In looking for an apartment, I found ApartmentRatings.com tremendously helpful. This site allows residents to anonymously rate and comment about their apartment complex.
After reading the comments residents wrote about Hunter's Woods apartments in Murray, I decided that, although the square footage was about 300 more sq. ft than any surrounding apartment, the area's crime (namely drug dealing) and the poor maintenance responses by the staff were enough to look elsewhere. The overall ratings appear at the top of the site:
And the resident's responses appear below:
Ratings are also expanding into the academic realm: you can rate your professors. RateMyProfessors.com allows students to provide feedback in a public site. Imagine the power!
For example, my old friend Josh Allen, who teaches at BYU-Idaho, is now online, free to be rated on Google by his students. Luckily, his students like him, so the ratings work in his favor.
Similar to the apartment ratings, you can read the individual students' feedback in all their detail.
Other rating sites exist too, such as Confabb, which allows you to rate the speakers at the conferences you attend.
These rating sites empower people to make better choices. Obviously they are subject to abuse (either from the competition, from the the slandered source, or from biased friends). But even in the possible exaggerations from the participants, the ratings raise awareness of issues that you might otherwise not carefully examine.
You also have to keep in mind that people rarely take the time to express their satisfaction, but the disgruntled will complain bitterly.
Apartments, professors, conferences .... what's next?
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