For those of you who don't know (and I suspect that might be a large chunk of you) bark.com is a professional services website that offer you the chance to bid for work from those who have a particular need that you're listed as providing solutions for.
I'm a wedding photographer and video editor, and those are some of the services I've placed in there as areas of interest. Now, when someone asks for any of those services, I get an alert on the app and in my emails detailing the specifics of that persons requirement. You can't approach them and ask for further information or clarity until you've paid for their contact details, which typically cost anything from £11 to £15 a go.
In return, you'll get that contact's phone number and email address, and they'll have received a notification of how much you're willing, or if you've asked for further clarifications to start the conversation. They say that to stand a better chance of securing any business from those in need, that you should really spend some time and effort on your listing. Which I had done. Now, how much interest in those profile edits actually occurs, I don't know, but needless to say, there's a lot of effort that needs to go into building your brand on this site.
Over the past few months I've literally spent a couple of hundred quid trying to get people to at least engage with me. One did, some tool from Essex who decided to use his neighbour instead having spent a whole weekend BS'ing me, telling me he would send the sample footage over. Beyond that, I've had 3 people in total chat to me, and then still decide not to bother to book, with no explanation as to why. Now, granted, I may not be the best wedding photographer in the world, but this bark.com seems a little over priced for it's return value, and the model is certainly flawed.
Firstly, no matter how hard you push to get your own site listed, Bark will be ahead of you, as they're doing their very best to pay for every type of keyword hit possible, and they've the budget to do it too, from suckers like me who are paying for leads that tend not to even get a response.
Those that submit their request for a quote from professionals like me don't have to pay a single penny. All the money generated comes from those who are providing a service, and it's not just for Photographers, it's for plumbers, dog walkers, painters, electricians, men with vans, you name it, they're hoovering it up (cleaners too).
Is it me just being a little bit bitter? Probably. Could I have spent my funds better? Sure. I think with sites like this (and yes I'm registered with another one that has yet to bare fruit) it's a lottery. How many of us have had wedding bookings from brides that have done some homework and checked out the local competition? How many of us will ever know if we've missed out on someone because of that one picture that they didn't like the look of, but you think is awesome? I guess it's just the lottery of this type of business.
What have decided though, is to come off Bark.com, delete my account, cut my loses, and channel those funds I seemed to willing to part with back in to my own Google Adwords and take my chances out there.
What are your thoughts on sites like Bark.com? Have you had a better experience than me, or have you felt the same level of frustration? Leave a comment below.