Using the Web to review and buy local neighborhood services is a growing trend among consumers, and strategic buyers have taken notice. Angie's List Inc. (Nasdaq: ANGI), for example, recentlly bought SmartHabitat Inc., a startup that does business as BrightNest, for $2.65 million in cash. The purchase comes amid many deals among companies that specialize in providing local products and services.

The customer appeal of these types of services was enough to break the hiatus Angie's List had taken from mergers and acquisitions. The Indianapolis company, which enables members to hire and review local contractors in hundreds of categories from home improvement to health care, announced the purchase of BrightNest in August - the company's first transaction since 1996, when it bought Unified Neighbors.

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