I once generated enough work for a contractor while getting his business integrated online that he had to hire 3 times as many employees and hire two more foremen to oversee all the work. His online presence ended up generating so many leads that he spent 10 hours every day looking at possible jobs and hired a college kid that did nothing but take pictures of the jobs and maintain the website.
This was during the dying days of the housing boom, about 2006 or so. All it took on my part was making a relevant website design that was easily navigable, showcased customer reviews with pictures and practiced the most efficient SEO possible given the small amount of content. The “magic” so to speak was signing up with a new online service called Service Magic.
Service Magic matched people in the market for builders, plumbers and painter with potential contractors and charged our business for every lead (even if we lost a bid or didn’t take the job, we still had to pay for leads). The high quality of work and proof we presented on the website sold itself. If you wanted to stay busy, had adequate manpower and could avoid bad reviews, Service Magic was a contractor gold mine.
Fast forward to this weekend, a friend recommended me to take a look at another social scoring platform in the same vein as Klout and Peer Index. PROskore.com was beautifully designed, worked as well as established networking sites and made more sense than the other two when it came to information and connections to base my score on.
I still wasn’t impressed with PROskore simply because social influence measurements have been done before. There is no innovation, and even though I knew it took some work to get a website into working order, it still seemed like a power grab aimed at taking advantage of Klout’s recent screw up.
After setting up my account on PROskore and updating all my relevant information I looked around on the site for a little. It turns out that PROSkore was never intended to be another Klout, but instead aim to be a superior form of Service Magic. While Service Magic connected contractors and homeowners, PROskore is a business to business platform that is at least for the moment reserved for Internet based small businesses and startups, as well as other industries that are notorious for being early online adopters (i.e. Real Estate Agents).
The social score is merely a simple metric to compare similar business people. Like Klout, PROskore takes your activity across popular social networks into consideration when ranking you. Like Service Magic, reviews from customers and other professionals also contribute to your score.
After companies start exchanging business and the reviews start coming in, the reputation scores will carry a lot more weight. Website designers have low Klout scores because they are too busy developing to be active on Facebook. PROskore will reward hard workers by taking peer reviews into account when calculating your PROskore. To be successful you will need to keep the quality of your work and customer service at the highest level possible.
This application is about getting leads that are valuable to your business. To access all the PROskore features you will have to upgrade to a PRO+ account. The PRO+ upgrade will give you access to post press releases and videos, and will get your account verified as well as submitted to search engines. The most important feature that an upgrade entails is access to all possible leads. If this network reaches critical mass, you are willing to put the work in, and you have the required skills, the $119 per year subscription will be well worth accessing all possible business leads. Just as the housing boom pushed Service Magic into the primetime, the growth of online startups and social media can give PROskore the demand for it’s supply.
Despite what a lot of pundits claim about waiting, one of the skills it takes to be a good consultant is being the first to know. Early adopters always maintain a slight edge in developing a network, and that’s apparent all over the Internet. I’m telling you that the concept of specialized business directory listing works. It will be easier to find professionals on PROskore than it currently is on LinkedIn and the site is coded much better than Klout or Peer Index. The only question left to answer is will it reach critical mass?
Will a large number of businesses use this tool to sub contract work or to find other professionals to handle what they can’t? I guarantee that certain jobs like software developers will get tons of leads from this network. Professionals in fields that are more diluted like social media consultant will probably have a harder time getting noticed. That is why it’s important to get a head start. If you can cultivate one professional relationship from this network, it will pay for itself instantly. I believe an order that short rests on the shoulders of the professional.