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We're Ready for the Next 20!

April 30, 2015

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The following is a column I wrote for the May edition of our member magazine, Angie's List Monthly:

Angie’s List is 20 years old this month. In that relatively short span, we’ve changed how you and millions of others take care of your homes, health and more. And we’re far from done.

Whether you’ve been a member since the 1990s, just joined or are somewhere in between, we’re thrilled you’re a part of our never-ending mission to make hiring local service simpler and more satisfying.

We’ve come a long way since May 1995, when I graduated from DePauw University, packed my Ford Escort and moved to suburban Columbus, Ohio, to convince people to join what would become Angie’s List.

My role was to execute the vision of my co-founder and our CEO, Bill Oesterle, who had the bedrock belief that we could create a company that would help consumers. I’ll always be grateful to Bill and to his former Bexley, Ohio, neighbor, Patty Bowman, who became our first member and who encouraged her many friends to follow her lead. Today, Patty is one of more than 3 million members.

Those early days found me making calls from a 10-foot-by-10-foot office outfitted with a card table, borrowed computer and fax machine, and the blue phone from my childhood bedroom in Fort Wayne, Indiana. (And yes, I did eventually return that fax machine!)

From there, we added markets, moved our base to Indianapolis and made many changes, including additional service categories, a refined review process and a marketplace of services.

These days, we’re continually adding to an already robust array of local offers from top companies. And because we monitor what works for you and for service companies, the more you use Angie’s List to handle your hiring needs, the better service you can come to expect.

Our systems have evolved over 20 years, but we’re as dedicated as ever to helping you get the most done with the least hassle. Two decades from now, we may provide as-yet-unimagined ways to meet that goal, but you can be sure the mission will be the same as it was in May 1995.

Angie’s List, from the 1990s to today:

Purpose:
Then: To help homeowners, especially those with older homes, find quality contractors
Now: To facilitate happy transactions between consumers of home, health, auto and other services and highly rated service providers

Products:
Then: Reviews, available by printed newsletter or phone call
Now: Reviews are just the beginning. We provide local service offers from top providers. And everything’s accessible through our website or smartphone app. We also publish a constant stream of consumer news on our website and in our print and digital magazines.

Categories
Then: About 100
Now: 700-plus

Ratings:
Then: Members rated companies as either “good” or “bad”
Now: A-through-F scale along multiple parameters, with service companies having the option to respond. Also, we’re factoring in objective measures such as how long a company takes to respond to consumers.

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