Yes, is clearly a pay for referral scam website

Colgan | Report Scams
18 Apr 2013 scam alert
For every real lead, there are dozens of fake leads they try to SELL you and they all sound like the same drunk, illiterate wrote them which tells you how they see their customers.
They have this bogus point system to “rate” instructors where you get points according to “taking initiative to obtain their marketing tools” and customers will end up being told and instructor who has never taught before is ranked at the top and an instructor with decades of experience and a verifiable national reputation might not even show up in their searches if they even want to have anything to do with Thumbtack. That’s the main problem with these “pay for referrals” scams is that you practically make it impossible to find the best instructors because the can’t attract them. is a fraudulent,fraudster,Unsafe,untrue,unreal,not legitimate,rip off,crap website.

Yes, Thumbtack is clearly a pay for referral scam



  1. Jason says:

    I truly believe Thumbtack is a scam. I’m not saying they don’t deliver the occasional genuine lead (after all, people are free to look for services on their website and submit a query), what I’m saying is that I am almost 100% certain that they “pad out” these very sparse genuine leads with fake ones.

    I created an account a couple of years ago and forgot about it. I run a busy dog walking company in New York. They kept sending me leads, but they always looked very lame in the description (client nowhere near my area of service, or very sporadic services required) so I ignored them. One thing I did notice, however, was that a certain name kept cropping up again and again: “Megan F.”

    Recently, business has been a bit slow so it occurred to me that maybe I should be taking these leads. So as an experiment I bought some “credits” from them. Immediately, the leads starting coming in WAY more frequently than they were before. That was a red flag. If these leads were from genuine people looking for services, why would they increase in volume right after I purchased credits? Hmmm.

    Alas, most of them have been pretty lame again (a lot of them are even out of state). Of the couple that I’ve contacted, nothing came of them. They responded back and when I asked them to contact me via telephone or the contact form on my website, they went silent and I never heard from them again. That raised another red flag.

    And then today, it happened. I got two different leads within 24 hours from the same name: “Megan F.” They were both different zip codes and the details of the leads were different, but I am almost completely certain that whatever system Thumbtack uses to generate fake leads, whether it be a team of low paid flunkies or a computer algorithm, got sloppy. I’ve seen that name “Megan F” too many times over the last couple of years and here she is contacting me twice in the same day from different zip codes.

    There is absolutely no way of knowing if these leads are genuine. No way at all. A few, or 50%, or even as many as 75% could be nothing more than Thumbtack sending me fake leads so that I’ll use up credits responding to them. If they’re fake, how in the hell would I ever prove it? It’s a horrible, horrible business model and I have a strong feeling that Thumbtack is just one big scam.

    • Jay says:

      I paid to bid on a DJ gig from John H, I had received a few leads, but decided to pay the bidding fee for this gig, needless to say the next day my mailbox was overflowing with leads and one of the leads was John H again, same gig, different location. After paying the fee, I was not contacted by anyone or given anyone to contact, I just received an email stating “he looked at your bid” who the hell is “he’? Major scam!!!!!!!

  2. Mike says:

    Thumbtack is a scam, definitely. I experienced the same thing you report. The second I paid Thumbtack for credits, the rate of so-called “leads” went way up, with most of them being fake in my opinion…out of state, wouldn’t contact me when I replied. Is Thumbtack a fraud? YES. I look forward to the day they fold-up and out of business, only I feel bad for every company stupid enough to have been suckered by them in the meantime.

  3. aydin says:

    I truly believe Thumbtack is a huge scam. I have a pro business email address and they send 100 emails for business and 99 of them goes to scam box. Even when you send them message, they never write you back.

  4. Thomas D. says:

    I joined Thumbtack recently. Within 24 hours I had like 20 leads and so I responded to all of them, buying credits as I went along. But only one phone call. They kept coming in for the next two days but then I realized that if I stopped submitting quotes for a short time, the leads stopped coming in, which made no sense. Also it made no sense that I had so many leads within such a short time of STARTING my advert, then after it has been on for a week, just a trickle of leads. Also because now I am more selective in which leads I provide a quote to. But I didn’t submit any new quotes, and then magically I got three of four leads not viewed so then I got credits back. This is almost like Las Vegas, trying to get me to gamble some more on leads. And the reasons for someone not then going with you are really lame like “I don’t know what options I would like” or “I can get this done at such and such a place for only $35″. They don’t make sense.
    But the simple fact that the leads came so fast so soon after I joined is really suspect. I found myself spending so much money with no concrete leads. Now I will experiment with really low quotes like ridiculously low and see if anyone responds. I also think this pattern is very suspicious. In fact, statistically speaking it isn’t possible, the pattern is occurring more than just by chance alone. When I send a quote, I get more leads. That is not how it should be. It should be a constant, RANDOM appearance of leads based on a RANDOM search for services by any given potential customer.

  5. Thomas D. says:

    By the way, I saw Megan F. as well in my leads. And it is curious that one reason stating they could get the service elsewhere for only $35…..when all my credits were bought for $34.99. Strange coincidence? I don’t think so. I think the person writing the reason was subconsciously thinking about the next $34.99 worth of credits I’m going to buy. I have like 4 or 5 pages worth of quotes I submitted and nothing concrete. And yes, almost all of the leads are really far away, way beyond the range I specified, in small towns. Very few are actually local. Most of them would require 40min to 1 hr one way to drive. When you think of the odds, it would be more likely that I would get leads from the major metropolitan area where there are MORE people, than from out in the countryside where there are FEWER people. Again, it makes no sense statistically. There is definitely something not right about this website.

  6. John says:

    I have been using thumbtack for 3 years. I used to get alot of free leads when I started and when I posted ads on cl before they banned them I got alot of seo on my thumbtack page. I am on the first page of google search with my thumbtack page which is nice. I have got about 7 jobs from there lead program. I will say that most of the leads are false. I would offer free service when I wouldn’t receive a reply and still no response. I have gotten a couple great customers and made over 10000 in thumbtack leads in the last 3 years and only spent 84.99 twice for 60 credits. I was one of the first to use thumbtack in my area and alot of other people started off my cl ad so I think that’s why they treat me so good. Put keywords in your title and link it to your page and all your social networks. Just like yelp and service magic you won’t win all leads and alot are fake. But once in a while you will get a REAL customer. It also depends on what your offering. If your average job is under $100 it’s not worth it. If you average a couple hundred to $1000s them $85 for 20 leads isn’t a bad deal. I’ve got a couple jobs over 1000 and couple hundred. Every marketing system has its good and bad you just got to learn how to play each one different. Yelp you need 5 star reviews from real customers and offer a good coupon deal and they will place you in the top page. Good Luck

  7. Iver says:

    I have been a member for about a year now and have never had a true lead call me. Not One!!

    None of the leads are real.. Don’t waste your money on this crap.

  8. Colleen says:

    I just cancelled my account with Thumbtack because of too many fake leads. I can’t afford to continue wasting money on false hope. To bad, I thought I could really count on the service to help me build my business.

  9. Jason says:

    That’s my comment at the top. I’m coming back to update my opinion. I’m more convinced than ever that Thumbtack is a scam.

    I’ve actually gotten a couple of jobs from it since I wrote that comment. This is what sucks you in – if you respond to leads frequently enough, you will get the occasional job. But it will be once in a blue moon. This was enough to make me believe that even with the fake leads, it might be worth it.

    So I bought a large package of credits, and vowed to respond to every lead. The first thing of note is that as soon as I bought that package of credits, the leads increased threefold. I was swimming in them. After a month of responding to almost 80 leads, I have not gotten one bite. Not one.

    So this is how I know they are sending fake leads: I’ve been in business for 10 years and in that time I’ve gotten a good idea of the rate at which people who contact me with inquiries follow up to my response. In fact it’s probably about 85% or so. If someone contacts me through my website, or from a business card they’ve picked up, I will send them the information they need and they almost always get back in touch – either with more questions, or to schedule a meet and greet, or to politely say no. In contrast, none of these Thumbtack “customers” reply back. Even when I can provide them EXACTLY what they want at a price I know is very competitive.

    An example: recently I had an inquiry from a woman who said she had a nervous dog who will only walk with a female walker and who needs to be walked at 6pm, in a neighborhood in which I know people have trouble finding dog walkers. I happen to have a female walker right in this neighborhood, she has 8 years experience, she’s one of my star employees, her own dog is the same breed as this customer’s dog, and she has the 6pm slot free and can start at any time. I also offered her a great price. Did I get a reply back? Nope! Complete silence. There is NO WAY IN THE WORLD that such a perfect customer match would fail to get back to me if they’d contacted me through my website. No way in the world!

    This is just one example of many. I’ve learned my lesson with Thumbtack – they are a truly despicable scam, a bunch of lying scumbags who send you fake “leads” in order to fraudulently persuade you to purchase more credits. And everyone I know who has experience with Thumbtack has come to the same conclusion. Stay right away.

  10. Sandra A. says:

    I am trying to cancel my account on this site, actually I did it, but they still send me text messages from “clients” this site is a mess!

  11. Betsy Fornier says:

    Thumbtack is a scam and a lie. They code their webpages to come up in search engines with the title “The Top 32 general contractors in Cincinnati” or whatever the industry, city, and number of companies they list. But anyone can fill out a profile with them, including bogus companies or ones operating illegally without a license. So how are they the “top” companies? Answer: They aren’t, and it’s a lie. Thumbtack scams the consumer with their fraudulent website titles. Google should blacklist them.

  12. P. says:

    I have the same problems as everyone had before. I just paid for leads many of them over 30 or 40 dollars.

    But, I never heard anything back from leads at all. And seems there’re more leads coming to you once you spent more money with them. And all leads seems not to be real. There’s no response, no questions from all leads.
    The thumbtack just wanted money from you. Please don’t waste your money even single penny with them.

    How bad it is! They made money out of people who had to spent single penny we have on them for nothing.

    By the way, I’m a caterer and I’m selling Thai spice and Thai food ingredients online.

  13. Dennis says:

    Time to wake up folks. Googled this company and it is a scam. I get leads from them and look at what it costs to submit a bid. Word of mouth and references from legitimate professionals works 10 x’s better than a program with no guarantees. There’s no way to verify the validity of the referral. Compute 200 factitious leads at the current rate of and be able to get credible clients via a legitimate source.

  14. mark says:

    WOW! thanks folks, I filled out there questionnaire form and I have received over 100 leads! then just for giggles I went to your reviews, lmao I sure am glad to read your posts and saving what little money I have left, has anyone contacted the attorney generals office?

    • Jack says:

      the Attorney General? Yeah he isn’t concerned in helping the business owner. You can forget about it. Maybe this is somehow tied to Obamacare. Someone has to pay for it. Seriously. Just run away from the site as fast as you can and don’t look back.

  15. GTL Guy says:

    Thank you! I had my suspicions with all the leads that were so vague.
    I haven’t spent any money and now for sure will not!!

  16. dj cp says:

    I’m a dj and I’m glad I did a search and came across these complaints. I knew something was fishy when the lead that came in after signing up fell on a Tuesday but the wrong date was given (it was a Friday) and I questioned it in my quote and never heard back from them at least admitting that it was a mistake.

    Then the next day I received a RFQ for a birthday party with 200-300 guests ON A SUNDAY NIGHT in the middle of May in a fairly small town, I was like wtf!? That’s when I knew something was just “fake”. Warning to all don’t pay for their b.s. services.

  17. Michael says:

    I never thought about checking the reviews on thumbtack, I wish I had! I’ve spent about $50.00 and it seems the same as everyone is saying, I give them Money and the leads pick up, when the credits run out so does the leads. I will be removing my name from there site and reporting them to my credit card company AND HOPE I can recoupe some of my money

  18. Travis F says:

    I hope this helps out anyone who is uncertain whether to use thumbtack services or not. I joined thumbtack in Dec 2012. I am in the moving industry located in metro Atl, Ga. I started when thumbtack was having us to pay a monthly amount for unlimited bids. I would bid on jobs throughout the month but didn’t land any jobs until Feb 2013. I decided to bid pretty low for a job and finally landed my 1st one. I asked to client to review me and things began to get better for me using thumbtack. We now have to buy credits to bid on jobs so now I don’t bid on every job that comes along. I always ask the client a question about their job request. If i do not get a response i do not bid on the job. I also will not bid on a job if i see that at least 2 other movers have bidded on a job. Im not here to compete tooth and nail with other independent owners especially when the client fills out a form with no obligation or skin in the game. Im not a fan of thumbtack deleting some questions that i ask the client. I do not ask any personal information just specifics in order to give a more accurate quote (ie is the apt on the 1st floor or the 3rd floor makes a significant difference with how many men to bring) Deleting my questions gets me a little annoyed being that i have purchased credits. It makes me feel criminal like i have done something wrong when im just looking for necessary specifics. I also wondered if any of the (avg 10 per day) leads are fake and false. I don’t know for sure but All in all i will say that currently the site is working for me.
    I’ve been with Tk for 14 months now and i’ve booked 78 jobs. This equates to about 5-6 per month. I think people are more likely to contract you when you begin to get successful jobs and reviews. I have 45 reviews now and Im securing more jobs each month as my completed jobs and reviews increase. I’ve even bidded a little higher (from what a customer told me) on a job but was selected because of our reviews. I was previously on CL but my ads were getting deleted, flagged or whatever it’s called so I have to find another route. Again, Im not sure about the percentage of false leads that may be generated but Im securing anywhere between 10-50% of jobs per credit package that I buy. When i first started with TK that percentage was 0% I hope this helps someone.
    God bless
    Travis F

  19. Ivonne says:

    Ah, the wonderful mistery world of the Internet. I joined TK one month ago. I received 10 inquiries, but information received is too little or vague to properly quote. Therefore I always reply with questions requesting more info. I NEVER get a reply. How is that possible? I know for a fact that in my area there’s a lot of demand for my services. My profile is strong and I am qualified but nobody ever replies. I even tried quoting an hourly rate which is ridiculous for Property Management and still..nothing. I “invested” $34 so far and I got money refunded cause some of my replies were never viewed. I was really hoping this could work but I am getting very discouraged.

  20. Warren g says:

    I bought credits from TK for two businesses we own
    Neither one got any work from TK leads, I got suspicious and offered free moving services to one customer, who didn’t even call to inquire….. Luckily I paid for all my transactions with paypal money will be refunded!!!

    Steer clear of thumbtack it’s a waste of time

  21. Jack says:

    Total SCAM!!! do not put any money into this company. I have even gone the “spook” route of reverse searching the “leads” only to learn that they are generated at random by a database.

    DO NOT USE THIS WEBSITE it is not real. it is a money grab and that is all. Most users realize it after they have spent about $60.00 so. Then they just typically dissapear and I suspect that is why Thumbtack is still around. Not enough people complaining about the service.

  22. Rob S. says:

    These are the new leads. These are the Glengarry leads. And to you they’re gold, and you don’t get them.

  23. Dianna says:

    So I have never given thumbtack a dime, they actually gave me free credits and the one and only job I bid on I got and it worked out really well but now they haven’t sent me anything once the customer called my number we cut thumbtack out of the picture screw them I definitely beleive they are a scam but they will never get a dime from hehehe…

  24. Ron says:

    I started using Thumbtack in Feb 2014. As I understand it their business model changed dramatically just before I learned about them. You now buy credits to view requests and use those credits to bid on jobs. In three months of using Thumbtack I’m hitting on 20% of my bids. Legitimate customers of which I’m also getting repeat business. Cancelled jobs are running about 25% and the rest I’m losing against 3-4 competing bids. I am learning how to spot requests that may not be from a legitimate source (kids mostly) and I steer clear from those. However I’m seeing legitimate businesses requesting services and those are the ones I’m winning. The key is to put together a professional profile page and submit a professional quote as an attachment on your letterhead. I’ve used Thumbtack to request services and have been pleased with the results. It’s easy to say things are a scam, but I’m not seeing it on the current version of Thumbtack. I would not hesitate to recommend it to a friend.

  25. Deanna M. says:

    I wish I had done my homework before signing on with Thumbtack. I didn’t get a single client from that site. I do agree with other reviewers. I noticed the same suspicious pattern of leads. As soon as I paid for a package of credits, the number of leads I received increased dramatically. As soon as I used up the credits, I would get two credits refunded from Thumbtack because somebody never viewed my quote. After I stopped purchasing credits, the volume of leads decreased and then stopped altogether when I had not logged onto the site for about two weeks. Eventually, I deleted my account.

    I know my profession. It’s highly unusual to get so many requests for appointments in such a short time, which is one of the reasons I’m inclined to believe the complaints about fake leads. One of the reviewers made a reference to gambling and I agree the pattern of leads does resemble the pattern of playing a slot machine. I also find it highly suspicious that nobody called, even when the request was for an appointment ASAP.

    Another thing is, some of the names of these so-called clients are just plain weird. You don’t get a full name, just a first name and last initial. I got requests from names like Obmijad J. and Thareesa T, which makes me think some of these names are made up. Hardly any of them ever put any additional comments in their request forms, which is another thing that tipped me off.

    For more complaints about Thumbtack, check out Youtube, Pissed Consumer, Judges Spot and Ripoff Report.

  26. Jamie says:

    I have spent a LOT of money buying credits in order to respond to potential clients. Only 1 out of 40 has turned into a real client. I have had a lot of doubts about the validity of this service, and reading comments here — so many red flags I can see looking back. Recently, I completed a survey for Thumbtack in which I went into a lot of detail on pricing and how the credits are too high on the professional side and how the clients should at least have to pay a nominal fee in order to demonstrate their seriousness. Well, now it is becoming clear as to why “clients” do not have to pay.

    I am really disappointed. The irony is, Thumbtack has such a poor business model …. And practice … Yet, it proposes to help us build a better business. Ridiculous.

    Also, want to note that as of very recently, the credits required to make quotes have increased significantly. Gee, thanks for listening to your pros. I think I just sat on a tack!

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