CEO Eric Danziger of comparison-shopping site WhiteFence visited BusinessWeek recently as part of his company’s first push to get some media coverage. Seeking publicity is a slightly risky move for him. As Danziger likes to say, “It’s the spouting whale that gets harpooned.”
Danziger told me that he is rotten at coming up with ideas for Web commerce, but actually pretty good at scaling up other people’s good ideas. That’s what he’s trying to do at WhiteFence.
WhiteFence, founded in 2000, runs a website that makes it easy for people to shop and sign up for phone service, cable TV, etc., when they move to a new home. Last year it did about $10 million in revenue. Danziger is aiming for $100 million in revenue by 2010, and he has a countdown clock in WhiteFence’s Houston offices to make sure everybody remembers the goal. Seems ambitious but Danziger has a good track record. ZipRealty Inc., the online real estate brokerage where he was CEO from 2001 until last August, hit $95 million in revenue last year, up from $4 million in 2001, the year he joined.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.