The Inman Innovator awards will be presented Aug. 1 at Real Estate Connect in San Francisco.

Nine real estate Web companies will compete for the Inman Innovator award this year in the Most Innovative Web Service category, which recognizes excellence, innovation and success in online real estate service.

The 2007 finalists for Web service include Cyberhomes, the Federal Trade Commission’s Competition in Real Estate Web resource, the Houston Association of Realtors’ HAR.com, the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development’s Neighborhood Network, Point2 Technologies’ National Listing Service, Trulia Voices, vFlyer, WellcomeMat, and Zillow’s Q&A features.

More information about the finalists:

Cyberhomes

Fidelity National Real Estate Solutions launched Cyberhomes.com in late 2006. The comprehensive site offers consumers access to detailed property information, heat maps and evaluation content. The site is co-brandable and designed to integrate with participating brokers’ sites. Consumers can find property information from FNIS along with listings data from participating brokers.

FTC’s Competition in the Real Estate Marketplace

The Federal Trade Commission has launched a Web site that aims to pull together various resources for consumers on the issues of competition in the real estate industry. The site, Competition in the Real Estate Marketplace, includes links to recent federal antitrust case filings against real estate organizations, as well as listings of workshops, consumer education materials, news, advocacy and outreach and other resources. The FTC, along with the U.S. Justice Department, has been critical of various state initiatives to implement real estate rules and regulations that the departments say stifle competition.

HAR.com (Houston Association of Realtors)

The Houston Association of Realtors is one of the few Realtor organizations in the country that operates a public multiple listing service Web site where consumers can look up listings information and connect with local agents. HAR.com recently celebrated its 10th anniversary and announced the site received 1 billion hits in a single month.

HUD’s Neighborhood Watch

Neighborhood Watch is a Web site that aims to help the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Administration monitor lenders and the department’s loan programs as a way of self-policing the industry against fraud. Users can identify and analyze loan default patterns by geographic area or originating lender on loans that became 90 days delinquent during their first two years.

Point2 Technologies’ NLS

Point2 Technologies in early 2007 launched a free international service to assist real estate professionals with marketing properties online, establishing agreements with other professionals and tracking Web statistics. Point2 NLS, or National Listing Service, enables participants to select whom they will and will not share listings information with, and they can also list specific reasons why they won’t share with particular participants. The system calculates a performance index score for agents based on a variety of factors such as speed in replying to prospects and number of virtual tours and total Web site pages.

Trulia Voices

Property-search site Trulia.com in May launched “Trulia Voices” — an online community that aims to spark neighborhood dialog among users, including home buyers, sellers and real estate practitioners. Trulia Voices allows users to generate profiles and ranks users based on their activities within the online community.

vFlyer

VFlyer allows home sellers, agents and brokers to customize online ads, print or e-mail property fliers, send out these ads to a variety of property-search portals, and view detailed metrics on traffic to those ads. The site is among a handful of companies that seek to simplify the process of sending property information for display on several search sites. VFlyer is constantly releasing new marketing tools for agents, including widgets that display their listings and most recently, a tool that can quickly enhance property photos.

WellcomeMat

WellcomeMat is an online video destination that enables people to upload and attach a video to a property or place, such as homes, condos, coffee shops, art galleries, restaurants, hotels, and more. Users can upload their own videos, send video tapes for upload, or hire a videographer through WellcomeMat.

Zillow’s Q&A/ User-generated tools

Zillow in April took a user-generated approach to obtaining real estate listings information. The home valuation and marketing site launched tools that enable anybody to post information, photos, questions and answers about any property, including any for-sale property. Listing agents and property owners can take control of this for-sale property information and enter more detailed property information once they register as the owner or listing representative for a particular property.

The most innovative real estate and technology companies will be honored at Real Estate Connect, Aug. 1-3, in San Francisco. Real Estate Connect brings together the top leaders from the real estate industry, including mortgage lenders, technology firms, industry analysts and news media.

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