Online real-estate company Zillow.com announced today that it is laying off 40 employees, or 25 percent of its staff.

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Online real-estate company Zillow.com announced today that it is laying off 25 percent of its staff.

“This was an incredibly painful decision for me and the leadership team, but, in the end, we concluded that we had no choice but to securely batten down the hatches as we sail into a major economic storm,” CEO Rich Barton said on the Zillow blog.

Amy Bohutinsky, vice president of communications at Zillow, says the across-the-board cuts mean 40 people are losing their jobs, effective Tuesday. Most of the laid-off employees are based in Seattle. They will receive severance packages.

Despite the cuts, the company plans to fill open positions that are tied to revenue, such as advertising sales, Bohutinsky said.

Barton and co-founder Lloyd Frink, who started Expedia, launched the company on Feb. 8, 2006. Within hours of its launch, the company Web site crashed from the sheer number of people trying to log on. Within two days, more than 1 million had visited the site.

The privately held company has never made a profit, but “revenues have been growing at a rapid pace,” Barton said.