UPDATE (7/5/12): Given the amount of positive feedback that I received for this idea, I had to implement it. It is no longer just an idea, but an online service in beta right now. It is called TrustRecs. You can check it out at: http://www.trustrecs.com. Please try it and send me your feedback.
Below is the original post describing the idea for TrustRecs when it was still just an idea in my mind:
When you move into a new town/city, you don't know who are the good doctors, dentist, plumbers, mechanics, day-care, handy-man, etc. in that area. Similarly, as you go through different stages of life, you need different service providers. For example, when you have a baby, you want to find a good pediatrician. Similarly, at some stage in your life, you need a good accountant, tax planner, attorney, etc.
Sure, you could go to yelp and search for local providers, but the quality of the data is questionable since you don't know who have rated those service providers. All the ratings may have come from friends and family members of the service provider.
Wouldn't it be great if you could ask people you know or your friends' friends using modern technology? In real life, that is what you do. You ask your friends, your neighbours, co-workers. Since this information is verbally exchanged, it is a very inefficient process.
Instead of calling 10 different people, wouldn't it be easier to post your question to all of your friends at one place - on a site built specifically for this purpose. It would be faster, more efficient and more reliable. You post a question to only your friends and get back authentic response.
In addition, with a website-based approach, the information benefits a lot more people. Other people also benefit from your questions and responses. You may also find the information that you are looking for already provided by someone you know.