ApartmentRatings.com Releases Integration with Google Maps API

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Renters now can explore apartments for rent via city maps.

To enable this functionality, we have solved some significant technical challenges that have previously limited other sites to small numbers of mappable points. Our integration incrementally loads dynamic information in real-time as users browse the maps and vastly expands the number of locations we can display for users

Apartment Ratings (http://www.apartmentratings.com), the leading website that helps renters find better apartments, has added mapping functionality enabled by the Google Maps API. Renters now have the ability to search for the best-rated apartments by exploring city maps.

Apartment Ratings is the first major apartment website to release an integration with the Google Maps API. Google announced availability of the Google Maps API for independent 3rd-party developers on June 29. The ApartmentRatings.com maps integration, which launched today, debuts in time to assist renters at the height of the 2005 apartment hunting season.

Unlike Housingmaps.com which displays Craigslist.org postings on Google Maps, ApartmentRatings.com displays maps of nearly 50,000 apartments nationwide and leverages its database of over 250,000 apartment ratings and reviews to help renters locate the best apartments for rent.

Visitors to ApartmentRatings.com can browse apartment listings by ratings, narrow their search to a zip code, and now explore apartments within virtually every city nationwide by clicking a Google Map. Each apartment is plotted on the map with a pin that has been color-coded according to the percentage of renters who have recommended the apartment community, making it easier for renters to spot the best apartments, the best neighborhoods, or the diamonds in the rough.

"We believe browsing apartment ratings and reviews via maps is a significant innovation that will make it easier for renters to find the best apartments," said Jeremy Bencken, General Manager of Apartment Ratings. "Our focus on the user experience is central to our mission—to build renter-centric tools, a unique niche among the top apartment sites. Ultimately we believe our apartment ratings and apartment reviews create more informed renters who will find the best apartment to meet their unique needs."

The service also breaks ground with new technology. Apartment Ratings is first to launch a Google Maps API integration that relies on incrementally-loading and pre-caching of just-off-map locations. "To enable this functionality, we have solved some significant technical challenges that have previously limited other sites to small numbers of mappable points. Our integration incrementally loads dynamic information in real-time as users browse the maps and vastly expands the number of locations we can display for users," said Mr. Bencken. "Our technology makes the map points fast-loading yet very comprehensive, and significantly enhances the user experience."

To read renters’ ratings and reviews and browse ratings displayed via Google Maps, please visit the website at:

http://www.apartmentratings.com

About Apartment Ratings

Apartment Ratings is the leading national website that provides apartment ratings and reviews of apartments in the United States. The service is distinguished among national Internet Listing Services (ILS’s) by its renter-centric focus and deep content on over 29,000 apartment communities. Competitors include Yahoo! Local, Rent.com (recently acquired by EBAY), Apartments.com, and ForRent.com. In 2004, ApartmentRatings.com became one of the top six most-popular websites among apartment hunters. The Google Maps API is made available to independent 3rd party developers like ApartmentRatings.com, and by offering the service, Google has not endorsed, supported, nor is affiliated with 3rd party sites using the service.

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Jeremy Bencken
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