There's a fresh reason for Bloomfield Hills residents to boast about where they live, and for those in some nearby communities to roast online rankings for seeming out of touch with reality.
MapQuest, the popular Internet mapping site, now rates communities and selected neighborhoods on a 0-to-10 scale at mqVibe.com. Overall "vibe scores" are based on dining, nightlife, shopping, residential-business mix and fuzzy factors such as walkability, popularity and edginess.
Bloomfield Hills, described as "convenient and lively," earns a general score of 8.8. Bloomfield Township, rated below average at 4.3, is described as "social and well-liked" – which sounds more like a school yearbook caption than a community assessment.
Numbers are based on the frequency of MapQuest searches for local attractions and businesses and on users' votes for neighborhoods and businesses. "We have a lot of data points -- billions of data points in fact," the company says in an introductory blog post. "These data points collected over 15 years tell us, among other things, where people are, where they are going, what they are looking for and when they are looking for it."
But because it just launched Oct. 13, mqVibe doesn't yet reflect a broad user consensus and is driven partly by "an editorial evaluation," as the company's FAQs put it. And though it starts with rankings for 40,000 neighborhoods in 27,000 cities, no neighborhood breakouts are available yet for West Bloomfield or Troy.
Developers acknowledge mqVibe needs crowd clicking to work best. "It is just the beginning of a revolution in how you discover your city, participate and influence your local community, and explore out of town," says an oct. 17 blog post by Simon Hill of Denver, a principal product manager at AOL, parent company of MapQuest (as well as Patch).
In other words, let debate begin about local standings, as well as whether West Bloomfield really has a near-zero vibe, if Royal Oak deserves a 2.2 score and whether Clawson is fairly ranked at 9.4.
Top Neighborhood Rating
10 (West Side)
9.0 (W'ward/9 Mile)
1.3 (West Lincoln and Woodward)
4.8 (Orion/Roch., Auburn/Roch.)