Angie’s List is shifting its business this summer from a paid-only membership model to a tiered subscription system with a free option. This is a pretty big change considering the powers that be over at Angie’s List have held on to their payment model for 20 years now. The new changes are expected to begin rolling out to selected markets in Q2 2016 with a completed rollout in Q3 2016. Interestingly enough, the city that houses Angie’s List, Indianapolis, will likely not see these changes until late summer or early fall.

How will it work?

Currently, the cheapest Angie’s List membership fee is $3.25 per month. Once the rollout begins, a free option will be available that offers access to a selection of business ratings and reviews. This will operate through display advertising allowing users to seek out and read the reviews.

There will, of course, still be paid subscription offers as well. Users can pay $24.99 per year for a Premium Silver membership and $99.99 per year for a Premium Gold membership. These plans will include more options, such as an emergency service hotline and fair-price guarantees.

Why the sudden shift?

Angie’s List has been under pressure as of late to sell the company. Last November, they rejected a $512 million buyout from InterActiveCorp, owners of HomeAdvisor. Despite the cries from activists to sell the company, president and CEO Scott Durchslag believes that these changes will foster growth. “We will get a lot of benefits from embracing it, because I expect to see traffic explode,” he says.

This new freemium model will most likely draw in a hefty number of new users because, well, people really like free stuff. Users that have shied away from Angie’s List in the past because of the cost will now be able to reap the benefits.

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