FROM: Rob Beattie
What NEED does this meet?
Rather than choosing someone to fix my roof, taps, lights, windows, walls or damp problem based on their advertisement, I'd like to choose them based on personal recommendation. If they did a good job for someone else, they'll probably do a good job for me. I suspect there are millions of people who feel the same.
If the initial site was a success, it could be extended to include all sorts of other types of businesses - estate agents, surveyors, financial advisors, solicitors (well, maybe not...)
What is the APPROACH?
When you come across someone who does a good job for a fair price, you type your comments into a database; similarly, if they do a poor job. The result is a bit like the feeedback an eBay user gets. Over time, it becomes clear which traders are doing a good job and which ones aren't.
What are the BENEFITS to people?
Finding and paying someone to work on your house is a stressful experience, and it shouldn't be. By pooling our knowledge of local traders we can help everyone to get the job that they pay for. User feedback like this also allows smaller traders to compete with large ones on more equal terms.
According to the DTI: "In the current market it is clear however that the average consumer has little chance of distinguishing between good builders and bad builders." Fair Traders would help to even things out.
What is the COMPETITION?
Not that I know of. Certainly a number of sites will offer lists of local tradespeople but doesn't 'review' them in any sense.
What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
I don't know anything about coding but I'd have thought it was pretty straightforward. You'd need to be able to search by post code and the type of work you need doing. Apart from that, the site builds itself, as people share their experiences.
Whats to stop "Botch-It Bob" from signing up under 30 names and giving themsleves a great rating?
Not to mention, i'm sure some people would end up trying to create automated scripts to do this, making the feedback un-trustworthy.
Posted by: Alex Forbes at Nov 3, 2003 4:48:02 PM
This is a good idea. So good infact that there is no reason why it should not be profitable! Using a feedback system like ebay would stop botch it bob. Traders use traders. And a reward system like amazon would encourage folk to use it. Reviews would have a "how useful was this" just like amazon and traders would be ranked higher depending on the quality of the reviewers. It's exactly the sort of idea that would prevent yell from going down the pan.
Now that would be funny. Open sorce charity programmers wiping out the yellow pages.
Posted by: Kolley K at Nov 3, 2003 5:10:02 PM
Well, automatic submission "bot style" CAN be avoided. The trick is developing some of the "Image to Text" jokes you actually find in registering on Yahoo or submitting to Google.
This provlem CAN be circumvented easly.
Posted by: [LK] at Nov 3, 2003 5:20:13 PM
I like the idea. In fact, I built it last year. GoodHouseFixing.com is designed to help Homeowners find quality Contractors. We allow Homeowners to rate the Contractors they hire.
The site is free, but I had intended to start charging when we hit critical mass. Maybe I should reconsider. I wasn't trying to price gouge, the intent was to charge Contractors about $20 per month.
The model also works for all types of service professionals. Mechanics, Doctors, Restaurants, etc. So far GoodCarFixing.com is the only other I have built.
The site is set up for the U.S.A., but with a new zip code table it could easily handle other countries as well.
Posted by: John Naylor at Nov 3, 2003 11:37:44 PM
I like the idea of a medical doctor rating program. I hear people complain about
medical disasters, where several in row have had problems with the same doctor.
If you had a rating system similar to ebays where the doctor that the comments where
made about had a chance to explain his/her actions, it would make it a fair forum.
To develop such a thing though would likely require legal advice.
Posted by: Daniel Bingamon at Nov 8, 2004 12:56:46 PM