Hello, Marco (please hang in there with me, I know this is rather long but SO important, and my questions are at the bottom):First off, I just want to thank you for revving up the Thumbtack community, as well as hosting this live Q&A.I shall preface saying that, in my opinion, I feel the Legal Category has to be one of your hardest to please because there are rules and limitations for law firms/attorneys to abide by in a forum like this; there's actually a very fine line. With that said, I would like to explain a couple of things and then ask my question (sorry for the story, but really wanted to share it with you - you can scroll down for the questions!).I started with TT in 2014, hesitant at first because of some bad reviews and people saying it's a "scam", etc. Here's a true story: When I approached my attorneys with the idea of using Thumbtack for leads, after explaining the service, they all said, "No, that's not how we get clients, Tana...it will be a waste of time and money." Luckily for me, my husband owns the law firm so I was able to do as I pleased, thinking, it's our money, I'm going to try it; and at the time, Thumbtack showed up on the 10th page of Google Search, literally.About six months later, I was laughing all the way to the bank - Thumbtack had literally tripled our clientele! Not only clientele, but it also placed us on the map of Google (we didn't even have a website up). As you may see from our profile, we've been hired 296 times, and that's actually inaccurate because, from being so busy those first almost three years of using TT, I would forget to mark MANY clients "Hired".Once I realized Thumbtack was a legit leads service, and after speaking to many of the nicest and most caring customer service-oriented people I had ever spoken to (when you guys were in Utah), I went around the Internet and condemned all the negative comments and then posted our experience and success along with it, right under their negative comments. I called every business owner I knew and told them about Thumbtack, even setting it up for a few of them. Thumbtack also Spotlighted us back in the day, which was truly an honor, as well as Thumbtack asking me to be a supporter for other Pro's (can't remember what you called it back then). So, for all of this aforementioned statement, we thank you for the best leads serve we ever had and we still only use Thumbtack for leads.However, now, ever since the new pricing changed, and evidently other things that changed - starting late 2018, I'm lucky to get anywhere from 1 to 4 leads a day, and sometimes none at all. I was used to getting SO many leads, which I answered ALL of them (as long as it was in our categories of practice and 98% of them were), even all thru the weekend. Please allow me to show you our numbers from 2017 to now; these are leads that have been entered into our legal software, meaning, leads that they or I have reached out to from/on Thumbtack only (PLEASE, PLEASE look at this graph because I really want/need to understand!!):
January 2017 - 22-TT Leads
February 2017 - 32-TT Leads
March 2017 - 34-TT Leads
April 2017 - 31-TT Leads
May 2017 - 37-TT Leads
June 2017 - 34-TT Leads
July 2017 - 37-TT Leads
August 2017 - 31-TT Leads
September 2017 - 63-TT Leads
October 2017 - 57-TT Leads November 2017 - 49-TT Leads
December 2017 - 26-TT Leads _______________________________________
January 2018 - 37-TT LeadsFebruary 2018 - 31-TT Leads
March 2018 - 33-TT Leads
April 2018 - 36-TT Leads
May 2018 - 27-TT Leads
June 2018 - 45-TT Leads
July 2018 - 33-TT Leads
August 2018 - 20-TT LeadsSeptember 2018 - 10-TT LeadsOctober 2018 - 10-TT Leads
November 2018 - 13-TT LeadsDecember 2018 - 3-TT Leads________________________________________________
January 2019 - 8-TT Leads
February 2019 - 4-TT Leads
March 2019 - 7-TT Leads As you can see from 2019 thus far, I am not getting leads! We are so confused and worried. What happened? I'm not sure if this is happening to other categories on Thumbtack, but it surely is in ours. We're Top Pros, have been 2 or 3 times - I do forget to mark Hired and in our field it's very hard to get clients to leave reviews because oftentimes, their case is anywhere from 1 - 5 years long; they're done, they're exhausted, their angry for all the money they've spent, even if they've won their case (we do A LOT of family law), they just don't want to think about it any longer. And, if they didn't win, then of course, no matter how hard we worked and did what they asked, etc., they blame the attorney. And, that's hard because we get judged by Thumbtack for reviews...we HAVE to have x-amount of reviews so we can make Top Pro.So, here are some questions; questions for you, Thumbtack, hoping you can help us understand, and questions for the call tomorrow evening that might hopefully help others in my category, and if I'm so lucky enough to have it read.For Thumbtack:1. Is there any way someone in Marketing, like a supervisor, or maybe even the owner, someone who CAN make a difference in this category, to give me a call so I can discuss with them SO many things that are wrong with this category vs other lead places that are for legal customers? I don't want to not use Thumbtack - I LOVE Thumbtack and continue to support Thumbtack and tell everyone I meet, even just standing in line at the market 🙂2. We have to follow strict guidelines and rules governing what we can do with places that have client leads. There have been several times that I've received a request from both sides of a pending divorce/custody matter. It's stressful because we can't see the whole name so if I've spoken, say, to the wife (which we have to take notes) and say she hires us (but even if she didn't hire us, this next sentence can be problematic); and then I get a request from the husband, and since I can't see the name and I get the lead, I'm reading whatever it is he writes - he could have written about personal details about himself or even his wife - if he does this, this could become a conflict of interest. We would have to tell the new client/wife what happened, which then violates the husbands right to privacy, give her money back, but we would still be charged for the lead - I'm hoping this makes sense. There are LOTS of these scenarios, and they've happened to us. And, remember, each state has different rules. I'm wondering if Thumbtack speaks to attorneys in different states to ask these important questions?3. Why do you think, upon looking at our Thumbtack numbers from our software, we are no longer being pursued?For the Conference Call:1. Our category, the legal category, is very different from all the other categories - we have to follow strict guidelines and rules governing what we can do with sites that provide client leads. Will Thumbtack consider a change in this category for proper vetting so we, the Pro, won't end up with leads from both sides of the parties involved (and this can be, really, from any practice area)?2. Again, for the legal category - I noticed when looking at our profile as from a possible new client point of view, I see that ours and other businesses say "In high demand". At first sight, it's really nice to see, but then I started thinking, "What if people are bypassing us thinking we are too busy, or since we're popular, maybe are prices are higher." Do you feel this statement could deter possible clients from reaching out to us?Thank you so very much for your time in reading this, and for all your efforts in helping all of us Pro's succeed and strengthen our businesses!Very truly yours,Tana CorporonDirector of Administration & MarketingLaw Offices of Randy B Corporon PC303firstname.lastname@example.org
I agree! I also posted same issue. Of we could at least see if it was viewed. Have been told "we dont guarantee the hire..."we can't "fight for the hire" if we can't directly contact people. Makes you think they're fake requests just put money in TT pockets
Thumbtack is 10 years old and is a 'mature' platform by internet standards. After 10 years in business I would expect that Thumbtack would have a thorough appreciation of how best to serve its end-users (those who really are looking to hire a Pro) and the Pros themselves.
This doesn't appear to be the case as far as the Pros go. The changes Thumbtack made in 2018 (and the ongoing changes this year) have not been well received by the Pros to put it mildly.
Virtually every Pro who has taken the time to post in this thread has issues with the changes Thumbtack has chosen to make. Reading the posts of the Pros in this thread it is abundantly clear that something has gone horribly wrong with Thumbtack. Many Pros are in 'damage control mode' trying to make sense of why these changes were made in the first place, changes that they report have had a demonstrable negative effect on how they do business on Thumbtack.
I bet if you'd pitched the notion of Promote/Search to the Pro's here 12 months ago the overwhelming concensus would have been that it wasn't going to work. If Thumbtack really had a handle on what its Pros tick and what the Pros want then Promote/Search (and before that the now defunct Instant Match) surely wouldn't have seen the light of day.
I accept that the Pros only have a 'micro' view of things. I do. I'm interested in what Thumbtack can do for my business. Thumbtack has a 'macro' view, or a marco view if your spell checker isn't working.
Despite assurances from Thumbtack that they want their Pro's to be successful I recognize that the profitability of Thumbtack itself will always come first; that's just the nature of business. A good business should strive to build and maintain a good working relationship with its customers. That can be tricky because businesses have to strike a careful balance between their own desire to be a profitable whilst at the same time serving the needs of it's customers and being fair to them.
Thumbtack I believe has failed to do this. The overwhelming negative feedback from Pros in this thread (and others threads) is damning.
The recent changes have I am sure been very successful for Thumbtack's bottom line. That I believe was the primary reason for implementing the new 'Promote' revenue model. Thumbtack know that there are vastly more end-users than Pros so it makes sense for Thumbtack to place revenue generating control firmly in the hands of its end-users rather than its Pros. By automatically charging Pros the first time any end-user reaches out to them directly they have accomplished that.
Removing key functionality from Pros who choose not to use Promote also makes perfect sense to Thumbtack. They want as many Pros using Promote as possible because then Thumbtack can automatically charge its Pros when a lead reaches out to them. It will get to a point (if we're not already there now) where if you're not using Promote you'll get so few genuine leads that Thumbtack effectively becomes redundant to your business. It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if Thumbtack eventually decide to make Promote mandatory for all Pros.
We are told that Promote was designed to put Pros in touch with the leads that they want. If that was actually happening then automatically paying for leads through Promote would be an easier (but still bitter pill) to swallow.
It isn't happening though is it? A lot of the time the leads I receive (and are automatically charged for) are not leads that I want. Read this thread and you'll find countless other Pro's reporting the same thing. Some of the leads I am getting are not suitable for my business. Why is that? It's because the 'service preferences' that we as Pro's set to define what we do and what we charge are woefully inadequate. It is nigh on impossible to set 'service preferences' that reflect an accurate 'estimate' price Thumbtack presents to end-users on our behalf.
Every type of business is different, every type of businesses service preferences are different. Every Pro is different. Every lead is different. With Promote Thumbtack are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. The net result is that sometimes Thumbtack will automatically charge Pros for leads that the Pros cannot reasonably be expected to service for a whole variety of reasons.
Here are some examples of mine...
These deficiencies of the Thumbtack system aren't a pressing concern. With the new pricing model they want as many leads reaching out to me as possible because then Thumbtack can automatically charge me for those leads. It doesn't matter if the lead is suitable for my business or not, Thumbtack will charge me regardless.
If the goal of Promote was to put me in touch with leads who can afford to hire me and leads who I can actually service then it is failing badly. I do not want to pay for (nor should I pay for) leads who cannot afford to hire me or leads that I legitimately cannot service.
I believe it is the automatic charging of Pro's for unsuitable leads that is causing the biggest misery for Pro's here. There are other problems (such as dwindling numbers of leads) but automatically charging for leads is the biggest bugbear.
I'm sure that Thumbtack will say that 'Promote' is just an option and that it's not for everyone. True. Frankly though because Thumbtack have removed certain features from their platform I think it is fair to say that for most non-Promote Pro's there seems little point in using Thumbtack anymore. They've been hamstrung.
Thumbtack tell us that they want their Pros to be successful. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and take them at their word that they really do want that.
What would it take for ME to be successful on Thumbtack?
First, ditch the Promote system and new revenue model. It's not working for me, its not working for hardly anyone here apparently and to be blunt its proving to be an abject failure. I defy anyone who reads this thread and the comments of the other Pros to conclude otherwise.
Switch to a revenue model that is focussed on doing what you're supposed to be doing for ME which is connecting me with potential future customers. Potential customers who have a genuine desire to actually hire someone or someone like me and to whom I can pitch my services and have a reasonable chance of being hired often enough so that what I pay you to use your service becomes a sound investment.
That isn't happening at the moment.
At present the vast majority of times I'm paying Thumbtack for leads who are 'ghosts', 'tirekickers' or simply 'unsuitable'. These leads never hire anyone on Thumbtack. Most of the leads I receive are like that. They don't respond, they don't hire me, they don't hire anyone on Thumbtack. Why? Because these leads never had a genuine interest or desire to hire someone. They were just fishing for prices or window shopping.
Here's an idea, you tell me if this is fair.
You send me leads that fit the broad parameters in my perferences. If they turn out to be a 'ghost' or a 'tirekicker' no harm no foul, it happens, at least you haven't charged me for the privilege of finding out. If a lead turns out to be 'unsuitable' for any reason then I'll decline the lead, I'm sure there will be other Pros who will be better able to fulfill their needs. I'm not going to be angry or annoyed that you made me pay for an 'unsuitable' lead.
When I close a lead, any lead, charge me a flat fee - say 10% of that lead's estimated value - is that fair? Would that work, or do so few Pro's actually ever get hired on Thumbtack that when you crunch the numbers you figure you'd make less money than you do now with Promote?
I'd love to have a discussion about a fairer and simpler revenue model like that. If we can have that kind of discussion then perhaps we can get back on track. If Thumbtack really are determined to stick with Promote and its current revenue model I don't think there is much room for meaningful discussion. The changes Thumbtack made are not working and I think you would be doing a huge disservice to the Pros who have supported your business all these years by ignoring their feedback and persisting with Promote.
As a remote (mostly Test Prep) tutor, I know I am not in one of your hundreds of largest Pro markets. Will you continue to try to custom serve all Pro/Customer categories - a monstrous task! that has inevitably led to huge delays (5 months for Instant Match), poorly co-ordinated platform changes (Instant Match became beta beta Promote in 3 weeks) for the smaller Pro categories or will you transparently communicate when some categories will not be able to be serviced (temporarily or permanently) in the future?
Yes. Here's my question? The promote feature killed my business, thus is there a way for the way "job leads" are now handled to be changed? ie, a pro is NOT charged UNLESS he/she actually speaks/texts with a an interested client! Please consider revising your current "job lead " protocol.
Does anyone know how we can participate and / or listen in to this? I will be fascinated to hear if the major isues are addressed.
I absolutly love Thumbtack, it litterally changed my life and brought my business to a whole other level. How did you come up with the idea of creating Thumbtack and what are some of the challenges you had at the beggining?
@SaraO It is great to hear that you are having success on TT. As I am sure you have read, this is not the typical post these days on these boards.
Are you seeing the same issues that so many of us are seeing relative to ghost leads, prices that seem random, and poor conversion rates vs what was the case before the promote feature was implemented?
If not, what are you doing differently? Could the difference be the line of work you are in, your geography?
Just searching for what many of us are missing as I truly believe we all want TT to be a great tool for us, but just struggling a bit on how to make it work in a productive manner.
It might be because of the line of work that I am in, I am an online private Spanish teacher/tutor. The prices do seem random but they are always within the same range and they are very reasonable. I like the promote feature better because the students are the ones that contact me if they like my profile and want to work with me, I am more likely to convert that way. I know that TT is not perfect, but I get 95% of my students from here so I really can't complain.
@SaraO When a student picks you and you respond, do they respond back? The lack of response back from leads has been a major source of frustration. If so, do you know whether they are using the mobile app or the website?
@jcp Agreed! Every other lead generation service I use either provides exclusive leads (ie, no other pros know of the lead until I decline it) or at most 2 other pros. Oh and the lead cost on those systems is between $18 and $55.. so the cost is very much in line with TT in many cases and I have a response rate of about 75% to my "I am happy to help and want to know more" initial message sent to the lead.
So... why is TT so different in lead behavior????
@TanaCorporon Well said and Thank you for posting this! As a fellow attorney on TT I can say that my results have been very much the same for me. TT once was a very reliable and large source of business and the best conversion rate of all of the lead services I use. It has now dropped to the worst from an analytics perspective.
I am happy to assist in any way that I can to champion this matter. Things have to change for us to stay interested.
Does anybody know how we will actually see the responses???
1) There should be a setting where pros can choose whether they want partial matches or not. Your support people are saying this gives pros "more choices", but I am a personal chef/cooking instructor, and I am getting leads from hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of miles away. Such leads are useless to me. I think this is less about expanding choices than it is about TT being able to say you are giving me a large number of leads. But many of these leads are garbage, and I do not have time to sort through them. I only want leads where ALL criteria are met, not just some, particularly in terms of maximum number of guests and travel distance.
2) When "Promote" is turned on, the leads are charged just for being provided. I realize that promoting a listing is going to come with a fee, but this is a sneaky way to do it. Why not just charge a monthly fee to promote the listing? You get the money up front and I don't have to deal with paying for leads that only have partial matches?
3) The user interface is very confusing. I was told by support staff that "Jobs" means jobs for which I was not contacted, but for which I might want to respond or bid. A lot of the partial matches are coming in this way, and for services for which I have turned promote on, some of these are these partial match garbage listings.
4) Finding how to turn off partial matches is very confusing and well-hidden.
5) I am no longer getting very many useful leads from TT, which makes me wonder if the customer-side user interface is just as confusing, or perhaps generates just as many useless hits for the customer, so perhaps customer use is down in favor of local sites like NextDoor. If your customer-side user base is down, and you are trying to compensate for that by sending leads on partial matches and calling it "choice", that is not helping make TT useful to pros.
As what I've heard from a few Pro peers, it's only open to Top Pros via invitation to register to see the Live Stream at 6PM PST. I would love to know why it wasn't open to ALL Pros! After all, we are all a part of Thumbtack. Without ALL of its' Pros, they wouldn't exist.
But it would be interesting to see if all of the major issues have been addressed, and not just with vague answers as we usually get along with links.
@DJStevie Oh wow - now that is dissapointing.
If this is true, the original post in this thread by @JasonB is very misleading as the only mention of a requirement of being a Top Pro is to win the $100. There is no mention of the need to be a Top Pro to participate.
"Most Interesting" _ You asked that question a week ago and I Don't see either an answer Or a Listing ofeither the Time Today for Marco's LiveStream Or Where and How to Access it. Why Not ??? WHERE DO I GET IT AND WHEN ???
Hey Jason _ WHEN & WHERE I HAVE TO DO ??? How about the Favor of a REPLY ~
Hello @JasonB Can you please tell us what time this live Q&A is going to be at today? Your post doesn't indicate that. Several people have asked & that question & no answer has been provided by anyone. Surely the moderators must know what time this will be at.
Hey Jason, How, When and Where can I access Marco's Live Stream? Just spent wayyy tooo much time with Customer Service and "They" couldn't tell me. What's Up with that_ Does Marco Do Live Streams Every Day ??? How about a responsive and timely reply. Thanks Much ~
Hey Jason, How, When and Where can I access Marco's Live Stream? Just spent wayyy tooo much time with Customer Service and "They" couldn't tell me. Not Helpful. What's Up with that_ Does Marco Do Live Streams Every Day ??? How about a responsive and timely reply so I can attend. Thanks Much ~
You're not alone. Many nof My Customers have told me exactly the Same Thing. They'd love to but they can't find it.
Is there a new plan in place to revert back to old platform which was more effective and beneficial to us as a vendor?
@K-9 @DJStevie @Hankster @MR @jcp Meckell and I have sent you all a direct message with some information on this. If you have further questions feel free to get back to us there.
I am an acoustic piano tuner who perform light reconditioning, and repairs on most make and model pianos. I also am a certified technician for QRS digital player piano systems. I am hoping to generate a following in my county of Volusia County in central Florida.
My question is: If I upgrade to promote, is there a way to view the potential customers quote information without having to accept it because lots of times I paid for quotes I could not do because for various reasons the customer picked me thinking I could do a job I was not equipment or experienced in.
I do thank you and Meckell for sending me a message, and my fellow Pros as well, but I think @JasonB should have mentioned in his thread how this Q&A with @MarcoZ would happen, not leave it open for us to think that ALL pros would be a part of it today. Because many of us were keeping the day open so we can tune in.
@Ma we'll be recording the live Q&A and posting it here after. That way, pros who are unable to watch it will still be able to see it.
We are a new Swimming Pool Repair company that started last spring. I was under the impression that if I decline a job because I am booked solid and can't help them in the time frame they are looking for or whatever the case may be, they will get a message saying I cannot take the job, or this Pro is not available, or something along those lines. We have had nothing but 5 star reviews since last year. I declined a job becuase he needed it completed by a certain date and I was booked solid. I then got a bad, 1 star review from the customer saying I never responded to him. How does it work when you decline a job? I hate that I now have my first bad review when any other customer has nothing but wonderful things to say about my company. Could you please just go over this briefly tonight? Thanks!
I am a photographer that started over 3 years ago. Thumbtack was so helpful to me and an integral part of my marketing. I even have been Top Pro for all of that time. I have been through a few price and algorithm changes but the latest structure has left me and Thumbtack going in opposite directions. I can not justify paying up to $40 to be thrown in with dozens of others and get a rare chance to get a job that would only pay $100. My services are not cookie cutter as I would rather have some flexibility on my bids.
How come it doesn't seem like no one is listening to the top pros when we say that the prices we are being charged is ridiculous and we feel cheated and not being heard. It's been over a year that we have beed addressing this issue with "we are looking into it" or "we will forward your concern"...to no avail? I have spent thousands on here and feel i have been robbed with the recent changes no matter how TT tells me it works in my favor. I used to spend around $17+$25 or so dollars for my remodeling company before for a bid. This is expensive but it wasn't too bad for the return. NOW i have to spend $50-$75 for the SAME type of lead with even less chance of getting a response since you have also upped the number of pros that can respond making my odds go way down. Still have seen no change or concern. I know we have to spend money to make money but this is being taken advantage of. We are the ones who put TT on the map. I am not opposed to spending money, but not like this, not for the return i have been getting. Its crazy to stay here and spend hundreds a week on a whim. I am almost totally out from using TT anymore since i have seen no change.