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Vaslo77 - Could you have changed your review to post the wording from her letter threatening you?? That would have solved two things - you would be removing your original bad review at their request, and replacing it with a review showing how scummy they are and that they threaten people who post bad reviews of their service.

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cbdo2007 said:   Vaslo77 - Could you have changed your review to post the wording from her letter threatening you?? That would have solved two things - you would be removing your original bad review at their request, and replacing it with a review showing how scummy they are and that they threaten people who post bad reviews of their service.Angie's List would not allow that. Every review is censored before showing up on AL as I have discovered.

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Vaslo, interesting insights, thanks for sharing. I think multiple posters have attested to the following problems:

- posters being asked or threatened to alter or remove posts, by either Angi or contractors,
- disclosure of poster's identity biasing reviews towards more positive,

The problem with Angis business model is that on the public relation's front, they are pitching the company as a grassroots, consumer oriented, honest review website.

On the back end, they are using hard sales tactics to recruit contractors and secure advertising dollars.

At the same time, they are manipulating the review system to improve their revenues.

In the aggregate, they are providing very little value added to either the consumers or the contractors.

I think the citron research report very much exposes the flaws of their business model.

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I had the same trouble stopping them from renewing, and spam.

I talked a woman who found someone had used her account to post glowing but generic reviews of local businesses. She had to assume it was someone from Angies since no one else even knew she had an account.

Also know someone who had critical reviews removed repeatedly.

I dont trust them a bit any longer.

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Good info guys, I will definitely not use Angie's List in the future. Angie's List is not a reliable source of information based on what you guys are saying.

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cbdo2007 said:   Vaslo77 - Could you have changed your review to post the wording from her letter threatening you?? That would have solved two things - you would be removing your original bad review at their request, and replacing it with a review showing how scummy they are and that they threaten people who post bad reviews of their service.

Hah, believe me, I thought about it. I was literally going to create a post that instead just said,"I did not care for working with her" and leave it at that. It goes back to the lawyer - as much as I hate to lose, it was like - they knew they had me by shorts, they could have resent the letter even on that simple post and I would have panicked and got nowhere. Remember, the lawyer read my original post thoroughly and was clear I'd win in court if challenged since it was all opinion, but I'd have to pay him and the court costs. Instead I opted (I dunno, maybe cowardly) to just end it there. I've thought about posting to Yelp or somewhere I could be more anonymous, but I figured "dish best served cold" and all that.

To be honest, I've sent 3 people to my second realtor, one of which bought a pretty large house on a doctor salary...that's all business I would have referred to my first realtor that went to someone else, including mine the second time around on a bigger house this time.

I think the moral is this:
1) Does Angieslist have a skewed view because there are other victims of cease and desist and Angieslist doesn't support them? That said, don't back down if you don't have to.
2) Angielist should at least have an anonymous moderation process so a poster can save face.

If my realtor had sent a letter of apology or tried to contact me like a grown-up and make me feel bad, I probably would have taken it down. Just the opportunity to give her my thoughts after would have satisfied me. I wouldn't have recommended her, but now I go out of my way to say "Stay Away."

Still disclaiming I am in no way removing my responsibility - definitely some expensive rookie mistakes on my part, and the learnings benefited me on a much bigger purchase!

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Vaslo77, I think, as a matter of principle, it is worth fighting frivolous lawsuits.

I am not saying that you should have fought it. Personal circumstances, and financial ability might dictate whether you can even afford to fight it.

But obviusly frivolous lawsuits can be won, and court costs and even attorney costs can be awarded.

How about this: you hire the lawyer to represent you, but before things get to court, you have your lawyer write a very strict letter, stating that chances are high that they will lose, and that they are simply wasting their time and money.

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Wow cease & desist letter from AL. FW effect time. Time to start shorting

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Vaslo77 said:   cbdo2007 said:   Vaslo77 - Could you have changed your review to post the wording from her letter threatening you?? That would have solved two things - you would be removing your original bad review at their request, and replacing it with a review showing how scummy they are and that they threaten people who post bad reviews of their service.

Hah, believe me, I thought about it. I was literally going to create a post that instead just said,"I did not care for working with her" and leave it at that. It goes back to the lawyer - as much as I hate to lose, it was like - they knew they had me by shorts, they could have resent the letter even on that simple post and I would have panicked and got nowhere. Remember, the lawyer read my original post thoroughly and was clear I'd win in court if challenged since it was all opinion, but I'd have to pay him and the court costs. Instead I opted (I dunno, maybe cowardly) to just end it there. I've thought about posting to Yelp or somewhere I could be more anonymous, but I figured "dish best served cold" and all that.



I sincerely doubt the agent or her lawyer would have wanted a case anywhere near a courtroom. You would have been able to air way too much dirty laundry, not to mention what fun surprises discovery might turn up. No real estate agent -- especially one vain enough to care about one review on Angies List! -- would want anything to do with that. The letter was a scare tactic, and it worked. You had much more control than you realized. I certainly don't fault you, it's no fun to receive a letter like that. They know that threatening letters work with some people, because people are worried about the costs of a lawsuit that likely would never happen anyway.

Assuming your review was fact based (and always stick to actual facts for such matters), it would have easily withstood a court trial anyway. If it was really untrue or unfair to the agent, the R.E. agent and her henchmen likely would have threatened Angies List too.

As a public service, you could alert others with an anonymous review elsewhere, out of reach of some discovery attempt.

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CokeSlurpee711 said:   Wow cease & desist letter from AL. FW effect time. Time to start shorting

No, sorry - got cease and desist from the realtor. Thanks to Angieslist though for giving them my name and info though instead of contacting me first, and not defending me when I got the letter from the realtor except for allowing me to take the post down through multiple tedious phone calls. If the C&D was from Angieslist, I would have written a very different post...

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Vaslo77 said:   CokeSlurpee711 said:   Wow cease & desist letter from AL. FW effect time. Time to start shorting

No, sorry - got cease and desist from the realtor. Thanks to Angieslist though for giving them my name and info though instead of contacting me first, and not defending me when I got the letter from the realtor except for allowing me to take the post down through multiple tedious phone calls. If the C&D was from Angieslist, I would have written a very different post...


Ah sorry misread. Still sold you, their paying customer, out.

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Going to calcel my AL subscription after reading this thread. Thanks.

I used it to find a home inspector. He turned out to be a good knowledgable guy, but was expensive and could have been luck.

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I had never heard of this site.

I clicked through to see what it's about.

They don't even allow viewing reviews without a stupid registration.

No thanks. Short this crappy company's stock.

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Angie's List is not reliable, accurate, or worth it. I am a building/remodeling contractor with 20+ years experience in the Northeast. I have had other contractors ask me and offer me money to leave positive reviews for them on Angie's List. In reviewing Angie's List of local contractors for my area, I see about 6-10 contractors who I know personally, or know of their work, who get rave reviews. I know from experience that these guys are some of the biggest hackers in the area and have even cleaned up after some of them walked off jobs, took deposits and ran, or did unsatisfactory work. When I saw their Angie's List reviews, I nearly passed out from laughter. While there may be some honest reviews, it looks like about half are bogus IMHO.

You want a good, reputable contractor? Find someone you know who has had good experiences with one, check them out yourself and stay away from Angie's List and any other online company like it. About 95% of my company's leads are from word of mouth. Most good, honest contractors don't really need Angie's List reviews and could care less about them.

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tomjef said:   I had never heard of this site.

I clicked through to see what it's about.

They don't even allow viewing reviews without a stupid registration.

No thanks. Short this crappy company's stock.

There are plenty of reputable sites that require not just registration, but a paid subscription, to see most of their content, including reviews, I see the issue with AL not as one of cost, but having the ability to post reviews, positive and negative, without fear that either the reviews will be deliberately culled to show bias for (or even against) a particular business, and without fear of some sort of retribution against the reviewer for an unfavorable review of a given business.

That being said, IMO, the site should make some effort to discard both shill-type reviews for the business and reviews that are unjustifiable attacks against the business,

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tomjef said:   I had never heard of this site.

I clicked through to see what it's about.

They don't even allow viewing reviews without a stupid registration.

No thanks. Short this crappy company's stock.


So, your thesis boils down to "This company doesn't give their product away for free. Hence, they have a bad business model."

You should let Bloomberg know - they don't give you access to their terminals for free, they must be doomed.

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Jstic said:   Angie's List is not reliable, accurate, or worth it. I am a building/remodeling contractor with 20+ years experience in the Northeast. I have had other contractors ask me and offer me money to leave positive reviews for them on Angie's List. In reviewing Angie's List of local contractors for my area, I see about 6-10 contractors who I know personally, or know of their work, who get rave reviews. I know from experience that these guys are some of the biggest hackers in the area and have even cleaned up after some of them walked off jobs, took deposits and ran, or did unsatisfactory work. When I saw their Angie's List reviews, I nearly passed out from laughter. While there may be some honest reviews, it looks like about half are bogus IMHO.

You want a good, reputable contractor? Find someone you know who has had good experiences with one, check them out yourself and stay away from Angie's List and any other online company like it. About 95% of my company's leads are from word of mouth. Most good, honest contractors don't really need Angie's List reviews and could care less about them.


This is really interesting. To be honest, I've had some good experiences on Angieslist - most of the people who I've called have been solid. I think it's important to grab contractors with many reviews, not just a few positive ones. However, I have to say, this little scam is kind of brilliant - contractors can sign up, all rate each other, and Angielist probably isn't the wiser. Though hopefully over time, the poor reviews will also pop up and bring these folks down.

I used a cleaning company who had good reviews that I bought a Groupon for, and it was the worst contractor I've ever dealt with - literally refused to call back after about 10 calls (thanks to Groupon for providing the refund on her, no questions asked.) I SMASHED her in a review and this time I carefully documented everything that happened. I saw on one review, the vendor actually replied and attacked the customer saying they were "too needy". I was praying she did the same against me, but she never did.

I notice her website is down now. I will bet money she has created a new business with a new LLC and is starting over - pretty sure she took all that Groupon money and didn't perform for most people after reading the bad reviews. Is this another miss by Angieslist? Could someone start over after really poor reviews and pull the same crap time and time again?

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If you're going to be subject to relentless advertisements, unreliable "referrals" and questionable business practices, go with Angie's competitor, Home Advisor. At least they're free. They've got good, current, reviews. Angie's touts positive reviews from major media sources, but they're quite old. In addition, Fat Wallet is offering 27.5% Cash Back on Angie's List. Such a high discount is indicative of a company that's either in trouble financially or has a lot of wiggle room to still make a handsome profit.

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dianeclaude said:   In addition, Fat Wallet is offering 27.5% Cash Back on Angie's List. Such a high discount is indicative of a company that's either in trouble financially or has a lot of wiggle room to still make a handsome profit.

27.5% is nothing (since you can't combine coupons with Cash Back). Last time I signed up with them, I got the year ($29) for $11.60

As for the OP's question, not sure if it's different in his market, but here in Detroit I was very satisfied. Yes, they do sign you up for auto-renew, which I can't see how to cancel without calling. However, when I forgot it and it did auto-renew for a year, I called them up same day, and they issued me a full refund. He also said that if I do want to signup again in the future, they can turn off the auto-renew ahead of time (but I think you still have to call). I've never retrieved any spam that I can attribute to them, with the exception of their xmas gift subscription spam. Basically spamming me saying "buy a gift subscription for a friend". I followed the opt out links multiple times, and even 2 weeks later it was still spamming me. I sent them a nasty email about it and they apologized and actually removed me from the list.

Also, I understand the OP's frustration about finding reviews for 1 particular company, but that's sort of putting the cart before the horse. Better I think to use Angie's List to find a list of highly rated companies and then get quotes from them, rather than the other way around.

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http://finance.yahoo.com/q/hp?s=ANGI+Historical+Prices

Daily price bars for ANGI:
Date Open High Low Close Vlm AdjCls
Jul 12, 2013 24.16 25.49 24.01 24.88 1,101,400 24.88
Jul 11, 2013 25.18 25.53 24.01 24.17 1,719,100 24.17
Jul 10, 2013 26.33 26.57 25.01 25.05 1,722,500 25.05
Jul 9, 2013 26.50 26.74 25.86 26.33 1,609,900 26.33
Jul 8, 2013 28.11 28.24 27.08 27.15 667,000 27.15
Jul 5, 2013 28.00 28.22 27.32 28.00 468,300 28.00

12% drop while the market has been up.

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The main problem with services like Angie's List is that they tend to reflect the opinions of the uninformed, and lots of customers like a business for reasons of personality rather than competence.

Most free referral services simply list almost any company that pays them. That includes some for dentists and MDs.

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Kanosh said:   Perhaps Angie's List is just an "updated Yellow Pages." But the yellow pages never gave reviews, and some real pricks would take out full page ads, and there was little you could do after hiring one.
It's long been known that you should never hire anybody who runs full page ads in the Yellow Pages because so many of them are just fronts for answering services hired by several separate contractors.

BTW some Yellow Pages now do present reviews at their websites or even guarantee their "certified" advertisers.

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I had to find someone to go under my house and check for mold. Knowing that this is an excellent business for scammers, I was nervous. Someone suggested I call the city and ask what contractors they used for the "Neighborhood Pride" program, as these contractors had been checked out by the city. I did that and was very pleased when the guy told me I had no mold problem (thank God!). Ask your city if they have contractors they use for their projects.

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I tries AL many years ago and there was very little in my area. I tried again last month and there is still very in my area. Canceling was a PITA since I had to "live chat" with someone but I just kept repeating "please cancel now" and they eventually did. Hopefully I won't be charged again.

I like Yelp, but you have to be wise and look past the stars. Things to watch for are: how many reviews someone has made, what else they have reviewed and how long they have been reviewing, the time frame of the reviews themselves, and details vs. generic praise/grips. Also look for the "filtered" reviews.

I've found recommendations from people I know to be hit and miss because personal relationships can cloud judgments, and some of the people I know haven't a clue anyway and just make recommendations based on things like getting a flyer or seeing a truck with a company name drive by. Some don't even know they've been ripped off when it's obvious to me that they have been. The more input I can see from various people the better.

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xerty said:   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=

Earnings and revenues failed to beat expectations, down 5% on the news today. I'm not short, but I hope someone here is.

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I agree that Angie's List is a scam. I first realized it when I went to sign up to report a handyman that ruined my siding that I had to hire someone else to fix, in addition to never getting any money back from the handyman that ruined it. The first thing Angie's List did was try to charge me to list my complaint. That was the last thing I wanted to do -- like I hadn't already lost enough money on this botched job. If they were a legitimate review site, they would allow reviewers with legitimate proof of who they are to post. The fact that they want you to pay them to tell the truth about a contractor exposes Angie's List for what it really is: a paid advertising/spamming site.

So, in lieu of Angie's List, watch out for the horrible work done by 1 Extreme 2 Another Construction (yes, I know, I should have been tipped off by the goofy name)

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SCAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THEY TOOK MY MONEY AND I NEVER RECEIVED A CALL THESE PEOPLE ARE OUT TO GET YOU AND THE REVIEWERS TO PAY ALSO I WAS TRICKED WHEN I CALLED. THE REP I TALKED TO TOLD ME I WOULD BE RECEIVING CALLS BY THE NEXT DAY AND OF COURSE LIE!!!!!!!!! THATS WHAT THEY DID LIED!!! I HAD TO PAY 780.00 FOR NOTHING GOT SCREWED WITH A CONTRACT AND NO BUSINESS FROM THEM. DO NOT TRUST Angies List THEY WILL STEAL YOUR MONEY AND LEAVE YOU ASKING FOR HELP EVERY TIME AND NO RETURNED CALLS!

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While I realize complaints are more likely to generate vocal feedback than satisfied customers, no company that wants to scale or IPO or is for profit can resist the perverse incentives the exchange of money creates. You end up with actions like those being alleged in this thread by Angie's List which make the recommendation less and less valuable and more and more like spammy advertising with censoring of critics.

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DONTGOWITHANGIESLIST said:   SCAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THEY TOOK MY MONEY AND I NEVER RECEIVED A CALL THESE PEOPLE ARE OUT TO GET YOU AND THE REVIEWERS TO PAY ALSO I WAS TRICKED WHEN I CALLED. THE REP I TALKED TO TOLD ME I WOULD BE RECEIVING CALLS BY THE NEXT DAY AND OF COURSE LIE!!!!!!!!! THATS WHAT THEY DID LIED!!! I HAD TO PAY 780.00 FOR NOTHING GOT SCREWED WITH A CONTRACT AND NO BUSINESS FROM THEM. DO NOT TRUST Angies List THEY WILL STEAL YOUR MONEY AND LEAVE YOU ASKING FOR HELP EVERY TIME AND NO RETURNED CALLS!
  Did you search Angie's List for someone to repair your keyboard?

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I have to agree. I hired a straight-A rated contractor through Angie's List. They claimed to "take really good care of Angie's List customers, because they're picky." The contractor then proceeded to take over 2 months on what they promised to be a 3 day job. In the process, they gave me shoddy workmanship and overpriced material (at least 3 times their cost, sometimes as much as 10 times their cost). In the end, they refunded us about 1/3 of what we'd paid them, on the condition that we not write submit any bad reviews on contractor review sites, including Angie's List. We were left with unfinished work and unsatisfactory materials but felt that was better than continuing to deal with these crooks. And they almost laughed in my face when I said I'd seen a bad review on Angie's List. They said, "that's being removed." Sorry, but what kind of a scam is this??

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I know of a business that had employees sign up and review the company positively.

I don't trust these sites.

I don't pay to get reviews of businesses.

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suclarke said:   And they almost laughed in my face when I said I'd seen a bad review on Angie's List. They said, "that's being removed." Sorry, but what kind of a scam is this?? 
 

  The kind of scam most people fall for.

Oh, and I love all the hot-linking to Angie's site.  They must get some really great conversion rates from FWF traffic.

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Yes it is a scam, not just to the consumer but to the businesses it claims to promote as well.  Being a consumer AND a business owner, my experience has exposed me to both ends of the how Angies List works.  As a business (a contractor), this is how it all started, a customer of mine gave me a good review on Angies List that I was unaware of, as a result of that review, Angies List representatives started HOUNDING me relentlessly with phone calls to go on their site and register my business (enter info about the business), telling me that in order to see the review a customer left, that I must register.  Finally, I did.  As a result of that...Angies List reps began hounding me relentlessly to sell advertising on their site and in their mailings. When I pointed out that most of my customers do not PAY for reviews so don't belong to Angies List so could not post good references about us, the rep told me "Yes they can, they don't have to be a member to give you reviews-just give them this form that you can print from your profile and they can fill it out and mail it in and you will get that review".  So I started doing that, a few months later I had acquired 3 more excellent reviews from customers that are NOT Angies List members....but here's the kicker, ONLY I CAN SEE THOSE REVIEWS!!!!  When I open those reviews, in the fine print at the bottom, Angies List has a disclaimer that states that reviews from people that are NOT members are not posted for other members to see and do not count toward ones grade either!  So, I stopped passing out those forms.  A month later, one of the customers that did the mail in review, informed me that since he had done that review-Angies List started calling him to get him to sign up as a member so that his review would count! I have known other contractors who have had customers that had located them via Angies List tell them "if you don't give me a better discount then I am going to give you a bad review on Angies List"  and guess what?  THEY CAN & DO & it affects the score of GOOD businesses as Angies List does NOT look into the complaints like the BBB does.  On another note, people can give businesses a bad review because they don't like their prices even if they didn't do business with them!  After 8 months of what I would call harassment from Angies List trying to get me to advertise with them, I fired off a letter telling them to never contact me again!    Now, as a consumer, I had signed up for Angies List a couple years ago and called two different contractors that had excellent reviews/scores, one actually used sheet rock against the firebox of my fireplace-which I found out a couple weeks later is against code and is a fire hazard so I had to hire someone else to rip it out and finish the wall correctly, and the other contractor I called for another job (drive way seal) couldn't bother to show up to give a quote.  While Angies List advertises that businesses do not pay to be on their site, they harass those businesses for advertising, and then lie to those businesses by telling them that consumers can give them reviews even if the consumer isn't a member, they use the form to get the customers info so they can hound them to become members!  While they say that their service is valuable to the consumers--they don't care if complaints or good reviews are truly valid or not, they aren't verified in any way, there are plenty of LOUSY contractors listed on their site and consumers are PAYING for these referrals??!   CHeck with your local BBB, when hiring a contractor-check with the state contractors board and make sure they are licensed and without complaints....thats how you get ACCURATE info on a business!  BTW Angies List does NOT require any proof of proper licensing or insurance from contractors, I know of several local contractors on their list with great reviews that do NOT hold contractor licenses! 

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There is an article in today's NYT about a crack down in NY on phony reviews on review sites, like Yelp, Google, Citysearch.

They seem to be targeting the so-called "reputation" companies that support making phony positive reviews, as well as companies who entice customers to write glowing reviews. Angies is not mentioned, but this could affect their business too. When you read a bunch of detailed negative reviews, then see a glowing generic review "did a great job!" it is pretty obvious what is going on.

"The investigation revealed a web of deceit in which reviewers in Bangladesh, the Philippines and Eastern Europe produced, for as little as a dollar a rave, buckets of praise for places they had never seen in countries where they had never been."

"But the New York investigation shows that the fakers are constantly increasing in sophistication. “Do not make them sound like an advertisement,” one firm investigated by the attorney general cautioned its writers. Another boasted of using multiple computers to foil suspicions that arose when more than one review came from the same machine. A third talked of outwitting Facebook.  

"Astroturfing...a term referring to writing fake reviews."

Give Yourself 5 Stars? Online, It Might Cost You
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/23/technology/give-yourself-4-stars-online-it-might-cost-you.html

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anyone dumb enough to use Angie's List deserves to pay whatever outrageous amount they pay for possibly shoddy work.

rated:
ANGI down 17.5% today, 35% from all time high from a couple of months ago.
To be fair, market has been down last few days.

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That citron research report is looking rather prescient right about now.

Dec 6 2013
Angie's List, Inc. (ANGI)
 -NasdaqGM

12.80 Up 0.28(2.24%)  
52wk: 10.45 - 28.32

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I don't understand why so many of you hate Angie's List.  Personally, I love it!

- Angie

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sammy1224 said:   I don't understand why so many of you hate Angie's List.  Personally, I love it!

- Angie

  
Because you need to be aware of how it works... Listings at the top are not the "best" - and there are some indications that they'll filter reviews in certain circumstances.

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dcg9381 said:   
sammy1224 said:   I don't understand why so many of you hate Angie's List.  Personally, I love it!

- Angie

  
Because you need to be aware of how it works... Listings at the top are not the "best" - and there are some indications that they'll filter reviews in certain circumstances.

  
http://www.freesound.org/people/Robinhood76/packs/6417/

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