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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Word-of-Mouth primary driver of local business

#VT - Need a recommendation for a plumber?  Best burrito in town?  Slate roof repair?  People turn to Front Porch Forum again and again in our coverage area.  Now a new study offers some insight (below).  People use FPF to get a recommendation from a neighbor, to read reviews in the archives, and to see the ads from our local sponsors.  FPF is word-of-mouth accelerator for local businesses.

A new Street Fight poll finds that even with a slew of new locally targeted marketing platforms at local merchants’ disposal, word-of-mouth is still a primary driver of local consumer behavior.

The poll of 500 U.S. consumers found that 43% of consumers are most likely to shop or dine at a local business after a recommendation from a friend or colleague. 30% are primarily motivated by daily deals, 15% after seeing a locally or behaviorally targeted advertisement, and 12% after reading a positive review about the merchant online. The poll was conducted on behalf of Street Fight by third-party opinions platform Toluna QuickSurveys.

Are you more likely to shop at a local business after…




Dogbreath…

#VT - Our neighbor came over early this morning all upset. His friend had to undergo surgery and needed someone to watch his dog, and neighbor agreed. The dog is 15 years old, disinclined to wander, and neighbor found that when the dog wanted to go out it never went beyond the sidewalk so it was let out without a leash.

His friend finally came home from the hospital and desperately wanted to see his dog. Neighbor had just let the dog out, but when he went to retrieve it the dog was gone!

Neighbor described the dog to me, asked if I’d seen it, and part of his description was that the dog wore a sweater and had incredible halitosis, even for a dog.

Last night on FPF there were two mentions of a stray dog found downtown, and one of the postings mentioned that the dog had some nasty smelling breath. I put two and two together, gave neighbor the phone numbers listed on the FPF postings, and dog and recovering owner are now enjoying each other’s company. Good job FPF folks!

Shared by Ted on the Bristol Front Porch Forum today.




Angie’s List a pyramid scheme?

Interesting critique of Angie’s List on Screenwerk today from a plumber in Seattle.  Angie’s List recently pushed into Vermont where tens of thousands of households use Front Porch Forum for a variety of purposes, including plumber recommendations.

I have years of experience with Angie’s List as a local plumber in Seattle. They have gotten money out of me and gave nothing in return except much trouble from customers that tend to be pretty passive aggressive. Angie’s List get paid on both ends – Any contractor listing you see is only visible to you if the contractor is paying Angie’s List through the nose. My cost for Angie’s List “hot leads” was $300 each. Testing Angie’s List cost me $7000 over two years. While paying such high costs for leads may work for a major construction project , it won’t work for a service call where we charge by the 1/4 hour.

Google clicks have gotten as high as $38 per click here in Seattle when the search term used is “plumber” or “plumbing”. On the average it takes 15 clicks to get a call. Do the math on the cost to the guy ringing your doorbell.

Angie’s List cost per job performed was 75% of my company’s average invoice total (about $400). My company does over a thousand jobs a year.

Any homeowner service using this advertising method is paying way too much to maintain any integrity in the service. This type of advertising creating an incredible amount of pressure to convert to a commission-based high profit business model for basic traditional services. If I pay Angies List hundreds of dollars just to ring your doorbell how can I treat you fairly when your plumbing problem requires an hours work? I can’t so I cancelled my advertising contract with Angies List.

Angie’s List uses a unique money making model that actually is a kind of pyramid scheme. They put all the local harvested contractors into their listings but you only will call highly rated ones. In order to be highly rated you must pay Angie Thousands of dollars a year for position in order to be seen AND time in grade is required to accumulate favorable reviews. Only a dozen or so can be in that position. The homeowner only calls the ones at the top so all new advertisers must invest thousands on continuing annual contracts to play the game on Angie’s List…

In my opinion, it is time for both local business and consumers to get control over how we find our services and customers as the marketers are hijacking the business to consumer relationship and forcing costs so high that nobody can bear the costs.

Question: Why should we need out-of-state corporations to connect homeowners to services down the street? Surely there is a simple, inexpensive way for us to know our neighbors and small businesses. We all need to put a little thought and effort in that direction.


Search your FPF archive for past recommendations…

#VT – Hinesburg resident John Eastman just completed an electrical project for us and did an excellent job!  I found his name in the archives of our Front Porch Forum.

He was affordable, always showed up on time, handled my many questions with patience and the end result is exactly what we had in mind.

If you are looking for an electrician, I highly recommend him.

Posted by Brigitte today on the Hinesburg FPF.