David Mele Departs CoStar With Homes.com in Prime Position

Longtime Homes.com President David Mele has officially parted ways with CoStar Group. Mele had previously hinted at an upcoming career move in recent conversations with RISMedia, indicating that he would be taking some time off before pursuing his next role. He reported to real estate trade media last week that this role will not be within the real estate space.

Serving as its president since 2014, Mele guided Homes.com’s positioning in the portal space, carving out a competitive differentiation with the “your listing, your lead” model. He then oversaw Homes.com’s juggernaut to the hotly contested No. 2 position in the wake of its acquisition by CoStar in 2021.

“We are grateful to David Mele for his contributions to Homes.com over the past year,” said CoStar Group Founder & CEO Andy Florance in a statement. “He was a member of a very talented and motivated team that is successfully launching Homes.com, the industry’s first agent friendly portal with more than one hundred million unique visitors that empowers agents to sell homes faster and for more money. We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”

Homes.com announced in October of 2023 that it had reached the 100 million-visitor milestone, usurping realtor.com for the No. 2 spot, second only to Zillow in the portal wars, a point that has sparked protest from the competition ever since. 

Mele stood by the numbers, however, pointing out the veracity of Homes.com’s traffic metrics to RISMedia last October. 

“We have to focus on the source of the traffic number that we are communicating,” he told RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine, “and what we’re communicating is the actual measured number of unique visitors, server side, for Homes.com measured through Google Analytics.”

Mele went on to say that competitive portals reference metrics from third-party reporting sites. “They’ll either have a panel or a sample, and then they will extrapolate to get to total traffic numbers,” he explained. “We have competitors pointing to third-party reporting that is not actual traffic, but estimated traffic. That’s a really important distinction.”

During its Q1 2024 investor presentation, CoStar Group announced that its Residential Network (including listings for rentals and undeveloped land) had exceeded 156 million monthly unique visitors, and that the Homes.com site had surpassed 110 million monthly unique visitors, based on data from Google Analytics, thereby maintaining its position as the No. 2 portal, but sparking further ire from realtor.com regarding the validity of the metrics. The debate continues to play out in the media and at industry events.

In what was most likely his last public appearance, Mele took the stage at HannaCon (Howard Hanna Real Estate’s semi-annual conference) in Orlando on April 17 to discuss the benefits of Homes.com to agents and explain the portal’s rapid ascent in traffic. “We know how to drive traffic,” he said, referencing CoStar’s success in the commercial space and rental space. “The same team that drove the traffic growth for LoopNet and Apartments.com is driving traffic growth for Homes.com. So it starts with knowing what to do, how to drive traffic, and then it certainly doesn’t hurt to have deep pockets.”

CoStar’s deep pockets are responsible for what Mele described as “the largest consumer advertising campaign in the history of real estate,” referencing the February Super Bowl launch of Homes.com’s star-studded commercial series. 

“We’re running a really massive ad campaign that will run through this year into next year and beyond,” he told the HannaCon audience. “And we’re doing that to drive traffic to Homes.com. And remember, when that traffic comes to our site, you’re going to see yourself because we put you on all of your listings—your face, your brokerage, your contact information—all of it is right there. So we’re driving traffic and that traffic is seeing you.”

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