no, way, it's not worth paying for, totally agree with you there, but at the very top, they're pretty accurate. I agree with a lot of what you say. There are things they can't measure, of course, like how a kid will respond to that level of conditioning and coaching. Also difficult to project for a kid that is just late to develop, but your four and five star kids do hit with a pretty high rate of accuracy. And a three star kid is still pretty damn talented. But by and large, with a couple of exceptions, the schools that get the most highly rated talent, are the ones winning the most games. That's not really deniable.
But they're also not just throwing this stuff around blindly. It is based on what information they have, readily admitting that it's not a complete picture of what a kid is or will be.
And, I wouldn't assume they'd be making more money if they were working for a school. A lot of those guys at Rivals and Scout used to work at universities and left for these services. They rate kids often before schools start offering and make adjustments as they get more film and information. They also talk to the kids and coaches. It really is more than a blind guess.