Sorry Angie's ListI will admit, I’m an Angie’s List member. I got the membership before we bought our house to test out what the service had to offer.  It only cost me $6 for a year, so I figured it would be worth the very small investment. When I’m looking for a professional to do a job at my house, I rely heavily on word of mouth and reviews. With the internet, someone can post an honest review of how a service provider treated them and priced the job.  This information is powerful for consumers and for myself. My wife would say I research things to death, but my goal is to pick the best company for the job. I don’t give out my hard earned money that easily! Since I’m also an avid DIY’er, I like to see what type of services are offered and at what price.  It’s empowering!

[box type=”info” ]*Update – Angie’s List reached out to me via Twitter to say this was a test they were running on the site. They have since turned it off due to user feedback. I guess posts like these do have a slight impact!

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Since becoming an Angie’s List member, I have been receiving “big deal” emails from them. Some are useful and some aren’t. These deals provide discounts off a service for Angie’s List members. Now, each big deal does not apply to me, so I just delete those. There are some deals worth looking into.  I came across one the other day and wanted to take a look. Unfortunately, I was met with a little surprise, which I really didn’t care for.  This is an article reflecting on my views on how Angie’s List uses their “big deal” promotions and not so much on the entire service itself.

Angie's List Big Deal Fail

Since moving into the house, I have been working feverishly to get the energy efficiency up. It’s been a task, let me tell you!  Our house was built in 1987, but there is still a lot of original things in it.  We replaced the insulation in the garage and basement ceiling with spray foam. It has made a difference. The old insulation was nasty and had to go.  Now, I’m focusing on the attic space to get the insulation in there up to snuff.  Along came this big deal from Angie’s List regarding blown-in attic insulation with an access insulator. I figured I would check it out. As you can see above, I was met with a message I didn’t particularly like.

Our highly rated companies want to earn your business. We’ll tell you who’s offering the service after your purchase

Are You Serious?

Really Angie’s List?  Is this really how to get people to make a purchase?  You want to tell them who’s going to be doing the work after they make payment.  Umm…No!  This is like going to a concert and them telling you who the performer is only after you make a payment. You don’t know who it will be, but you won’t find out until they have their payment. It’s stupid. It doesn’t matter if you show me they have won the “Super Service Award” in 2013. It’s now 2015 and I don’t know if they are still good.  I don’t make blind purchases Angie’s List. I research and review services from companies. That’s the whole reason for being an Angie’s List member. Remember you business model?  Unbiased reviews from real customers!

Most of the big deals I have seen show me the service provider. I don’t know what the deal is with this one.  This just doesn’t seem like the right way to run a deal.  You don’t think eBay does well with their daily deals by just telling people they are paying for whatever is in the box. It’s $49.99, but you have no idea what it is until it shows up at your house. Yes, there is a bit of mystery in it, but now when I need someone working on my home. I don’t need or want that type of mystery!

My Thoughts on Angie’s List

As I indicated, I have been an Angie’s List member for about 8 months now.  The thing is I have never once used their site to contact a service provider. I have used their site to read reviews, but I always take them with a grain of salt and do more research beyond just Angie’s List. Know why?  Angie’s List has a tendency to show you only the contractor’s who advertise their services, but there are a very limited amount of them.  Does this mean all the others are bad or not worth seeing when I’m searching? No, it doesn’t.  I just signed a contract with a tree cutting service to remove about 7 trees on my property.  I talked with a few and read reviews on the two I was between. They had very good reviews on Google and some other places. I also learned about them from positive word of mouth (that’s a plus!).  They didn’t have one review on Angie’s List, not one!  This is the downfall of the system. Only members can rate service providers and you can’t get a full sampling of good and bad reviews.  Always remember this when looking at reviews, people tend to review places they had a bad experience with instead of a good one. That’s why I say take them with a grain of salt.

While I have known a few Angie’s List members who love their system, I think it has some flaws. This big deal gimmick is one of them. Why would you not tell a paying customer who the service provider is?  That’s your entire system!  I won’t just throw the dice on someone working on my home. It won’t happen. You need to fix this Angie’s List, as it’s ridiculous.  You also need to switch around who you show in search results. I have worked with a number of companies, which have been excellent. They might only have one or two reviews, but they are all great. Yes, you show me provider’s which have good reviews, but they are all the same.  It makes me actually have to work harder to vet companies when I have to look in multiple places to get a good sampling of feedback.  I don’t like paying in order to do more work.  It’s not in my financial model!

 

What’s your take on Angie’s List’s big deal program?  Would you buy a service without knowing who was providing it?  Do any of you use Angie’s List?

 

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32 Comments

  1. For me, Angie’s List is like a joke. They offer less help in resolving disputes with contractors I hire through them. I had a horrible experience with painters hired. You know what they did, they just removed my review, which happened to be a bit negative.

  2. We signed up for Angie’s List about a year ago as well as we were going to get our house painted and had a few other things we wanted to get done. I was just wanting to see what kind of reviews they had and saw a few of these emails come through and just confirmed I’d never use them to make a hiring decision. Like you said, mystery isn’t really something I’m looking for when it comes to having someone work on my house – in fact I’m pretty much the opposite. 🙂

  3. That is incredibly strange. The whole point of the site is to provide a resource for people who are trying to choose the best provider. Why would they keep provider names secret? That makes zero sense.

  4. We’ve never used Angie’s List. Like you my husband loves to DIY repairs whenever he can, and he has some handy friends who help fill in the gaps. This is good information, though. It sounds like it’s not really in the consumer’s best interest.

  5. I used to be a member of Angie’s List, but then realized they give priority to those who advertise with them. Isn’t that corrupt? You only give precedence to those who give you money. Sounds like the BBB to me! I have posted a few negative reviews of services I go through Angie’s List, but they never were published. Sounds fishy to me!

    Thanks for posting this Grayson. I feel the same way you do.

  6. I don’t understand this service. Why would you pay to get reviews of companies. You can get that in other places, like Google, Yelp, and now HomeAdvisor. There is no need to pay a company which puts those who advertise at the top of search results. I would recommend you find another place to find reviews.

    1. The entire “business” model is centered around honest reviews of companies. Consumers are supposed to get access to good companies who provide the service they are supposed to. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen often. They give precedence to those who shell out advertising money.

  7. Well, I have google to use for my ‘research, thank you. It’s free. And I never liked ‘mysteries’ either 😀

    OMG .. that’s really wrong. I’d never pay for something without knowing who’s gonna come, who they are etc.

  8. Wow! I hope they got some serious backlash for that move. This post is rather kismet as I just had a friend who asked if I could write about whether or not sites like Angie’s List are worth it. I’ve never used Angie’s List before (as a renter I don’t have to handle home improvement issues) — so I’ll pass this along to her.

    1. I don’t know if they did or not. I’m sure they have done it before. I don’t click on most big deals as they don’t apply to me. If your friend has any questions, you know my contact info!

  9. My first year as a homeowner I purchased a membership to angie’s list. I never used it so I was going to cancel but before I was able to do so I was automatically charged for another year. That’s one thing I don’t like about their service. I got my money back after sending an email but I don’t like it when companies put you on an auto renewal with no way of declining.

  10. Similar to how the hotel provider used to give you the option of a 4 star hotel within your price range, it’s like gambling a little on where you are staying or who you are getting, if you don’t think it makes a difference and 4 star is 4 star then sure, but staying at a hotel for a couple nights versus someone working on your home that lasts forever is a little different to me.

    1. I don’t mind gambling with something like a 4-star hotel. I’ll only be there for a short time. I will not do the same for something I have a vested interest in!

  11. Looks like Angie has gone for the highest bidder. I’ve never used it and I don’t think anyone does where we live, but that’s good to know for future reference. The best way I find people is ask my neighbor. He knows everyone and their uncle!

  12. Ooops, seriously? I don’t think I would love their service, I’m also a big fan of DIY and as much as I can, I prefer to do it by myself.

  13. I used Angie’s List to rave about a plumber we hired a few years ago. I thought it was a “grassroots” site that let local customers rate and search for local services and providers and the $10 was just to keep the “riff-raff” out so it wouldn’t become another Craig’s List. Well, it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and I started getting a lot of solicitation for “stuff” I didn’t need or want. I was their target. A woman and a homeowner. Since then I let the “membership” lapse because it had become a nuisance.

    1. I think it was initially started as a “grassroots” site to provide just that. Unfortunately, when the site went public and got investors, they had to switch to get members to buy as many services as possible. It’s all about the money now!

  14. I signed up for Angie’s List with a free trial and quickly canceled. While I thought it was an interesting idea, I didn’t like the companies it was referring to me. In the few days I went before canceling, I kept getting emails about other service providers for jobs I had no interest in having done around my house. For me, I’d rather ask trusted friends and family members for referrals.

  15. It’s just one click to change the way the AL results are shown – advertisers offer coupons – so just change the Sort By dropdown to anything other than the “With Coupons” default.

    I work in real estate so Angie’s List is very helpful and I’ve been a member for years. I take all of the review sites with a large grain of salt – mostly because reviewers are often very irritating to me with their whining and entitlement.

    I like Angie’s List far more than the super snarky Yelp which tends to hide many of the reviews if reviewers aren’t diehard yelpers. Angie’s List is much more useful because it includes cost of the work done and info about the type of property the reviewer owns – so if you have an older house for example you can get a sense of projects done on similar properties.

    I agree – hiding the service provider for a Big Deal is dumb. There too I avoid those promotions – mainly because they’re usually new advertisers that are offering a service at a deep discount – not the way I expect a provider to successfully do great work. I think many service providers get burned on those “deals”.

    1. Yep, I know how to change the search filters, but I don’t think I should have to. It’s obvious what Angie’s List is going after and that is money. I talked to a number of member’s how have been with them before the IPO and they all said it changed after investors got their hands on it.

      I’m not saying everything about the service is bad. I just believe their mission is clear and not really based on reviews so much, but selling services. My main issue is I haven’t been able to see reviews for many of the companies I have been researching. I found some on other sites, but none on Angie’s List. That makes the service worthless to me for many jobs.