Estately Inc., a Seattle-based real estate brokerage company that works on a referral basis, says it reached profitability in the third quarter.

Company founder and CEO Galen Ward said in a blog post that the company achieved the milestone by slowing down its expansion into new markets, freezing new technology purchases, boosting conversion rates, and shipping two "white label" products, or unbranded versions of Estately.

Until recently, Ward said, "we considered white labeling to be a potentially fatal distraction." But he had a change of heart after talking to the founder of another company, NetConversions, that got through the dot-com crash by doing side projects

Estately Inc., a Seattle-based real estate brokerage company that works on a referral basis, says it reached profitability in the third quarter.

Company founder and CEO Galen Ward said in a blog post that the company achieved the milestone by slowing down its expansion into new markets, freezing new technology purchases, boosting conversion rates, and shipping two "white label" products, or unbranded versions of Estately.

Until recently, Ward said, "we considered white labeling to be a potentially fatal distraction." But he had a change of heart after talking to the founder of another company, NetConversions, that got through the dot-com crash by doing side projects.

Estately launched a search service earlier this month for Vancouver-area real estate brokerage Sutton West Coast, Ward said, and has an agreement with Seattle-area brokerage Findwell to power their search.

White-label deals generate only a small part of the company’s revenues, Ward said, but because they are regular and predictable, they reduce the risk of running out of money.

In April 2008, Estately — formerly known as ShackPrices.com — announced that it had received $450,000 from "a small group of online entrepreneurs." The company works on a referral basis, connecting consumers with real estate professionals at other brokerage companies (see story).

But about a year ago, after entering the New York and Chicago markets, Ward said the company realized that capital markets were "hosed" and that there was a chance Estately wouldn’t make it into the black.

But thanks to the cost-cutting and revenue-boosting changes the company instituted, it’s now celebrating a profitable third quarter and is already in the black for October in "the worst housing market in my lifetime," Ward said.

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