Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Movoto Top Ten Lists are Total Bull

I love when companies latch on to a marketing idea to build awareness about themselves that's basically just a bunch of B.S. wrapped up with a pretty bow. 

For example, Movoto Real Estate. This is an online real estate company, licensed in thirty states, that has become ubiquitous around the internet for its Top Ten Lists. Their motto seems to be "We make real estate easy." It should be "We make real estate cheesy."

Somehow they've came up with a bunch of exotic algorithms, which [they claim] help them determine which cities, towns, counties, states, etc. are the best places for people to live. I'm sure they've done a bunch for your state.

I think they are full of shit.

Let me use my state and a town where I've lived [Northbrook, IL] as two prime examples of how insanely inaccurate these people are. 

Recently, Movoto posted the list of  the Ten Best suburbs around Chicago. I know Chicago. I have lived in the city and its 'burbs most of my life -- not only Northbrook, but Winnetka, Glencoe, and Evanston. According to Movoto:
First of all, La Grange, La Grange Park, and Western Springs are right next to each other. They are carbon copies of one another, too. So, pick ONE, not all three. 

All that aside, Kenilworth and Wilmette are the only two suburbs that should be on this list. Why? Because they are the only two towns listed that are located on the lake. Or any lake. 

As far as I am concerned, the lake is the ONLY reason Chicago exists. If your town doesn't sit on the beaches of Lake Michigan or any one of the smaller inland lakes, or a river, you got nothing, no matter how big your lawn is. 

Movoto says they based their [ridiculous] choices on 1] amenities per capita 2] standard of living 3] total crime 4] violent crime 5] high school grad rate 6] commute time.

If high school grad rate is so important, where's Winnetka on the list? Business Insider just named Winnetka the most educated town in Illinois. 

So why pick Kenilworth over Winnetka? Kenilworth has a train station. And huge houses on big lots. [Winnetka may have even more] That's about it. Oh wait, I forgot its residents have an insanely high median salary [$230,000 give or take a few thousand]. 

But Kenilworth has nothing else besides their one beach, which isn't nearly as big or as swank as Wilmette's or Glencoe's. Plus Evanston and Winnetka have more beaches. Kenilworth has no downtown. No grocery. No drug store. No Starbucks. Only a travel agency, a brokerage firm, and an assisted living service, that I can recall. You have to go to the towns on either side of Kenilworth to get anything to eat, anything to wear, anything to fix your car, a plumber, a dry cleaners, anything. I know for a fact that Winnetka, Glencoe, and Evanston have way more to offer besides rich people in enormous homes. Movoto even admits that Kenilworth doesn't have much in the way of amenities. So WTF? 

Not to mention, Kenilworth has no park district either. No golf course, no tennis courts, no parks to play basketball or baseball or soccer, nothing. You have to use the facilities in other towns. And yet, Kenilworth made this stupid list. 

Here's where it gets even more interesting. Movoto published another Top Ten list for my state. Actually they've published several Top Ten Lists, mainly to create awareness of themselves for having Top Ten lists. They also list the Best Cities for Cats, Snobbiest Cities, Most Boring Cities, Most Stressed Cities, Most Caring Cities. . .blah blah blah. 

However, the list I'm referring to is the Top Ten List of Best Towns to live in for the entire state of Illinois. Not just around Chicago, but the whole state.

The towns they chose are all suburbs of Chicago. Did anybody look at a map? They couldn't consider Galena, Rockford, Springfield, Princeton, Wayne, Libertyville, or anything else outside Cook County? Or downstate?

And the number one town they picked? Northbrook. Granted, Northbrook is the only town around with a velodrome! And not one, but two post offices. Acres of forest preserve. A dog park. Four tennis clubs. Five Starbucks. A skateboard park. A destination mall. A Harley store. A huge hill for sledding. A river. A pond with fish to catch. Two aquatic centers. Two indoor skating facilities. A Jewish day school AND a mosque. Did I mention a world class park district? Plus Jim McMahon and Gale Sayers live in Northbrook. Here's the whole list. Not one of these towns is outside Cook County, where Chicago is located. 

I can't believe that Park Ridge and Glenview made both Top Ten lists. Neither one is on Lake Michigan. Both towns are perfectly fine places to live. But they're not that wonderful. Meanwhile, where are Schaumburg, Orland Park, and Naperville in the mix? Not one mention? 

So odd that even though Northbrook was considered good enough to rank Number One on the list of the Ten Best Places to live in Illinois, it couldn't make the Ten Best Suburbs around Chicago. How messed up is that? But there's more!!! Here's what Movoto said about Northbrook:

This photo of Northbrook's Village Hall [ABOVE] is just another example of Movoto stupidity, lack of knowledge, and failure to do their research. 

They described the building in the picture like this: "[T]he town is dotted with old buildings like the Village Hall. . ."

In fact, the Village Hall is practically brand new. Maybe ten years old. It was designed to look retro/classic rather than modern. Apparently they succeeded. Movoto calls it quaint. Right next door to the Village Hall is the public library which doesn't qualify as an old OR quaint building. So suck it, Movoto. 

Next time you see a Movoto Top Ten List for anything, be sure to take it with a grain of salt. 


banker puppy said...

“Not one of these towns is located outside Cook County, where Chicago is located.”
Mrs. L., please recheck this. I see at least four on that list that are outside Cook County. All ten are indeed Chicago-area suburbs, though.
The publicly available data used to generate the ‘top ten’ algorithms can’t possibly discern many of the differences between towns that may matter to specific individuals and families, but that’s not the point.
First and foremost, a business website needs a way to attract eyeballs. Movoto has opted for the ‘top ten’ shtick. It’s just a marketing tool, like the AFLAC duck or the GEICO gecko. No one buys insurance because its advertising mascot is cute. But if the gimmick gets the company on the short list of contenders, it’s done its job.

Mrs. L said...

You're so right "banker puppy" -- Mrs. Linklater noticed her error after posting, but didn't care enough to return to fix it. In fact, she hoped someone would step up to point out her mistake to prove that somebody reads what she writes. So thank you!! Like you said, at least four of these towns are in Du Page or Lake county, not just Cook.

As for Marketing Tools, Mrs. Linklater counts herself among them as a former Chicago VP/Creative Director at one of the largest ad agencies in the world. Mrs. Linklater was gainfully employed for not a few decades before semi-retiring to blog. BTW, the AFLAC duck is the brainchild of a brilliant female creative [writer of "I'm a Toys R Us Kid"] who left the NY office of the same agency to start her own very successful shop. This is all by way of saying that Mrs. Linklater is well aware of what works and doesn't work in advertising. She also knows bullshit when she sees it.

banker puppy said...

Cool career, Mrs. L.
There are those who would call all advertising bullshit. Mother Dog was one, even as Father Dog's career took him through a few of Chicago's better known agencies. It made for fascinating discussions around the evening food bowl.