The List of Angie and Your Health

This week in class we covered a lot in crowdsourcing, buzz marketing and word of mouth.   Since I’m feeling a bit under the weather, my mind has drifted to one of my favorite word of mouth, crowdsourced endeavors, Angie’s List, which happens to include a section on health care providers.

angiesscreengrab

Angie’s List gives power to the people, and lets them rate businesses in specific terms and top businesses gain many advantages in the process.  Also, businesses are able to respond to complains in a moderated fashion via the site.    The content on Angie’s list can be generated by paying users, the businesses themselves, guest writers and Angie’s own staff writers, such as this guy I went to grade school and high school with.  Obviously I am a bit biased, but the company does its best to hire level-headed, inquisitive and very fair writers.  Businesses are allowed to contribute articles when they have achieved high consumer ratings, helping them achieve even greater positive buzz.

While many articles do cover the pros and cons of services and general matters, Angie’s Twitter account has the approach of a daily reminder that if you aren’t helping yourself enough to take care of things maybe you should check out a provider listing.

angiecallbasement

Ok, that makes me want to sneeze even more.  X< 8 <

The only drawback to Angie’s List is that its most useful content – the provider ratings – is behind a pay wall, and beyond the free trial  an annual membership is required for continual access.  While I was able to find 655 results on WebMD about “sore throat” for free, Angie’s List is mostly meant for that next step where you need to go locally to get looked at further if it doesn’t subside.  In fact, Angie’s List shows WebMD as a top reference site.

While Angie’s list isn’t entirely free, there is a very interesting new feature called “Band of Neighbors” that lets neighborhoods share safety and news matters in a conveniently secure fashion.  Paying members and non-members are both allowed unfettered access to this feature.   This is an excellent way for Angie’s List to build additional community affinity for the brand, and hopefully some conversions to annual memberships.

mk

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6 thoughts on “The List of Angie and Your Health

  1. Crystal Rogers

    I have heard many good things about Angie’s List, known someone who worked there, but never used it because of the need to pay a fee. It’s great that the company is beginning to offer certain services free to its customers and potential customers. I think this is a great way to gain some additional buzz and attract new potential customers.

    Reply
  2. Mike Brice

    As a former reporter I always look into companies like this – I guess it is that follow the money adage.

    Although founded in 1995, it has never turned a profit, but its directors make (collectively) $2 million a year in fees for attending monthly meetings.

    I worry that as the pressure to actually generate a profit for the venture capitalists who invested increases, the company will be more willing to accept companies that shouldn’t be recommended.

    It is like the Better Business Bureau. You can have numerous complaints about you, but if you continue to pay the fee, you can still put the sticker in your store window or on your website. There is a photographer in the Toledo area who has 17 complaints but still is a member. I worry that Angie’s list isn’t too far away from selling its standards for a better return on investment.

    Reply
    1. mkrack Post author

      I thought it may be of interest that Angie’s List recently reported their first ever profitable quarter (Q4 2012) without taking fees from businesses, but this was not enough to make up for the previous quarters. Because the company has retained its original founders, it would be interesting to see how that might change executive strategy should they (and when) become no longer involved.

      Reply
      1. Mike Brice

        Great to hear that they are turning a profit. I do like the concept especially if they can make a profit without depending on fees from businesses.

  3. Wes

    I think the idea of Angie’s List is great. In the time that I’ve worked in restaurants, in retail, and on groundskeeping crews, I’ve noticed one thing. When things are going well, no one seems to want to voice an opinion. It seems as though the only time people want to give feedback is when they are upset or dissatisfied. American General Financial Group (Now “Springleaf” in some areas), in their new employee training seminars, shared the statistic that a dissatisfied customer will tell (on average) at least 9 people about their experience, while satisfied customers only share their experience with up to 3. My concern with sites like Angie’s List, is that consumers are getting feedback from irritated and disappointed customers who do not fairly represent the majority of a business’ clientele.

    Reply
  4. Mike Walbert

    I don’t like the idea of having to pay Angie for her advice, when I don’t know her motives, other than the obvoious one for her to make make money for herself.

    Reply

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