Angie’s List Sells to Home Advisor

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Angie’s List spent years as the sort-of premier review site. The thing that made them different was that in order to review a company, you had to be a paying member. The idea was that having people pay meant that they actually cared more, and there would be better, more honest reviews than on a free site.

Somewhere along the way, that thinking went out the window. Part of it might have been when businesses realized it was worth a few bucks a month to sign up and leave themselves good reviews. Part of it might have been when people realized that 800 free reviews on Yelp are just as reliable a 12 reviews by paying members.

All in all, it seems that reviews are, like many things online, becoming less valuable as they are increasingly used. I’m looking for moving companies here in Denver, and every single one of them has 80% 5-star reviews. Of course, it’s all of those non-5 star reviews that make you nervous.

Angie’s List Bought By HomeAdvisor

In the end, Angie’s List is being bought by HomeAdvisor, a service that also provides online reviews, but then also offers a way to link into various companies and get services directly from Home Advisor, no doubt in exchange for a cut of the action.

It seems that restaurant reviews are about the only ones that seem all that helpful anymore. Not so much the one-star, five-star, thing, but take a look at a couple of pictures of the food and the inside of a place, and you get a fairly good idea if it’s the kind of thing you are looking for or not. The same thing doesn’t really translate to movers, or plumbers, or what have you.

At the end of the day, it has been my experience that most of the pros I end up hiring do a pretty good job. Of course, the reason I hire most pros is because I really don’t know how to do what they did for me.

How do I know if the roof I had installed is good or not?

I mean, it looks fine, and the shingles aren’t blowing off, but if the flashing (I just heard that word, I don’t really know what it means) isn’t level, how would I ever know? Frankly, if the roof doesn’t leak, I’m going to say they did a good job, even if a different professional roofer would think it was garbage.

Did that lady who left a 1-star review really get screwed over, or was she completely unreasonable? Maybe the reason she pays for a premium review service is because she always feels ripped off, no matter how good of job was done.

In the end, the problem with premium reviews is that they are no more or less reliable than free reviews, not because the reviewers aren’t necessarily more invested, but because they don’t know any more about furnace repair than I do. Even worse, I have no idea if he really did discover that I need to clean the whos-a-ma-whats-it. I mean, did he just do me a great favor with an extra $88 service that saved me from a $3,500 full-on replacement in six months, or did he just upsell me something I didn’t need.

We’ll see if HomeAdvisor can do any better than Angie’s List. Frankly, it’s my hope that I never have to use such services, because if I do, it means I probably have to pay for something I really don’t want to.

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