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Is Glassdoor Going the Way of Yelp?

If you follow the space of workplaces and the employee experience, you've heard of Glassdoor - a portal where employees and former employees can provide feedback regarding their experience at your company - good or bad. Of course, that generally means that the memorable pieces of feedback are the ranting, negative reviews of your company. I've been wary of this type of review site (who hasn't seen the ranting employee who wouldn't take accountability for their own actions, right?), but I'm slowly coming around.

Transparency is good, and that ranting employee that you had to let go for all the right reasons? Turns out that candidates (the people who really check out a site like glassdoor to get the reputation of your company) have a natural filter Glassdoor when it comes to the big negative rant. They read the super negative review, then naturally discount and look for reviews that provide balanced feedback. Why? Because balanced feedback is more credible. Willing to share the good things as well as the bad? Your willingness to share what was good just opened my ears to your view of what needs work at that company.

So, I'm at a better place when it comes to sites like Glassdoor. But I can't help but think of Yelp when I think of Glassdoor. And vice versa...

For those of you not in the know, Yelp is a site that allows consumer patrons to rate their experience with a service provider (among other things). Yelp is similar in many ways to the concept of Glassdoor - but the primary users of the site aren't employees, they're restaurant customers, etc.

So why is Glassdoor in danger of going the way of Yelp? Because Yelp is entangled in lawsuits alleging that they've offered to remove negative reviews and provide preferred site placement to businesses that buy advertising. More from the New York Times:

"Two law firms filed a class-action lawsuit on Tuesday against Yelp, the Web site that lets users post reviews and recommendations for small businesses and restaurants. The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Los Angeles, alleges unfair business practices and accuses Yelp of running an “extortion scheme.”

The suit claims that Yelp’s employees “call businesses demanding monthly payments, in the guise of ‘advertising contracts,’ in exchange for removing or modifying negative reviews appearing on the Web site.”

The suit was filed on behalf of a veterinary hospital in Long Beach, Calif., who asked Yelp to remove what it called a “false and defamatory review” from its site. The lawsuit says Yelp refused and instead demanded “roughly $300 per month” in exchange for Yelp hiding or completely removing the review in question. The filing of the suit was first reportedby TechCrunch."

So, why the comparison between Yelp and Glassdoor?  Employers are starting to report that Glassdoor is directly contacting them.  Polly Pearson of EMC recently wrote a post indicating that Glassdoor had reached out to her regarding services for employers. See the connection?

Sites like Glassdoor are built on the concept of transparency related to the employee experience at your company. It's next to impossible to be credible in that regard AND work with employers at the same time.
Just ask Yelp. If you've got salespeople calling on the target of your product, even the perception of a conflict is a problem, and those salespeople are under pressure to make quota, to talk to potential advertisers, etc...

It'll be interesting to see Glassdoor's approach as they seek to develop the holy grail - multiple streams of revenue - out of their basic business plan - which is a good idea.

They won't be able to dance on both sides (employees and company) of the aisle without eroding their primary mission - corporate transparency.

Comments

flex developer

Yelp and glassdoor are the same thing to get more credible feedback to company. There are many client want to make app lake that to sold and we made it.

lizryan

Nice post! Nice blog. (I sound like a spammer - sorry about that.) If you ever have time to correspond about the state of HR let's do. Best, Liz

Ryan Flores

I would love to see Glassdoor get slammed for unfair business practices as well. I've seen many LEGITIMATE reviews about my previous employer reviewed on their site. Although I never written one, I see that had I did provide an honest review, it probably would have been deleted. All the while, I thought Glassdoor had something good going on. I guess they're just another company trying to impose some type of ponzi scheme.

Ryan Flores

I meant to say, "I've seen many LEGITIMATE reviews about my previous employer REMOVED from their site."

DBA

I have noticed that some reviews (always positive ones) are sorted at the top even if they are not rated as helpful nor are the most recent. Also there are tons of comments that are getting removed for no other reason than they are negative. I had one comment removed that said "I disagree with this post" commenting on an obviously fake positive post. Are there any places you can go to find real reviews of companies not sanitized propaganda?

DZ

I agree. The review I posted about the company I work for now was removed. I rated "Company X" with a rating of 2. So I voted with a request to delete my account. Simple as that.

Headline:
Very little competence from corporate

What do you like about working at "Company X"?
I really enjoy working with my immediate team, and my direct manager has been a great go to guy. I can't say enough about each individual. I believe that I receive a fair salary for what I do, but had to negotiate around the 20% low ball offer they first tossed out there.

I did receive a "Exceeded Expectations" rating which was commensurate with salary increase.

What do you dislike about working at "Company X"?
First and foremost, I have very little confidence in the corporate management. God forbid that company owes you money such is my case. They will do everything they can to try to slither away from paying monies owed. Corporate has no interest in meeting their employee and customer expectations. It's surprising that they've stayed in business as long as they have with the Lockheed Martins and the Northrop Grummans of the Defense business.

Unfortunately, I will eventually have to take them to court in order to receive money owed. With both verbal and written agreements, I know that they will eventually pay in lieu of court but it will take me filing just to peak their interest.

What advice would you give to senior management?
Require your managers to have at minimum a Bachelor's degree. Military service does not automatically make one a manager. Support your "boots on the ground" and forward facing teams.

HR Leader

I agree -- it's impossible to "dance on both sides of the aisle". I'm an HR executive and on one hand I have Glassdoor's Inside Sale Rep cold calling me to post our positions on their site. On the other hand, they refuse to remove false posts that violate Confidentiality Agreements in place with my employer. Anyone else in the same boat? Why would companies choose to advertise on a site that allows false anonymous airing of sour grapes by an ex-employee that was terminated for performance issues? In the end, Glassdoor will be a great place to go to read rants from ex-employees or candidates that didn’t get hired and glowing reviews written by “anonymous” employees on the marketing team that love everything about the company in question. I think Glassdoor is an insult to smart people looking for credible information. I hope we can do better than Glassdoor.

Jonas Hill

I agree. Glassdoor is terrible and they are full of lies. They allow random posts about companies from so called employees that they claim to verify but have no way in doing so. I've reported them and am suing. I can't let their defamation and lies continue. Not fair

Eltoro

GLASSDOOR = you pay they DELETE the bad reviews !. this is ILLEGAL since they keep the bad reviews for companies that do not pay.

Anshul Gupta

I also have quite a bad experience with Glassdoor. I, somehow, always believed venting frustration as anonymous does not help as most of the time, the case is blown out of proportion. It's like having trial of a person in full-blown public but the victim is never seen, with the assumption that accused is guilty. What if that is not the case? Well, that's where Glassdoor' salespeople hop in to charge you $$$ to allow handling of those posts.. But then, the entire process becomes a joke and more so making most of an opportunity. If Glassdoor is really doing right posts and believe that the comments/postings are not obscene, they should share details of posting person with the company so that "fair trial" of the same can be done at court..

Alexandra

As an employee that has used this site I have found them to be fair in providing a balance in reviews. I worked for someone who was a nightmare and their reviews are accurate. The positive ones posted come from the ceo, but whatever. They verified my info before allowing me to post.

BS

I also seen most of the bad reviews from a former and current employer removed while wonderful fabricated reviews were added...what a manipulative behavior! I will not longer trust them for honest reviews!!! Just pay pay pay to look good online... What a joke!!!

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