Sittercity matching consumers, vendors

Filed under Innovation, Technology

Sittercity.com executives Genevieve Thiers and Dan Ratner have launched Contact Karma, a new technology company designed to match consumers with recommended vendors to make purchases. The website, www.contactkarma.com, will generate revenue through commissions, but won’t charge consumers or vendors to be listed on the site.

Genevieve Thiers and Dan Ratner

“Everyday, we’ll bet you get asked a question like `Do you know a great dentist? Or, what’s your favorite restaurant?’” Thiers said in a presentation at Chicago TechExpo Oct. 5. The new website is designed to make it easy for users to find recommended service providers by creating lists of friends on Contact Karma and relying on their experiences and ratings to select vendors.

The concept is based on research that suggests 90 percent of consumers prefer a friend’s recommendation to that of a stranger, Thiers said. Contact Karma encourages users to import contacts from their Facebook or Twitter accounts who will share information about vendors they’ve used.

Vendors can set up profiles on the site and issue promotions, such as a certain percentage off the price of their service, Thiers said.  In addition, users can accumulate “karma points” redeemable for discounts each time they add vendors or friends or purchase an offer.

The husband-and-wife team, who call themselves a “couplepreneur,” hope to roll out their new concept nationally after launching it in Chicago and Boston, Thiers said. That’s the same approach they used with Sittercity.com, which is now 10 years old and offers a database of more than 1 million sitters in cities nationwide, Thiers said.

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