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Approved by Craigslist — A Lovely Way to Find a New Apartment

Has rental prop­er­ty find­er Love­ly suc­ceed­ed where oth­er web ser­vices have failed, in estab­lish­ing an agree­ment with Craigslist to use its data?

Fol­low­ing months of legal wran­glings over third-par­ty use of its list­ings, it seems Craigslist might be mel­low­ing after agree­ing to let Love­ly access its infor­ma­tion to pro­vide a raft of real­tor ser­vices to its users.

The Love­ly site itself is based on a map sys­tem and aggre­gates data from a long list of sources, includ­ing Craigslist, in order to pro­vide the most com­pre­hen­sive ser­vice pos­si­ble to its users. The recent nation­al launch of Love­ly fol­lows a soft launch in late 2011 in San Fran­cis­co and oth­er places where over 100K peo­ple access the site’s ser­vices reg­u­lar­ly. This num­ber of reg­u­lar vis­i­tors, cou­pled with around $2 mil­lion in seed fund­ing clear­ly show that con­fi­dence in Lovely’s offer exists.

Aggre­gat­ing Data from Top Sources

The team at Love­ly are remain­ing tight-lipped on who is sup­ply­ing their data, but big play­ers includ­ing and region­al bro­kers such as VLSHomes are on the list, which is cur­rent­ly 12 long but grow­ing all the time.

Craigslist is per­haps though, the sup­pli­er with the high­est pro­file and the one with the track record of throw­ing its toys out of the pram when its data is used with­out per­mis­sion. With this in mind, Love­ly real­ly needs to keep a close eye on how it man­ages its aggre­gat­ed data. Cur­rent­ly Love­ly access­es CL infor­ma­tion using 3Taps and states that 3Taps pro­vides around a third of all list­ings on Love­ly, with this num­ber expect­ed to go down to a quar­ter in the com­ing weeks.

Love­ly – Borne From a Lack of Inter­ac­tiv­i­ty on CL

Blake Pier­son, Lovely’s co-founder says that just like PadMap­per, Love­ly was estab­lished to answer the lack of inter­ac­tion with­in CL list­ings and to pro­vide users with more a more intu­itive, inter­est­ing experience.

In order to meet this demand, Love­ly presents apart­ment-seek­ers with what they call a ‘rental resume’ which allows them to con­tact land­lords straight from the site and real-time avail­abil­i­ty — vis­i­tors can also set email alerts based on spe­cif­ic loca­tions – even by street name.

How­ev­er, despite this lev­el of inno­va­tion, Love­ly will not be rest­ing on its lau­rels as Pier­son explains:

We’d be sil­ly not to con­sid­er Craigslist a threat,” he said. “They have a ton of mon­ey and a ton of users. You don’t become a prod­uct com­pa­ny overnight, how­ev­er, so we have that on our side.” Pier­son also believes that while Love­ly can focus all of its ener­gies on rentals, CL has dozens of oth­er ver­ti­cals to man­age. “Final­ly, we’re obsessed with data and using tech­nol­o­gy to bet­ter under­stand that data. I’m not sure that’s the busi­ness they con­sid­er them­selves in.”

Using Data to Pro­vide the Best Ser­vice Possible

Indeed, Love­ly prides itself on how it uses data – devis­ing algo­rithms to sort infor­ma­tion and delete dupli­cates from its many sup­pli­ers and it’s even look­ing into pro­vid­ing an inno­v­a­tive visu­al search func­tion. The com­pa­ny also takes a con­sid­ered, mar­ket-by-mar­ket approach to data col­la­tion. For exam­ple issues with infor­ma­tion in New York or Boston, where the mar­ket is con­trolled by bro­kers are dif­fer­ent to those in Cal­i­for­nia, where bro­kers don’t have a hand in the process.

Pri­mar­i­ly Pier­son wants to pro­vide a great front-end ser­vice by using data cor­rect­ly in the back and pro­vide the most accu­rate data for its users.

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