Angie’s List, the ratings service for home services and medical providers in markets around the U.S., is adding Groupon-like group buying offers to services and medical providers that receive high ratings from its members of “B” or above — the criteria for all its advertising.
“The Big Deal” offer is being developed in-house and is being tested in three markets: Indianapolis, Chicago and Washington, D.C. It has plans to expand to 25 cities by the end of June and eventually serve 50 to 80 cities.
Founder Angie Hicks tells us that the company sees group buying as a direct descendant of other marketing the company provides, including advertising, coupons, direct mail, etc. The key Angie’s List differentiator is that every service provider will be certified as high quality by its member ratings.
Another differentiator is that Angie’s List is going to go hyperlocal with the offers. “We are used to targeting down to the neighborhood level,” she says. “We can get down to the level of a section of a ZIP code. It is of real interest to us. Dog walkers can take advantage of this. Otherwise, it would only be limited to large companies.” Hicks also says the company is not being confined to specific thresholds for group buys. Each offer will be different.
Typical offer categories might include dentistry, massage therapy, carpet cleaning deals and roofing deals. “There may be real opportunities there,” says Hicks. “We’ve got 500 categories that we’ve collected reviews on.”
The service expects to offer one deal a week per city. Some offers will be marketed on a non-local basis, so members might see five deals in a week. Hicks adds that participating service providers will be providing Angie’s List with commissions from sales. But it won’t be as high as the 30 percent to 50 percent that other deal-a-day providers are getting. “For us, it is an added revenue stream, but it is not our sole stream,” she says.
An added benefit of providing the service is its viral nature. Non-members can participate and learn more about Angie’s List, perhaps joining the service, which costs up to $67 per year. Hicks says the service currently has more than 500,000 active household accounts — including paid and free trial accounts — and over 1 million members.