GetVendors.com, a web 2.0 start-up based in Bay Area, recently launched a new version of its website with social networking for households along with organizer tools.
Now the site delivers an end-to-end solution to users, while combining convenience and objectivity with a focus on social interaction among members.
Users rely on GetVendors.com to manage their household projects and find reliable service professionals for their household service needs.
Instead of vying for a bigger pie in the local ad market, GetVendors.com aims to bring down the size of local ad market by making it easier and more effective for both users and local service professionals to connect with one another.
GetVendors.com’s business plan represents the “zero billion dollar business” idea, a term often credited to Fred Wilson, a high-powered venture capitalist in New York City. It refers to businesses that creatively re-define the conventional business model of an industry and deliver results.
This is accomplished by operating on a fraction of the cost that market leaders are incurring. When these businesses, Craigslist (in newspaper classifieds industry) being the strongest example, pick up steam, they force dramatic changes within their industries.
With its new launch, GetVendors.com has successfully created a community-supported website that runs through member participation. This has led to greater success over other competitor sites such as the conventional yellow pages, or Internet portals such as ServiceMagic.com and Angieslist.com.
In contrast to walled gardens based on registration fees set up by conventional portals, GetVendors.com’s focus is to provide tools that address user needs and empower its members by serving their self-interests through a feature rich networking platform.
The site allows service vendors (who do not have outstanding complaints with the Better Business Bureau) to register free after a member of the community recommends their services. This approach has helped GetVendors.com collect a large database of nearly 10,000 quality vendors in California without spending a dime on sales staff.
At GetVendors.com, widespread community participation helps protect users from the vulnerabilities of corner case abuse of the referral system (a rampant problem with the paid services). In addition, after matching a user with a service professional on Getvendors.com, the user can rate his/her individual satisfaction with the vendor. The rating ultimately influences the weight the vendor receives in the future referral matches.
GetVendors.com community groups differentiate from social networking sites targeted at teenagers or singles (such as myspace.com, yelp.com) by focusing on helping existing natural social groups to interact more effectively. With adults, the focus is on helping and exchanging ideas with someone they share common experiences with (based on ethnicity, work place, and/or location).
In GetVendors.com community, users can join existing groups or start their own. Although anyone can read the information, only members of a group can post information. This exclusive access makes user contributions valuable to the community and in turn motivates user to actively participate in community initiatives.
This targeted social networking for households enables GetVendors.com to gain new users through referrals without relying on costly marketing campaigns. This user-generated content is crawled by search engines, leading more exposure to the website – further cutting the marketing expenses.
All these operational savings are returned to community in the form of free/low cost services and better customer support. This creates a positive feedback loop.
Thus, with this approach users get connected to reliable service professionals and small businesses spend very little money on ads. If this community based referral service realizes its potential, the size of billion dollar local ad market will turn upside down.
Founded by UC-Berkeley alumni, GetVendors.com is a start up company based in Foster City, California. GetVendors.com was recently mentioned in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, San Jose Business Journal, Oakland Tribune, and Sacramento Bee.
With its exponential rise in user base, especially among busy office staff members and working mothers, GetVendors.com is well positioned to become a driving force in reshaping the way users find service providers. The American Association of Webmasters has also recently awarded a Gold Web Award to GetVendors.com.