Jason, I am a competitor of yours. From what I understand, those search results are being rolled out in waves -- by the end of November, the search results in your zip code will start showing only the best pros or those paying to be "promoted" (another brainchild of TT). Currently, for example in TX, computer repair search results do not show me but show you and then a bunch of motley, mediocre wanna-be computer professionals. You stand out as the best so enjoy it while it lasts -- in a few weeks others will show up perhaps like me if the customer sends "can be done over Internet". Now regarding those $15 to $20 folks, these (in theory) should be folks who were vetted by Thumbtack -- these are probably pros who have very low number of reviews and will maybe do a bait-and-switch on customers and end up telling them things cost more $. Or maybe they are just trying to build up their profile to have more and more verified reviews. Then they can raise their prices. ***But*** maybe, as you suggest, they are foreign invaders. Thumbtack likes to pride itself on making sure there are no fake professionals but as a security expert I already know the bad guys are always one or two steps ahead of the good guys. The bad guys can easily fool TT and it would prideful for them to think they can stop that. For example, a pro in foreign country X can always use a surrogate in the US who takes a commision for just being a surrogate. The $15 work does not violate TT policy but the customer immediately gets someone from a foreign country to remote in. In this instance, a Thumbtack Pro is really a virus, a form of a "scareware" ad.
To summarize, we are the victims of TT doing whatever it thinks is necessary to catch them, perhaps getting Google to tell them about email communications between the pro hired and the customer doing the hiring or a surrogate Pro farming work off to foreign country X.
Separate from all that, we both know we do TT computer repair work for fun or a ministry of service (in my case) because no one can make even a pittance of a living solely from TT computer repair work. I would make more money flipping burgers at McDonald's and I am the top computer professional in the country, plain and simply. Take care!
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