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Renaissance of BBB, Health Inspection Data in Digital Age

Two established sources of data that help consumers make purchase decisions are experiencing somewhat of a rebirth thanks to digital tech. By shacking up with digital partners, the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) data related to home service providers and restaurant health inspection information are both now much more accessible to the general public.

This month, the BBB announced a new partnership with Porch. Porch is a mobile app and search site that helps “homeowners to make smart home improvement decisions by giving them the information they need to find the right professionals, get inspiration, and manage their home.”  The partnership will bring Porch users BBB information, including ratings and accreditation status, for millions of professionals.

BBB has not really developed its brand among Internet users as a trusted source of information. This may be their long-overdue attempt to boost their digital visibility and utility to consumers.  For Porch, this doesn’t necessarily bring a competitive advantage, but it does provide a differentiating factor to the site’s listings and connects them to a well-recognized organization.

Differentiation in the home services space is definitely important, given the increasing amount of innovation and evolution this particular category is experiencing.  For instance, HomeAdvisor recently rolled out an on-demand scheduling technology called Instant Booking that makes it easier to schedule services with home professionals online. In addition, Amazon Local Services launched in select markets late last year.

When it comes to health inspection data, no longer will it be buried on local government websites.  In early 2013, Yelp announced integration of health inspection results to restaurant listings. To move the initiative forward, this year the ratings and review site partnered with Socrata, an open data company. The deal gives Yelp access to new content via Socrata’s city and county client databases.

Similar to the BBB data, the move brings health inspection results to the digital forefront, giving them more prominence in Yelp listings as seen below.

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Sites, apps and online tools are helping old data and information become new again, or at least more relevant.  These outlets are giving long-standing organizations like the BBB a chance to reinvent themselves in the digital age. In addition, with so much parity seen in the digital space, differentiation is a challenge, but as these developments show, many are doing so in subtle, yet inventive ways.

3 Responses to “Renaissance of BBB, Health Inspection Data in Digital Age”

  1. David says:

    “BBB has not really developed its brand among Internet users as a trusted source of information.”– Are you serious? The BBB has been in the top 500 most trafficked websites in the nation for a very long time.. Just looked on Alexa.com and it seems they have slipped to 552 in the US.. Millions of Internet Users rely on their data ever year..

  2. Greg Sterling says:

    I would challenge you that virtually no one goes to that site to help choose a local business. There may be complaints filed or looked up. I would argue that its “digital brand” is weak and that mostly older people are the ones who think about BBB.

  3. Greg Sterling says:

    Yes their traffic appears to be pretty strong per compete.com. However, no one I’ve ever spoken to or discussed “local search” or local business discovery has ever referenced BBB other than to talk about their missed opportunity.

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