Complaint / review text:
In many ways, it's had to deny that Thumbtack is a scam. Thumbtack operates on the very same principle as Las Vegas - let someone win a couple of times, and you've got them hooked. From then on, feed them just enough of a glimmer of hope that they'll pull that lever again and again.
I've used Thumbtack for my web design business. Out of over 40 "quotes" ("quotes" is in parenthesis for a reason), I've gotten only 2 jobs. Most of the others I've never heard from after I bid. Certainly the possibility exists that my "quotes" are either too low or too high, but I've done some experimentation in that aspect. I've bid stupidly low and stupidly high prices for basic website design, as well as more reasonable ones. If I bid $100 for a website, I would certainly expect to get a response from the requester asking if I was serious. Conversely, if I submit a "quote" of $10,000 for a personal site, I'd expect the same. But no, no one asks - because they more than likely don't even exist.
Why "quotes"? Because Thumbtack has an expanded definition of the word. If I get a request for a "quote" for web design, it generally is the equivalent of - "I need a website for my business - how much would you charge me for one?" This is the exact equivalent of taking your car to the mechanic saying, "My car is making a funny noise - how much would you charge to fix it"? The mechanic is going to need more information in order to give you a "quote". Do you think it would be right if the mechanic had to pay a fee to ask you for that info? Well, that's Thumbtack's model. If I ask a requester for more info on the website they need, I get charged as if I actually submitted a "quote". They consider asking for more information as if it's a "quote".
You are charged that money whether you ever hear from the requester again or not. All they have to do is view your "quote", and the money is gone. Actually, Thumbtack already has the money up front. You by 'credits' from them in packages.
But, the most incriminating piece of evidence as to Thumbtack being a scam - when they are accused of posting fake job requests, they are very quick to post a copy and paste response asking what they would have to gain from posting fake requests. Well, since every single "quote" submitted and "viewed" makes them money, it's fairly obvious what more leads can do - even fake ones.
Mind you, you have absolutely no way of knowing whether or not the lead is real or if your "quote" has actually been viewed by the supposed requester. All you are doing is pulling the handle on the slot machine and trusting that the casino has scruples and can be trusted. My trust just ran out.