Roost, one of the newest search engines for homes to launch, has opened for business in the Phoenix market area, expanding its overall reach to 16 market areas.

The San Francisco-based company launched in January as a site that brings together a network of individual real estate broker IDX Web sites into one search engine. IDX, which stands for Internet Data Exchange, is the method by which brokers can display MLS property listings online.

How it works is consumers go to Roost to search for listings in available markets, see property basics in search results, and then click over to brokers’ IDX sites for the full details on homes.

Though the space for online real estate search sites is already crowded, the slow real estate market has many brokers looking for more ways to market listings online, measure those efforts and cut costs where the return on investment isn’t matching expectations.

While Roost’s search platform resembles many of its predecessors’, the venture-backed company’s business model differs. Rather than sell banner advertising or featured listings spots to brokers, the company charges brokers for Internet traffic it pushes to their IDX sites on a cost-per-click basis, much like Google charges for its AdWords program.

Listings indexed at Roost come from partnerships the company has with local multiple listing services, according to Chang. Brokers who want to receive traffic can then create an account with Roost and set up their pay-per-click campaign budgets. The revenue generated for Roost is based directly on the amount of traffic sent to a broker’s Web site.

In addition to Phoenix, Roost lists homes for sale in Atlanta; Baltimore; Boise, Idaho; Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Houston; Minneapolis, Minn.; Orange County, Calif.; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; Sacramento/Modesto, Calif.; San Diego, Silicon Valley, Calif; and Washington D.C.

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