This week in class we covered a lot in crowdsourcing, buzz marketing and word of mouth. Since I’m feeling a bit under the weather, my mind has drifted to one of my favorite word of mouth, crowdsourced endeavors, Angie’s List, which happens to include a section on health care providers.
Angie’s List gives power to the people, and lets them rate businesses in specific terms and top businesses gain many advantages in the process. Also, businesses are able to respond to complains in a moderated fashion via the site. The content on Angie’s list can be generated by paying users, the businesses themselves, guest writers and Angie’s own staff writers, such as this guy I went to grade school and high school with. Obviously I am a bit biased, but the company does its best to hire level-headed, inquisitive and very fair writers. Businesses are allowed to contribute articles when they have achieved high consumer ratings, helping them achieve even greater positive buzz.
While many articles do cover the pros and cons of services and general matters, Angie’s Twitter account has the approach of a daily reminder that if you aren’t helping yourself enough to take care of things maybe you should check out a provider listing.
Ok, that makes me want to sneeze even more. X< 8 <
The only drawback to Angie’s List is that its most useful content – the provider ratings – is behind a pay wall, and beyond the free trial an annual membership is required for continual access. While I was able to find 655 results on WebMD about “sore throat” for free, Angie’s List is mostly meant for that next step where you need to go locally to get looked at further if it doesn’t subside. In fact, Angie’s List shows WebMD as a top reference site.
While Angie’s list isn’t entirely free, there is a very interesting new feature called “Band of Neighbors” that lets neighborhoods share safety and news matters in a conveniently secure fashion. Paying members and non-members are both allowed unfettered access to this feature. This is an excellent way for Angie’s List to build additional community affinity for the brand, and hopefully some conversions to annual memberships.