Company: Thumbtack, Inc.
Co-Founder & CEO: Marco Zappacosta
Address: 454 Natoma Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Opening Hours: Unknown
Category: Services for hire
About Thumbtack, Inc.
Ever wonder why you can buy any product online with a single click, but you can’t hire a photographer, tutor, contractor, or other local service professional without a dozen phone calls? So did we. Thumbtack’s mission is to make it dramatically easier to hire services, at the same time empowering independent professionals to grow their businesses.
- Thumbtack, unlike others in the same field, charges the service provider a fee for a potential lead that views your offer instead of a lead that actually amounts to a job.
- There is no way to verify if a lead is actually a real person or not, so if you pay for a lead, gets a fake user who “viewed” your offer, you pay Thumbtack. As a service provider, you will obviously not get a job from the “lead” but you’ll be out of each bid of $4.99 for a prospective “lead” to view your offer.
- A lead is broken down as follows:
- 3 credits for $4.99
Additional Complaint Information
BBB’s business review for Thumbtack was created in September 2010. A recent review of this company’s complaints was done in January 2014. Complaints appear to be largely from business owners who pay to submit quotes to the leads they have received. Complaints state that the leads received are not viable leads, do not have valid contact information, and/or are inconsistent with the types of leads received elsewhere.
The company responded to the above concerns with the following:
“…Thumbtack uses both automated and manual steps in an attempt to make sure our requests are being generated by legitimate individuals looking for appropriate services, and that these requests contain the necessary information for service professionals to craft a quote for the request. The manual aspect of the process is performed by a specialized request verification team, who is hired and then trained to only work on making sure the requests sent out by Thumbtack are legitimate quality leads. The request verification process begins with all requests initially being reviewed by a computer algorithm, which flags requests based on the following criteria:
1. Potentially scandalous service categories
2. Not valid personal name
3. Words we have found signal spam
4. Non-U.S. IP address
5. Duplicate requests
6. Thumbtack service professional placing a request – Thumbtack flags requests from service professionals so that we can catch any service professional placing a request for the same service he/she provides.
7. Requests for an individual service provider, rather than a general inquiry – Our consumers usually make general requests for a service that Thumbtack sends to all relevant service providers. Consumers can also make individual requests for service professionals they know are listed on Thumbtack.
8. Non-verifiable schedule – On our requests forms, there is a field that notes the customer’s scheduling preferences. Requests that are missing this information are flagged.
Requests that are not flagged with one of the nine reasons listed above are sent out to our service professionals who match the request’s service category and geographical requirements. Requests that are flagged … are sent to our special request verification team who manually review flagged requests. This team looks at each flagged request and decides whether or not the request can be published and sent to all relevant service professionals. The team makes this decision based on an additional set of criteria outlined below. If the team member decides the request is in fact not publishable, then this decision is reviewed by a manager. If the manager agrees with the decision, this team contacts the requestor to let him/her know that his/her request did not go through, and the reason why it did not go through.
The additional set of criteria that the request verification team looks at for deciding whether a flagged request should not go through to the service professionals is as follows:
2. Private message – If a request is for a specific service professional then we do not publish this request.
3. Sexual content or underage requests
4. Full-time employment or barter request
5. Duplicate request
6. Service post – Occasionally a service professional posts a request thinking that he/she has posted about his/her service; these requests do not go through.
7. Test Posts
8. Inappropriate or scammy
Given the immense growth that Thumbtack continues to experience, we are careful to maintain request verification as a critical feature of our marketplace. This requires us to constantly monitor and review the quality of the request verification process. Some of the initiatives underway to improve the request verification process include:
- Regular Quality Assurance auditing and coaching of our request verification team.
- Improved reporting and review of deleted request patterns
- Growth of the request form improvement team to speed up the process of improving request questions to provide higher quality, more relevant information to service professionals.
Understanding Thumbtack’s ‘pay for leads’ model is key to understanding any restrictions in place for direct communication between consumers and service professionals. Communication options are different based on whether the service professional has submitted a quote. Before quoting, Thumbtack offers the Public Question feature; after quoting, the service professional can communicate privately with the consumer, depending on the consumer’s preference.
Currently, we do not require the consumer to respond to quotes if he/she is not interested. We provide a button to ‘decline (a) quote’, as well as the ability to reply to a quote with a message, but it is the consumer’s decision whether to use either of these features. We have, however, listened to the feedback from our service professionals that they would find it helpful to know when a consumer has decided not to hire them. Therefore, we have several improvements under development to strengthen the feedback that service professionals will receive after quoting; these improvements include:
- prompting consumers via email to respond to the service professionals who have sent them quotes, even if they have chosen not to hire that service professional;
- making it easier for service professionals to indicate if they were hired for a job, which will then let others know by default they have not been selected.”