Inman News has assembled several product review teams to offer numeric ratings for a range of real estate products, Web sites, online tools and services after a period of hands-on testing that spans at least seven days.

Inman News has assembled several product review teams to offer numeric ratings for a range of real estate products, Web sites, online tools and services after a period of hands-on testing that spans at least seven days.

The members of the review teams are active professionals working in the real estate industry. The members are unpaid, but they are compensated for charges related to the cost of the product or service during the course of the review period. Inman News selected review team members and review team leaders after calling for volunteers and reviewing the qualifications of prospective team members.

Each team has three members, including a team leader who serves as a liaison with the Inman News editorial department.

The team members are instructed not to have direct contact with the companies that offer the product or service that is under review.

Team members are also instructed to report any potential conflict of interest, financial or otherwise, prior to participating in each review, and whether they have had previous experience using the product or service.

In some cases, it will likely be unavoidable that all or most of the review team members will have used a particular product or service before, and in those instances we ask whether those team members are able to offer an objective, unbiased review of that product or service given their prior use.

Review team members are asked to report any conflicts to the team leader or the Inman News editorial department, and a replacement team member will be assigned when such occurrences arise.

Inman News does not notify companies about the review process until after the review process has concluded.

There are three broad categories that guide the review and rating process: ease, value and power. Review team members are asked to comment on the strengths and weaknesses of the product or service in each of these categories, to offer a numeric rating ranging from zero to 100 (100 is the highest possible), and to explain their numeric rating. The final scores for each product review are an average of the reviewers’ three ratings for each category, with fractions of 0.5 and above rounded up to the next-highest number.

The following is an explanation of the review criteria in each category:

1. Ease. Is it easy to use for real estate professionals? For real estate consumers? How steep is the learning curve?

2. Value. Is it helpful and useful for real estate professionals? For their clients/customers/consumers? Cost vs. benefits: Is it worth the cost?

3. Power. Would real estate professionals and consumers be likely to use this often? Can it replace existing tools/methods? How much information and how many features does it put at the user’s fingertips? Does it have the power to change the industry? Can real estate professionals and consumers use this on the go? Is it innovative and cutting edge? Is it scalable (can be used by individuals and entire offices/companies)? Does it have advanced features for tech-savvy users? Does it integrate with other products?

The company that offers the reviewed product or service can offer a written rebuttal to the review to clarify any perceived inaccuracies or mischaracterizations by reviewers, and rebuttals will be reviewed and edited by the Inman News editorial team and published at the site. The rebuttal can be up to 500 words in length and can be sent to productreview@inman.com. If it is determined that there are errors in the review, the online review will be corrected to fix those errors.

Companies should not contact review team members directly, and instead should address any comments and questions to Inman News managing editor Glenn Roberts Jr. via e-mail at glenn@inman.com or by phone at (510) 658-9252 ext. 137.

You may also submit recommendations for products to review and feedback about the reviews to: productreview@inman.com.

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