Agent RatingsWhen it comes to measuring marketing effectiveness, there is little argument that Nielsen is the leader. Nielsen believes that providing clients with a precise understanding of the consumer is the key to making the right decisions — decisions that can lead to profitable growth. At Nielsen, they are always innovating to keep pace with emerging market trends and the increasingly diverse, demanding and connected consumer.

Joining Nielsen is the Houston Association of REALTORS, Zillow, a few dozen brokerages, and about 500 of the more than 1 Million REALTORS in America today. These REALTORS are the bold, the true, the transparant, the honest – those that submit themselves to a professional rating by the consumers that entrusted them in a home transaction. Agent Ratings.

I have long believed that Agent Ratings is the province of REALTOR Associations. NAR has not had the strength of leadership to embrace agent ratings (not yet, anyway). Houston Association of REALTORS has done it for years, and consumers thank them for it. The California Association of REALTORS partnered with MLSListings to pilot a program with Quality Certified (QSC) which I understand is going very well.

As much as I like websites like Yelp and other types of ratings sites, I hold the belief that a rating should only be published if the person actually has a basis for a credible evaluation. For example, there are high percentages of Yelp reviews by people who have never visited restaurants – phony reviews. This may be ok when you are talking about a $6 hamburger or even a $35 steak – but it is nonsense for a $500,000 home purchase. Only buyers and sellers who have done a transaction with a REALTOR should be allowed to rate a REALTOR.

I have been shy to praise Zillow Ratings because it works on the honor system. Nevertheless, Zillow has taken a leadership position in offering consumers with the most comprehensive national Agent Ratings solution. I tip my hat! Well done Zillow for having the courage to do what so many before you have not had the courage to do. I give you 5 stars. Note to Agents and Brokers – it is probably a good ideas to check out your rating on Zillow and create a plan to manage your online reputation there – they are the current #1 site in consumer real estate search online).

If you want an awesome ratings program – check out QSC – here is a real live rating from an Alan Pinel Agent. I am not a big fan of the UI, but I applaud the methodology and the comprehensive validity of the rating.

Preferred source for product and service information bar graph and stats Nielsen has recently finished research that indicates that consumer-generated reviews and product ratings are the most preferred sources of product information among social media users. 63% of Consumers prefer Consumer Ratings and 62% prefer Consumer Reviews as a basis for service information!

Our industry is focused on Facebook and Twitter for managing their online reputation. As you can see, Nielsen puts those way down the list – bottom feeding methods, if you will.

I hope that in some small way, this clear evidence of the importance of Agent Ratings will stimulate our leaders at the National Association of REALTORS, as well as their state and local associations to provide this valuable resource to consumers. It could only serve to improve the quality of our industry and the service it delivers to consumers.

About Nielsen:  In 100 countries around the world, Nielsen provides clients the most complete understanding of what consumers watch and buy. Nielsen is a global leader in measurement and information.