Should CRE Software “Sponsored” Reviews be Met with Skepticism?

So, you’ve found a steal of a deal on a property management software solution online. From the description on the “box,” the platform should provide all of the tools on your wish-list for managing your sophisticated portfolio of individual addresses. After you read those stellar reviews, there’s little room for doubt; the product is perfect in every way.

Before you hit that buy button, however, you may want to take a closer look at those shining endorsements of a product’s efficacy. Lurking amidst the authentic complaints and praises of products, including CRE property management solutions, resides the dastardly character known as the “sponsored review.” Just what is this ingenious marketing ploy and how does it affect your choice of partner in the CRE administration business? Read on for the low down, unpaid for, details.

Pay for Placement

It’s an inevitable truth of the modern internet age that websites, search engines, blogs and more all need to find ways to generate revenue to provide free content and services. Most of the time, however, these advertisements are clearly identified, appearing much like traditional advertisements you’d find in print or on television.

Other times, however, an easily dismissed, and not so descriptive, disclaimer will appear next to a product, ranking or website listing. The “sponsored” review, content or listing tag appearing online should instantly alert your Spidey senses, cluing in would-be shoppers that the listing has paid-for placement, endorsement or has otherwise been bumped up to appear at the top of your must-have list.

An “Honest” Review by Any Other Name

When it comes to choosing a property management software solution, these paid-for reviews can be incredibly problematic. Websites will often receive payment for the number of times a sponsored link is viewed or clicked, encouraging the prime viewing spot on any “top products” list. While a website may offer compare and contrast, this “pay for placement” scheme detracts from the credibility of ordering and preference.

Also, some companies will pay professional bloggers and reviewers to provide a stellar review, in some cases, of products the person has never seen or used. While many websites and online stores discourage the use of paid reviews, they can be difficult to spot when hired through independent marketing agencies or solicited by a company’s employees, family or friends.

Finally, some seemingly unbiased websites will actually be nuanced advertisements, created and maintained by the company or affiliates. While advertising rules require disclosure of these sophisticated and interactive advertisements, many times the fine print will be hidden out of plain sight. Watch for key words such as “affiliate links” or “affiliated site” as a tip that the independent research website you’re perusing is actually a paid listing.

How to Get Independent and Unbiased Analysis

All that being said, there are still some useful ways to obtain unbiased reviews and feedback of the CRE software you may be considering. Industry message boards or social media groups are often monitored for advertising activity, allowing some level of trustworthiness to feedback from participants. Networking with fellow CRE professionals for their preferred property management software platform is also always a real-world viable solution. Finally, sophisticated and professional property management partners should always be willing to fully demo their platform and may even have limited trial versions that allow you to personally test out specific features.

If you’re on the hunt for a property management solution that works with your individual CRE portfolio’s needs in mind, contact Quarem today for a no cost analysis. Our team of commercial real estate experts knows the ins and outs of what owners and managers need in today’s fast-paced market. In addition, Quarem’s customer service and support are always on hand to provide feedback, answer questions and demo key program features, backing up any stellar reviews of the platform you may have seen online or heard through a friend. At Quarem, we stand behind our reputation and look forward to building lasting relationships with our CRE clients and business partners.

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