It was just a few weeks ago that the near simultaneous launch of two different "blog classified search engines" seemed quite confusing, because no one could explain the real pain point these offerings were solving. Of course, as with any buzz-filled startup space, if someone has the idea, then 20 other entrepreneurs probably have it also, and they all seem to launch at once. So, Edgeio and BlogBuy now get to take a look at a startup called Vast, that appears to be aiming at the same market, but perhaps with grander ambitions. The difference here is that Vast is more of a pure vertical search engine that doesn't require people to use any special "tags" or anything in the info they post. Basically, it sounds like a comparison shopping engine that looks at more sources -- similar, in other ways to classified search engine Oodle. Of course, Oodle discovered that life got tricky when the major source of their classifieds info, Craigslist, shut off their access. Vast could easily face the same problem. The company is trying to be a bit different by being more of a platform, on top of which others can build applications. That's a cool strategy, but it really requires a lot of work to get others to bet on your setup as a real platform. Separately, it's worth noting that Vast was founded by one of the Epinions wonder-kids who later sued their VCs. At the time, there were stories suggesting that Naval Ravikant had been drummed out of the VC firm he worked for (though, we've heard disputed versions of this story). However, when that happened, many were saying that he'd never be able to raise VC money again. Apparently, not all VCs ascribe to that view, as Vast has raised cash. Past sins can be forgotten when there's buzz on the table.
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