It’s interesting to me that this is the prototypical social networking site, albeit with a twist: it exists to facilitate strong networks of trust between individuals, so that one of the groups (the parents) can be social outside the house. The site doesn’t give you all kinds of ambiguous abilities to make friends, create complicated profile pages, or other fluff that is all too common on social networking sites these days: it just makes it easy for parents to find a qualified sitter, then leave feedback for other parents so that they can help future parents learn from their successes (“Sarah was outstanding!”) or failures (“Laurie never showed on New Year’s Eve, leaving us unable to go out with friends. Totally unreliable.”)
The first sitter we met could not be a better fit for what we needed: she’s personable, professional (she’s actually an elementary school teacher) and loves kids. She’s not so young that we’re worried about leaving her with all three kids, and she’s been incredibly responsive. Our house was actually cleaner when we got home than when we left. That’s nutty.
But now that I’ve had a few weeks to observe my interactions with Sittercity, there’s one other element of the site that reinforces my feeling that they simply get it. As I mentioned in my original post:
If you give it a try and mention my username (rickklau), you’ll get a discount (apparently 10% or more) and I’ll get a few bucks towards a movie ticket — which might be a nice way to spend one of those nights off once we find a couple sitters we like.Amazingly enough, a few of you did sign up, and that means that I’ve now got several Fandango dollars to spend on an upcoming movie. (Actually, enough for two movie nights for Robin and I.) Rather than discount our monthly fee (why would you? We’ve already determined it’s worth paying each month), they’re actually giving us something that increases the likelihood that we’ll use their service: free money to go see a movie (necessitating a babysitter). That’s clever.
So… if you haven’t already given Sittercity a try, head on over there. I couldn’t be more impressed with the site. (And thanks to those who listed me as a referral!)