A Ministry of Commerce spokesperson did not mention any U.S. actions specifically, but it's been a tense couple of weeks for the trade negotiations.World Politicsread more
U.S. stock index futures were lower Thursday morning, as market participants continue to monitor an intensifying trade war between the world's two largest economies.US Marketsread more
British Prime Minister Theresa May could announce her resignation in the next few days, according to U.K. media reports, as she faces increasing pressure from members of her...Europe Politicsread more
A federal judge in New York City on Wednesday said Deutsche Bank and Capital One can turn over financial documents related to President Donald Trump and his businesses in...Politicsread more
Chinese government-aligned experts are stressing that the U.S. will need to negotiate a trade agreement with Asia's largest economy.China Economyread more
With Tesla shares skidding, two experts weigh in on what could be next for the automaker and its volatile stock.Trading Nationread more
Under-the-radar hedge-fund managers beating the market are betting on big comeback stories General Electric and PG&E, as well as Biogen.Marketsread more
Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's consumer business, said Huawei's own operating system for smartphones and laptops could be ready for use in China by fall this year.Technologyread more
Best Buy beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly same-store sales on Thursday, as the consumer electronics retailer sold more wearables and tablets and signed up more people...Retailread more
Shares of L Brands, the owner of Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works, rose nearly 11% in aftermarket trading Wednesday after the company reported it beat revenue and...Retailread more
The global economy would be hit hard if President Donald Trump decides to impose steep tariffs on imported cars, Citi's Willem Buiter told CNBC on Thursday, with Germany...Autosread more
As of Friday, homeowners searching for contractors on Google will be shown results that are "HomeAdvisor screened and approved" and come with profiles, price estimates and the ability to "book now" or schedule an appointment to compare estimates for work. HomeAdvisor helps by screening all the contractors listed on its site — rejecting 15 to 20 percent of applicants. It charges an annual fee of $300 to be included in its listings.
"There are millions of local businesses, many of which are not marketing online. We think local advertising is probably around a $50 billion opportunity and only a small portion has gone online. This is why Google and Amazon and possibly Facebook (down the road) are getting more serious about this, " said Mizuho Securities analyst Neil Doshi.
And indeed, other tech giants are interested; Amazon, for one, launched Amazon Home Services earlier in the year, in an effort to get a piece of this potentially lucrative market. (Also, showing just how hot this space is now, on Wednesday IAC announced a bid to acquire Angie's List for $8.75 per share. IAC said the board rebuffed the proposal. No comment from Angie's List.)
"Obviously, Amazon and Google are deeply embattled on multiple fronts and home services is no different, " said HomeAdvisor CEO Chris Terrill. "Google realized that they don't want to let Amazon get too far out there and so they partnered with us to bring a technology that truly no one else has and I think would take them a very long time to build themselves."
At Amazon, customers looking for services are offered the option to book at checkout for a flat fee. That, said Terrill, is an important difference. "That's problematic because the service provider doesn't know how complicated the install is so they have to quote, literally, the highest price they can to cover all their contingencies."
"All the research we have done — both on the homeowner's side and the service provider's side — says that's not how people like to shop for home services," Terrill said.
It's not the first time Google has shown an interest in the decidedly unsexy offline home services market, and the company is by no means placing all its bets with IAC. In August 2014 Google Capital led a $100 million investment round in home services start-up Thumbtack and in September made a follow-on investment in the company, now valued at more than $1.3 billion.
Google is also testing its own service in San Francisco. Home Service Ads invites plumbers, cleaners, locksmiths and other providers to advertise and manage customer inquiries, correspondence and appointments, all through Google.
Other players vying to stake their claims in the home services market include public companies Yelp and Angie's List, as well as private outfits Zaask and TaskRabbit. But, said Terrill, "If you look at the top task-based companies, we'll do more service requests in a few hours than they'll do in an entire month."
With no clear winners today, these services are addressing a real customer pain point. "There seems to be an opportunity for larger players or new start-ups to disrupt this space," Doshi said.
"Mobile is very important," he said. "TalkLocal is using a mobile-only approach where they will try to get a call by a service provider within a set period of time. Thumbtack is also taking a rich mobile experience. Basically, if you have an issue, and you are not by a computer you want to be able to reach someone and talk to them. "
The rapid growth in this area can be seen in HomeAdvisor's revenue. IAC highlighted HomeAdvisor in its most recent quarterly earnings report, crediting the business for driving a 21 percent increase in revenue for the e-commerce segment. HomeAdvisor's domestic revenue rose 46 percent year over year in the third quarter, driven by a 53 percent increase in service requests and 30 percent growth in the number of professionals paying for the service.