Complete marketing tool set for efficiency and renewable energy pros

The Future of Third Party Reviews? Our First Look at WhoDoYou Professional content

Comment Share

By Peter Troast - May 23rd, 2014

The rise of third party reviews was one of my top marketing trends for home performance for 2014, and it looks like that prediction was spot on.

The latest thing in the third party review category offers an entirely different approach to consumer commentary. Sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List and Google+ require a registered user to take the time to write a review, which we all know is hard to encourage. This new approach scrapes data directly from Facebook.

Enter WhoDoYou

The pioneer of this new approach is WhoDoYou, which raised a slug of capital recently and made a bit of a splash last week.

Two things about this caught my eye: first, they are calling themselves the “anti-Yelp” and that alone makes me want to stand on my chair and cheer. Even more head-turning is the claim that the company is gathering 35,000 public recommendations per month. When you consider that Angie’s List— with a 20 year head start and a gargantuan advertising budget— is gathering 60,000 reviews per month, that is a really impressive number.

I want to be clear that I am not saying WhoDoYou is the new Angie’s List or Yelp, at least yet. The company is in its early stages and the user experience is clunky, which needs to be fixed if the company is going to get significant consumer uptake. WhoDoYou’s CEO, Yoav Schwartz, has acknowledged in comments on Greg Sterling’s Screenwerk blog that his team is working on the UI, which is a good sign. The important point is that what they are doing— extracting data from the vast trove of Facebook and in time other social networks— could be the wave of the future. This process is far more efficient than the user-submitted approach and potentially extracts more genuine information. My take is that home performance companies should be paying attention.

How Does WhoDoYou Work?

The company is mining Facebook in what seems to be two primary categories: general discussions about a particular service and specific Facebook business reviews (although I haven’t been able to find any of these). The data WhoDoYou exposes is less of a specific review of your business than a typical discussion thread that might happen in social media. For example, the business will pull information from posts similar to: “Can anyone recommend an HVAC company in Fresno?”

Here’s an example that resulted in a job for our friends ABC Heating & Cooling (I got to this by searching “heating and cooling/hvac in Fresno”):

What Should Home Performance Companies Do?

For those of you who might be thinking 'Alright, how do I game this?' I’d suggest not to look at it that way. WhoDoYou is exposing personal, genuine responses that unknowing Facebook users likely assume to be private. As a result, the system is unvarnished and can be deadly if your service and quality systems are not up to par. WhoDoYou hasn't fully explained how they their 10 point rating scale works, but it appears to be based on four core things: Friends, Location, Ratings, and Recency. The strategy, therefore, is the same: have an active presence on Facebook, make sure you get reviews there, grow your fans and strive for as much engagement with your community as possible. Social signals about your business or mentions of your company name throughout the social ecosystems are always good and can pay dividends in many other ways.

At a minimum, I would definitely take a few minutes to claim your free listing on WhoDoYou. In fact, at $49/year, the premium listing is a no-brainer. Even if WhoDoYou does not take off, the citation value of the listing alone is probably worth it. Here is what the company’s internal information says about how WhoDoYou uses listing data:

“In most cases, users search for a specific type of provider in a given city. The search results are sorted by a variety of factors.The most important of which are businesses that have recommendations or reviews from facebook friends, the amount of detail contained in a claimed listing, proximity to the person searching, etc. While we never change the search result order as a result of businesses paying for their profile, the more information we have for a business, the more likely that listing is going to be helpful to our users.”

When you create your listing, be sure to get your categories right. A few of the default ones we uncovered include Home Insulation, Home Inspector, Home Remodeler, Smart Home Expert, Heating and Air Conditioning/HVAC, Water Heater Install and Repair, Solar Installation, Handyman, Mold Testing and Removal, Windows Repair. The good news is that WhoDoYou lets you enter your own, so key terms such as home performance, energy audit, etc. can be added.

If nothing else, WhoDoYou provides a fascinating insight into how homeowners think about the home energy category. I thought the back and forth on this one was particularly revealing:

Key Takeaways

  1. Social data scraping for reviews is likely a wave of the future
  2. WhoDoYou is the leader for now

Next Steps for Home Performance Contractors

  1. Claim Your Free Listing on WhoDoYou and consider the $49/year premium
  2. Make sure to prioritize Facebook reviews as part of your overall review strategy
  3. Stay engaged in Facebook as a general rule

Keep me posted if you decide to give it a try. We'd love to have some reports from the field on how it performs!


Comments

Be a little careful here! I got excited and googled 'Who Do You Know' NOT 'Who Do You'

That takes you to a FB app that just wants your friend list. I had to remove the app after I figured it out.

Posted by The Energy Guy on May 23, 2014 11:15am

Thanks for pointing that out. The real WhoDoYou has the option of logging in via Facebook, in which case some of the data you get is from within your own social graph. But that is not required. 

Posted by Peter Troast on May 23, 2014 11:18am

Peter -

Thanks for your thoughtful review of WhoDoYou. You make a lot of excellent points not just about our service, but also about best practices for your contractor pros out there, including the importance of having a social media presence and encouraging customers to spread the word.

One small tip for business owners - you can also ask your customers to write a review of your service on our site (www.whodoyou.com). Please note that they must log in with Facebook before submitting the review. This is to ensure opinions come from a real person with an authentic identity. That is how we ensure only honest advice is shared on WhoDoYou.

We welcome you to try it out, and thank you again Peter for the in-depth review.

Posted by Yoav Schwartz on May 24, 2014 3:47pm

including the importance of having a social media presence and encouraging customers to spread the word.

Posted by Thiet ke san vuon on Jun 6, 2014 4:31am

Solar Installation, Handyman, Mold Testing and Removal, Windows Repair. The good news is that WhoDoYou lets you enter your own, so key terms such as home performance, energy audit, etc. can be added

Posted by Hon non bo on Jun 6, 2014 4:32am

Even if WhoDoYou does not take off, the citation value of the listing alone is probably worth it. Here is what the company’s internal information says about how WhoDoYou uses listing data

Posted by Tieu canh san vuon on Jun 6, 2014 4:34am

You make a lot of excellent points not just about our service, but also about best practices for your contractor pros out there, including the importance of having a social media presence and encouraging customers to spread the word.

Posted by the korean style shop on Jul 11, 2014 9:09pm

excellent points not just about our service, but also about best practices for your contractor pros out there, including the importance of having a social media presence and encouraging customers to spread the word.

Posted by korea style on Jul 11, 2014 9:10pm

Add comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.