US rentals search engine rentbits.com has just been redesigned, but before the new look was released it saw a huge spike in traffic. It was one of the Hitwise “fast movers” for January, climbing 51 places to land at number 75. We got in touch with the search engine's CEO, Dan Daugherty, to find out how rentbits.com was created, and where it's planning to head next.
Tell us about the rentbits.com business model and the people behind it.
rentbits.com launched to the public in 2008 with a mission of organising all of the world's rental information. Internal and third party data shows that over 90 percent of all renters search multiple rental sites looking for their ideal rental. rentbits.com solves the problem of fragmentation by giving renters a tool to search multiple rental sites from one place.
Feedback from renters said they wanted a search experience that was fast, comprehensive, free and didn't require them to login. rentbits.com offers all of these features.
rentbits.com monetises in two ways: cost-per-click advertising (sponsored results) and rental distribution advertising (a monthly fee to distribute rental listings to over 100 rental sites).
The rentbits.com management team consists of ex-Googlers, technologists, and real estate gurus.
rentbits.com indexes over 500,000 rental properties each day and over 400 websites. What was involved in building the search engine?
Vertical search is a difficult problem to solve. Unlike other search engines that crawl the web in a generic way, vertical search needs to collect structured data that often varies from site to site.
rentbits.com says its mission is to organise all of the world’s rental information. Does this mean we can expect to see an expansion outside of the US in future?
Yes, you can expect to see rentbits.com outside of the US shortly.
rentsbits.com saw a huge spike in traffic in January according to Hitwise - it went up 51 places to land at number 75. What do you think contributed to this? Do you expect to maintain that position in the market?
Our technical and advertising teams have done a tremendous job evangelising and ensuring rentbits.com exceeds expectations with our users. We anticipate our traffic to continue to climb as we add more features that make the rental search experience better.
What are some of the websites that offer a similar service to rentbits.com? What does rentbits.com offer that makes it different?
rentbits.com is 100 percent focused on the rental market. There are other similar vertical search engines that either focus on many verticals like jobs, cars, or real estate as a whole. Our plan is to be the best we possibly can be within the rental vertical. This has allowed us to roll out features like the average rental rates data that collects historical rental rates from over 8,000,000 rental listings and tracks rental rates from over 4,000 cities in the US monthly.
The website has just been redesigned and a neighbourhood search capability added. What’s next on the to-do list?
Our users are going to continue to see improvements within the search functionality on an ongoing basis. Renters should be able to find a rental home or apartment anytime, anywhere on any device. rentbits.com is working hard to ensure this vision becomes a reality.
Our advertisers can also expect to see an increase in distribution and other services to help get their properties rented as quickly as possible.