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|Nancy Peterson, Founder & CEO|
|Services||Online marketplace, Review site|
Number of employees
HomeStars was formed in 2006 by Nancy Peterson. The Globe and Mail ran a feature on the company shortly after its foundation. The company began as an online community of homeowners, sharing reviews based on their personal experience to help other homeowners find reputable contractors. Each review can contain details on the delivery of the work, the contractor’s work habits and the quality of the follow-up. Similar to other review sites such as TripAdvisor, contractors are able to respond to any reviews that are written about them.
The National Post announced in 2015 that HomeStars had over two million companies listed on its website and hundreds of thousands of consumer reviews about those contractors. In 2015, ProfitGuide ranked HomeStars as the 77th fastest growing company in Canada. Its founder and CEO, Nancy Peterson, won an award in 2015 as one of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, where she ranked in 71st position.
The company has received praise for how it ensures its reviews are authentic. HomeStars detects fake reviews by a combination of a proprietary algorithm that detects suspicious activity and moderators who investigate reviews to ensure work was done. Once a negative review is published, some contractors may threaten legal action against the homeowner. If the homeowner decides to remove the review, it will be flagged as ‘removed by author’, which acts as a warning to others. Also, if HomeStars detects a contractor is attempting to post fake reviews or threaten homeowners, a suspicious activity flag will be posted prominently on their listing page.
While the company has received mainly positive feedback, some contractors have voiced their anger after receiving bad reviews. Peterson was quoted by The Globe and Mail saying "we're doing the right thing if companies hate us", when discussing negative comments about the website. Another article has suggested that when contractors provide inadequate services, it is only natural for the contractor to blame review websites and not their own poor services.
There have been a number of lawsuits where contractors had attempted to file defamation lawsuits against homeowners who had written negative reviews about poor work. HomeStars helps people understand the difference between a negative review and a defamatory review. HomeStars was criticized for publishing a high rating on a contractor who then went bankrupt and left customers who had made large down-payments with unfinished work.
HomeStars was acquired by HomeAdvisors parent company IAC, in February 2017. HomeAdvisor offers similar services in the US, and the acquisition of HomeStars is part of HomeAdvisor's strategy "to build a dominant global business and brand" according to their press release.
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- Newswire.ca release, IAC's HomeAdvisor Acquires HomeStars, the Leading Canadian Home Services Platform