Andy Florance, CEO and Founder, CoStar Group; Damian Eales, CEO, Inc.
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News

CoStar, CEOs on traffic, ads and fierce competition 

Andy Florance and Damian Eales took to the stage separately during the T3 Leadership Summit to address contentious traffic claims and highlight growth goals.

April 27, 2024
5 minutes

Key points:

  • CEO Damian Eales emphasized his competitive nature, adding that “competition makes us better” for consumers and customers.
  • CoStar CEO Andy Florance touted his leadership tenure: “This commitment is real and genuine and not going anywhere.”
  • Both leaders had strong words about traffic: Eales said CoStar’s “grand claims” don’t hold up, while Florance asserted that public company CEOs “don’t make stuff up.”

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Long before legal battles dominated the real estate landscape, the leading home search portals had been engaged in their own industry-shaping fight for consumer attention and agent loyalty. 

The competition — and rhetoric — heated up over the last year after CoStar jumped into the contest with CoStar execs have been clear from the start that they believe their business model is better for consumers and agents, and they're pushing hard to make the most-visited home search portal. But more established leaders, including, continue to say they remain focused on what's best for consumers.  

At last year's T3 Leadership Summit in Naples, Florida, CoStar CEO Andy Florance took direct aim at Zillow and's business models. At this year's event in Scottsdale, CEO Damian Eales fired back. 

While the two home search rivals never shared the stage, some of their words were clearly intended for the other. Here's what Eales and Florance had to say about leadership, competition, traffic and what's best for consumers. 

On what drives them as leaders…  

Eales: "I'm fiercely competitive, and I'm thoroughly enjoying lifting the competitiveness of And I say that from both a consumer perspective and a customer perspective, because I think competition makes us better, providing it's fair and truthful. It makes us better, we compete better, and our consumers and our customers win as a result."

Florance: "In this case, I will say that the 'C' in CoStar stands for 'commitment.' We are committed. And at this point, I am the fourth-longest serving CEO of an S&P 500 company. So Warren Buffett's gotten me beat. I've been doing digital real estate for almost 40 years, so this commitment is real and genuine and not going anywhere."

On competition and market share in the home search space…  

Eales: "We're firmly focused on Zillow. Our major goal is to gain market share both in the audience and in terms of our customers and solutions from Zillow. We're also competitive with the perspective that we know that there's a very noisy upstart called CoStar who's out there making grand claims and we're starting to call out some of the myths of what they're doing as well."

Florance: "In the first six weeks [of launching memberships], we signed up 8,000 member agents and about 40 million subscriptions by the end of the quarter. That by far and away is our most successful product launch ever. In comparison, when we started with, it took us seven years before we got to a quarter where we sold 40 million, and with, in just two months, we got 40 million. This 'your listing, your lead thing' — it turned out it worked."

On web traffic and audience size… 

Eales: "CoStar and is out there saying that they have an audience of 156 million. If you look at their ad and if you look at the fine print, it's a very different story. What they don't tell you is that there are 18 different URLs, and only one of them is associated with the model that they're selling." 

"One thing that is growing is their terms and conditions. They say that they're double If I were to apply their logic, I'll start aggregating all of the News Corp sites that I'm linked to and will declare here today on your stage that the network has an audience which is greater than every man, woman and child in this country. I can do that. But I wouldn't do it."

Florance: "All public companies, we all report our information publicly, and you know if you're a public company CEO, that you don't make stuff up because you go to prison for a long time. And I don't like prison., we reported in our earnings, was 110 million unique visitors as of the last month and pretty much the same in the prior month. Our numbers are all United States. I think the confusion is just the growth rate, and our growth rate is through the roof on this and that's probably disorienting. On, we're up 387% year-over-year in traffic."

On recent major marketing efforts… 

Eales: "We published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal recently. We've started telling the story, and we're going to tell it in a lot of other ways as well. I'm trying to make the point that there are 111 purposeful, professional things that buyer agents do in this market. And you can do it all for yourself, obviously. Or if you want independent representation, you can make one great decision and get a buyer agent. The American model is better than the Australian model. I pay less in transaction costs and I get twice the representation — independent representation on both sides."

Florance: "I think there's a little shock and awe occurring that people are having a tough time keeping up with. When you launch with four Super Bowl ads — that was probably 250 million impressions that day — 250 million people saw those ads just all at once. But in the week that followed, we ran a billion impressions on network TV, late night, all kinds of stuff. So we have gotten our message out in a major, major way and that's been our plan all along."

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