Homestore on The ‘Move’

Online real estate advertiser Homestore is undergoing a corporate
makeover. The Westlake Village, Calif., company plans to change its name
to Move Inc. with a new focus on consumers.

The company also plans a new real estate search engine. The Move.com
search engine will replace current sites Homestore.com, HomeBuilder.com
and RENTNET.

The new search engine, expected to launch during the second
quarter, will feature free text listings, virtual tours and an upcoming
real estate auction service.

The changes are “pivotal to growth and development of our company,”
Mike Long, Homestore’s CEO, told investors during a webcast Wednesday. The goal of the change is to “connect consumers to any point in their moving cycle,”
he continued, adding that the new name signals the company’s commitment to the consumer.

As part of the shift toward consumers, Homestore recently purchased
Moving.com, an online service assisting consumers with truck rentals and
qualified movers.

Moving.com will become a part of Move.com. The
site’s apartment finder function will use the new Move.com search
engine, according to a statement.

A community feature will be added to the home and apartment listing
found at Realtor.com, another Homestore property. The community function
will allow neighbors to interact and provide comments.

Long told investors the new
Move.com wants to become known as “the friendly, trusted resource” for
moving consumers.

The company also announced it will take a $5.9 million charge as part
of an $11.85 million settlement with Peter Tafeen, a former vice
president of business development. Tafeen and former Homestore CEO
Stuart Wolff are charged with a 2001 plan to overstate advertising
revenue. Both have pleaded not guilty.

The name change still must be approved by shareholders at a company
meeting in June. Homestore, which began NASDAQ trading again in 2004,
will change its stock symbol from HOMS to MOVE.

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