Angie’s Restricted List Should Tempt Investors

For social networks trying to defend their turf, a good barrier to entry may just be a barrier to membership.

That is the idea behind Angie’s List, a members-only site for business reviews that filed for an initial public offering Thursday. More popular review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor accept reviews from anyone and post those reviews for all to see. This leaves them vulnerable to merchants potentially paying Web surfers a small fee for positive reviews or even just submitting their own.

The downside to falling for bogus restaurant or hotel reviews may just be eating a chewy filet or sleeping on dirty sheets. But the consequence of hiring a bad roofer can be more problematic. So Angie’s List focuses on “high cost of failure” segments — plumbers, contractors, doctors and the like — where being able to trust reviews really matters.

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