Angie’s List’s prospects has been in decline since the collapse of its paid firewall-based model. It has long been written off as a real contender for the future of home service leads.
But it retains one of the largest core group of home service advertisers, with 55,000, and has over 4.5 Million home owner members — a count that has dramatically increased since the firewall went down. Today, after two years of wrangling, the company agreed to be sold to IAC‘s HomeAdvisor, formerly Service Magic, in a deal valued more than $500 Million. IAC will control over 88% of the new entity.
HomeAdvisor says it will keep the Angie’s List brand, which has been firmly cemented into consumer mindsets with tens of millions of dollars of TV advertising. Presumably, the new dynamic duo will help fend off a new generation of well-financed, home service rivals such as Yelp,Thumbtack, Amazon, Google, Houzz and Serviz — or make HomeAdvisor more attractive to them in a possible, bundled sale. It is interesting to note that HomeAdvisor, once largely ignored during IAC analyst calls, has become the central part of the IAC portfolio after the successful spinoff of key brands such as Ticketmaster and Match.com.
Angie’s List Co-founder and CMO Angie Hicks — who remains the face of the company — will join the HomeAdvisor board. Otherwise, the business will be mostly driven from HomeAdvisor’s headquarters in Golden, CO. Angie’s List is based in Indianapolis — a location that is said to have hurt the company’s efforts to recruit digitally savvy talent over the years.
Is the merger a good thing? Here is what I opined in October, 2015:
….the two companies have evolved their services considerably. Both have made marketplace adjustments to focus on features such as on demand leads, mobile-centric research and ordering, social-driven reviews (and in Home Advisor’s case, service cost estimates.) But there is always a sense that they are under-performing, given the market’s growing acceptance of mobile commerce.
To me, the early success of Angie’s List was one of the most exciting development in local online commerce, along with Groupon, Yelp and Google Local search. It was never been easy to use, but had the most comprehensive reviews — all validated by its strongly committed members. It currently has over 10 Million verified reviews. Over the years, it has saved me thousands of dollars as a homeowner, and helped get me the highest quality service providers.