Category Archives: contests

Is Angie’s List Good, Bad or Just Plain Worthless?

Angie's List has a no-bribe policyIt 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.


Our First Video and Serta iComfort Sleep System Giveaway

At least five of you were fans of my not-ready-for-HGTV house-hunting series with the cheeky, but not very SEO-savvy name. Turns out every time I sent my husband a video link, it couldn’t get past his company’s firewall due to its name. Also, duh, we bought a house. So series has taken a turn. Now that we’re attempting to make our outdated house into a dream home the vlog series is to be know as the Reluctant Renovator. Take a peek at our first episode and read below for details about the Serta iComfort Sleep System giveaway

In May, I had the opportunity to visit Serta headquarters and get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what goes into a quality mattress. I also got the chance to try out a dreamy iComfort Sleep System. It’s cool and comfortable. And even though it’s a foam system, it comes with a variety of firmness levels.  So Serta has basically taken all the reasons I avoided foam mattress systems (the heat, the overwhelming squishiness) and thrown them out the door.

As I said in the video above, I have literally been dreaming of the day I receive mine. Sadly, that day is weeks months away.

With their just-in-time production methods, they don’t have one simply sitting around with my name on it, but they’ll make and send my sleep system when I’m my bedroom is ready. (I’m am partial to the Genius model, queen size, FWIW).

Even better, they are offering you one, too!

One lucky reader is going to win the icomfort Sleep System of her (his?) choice, as well. The Serta folks are sparing no expense, so if you want a king system with motion perfect adjustable base, it’s yours for the asking. And to be clear, the adjustable base is not just for the senior set, it’s pure awesome if you like to rest with your feet up, or recline and read without having to stuff a dozen pillows around to support you.

I am excited to be able to pass along such a great prize and it’s not difficult to enter.

I’m going to keep in simple:

1. (required) Comment once on this blog by 11:50 PM CST on Thursday July 7, 2011 for a basic entry. Let me know why you’d like a new mattress. Make sure I have a way to contact you!

You can also have up to five optional extra entries; I need a separate comment for each of these items, so I can count each one as an extra entry:

2. Tweet about the entry and come back to let me know you did.

3. Share the deets on Facebook and come back to let me know.

4. “Like” Reluctant Renovator on Facebook and come back to let me know.

5. Subscribe to our newsletter, Progress Notes. Starting later this summer, we’ll be sending 1-2 updates a month featuring our progress and advising you on our fabulous home product finds and giveaways. Come back to let me know.

6. Post about this on your blog with a link to this post. As always, stop back to let me know.

Fine print: Winner will be chosen by a random draw.  Winner will be notified by 11:50 PM on July 9. If winner does not respond to me by 11:50 PM CST  on July 11, the prize will be forfeited and a new winner will be chosen. The winner will be responsible for paying taxes and delivery fees on this product. Sorry, this is only open to readers in the US (including Alaska and Hawaii). Want to try one out yourself? Pop into an American Mattress store.

Disclosure: I was invited to Serta HQ and will be receiving a mattress of my own when I’m ready. I am pleased to offer one of my readers a chance to win one.

Independent from this blog giveaway, you can also enter to win an iComfort Serta System by “liking” Serta Mattress on Facebook and entering their Cooler. Better. Summer Photo Contest. It runs through through July 8th.  After liking Serta on Facebook, submit your favorite summer photo with a brief description of why the photo represents a “smarter, cooler, better” summer. Serta will choose 4 winners at the end of the contest.

Good luck!

Ferguson Dream Bathroom Giveaway Featuring Kohler Products

Always on the lookout for kitchen and bath giveaways, I’m happy to share my finds, especially given that the fine print often excludes me because, you know, we don’t actually have a house yet.

Anyhoo, Kohler is good stuff. Go win your dream bathroom! We’re headed up to Kohler, Wisconsin in just a few weeks for a housemoon. AKA, our last chance to get away without worrying about our house flooding (or being burglarized, burning down, etc.)

In addition to enjoying our time at The American Club, we’ll be checking out the Kohler bath and design center. I’ll be fantasizing about the tub of my dreams (which I will not get) and DH will be checking out the steam shower systems (which he likely will). They also offer factory tours, which we’ll be skipping this time around, but have been on in the past. Watching a bathtub get made? Cool stuff!

Win a Closet Organizer

There will be hosted giveaways here soon enough. In the meantime, to prepare for the many improvements we’re planning for our home, I’m keeping an eye out for giveaways of kitchen makeovers, bathroom makeovers and pretty much any kind of house makeover out there.

And I’m all for sharing the love.

First up, the Stow Company’s Do It in Every Room giveaway. Of course, IT is organize. Stow will help organize the closets of a few lucky winners. Let’s hope they are yours and mine.