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.