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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Thumbtack -- Legit or a Scam? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

hoodrat
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Veteran user
Southern California
384 Posts

Profile of hoodrat
I finally jumped in and spent $40 on thumbtack.com in order to be able to respond to a total of 10 job leads. I teach piano lessons on the side in peoples' homes. Mostly it's kids ages 6 to 18. I thought maybe thumbtack would be a good way to get some more students. So I spent the $40 and made an account there. So far, they have sent me five leads for people in the San Diego area where I live who are looking for piano lessons. All the leads only give the person's first name and last initial. Nearly all of the leads have not had a phone number to contact that person. Instead, I have to use up one of my ten pre-paid quote submissions and submit a quote via thumbtack's website. In the quote, I list my price for piano lessons and include a personal note written to that person telling them about myself and giving them my phone number. No one has called me back nor responded through email or through my website. Once you submit a quote, thumbtack does provide the last name. The names on all the leads have been odd ones like Tajana Bingstom or Wilfred Channing (these are made-up examples, but you get the idea). I went on to intelius.com and did a people search using these names and the city of San Diego. Some came up but a couple didn't come up at all. Also, their leads often state unusual things such as looking for piano lessons three days a week or in the morning for a child (child should be in school). A lot of it just doesn't add up and seems contrived. I've been teaching piano lessons on the side for over ten years now, so I know the kinds of things people request when looking for lessons. These leads from thumbtack all seem very "weird." Tonight, I responded to a lead and used one of my ten pre-paid submissions. When I clicked "SUBMIT QUOTE", I got a blank Error page! Retried it and got the same thing! Another lead did have a local phone number here in San Diego that I got AFTER I submitted my quote. I called the number, left a nice voicemail, but no one ever called me back. Very odd. That local phone number could've been a Google Voice number and was really ringing a phone in Russia or Kansas for all I know.

So I submitted a complaint via Thumbtack's support page. Believe it or not, I got a reply back within a couple hours! She wrote that my account is fine and I was not charged for the two submissions that resulted in an error page. That technical glitch was fixed, she said. I didn't bother resubmitting my quote. I asked in my complaint if this service was legit or not, and she wrote back saying that if I never hear from a lead submitter after I've submitted a quote, Thumbtack will refund me what I paid for that lead. She also said if any leads turn out to be bogus or fake, they'd refund my money. Really? I don't think they would! I think it's all one big scam, and they send out fake leads. Vendors like me pay them 40 bucks to reply to ten so-called leads, and that's how Thumbtack makes their money. By the way, the name of the female who replied to my complaint/tech request email was Monalisa Church! I'm not kidding! Another weird, fake-sounding name.

Has anybody else had any luck with Thumbtack.com in getting gigs or side jobs? I really do think it's a scam. Someone needs to do a lot more undercover work than what I've done to see if it really is legit or not.
LobowolfXXX
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Inner circle
La Famiglia
1192 Posts

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Not familiar with it, but Wyzant (dot com) is legit and free.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
stoneunhinged
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Inner circle
3079 Posts

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I'm not familiar with it, either.

But it sounds a LOT like a giant craze here in Germany: "dating" websites. I read recently that it's a two billion Euro per year industry. And it works in a similar way: you sign up, and they supposedly give you leads, and you only have to pay for leads that result in real contacts. (Women don't have to pay anything, BTW.) It sounds like a scam to me. But it's a perfectly legal, 2 bil. per year scam.

It seems to me that any good, enterprising journalist should be able to get to the bottom of it all. But what do I know? I ain't no journalist.
Matthew W
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Inner circle
New York
2456 Posts

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You are paying $4 for leads that a dozen other people get, even if it was submitted through YOUR page. Same goes with GigSalad.
-Matt
balducci
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Loyal user
Canada
230 Posts

Profile of balducci
Based on the article below, I don't think it is a scam. Maybe it does not have a good business model and will never turn a profit, and perhaps it is more appropriate for some services to advertise than others.

http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/09/local-s......million/
Make America Great Again! - Trump in 2020 ... "We're a capitalistic society. I go into business, I don't make it, I go bankrupt. They're not going to bail me out. I've been on welfare and food stamps. Did anyone help me? No." - Craig T. Nelson, actor.
balducci
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Canada
230 Posts

Profile of balducci
Quote:
On 2012-09-28 04:08, hoodrat wrote:

Also, their leads often state unusual things such as looking for piano lessons three days a week or in the morning for a child (child should be in school). A lot of it just doesn't add up and seems contrived. I've been teaching piano lessons on the side for over ten years now, so I know the kinds of things people request when looking for lessons.

Homeschooling might explain the request for morning lessons.

But as for the weird names. Is it possible for people to sign up to thumbtack using screen names? I just looked at the site, and there seems to be nothing preventing me from creating an account as a Mr. Bald Ucci. Do they actually verify your real first and last name at some point?
Make America Great Again! - Trump in 2020 ... "We're a capitalistic society. I go into business, I don't make it, I go bankrupt. They're not going to bail me out. I've been on welfare and food stamps. Did anyone help me? No." - Craig T. Nelson, actor.
ronnyman
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New user
Indiana
56 Posts

Profile of ronnyman
I think he was talking about the thumbtack.com employee. If I worked for one of those companies I would use a fake name too! Did you look them up on BBB.org? I was always told if you have to pay for leads they're probably fake.
Signor Blitz
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Elite user
419 Posts

Profile of Signor Blitz
After a few hundred dollars and a year (full 12 months) - I cannot recommend this sit as a serious lead generator. The folks looking for entertainment have nothing invested or anything to loose - the performer has everything to loose. Depending on how you are listed, it will cost the performer 3 to 9 credits ($5-$15) just to forward contact information buyer (buyer info not forwarded to performer) which has consistently lead to nowhere. Unless you are a "magic ***" that will do nothing but waist good advertising dollars, stay away.
General_Magician
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Special user
United States
707 Posts

Profile of General_Magician
I use Thumbtack as one of my businesses marketing tools and I think it's provided a good return on investment. I actually get more work out of Thumbtack than I do out of Gigsalad or Gigmasters. I also prefer Thumbtack over Gigsalad and Gigmasters. With Gigmasters, they want a booking fee in addition to paying for advertising whereas with Thumbtack you don't have to pay a booking fee. I also buy my credits in bulk to save on overhead cost so I will order a lot of credits at once to get a better deal plus over the long term it enables my company to generate a higher profit since I paying less per credit in a bulk buy. If you want to make money, you are going to have to spend money. It takes money to make money and there is no such thing as free advertising and not all advertising provides a return on investment.

This is why it's so important to use a marketing calendar to track which marketing dollars provide a return on investment and which marketing dollars have not and stop spending money on marketing or advertising which has not provided a return on investment. I have turned a profit using Thumbtack and would recommend it. Generally, if I don't hear back from a lead, I will message them again saying something like "I submitted a quote a few days back and I noticed I haven't heard back from you! ...." Also, I have had my credits refunded if a potential customer did not read my bid. So, even though you can't get the customers contact information, if you bid them a price that is competitive, you will get a call back. I also take my reviews very seriously on Thumbtack. So, I try my utmost to make sure customers who hire me from Thumbtack are happy with my work. I want and need good reviews, plus customers will base their decisions on reviews you have received on Thumbtack which plays into their decision as to whether they will contact you or not.

Here is a link to my Thumbtack profile: http://www.thumbtack.com/ga/centerville/......magician
"Never fear shadows. They simply mean there is a light shining somewhere nearby." -unknown

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Signor Blitz
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Elite user
419 Posts

Profile of Signor Blitz
Hey General!

Glad to hear it is working for you!

This could be all location, location and location Smile

I am in the Chicagoland market and from my perspective - not worth the investment. "Parenting magazines" brings is MORE serious buyers that actually buy than thumbtack. It is painful to get the simplest questions answered (as no one answers any questions)and more often than not - thumbtack kicks back the question saying it is against their rules (we are talking questions like is the event in a public or private location) - Bottom line, they got their money from me - they won't get any more - I will leave them to folks like you that are having better luck Smile
chrisontour
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New user
70 Posts

Profile of chrisontour
Check out http://www.sidejobr.com there's no pay per lead like gigmasters and thumbtack, etc.
Marc W
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0 Posts

Profile of Marc W
PAY FOR DISAPPOINTMENT! -- GREAT BUSINESS MODEL
Unless you're one of the 5 that sit on their cell phones and monitor it every second -- unless you respond to and of the ACTUALLY worth while posts within NANO-SECONDS --prepare to waste a LOT of money for constant disappointment.

Even IF you get in and are able to land a quote unless you literally low ball yourself and services you're not going to land a project. After the first couple attempts when it became clear I had to respond instantly and I got no reply to a quote I cut my professional services to about $10 an hour just to see if I would land something --NOTHING! Which also tells me this service is probably catering to kids / people that can work for peanuts. OR -- MORE LIKELY--they're fake posts generated BY THUMBTACK


Oh yeah -- and the positive reviews? Chances are very good that's their happy money-stuffing staff stacking the reviews ala Amazon-esk.
scottmcfall
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New user
31 Posts

Profile of scottmcfall
I had literally dozens of what I believe to be "Fake leads" from thumbtack in Raleigh. I also had them fail to move our location when I moved to Florida. Therefore, I still get the "questionable at best" leads. If it is working in your location... that is great! But, my personal experience with it in NC was quite negative.
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