Monday, April 17, 2006
Zillow.com has just turned on another feature that will probably draw more people to the real estate price-appraisal site. Type in an address for New York City, San Francisco, Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles or Seattle and you’ll get an aerial shot of the property, but at a 45-degree angle so you can see the building.
“The images are different from any other sites. You are not getting a rooftop view,” said Spencer Rascoff, chief financial officer and vice president of marketing. “You can see the architectural style, the paint color, how close the house sits to the street,”
The pictures come from a Microsoft partner, Pictometry, one of the world’s largest digital, oblique aerial photography companies. The company said the bird’s eye images will be shown alongside satellite and street maps.
Meanwhile, the company said it now displays information on 65.2 million homes and has price estimates for 47 million of them.
How many of those are vaguely accurate? That’s been the big complaint about the site, even as it has become an online voyeuristic pleasure palace. Mr. Rascoff said the company has improved the algorithm for the My Zestimate, in which a person can correct the data to account for improvements. The original Zestimate algorithm is still a work in progress. He said the problems they have are mostly due to inaccurate data and they are gradually improving that with more data sources.
Zillow is also planning to let homeowners correct the data later this year once they figure out a surefire way to verify that the corrections are reliable. — D.Darlin