Vast, a vertical search company that has established operations in marketing autos and vacation rentals, this week announced the launch of a search platform for the real estate industry.

The company offers search platforms for other companies to brand and use — the company supports Autobytel’s MyRide.com search site, for example.

On Tuesday, the site featured about 2.36 million for-sale residential properties around the globe, with property information supplied by a range of sources, including RealtyTrac.com, ForSaleByOwner.com and others. Besides residential properties, the site also offers information about for-sale vacant land, commercial properties and farms.

While the company joins a crowd of online sites that offer real estate searches, Vast does not intend for its Vast.com Web site to be a consumer destination site, said Ben Clark, who leads the company’s real estate business unit.

“Vast is not intent on creating a consumer brand,” Clark said. Vast will host property listings information, index the information and the searchable index to move to other Web sites, he said, with an aim to draw more consumers to the real estate individuals and companies that supply information to Vast.

Clark previously served as director of partner relations and vice president of the Eastern U.S. for Zillow.com and as chief operations officer for eRealty.com until that company sold to Prudential in January 2004. He also has served as a real estate broker and managed real estate offices in the Washington, D.C., area.

“We are coming at it from a pure partner player. We are a service provider to those who want traffic to their listings. We’re not getting in the way of a broker or data aggregator’s brand,” he said. “The goal is to partner with the industry immediately and to bring the listings that already exist in the industry a new venue for traffic that is beyond a trafficked site.”

The company is open to brokers who want to send bulk feeds of property listings information, he said, and agents can supply the company with a Web site URL so that properties they represent can be indexed by Vast.

In addition to searching by location and price, Vast allows users to search by keyword, year built, square footage, lot size, type of home (single-family, condo, mobile home, etc.), number of bedrooms and bathrooms, number of parking spots, and amenities such as swimming pool, patio, deck and hardwood floors.

Clark said he was personally impressed at the assortment of international properties — he noticed that a property in Alexandria was actually in Egypt, not Virginia.

The company plans to develop a cost-per-click and cost-per-impression revenue model, Clark said, and the costs and model will be defined over time.

***

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