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Do Online Ratings Matter?

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RISMEDIA, April 16, 2011—Most real estate professionals can attest to the fact that client referrals are an important part of their business. In a day and age where consumers are relying on reviews from friends and family, positive views are even more important. Here, Sara Bonert, director of broker relations at Zillow discusses the positive impact that agent ratings and reviews provide.

Sara Bonert
Director of Broker Relations
Zillow
www.zillow.com

Today’s rating-obsessed society has trained consumers shopping for everything from a vacuum cleaner to a computer to turn away from marketing collateral and seek out authentic, user-generated feedback on products and services. The Web has given shoppers a virtual voice to express their satisfaction, or dissatisfaction, with any and every shopping experience.

For consumers, the shift toward added transparency means increased access to information from a variety of unbiased sources. In turn, savvy business professionals have recognized that soliciting reviews and endorsements can be a unique and highly effective marketing tactic.

In January, Zillow announced the ability for home buyers and sellers to search for, and find, a local real estate agent based on reviews and ratings from former clients. In a few short months, more than 30,000 reviews have been published. Consumers can search for local agents in the Zillow Directory, sorting and comparing by overall ratings and greatest number of reviews. Since reviews are also connected to an agent’s profile, consumers can access them everywhere they interact with agents on Zillow.

Millions of home shoppers visit Zillow every month and many of them have not yet found a real estate agent to help them buy or sell their home. Knowing the experience others had with a particular agent is valuable information for the consumer to have; it will help them find the real estate agent that’s right for them. For agents, reviews and endorsements by past clients are a powerful tool to grow their business—the next best thing to a referral. In fact, agents with five or more reviews see an average 134% increase in customer contacts.

Zillow’s goal is to help people become smarter about real estate and mortgages. Core to our mission is opening up information for consumers and making it free and easy to access. We believe consumers should always be in the driver’s seat when researching and making decisions about what will often be the most expensive purchase of their lifetime. The launch of agent ratings and reviews is another step in this direction of consumer empowerment.

Real estate professionals, have you been reviewed on Zillow yet? Any consumer can review an agent they’ve worked with in the past, or are currently working with, as long as the agent has a profile on Zillow. Start collecting reviews and endorsements from clients today.

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