Why I’m Short $CRCM

How’s this for a checkout page: 


This is terrible and distracting design, but it’s worse than just that. 

My biggest issue with Care.com is one of misaligned incentives.

Care.com makes the bulk of their money from paid memberships of customers and caregivers.  The average lifetime of a paid subscriber is 7 months according to their S-1 filing.  Also less than 10% of their users overall pay for a premium membership, but you can’t even contact anyone on the platform unless you pay!  Think about that for a second.  That means maybe 90% of job postings on the site result in ~15 candidates per job and not a single contact or interview is actually performed.  I’d guess maybe 2-3% of all applications ever turn into an interview.  Think about how bad that experience is for caregivers – you might apply to 50 jobs just to get one interview.  They are using the free job postings and the huge numbers of futile candidate applications as an attempt to sell families on a paid subscription.  

Why not just focus on making it easy for me to connect, hire, and pay highly qualified and reliable caregivers.  If they added value after the match, they would not be so focused on trying to make me pay to talk with people. 

Take a closer look at some of the numbers below from their S-1 filing. image

(in thousands)

What should be alarming are the trends here: 

Percentage of families paying a membership is on a bad trend.  14.8% in 2010, 14.1% in 2011, and 12.3% in 2012.  

Percentage of caregivers paying a membership is on an upward trend. 1.2% —> 1.5% —> 2.0%.  However, I view this as a bad trend as well. 

The reason that I don’t want caregivers to pay is misaligned incentives. 

Care.com is incentivized to get as many caregivers to pay as possible.  It looks to be a growing trend.  However, the reason for caregivers to upgrade to a paid account is to get premium placement in search.  I hate this model — it’s featuring people that are willing to pay rather than people that will be the best caregiver.  

Care.com should put the best available people at the top of my list.  Instead, they accept bribes.