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RealTime IT News

GetSmart to Microsoft: Web's Big Enough for Both of Us

While the rising price of cyberspace real estate has generated a substantial amount of news lately, most notably in the portal arena, it appears the sites devoted to information about more earthly real estate are looking to grab their share of the headlines.

Loan information provider GetSmart reacted late yesterday to an announcement by Microsoft Corp. in which the software giant outlined plans to launch a real estate-related Web site.

GetSmart said in a statement that it felt confident it could hold its own despite the arrival of Microsoft, adding that the loan and real estate space was large enough to accommodate several leaders.

"GetSmart operates a competitive business model where borrowers have unlimited choices for loan options," said Bill Fisher, CEO of GetSmart. "While we are pleased Microsoft has chosen to embrace our competitive business model, we believe consumers want an online resource which gives them the freedom to make their own choices."

"The simple fact is that multiple lenders competing for business provide a better, more advantageous environment for consumers," added Lani Porter, vice president of mortgage operations for GetSmart. "We have the largest lending base of any financial Website, delivering a better value proposition to consumers through one-stop, free, easy access."

GetSmart also highlighted the fact that it offers loans from over 135 various lenders. In comparison, the company said Microsoft's Home Advisor has three lenders on board thus far, while AOL-QuickenMortgage has 11 and Yahoo! boasts 65.

Microsoft may also be following GetSmart's lead when it comes to the site's proprietary technology called SmartMatch, a tool designed to filter user information and then match potential prospects to its lender base. Microsoft will also use a matching tool called Rate Tracker that will e-mail applicants when interest rates change or if a loan matching the user's criteria becomes available.

To this point, upstarts like GetSmart, HomeShark and E-Loan have competed for the clicks of online loan seekers, but recently the arena has become increasingly crowded as some of the major players begin to move in for a piece of what analysts say will become a multi-million dollar market.

Yahoo! recently announced it was jumping on the real estate bandwagon with the launch of Yahoo! Real Estate, and just yesterday America Online unveiled its Mortgage section in the online service's Personal Finance Channel featuring financial software provider Intuit Inc.'s QuickenMortgage.



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