|11,926 (April 2014[update])|
Rent.com was co-founded by Scott Ingraham and Allen Oakley Hunter Jr. in 1999 as Viva.com. The company was the first pay-for-performance online rental site, a business model that outperformed competitors who went with subscriptions, listing fees, or costs-per-lead revenue models. Rent.com charges the property manager $409 when a verified lease is produced through the site.
Much of Rent.com's early success was due to its strategic investors. The company raised $17 million in financing in November 2000 from some of the nation's largest REITs (real estate investment trusts). These REITs controlled nearly 20% of the rental apartments in the US. This allowed Rent.com to open new markets with immediate sources of apartment vacancy listings.
Jerry Slavonia, the architect of the company's distributed marketing network, joined Rent.com in May 2001,  and oversaw its growth to 36 million annual visits by 2005.  Rent.com enjoyed better conversion rates than its early competitors by collecting more user information during the registration process, allowing the company to better tailor its search results. Rent.com also incentivized users by offering a $100 reward to customers who signed a lease through the company. The company launched by spending no money on traditional marketing, relying solely on search engine marketing.
Sale to eBay
In the winter of 2004, eBay decided to expand its reach into classified markets, buying at 25% stake in Craigslist and purchasing Rent.com for $415 million in cash plus acquisition costs, net of Rent.com's cash on hand. Rent.com was rumored to have $40M in 2004 revenue, with strong profit margins, giving the company a 10x trailing revenue multiple upon acquisition.
Sale to Primedia
- "Rent.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
- FitzGerald, Drew. "EBay Sells Rent.com Website To Primedia". Dow Jones Newswires. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
- Rent.com Company Overview
- » Rent.com Case Study: Value of strategic investors - Startup Review Blog
- "Jerry Slavonia".
- "VB Profiles: Jerry Slavonia".
- "At A Glance".
- eBay Inc. - eBay Completes Acquisition of Rent.com