Roost launched this morning at midnight Pacific time. (Full press release is below)

Not unexpectedly, those champions of getting the news out to the — Joel, Dustin and Greg — have already summarized well the features of Roost. Go forth and read their favorable reviews.

I had the opportunity to preview Roost last week. I can tell that after speaking with Matt Cullen, the VP of Business Development for Roost, that these folks are passionate and serious about their product. They are also quite willing to work with “the little guy” (the paperwork is on the way Matt, I promise!)

After my discussions with Matt and seeing the preview, here are my general thoughts…

The Pros:

  • The search interface is slick, intuitive, and blindingly fast.
  • For the areas they serve (15 metro areas now, more to follow), listings are complete as they are taken from IDX feeds.
  • They want to (and have to) work with brokers. And they aren’t limiting themselves to the big brokerages. They are actively courting very small independents.
  • A CPC business model means you only play if you want to, and you control the budget.
  • They provide an excellent self-branded search product that can be embedded/framed in an existing brokerage site.
  • They drive traffic from Roost back to a landing page, on your site.

The Cons:

  • They are in effect selling leads back to you on listings you provide them.

The Unknowns:

  • Getting consumers to the site. How well they do this will make or break the product. Low traffic = low click-throughs = no broker participation.
  • Will they be able to work with “difficult” MLSs? Let’s face it, there are MLS boards out there that don’t play well with vendors. The myriad rules and regs particular to each MLS could prove difficult, or at least tiresome. It could be tempting to throw in the towel in some areas.

The single “con” will never go away. However if they can get the consumer traffic, they should have plenty of brokers willing to play. And since they pull IDX feeds, they only need one in any given MLS to get comprehensive listings into Roost.

This is one to keep your eye on folks!

Full Press Release:

Roost Hatches Next Generation Real Estate Platform
Drives high-quality traffic to local real estate brokers; provides fast and accurate home search experience

SAN FRANCISCOJanuary 23, 2008 Roost (, an innovative platform for real estate search, launched today in public beta. Roost partners with Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) to help local real estate brokers and agents attract high-quality consumer traffic directly to their Web sites via an intuitive search tool. Roost offers consumers an advanced, highly visual search experience, complete with comprehensive property listings, to help them find the right home fast.

Roost’s platform brings together a network of individual real estate broker Web sites and a comprehensive search engine. This approach ensures that consumers have access to the freshest and most accurate property listings as soon as they are available. Local brokers and REALTORS® can leverage the high quality of the MLS listings to attract additional, self-selected and highly relevant traffic to their core Web sites.

Unlike other online real estate platforms, Roost’s network of broker sites ensures consumers have access to comprehensive MLS listings in major metropolitan areas across the U.S., via close collaborations with MLSs and leading local brokers that can help them find their next home. The Roost platform currently covers the Atlanta; Baltimore; Boise, Idaho; Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Houston; Minneapolis, Minn.; Orange County, Calif.; Philadelphia; Portland, Ore.; Sacramento/Modesto, Calif.; San Diego and Washington D.C. areas and will expand quickly into additional markets nationwide.

“The current real estate climate is a tough one for everyone, so our aim is really two-fold: to empower local brokers in their online marketing and sales efforts, and help consumers find the right home at the right price,” said Alex Chang, CEO of Roost.

For the real estate industry, Roost offers an innovative online marketing vehicle for brokers and REALTORS®. It provides individual “IDX[1]” sites as part of its platform, which use MLS listings in compliance with local policies to attract and qualify self-selected, relevant buyers and sellers to local REALTOR®’s sites.

“We are always exploring new and innovative ways to market to consumers, in order to generate the highest quality traffic to our site,” said Derek Overbey, Vice President of Marketing for Intero Real Estate Services ( “Roost has demonstrated its commitment not only to data integrity, but also to an industry-friendly approach, so we’re excited to work with them.”

“The Roost platform was built specifically to be industry-friendly, as well as consumer-friendly: open to and inclusive of all sizes and types of local brokers, and we’ve worked hard to ensure full compliance with the policies of every local MLS,” added Chang. “We strongly believe the local MLSs provide a critical service to their members and we are committed to working closely alongside them at every stage.”

Other features of Roost include:

  • Search criteria can be set and results adjusted dynamically using intuitive controls, making it much easier to close in on the homes that fit each user’s exact needs
  • Roost’s proprietary search and compression technology provides much faster results to the search and filtering experience, and eliminates the need to re-download the data every time consumers perform a search, saving valuable time
  • All available photos for each property listed, with multiple interior and exterior views of each home
  • The Roost search tool will also soon include the ability to search on free-text descriptions such as ‘hardwood floors’ or ‘pool’
  • Roost is privately funded and was founded in May 2007 by Internet industry veterans Alex Chang, Alex Lange and Matthew Cullen. The backgrounds of the Roost founders have been instrumental in this visual, intuitive approach to real estate search, spanning careers at, and Excite@Home.

Roost’s Board of Directors is composed of strategic investors and successful Internet entrepreneurs with deep experience in the consumer Internet and vertical search spaces. The board comprises Joel Cutler, Managing Director of General Catalyst Partners and Director of; Greg Slyngstad, Director of; Thomas Gottlieb, Managing Partner of Geolo Capital; Howard Wolk, Co-President of The Cross Country Group LLC and Alex Chang, CEO of Roost.

“By enabling brokers to harness the power of an intuitive search engine like Roost, the company is helping the real estate industry continue to innovate in a challenging market,” said Greg Slyngstad, Director of and Roost board member. “The fact that this also translates into a compelling consumer experience means Roost is well positioned to become a major player in real estate search.”

Roost has formed partnerships with MLSs across the country including MLS Property Information Network (  (MLS PIN), which covers 90% of the state of Massachusetts (including Greater Boston) and other parts of New England, as well as MetroList Services, Inc. and SoCalMLS, which cover much of California. As Roost grows into new target markets, the company will continue to forge these partnerships to provide the most accurate and complete listings data on the market.

Start your home search today by visiting Roost at    

About Roost
Roost is an innovative online real estate platform that combines a network of individual real estate broker Web sites with a comprehensive search engine. Roost offers new search technology, an intuitive, visual interface and the most comprehensive property listings to help users find a home for sale and find it fast. The company works collaboratively with Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) and real estate brokers in each region to provide up-to-date, accurate data. Roost currently lists homes for sale in Atlanta; Baltimore; Boise, Idaho; Boston; Chicago; Houston; Dallas; Minneapolis, Minn.; Orange County, Calif.; Philadelphia; Portland, Ore.; Sacramento/Modesto, Calif.; San Diego and Washington D.C. Areas, ensuring the results for each local search are thorough. Founded in 2007, Roost is based in San Francisco, Calif. To start your home search, visit

[1] IDX stands for “Internet Data Exchange” commonly called Broker Reciprocity. IDX is the primary means of enhancing cooperation between REALTORS® to facilitate the purchase and sale of real estate property.