A group of real estate professionals who reviewed the BlackTrack Lite for Real Estate Professionals application for BlackBerry devices generally agreed that it’s easy to set up and use, though some functionality can be duplicated with other programs.

According to an online description at the BlackBerry App World site, the app "provides real estate professionals with a complete log of phone/e-mail activity with durations."

The app, which is free, functions as a contact management tool, and allows allows users to add notes or delete log items.

"Reports of a day’s or week’s activity (can be) automatically e-mailed to one or two addresses of your choice," according to the App World description. "The key is that everything is completely automatic. Use your phone/mail/SMS as usual, and the activity log automatically arrives every day to help you or your assistant keep you on track."

The app provides reports in standard HTML format, and the reports are designed for use in spreadsheet and word-processing programs.

The app is in version, and the latest version was released March 19, 2010. The app had received seven reviews and a rating of 3.5 stars out of five possible at the BlackBerry App World site as of today.

The app was created by Aczen Innovations Inc., which is located in Newfoundland, Canada, and is listed among the most popular real estate category apps at the BlackBerry App World site.

The BlackTrack Lite for Real Estate Agents product reviews featured in this article were submitted from Aug. 27, 2010, through Sept. 7, 2010.

The volunteer reviewers evaluated the app based on three criteria:

  • Ease: How easy is it to use?
  • Usefulness: Is this something real estate professionals would use regularly as a business tool?
  • Originality: How unique is this product and its features?

The app scored an average eight points out of 10 possible for "ease," an average six out of 10 for "usefulness," and an average six out of 10 for "originality," collecting a total 98 points out of a possible 150 among five reviewers, and earning an overall letter grade of C (65.3 percent).

Reviewers, who completed an online form, had an opportunity to offer detailed comments for each of the three categories, and also to assign a numeric rating ranging from 0 (worst) to 10 (best).

Individual point totals among the five reviewers ranged from 12 to 27 out of a maximum 30 per reviewer.

Additionally, reviewers were asked to comment on the "major strength/asset" and the "major weakness/flaw" of the app, and to suggest which audience would benefit the most from using the app (consumers or real estate agents or real estate brokers/managers, for example).

Commenting on the app’s ease of use, reviewer Nicole Beauchamp, a sales associate at Warburg Realty Partnership in New York City, said, "It is easy to install, but unclear how to customize (it) to get the full tracking use."

Alisa Hagner, a real estate agent for ERA Herman Group in Denver, said BlackTrack Lite "is a not a program that would replace others."

Ted Jernigan, an agent with Ebby Halliday Realtors in McKinney, Texas, agreed, "Most of the functions can be duplicated using other software with more functionality."

And Beauchamp said she already tracks her office activity, which is integrated into Microsoft Outlook, and she said she would like to see the app integrate with Microsoft Exchange.

"Having the results from mobile (transfer) back into the computer would be great," she said.

Jernigan said that some of the app’s functionality can be duplicated with Microsoft Outlook.

The program’s ability to track text messages is a plus, she also said. "So many of us as real estate professionals live and die by our phones, and the ability to track texts — not just e-mails and calls — is good."

The app’s automated reports are a strength, said Hagner. "The program e-mails a file to you for time tracking and management," she commented.

On the downside, Hagner said she couldn’t find a way to disable the app on weekends.

Read other product reviews.

Methodology: Seven Inman News readers responded to our call to review the BlackTrack Lite app for BlackBerry devices. All participants stated in an online form that they do not have any conflict of interest, financial or otherwise, for participating in this review process. The pool of reviewers shared comments and rated the app in three categories on a scale of zero (worst) to 10 (best).

In total, each reviewer could award a minimum score of zero (worst) to 30 (best). The ratings from the reviewer who offered the highest ratings across the three categories, and from the reviewer who offered the lowest ratings across the three categories, were discarded — leaving five sets of ratings. Based on these ratings, an average rating was calculated for each category, rounded up or down to the nearest whole number.

A letter grade ("Overall" rating) is assigned based on the cumulative total points awarded by reviewers, divided by the maximum number of points possible. Inman News offered a $100 gift card to one participating reviewer, selected at random for completing the review process. No other reviewer received payment for participating in the process.

Inman News encourages you to share your own comments about the BlackTrack Lite app below.

Would you like to participate in upcoming Inman News product reviews or would you like to suggest a product to be reviewed? Fill out the form below.

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