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Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor will form a new publicly traded company called ANGI Homeservices Inc. A representative with HomeAdvisor confirmed the merger with a statement Monday night.
“The combined business, which will maintain both Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor brands, will offer unparalleled scale and product breadth to match homeowners with service professionals in the $400 billion domestic home services market.”
The transaction was reportedly approved by the board of directors of both companies. It’s expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Imagine that you’ve moved to a new city and need a contractor. How do you go about finding a new contractor? Your mother is an Angie’s List devotee, while a tech savvy coworker recommends newbie review site Porch. How do you know which site to trust? According to a new survey from Consumer Reports, it should all come down to how the sites gather the reviews and compile the ratings.
Consumer Reports studied Angie’s List and found unsurprisingly that they are not as trustworthy as they claim to be. It's worth noting, of course, that Consumer Reports works in this review environment, and while they do not review local restaurants and services in the same manner as Angie's List it has found that online reviewers have encroached upon its business. That said, the consumer publication had some harsh words for Angie's List.
Angie’s List makes a big point to say they’re consumer driven, when in fact 70% of their revenue comes from advertising. It’s not advertising Coca Cola, it’s advertising from the companies they rate,” explained Jeff Blyskal, a senior editor for Consumer Reports. While companies do not pay to be listed on Angie’s List, companies can pay to appear higher up in the search results, which Blyskal believes compromises the validity of the Angie’s List sorting system.
“If you’re looking for contractor, you’re only going to look at first page or two. That skews the ratings,” he said. “It’s about who advertises. I don’t think they’re being straight with the public on that.”
In a statement, Angie's List founder and CMO Angie Hicks said, "Angie’s List is built on a foundation of fairness and transparency. Everything at Angie’s List starts with the consumers. The consumers give the reviews and assign grades. The companies’ A-F ratings are the average of the consumer reviews we receive. Companies that are A-B rated are eligible to advertise with Angie’s List, but they must offer a discount with that advertisement and if their grades fall below a B, we pull their advertising." Hicks also noted that the company puts itself through an outside audit in order to determine that the data-handling process is fair to all businesses listed on the site, and that these audits have "always found Angie's List reviews a fair, impartial, trustworthy source."
If you’re not very familiar with Angie’s List, more than just hearing the name that is, then let’s start with what it is. Angie’s List is a service that purports to have a list with only the best contractors in multiple areas, mostly the home improvement and repair industry, but also in auto, cleaning and computer repairs. These contractors and businesses are on an online list for you to have access to and hire from or you can also access them through their app.
Why use such a service? The hope is that since these contractors and businesses have been background checked and reviewed by Angie’s List, that hopefully you will not get ripped off or end up with a really bad new addition on your home. For this list you pay an annual fee.
Angie's List claims, to do full background checks, but is that really done, and if so, is it reliable enough to have to pay for? The background check makes you feel at ease the moment you hear about it, but should it really make you let your guard down? The answer is, no. As even their website says, they only run the check on the owner or relevant manager of the business. They are not actually looking into the background of the people that will be in your home, only the stated owner or manager posting their business on Angie' List.
This service you pay for in your annual fee is also being paid for by the contractors, or at least this is the complaint of many contractors that are on the list.
We’ve all seen the commercials, both on television and those that popup as we’re looking around online for anything regarding home improvement or paying for someone else to help us around the home? But what do we really know about it? How does it work? Is it worth paying for or is Angie’s List a scam?
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Is it true that contractors are just on Angie’s List because they’re the best? Certainly some get on there because they are good, but according to our research many pay advertising fees to be listed. Contractors pay a fee for being advertised, and if they wish to come up higher in the search results the fee is of course higher as well. They are not simply in there due to their honest and good work, or fabulous reviews from customers, as their ads seem to claim.
What about the reviews about the contractor, can they be trusted? Some are certainly real, others are actually paid for by some of the contractors. How do we know? As writers ourselves, we have had many contractors that are trying to get on Angie’s List ask for us to write for them recommendations about their business. We would have to sign something saying the review is true, when it wasn’t, and then we would be paid to say whatever the client wanted us to say. Many writers have agreed to this and written such reviews, no one that writes for this website however has ever done so as all of us agree it is unethical.
Angie’s List is not involved with this, but they should have a better process to verify the veracity of the recommendations and reviews that are coming in.
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