The Ratings Debate — to include or not to include

For those of you who didn’t see it last week, be sure to check out Lisa Trosien’s blog article titled Let’s All Bash the ILS’s, Shall We? on Multifamily Insiders (posted December 3rd). As usual, Lisa lends some balance to the “debate of the day” in our industry, which currently surrounds the ongoing viability of the major ILS marketers as marketing providers.

I wanted to hone in on one of the points in Lisa’s post — the whole idea of ratings. The ILS’s have been criticized for not including consumer ratings on our sites; and I think most of our customers realize that it’s because we’ve been listening to them — and they’re not yet comfortable with the idea. We are, after all, accountable to our customers (who are accountable to their owners and asset managers). But I do feel it is one of our responsibilities as industry marketing experts and partners to determine how our customers can utilize ratings to become more effective marketers. logo overlayapartmentratingsyelp

Here at Apartment Finder, online advertisers can opt-in to stream Yelp! reviews into their property ad — but as you might imagine, very few have chosen to. Yes, it lends credibility and objectivity for the consumer — but can you imagine the conversations that take place between property managers and angry owners who see a negative review right on their property ad? You know, the one they’re paying for? I’m not saying we shouldn’t be doing it . . . I’m just saying it’s a more complicated issue than many imagine.

I’m really interested in what our readers have to say on this topic — so please comment and let me know your thoughts, whatever they are, on whether marketers should include ratings, how they can become involved in the ratings conversation, and where the real value is for marketers.