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Zillow Soars on First Day

Stocks in this article: Z

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Zillow (Z) shares were booming Wednesday as the real estate Web site's IPO was well received.

Zillow shares were recently trading $38.91, up $18.91, or 95% above the $20 initial public offering price. But shares were bid all the way up to $60 at the open before settling down some.

Seattle-based Zillow is the third most popular real estate Web site in the U.S., and the shares were initially given a range of $12 to $14 a share, then moved up to $16 to $18, with a preopen IPO price of $20 Tuesday evening.

Zillow's stated mission "is to empower consumers with information and tools to make smart decisions about homes, real estate and mortgages."

Zillow's earnings come from real estate and mortgage professionals as well as advertising. The company sells subscriptions to agents and has recently begun an agent review and rating tool. Zillow is also recognizing revenue from its strategic partnership with Yahoo!'s (YHOO) real estate Web site. Zillow provides the real estate listings for the Yahoo! site and expects to see increases in marketplace revenues as a result of the partnership.

Revenue should grow from increases in Web site traffic, which has risen sharply since the company's launch in 2008. For the past three Decembers, monthly unique views have increased 48% in 2008, 38% in 2009 and 66% in 2010.

The company said its name "evolved from the desire to make zillions of data points for homes accessible to everyone. And, since a home is about more than just data - it is where you lay your head to rest at night, like a pillow -- "Zillow" was born."

-- Written by Joe Deaux and Debra Borchardt in New York.

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