Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Angie's List Posts Another Quarterly Loss; Is Membership Decline Due to Former CEO's Attack on Religious Freedom?

The Indianapolis Star reports:
[Angie's List]  reported revenue of $87 million in the quarter, 10.6 percent more than a
Former Angie's List CEO Bill Oesterle
year ago but short of Wall Street expectations of $89 million, according to a survey of analysts by Zacks Investment Research.
The company posted a loss of $8.3 million, or 14 cents a share, an improvement over a loss of $18 million a year ago but slightly worse than analysts' average forecast for a loss of 13 cents a share.
As of writing this, Angie's List is currently trading at $4.88 a share, down nearly 20% from yesterday.  Angie's List has never turned an annual profit in nearly 20 years of existence.

Earlier this year, Angie's List CEO Bill Oesterle led a fight against Indiana's RFRA, a law that protects religious freedom  Apparently Oesterle's leading role in attacking religious freedom came at a price.  Membership revenue fell by 9% during the second quarter of 2015.  Angie's List added 24% fewer members in the second quarter than it did in the second quarter of 2014.   One has to wonder if Oesterle's departure as CEO is tied to religious people no longer wanting to do business with Angie's List because of the company's CEO.

Nonetheless, even with Oesterle's departure Angie's List may not have seen the end of the backlash.   Oesterle's attacks on religious freedom helped land Angie's List on the American Family's Association's"Bigotry Map."  According to the AFA's description of the company, "Angie's List opposes religious liberty laws, which force Christians to violate their faith or face punishment by government."

I would add that it is not just Christians. The RFRA legislation Oesterle opposed protects people of all religious faiths from being compelled to act in a way contrary to their faith.  Fortunately it appears that religious conservatives are finally organizing to stand up to corporate bullies like the Oesterle and Marc Benioff of SalesForce who in one breath preach tolerance while engaging in the worst sort of intolerance when it comes to respecting people's religious beliefs.  If the leaders of these companies find that attacking religious freedom comes at a price, they'll be less inclined to do so in the future.


Anonymous said...

LGBT out and proud here. The first portion of my comment is an adjunct focus of your article while the second portion of my comment is more directly related.

(1) I continue to wait, breath not baited, for an engaged lesbian couple or engaged gay male couple to stomp or to sashay into a Muslim owned bakery, demand a wedding cake, and then create a social media circus when turned away because the religious faith of the Islamist bakery owner does not square with same sex marriage. My LGBT brothers and sisters apparently will gleefully taunt or entrap Christian bakery owners but are spineless when it comes to Sharia or Muhammad's disciples.

(2) The liberals, some of them hypocrites similar to the CEO of Apple which does business with civil rights trampling China, and our own goofy Mayor Greg Ballard whose ex-soldier military background can hardly be described as "gay friendly", will never ever admit they were dead wrong about their phony hysteria regarding the alleged economic damage RFRA would wreak on Hoosierdom.

Oesterle is a pimp for his [now former] corporate welfare whore Angie's List. Hicks and Oesterle- now mocked that he ever thought he could be governor- are multimillionaires who stuck witless shareholders with worthless certificates. And I do believe the phony sturm and angst of RFRA as a cover for their truly never profitable Ponzi scheme's imminent demise is coming back to haunt.

Blog Admin said...

Come on Paul. The AFA? Really? SPLC has had them listed as a hate group for several years, and their "bigotry map" is a parody of the SPLCs hate map.

Anonymous said...

Political comment, Paul.

I just saw that Trump is hinting at a third-party run. This is a brilliant strategy, as it forces the Republicans to select him or lose to Hillary. With the margins so small, and with Trump being able to carry 10% on his own, the Republicans lose every swing state if Trump goes third party.

Pete said...

Our Constitution, as the law governing government, is quite clear that it will not be a theocracy. Government is prohibited from involving itself in religion. Pro or con, generally or specifically.

All for good reason as demonstrated by the dysfunctional theocracies of the Middle East.

RFRA challenges that prohibition.

Pete Boggs said...

Agree Anon 10:48; that strategy will increasingly work locally as well...

Paul K. Ogden said...

IS, I've read the SPLC's claim that AFA is a hate group. Not at all persuasive. SPLC does some good work outing the Klan and Nazi organizations, but it discredits itself when it starts slapping political opponents with the same "hate group" label the organization has gone too far.

Intolerance toward religion and people of faith is a real thing, IS. (And by the way, historically Catholics have been the #1 target of religious bigotry.) The fact that CEOs are openly hostile to religious freedom, people like Oesterle and Beniof, are being called out is very much appreciated. Where I might disagree with AFA is the labeling of the company instead of the individual. Then again, I'm not sure it's not the right approach. People like Oesterle and the Beniof are using the power of their companies to try to curb religious freedom. Not sure they would understand anything less than having their companies pay a price for their own intolerance and religious bigotry.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Pete 12:07,

31 states have a RFRA, either by statute or by court decision. We have it at the national level, by statute, a law passed nearly unanimously by Congress in 1993 and which was signed into law by President Clinton.

You must not be aware of what RFRA does. All RFRAs do the same thing. They restore the Sherbert compelling interest test for interpreting the free exercise clause of the First Amendment, which test was revoked in 1990 case Employment Division v. Smith. The Sherbert test had been used for 30 years before that. Virtually everyone on the left and right supported the federal RFRA when it passed in 1993. The reason some oppose it now is entirely based on a shift in political winds.

RFRAs don't expand religious rights under the First Amendment. RFRAs RESTORE religious rights under the First Amendment. And there is no repeal of the Establishment Clause.

Anonymous said...


You kinda got part of it then missed the most important part. Government is not to involve itself in religion, pro or con. For years, however, government has been involving itself in religion, hurting religion and prohibiting the "free exercise thereof," as protected by the First Amendment.

RFRA corrects errors the government made. Libs are really bad about not recognizing the separation of church and state.

That's why RFRA is needed. If we could keep the libs out of using government to attack religion, we wouldn't need RFRA, but libs really hate religion, because liberalism is the politics of indecency and immorality, and religion generally teaches against such evils.

What about honesty, decency and good family values do you hate so much?

Anonymous said...

The SPLC is a hate group. Look up Morris Dees. He started SPLC as a way to get rich and attack Christianity. He's a very angry non-Christian living in Alabama.

Anonymous said... Surprised that the KKK and NAZI folks need all this attention. SPLC is a hate group and looking into who funds it might be interesting.....

Anonymous said...

All-time lows on ANGI. This thing may be headed for delisting. What's keeping it from going there? Did Oesterle do a dump-and-run with his stock? Were 1Q figures polished to give certain people golden parachutes?

Anonymous said...

Angie's List has a weird business model.

My subscription kept rising to over $70/year. I called to cancel and my subscription was immediately lowered to something like $9/year. Then, when Osterle hoisted his rainbow flag I called to cancel again...I was asked to reconsider; I told them I would when Angie's List stopped attacking Christians. That was months ago...I now continue to get Angie's List services...for free! What business succeeds with this model?

I've been uncomfortable with Angie's List ever since a merchant contacted me and asked me to change my rating of his company. How objective can ratings be when reviewers find out merchants know who is giving them less than outstanding ratings? Angie's ratings are skewed heavily to the "A" side...a tip off something is amiss. What ever happened to the bell curve? I would be very uncomfortable giving my surgeon a less than stellar rating and later have him standing over me with his surgical knife.

The ANGI stock charts shows God does have a sense of humor.

RhondaLeeBaby69 said...

Being on the AFA's list is a badge of honor....