Is RedBeacon VRM?

That question came to me this morning, in response to RedBeacon being named the winner of this year’s TechCrunch 50.

What RedBeacon offers is a form of what in the VRM community we call a personal RFP. As the company’s site says, RedBeacon provides a way to …

  • 1Customers find you on Redbeacon
    Request a local service
  • 2Work when you want
    Compare prices
    from qualified providers
  • 3Did we mention it's FREE?
    Schedule the job online

(Whoa. I didn’t know WordPress would let you copy and paste images and text together like that. Nice. An old dog learns a new trick.)

As it says here, you can request a service, review qualified buyers, select a provider, and schedule the job, all at the RedBeacon site.

Is that VRM? In a number of ways, yes. RedBeacon to me looks like a fourth party service, such as those outlined in VRM and the Four Party System.

I would like to see how it fits as what Joe Andrieu outlines as a user-driven service. What do the rest of ya’ll think?


  1. Doug Kaye

    Yes, I believe it’s definitely VRM. And if it works, it’s a game changer. It will be interesting to see what “critical mass” will be in a geographic region. It launches in the S.F. Bay Area on 10/1/09. But I wonder how long it will be before I can get multiple bids from plumbers, for example, here in Marin County on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Yelp has become important to local restaurants here, so there’s hope. I’m going to be more inclined to try an new vendor through than the old-standard vendors in the Yellow Pages.

  2. Bart Stevens


    Let me try to share with you our experiences with this model. (they are good … !)

    We have started with iChoosr in Belgium (Europe) in 2008 and we started to capture the intentions of communities/end users based on a predefined product.

    We felt it our responsability to help the end user and see “the trees in a forrest” (=bad englisch, but you understand what I mean).

    It’s not true VRM, but it’s a start.

    Because …

    We see that people and suppliers have been stuck for the last 2000 years in the reverse model; “Me supplier, I’m the boss, owner of you!”

    What we see is funny now. The end users starts to see the possibilities (=oppertunities) and the vendors starts to see the possibilities (=threads) …

    We have been sued now several times in court by large suppliers like energy companies who try to prove to the judge, they we are not playing according to the rules in the market/law.

    (I know it sounds stupid, but it’s true)

    On the other hand, we see the end user become very creative. “Can you guys do diapers, sms messages, ISP packages, golf balls etc etc?”

    So, yes we will stick to our plan, but we also expect quite some push back from the industry.

    Let me know your thoughts and possible ideas.



  3. Alexander Torrenegra

    It is definitely VRM. Even if it is not, it helps the buyer be in control of the transaction. That is a huge step forward that could only happen thanks to the Internet.

  4. Doc Searls

    I agree that it’s a huge step if it’s well-executed and works. To be full VRM it needs to be not-a-silo, and substitutable. Can’t tell yet. Still, I like it for the reasons the rest of ya’ll give.

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