David Doctorow Leaves Move, Inc. After Three Years in Charge of U.S. Number Two Portal

June 2, 2023
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David Doctorow, the CEO of Realtor.com parent Move, Inc., is to step away from the company according to a press release published yesterday.

In a post on Linkedin, Doctorow said that he had "mixed emotions" around his decision to leave the company but that he would "always be pulling for Realtor.com, its leaders, and its staff".

Doctorow took the reins of Realtor.com in February 2020, a month before what he referred to as "the biggest disruptive event to ever impact the real estate industry".

He led the company through the pandemic and oversaw revenue growth of 50 percent between 2020 and 2022 as the portal saw a record 100 million average monthly users. A press release also paid tribute to Doctorow's work in integrating Move's lead qualification service OpCity into its business.

“We are all very grateful to David for the many ways he helped grow Realtor.com®, including through the acquisition and integration of key assets, the launch of innovative products, the expansion of offerings in rentals and new construction, and the development of sell-side products,” said Robert Thomson, Chief Executive of News Corp.

“It was not long after David started that the world was thrust into the pandemic, but he and everyone at Realtor.com® responded professionally, and the business managed to expand revenues and audience, gaining share despite the obstacles of that era.”

Realtor.com is operated by Move, Inc. which in turn is owned by the Murdoch-controlled Australian media giant Newscorp. The Australian portal company REA Group, which is also controlled by Newscorp, owns a minority shareholding in Move.

Newscorp has chosen Damian Eales to replace Doctorow from the 12th of June. A long-time Newscorp exec, Eales has led several transformation initiatives across the company's portfolio including the leading News.com.au site and has worked with REA's Australian real estate portal Realestate.com.au.

“Damian is a strong leader with a long track record of accomplishment, and I am confident that his acumen and acuity will serve him well in leading Realtor.com into a new era of growth,” said Mr. Thomson.

“Damian’s years of work with REA, coupled with his understanding of digital transformation, provide a platform to pursue the long-term opportunities we know exist in the $200 billion U.S. real estate market.”

“For many years, Damian worked closely with REA as our partnership with News Corp Australia flourished to our mutual benefit.  He has a keen appreciation for the value of the real estate market and how it intersects with consumers, publishers and digital technology,” added Owen Wilson, CEO of REA Group.

Doctorow leaves Move at a time when all real estate portals in the U.S. market have seen revenue and traffic dwindle as inflation impacts mortgage rates and inventory levels.

While arch-rival Zillow saw revenues fall 13% year-on-year in its latest filings, Realtor.com saw revenue fall 17% with the percentage of revenue generated from its much heralded 'next-gen-lead-gen' referral model dropping to 23% from 28% in the comparison period.

The portal also saw a significant 20% traffic drop in the period which was greater than that of its Seattle-based rival.

Although Doctorow tried to downplay the significance of Realtor.com's relative traffic loss in a recent interview, the failure to narrow the gap to Zillow and the fallthrough of a mooted $3 billion takeover deal from CoStar may have made his departure more mutual than official sources suggest.

June 2, 2023
Since March 2020 Edmund's job has been to read about, write about, collect data on, analyse and generally know about real estate marketplaces and the companies that run them. Before that he worked at the aggregator Mitula Group (which became Lifull Connect) for five years.

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