Comments by Henry Staggs, RRO\
Some years ago, when I was contracting, one of my office managers thought it would be a good idea to subscribe to a lead service. Who is now known as Home Advisor who has apparently merged with Angie's list now?
Every lead was bogus!
Right away we got leads, sort of. The leads they gave us did not answer, or never asked for a call, or worse had been called by 10 other roofers and refused to talk to us at all. We never sold a single job and tried to cancel the service. As you might expect, we got the runaround. Passed from one person to another, none of whom could cancel the service, and yes, they kept sending us bogus leads and charging us. We ended up canceling the debit card they had on file and getting a new one. Suddenly they want to talk; they started calling to collect the money they said was due. I told them to kiss my ____ and get it in person if they wanted it, I was not about to pay them another cent. And that experience turned me off entirely from any lead service at all, what a waste of time and money—cant stand lead services.
We are not maids!
It gets worse; after that, we had some problems with SEO. We just couldn't get the site back on the front page again of google. It was on pages five and six, even, which messed with our own leads generation. That is when I learned that using pay per click, single-page sites, and other trickery, they had pushed our way down in the rankings. If you googled my company name, you got them, not me, and I would not even be on that page. To make it even worse, they promoted my company as a maid service. We started getting calls from people looking for maids. There where listings all over the internet with us listed as a maid service, it was unreal, and no way was it a mistake.
It was no surprise to me today when I came across this news report about Home Advisor getting sued by hundreds of contractors. Same mess, they sold bogus leads, played games when it came to closing accounts. They messed around with trickery and ruined contractors' SEO work. Why not? I never thought I was special, of course, they are doing this same crap to everyone. Do you know what stinks? The worst contractors seem to benefit from these leads. It is incredible really that the contractor most likely to do a lousy job has the highest ratings on their sites.
Check it out!
Do this, look up a few of the Home Advisor highly rated contractors on yelp or some other site and be prepared to be STUNNED by the differences in ratings and reviews. Then as you are recovering from the shock, consider the fact that contractors pay HomeAdvisor for leads, right? Why would they have bad reviews on their paying contractors? It serves their financial interest to make sure their paying contractors get the best ratings. That is why a contractor will have five stars on HomeAdvisor and Angie's List but one or two on yelp and other such sites.
Don't do it!
Good contractors simply don't need to buy leads and the ones who do, well there is a reason for that. Stay away from lead companies, don't trust them, and never use them.
Henry Staggs, RRO