When Google released its Google Maps API several years ago, it detonated a bomb in the the online Real Estate space that set off a chain-reaction of so-called ‘mashup’ sites. HousingMaps.com was one of the first sites I can remember seeing that took this idea and ran with it, with a proof of concept site that parsed data from online classifieds juggernaught Craiglist and overlaid on top of Google’s visual mapping interface.
MyNewPlace is the latest offering in this vein that brings together a database of over 6 million apartments across the US and allows you to search for your next pad by Zip code and price point, among other variables. CNET News.com reports that their business model is “pay for performance,” meaning MyNewPlace likely hopes to receive a finder’s fee from landlords looking for tenants. Prospective renters can get a rebate of up to $150 for using the site.
First impressions, the site is clean and well designed and sports the obligatory Web 2.0 ‘Beta’ label. Individual listings are more disappointing however – the data is presented pretty clinically and many listings I viewed lacked photos. Granted, this is a new site but I would have also liked to see more interactive options in place: an area for reviews of the properties or current renter’s opinions could make the site far more “sticky” and valuable to a renter. Hopefully, these are features that will come in time.
Property managers looking for a new avenue to advertise their apartments might consider MyNewPlace to supplement their existing advertising efforts, but until the site offers a little better experience, apartment hunters are probably better served elsewhere.