October 18, 2008
Paid content still rules. So does Angie.
Some of the best things on the net are still, and may always be, for fee. Buying local is important. Despite the looming depression, we still (judiciously) buy lots of stuff and services.
About a year and a half ago, I dropped our Angie's List subscription because they had doubled their membership fee in about 7 years. I remember the days when homes used to appreciate at that rate. Since my salary didn't, I dropped it.
While the family was deciding on end of the year capital home improvements, we realized how much we needed objective recommendations and decided to renew. With e-coupons, I was able to drop the membership price quite a bit. Angie's List is indispensable. There is no rival for consumer reviews of local goods and services that go through an editorial process. This editorial process is what differentiates Angie's List from the hundreds of available free listings with reviews. Yelp, Yahoo! local reviews, Insider Pages, etc. (me too for that matter), all suffer the same problem. Mostly soapbox rambling with little authority.
Angie's has a seductive bonus too. An annual report drive. Submit a bunch of valid (*they check*) reports on service providers and they give you a gift with serious buzz value. This year's gift is a Flip video camera, one of the hottest little items in gadgets today. Easily worth the price of a membership. I don't subscribe for the gift (but it's always awesome), it's because I almost always find great contractors without having to get an insane number of bids on a job.
Those images? They're snaps taken from a video clip with my current little video device. I can't wait for my Flip.