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New Website Wants to Give Renters an Early Look at Apartments

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We're instantly intrigued by any rental search tool, and there's a new one in town. Welcome to the dancefloor, InsideDigs. Registration on the website is free, but only for those willing to share information about their current digs or refer five friends (anyone who didn't learn sharing in kindergarten can pay $19.95/year for access). In return for registration, a prospective renter will get access to tenants' reviews of their own apartments. The goal: renters share (hopefully honest) information about their apartments before those apartments hit the market.

We took the site for a quick spin, and found a mix of real but not-so-bad feedback ("The elevators are tiny and they take forever") and the kind of radical honesty that won't inspire new tenants to sign a lease any time soon, like the description of one Harlem apartment: "The walls are cracking, there is no maintenance and the bathroom sink is the size of a cereal bowl."
We can see the site being useful for NYC newcomers who don't have personal networks through which to find apartments, and so far the pictures on most listings are digital camera snaps that give a pretty clear sense of each apartment's pluses and drawbacks. But more specific location details?only the neighborhood is visible for each dig, and users have to contact each other through the site's messaging system for more?would help to eliminate some of the worry about fake neighborhoods and false listings that keeps Craigslist users up at night.
· InsideDigs [insidedigs.com]
· Launches & Releases coverage [Curbed]