In what is starting to become the Internet’s equivalent of the old brick-and-mortar cry of “location, location, location,” e-commerce moving firm Move.com is paying $40 million (US$) to popular portal AltaVista for preferred space on their site.
The deal follows closely on the heels of Drugstore.com and auto-seller Greenlight.com paying a combined $187.5 million for space on Amazon.com, and medical equipment manufacturer Medtronic paying $100 million for a preferred slot on Healtheon/WebMD. Many analysts see these moves as evidence of what might become a major trend over the coming months — e-commerce firms buying their way to prominence on sites that generate a lot of traffic.
Move.com is owned by giant Cendant Corp. — which itself owns the Century 21, Coldwell Banker and ERA real estate franchises — and sells products and services that are associated with moving and relocation.
Using decision-support tools and services, the site guides novices through the mortgage application process, displays home and rental listings, and displays links to four core shopping areas: books, furniture, home improvement and the auto center.
Cendant claims that its companies have an impact on more than two million moves made yearly by people in the United States. In addition to its real estate holdings, Cendant owns Cendant Mortgage, Cendant Mobility, Welcome Wagon/GETKO and National Home Connections. Other e-commerce providers for the Move.com site include Allstate Insurance, furniture.com, CarsDirect.com, Ryder Truck Rental, ImproveNet and Carefinder.com.
About 23 percent of all potential homebuyers searched for a home online in 1999, up from two percent in 1995, according to the National Association of Realtors. In addition, 72 percent of real estate firms and 57 percent of realtors said that they generate at least some of their business from online services.
Move.com is trying to fit itself into the competitive real estate industry, which includes numerous companies that offer home mortgages, as well as companies like Listinglink.com and Realtor.com that provide nationwide home listings.
Co-Branded Channel With AltaVista
The three-year agreement makes Move.com the exclusive content and e-commerce provider to a new co-branded real estate channel that will be carried on the AltaVista Live! personalized portal service.
AltaVista will promote their co-branded channel and the Move.com Web site throughout its services, which include AltaVista Search, AltaVista Shopping.com and AltaVista Live! The network attracted more than 47 million users in December, AltaVista said.