My-Currency.com, launching at Demo 07 on Thursday, is a complicated solution to a very simple problem: people can't tell if real estate agents are any good.
My-Currency is designed to bust through friends' recommendations and real-estate advertising campaigns in order to help you find the agents with the best knowledge of their market, as shown by how well they predict the outcomes of real estate transactions.
The site is built around a prediction market. It asks agents to predict how much properties will sell for. Agents "wager their reputation," and put in their predicted sales price of houses, as well as conviction levels for predictions. Once properties sell, the system is able to rank the agents who made the predictions.
My-Currency also has an answers system (like the Answers engines on Yahoo and LinkedIn), and awards professionals for replying to users' queries, since bedside manner does count for something in a salesperson.
The site is pretty, but it could be more approachable (although the team was making changes to the user interface as I wrote this). And it's named wrong: If I'm looking for a good real estate agent, I'm more likely to go to rate-an-agent.com, not something with a name that doesn't convey what the site is really about.
But I do love the idea. Real estate agents earn absurd commissions, and there's no real way for customers to gauge an agent's knowledge or performance. This technology could help level the playing field, and that's great.
In the future, CEO Karim Tahawi plans to use the My-currency platform for sites that rate other professionals, like financial advisers and stock brokers.