Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff on why they’d be able to withstand a Google threat

Spencer Rascoff

Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff faces all sorts of competition, but how would they fend off a potential challenge from Google?

That’s what a reporter from The Motley Fool recently asked Rascoff. His response was interesting, touting both Zillow’s seven-year-old brand as well as its database of homes.

“Our biggest competitive advantage at this point is our brand. We hav ea 7-year-old brand, which is incredibly well known among consumers, and it stands for real estate data,” he said. “It stands for the yin and the yang of real estate.”

Interestingly, Google made a push into online real estate a few years ago, but it backed off those efforts  in February 2011 when it announced that it was no longer going to post real estate information on Google Maps. At the time, the company pointed to “low usage” and the “proliferation of excellent property-search tools on real estate Web sites.”

Real estate is a huge business. And searching for homes remains one of the most popular activities on the Web, so it was an interesting move to hear that Google (a company whose goal was to organize the world’s information) was actually pulling out the business.

May it come back in?

Well, some very nebulous rumors emerged last month that Google actually could make a play to purchase either Zillow or its key rival Trulia. Those rumors had circulated before.

But now both Trulia and Zillow are publicly-traded, and therefore the price tags have gone up. Zillow, whose stock has been regaining steam in recent weeks, is now trading at $37 per share and valued at $1.2 billion. Trulia’s value stands at $708 million.