What do you get when you take tons of real estate data, put it online, and skip the part where you ask for money or personal information to access it? If you're Rich Barton, founder of Expedia.com, and Lloyd Frink, one of Expedia.com's original employees, you get Zillow.com--and you get plenty of buzz.
Buzz is what Zillow.com CEO Barton, 38, and presi-dent Frink, 41, were banking on when they launched their Seattle-based home valuator in February. But given the slew of home valuators already online, why did this pair think theirs--which profits solely from advertising--could work? For one, they've raised $32 million in investment money. For another, says Frink, the site "provides unbiased data on 60 million homes free of charge," including satellite views and historical value changes for each home.
Simply put, buyers, sellers and homeowners dig the idea of snooping around on Zillow.com without paying fees, registering--or dealing with realtors.
Karen E. Spaeder is a freelance business writer in Southern California.