US real estate marketplace zillow.com has just launched a new agent ratings and reviews feature that allows people to evaluate the performance of agents they have worked with in the past if the agent has a zillow.com profile.
Using the feature, buyers and sellers can rate agents on their local knowledge, process expertise, responsiveness, and negotiation skills:
Past clients can also write a review of their agent, and agents can respond to the reviews and flag any they are uncomfortable with for moderation. Agents can invite their past clients to submit a review via email. Agents cannot review other agents
zillow.com director of broker relations Sara Bonert announced the “free online agent endorsement system” on her activerain.com blog yesterday, resulting in a mixed response from commenters. Many were supportive of the new feature, however some expressed concerns about the potential for faked responses.
“We actually have about two years of experience moderating this type of review system with our Mortgage Marketplace, where you can review lenders,” Bonert told one commenter. “There have been some cases where people have created fake profiles in an effort to game the system, but they are pretty easy to track down when you see multiple profiles coming from the same IP address. Given that all reviews will be read by an actual person, we should be able to catch a lot of this. And then there is the flagging system as a backup.”
“We look at this as differentiated content,” zillow.com CEO Spencer Rascoff told inman.com. “We are in an industry where most websites have pretty much the same info — listings on a map.”