MacArthur Blvd
Mahwah NJ
07430
US
 
Created on: 1997-12-31
Expires on: 2006-12-30

——————————-

Domain Name: googlesucks.com

Registrant:

Google Inc. (DOM-258923)
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View CA
94043 US
 
Created on: 1999-Oct-15.
Expires on: 2007-Oct-15.

——————————-

Domain Name: YAHOOSUX.COM

Registrant:

Yahoo! Inc.
701 First Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94089
US

Created on: Fri, Sep 24, 2004
Expires on: Mon, Sep 24, 2007

——————————-

Domain Name: AMAZONSUCKS.COM

Registrant:

Amazon Technologies, Inc.
P.O. Box 8102
Reno, Nevada 89507
United States

Created on: 08-Apr-02
Expires on: 15-Apr-08

——————————-

Domain Name: aolsucks.com

Registrant:

AOL LLC
22000 AOL Way
Dulles, VA 20166
US

Creation Date: 22-Jan-1996
Expiration Date: 23-Jan-2007

——————————-

BLOGGERSUCKS.COM = Available!

——————————-

Domain Name: CNNSUCKS.COM

Registrant:

Cable News Network LP, LLLP
One CNN Center
Box 105366
Atlanta, GA 30348
US

Record expires: 01-Mar-2007
Record created: 01-Mar-1999

——————————-

Domain Name: FEEDBURNERSUCKS.COM

Registrant:

Burning Door
211 W. Wacker Dr.
Suite 1130
Chicago, IL 60606
US

Record expires: 08-Jun-2008
Record created: 08-Jun-2005

——————————-

Domain Name: BLOCKBUSTERSUCKS.COM

Registrant:

Blockbuster Inc.
1201 Elm Street
Dallas, TX 75270
US

Record expires: 22-Nov-2006
Record created: 06-Sep-2003

——————————-

Domain Name: GODADDYSUCKS.COM

Registrant:

GoDaddy.com
14455 N Hayden Rd.
Suite 219
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
United States

Created on: 15-Apr-02
Expires on: 15-Apr-07

——————————-

Domain Name: ORBITZSUCKS.COM

Registrant:

Orbitz
200 South Wacker Drive
Suite 1500
Chicago, IL 60606
US

Record expires: 06-Aug-2007
Record created: 06-Aug-2003

Was Mark Cuban working for Google?

October 13, 2006

I was talking with some friends last night about the Google / YouTube acquisition and suddenly it came to me – Mark Cuban must have been working for Google!  Could it be true?  Does it make sense?

On September 17th (about 3 weeks ago), Cuban wrote a post titled The Coming Dramatic Decline of Youtube.  For no apparent reason, Mark Cuban started a public relations campaign against Youtube – and from that day on, he was on the attack.  He was blogging, he was doing radio, and he was doing the TV circuit – he was out to lower the valuation of Youtube.

Now when you sit back and think about it, who would benefit from such an attack?  Mark Cuban?  Youtube?  In the long run, there was only one entity that could benefit from all of this negative press – Google.

Now I am not much of a conspiracy theory type of guy – but this looks kind of obvious to me.  A few members of the billionaire club get together and discuss the fastest growing website in history, figure out a plan to decimate its valuation, and make the acquisition. 

Big businesses go to great lengths to ensure they come out on top every day…just take a look at the HP fiasco – if companies are sending spies into news rooms to figure out who is talking to who – do you think that a few billionaires could not get together and create a negative pr campaign against an acquisition target?  That would be child’s play for these guys.

Now let’s look at the Youtube founders – a couple of very young, inexperienced, highly mathematical type guys.  Very smart in many, many ways, but maybe not so smart in some other ways.  I know that if I had the fastest growing website in the history of the Internet, and all of a sudden there are 10+ news reports per day talking about how we are going to be sued out of business, I would be pretty nervous.  I would probably get so nervous that I would be looking for an exit – and I would probably not worry about leaving some money on the table…As a matter of fact, I would probably be willing to put a billion dollar deal together in three days.

I’m not saying that these guys did not get very, very, very rich.  I’m just wondering what kind of money they could have got if Mark Cuban was not involved for the past 3 weeks.  Anyway you look at it – Mark Cuban cost these guys some big money – I’m just wondering if he was compensated.

What do you think?  Could I be right?

Zillow Post Update

October 12, 2006

I was just searching through my “blog spam” and found this comment on my Zillow Post.  The “commenter” did not leave a website link…but I thought you may be interested in his take.  I happen to agree.

–start comment–

Here’s a little question that I think will be fun and interesting to answer… how many visitors will Zillow need to attract to generate the revenue, earnings, and market value that will satisfy their investor’s?

Assumptions
– $50M is all the VC money they raise
– 60% of the company is now owned by VC’s, giving them a current valuation of $83M
– 5 year time horizon to exit
– VC’s want a 75% IRR

This means this now $83M company needs to be worth $1.36B in 5 years for the VC’s to get their IRR.

Housevalues (SOLD) currently is worth $162M with a P/E of 14.7. So if the market values Zillows at the same P/E, it implies Zillow needs to be earning $92.6M in profits by 2011. Ok, so what does that mean for their top-line?

If you assume Zillow will be 2X as profitable as Move.com (3.5% net margin in Q2 07), Zillow need to generate top-line revenue of $1.32B in 2011 to get the requisite $92.6M that will give them the $1.36B market valuation.

So how many users must Zillow attract to get $1.32B in revenue?

Well, it depends on their average CPM (they do claim to be an advertising business do they not, so that’s a fair measure). Let’s assume they generate a very high CPM of $10 per 1,000 page views (Myspace is getting sub $1 CPM’s).

1.316B / 10 = 131 million ad units X 1000 page views per ad unit = 131,684,095,177 page impressions.

Assuming each visitor to their site views 10 pages, Zillow must attract 13.2B visitors to their site PER YEAR by 2011.

Considering their are 6.5B people on earth… every man woman and child on earth must visit Zillow 2.0 times EACH per year in order for Zillow to generate the profits, via an advertising model, that will create the profits to support the market value that will pay back the investors.

My take… Advertising is not really their model.

–end comment–

Reminder: Defrag your hard drive today!

October 12, 2006

Most of us understand the benefits of defragmenting our hard drive(s) on a regular basis – it will greatly improves a PC’s speed and performance – but most of us put it off for months and months (or longer).  This is a just a reminder to defrag your hard drive today!  If you unsure about how to go about this, here are some simple instructions for Windows XP

  1. From the [START] menu, select [Programs]
  2. From [Programs] select [Accessories]
  3. From [Accessories] select [System Tools]
  4. From [System Tools] select [Disk Fragmenter]
  5. Click “Defragment” (You can skip “Analyze”)

Depending on how long it has been since you last defragmented your disk drive, this process could take a long time – maybe even a couple of hours.  Be patient – the results are worth it!

Note: I like to use “Disk Cleanup” (also under System Tools) prior to running the disk defragmenter.  Also – If it has been a while since you last ran the defragmenter, you may want to run it 2-3 times.  The second and third time will take only a few minutes.

When did the definition of “hacker” change?

October 12, 2006

I remember back in the day (you know, back when we were all using AOL) that the term “hacker” had a negative connotation.  It was reserved for those scary computer geniuses that wore the black hats and lived in secret IRC chat rooms located at the center of the Earth.

Today the term “hacker” is used to describe any and all programmers and/or developers who build web 2.0 applications, social networks and other ajax ridden crap.  The term has lost its original meaning.

Somewhere along the line – the word “hacker” went the way of the word “surfer” – it was taken over by the less deserving.

Just thought I would point it out.

Great Idea – Not Much of a Chance

October 10, 2006

Pay Per Post

I have been following PayPerPost.com since they launched.  What a great concept – excellent ORIGINAL idea!  I know that some hardcore bloggers think that this is a death sentence for the blogosphere…but it is impossible to deny – it is a great idea…period.   

PayPerPost recently raised $3M from VC’s – and this is where I have to offer up my two cents…

Unfortunately, first to market is not always an advantage (i.e. yahoo/excite, aol, angelfire/geocities, etc..) – second or third to market often finishes first. 

I think the management/shareholders of PayPerPost would have been better served if they offered consulting services to technorati and/or feedburner and/or blogger and/or wordpress and/or (you get the idea) – because they just provided these leading “blog” companies with a great/excellent/genius revenue model.  Easy to imitate with absolutely no barrier to entry and much, much larger userbases. 

These leaders have immediate & instant access to millions of bloggers.  (I expect to see a pop up screen the next time I login to real estate 2.x.)

So that’s my 2 cents.  I will stress that I think the guys/gals that started PayPerPost are very, very bright people, they came up with an awesome new model – but in the long run, PayPerPost just created a revenue model for the big guys, that until now, had no revenue model.

 

Yea..I’m still here

October 8, 2006

I apologize for not posting lately…maybe its because one of my favorite anonymous bloggers was recently outed.