Those who remember the kerfuffle that Brownstoner's Brokerrate.com website caused a few years back may want to avert their eyes: there's a new broker-rating website in town called BrokerBeagle, and it's just gone live. And the owner insists he's got a spin on the broker ratings game that will set his site apart.
The (cleverly unnamed) creator emails us:
To give you some background, I began by building a broker review website, but based on your own reporting of the many troubles of Brokerate.com, I soon abandoned this approach. So instead of creating another forum inevitably focused on shaming bad brokers, I decided to build a neighborhood-based directory that highlights good brokers. To do so, I structured all site language and functionality towards recommendations rather than reviews and then instituted an editor review of all user submissions. And just in case something was still amiss, I built a tool that allows brokers to respond to user submissions. Of course, some brokers may try to game the system by writing multiple recommendations of themselves, but I also took steps to prevent multiple submissions from a single computer or I.P address. Admittedly I’m more of a web geek interested in real estate than the reverse, so it’s difficult to not also include a few points of tech-pride in my self-promotion: BrokerBeagle has been thoroughly usability-tested, is well-optimized for search engines, uses wiki functionality to keep broker and neighborhood information up-to-date, and leverages both Microformats and Google Maps.
Sounds like a good honest effort, at least. There's not much feedback in the system as yet, so we'll be watching closely to see how BrokerBeagle crashes and burns, er, evolves in the weeks to come.
· BrokerBeagle [brokerbeagle.com]