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Online real estate brokerage Redfin to post consumer reviews of

February 11, 2009|Peter Y. Hong

The online real estate brokerage Redfin says it plans to start posting consumer reviews of real estate agents on its website. The firm has persuaded 35 agents -- 18 of them in California -- to participate.

The company pulled Multiple Listing Service records since December 2007 for the agents and surveyed the agents' clients by e-mail.

The agents will not be able to edit or reject reviews but will be able to post replies.

Although agents risk being panned by their clients, they also hope the publicity will lead to referrals. If the agent gets a client through the site, Redfin takes 30% of the agent's commission as a referral fee. The company says it will rebate half of its share to the client.

Many of the agents who have agreed to the Redfin reviews work for the traditional name-brand brokerages, the very firms Redfin has criticized in the past as anti-competitive.

The partnership is a marriage of necessity. Redfin's agent base is small -- it has agents in seven U.S. cities, and only 20 in all of California.

Redfin chief Glenn Kelman said the company was selective in joining forces with outside agents. "We personally interviewed every partner agent to try to make sure the program was 100% slimeball free."


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