M. Jeffrey Charney

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Just as many Internet companies close up, appears to be more than holding its own as the No. 1 real estate site with 4.9 million unique users in July, according to Jupiter Media Metrix.

Contrary to the fast and furious ad spending of other dot-coms, M. Jeffrey Charney, senior VP-marketing and communications, put Homestore's money where it's mouth is-into its Web site rather than in excessive advertising and sponsorships.

"My reasoning was different. It's like, 'If you build it they will come,' " says Mr. Charney, 42, who handled public relations for the company's $160 million initial public offering in 1999. "I didn't want anyone going away disappointed."

Mr. Charney helped the company get noticed by cutting deals with such moving companies as Ryder TRS.

Most notable, however, was the company's unveiling of former President Clinton's new house.

After finding the house on the site and confirming it with New York real estate agents, Mr. Charney put out a news release that Homestore carried the listing, resulting in stories in USA Today and on TV shows. "Traffic went through the roof," he says.

Attention does have its limits. "We got a call from the Secret Service," he notes.

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