It was pretty easy to convince us to join Angie’s List, especially once I found discount coupon for membership after a quick online search. We’ve already recouped the roughly $30 membership fee and, more importantly, found qualified service providers to tackle our many needed updates. Every person we’ve scheduled an appointment with has shown up within the designated time period, even if they were just coming to quote us, and we’re pleased with the results of the few jobs that have been completed.
In theory, Angie’s List is like a group of imaginary BFFs who want their peeps to spend their hard-earned money wisely on hard-working, honest professionals with high quality skillz. And there’s some truth to this. It’s a community; DH and I are not content to just take from it, but give back by sharing our experiences for better or worse, to share our experience with other homeowners.
But the reality is a bit messier. Knowing how much we’re relying on Angie’s List (either to check references from referrals we get from real-life friends or to find providers from scratch. Have a good lintel guy? I didn’t think so.) I can understand the value of positive reviews there. Any provider of home repair or maintenance services should want to be on the A-List, literally. But some try a little too hard to get there.
We’re talking incentives, bribes, payola. Things that mess with the integrity of Angie’s List.
It’s one thing to provide a discount to AL members, something many providers do (woot!). And it’s fine to provide great service and follow up with a mention of how much your company appreciates reports on AL. I get it. I’m happy to share, even if it does take me a few weeks to get around to it.
But it’s another thing to to reward people for sharing their thoughts. Don’t you think?
DH told me one of our providers offered a gift card if we posted a review. That didn’t feel right.
As a blogger, I know in such a circumstance I could write an honest review here, but I’d have to disclosure the material nature or that review. Something like, “I was provided with a gift card to share my opinion here.” So I’
m considering doing that.
But I noticed Angie’s List popping up in my RenovatorKim* Twitter stream, so I asked.
@RenovatorKim: Is it cool for providers on the list to offer incentives for peeps like me to post reviews?
@AngiesList: Not cool! We prefer honest, unswayed feedback. Were you offered something for a review?
The thing is, the provider in question was timely, professional, provided the service when I needed it and gave me an AL discount. We were happy. I was totally gonna write his firm up in a good way.
Now what? Do I write a review with a disclaimer? Do I turn report them to the AL police to protect the integrity of the list and my imaginary BFFs?
What would you do?
*Yes, I’m using HootSuite now, which makes multiple accounts easier to manage.