SetYourRate.com, which officially launched out of private beta on Tuesday, is attempting to bring Priceline-style economics to the local services industry. The site is cultivating a services marketplace that matches buyers to services providers with a catch: buyers are allowed to name their own price, while service providers compete with one another to meet that price. To me that sounds similar to the service Priceline offers for airline tickets, hotels, and car rentals.UK-based
Since beginning their beta test in November, the site has attracted over 1,000 service sellers in categories ranging from accounting to web site design to pole dancing instruction. Service sellers get a profile on the site where they can advertise their services and rates, and on which buyers can rate and review those service providers.
Buyers can browse the site's yellow pages-like listings of service providers, or they can enter a description of the service they're looking for and the price they're willing to pay. Service sellers can then browse those want ads and bid on jobs.
"The inspiration behind SetYourRate.com was that everyone has a marketable skill or service they can offer," said SetYourRate.com co-founder Luke Aviet in a press release. "The Internet has proved a great medium for buying and selling products. We are simply using the same principles to help buyers and sellers of services efficiently connect as well."
I'm not sure that professionals will buy into the name your own price idea, and from some scanning the web site it seems that most of the people offering services are amateurs or moonlighters. Indeed, according to the press release, "the most common reason people offer services through SetYourRate.com is to provide a second income." Certainly you can find reliable help that way, but for many people, I suspect the phonebook or broader local search sites that include user reviews will offer greater utility.