Angie's List: a Colossal Scam?

Archived From: Finance
  • Go to page :
  • 12 3 45
  • Text Only
jsssm said:   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-...



Definitely a good read. Makes me wonder how this outfit stays in business, but then I guess, they consider it positive that they are not losing as much as they could be? When the IPO funds run out, where will they be?

Personally, I would never invest in a company that has an ad campaign featuring the homely (being as kind as possible) founder pandering like a sideshow shill for your money.

wajj said:   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&...



1995 for both

Next?

Mickie3 said:   wajj said:   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&...



1995 for both

Next?


I'll screenshot it if it would help. 1995 for Angie's List, 1999 for Craigslist. Not that it really makes a difference since Angie's List didn't really have a web presence until about 10 years ago. Before that they were a newsletter and magazine based company.

wajj said:   Mickie3 said:   wajj said:   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&...



1995 for both

Next?


I'll screenshot it if it would help. 1995 for Angie's List, 1999 for Craigslist. Not that it really makes a difference since Angie's List didn't really have a web presence until about 10 years ago. Before that they were a newsletter and magazine based company.


Better check again. CL was around in 1995 as well.

From http://www.craigslist.org/about/factsheet

Q: What is the origin of craigslist?
A: An email list of SF events started by Craig Newmark in 1995.

Q: Is craigslist a nonprofit?
A: No, craigslist was incorporated as a for-profit in 1999.

Craigslist is a pioneer. There are no comparisons between Craigslist and Angie's List.

Here is another piece, very short:

"Angis List Broken Business or Best Buy"

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/05/07/angies-list-bro...

And, wow, that citron article is really eye opening,

If this is not a shortable company, then what is.

Mickie3 said:   

1995 for both

Next?


your response does not answer when Angie's List started using the name Angie's List on the internet

using "next" after an incorrect response is a massive fail

While I agree that someone must pay for Angie's List, I feel it isn't ethical to charge the consumer AND the contractor!!

As a data point, In Vegas I've used it the last eight years and had uniformly great experiences with it. Landscapers, plumbers, electricians, dryer repair and about five others. Saved me thousands. And I find they are more responsive when you tell them you found them on the list, scared of getting a bad review maybe?

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 had Angies List for awhile when it was free. I soon realized that even when it said 8 people recommended a particular service, when you drill down you find it's really only a couple that get counted several times.

I also used Service Magic the last few times I've needed something and have been very happy.

If you pay, Yelp will hide negative reviews. If you don't pay, they'll hide positive reviews.

That's how Yelp makes money. As soon as your biz gets a negative review, they'll call you up and ask if you'd like to pay to get the bad review filtered out.

I don't know why people on here treat it like some kind of unbiased review site. It's not. It's just another pay to play site.


thelord said:   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.

cr3s said:   If you pay, Yelp will hide negative reviews. If you don't pay, they'll hide positive reviews.

That's how Yelp makes money. As soon as your biz gets a negative review, they'll call you up and ask if you'd like to pay to get the bad review filtered out.

I don't know why people on here treat it like some kind of unbiased review site. It's not. It's just another pay to play site.


thelord said:   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.


Although I have heard this from several people, Yelp claims otherwise.
http://www.yelp.com/faq

Will Yelp remove or reorder bad reviews if a business pays for sponsorship?

No. You can't pay us to remove or reorder your bad reviews it's just that simple. It's worth pointing out some additional checks and balances that we build into the system: among other things, we separate the revenue side of our business from the content side of our business, just as a newspaper might put a firewall between their advertising and reporting functions.


I have personally never seen it, but I do imagine they try to do some filtering of bad reviews and have probably engaged in bad marketing practices in the past. Hopefully these issues have been resolved, but you never know!

dabigguy said:   While I agree that someone must pay for Angie's List, I feel it isn't ethical to charge the consumer AND the contractor!!
Is it any different than a cable company charging the consumer and the advertiser?

I would expect Angie's List satisfaction to vary from city to city. For me it's been great, much better than Yelp. I have nothing against Yelp but clearly it is easier to game. I've used 6 outfits I found on AL and had 6 great experiences. When I call I always say I found them on AL and how much I value the reviews which is why I always leave reviews myself. I figure if they don't want a bad review, they can either come out and do a good job, or simply say they are too busy and can't help me at this time. Either way I'm fine with that.

I don't mind the emails from AL for their "Big Deals" as I've used a couple. One was to replace the breaker box and the circuit breakers for $399 (was quoted $700-$900 by three other electricians), the other was for a $99 landscaping consultation. The landscape guy spent two hours at our place talking about what could be done (and it was a 20 mile trip from his office), then sent a detailed drawing with every suggested plant, ground cover and tree labeled - detailed enough for us to be able to implement it ourselves. Yeah, they are hoping to get more business when they come out, but if you only want what the deal was you can stick with that.

germanpope said:   Mickie3 said:   

1995 for both

Next?


your response does not answer when Angie's List started using the name Angie's List on the internet

using "next" after an incorrect response is a massive fail


That was not the question.

You should be an expert when it comes to Massive Fails, seems every post you have is yet another one.

Have a mediocre day.

jsssm said:   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-...


A little unprofessional looking but an entertaining read nonetheless. Didn't know about home advisor I guess I'll check me out.

SloppyG said:   jsssm said:   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-...


A little unprofessional looking but an entertaining read nonetheless. Didn't know about home advisor I guess I'll check me out.


If you want to see unprofessional analysis, read the analysis from the major banks on APOL from a couple of years ago up until recently.

Mickie3 said:   germanpope said:   Mickie3 said:   

1995 for both

Next?


your response does not answer when Angie's List started using the name Angie's List on the internet

using "next" after an incorrect response is a massive fail


That was not the question.

You should be an expert when it comes to Massive Fails, seems every post you have is yet another one.

Have a mediocre day.



Ithat was the issue if you go back and read. I cannot fix poor reading skills, And will not conform my post to appease three year olds that want to snipe me.

Pro tip for Mickie: You need to do more than just google things for an answer. If you look at Angie's List site you will see Spring of 1996. That means they were something else before then. So your conclusion of 1995 through a google search is not only incorrect it is shallow.

July 1996: After adopting the name "Angie's List," the company buys Unified Neighbors and expands to Indianapolis. Number of members: about 6,000. Employees: 2.

This is from their site. So it looks like Craigslist emerged first as a xxxlist name. But who cares.

tolamapS said:   If this is not a shortable company, then what is.

Terrible business model does not necessarily mean great short. Remember, you short stocks (or go long them), not companies.

germanpope said:   July 1996: After adopting the name "Angie's List," the company buys Unified Neighbors and expands to Indianapolis. Number of members: about 6,000. Employees: 2.

This is from their site. So it looks like Craigslist emerged first as a xxxlist name. But who cares.


I think their business model is, get old white people to sign up...and pay

young ones know how to use Yelp

I would not say it's a scam but you do need to understand that people do put weight on the scores and feedback and as such people try to control the feedback as best they can. Here are a few things I can share though.


1) I did have an extremely negative review posted over a vendor (we ended up having lawyers settle it in the end...that kinda deal). I posted a negative review on Angie's List...and Angie's List REMOVED it because they were currently in litigation with said vendor. My negative review never did end up on Angie's List. Now is this a common issue....I doubt it what I know of the situation..but as of today that same vendor years later...still has a positive review on the site.


2) They get money from BOTH sides, ads/coupons from vendors and subscription fees from you the consumer. So they are beholden to keep both sides happy. Sometimes that can be a tricky situation.

3) I probably wouldn't be to upset that their SEO advertising strategy doesn't always line up with what they have on actual reviews...The merit of Angies List really isn't for one review it is being able to use it as a yellow pages...only with real feedback.

In the end I still subscribe and still use it.


TIP: Those deals of the day, or Angies List big deals. Just call the vendor up directly ask for the same deal only you will pay THEM not Angieslist. It's a win for them, because AL doesn't get a cut...and more often than not they give you a little extra for the effort.

I've not used Angie's List, so I can't comment on it. I've used Consumers' Checkbook and have found some service professionals through them, but have also used them to check professionals recommended by others.

Recently, my community joined Nextdoor, a private social networking site oriented toward's one's neighborhood and close-by neighborhoods:

https://nextdoor.com/

Besides discussing neighborhood issues, recommendations for various businesses/services are asked for and/or shared, items are listed for sale or given away, special interest groups can get formed, etc. I'd rather put largish items for sale that might require a home visit to inspect on Nextdoor than Craigslist.

Nextdoor is a great source of "word-of-mouth" recommendations, which I find helpful, perhaps even essential for certain types of businesses, including home contractors, gardeners, house cleaners, and so on.

mrkk said:   germanpope said:   July 1996: After adopting the name "Angie's List," the company buys Unified Neighbors and expands to Indianapolis. Number of members: about 6,000. Employees: 2.

This is from their site. So it looks like Craigslist emerged first as a xxxlist name. But who cares.


I think their business model is, get old white people to sign up...and pay

young ones know how to use Yelp


Exactly. The Yelp system isn't perfect, but none are. This is as good as it gets for reviews. You just have to learn which reviews to trust and which not to trust. For example, looking at the profile of the user and making sure they have multiple legitimate seeming reviews. Also if a business/restaurant has 100+ reviews, it's usually very reliable. Just like anything else, you need many data points. You can't draw a conclusion on a place with only a handful of reviews; that's your own fault if you do.

Licensed, insured, permit, proper detailed contract, and price... that is what you should be looking for. I had a teacher in HS who had attaboy certificates... IT read that on one aww crap you lost all your attaboys (Google it). As good as any business is there will always be disgruntled customers, protect yourself.

omarECD said:   Exactly. The Yelp system isn't perfect, but none are. This is as good as it gets for reviews. You just have to learn which reviews to trust and which not to trust. For example, looking at the profile of the user and making sure they have multiple legitimate seeming reviews. Also if a business/restaurant has 100+ reviews, it's usually very reliable. Just like anything else, you need many data points. You can't draw a conclusion on a place with only a handful of reviews; that's your own fault if you do.

That's where I think Angie's List is superior. You have to put your real name on your review, and even if there are only three reviews, they are usually comprehensive and detailed. I have much more faith in a place that has 3 positive AL reviews than a place that has 3 positive Yelp reviews. There is almost always a more detailed review in my experience on AL. Yelp in my city is overrun with fake reviews and their algorithm for filtering them out has problems - fake reviews get posted and real ones get filtered as much as it is the other way around. There are people posting fake reviews under different names (identifiable by the common grammatical and spelling errors, and how they write their reviews), I assume these people get paid.

Plus, Yelp is great at restaurants and less so for anything else. AL is much better with service providers, which is what I use it for. There is a niche for both.

I have been an Angie's List member since 2005 or 2006.

I like to read customer reviews before choosing a vendor (mainly for home improvements like plumbers, electricians, window repairs, roofers, chimney sweeps, etc). I don't think it is a scam (I did not read through all the postings here). I don't do their big deals at all.

For people like me, finding a reputable company (for home improvements) is not an easy job. Thus, I like Angie's List business model to provide customer reviews. I am sure many would say that some of the reviews are not true reviews. You just have to read more to make your own decisions. Many companies use subs. Thus, the customers will face good subs sometimes, and bad ones the other times.

tmwilkin said:   I would not say it's a scam but you do need to understand that people do put weight on the scores and feedback and as such people try to control the feedback as best they can. Here are a few things I can share though.


1) I did have an extremely negative review posted over a vendor (we ended up having lawyers settle it in the end...that kinda deal). I posted a negative review on Angie's List...and Angie's List REMOVED it because they were currently in litigation with said vendor. My negative review never did end up on Angie's List. Now is this a common issue....I doubt it what I know of the situation..but as of today that same vendor years later...still has a positive review on the site.

....
What I would say is that AL's sales pitch is misleading but not a scam. I used them for a year and here are two biggest problem.

1. I had a very similiar experience as you. I wrote a very detailed negative review for a replacement windows outfit that has since forced out of business by state's AG and they just didn't publish it and the reason was frankly, BS. It was regarding the outfit's sale practice and the excuse was something like, well, you weren't actually their customer?! Wait, even BBB accept sales practice as legit complaints and recorded.

2. It's not at all good for general contractors. For single trade, ie. Windows, roof, plumbing, etc, AL is quite decent, HOWEVER, you do not need to pay a dime for this. Just search your local area's contractor and look for "Angie's List Award". There, you just saved $$$. For general contractor and/or handyman, there are few reviews even for a major metro area and most of the review seems weirdly worded. Makes me wonder if AL did heavy editing on them. I ended up hiring people from CL that I did reference and license check on.

The best way to protect yourself is still reference check and a good contract with payment per milestone.

So, OP, it's good to raise the issue because a lot of people got this impression that AL is a more of a grassroot organic website but it's not.

omarECD said:   
Exactly. The Yelp system isn't perfect, but none are. This is as good as it gets for reviews. You just have to learn which reviews to trust and which not to trust. For example, looking at the profile of the user and making sure they have multiple legitimate seeming reviews. Also if a business/restaurant has 100+ reviews, it's usually very reliable. Just like anything else, you need many data points. You can't draw a conclusion on a place with only a handful of reviews; that's your own fault if you do.


I found an Italian restaurant with 200+ 4 star overall and this place serves pasta from Costco. And it tastes bad too. A few of the reviews from the elites don't make sense like one where the reviewer was going to catch a movie, but the nearest movie theater is several miles away. Another one spent too much time describing what the place looks like, which is easy to do with Google Earth. Another one submitted photos from both daylight and nighttime (for the same visit?). This place smells like it has professional reviewers. Anyone know where businesses can hire professional Yelp reviewers?

I generally consider products and services advertised nationally on talk radio programs to be scams. So far, it's a pretty good indicator:

1 - Male enhancement
2 - Debt relief
3 - Direct Buy
4 - Angie's List

kranky said:   omarECD said:   Exactly. The Yelp system isn't perfect, but none are. This is as good as it gets for reviews. You just have to learn which reviews to trust and which not to trust. For example, looking at the profile of the user and making sure they have multiple legitimate seeming reviews. Also if a business/restaurant has 100+ reviews, it's usually very reliable. Just like anything else, you need many data points. You can't draw a conclusion on a place with only a handful of reviews; that's your own fault if you do.

That's where I think Angie's List is superior. You have to put your real name on your review, and even if there are only three reviews, they are usually comprehensive and detailed.


It is interesting that Angie's List also accepts reviews from *Non-Members*. These are identified as such, but it sort of defeats the purpose. As an example, I found a vendor with several such reviews, they all had the same sentence/grammar structure and provided glowing generalized positive descriptions of the vendor.

RedCelicaGT said:   I generally consider products and services advertised nationally on talk radio programs to be scams. So far, it's a pretty good indicator:

1 - Male enhancement
2 - Debt relief
3 - Direct Buy
4 - Angie's List


With #1 I'm guessing you're writing from experience? And direct buy? Who would join today with online shopping so easy? My inlaws were members back in the early 90's before the internet was popular and we used their membership to purchase furniture then... I couldn't imagine it would be usefull today...

I've used AL-recommended contractors and they've all been about spot on in terms of professionalism and in line with the reviews.

That said, I don't subscribe to it now. And I don't get their spam either (or I guess my 198th gmail junk mail address still gets it... maybe who knows). What OP says is true though, AL spams a LOT so never use an email address you care about or make the appropriate filter.

First, the good contractors usually stay in business a long time so if you used them in the past, chances are they're still as good as they used to be. No need to check their most reviews compared to your own experience.

Secondly, you don't need new contractors that often. If it's a big project, you can subscribe a month and cancel. That's what I did twice. Before one-month sub expires, I just printed out (to PDF) the list of A-rated contractors in all the categories I could see myself needing. I also kept tab of which contractors offer coupons since the coupon discounts may be worth more than 1 month sub. Some of those coupons are also valid for like a year so if you think you'll need one later, print them out just in case.

All in all, if you're moving to a new area and don't have word of mouth to get in contact with decent contractors it's not a terrible idea for the limited cost of 1 month sub. Yelp has next to no reviews for most contractors so the two services do not compare at all for anything but restaurants and bars (where Yelp is better). But I really wish there was a better alternative to all of them.

Btw, as far as Home Advisor is concerned, I have doubts too. Their rebranding from ServiceMagic seems pretty suspicious and convenient. Yes maybe it's a better brand name but it's also a great way to trick people who had previously bad experiences with ServiceMagic both customers and contractors.

jsssm said:   cr3s said:   If you pay, Yelp will hide negative reviews. If you don't pay, they'll hide positive reviews.

That's how Yelp makes money. As soon as your biz gets a negative review, they'll call you up and ask if you'd like to pay to get the bad review filtered out.

I don't know why people on here treat it like some kind of unbiased review site. It's not. It's just another pay to play site.


thelord said:   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.


Although I have heard this from several people, Yelp claims otherwise.
http://www.yelp.com/faq

Will Yelp remove or reorder bad reviews if a business pays for sponsorship?

No. You can't pay us to remove or reorder your bad reviews it's just that simple. It's worth pointing out some additional checks and balances that we build into the system: among other things, we separate the revenue side of our business from the content side of our business, just as a newspaper might put a firewall between their advertising and reporting functions.


I have personally never seen it, but I do imagine they try to do some filtering of bad reviews and have probably engaged in bad marketing practices in the past. Hopefully these issues have been resolved, but you never know!


The Washington Post has a video about the "complex and secretive algorithm" that chooses which reviews to display on Yelp.com.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/video/thefold/why-does-yelp-hide-r...

The title of this thread contains "Colossal Scam." Now if Angie's List charged $800 to join, and marketed itself by MLM techniques, then yeah, you would call that a colossal scam. But for $29.95 a year or whatever? That's not a scam, that's equivalent to buying a local directory of contractors in the pre-internet era -- only with Angie you get reviews and a lot of other improvements.

For those of you with lots of contacts in the trades and who wouldn't need such as service - great! It has probably taken you a lot of trial and error to get to where you are now, and I salute you. But for the rest of us, without a lot of contacts in the trades ... Angie is great!

Kanosh said:   The title of this thread contains "Colossal Scam." Now if Angie's List charged $800 to join, and marketed itself by MLM techniques, then yeah, you would call that a colossal scam. But for $29.95 a year or whatever? That's not a scam, that's equivalent to buying a local directory of contractors in the pre-internet era -- only with Angie you get reviews and a lot of other improvements.

Angie's doesn't present itself as a "local directory of contractors." It bills itself as "reviews you can trust," that consist of "certified data," with a "complaint resolution team." In bold print, they advertise that "businesses don't pay."


For those of you with lots of contacts in the trades and who wouldn't need such as service - great! It has probably taken you a lot of trial and error to get to where you are now, and I salute you. But for the rest of us, without a lot of contacts in the trades ... Angie is great!

Having Angies List appear in search engines with results that portray them as having reviews for specific businesses would lead one to believe that they actually have the reviews. However you can't find out that they don't actually have reviews for vendors they describe until AFTER you pay. The lack of transparency is misleading.

NEDeals said:   
Angie's doesn't present itself as a "local directory of contractors." It bills itself as "reviews you can trust," that consist of "certified data," with a "complaint resolution team." In bold print, they advertise that "businesses don't pay."

Having Angies List appear in search engines with results that portray them as having reviews for specific businesses would lead one to believe that they actually have the reviews. However you can't find out that they don't actually have reviews for vendors they describe until AFTER you pay. The lack of transparency is misleading.


1) They do ask businesses to pay for their ads to show up on top of the list. They may not require that businesses pay, but if you want to get to the front of the line, a little $$$ helps.
2) You sure that the ads are Angie's List? There are tons of affiliates that get paid when you join... Does that release Angie's List from responsibility for the ads? Up to you.

dcg9381 said:   NEDeals said:   
Angie's doesn't present itself as a "local directory of contractors." It bills itself as "reviews you can trust," that consist of "certified data," with a "complaint resolution team." In bold print, they advertise that "businesses don't pay."

Having Angies List appear in search engines with results that portray them as having reviews for specific businesses would lead one to believe that they actually have the reviews. However you can't find out that they don't actually have reviews for vendors they describe until AFTER you pay. The lack of transparency is misleading.


1) They do ask businesses to pay for their ads to show up on top of the list. They may not require that businesses pay, but if you want to get to the front of the line, a little $$$ helps.
2) You sure that the ads are Angie's List? There are tons of affiliates that get paid when you join... Does that release Angie's List from responsibility for the ads? Up to you.


What ads are you referring to in #2?

Something I didn't see discussed here after a very annoying experience with Angieslist:

About 7 years ago I bought a home. I bought through a realtor who started out very much on my side, but after what must have been an annoying 3 months for her after taking me to see a whopping 30 houses in that time, her demeanor began to change. While she once called out basement cracks and water, she suddenly changed her story and then began quoting ridiculously low repair costs for everything. I was young(er) and naive, thought she still had my best interests at heart and should have called to get actual rough estimates. For example, this house had a terribly broken sidewalk and she told me it wasn't worth bothering to negotiate since it was "at most a 1k fix." After buying and getting 6-7 estimates, 3k was the cheapest I could get. The basement has lots of water problems, etc "which were a 1k fix". There's a longer story but that's not the point here.

Again, I took some beating on my end and realize I can't blame all on her I was young and dumb, but the change in demeanor and the lack of knowledge in some areas, as well as some other bad final interactions I won't go into pushed me into posting a pretty negative review for her. It was apparent that it was hot times in home buying and selling, 3 months was an eternity for buyers and I was of the opinion I was wasting her time. I should have bailed and didn't and was of the opinion that you shouldn't work with her unless you needed a house in a few weeks.

About 6 months after the posting, I got several certified letters with cease and desist from her attorney on my Angielist post. They were pretty threatening and alarmed me (tortious interference, libel, etc.) I went to an attorney who read the reviews and said I'd almost certainly win in court as I was clear they were opinions, but if she decided to come after me it could be thousands of dollars to defend myself, and would cost me zero to take down the post. More importantly, he asked - how did she figure out this was me as my post was fairly general about how I felt my experience went.

Well - I called Angieslist only to find that at that time, and I have no reason to believe it is different now, had little resistance in releasing the information of the poster of the bad review (good old me.) I asked them why they would do this, but never got a good response. I challenged them a bit on why they didn't have a mediation policy - how could a contractor just get someone's information and go right to a lawyer rather than contact me personally to ask if I would take it down. It was a nerve-wracking event that Angieslist could have avoided simply by mediating a bit. Her simply threatening to legally come after the anonymous poster would have been enough to shut it down, and would have saved legal interactions.

This leads me to believe a few things: 1) I am of the opinion that Angieslist draws a significant amount of revenue from the contractors, and is not as into looking out for consumers as they say, otherwise they would protect us. 2) Contractors who sick lawyers on people may have generally turned results more positive than is true. In my opinion, Angieslist should create a policy of protecting reviewers as people making reviews are their bread and butter, especially if reviewers can prove they worked with the contractors when challenged.

While I think the overall idea of Angieslist is great - I think the execution due to this revenue setup may not be in the best interest of consumers.

PS Yes, in hindsight I was dumb, caveat emptor. That said, thousands were paid to my agent to look after me - this wasn't done from the goodness of her heart.



Disclaimer: By providing links to other sites, FatWallet.com does not guarantee, approve or endorse the information or products available at these sites, nor does a link indicate any association with or endorsement by the linked site to FatWallet.com.

Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

TRUSTe online privacy certification

While FatWallet makes every effort to post correct information, offers are subject to change without notice.
Some exclusions may apply based upon merchant policies.
© 1999-2014