Amazon Local Services, a service that competes with Angie’s List and other websites that aggregate customer reviews of local businesses, is about to get a fresh coat of paint. In an update that Amazon appears to have prematurely revealed, Amazon Local Services will be rebranded Amazon Home Services and will launch with a bevy of improvements and changes.
Unlike Amazon Local Services, which was only available in a handful of markets, and which offered a limited number of categories of services, Amazon Home Services will go live in Miami, San Francisco, New York, Houston, Seattle, Chicago, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, Dallas, Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego, San Jose, Portland, Minneapolis, Detroit, Denver, Riverside, Tampa, Orlando, Austin, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Cincinnati, Charlotte, and St. Louis. That’s according to an updated page at amazon.com/services that briefly went live this morning before being pulled.
Judging by screenshots that TechCrunch managed to capture, a long list of sortable and searchable businesses will greet visitors to the revamped marketplace. The categories will range from the mundane (home improvement, lawn & garden, automotive, computer & electronics, and lessons) to the exotic (goat grazing and fire-breathing performances). But if none of Amazon’s front-page suggestions match what you’re searching for – whether plumbing, auto repair, or yoga instruction – you’ll be able to drill down further.
The categories appear to be a mixture of traditional business listings and the more service-oriented, on-demand types of things covered by Fiverr. Amazon is entering a well-established market with this widened focus, but its management is wagering that better customer service, reviews from authenticated customers, price matching, and a thorough vetting process for listed businesses will differentiate Home Services from the rest of the field.
Things on the back end have changed, too. In addition to requiring businesses to be licensed, insured, and background-checked, Amazon will charge them a “service platform fee” ranging from 5 to 19 percent. That’s on top of a compulsory 5 percent transaction fee. Even so, this may be less expensive than the old system – a 20 percent cut applied to services that cost under $1,000, and a 15 percent cut for those over $1,000.
According to TechCrunch sources familiar with the company’s plans, Amazon Home Services will launch next Monday.