ShackYack Delivers a Great Search Experience

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ShackYack.com is a new real estate search mashup site that is focused on the Los Angeles market. What sets it apart from many of the other real estate search sites out there is a number of truly unique features.

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ShackYack sports a slick, but simple, user interface that, through the use of adjustable sliders, displays search results on top of a Google map. I found it to be a very basic yet intuitive way of sorting through search results – far more so than the confusing array of options presented on some of the other Real Estate 2.0 sites.

Listings, which are pulled from the Los Angeles, Valley, Pasadena and Glendale MLS systems, are displayed on the map in varyings shades of grey – darker properties being more expensive than the lighter ones. Each type of property has its own unique icon, rather that a generic “pushpin” type icon you see elsewhere. Rolling over any of the icons displays a thumbnail image of the property and the price, making ShackYack a very easy way to browse a neighborhood and see, at a glance, what’s for sale.

Clicking on a particular property pulls up a more detailed listing and this is where ShackYack truly shines, in my opinion. There, users (or owners) can rate and comment on any features of the property. ShackYack (should it succeed in building a lively community of home buyers and sellers) will be of extraordinary value to a home buyer when these more “social” features are fully played out.

As it stands now, ShackYack is a proprietary service of Brock Real Estate, and was developed in house. It’s not entirely clear what its revenue model is, other than as a lead generation tool for the company’s agents. While currently confined to the LA market, plans are for the technology to be licensed to other MLS systems and, I presume, to other interested brokers.

What I like most about ShackYack is that the site is a real design triumph, where simplicity prevails. But, a pretty face and great technology isn’t always enough to win in the end.

ShackYack faces an uphill struggle to gain mindshare in a increasingly crowded field and some deep-pocketed competitors. For it to really hit its stride and reach its full potential, it’s going to need to market itself aggressively and build a deep and active community. This is going to require some very creative marketing and a substantial financial investment. To my knowledge, the site has received no venture capital funding to date.

Whether ShackYack has it what it takes to create the community it needs, only time will tell. I hope they have it in them, and I’ll be keeping my eye on them.

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