I recently needed a plumber to unclog the kitchen drain.
I did the obvious thing and searched the net (I don’t use Google, but the alternatives produce the same result).
It took me a while to understand, but the top results were all companies that took orders and scheduled plumbers. Intermediaries, not plumbers. Those intermediaries take a cut, the plumber has to charge more. This is not a problem isolated to plumbers.
I finally talked to a plumber’s wife, scheduled the appt, things worked fine. I like dealing with real people.
Search engines put paid links and most linked-to links at the top of the list. Real plumbers can’t pay for the search optimizations, so a layer of our economy is now overhead entirely based on search algorithms.
The same has happened for many other local services, auto glass, …
That isn’t good for any of us. If you want community, you have to do a bit of work to support it. Check with friends who is good. Your wife’s hair dresser will know someone. You will probably get a better deal, also.
Local opinion, local references to local businesses, Conservative since plumbing began.