Reply.com, a company that offers lead-generation tools and services for real estate professionals, has launched an auction platform for establishing lead pricing that also allows users to select the type, quality, quantity and location of leads.

Founded in 2001, San Ramon, Calif.-based Reply also provides leads for the mortgage, insurance and automotive industries.

Payam Zamani, Reply.com CEO and co-founder of Autoweb.com, said that the new lead system allows the market to set lead value. While some lead services require lengthy contracts, the new Reply platform allows users to determine their total commitment.

Real estate professionals can decide how many leads they wish to receive for a week or a month, for example, and the total amount they wish to spend.

Leads can be selected for a given ZIP code area, within a radius of a ZIP code, or by city, county or state. Also, leads can be delivered on an exclusive basis or on a non-exclusive basis — non-exclusive leads can be awarded to up to four subscribers.

"If you talk to Realtors who bought leads on the Web, they will tell you that some leads work and some leads don’t. The first step that we took is we gave entire control over an account to the lead buyer. You have total control over how much you buy, what you buy," Zamani said. "There are no obligations, no term."

The new lead platform is designed to function much like Google’s AdWords platform, he said.

The company has an automated rating system for leads, and real estate professionals can filter the leads they receive based on these automated ratings. A lead that has a verified name, address and phone number, for example, would be rated higher than a lead that is missing some contact information or has unverified contact information.

The company uses a database of households and phone numbers to assist in authenticating user leads, he said, and also has access to household income data.

Reply.com operates consumer-facing Web sites to gather information from users, including icastle.com and connectwithlife.com, and the company also receives leads from other lead aggregators that have excess leads.

There are several thousand real estate professionals who already use a more traditional lead-generation program through Reply.com, and hundreds have signed up for the new lead platform since it launched last month, he said.

Reply.com has received several rounds of investor financing — in October the company secured $4.5 million from ATEL Ventures Inc., and as of that round the company had attracted a total of $27.5 million in financing.

***

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