October 15, 2008 18:36 ET

Edmonton-Based Real Estate Agent Review Site Cuts Through Clutter

In today’s real estate market, What-Customers-Say.com helps home-sellers find the right agents to sell their homes – based entirely on customer reviews.

Attention: Business/Financial Editor, Home/Garden Editor, Media Editor, Tech/Telecomm Editor EDMONTON, ALBERTA, MEDIA ADVISORY--(Marketwire - Oct. 15, 2008) - What-Customers-Say.com, a newly launched site developed by four Edmontonians, is changing the game for real estate agents and home-sellers by providing a new way to find great agents: with customer ratings and reviews.

Like hotel review site TripAdvisor.com and lawyer review site Avvo.com, What-Customers-Say.com uses user-generated reviews to answer questions people have longed to know about real estate agents: What do agents actually do? Is my agent any good?

"The problem that sellers have with agents is that no one has made it clear what value an agent actually brings to a real estate transaction," said Lance Jones, founding partner of What-Customers-Say.com, experience manager at Intuit Canada and former experience consultant to Fortune 100 companies.

"When people are already losing thousands on their homes, they really don't want to spend money on agent commission - especially since there's this perception that selling a home is as easy as putting up a sign," said Jones. "But customers leaving reviews are telling us that realtors actually do much more than meets the eye."

Reviews on What-Customers-Say.com include verbatims such as "never uses any pressure or other manipulative techniques". Reviewers also list tools that the agent used to help them sell their home, such as holding public open houses, conducting walkthroughs and using virtual tours.

"By leaving reviews, customers are helping others spend their money wisely on agents that have proven track records," said Jones. "What more can you ask for in this real estate market and this uncertain economy?"

How What-Customers-Say.com works
What-Customers-Say.com is divided into three sections:
* The first section allows people to rate in four steps the agents they've used in past transactions. What-Customers-Say.com donates $1 for every review and will soon offer giveaways for the most helpful reviews.
* The second section helps sellers and buyers find the best agents, based on reviews. Users do not need to fill in their personal information or provide details, unlike other referral site AgentForMe.ca.
* The third section helps agents manage their online reputations and market themselves using the power of their customer reviews. (Includes free 60-day trial.)

What-Customers-Say.com is still in beta and has already had over 12,000 page views and thousands of visitors. What-Customers-Say.com has connected top-rated real estate agents with leads; potential clients have contacted the top-rated agents, Bev O'Shea and Kevin Grenier, among others on the site.

What-Customers-Say.com has received over 60 detailed agent reviews in just two months.

Site controversial for agents
Many agents continue to resist the idea of a REALTOR® review site. In a discussion at RealEstateTalks.com on the topic "New site for rating your realtor - will this work in Canada?", real estate agent responses to the topic varied but tended towards comments about the credibility of agent reviews (e.g., "there's nothing prohibiting realtors from giving themselves false high ratings"), resistance to the idea that customers will look for agents online and suggestions that such sites will not gain critical mass.

What-Customers-Say.com keeps agents from leaving their own ratings by preventing signed-in agents from writing a review.

The following statistics suggest that consumers are already looking for services like these online:
* eMarketer (June 2008) reported that 61% of consumers check online reviews before buying a product or service
* Nielsen (July 2008) found that 78% of consumers trust reviews more than any other advertising
* Lightspeed Research (Sept. 2008) found that it takes at least 3 negative reviews to dissuade 75% of the population from choosing a product/service

About What-Customers-Say.com
What-Customers-Say.com was launched August 26, 2008 as a rating website for real estate agent reviews, and it is currently available for the Edmonton market, with additional offerings in the works for Calgary, Red Deer, Lethbridge, Grande Prairie and Ft. McMurray as well as throughout BC. What-Customers-Say.com is independently owned and operated by Lance Jones, Dave Leriger, Steven Luke and Joanna Wiebe in Edmonton, Alberta. For more information, visit www.what-customers-say.com

/For further information: www.what-customers-say.com

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Contact Information

  • Lance Jones, Partner & Director of Experience
    Primary Phone: 250-590-6814
    Secondary Phone: 780-904-2385
    E-mail: lancecj@gmail.com