My favorite part of Vast is…

…just playing around with the ability to compare markets for different features. For example, did you know that Miami area leads the country in listings with waterfalls? North Las Vegas with birdhouses? (are there even birds in Vegas???)

I’ve seen a few keyword search tools around real estate listings and Vast hasn’t even tried to solve the some basic issues. For example, type “no pool” and you’ll get thousands of listings with pools!

But their real problem is likely to be credibility. Here’s how their website explains it:

“Vast always returns all the relevant results in response to a query, doing our best to sort the results according to the likely relevance to the user. In categories where we have listings for which we are compensated, this also plays a role in the order in which they are returned.”

With a little creativity, it seems there is always a better way to monetize than messing up relevance.

UPDATE:

Quotes from press release don’t inspire confidence in Vast.com’s real estate business, or at least not their PR firm. Here’s Ben Clark, head of the real estate business unit and ex-Zillow employee, explaining the opportunity:

“When I first heard about vertical search , I didn’t quite frankly get it,” says Clark. “But then someone said to me that [other search engines] search everything, but vertical search companies search a category. Vertical search is a specialization.”