I'm one of those people who checks things out online BEFORE I go. Why not? I figure there is more to be gained from taking advantage of the benefit of other people's experiences before spending the gas, time and money to discover the truth myself. Apparently, there are a lot of folks like me.
Did you know that the according to Wikepedia, the first ratings site was created by Michael Hussey and called 'RateMyFace.com. I was intrigued to discover that ratings sites started out as dating sites for the most part and evolved over time to include all sorts of other services, including sites rating professionals such as lawyers, doctors and teachers.
It was also interesting to learn from this book about the founding of Facebook that this popular site also had a ratings component behind it's inspiration. It's founders envisioned it as tool to enhance their social/dating scene during the college experience at an Ivy league school.
Today, the concept of consumers determining the Value of a product or service through ratings is quickly developing a huge cache in terms of credibility. People trust what other people have to say about something, even more than the owner or creator of the product.
The viral nature of social media has accelerated the trend. In Grand Rapids, the concept of ratings by a community took a giant leap forward through the launching of Art Prize this fall. Artists from all over the world will be displaying their work from September 23 through October 10, 2009 in venues throughout the city. The winner of the Art Prize ($250,000) will be decided on by...you guessed it, members of the public who register to vote!
This is why I find it especially intriguing that a Google search for the term 'Rating Services for Realtors' with a hit total of approximately 2 Million, does not highlight a single comprehensive ratings database for real estate professionals or their services on the first 2 pages! A perplexed consumer asks the question on Ask.com... wondering WHY one can find information on a number of other professions, but not a comprehensive database for Realtors?
There are a few associations which are exploring the utilization of a Ratings Service such as the Houston Association of Realtors®, but these are few and far between. It might also interest you to know that the Google search results for Rate your Realtor number 13,000,000! Some of the sites on the first page are powered by consumer generated content and data exchanges. This is something consumers want, are searching for...and may ultimately successfully create for themselves.
And it won't just be about Realtors®. Can you foresee a time in the near future in which community ratings will play a bigger part of defining the value of any particular area? Today, Walkability scores for neighborhoods are increasingly a part of the data supplied to prospective new home owners on some aggregate databases.
The list of options which consumers might be interested in about a community is potentially endless...think school ratings, environmental awareness, diversity, employment opportunities, medical services. From a consumer perspective, it would be helpful to be able to download a comprehensive profile of a community, then select the issues that were most important and see what others are saying or not saying in one place. What do you think? Are Realtors® missing the boat by their lack of proactivity in this area?
Picture courtesy of Wolfgang Staudts' photostream on flickr
Lola Audu, is the Designated Broker & Owner of Audu Real Estate. Our company specializes in helping people buy and sell homes in the greater Grand Rapids, West Michigan area. You can contact us via e-mail @ email@example.com or by phone at 616-791-0511. Thanks for visiting our blog. Here are links to some of our most popular posts for you to enjoy!