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Global Race For Real Estate Ad Dollars Heats Up

In the next month or so, the Federal Trade Commission is expected to decide whether to allow online real estate hubs Zillow and Trulia to complete their $3.5 billion merger. The decision will send ripples through a multi-billion dollar ad market involving everyone from Google to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and possibly even Facebook.

While Zillow and Trulia are U.S.-focused companies, rivals like News Corp—which late last year acquired the third biggest hub, Realtor.com—are playing in a global market that has drawn interest from a range of bigger companies. Just last week Google Capital said it had invested in India’s CommonFloor, just a few months after News Corp bought a 25 percent stake in another Indian digital real estate firm PropTiger. Another investor in the global classifieds sector is investment firm Tiger Global, which has a stake in CommonFloor as well, along with both Trulia and Zillow.

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And of course there is also Craigslist, one of the original reasons why newspapers lost so much classified share. While there are signs it has lost share to newer rivals, it remains a formidable competitor.

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“It’s a global industry,” said Peter Zollman, of AIM. While there are regional differences between real estate markets, he says, global players can leverage technology in different markets.