Friday, January 05, 2007

RateMyProfessor.com – Why Not RateMyEVERYTHING.com?

One of the hottest new sites making news and turning heads is RateMyProfessor.com – a forum whereby college students are able to critique and comment on the professionalism and knowledge of their professors. It’s basically an independent, unbiased way for consumers (with tuitions in the $40k range, you better believe college students are big-time consumers) to get an honest and fair assessment of the services they are paying for.

Great idea. So why isn’t there a RateMyLawyer.com? RateMyStockbroker.com? RateMyPresident.com? In every facet of economic, political, and social life, there are leaders whose dependability and professionalism affect our daily lives and our bank accounts. Should we, an educated Populus, be the ones policing them? Maybe so.

How do institutions such as the NASDAQ get policed? Do its members hold checks and balances on themselves? Is that enough? What about the NAR? What about the MLS? Well, in that case, yes, they do get policed. Case in point:

I saw a familiar name come up on the NWMLS “Most Wanted” list the other day. It was a high-flying high-tech-exec wannabe who is now a real estate broker. His ethics, or lack thereof, have caused him to be fined $5k by the local NWMLS board. We recently saw this jerk bad mouthing real estate agents on his blog. I’ve also run into him often over the years and his ego and poor sportsmanship shock me every time. Luckily, he got what was coming to him. But what about the other real estate sharks that don’t get caught? Do the overseeing boards do enough to weed the bad ones out of the crop?

Maybe there is an underlying problem in the real estate industry. Why else would the NAR force realtors to take ethics classes? How many actually follow those codes of conduct? The issues in real estate transactions are almost identical to securities exchanges and financial institutions – and we all know the headlines that those industries have made in the past few years. Big money often means that full disclosure can come at a big price. Once a top real estate agent from a big time firm told me that he has a “if you don’t ask, I won’t tell” policy with his clients. He rather not offer up all the information for fear of losing big commissions.

Well, Jack, that’s straight up wrong. My little daughters could tell you that. For myself, I’d rather be radically honest and make sure my client is aware of all the risks, all the rewards. Is that crazy? No. Is it unusual in today’s competitive business, like real estate websites? Perhaps. But it’s worked for me. That radical honesty has brought me huge success in the Seattle Washington real estate market, so much so that I was named Rookie of the Year 2004 at my old world company. That office by the way, Coldwell Banker Bain’s West Lake, was the tenth largest our of 2,400 Coldwell Bankers. Not too shabby just for speaking the truth, well wait till we get out the real estate agent rating system.

So let’s get to the point. How can we introduce more honesty into this industry? Well, real estate blogs like this are a good start; getting unbiased information and ideas out into the hands of the people who can benefit. Another idea would be a real estate agent ranking system, a RateMyAgent.com, if you will. A forum that allows consumers to review in an honest, fair, and non-defamatory way the work of agents in their area. Perhaps it could even be expanded to hold stockbrokers, loan officers, banks, lenders, contractors, developers, lawyers, doctors all accountable. Let’s cut out the teachers sleeping with 14-year-old students. Let’s stop under qualified doctors from doing more harm. Let’s rid this industry of sleazy, lying agents and bankers.

Some of you know me as strong voice of reason. Some of you might think I’m just another real estate guru tooting his own horn. Well, I’m putting my money where my mouth is. We at MyTypes Inc. are proposing the launch of a controversial, yet honest assault on those who don’t play by the rules. We need to bring to light those people who betray our trust. We need to spread the truth. So pass on the good news, remind us of the bad news, and let’s look out for each other. Please check back soon for the new site www.NoDonkey.com and share your two cents. This is the first we are speaking of this, we have been too focused on our real estate idx solutions.

Confucius says: Only three things cannot long be hidden – the sun, the moon, and the Truth.

VS

1 Comments:

Blogger Kclucas said...

Hi!

I found your article by searching on google for a website we recently launched that does exactly what you're suggesting! www.ratemyagent.com went live in mid January. We're still updating agent data and making functional improvements, but it allows users to rate and review their real estate agents performance. Stop by Rate My Agent and check it out!

7:17 PM  

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