Online“reviews”vs.“recommendations”–what’s the difference?

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Everybody is scrambling (at least the companies paying attention in the real estate space) to incorporate a reviews system into their website.  The big guys, Zillow and Trulia, have had them for a while and their two approaches raise an interesting point of discussion in the Real Estate world: Is there a substantive difference to the end consumer between having “unbiaised” reviews (as Zillow does) or “recommendations” (clearly slanted in favor of the agent of course) as does Trulia on their site.


As a longtime agent who struggled to get even happy clients to write me testimonials (now recoined as “recommendations”) over the years, I can vouch that the recommendations I did receive were quite legitimate and not influenced by me (for example, standing over them forcing them to write nice things).   My Zillow profile, though has several positive reviews of my work that I did not solicit.  Today, my Trulia profile is full of recommendations by happy clients, mostly agents thanking me for my marketing coaching.  While I’m grateful for the reviews, I think the recommendations speak better to my skills and value-add to prospective clients.


Interestingly, the Real Estate websites that have incorporated unsolicited “reviews” have found the average rating out of 5 stars for agents is about 4.8.  Sounds like recommendations to me… or perhaps all real estate agents just do a better job on average than they’re given credit for!  I’d be curious what people think about online real estate agent reviews vs. recommendations.

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Comments (3)

David Shamansky
US Mortgages - David Shamansky - Highlands Ranch, CO
Creative, Aggressive & 560 FICO - OK, Colorado Mtg

I know those in the rain that use this to a whole new level and are very succesful from it

Jul 03, 2014 03:52 PM
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

In general, when people give reviews, it's either because they are very happy or very annoyed.

Jul 03, 2014 08:15 PM
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

I take recommendations via e-mail and place them in my rental management proposal.  I L♥VE BAD, ONLINE reviews from would-be tenants or snippy residents as it shows I am a NO-nonsense property manager looking out for my clients and that I do not suffer fools lightly

Jul 04, 2014 12:12 AM