It’s been less than a year since Apartment List CEO, John Kobs, debuted his new apartment listing search website at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco. But already the company is giving other listing sites in the densely populated market a run for their money.

Since the November 2011 launch, Apartment List has managed to grow to 500,000 users a month and earn the title of fastest growing apartment search engine. Its traffic has already increased 28 percent in the past 9 months.

So what is it that makes Apartment List stand out among a pool of very large, well-known competitors? For starters, the company's tech obsession is apparent when you consider that 19 of its 31 employees are software engineers. It’s what has made the San Francisco-based startup’s website among the most user-friendly on the web.

In the wake of last week’s news that Craigslist has issued a cease-and-desist letter to rival listing provider Pad Mapper for violating its terms of service by aggregating its content, there is likely to be concern for startups looking to provide the most comprehensive listing services. But Apartment List is not worried about its chances.
“It bodes well for us,” said Kobs. “Folks that try to take shortcuts, with just one or two internet listing service providers … they are really just one cease-and-desist letter away from losing all of their inventory."

Apartment List currently hosts 2 million listings nationwide with more than 100 listing sources, a model driven by the company’s desire to integrate more customized lead delivery to its ILS partners.

One of the most visually compelling features that set the website apart, however, is its next-generation mapping technology. Recognizing that specific neighborhoods are often a crucial element in a renter search, the company has integrated a feature into its map searches which allows users to browse listings broken down by a specific neighborhood in a city.

The company's plan for industry growth is aided by the fact that it partnered with Hearst Media. Kobs says Apartment List will take full advantage of all the Hearst media solutions at its disposal and looks to build on its success by adding new staff, developing a deeper Facebook integration, and unveiling a mobile app later this year.