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CSGP: Who’s Going to Give Them Credit for 2018 When Everything’s Slowing?

October 27th, 2016

“….but I do want to remind everybody that CoStar has shown again and again and again that we are able to reduce costs after an investment initiative. We are very good at that and we need credit for that.” Andy...

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Z/ZG: What Is Adjusted EBITDA? Zillow Continues to Hide Elevated Cash Technology Spending in Plain Sight

May 13th, 2016

“EBITDA isn’t a controlled substance or a law enforcement agency. It’s the standard abbreviation for the financial-analysis term “Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and...

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Z/ZG: Where’s the Operating Leverage? And Other Questions That Need to Be Asked

May 4th, 2016

The structural flaws with Zillow’s operating model are all hiding in plain sight.  It’s May 2016, nearly 5-years after Zillow went public and the company is no closer to achieving its theoretical adjusted EBITDA margin...

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Z/ZG: It’s Strange

February 12th, 2016

Things have been quite different in Internet TAM-land for the past 3-6 months.  Seemingly overnight investors have held companies in the space to a higher standard of operating metrics, profitability and cash flow (do not confuse the relative “higher” with the absolute “high”). In a shock...

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Z/ZG: Desperate Times, Desperate Measures – The Implications of Eliminating “Featured Listings” & Other Changes...

February 5th, 2016

It’s one of the more laborious, mind-numbing, and tedious exercises we have conducted on any investment idea, but it has proven to be the most revealing. Of course, we’re talking about the task...

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CSGP/Z: The Reality in Rentals - Awash in Leads as Incremental Spending Goes Towards Self-Branding Initiatives

November 23rd, 2015

Over the past few weeks, we conducted a survey of more than 50 rental property managers across the country.  Overall the feedback from our survey suggests that CSGP management's assertions about the company's...

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Z: You Asked for It, Now You’ve Got It – The Bull Case for Zillow Relies on the Company’s Ability to Become a...

November 4th, 2015

Where were you on that fateful day, July 28, 2014 when Zillow announced its intention to acquire Trulia in a purchase that was valued at $3.5B at that time? It was a brutal time for short sellers as...

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CSGP: Have You Noticed?

October 29th, 2015

It truly is remarkable. Quarter after quarter, CSGP management talks about phenomenal traffic gains for its flagship properties and explosive growth in bookings.  Yet, when the rhetoric melts away and questions are asking about organic or “core” revenue growth the answers are considerably...

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Z: Is Zillow’s ARPA Growth Miracle Over? The Demise of the “MSA” in the Mortgage Channel Suggests It Could Be,...

October 16th, 2015

“By the minute I was getting paid like a hot line, Servin' rollin' fiends was calling, we was dot com, Well connected, well respected and well protected.”-          Meek Mill/Wale....

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Z: Forget the Agent in North Dakota Spending $20K and the Growth in Agents Spending $5K/Month, Deceleration Is the Real...

August 5th, 2015

Investors love anecdotes about companies; they represent the “broth” in the mosaic theory “soup” we create on any given investment idea. Industry statistics and company specific filings...

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Z: Running Into a Wall - Growth Is Slowing and Other Key Observations from Our Survey of 400+ Real Estate Agents

August 4th, 2015

Each year, for the past six  we have conducted a survey of real estate agents across the country.  We find that the feedback from agents at the local level gives us a much more informed view of the state...

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CSGP: A Year From Now, Who Will Remember Brad Bellflower? Cutting Adjusted EBITDA and EPS Estimates

June 8th, 2015

Now that was a press release straight out of the late 1990’s tech company playbook.  Even for a management team that’s renown for its constant self-promotion and “smoke and mirrors” games with growth metrics,...

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Z: Game Changer? The Age of Upstream Might Finally Be Upon Us As Brokers Attempt to Reassert Control over the Flow of...

May 15th, 2015

“Beware the the “tions” of 2015, Especially Those Related to Project Upstream….”-          PAA Research, 1/29/15“There’s something brewing here that really makes me think that...

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Z: Purposeful Obfuscation of Slowing Metrics and Other Key Takeaways from Zillow’s Earnings Release and Analyst Calls

May 13th, 2015

Heading into the company’s 1Q15 earnings call we thought we might get the following from Zillow: Messy 1Q15 results - check New metrics that would be impossible to reconcile with historical...

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CSGP: Why Are Investors Excited About CoStar’s Capital Intensive, Margin Dilutive Market Share Grab in Rentals?

May 1st, 2015

“Yeah. I'm not buying that stock [Apartment finder] at that price [14x EBITDA]. I will buy that stock at half that price.”-          Andy Florance, CEO CoStar Group, Inc. 4/30/15Just an...

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Z: Stretching to Achieve Growth and Shrinking the TAM – Zillow’s Inventory Issues Result in New Policies that...

April 24th, 2015

For the past year, we have been arguing that Zillow has a major advertising inventory problem.  The growth of the company’s premier agent featured listing program combined with deals Zillow has...

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Z: Is It Time to Question This Management Team? Taking our Price Objective to $50

April 15th, 2015

Well that was interesting.  This is not our first rodeo in a heavily shorted battleground stock, but for some reason each experience often reveals something new about potential trading action.  Today’s action certainly underscores a...

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Z: Five Questions We’re Thinking about This Week, Including: Do Internet Leads in Real Estate Convert at Less than 1%?

March 23rd, 2015

2015 is shaping up to be an incredibly challenging year for Zillow.  The ground is shifting rapidly in the residential real estate space as legacy brokerage firms and media companies (think News...

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Z: Trulia 10-K Observations – Rapid Deceleration in Growth Is the Headline

March 2nd, 2015

This morning Trulia filed its 2014 10-K.  As you might remember, on the conference call discussing Zillow’s 4Q14 earnings and the closing of the acquisition management was unwilling to provide much detail on Trulia’s 4Q14 financial...

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Z: Pricing Looks to be the Lever of Last Resort; Plenty of Potential Negative Catalysts on the Horizon

February 18th, 2015

As long time followers of PAA Research know, we have a fair amount of experience dealing with heavily shorted stocks.  This is not our first rodeo with a stock that experiences a vicious rally that seems to have been...

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TRLA: Closing Out TRLA Short Idea with (-62.3%) Loss, 0.1% Alpha Generation, Z Remains Our Top Short Idea

February 17th, 2015

We are closing out our TRLA short idea with a (-62.3%) loss following the company's acquisition by Zillow.  Many, if not most elements of our short thesis on TRLA did indeed play out: in almost every way the...

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CSGP: Throwing the Marketing Gauntlet Down in Rentals Could Have Negative Implications for Everyone, Including CSGP and...

February 17th, 2015

“So hold on tight, with all your might… Cause MC's [market caps] crumble when we rumble… Cause in this battle, I’m takin no prisoners, I’m slayin MC's right on the...

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ZU: It Really Was Blue Nile Redux, Closing out ZU Short Idea with a 55.9% Gain, 64.6% Alpha Generation

February 13th, 2015

Approximately 6-months ago we introduced ZU as a short idea. At that time our thesis was as follows: Zulily’s TAM is HUGELY overstated. Bulls make the case that the markets in which Zulily participates generated...

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Z/TRLA: Beware the “tions” of 2015, Especially Those Related to Project Upstream

January 29th, 2015

“I’m wide awake. I’m wide awake. Wide awake. I’m not sleeping. Oh, no, no, no….. If I could, you know I would. If I could, I would. Let it go….” U2, “Bad”, The Unforgettable Fire In this wonderful song...

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ZU: Does ZU Have an Inventory Problem? 40,000+ SKU’s of “Ready to Ship” Items Might Be Sitting in Their...

December 11th, 2014

“We operate a minimal inventory, intermediary model where we typically take customer orders before we purchase inventory from our vendors”-          ZU S-1 filing 11/13/13Much like NILE...

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Z: You Know About the 4Q14 Outlook, Here’s What Should Concern You More – This Company is More Levered to Traffic...

November 6th, 2014

“That was a mistake….Look deep, Josh. It’s there.  It’s moves away, but it’s there.  You’ve got him….. Don’t move until you see it.” Ben Kingsley, Searching for Bobby...

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ZU: Deceleration Takes Root amidst Growing Signs of Customer Fatigue, Taking Target to $15

November 4th, 2014

Approximately two months ago we introduced ZU as a short idea.  As a reminder here’s the original elements of our short thesis:Cracks have started to emerge recently, but we think revenue, gross margin, and profitability...

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Z/CSGP: Can Rentals Save the Zillow Narrative? Don’t Count On It; CSGP Increasingly Looks Like a “Leap of...

October 31st, 2014

“…the long-term opportunity for Rentals, we look at competitors in the rental space kind of pure play what they call ILSs or Internet Listing Sites, Internet Listing Services and we see a couple...

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Z: Cuts to Featured Listings for Premier Agents Suggest Zillow’s Advertising Inventory Problems Could Be Escalating...

September 5th, 2014

Approximately two months ago we published a report backed by a review of more than 2,000 listings in 50+ markets on Zillow (“Z: Look at the Listings, the Zillow Ecosystem Might Not Be What You...

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ZU: Blue Nile Redux? Another False TAM Story with a Broken Business Model, Time to Get Short with a Price Objective of...

August 28th, 2014

“We offer consumers a very different way to shop. Its a much better experience than they get in a store environment, I will take you through that today. But, what consumers are getting is a much...

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