The big difference between Angie and everyone else is…they charge consumers to see the ratings & reviews. The cost of taking the time to read everything and meet a number of contractors is much greater than paying Angies List $6/mnth to get a single trusted recommendation.
Businesses don’t pay to be listed but they pay to get extra promotion/leads.
Anonymous ratings are not allowed.
They generate about 40,000 reviews/mnth.
They produce local magazines with home improvement, health info and advertisers. 85% of their members use the print magazine.
The biggest competitor in the space is “your next door neighbor”
The thing I love the most about both Angie’s and Rodney’s talks is that they are both very much outside the local search/Silicon Valley community in some ways (well Angie did raise a bunch of $ from VCs and Rodney did sell out to IAC, but besides that), but they are both incredibly successful.
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I am wondering how Angie has persuaded people to pay her for the privilege of reviewing businesses and yelp has had to pay their reviewers in many cases to start the process. It just goes to show I guess that with the right approach you can make anything fly….
To paraphrase Angie, the cost of most home repairs is so large that time-sensitive consumers are willing to pay to make the decision process easier and more reliable. Members see the fee as a way to weed out a lot of noise v. the free services.
When I was at InsiderPages I interviewed a number of Angies List advertisers and they all seemed to be generating a lot of business from the service.