Angie's List: a Colossal Scam?

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You know what else is a scam is Angies stock price.

I tried it, A+ auto service ended up being a crappy shop. Trust your friends, not internet nonsense.

Homeadvisor is the new Servicemagic.

As for Angie's List, I have used them for a termite situation and it worked out well. And, the guy who came out seem to really care about Angie's List's reviews. This tells me that there is validity to the site's reputation...

flyalexair said:   You know what else is a scam is Angies stock price.

Yep. Talk about a major conflict of interest... the CEO of Angie's List also owns a 70% state in the property management company that Angie's List rented from... that company just sold Angie's List 40 properties from its portfolio for much more than the appraised value...

Oesterle sells land to Angie's List, reaping millions

I'm glad that I am not an Angie's List shareholder... but how many situations like this exist out there?

How about Kudzu.com? thats free too, right? or is it even worse than Angies List?

I had a free year trial of Angie's List, and wrote quite a few reviews in that year. Then they wanted 40 bucks a year for me to keep writing reviews for them. F that.

I guess I still do it the old fashioned way. I ask friends, family, business associates, etc. for recommendations, when I need a plumber, electrician or just someone to clean my gutters. Once I find a good sub, I get the best recommendations for other subs thru them. Unfortunately this leads to another problem, in that the good ones are always the "busiest"

Being a single woman, I have used Angie's List quite a few times for finding reputable people to perform tasks that were needed to be done and have been very satisfied. Perhaps I have just been lucky. Don't know if I will renew next April when my membership runs out, but here in the Marietta/Atlanta area, I have no complaints with them.

In Boston, Angie's List seems to help you get actual written quotes out of contractors. It's too busy here apparently, so you get a lot of contractors who won't call you back or show up and never give you estimates, etc.
I agree w/ the buttload of spam though :-P

ProfitAfterRebates said:   I had a free year trial of Angie's List, and wrote quite a few reviews in that year. Then they wanted 40 bucks a year for me to keep writing reviews for them. F that.

This is my philosophical problem with 'em. The whole premise of the site is basically exploiting the labor of uncompensated people. Meh for that. If they gave out free memberships for people who contributed X number of reviews, I'd be more inclined to join.

From a practical standpoint, Angie's List never really got integrated into the culture of my area so there's very little local content.

When I need recommendations for contractors, etc. I ask on FB and Twitter (and am sure to return the the favor when others are looking for good recommendations). This has been the most successful strategy by far.

Instead of Angie's List, I think fatwallet will give you more useful information for free (better deal as well).

I use Angie's List frequently although I ultimately find a plumber, Furnace/AC company, concrete guy that I trust and stick with them. The number of reviews for some vendors and in some categories can be hit or miss but I never felt bad about the intel I gathered. Compared to Yelp, etc., the reviews tend to be deeper and seem more independent (some Yelp reviews, like trip advisor, look like plants by the company itself or even a competitor). I have never felt spammed - I am on their daily deals emial list and like that a lot (and am not torubled to delete an unwanted email) but YMMV.

I am currently an Angie's List subscriber & have found it to be a tool for me to gauge different contractors.
I paid the yearly fee (newbie) & have found the service to be more of a confirmation than anything else so far.

I scrutinize the reviews & like eBay - shy away from any service that do not have numerous feedback.

Having said that, I have usually ask my neighbors for recs & follow up to see if they are on AL.

So far, I have only struck on 1 vendor that has been rec'd by neighbors & confirmed by AL.

dabigguy said:   I am a contractor that has numerous reviews, all positive, on Angie's List. I am not what they call an "Advertising Contractor" which means that contractors can pay to have their business placed higher on the recommended contractor list than non paying contractors. The sales people contact me several times a week hounding and trying to get me to pay to be on their site.

I have gotten a lot of business from Angie's List, but I do not like the fact that a contractor with zero reviews can be placed higher on the list than one with 15 positive reviews just because they pay to advertise !!!


HA! And they advertise that "Companies can't pay to be on Angie's List" - yet they solicit companies to advertise on their site and skew the results in their favor. Nice.

ankitgu said:   This is not an inherent issue of Angie's List, but any capitalistic advertising medium. If you and I both start a chewing gum company, but only I have the budget to air TV ads, then I will reap the consequences (good or bad) of doing so. Maybe not the perfect system, but Angie's List can't pay bills without charging someone.

But Angie's List also charges their viewers/users for the "privilege" of seeing these paid advertisements.

although I have hardly used it, I like Craigslist for buying stuff in my neighborhood --- I always wondered why some other company would ripoff the naming style of craigslist to create their web site

there is no reason I would pay for these kind of reviews --- their business model appears flawed to me

ankitgu said:   dabigguy said:   I am a contractor that has numerous reviews, all positive, on Angie's List. I am not what they call an "Advertising Contractor" which means that contractors can pay to have their business placed higher on the recommended contractor list than non paying contractors. The sales people contact me several times a week hounding and trying to get me to pay to be on their site.

I have gotten a lot of business from Angie's List, but I do not like the fact that a contractor with zero reviews can be placed higher on the list than one with 15 positive reviews just because they pay to advertise !!!

This is not an inherent issue of Angie's List, but any capitalistic advertising medium. If you and I both start a chewing gum company, but only I have the budget to air TV ads, then I will reap the consequences (good or bad) of doing so. Maybe not the perfect system, but Angie's List can't pay bills without charging someone.


If Angie's List were free you'd be on to something, but Angie's List pays the bills with people signing up for memberships, at least that is the impression they give. When you pay for access you expect a product you can trust, not a rehashed yellowpages.com.

germanpope said:   although I have hardly used it, I like Craigslist for buying stuff in my neighborhood --- I always wondered why some other company would ripoff the naming style of craigslist to create their web site

there is no reason I would pay for these kind of reviews --- their business model appears flawed to me


Come on man, we live in an instant information age. A 20 second google search shows that Angieslist was created first, so technically Craigslist ripped them off.

I'm in central CA. I need a roofer, and I thought about checking Angie's List.
After reading all the responses I'm wondering where I should go first.

chripuck said:   germanpope said:   although I have hardly used it, I like Craigslist for buying stuff in my neighborhood --- I always wondered why some other company would ripoff the naming style of craigslist to create their web site

there is no reason I would pay for these kind of reviews --- their business model appears flawed to me


Come on man, we live in an instant information age. A 20 second google search shows that Angieslist was created first, so technically Craigslist ripped them off.


well, since you provided no link ... I used google and I couldn't figure out when they started using the name .... Still haven't found it. .... How about a link


And feel free to update Wikipedia once you find the answer.

do178b said:   In the old days before the Internet referrals were done strictly by word of mouth. You trusted the guy who refereed you because his credibility was on the line too. This is all gone with the modern day review sites such as Yelp and Angie's List. I read Yelp's reviews and clearly many of them are fake and are just trying to drum up more business.I had a guy on Angie's List offer $50 off if I provide a good review. I told him to take the $50 off or you'll be guaranteed to get a bad review. Sure enough he took $50 off. After that experience I have gone back to the old way where I only ask my trusted friends and family for referrals. It boils down to the fact that a few good data points is more valuable than a million bad data points.

I have had contractors ask me to give them reviews on Angie's List, if I liked their work. And I did (its a pain to do reviews if you are not a member). I have also done the opposite of threatening bad reviews if a contractor doesn't do things the way I want.

I researched this topic on multiple past fatwallet threads and the consensus was AngieList is not reliable or worth a penny. Instead, why not go with Checkbook which is run by reputable CR, and use Yelp/Google places to cross reference the data from Checkbook/CR.

The Better Business Bureau seems to be a similar scam.

They have a pay to play system. If you pay up money and be a member, they will disregard negative information about businesses. If you don't play, then they will leave negative information up and give you a bad rating.

"Goldline International" was ripping off customers but was able to advertise their A+ BBB rating to provide an aura of legitimacy and perpetuate their scam. Now they're being sued and have been parties to congressional investigations.

I've used Angie's List the last year or so and have been pretty happy with them. Obviously you have to learn to filter reviews, but when you're a in a new town and don't know anybody, it can be helpful just to get you a list of contractors to talk with. Obviously do your due diligence, multiple quotes, etc... but in general the ones that I've had come out, I've been thrilled with.

omarECD said:   Just use Yelp. It's free, and more reliable than any of the other review sites. Yes they may have done some shady things with their advertising, but they got called out and it's past now.

I used Yelp to find my plumber. He had about twenty reviews, and was rated 5 stars. The only bad reviews were from people that did not hear back from them.
I had major problems with him.
When I posted a truthful review of my experience about him, i realized that
a/ he was harassing every one and threatening them of lawsuite insessantly til they removed them
b/ most of the reviews were 1st time users, with only a few real ones
c/ I will never trust Yelp again for such major work.

The guy closed shop and started again the same scheme under a different name.. Guess what he is rated 5 star on Yelp.

Yelp has its own problems. Got a carpet cleaner talking while in house and was told he seeded the reviews by writing his own for relative to plant. Also wrote honest reviews for Yelp and had every one removed, whether good or bad, without being told why much less even told. Bunch of shills for restaurants, etc. it seems to be.

thelord said:   
When I posted a truthful review of my experience about him, i realized that
a/ he was harassing every one and threatening them of lawsuite insessantly til they removed them
b/ most of the reviews were 1st time users, with only a few real ones
c/ I will never trust Yelp again for such major work.

The guy closed shop and started again the same scheme under a different name.. Guess what he is rated 5 star on Yelp.


What sort of anti-SLAPP law does your state have?
Is it possible to make good money off a review if the jerk really is dumb enough to sue you for definition of character?

paul1208 said:   Frankly, one good way to help determine whether a contractor may be good, be it contractor, excavator, etc., is to search the state court system where you live naming the particular party and discovering whether he/she/the company is a named party to a lawsuit. Check out the public documents. And go back five years, including archives.
Frankly, I have no idea how do you do that? Would you kindly share your experience?

I kinda of disagree. It really depends on where you are located and the level of participation of people writing reviews in your area. When I lived in Chicago, it was useless. Everything written on Angieslist was also readily available on Yelp, citysearch, yp.com, and even Google reviews. I moved to a suburban area in the south and both citysearch.com and Yelp are empty and both Google reviews and yp.com are full of fake reviews.

Best thing about Angieslist is it eliminates all the fake reviews and spammers who game Google search enginge rankings. Worst thing about Angieslist is they provide reviewers names' to the vendor you are reviewing. I know it helps in reducing fraud and fake reviews, but I've also had vendors calling me begging me to change my rating. For $3.20 a month it is hardly a rip off. They gave me a free month when I asked to cancel. Month later I still canceled without any problems. As far as spam, I don't see any difference in the amount of spam as compared to other websites you sign up with your email - including Fatwallet.com. It's your own fault if you use your primary email to sign up with them instead of a junk mail one.

Nextdoor.com seems to be the next big thing. Way better concept and trustworthy reviews without sharing your reviews and information with vendors.

No different than Yelp, BBB. all are just scams.

umcsom said:   No different than Yelp, BBB. all are just scams.

The difference is Angie's List makes the consumer pay to enter their scam on the guise of a cleaner review environment.

I found Angie's List to be a colossal waste of money. At my office, my (many) coworkers have set up a members-only Yahoo group and we trade recommendations there -- a much better deal.

germanpope said:   although I have hardly used it, I like Craigslist for buying stuff in my neighborhood --- I always wondered why some other company would ripoff the naming style of craigslist to create their web site

there is no reason I would pay for these kind of reviews --- their business model appears flawed to me


Well, they aren't competitors... so I don't think either ripped off the other. They have similar names, but Craigslist is more of a free competitor to eBay and Angie's List is a just reviews site (that may or may not have any value).

Ex angieslister from years ago. Relied on it 5-6 times. I'd say 4-5 were cases where there weren't plentiful reviews of providers so that was decent, but in the end I decided it definitely wasn't worth it after my year was up. Nowadays there's lots of review sites. Think as Yelp & fb twitter etc all get more linked together you'll see reviews from people you actually know that's always a good thing.

I think it's really 2 questions:
a) Is Angie's List legit?
b) Is Angie's List worth it?

My experience is that it is legit and the basic premise seems to work. It encourages contractors to be a bit more professional and the few I've hired from Angie's were very good, not cheap, but I feel like I got quality work and a good value.

Now "worth it" depends on a ton of factors, mostly what other resources you have to find good contractors in your area. I signed up at Angie's on some deal that was like $40 for 5 years (or more, don't remember) so at that price, well worth it. Now at their normal prices of like $80/year and forcing you to call them in order to STOP charging your credit card, very much not worth it IMHO.

I try to cross reference any contractor amongst many sites and also ask the contractor for references.

I also find Yelp suspect but tend to respect the BBB. In the end, I get as much info as possible.

Dus10 said:   flyalexair said:   You know what else is a scam is Angies stock price.

Yep. Talk about a major conflict of interest... the CEO of Angie's List also owns a 70% state in the property management company that Angie's List rented from... that company just sold Angie's List 40 properties from its portfolio for much more than the appraised value...

Oesterle sells land to Angie's List, reaping millions

I'm glad that I am not an Angie's List shareholder... but how many situations like this exist out there?

Ticker is ANGI - feel free to short it if you think they suck at business, rather than just being sleazy. Be careful, the stock has doubled since the IPO 2 years ago.

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=ANGI&t=2y&l=on&z=m&q=l&c=

adieuminusa said:   I use service magic..now called home advisor for all my needs....it's free, they call you, oftentimes right away, some gives estimates over the phone. From this website, I hired an electrician, a plumber, window repairer, A/C heater expert, flooring, cabinet installer, etc. Did I mention it's free? Plus they don't spam you, ever. They do call to follow up on your projects, but that's actually a nice thing, and not pushy. That's for Texas. My friend used them in California for some lighting install and they gave some really good prices. One of them quoted $1000 to install 15 recessed lights (we provided the recessed lights) but no wall or ceiling patchwork which was fine since we were doing the ceiling and wall texture ourselves anyway. Plus they have their own reviews from actual customers that you can read for free without signing up.

I used service magic. Contractor was expensive and did horrible work. Good contractors are always busy. The ones that need to advertise using these services are rarely top notch.

As some people previously mentioned, Angie's List is a publicly traded company.
http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=ANGI&ql=1

Also, here is a a bearish company analysis from citron research (a very well known investor who shorts companies that he finds overvalued)
http://www.citronresearch.com/angies-list-bad-idea-bad-business-...

flyalexair said:   You know what else is a scam is Angies stock price.

Thanks for sharing, I did not know their stock was public.

$1.4 B market cap,
Revenue, costs, profits, and other fundamentals can be found here:

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/is?s=ANGI

germanpope said:   chripuck said:   germanpope said:   although I have hardly used it, I like Craigslist for buying stuff in my neighborhood --- I always wondered why some other company would ripoff the naming style of craigslist to create their web site

there is no reason I would pay for these kind of reviews --- their business model appears flawed to me


Come on man, we live in an instant information age. A 20 second google search shows that Angieslist was created first, so technically Craigslist ripped them off.


well, since you provided no link ... I used google and I couldn't figure out when they started using the name .... Still haven't found it. .... How about a link


And feel free to update Wikipedia once you find the answer.


Honestly, not hard:

https://www.google.com/search?q=craigslist+founding+date&aq=f&oq...

https://www.google.com/search?q=angie's+list+founding+date&aq=f&...



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