Brownstoner just launched an interesting NYC real estate website. Brokerate (only one R!) allows you to rate brokers along three categories-- knowledge, courtesy, and effectiveness. The site displays an average rating, and allows you to search for brokers in each borough. Right now, not that many people have voted, so your rating can have an inordinate impact on the rating for each broker-- but they've developed a scoring system to deal with this:
Users rate brokers in three categories on a scale of 1 to 5 and an average is computed to generate an overall rating; each user may only rate a particular broker once. Please note that when a broker is first added to the database, he/she starts with a score of 2.5. The rationale for this cuts both ways: We don't want a broker who's only been rated by one person to immediately go to the very top or the very bottom of the ratings. Over time, this starting point will have very little impact on the overall score.
It'll be interesting to see if this works. Will enough people use it to make the ratings worthwhile? Will the brokers try to game the system? Only time will tell. [Related: Citysearch is ranking the city's best brokers-- currently Corcoran is in the lead. Also, Curbed maintains a good list of the city's largest brokerages. Curbed also points out that HomeThinking is already in the space with over 900 brokers.]]