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Realtor.com CEO Ryan O'Hara speaks at Inman Connect
Realtor.com CEO Ryan O’Hara speaks at Inman Connect

SAN FRANCISCO — Realtor.com has a long way to go to surpass Zillow, but CEO Ryan O’Hara believes that they are off to a good start since Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. acquired the site in November.

Speaking at the Inman Connect conference Thursday, O’Hara cited significant  gains in traffic and engagement for Realtor.com. “June was the latest month that we have data for, and if you look at unique users, which is one of the key KPI’s that everyone tracks, we grew 3 million unique users in June to a record high of 40 million. And Zillow grew by a million and Trulia went down one million.”

A press person for Realtor.com later clarified that comScore reported 34.1 million unique visitors for the month of June.

Realtor.com is still far behind Zillow, the Seattle-based online real estate juggernaut which blew past Realtor.com traffic in 2011 and most recently clocked in at an average of 141 million monthly unique users during the second quarter.

Ryan O’Hara

Now that they are part of Murdoch’s News Corporation, Realtor.com is attempting to use the multiplier effect across their various media properties, including The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, MarketWatch and Fox.

“Each month we have 500 million placements in those entities,” said O’Hara, referring to the network of News Corp’s websites. “We have widgets or ads on 500 million pages that are seen by people. I think it’s part of the reason that we’re catching up is that the synergy is working. It was one of the theses of the acquisition.”

O’Hara was frank in his assessment of product development at Realtor.com, saying that they need to boost innovation and product development.

Zillow's new nemesis, Rupert Murdoch
Zillow’s new nemesis, Rupert Murdoch

“We’ve put a lot of emphasis on that,” said O’Hara, noting the recent hires of a new Chief Product Officer and Chief Marketing Office to help address the shortcomings.

O’Hara also sees the competition between Zillow and Realtor.com as healthy for consumers and the real estate industry.

“I think from a consumer standpoint, we’ll make each other better. I think having two strong competitors that are innovating, thinking about the consumer and delivering value for our partners, I think is healthy for the industry,” he said.

O’Hara’s comments about Zillow were more measured than Murdoch’s who took the stage at an Inman conference earlier this year and asked: “What the hell does Zillow mean?”

There is no love lost between Realtor.com and Zillow, which have been locked in litigation for months over Zillow’s hiring of former Move executive Errol Samuelson. Move, which operates Realtor.com under a joint operating agreement with the National Association of Realtors, alleged that Zillow used confidential trade secrets from Samuelson to aid in the $2.5 billion acquisition of Trulia.

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