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Just launched Realtor rating site – Mountain of Agents

We’ve been talking about Realtor ratings for some time now and a few companies have taken a swing at the ball known as ratings. Zillow ended the year announcing their addition of ratings which saw a quick burst of attention before things quieted down.

Why did it quiet down? Likely because of the standard, expected star ratings system, it is being used by agents as a part of gaming the Zillow system, and we predict the other major search players will follow suit as consumers are demanding it.

In steps Mountain of Agents, a Realtor rating site that solicits ratings based on less subjective set of criteria including marketing expertise, geographical mastery, trust and compassion, active interest, helpfulness, and referrability (my spelling, not theirs). Most compelling to me personally is trust and compassion- an element that is difficult to critique but highly important in a down economy like we are in now.

The user interface looks great for Mountain of Agents and while other ratings sites are tedious and often confusing, we find this site to be extremely clear and well thought out with the Realtor in mind. Realtors can register for free and consumers can search for agents by zip code. Most ratings sites tend to overcomplicate the process, so the simplicity is refreshing.

Here’s a real live profile (click to enlarge):

Mountain of Agents Founder, Michael Becker said, “With the gaggle of sites out there trying to cram the entire real estate universe into a cluttered, messy single entity, our site offers a breath of fresh air to consumers and agents by focusing on usability, relevancy and reliability.”

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The downside is that it is a noisy space to enter, so we’ll be interested to see how Mountain of Agents plans on growing. We also thought it would be an interesting option to list the agent’s license number on their profile with a link to the state license holder to further indicate a level of legitimacy given the remaining distrust of agents. I don’t care much for the copy (“compliment me”), it feels a little too self serving, but I guess it is a major solicitation, so why not?

How do you think Mountain of Agents can be or remain competitive in this environment?

AG is not affiliated with Mountain of Agents.

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Fred Romano

    February 1, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    This site is plain stupid! Who’s to say the agent didn’t “click” those votes for themselves? Or have their friends and family vote some “clicks” to up the numbers? There is no way to critique the agent, only pat them on the back. How is any buyer or seller supposed to know if the agent is bad or good if only the “good” is offered? Come on now…

  2. MH for Movoto

    February 1, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Hmmm….. it’s interesting, of course. but wouldn’t it be something if eventually all these agent review sites became so tangled that everyone actually goes back to good old word o’ mouth?

  3. Matt Thomson

    February 1, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    You mentioned that these sites are growing because the consumers demand this info, but isn’t their own rating available through social media? Can’t the consumer read blogs, search Twitter or Facebook, and learn more of the truth about agents than they’d learn on a rating site like this?

  4. Kirill Storch

    February 2, 2011 at 2:12 am

    haha…wow…

    You have got to understand that is going to piss a LOT of realtors off. Somehow, we consider ourselves part of a privileged class that neither has to upgrade our web marketing into the 21st century or be subject to the same scrutiny that other professionals deal with daily. Quick question, I would actually like to create a self-rating system for my clients and iframe (fbml) off my Facebook page so all my fb connections can read the reviews in real time, with no censorship.

    It’s a big move but I think in today’s landscape you gotta take risks like this. Do you have any examples of anythign like this? the only decent fbml iframe I can find that HAS ANYTHING to do with real estate is this one

    facebook.com/pages/Mindflash-Advertising/180033020422?v=app_4949752878&ref=ts

    But I need something more congruent with rating systems, preferably with minimal maintenance and programming required.

  5. Dunes

    February 2, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    I just went to the Site and “complimented” “rated?” an Agent in a State I’ve never even been to….just click nothing more

    I’m left with the thought of how Agents would think the Public is so naive they would give it credibility of any kind or how participating or supporting it could possibly gain any credibility for Agents….
    The only motivation I can see for participating or supporting a Site/System like this one is viewing it as a Lead Generator but then I would wonder why Participating, supporting, promoting a “Rating” System set-up up to be gamed/deceptive for Leads is a good thing, an honest thing or a credible thing for Agents/RE Pros, the Industry or the Public..

    I’ve seen a lot of Sites/Agents suggest a need to educate the Public about who they are and what they do…..Is this the Education…Bogus Good Ratings/Compliments to get Leads?

  6. happy pants

    February 2, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Dumb idea. Any consumers that believe the ratings that an agent has the ability to control the ratings deserves the low quality agent they will get. Honest online reviews of bad agents open the client up to claims of libel. Why bother with that when you can spend your time bad mouthing bad agents in your local community?

  7. Regina

    February 2, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    This looks to me like it’s a directory first, ratings site second. I’d have to say I agree with the writer of this article as it’s nicely done, and really easy to use. I don’t really know what everyone’s in such a huff over. It’s not promising anything but usability and free publicity for realtors, which is fine with me. Nothing on the site reads to me as “deceiving.” Sure you can click on any agent you want, but if you’re an agent yourself, you obviously wouldn’t do that since you’d want your ratings to be higher. It’s no different than clicking wrong answers on polls anywhere on the web. I think it’s a refreshing, fun twist on the industry. Besides, the more of you who don’t sign up in my area, the better it is for me when someone types in my zip code! ; )

  8. Debbie

    February 2, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Silly, inane idea, and much ado about nothing. Serves no useful purpose for the consumer.
    This isn’t a “ratings” system – it is a roster of agents (who know , or care to sign up) with a bunch of useless “compliments”, left by nameless “clients? (if they even are clients),

    Where do the disgruntled clients get to leave their opinions?.
    Balance the choices …. “I’d recommend this agent” ….with: “I wouldn’t recommend this agent” …………and see how many agents will run in the other direction before signing up!

  9. Sara Bonert

    February 3, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Hey Lani – I hardly think the idea of reviews on Zillow has died down, as in just a few short weeks since we launched late Dec we now have over 15,000 reviews on the site. I am not sure what you mean by ‘gaming the system’ – but since we require the reveiwer to be an actual past client (by submitting the address of the home the agents helped with) and by hand reading every single reviewer submitted – the incident of fraud and gaming is quite low.

    It is still a little early to judge any solid trends, but right now we are seeing Agents with 5 or more reviews see an average 134% increase in customer contacts.

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