Hardware stores start their own Angie’s List

MINNEAPOLIS — Retailers like Lowe’s and Home Depot are offering their own referral services, so that customers can obtain the name of a local electrician or plumber along with supplies for their project, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Both companies have been pushing their contractor installation programs, which links customers with subcontractors, while Menards has a more informal approach, displaying the business cards of a few contractors. Lowe’s has expanded its strategy by teaming up with Porch.com to give customers contact information and reviews for some 1.5 million professionals. CEO Matt Ehrlichman calls it “a combination of Angie’s List, review sites, and Pinterest, a LinkedIn for the home.” So far, reviews are sparse, and sceptics wonder how their integrity will be monitored, but the project is still in its early days.