Tuesday, March 14, 2006

> VAST: Cars, Jobs, Profiles, It's All Here.


If you are selling something...or looking for something, be it a car, a job or a person, anything that shortens the hunting time is probably appreciated. I can certainly see the wisdom in enjoying the journey of life but that journey can be just a wee bit more enjoyable if you start with good directions.

I think Tom Waits said something like that once. Or perhaps it was a cautionary tale about the dangers of starting out with bad directions.

In any event, Vast has indexed 4.4 million cars for sale, 4.7 million job listings and 8.6 million user profiles which makes them the largest car sale database on the web, the 2nd or 3rd largest job listing site, and in the top 5 for number of personal listings (profiles from social networks, blogs etc.).

Whenever I see something like this I usually ask myself, "Would I like shopping like this?" and in this case the answer was yes. True, women shop, men hunt. But that said, this is a tasty lookup and it will be interesting to see where this goes.

Nik Cubrilovic over at Techcrunch had this to say ab out what makes Vast work, "There are a few secrets to Vast that makes them very good at aggregating listings and organizing them. The first is that they are very good at crawling the whole web, not just the pages that every crawler can see but also beyond authentication screens and into what is known as the ‘deep web’. Vast is very good at extracting information out of all types of web pages, those with complex markup, Javascript, Flash , different document types etc. so the index is very comprehensive."

From an portal interface design perspective it is always amusing to watch history repeat itself. First Yahoo with 173 links on their homepage. Then Google with, like, one. Now Vast with the "Yahoo!" homepage design. Ah, it's all just a little bit of history repeating. (Shirley Bassey sang that, kids).

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