2006 was a break-out year for mash-ups -- mapping Web sites that use data combined from different online sources to present statistics on anything from a neighborhood's crime rate to the success of economic development efforts across a city.

  
One such mash-up, Zillow, got its share of headlines in 2006. Zillow's success stemmed from co-founder Richard Barton's ability to find an untapped legacy data stream, said Paul W. Taylor, chief strategy officer of the Center for Digital Government.

The information on Zillow.com is a combination of a property's assessed value as determined by a taxing authority, the appraised value as established by an assessor and a market-assessed value based on the sales of similar properties, Taylor said.

Zillow.com provides "Zestimates" for the value of more than 60 million homes across the country, and the Zestimates come from the mash-up of property information being run through the company's proprietary algorithms.

In May 2006, Zillow.com, which was still in beta, had data on 65.2 million properties from approximately 3,000 counties nationwide -- a 5 percent increase from the 62 million homes at launch in February 2006, Taylor said.

Zillow was founded by the two entrepreneurs who brought Expedia.com to life -- Rich Barton and Lloyd Frink.

The co-founders hit on the name "Zillow" as a combination of their desire for the company to make zillions of data points on homes accessible to everyone, while acknowledging that a home means more than data -- it's also where you sleep at night, as in a pillow.

Voila ... Zillow was born.

Shane Peterson  |  Associate Editor