Then, mysteriously, within the space of a week, almost all of the negative reviews vanished from Glassdoor, and a lot of bland 4 star "well there's good and bad, some mistakes were made, but despite the past few months, overall it's good" appeared, pushing the handful of negative reviews that remained off the front page. I know from former colleagues that management had "suggested" staff write these sorts of reviews.
Now the company rating is higher than it was before the layoffs and I am completely disillusioned with not only that company, and Glassdoor, but the fakeness of the industry as a whole. It's so disappointing that a site that originally felt like a useful resource for workers has become just yet another PR/branding tool.
Because "Word of mouth" over the internet would imply that The Internet still has a big role to play in disintermediation.
Would "reviews" from your network, any network, physical, or digital, of people you know, be valuable? I believe that a "review" is only useful if you know the reviewer well enough. Regardless of the medium.
For example, when "angry uncle Joe" rants about some libtard-foreigner-restaurant-scum which is ruining the neighborhood with their horrible foreign food, I know how to take that 'review' of the restaurant. Same when aunt Carol explains how she heard from the new boyfriend of the cousin of Foo that her brother said that she heard from.. and so on. But when a friend who knows a lot about fintech explains that SomeBank is really doing a lot of interesting tech and hiring, I also know how to take that.
If you know who the "review" comes from, you can trust it. Otherwise you cannot. I assume this comes down to "word of mouth", though.
The point is that when you're looking for a toaster oven and your friend says that his coworker's spouse just got a ToasterGenius Model Z and they're happy with it, you can be fairly confident they're not shilling for ToasterGenius. They may not know anything about toaster ovens, and they may not have the same toasting needs as you, but at least you can probably trust that their opinion is genuine. Of course, I suppose it could turn out that ToasterGenius is running an MLM and your friend's coworker's spouse hosts ToasterGenius home parties to sell ToasterGenius products!
You probably know your friend well enough to tell if they know anything about toasters or evaluating consumer products in general, and whether their views and needs corresponds to yours. So you rate the recommendation for ToasterGenius Model Z somewhere on the scale from "my friend is a bona fide toaster expert / fanatic", through "my friend toasts as much as I do and is attentive", all the way to "my friend doesn't know first thing about toasters, and also doesn't understand the concept of communicating uncertainty about one's beliefs".
This kind of ability is what makes word-of-mouth within your social network super useful. On top of that, if your friend ends up purposefully shilling for a MLM, they're doing that at the risk of immediately burning your friendship.
(Tangential: MLMs are social cancer that prey on relationships between friends and family members; they should be excised from this planet.)
I'm not saying the point I outlined above is the best outcome for the world, it's just the outcome for me and it's pretty regrettable that we're sliding back into it.
Yes, in the context of a relationship. A "review" from someone one has some kind of relationship is more meaningful. Possibly a weak one, like a fellow HackerNews poster. Which brings back the Internet--helps one form new kinds of relationship.
Same goes for online reviews. Even if a scummy company deletes 1 star reviews, there might still be 2 star ones, or 3 star ones that are (in my experience, anyways) more grounded than the more impulsive 1 and 5 star counterparts. A keen applicant of the scientific method would question a unnatural distribution of high reviews with low information density, not because of prior accusations of foul play, but simply because one wants to come up with a reasoned theory of how the dynamics of review systems play out in general. You may not necessarily have hard evidence that intentional shenanigans are occurring in any given review system, but you can still make up your mind in terms of what are likely factors for why reviews are the way they are and how much weight you're comfortable putting in them.
So, rather than the score being a dimensionless good-or-bad scale, it's a meta analysis of the reviews, judged on multiple dimensions. This means that some companies/restaurants/products simply don't provide enough information for me to form a conclusion despite having a number of reviews that lean towards either "good" or "bad". And that's ok, because the very fact that I've considered so many different dimensions also tells me that there isn't necessarily a single absolute best option.
This, in my mind, seems like a more accurate depiction of reality than blindly ranking by number of 5 star reviews.
Honestly, I don't see how to trust reviews if the reviewers have no skin in the game (either their reputation or money). If identities and reputations can be faked/generated at low cost, then we're back to just money. Honestly, one theory of advertising (like McD and bigC) is that they throw money at pretty ads to convince you that lots of people have given them money so they must be good... it's pay to play, but it's not completely wrong. Limiting reviews to those who have actually bought the item also helps, if you time limit/delay it and weight by the cost of shipping/stocking.
5 years ago on HN someone would have said this is an industry ripe to be 'disrupted'. It can't be hard to create a new review site? Easy VC money, an exit within 5 years by acquisition from Yelp or Glassdoor or LinkedIn/MS.
I've wondered if a somewhat simplistic graph based solution could work, inspired by organizations like medieval guilds and the mafia, where you generally need to be invited to the trust network and promoted to be more trusted within the network as others vouch for your trustworthiness. Suspicious users are highly punished (in the real life examples, often violently) and quickly removed from the network.
Obviously can be gamed like any other system, but would be much harder to do so and you can leverage the vouch/invite graph to detect trusted users that are highly connected to suspicious ones.
Surely there's something like this out there, though? Or is this just not a valuable business problem to solve?
Proving that reviews haven't been removed might actually make this a real application for a blockchain.
You can force a public facing site to stop displaying it, but if it's decentralized it is still there.
The disadvantage being of course there is no way to remove fake/scam reviews.
: Not necessarily a deal-breaker. For perspective, consider that a 10-word transatlantic telegram in 1860 cost the equivalent of $2600 in 2013 USD.
Yes, and only if the words come from the mouths of trusted friends. Everything else is probably tainted by monetary incentives and should be taken with several grains of salt.
Antivaxxers brigading doctors on Yelp & Google. Diehard fandoms brigading Rotten Tomatoes. Sketchy Chinese sellers buying fake Amazon product reviews in FB groups.
Platforms know this by now, so consumers should too. The internet is basically a series of factions competing for amplification from algorithms at this point. Pump up your guy, downrank theirs. Coordinate for an algorithmic boost or trend where possible.
It's just marketing by way of manufactured consensus, not a review.
I'm not at all surprised that Glassdoor is playing similar games.
The following isn't necessarily meant to disagree with you.
A common thread is that Yelp and Glassdoor directly make money based on their reviews. That's their core product. Other comments about how trust should be a core product are relevant, but that doesn't seem to be what's happening.
My wife and I started using Google reviews. To be clear: we are by no means starry-eyed Google fans. We're quite aware of many their problems and WTFisms.
In this case, though, unless I'm mistaken, Google reviews are at most very indirectly a product for them.
This is important, because in my mind, that makes it far less likely for them to meaningfully/substantively fuck around with the results.
It would be easy (and perhaps fun!) for me and anyone else reading this to inject doubt into this assertion.
I'm happily open to additional illumination here, particularly as far as a practical daily use review system.
But I don’t have a better solution either, my wife and I have followed almost your exact same pattern of relying on Yelp until it became untrustworthy and then Google Reviews (which is what I still use now).
A 1 star review because it was DOA says nothing about failure rates. People also have different preferences on things like cost, spicy food, or what looks tacky making a 3 vs 4 star review mostly meaningless.
This is why independent reviews like consumer reports are so useful. Look at a comparison between similar devices and consider tradeoffs. Or find a movie reviewer with similar tastes and you can generally just follow their suggestions.
Net result reviewers and rating systems just don’t have great incentives which devolves into companies just gaming the algorithm.
Steam is a great example. If you click through to the person who made the review, you can also look at other games they own or other things they reviewed to get a sense the kind of person they are. If they're like you, then their review is probably going to be more helpful to you. If they're very much NOT like you, then that's a useful data point too.
I think one of the special challenges with Glassdoor is that reviewers are anonymous, in order to protect them from career-related backlash. This makes it harder to understand if a particular reviewer's experience is something that will also affect you. But if you think about it, that is a real indictment of the state of workplace relations - workers are at such a structural disadvantage that they are terrified of sharing candid views about current or even former employers in a way that could come back to bite them.
I know i've gone out of my way to try to avoid putting identifying information into Glassdoor, and even toned down some criticism as insurance just in case the employer did figure out who i was. That's not a good thing - it only serves to make my review less helpful! This is all the more reason why it's so disappointing to me that Glassdoor has openly shifted to be a service focused on corporate branding - employers already had all the power to start with.
Steam reviews are interesting because I have started watching someone’s YouTube lets play instead. Even bad ones are mildly interesting and they quickly tell you a lot more about the game than what I get from random reviews.
The best online review system for me is Rotten Tomatoes which shows both what the general public thinks and what the critics do. Looking at say https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/star_wars_the_rise_of_skywa... I appreciate many of the viewers liked it, but it’s the critics that I find actually agree with. Yep, worse than the prequels, but not quite walk out of the movie theater bad. https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/star_wars_episode_i_the_pha..., https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/star_wars_episode_ii_attack..., or https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/star_wars_episode_iii_reven...
What is a problem is just presenting an average of the ratings, though.
I think the heart of the issue is that something like glassdoor gets corrupted like this then a bunch of tech folks say "Forums, forums are easy and CHEAP!" go out and roll their own - maybe a few make it big and start having to police traffic once the trolls discover them... at that point they discover that the message board portion of their product is trivial and cheap but what actually costs is the moderation of that... then the costs begin to pile up and they make some deals with some of the better actors among companies to let them subsidize policiing their own reviews and it gets normalized and then the system collapses.
Moderating things is hard.
It's the whole web thinking pattern. Make everything accessible, fast and free. Nobody makes money like this, and thus the system produced has no added value. It will devolve into whatever low hanging fruit can live on the inertia of branding and trends. Until someone makes an article like the one above, then someone else will try.
If I want to rant, I'd say 10 years later someone will make a real system to grade things, and it will require serious work and serious money (think about banking grades) then the system will be kept in place (to an extent.. think about banking grades).
A good review system can exist but it shouldn't be a venture-backed startup expecting unicorn returns.
‘Business Accused of Racist Behavior’
The end result of this is too obvious to require elaboration.
If you look in the clickbait at the bottom of lots of articles, you'll see one advertising a trick that every Android user should know.
It takes you to a website at SecuritySaversOnline.com which has an Advertorial for TotalAV anti-virus, that implies it is free, which it isn't.
I posted a negative review of this site and then called TotalAV to inform them of this site that was perhaps a fake affiliates site, but during the chat, they said it was their site - TotalAV were using a site with fake offers to advertise them.
So, I posted a negative review of them too on TrustPilot - it's one of the 1* reviews here: https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/totalav.com?languages=en&st... (search for cyberspy)
TotalAV disputed my claims, but I demonstrated to TrustPilot that it was a genuine review, even though I wasn't a customer and the review remains.
Why is TrustPilot broken?
TotalAV have over 31K reviews, 87% 5, average 4.8 - but most of them one liners from people who have no review history.
Compare with other AV providers - Sophos have 11 reviews, average 2.1, AVG have 2534, average 1.9, McAfee 358 average 1.4, Norton 347, average 1.5
Basically, people don't review their AV unless thay have a bad experience - or the supplier asks them to.
I pointed out to TrustPilot that TotalAV's review profile looked fake but, while they let my review stay they have done nothing to rectify the entirely disproportionate review profile of TotalAV
Source: https://www.chadcheese.com/episodes (scroll down to see the Glassdoor/Indeed episodes)
But it’s so easy! And so profitable!
Joking aside, the reviewing-anything niche is getting very difficult in the age of sock puppet accounts. Any platform sooner or later becomes a space for dispute, manipulation and outright war between entities with competing agendas and no ethics.
It’s a very difficult space to provide a good service - there are enough players ready to say anything and poison the well.
We live in the era of everyone getting a dip in distorting reality :(
Some time ago I worked for a company where I did a stint as a technical recruiter before moving into an interim head of IT role to tide them over whilst we hired someone permanent. One of the people I'd been instrumental in hiring whilst I was technical recruiter went on to join the company during my tenure IT.
It turned out that this person was not my - nor the company's - greatest ever hire. They were demanding, complaining, entitled and, above all, lazy. We bought this person a bunch of special equipment, including a ludicrously expensive keyboard supposed to help with RSI. Still, they continued to be obnoxious and lazy, literally doing nothing productive, until they were asked to leave during their probation period because they were basically insufferable.
Said person then went on to post a slanderously inaccurate review on Glassdoor about the company, their manager, and the people they'd been working with in that team. At this time I wasn't particularly happy at the company, for various reasons, but even so, I could see the review was completely unfair and, substantially, a work of embittered fiction.
I was pretty annoyed and felt somewhat responsible given that I'd been part of the team who'd brought them in to the company. So, with little hope of recourse, I contacted Glassdoor explaining the situation and detailing the inaccuracies in the review in a lot more depth - and a lot more specifically - than i've done here.
Now, whilst what I said in my email was accurate, and I had little motivation to lie or paint the company in a particularly positive light, Glassdoor really had no way of verifying that what I'd told them was true. Moreover I wasn't in a role related to hiring. Nevertheless, within a couple of days the extremely negative review had been taken down, and I was grateful to them for taking it down.
With that said, it sounds like what may have started out as a sane policy to handle complaints on a case by case basis has perhaps evolved into something rather less noble.
They literally just took your (in this case company's) side. To stay the very least way balanced, I would expect them to keep the rating/stars the user gave, while perhaps removing the detailed review that you were insisting had been inaccurate. After all the user indeed was a real former employee, thus that "rating" should still be counted no matter how "disgruntled".
Isn't Glassdoor and similar review sites are among other serve as safe outlets for mundane discontent?
Sure, most of readers in less emotional state of mind likely could properly discount those over-the-top devices of fiction...
Yes, this the point I was making. This has always been the case: it's just that now it's become much more pathological and widespread on the platform. Partly it sounds like that's due to changes in policy/strategy on the part of Glassdoor, but I think it's also because companies have realised that you can just ask Glassdoor to remove reviews and they will.
Do I feel bad about that specific review being taken down? Not at all, because it was absolutely slanderous to others this person had worked with. But the fact that it happened without any further process does point to an underlying problem.
It's a long time since I've used the site but I believe companies might have the right to post public responses to reviews. Beyond this maybe some sort of dispute resolution process would be the way to go.
Still, I can't really figure out how to make it work: if it's cheap and easy for reviewers to post reviews, and cheap and easy for companies to get them taken down or otherwise manipulate them, you're always going to end up with a review service that's essentially worthless and can't be trusted.
If only there were some other way.
It seems to me from reading the news that this charge can be increasingly levelled at larger portions of overall Western Civilization every day. It seems like a lot of wealthy and powerful people are simultaneously forgetting the simple lessons their parents taught them (I presume) when they were growing up.
I can't think of very few famous people or organizations nowadays that I'd nominate as being trustworthy and of "high moral character", it seems like rationalizing away behavior that would previously have been considered highly unethical is like the hip new craze...and why not I guess, it yields tremendous benefits, and has no costs (to the individual or company doing it) that I can see.
Since our perspectives have become so broad, it's hard to pay careful attention to acts of virtue, which is often practiced by many small acts over the course of years.
I've been around long enough to have a fairly strong sense now that the only way to win is to deny it battle - never concentrate power in the first place. But I think that genie has already escaped and isn't going back in the bottle without a huge amount of suffering and death.
This would yield far more insight than taking their word on their proprietary algorithm flagging reviews. This would also be awesome to use against Yelp that I have first hand experience trying to be extorted by their sales teams affecting a family small business I host a website for and yelp page.
He had hired a lawyer who did a terrible awful incompetent job.
He left an objective review on yelp which in a short time just disappeared.
(Personally I was wondering if the lawyer contacted yelp or yelp contacted the lawyer)
The whole “pivot” sounds like uninformed heresay.
Totally garbage business model, and if anyone reading this works there I hope you re-evaluate your life's purpose - you only get so many years and using them to help Glassdoor seems really terrible. What an ethically bankrupt piece of worthless trash that place is.
I know on ebay and amazon I do not buy from sellers under 99.6%, as an absolute minimum.
It's ok for the system to be gamed, as long as one can understand the rules.
But I'm not the only one. The overall rating system most beers end up in the 3.5 to 4.5 range. Where 4.5 becomes "oh my god, these brewers are doing incredible things with this beer" and 3.5 becomes "ugh, this tastes worse than bud light"
“This game is trash” - 8/10
I'd definitely adjust my baseline "acceptable percentage" based on what I'm buying. If I'm getting a pack of USB cables for $0.05 each, I'm not going to be too fussy about the rating. I'll take a 2% chance per cable of them not working, that's what I'm paying for. If I'm buying a new GPU, I'm going to be a lot pickier about it.
It has to be very bad to dip below 4, so that 4.x is the only thing you really can look at.
Per this, that means they only allow non-professional reviews on their platform. So if one professional sees flaws/someone getting duped, they're helpless to point it out.
 - https://www.npr.org/2020/09/30/918845338/how-i-built-resilie...
Much like Glassdoor, I find it hard to trust him since it’s clear he has a moneymaker. He’s incentivized to accuse the Big Corps of wrongdoing and he never has to back it up.
"Hey I have this magic problem I created for you, now you have to pay me to fix it or your business will dry up."
You leave because you get tired of pushing Uber jobs on everyone because they have unlimited budget to spend to attract job seekers.
Extortion would be along the lines of "we publish some made up bad reviews unless you pay".
This is taking money from an unwilling person by duress, using an undue exercise of power (ie control of bad reviews on their platform).
You ask people for money to not do something that's in itself legal.
It's a topic ripe for tortured moral philosophy :)
It also has a definition that 99% of the people you are communicating with, who are not lawyers, are more familiar with:
the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats.
You're sperging out about the wrong thing to the wrong people.
That's obviously untrue, so I'm not sure why you'd write it, but well done with the capitalization. "Pay me or I will continue to publish this blurb which is damaging to you" is as clear a threat as can be.
Whatever you'd like to call it, it's scummy behavior and they deserve to lose any market share they've gained by misleading users about their service.
So peacock's feathers and money-back guarantees are the type of thing that people often quote as signalling fitness.
The point of Glassdoor or any other review site it to make signalling cheap and reliable, so it's trying to square a circle.
Word-of-mouth still has the your-rep-on-the-line quality if the person is somewhat close to you, and the decision is something important. Your buddy will say bad things about you if you recommend a crappy employee to them. A random stranger might not hear from you again, and knows that when you tell them this person is the best thing since sliced bread.
In general, "How expensive is it for them to say this?" is a useful heuristic that you should pay attention to. It can give interesting results in several life situations:
- School counselling. Once you're out the door of your school, the career counsellor is not gonna hear much from you. They say they care, and it sounds like they do (genuinely, I had one who was like the school mom), but at the end of the day they both don't know anything about careers other than "teacher" and they aren't affected by you not being able to find a job with your degree of choice. It does affect them that you get into a top uni, everyone wants credit for the Ivy League kids.
- Every internet review but non-famous people. See the other comments.
- Salespeople can be divided into relationship and transactional. If they guy is on the phone with you every day, his advice needs to not be crap. This can make it pretty defensive and useless. OTOH if he vanished once the sale is done, that's useless another way.
- If someone says something that harms their own interests, that's honest. Of course be sure you understand their interest.
- Life advice. Often if there's a great psychological cost, there's a story worth listening to. Painful things like why someone got divorced, especially if they paint themselves in a negative light, can often be trusted, or are at least worthwhile to listen to. Coming of age stories where something crappy happened because the narrator did something stupid, similar. Lottery winning stories of various sorts are often not, you can tell when the inevitable "I fought the odds" part arrives that it falls flat.
Interestingly, I tend to trust more some anonymous answer on Quora because the person won't get any upvotes to display on their profile so (hopefully) their only incentive was sharing their story.
People may have differing levels of skin in the game, but it's no more sensible to say that property tax should only be spent on things property owners want than it is to say that property tax paid by people named Dave should only be spent on things that The Council of The Daves want it to be spent on.
Skin in the game means a risk of losing some investment you brought to the table, not just losing the ongoing benefits and downsides the game itself provides.
For an experience, where direct validation is expensive, it's necessary to replicate the experience in order to achieve direct validation. An alternative is to collect multiple assessments --- to check references, or sample public opinions. Reading additional reviews on a given online site (Glassdoor, Amazon, Yelp, RottenTomatoes, etc.) is appealing for ease of access, but is subject to various problems, whether unreliable reviews, curation (negative or positive), rater kickbacks or extortion, etc.
Essentially these are examples of the censorship, propaganda, surveillance, and monopoly dynamic I highlighted recently:
A preferred mode is to bypass any intermediary and directly sample those with relevant experience. Where such experiences are thin, this is difficult. For broader experiences, forms of statistical sampling are powerfully useful, and, contrary to widespread popular opinion given random sampling "large number" estimates can be achieved with sample sizes of as low as 30, and reliable small-sample estimates well below this. Sample bias matters far more than sample size.
For advice on theory, validation can be performed through experiment or by checking with trusted authorities. Note that 'trusted authorities" != "appeal to authority". That is, trust is based on both expertise and reliability, rather than position or office.
That's easiest when specific references are given, but even here, @lordnacho has provided both keywords and reasonably cogent arguments supporting their views.
Their comment is a great example of why the vetting problem is so hard and enduring, though.
1. There are reasons I frequently cite or footnote my own contributions on numerous sites.
My first week at the company was nothing like the great workplace describe on Glassdoor. I'll spare the details, but suffice to say it was the most abusive workplace I've ever seen.
Later, I realized that all of the 4 and 5 star Glassdoor reviews started after a specific date and arrived in a short burst. If I went back far enough, the reviews were consistently 1 or 2 stars.
I tried to leave a fair 2-star review using the most dry and basic facts without any exaggeration or hyperbole. It stayed up for a month before disappearing without explanation.
Glassdoor is not a place to find honest company reviews.
My previous company of 7 years had 4.9 stars on Glassdoor. They cared a lot about maintaining their profile.
My current company of 2 years has 3.5 stars on Glassdoor. They don't care much at all about maintaining their profile.
Even accounting for the jadedness that comes with tenure, my current company is a much better place to work in many ways. Old company was fine, good even, but lol at 4.9/5. I won't be going back anytime soon, despite the standing invitation.
... which genuinely raises the question, what is a place to find honest company reviews except actually personally knowing someone working there?
This is why organizations like this are not a replacement for government enforced labor and consumer rights. Once an organization establishes a strong brand as a consumer review aggregator, the temptation to accept money for better ratings is extremely strong. When talking about a for-profit review aggregator, you might even say that accepting money for ratings is part of their responsibility to the shareholders because it can be so much more lucrative than serving accurate ratings to individuals.
Less motive to take bribes? Yes, somewhat, although there's no amount of money where someone might not want some more. But a system where doing a good job is strictly supererogatory doesn't tend to lead to satisfactory outcomes either.
Too bad people are so used to getting things for "free" on the web these days, or it could do a much better job.
I guess what I’m saying is that an organization’s form of government isn’t a reliable indicator of its trustworthiness and you have to consider other signals as well.
One way to solve that, is to stop offering free service and make users pay to access the service. If you have Glassdoor but it is not the companies who pay but the users then the issue is solved
One would think that some sort of production deployment using completely open source/transparent technologies might be possible. I guess the drawback to this would be that you basically couldn't have system admins, and competitors could easily just git clone and copy your whole stack?
I don't know how to solve this dilemma. Or if it can be solved. Sometimes anonymity is required to get the unvarnished truth, but it also clearly enables sock puppets and astroturfing.
Unfortunately that still chills legitimate negative reviews.
If my legal name is attached to a review, I, personally, will not post ever.
If I know the only way someone can find my legal name is to subpoena some midwestern chain of brick&mortar notaries, I will post sometimes.
Like you, I don't think there is a perfect solution: as a sender, one wants privacy, but as a receiver, one wants transparency. We need some sort of compromise that one can accept for either role.
The company could even have an employee seed the question, then have other employees answer and upvote in order to bury other questions that have negative responses.
Basically, Quora appears to tolerate quite a bit of spam, which would make it hard for them to be an authoritative source on anything other than "how do I game Quora's algorithm?" (since obviously whoever's answer is highest-rated has won ipso facto).
This is why many such review sites explicitly do not allow you to pay to alter reviews. Their entire revenue engine would crumble.
Some will allow you to solicit reviews (Glassdoor), while others even prohibit that (Yelp, Apple App Store) due to it generally being some way of influencing scores.
Well the only competitor they have is Indeed, and Indeed belongs to the Recruit Holdings Group, like Glassdoor ;)
I concluded that review systems often are on the losing side when their income comes from what they are reviewing, reviews you can trust are those that are unrelated.
For example a famous bastion of review is the Michelin Guide, although controversies happened to it, and often restaurant owners get mad at it for not "supporting the restaurant industry" when the guide doesn't do what they want, I realized the probable reason the guide works, is because it wants to sell car tyres, not food.
Michelin Guide purpose is make people drive to places and use their tyres (there was even a controversy caused by confused restauranteurs that thought it was "unfair" restaurant you can't drive to, aren't in the guide), thus the only bad incentive they might have is to choose restaurants that might cause bigger tyre usage than normal.
But Netflix for example can't piss off the movie companies or they risk losing their catalog. Metacritic depends on ads, can't let users piss off the advertisers, and so on.
With things like Yelp  and particularly with Glassdoor this is a difficult model to emulate. You generally expect users themselves to contribute quality reviews which you then publish directly (plus maybe do a bit of curation to gather sentiment). It's difficult to both ask users to pay you for the service and also contribute the very content you charge them for.
I think the only way to make a user review site work are:
(a) Be a non-profit and have a donation based model. Would people actually donate though? I'm not sure... but at least you don't seem like a greedy middleman.
(b) Charge a membership fee, but grant free durations of membership for quality reviews. The downside here is that you're likely severely limiting the already small pool of people willing to leave a review.
It shouldn't take much money to set up and run a review site so monetization should be a soluble problem. On a 6 figure budget you won't be as slick as competitors but if you're competing on trustworthiness...
The biggest problem is going to be combating gamification, that'll be very hard on a 6 figure budget.
And even your non-profit suggestion is a problem because what if a company donates $1M with strings attached?
I really think the only solution is that all money has to come from consumers. Job hunting is important enough that people would be willing to shell out for it, but only once you have a sufficient pool of reviews. So a real chicken and egg problem here.
I think it's going to be very difficult to make it a viable business, particularly for the job market. It's a usually a fairly fixed size, and when it's growing it's usually not when people shell out for extra subscriptions. Could it work? Sure. But it's a business that while it might be profitable, it won't be growable. That'll make getting investments difficult, and the whole chicken and egg problem that much more difficult to overcome.
The ability to match a product reviewed by Consumer Reports to something I can actual purchase has become pretty difficult over the years. This would be less a problem if brands followed some kind of trend in overall reliability, but it seems like individual models vary widely in quality even within a specific brand.
So when it comes down to trying to find the specific model of something being reviewed, it seems like that model was discontinued, replaced, or not available at the retailers I use.
This is, frustratingly, incredibly true. Even otherwise good products will tend to have some single component with a significantly lower lifespan than the rest of the device. This is compounded by the fact that everything is now manufactured to such exact specifications that it becomes effectively impossible to replace that piece with a higher quality one they should have used in the first place.
Then you have the insane number of SKUs a single base device can generate, and it becomes difficult to tell whether the thing you're holding in your hand has the shitty version of that component, or the better one. Sometimes it's even the same SKU and there's a range of bad serial numbers (typically because the manufacturer got a bad batch of something from one of their suppliers).
My guess is that the sheer number of parts in many modern products has drastically increased the chance that a device fails. My office has a water cooler with a purifier, and a spout for hot water. It broke and a guy came in to fix it. There are 2, 2 circuit boards in that thing! For a water cooler. How many parts are there that could fail and brick it? How many would a more primitive water cooler have? I just can't believe the simplest water cooler we could invent has 2 separate circuit boards in it
For example, the TV I bought at Fry's was the same as a model at Wal-Mart, but with one fewer HDMI input. Another TV I bought (again at Fry's) was the same as a model from another store, but with the built-in DVR disabled.
That leaves the burden on you to figure out which model was in Consumer Reports by matching up the features. It's annoying, but possible.
More than that, Netflix needs your eyes on their service, as opposed to the (dozen?) other competing, equally shoddy services. What you watch makes no difference to their bottom line... the only thing that matters is that you don't see a bad review on Netflix and switch to another streaming service (because if you do that too often, you might decide to remove Netflix from your list of $10/month services).
This seemed to violate Glassdoor's rules on "incentivized reviews", but when contacting Glassdoor, the response I got was that they investigated the situation and determined that there was no violation of the rules. I stopped taking the site seriously after that.
anyway, afaik all those chocolate bars are still in a cupboard somewhere at the offices
But I guess that shots wasted anyways if the system is rigged to begin with.
Just checked the company again, and my review has since been removed (but some other 1 star reviews are still there).
Glassdoor is just corporate Yelp.
I think this is the inevitable fate of all for-profit review sites which become popular.
The incentives just don't align.
* Ask users to sign up for their job seeker plan to see the complete company interview questions/experiences.
* Create an API and charge websites for giving access to their reviews score, salary data etc.
* Charge money for job postings from companies who have decent reviews and want to post on Glassdoor.
* Provide a paid dasbhoard for companies that will give them insights on how to pay employees.
Again, misaligned incentives between one group of users (people) and the other group of users (businesses), while trying to act as a middle-man. The key is that one group of users has the upper hand in terms of 'investment' into the platform.
... until one group (people) grows increasingly disillusioned and skeptical and the other group (businesses) sense an opportunity to start up another iteration and the balance skews towards the other group (people)... until...
So it goes.
It took a rather undignified on my part Twitter rant to finally get someone from Glassdoor to look at the review and remove it -- not because it was bad, which it wasn't, but because it was factually impossible in a way that could cause real issues for us. Since then I've taken all of their reviews with a grain of salt.
Maybe our company was just unlucky with the sales rep assigned to our profile, but altering reviews was something they made clear would not happen regardless of if we paid or not.
At the time our company was getting negative reviews meant for a different company in a different country with a similar name. It was a major hassle to convince Glassdoor the bad reviews weren’t legitimate. Eventually they were removed but it required a lot of persistence emailing / calling them every week and providing evidence the reviewers never worked for our company. Meanwhile we were stringing their sales person along hoping that would make it easier, but I don’t think our sales rep had any sway.
I dislike Glassdoor especially for small companies where 1 unhappy person on a team of 15 can ruin their employers reputation from the perspective of future hires. IMO they shouldn’t allow reviews on public company profiles until there is a critical mass of reviews such that any 1 review won’t dramatically swing the star rating.
Are you this accomodating towards potential employees? Such as, if a potential employee got a single very bad recommendation from one past employer, or one negative past online experience or reputation hit?
I don't know, you may well be, but I suspect most companies are not.
Most reasonable people will take the size of a company into consideration when looking at reviews on GlassDoor (at least in the last, looks like it's no longer worth looking at now). So a single bad review for a small company would not be a deal breaker for me. It's the patterns I look for.
Hopefully, you're doing the same when hiring.
1) Reference checks are the very last stage of our hiring process. If you made it that far, we've already made the decision to hire you (assuming references come back in check).
2) If a reference reveals something negative that we didn't know previously, we would give the candidate an opportunity to address it.
But you're right, large companies may be less forgiving, especially if reference checks come early in the process.
> one negative past online experience or reputation hit?
Similarly, I dislike that it's not possible to dispute Google search results when someone searches your full name.
I believe you are correct that Glassdoor wont explicitly take “cash” to remove a bad review. However they do have internal costs if you threaten them legally, which can compel a removal.
I detailed more of the practices in another comment further down;
this just provides GD to turn into a Yelp of sorts that can do the 'reputation management' on the side.
Sigh, I have come to believe that its impossible for the profit motive companies to stay neutral in long term, esp if thats their main revenue source.
I wonder if there is a publicly funded entity that is also responsible for public good that can & should run something like this. but then if widely adopted that has a high probability of turning into china/black-mirror style reputation system.
The premise of "let's get rid of the only reason anyone would ever visit our site for short term revenue" is just not where you would expect a company to do in normal circumstances.
I know that Glassdoor recently laid off 300 employees. So my read is that this is a dying breath of sorts.
When things are working well, the answer is because honesty is a better policy in the long run. Impartiality, and a reputation for impartiality, is why Which? still exists, at the age of 63. 
Yes, every tech nerd is mocking their PC tests, because they are just like a vaccuum cleaner test: unbox, set-up, do mainstream stuff, like writing mails and Word documents. No discussion of GDDR5 vs. GDDR4 or such nonsense.
It's a fantastic resource when you don't know what to look for (until today you never had any use for the tool you now consider buying) and it's not tech (then I tend to look to Wirecutter, for all its faults and controversies).
That still sounds like a useful test, if only to punish bundling of useless bloatware.
SV doesn't optimize for the long run. It only cares about the next quarter, or until the buyout comes. Everyone knows the phrase "exit strategy," but nobody knows the phrase "quality and service."
In my experience, 1%† of the people in the SV bubble are doing it to make a quality product. They're just there to make a quick buck.
(† Less than 1% in the Seattle bubble)
This sounds like the angst-beat poetry of our current future.
Since then the page has become littered with reviews that are somewhat obviously fake. Most of them are written in a vaguely shielded corporate tone and they simply don’t have enough former employees with a positive opinion of them to have this kind of sudden influx of responses.
Glassdoor has thoroughly outlived its usefulness and I can’t say that I will be basing any of my decisions on who to join on it in the future.
I have checked every workplace on Glassdoor prior to applying, taking things with a pinch of salt / applying some awareness of what reviews seem fake (like the famous split between loads of 1-star and loads of 5-star reviews, which tells you something is fishy, like loads of products on Amazon have).
I think I'll dial up the awareness for future purposes...shame.
Glassdoor can always fix this problem by implementing a "ban hammer" system where if multiple employees provides credible evidence of a company forcing them to post fake reviews then the company permanently has a black mark on their Glassdoor page (and future reviews are disabled, so they can't even fight back with more fake reviews).
Be it a company, a product, or a service - ask people you know personally. As a fallback, most online communities do have an "unrelated stuff" subforums or chats. Asking there lowers a chance of getting an answer from a marketer. I do sometimes get (and provide) good advice from a local gaming community.
The key is to ask a community that is unrelated to what you are considering to buy, i.e. skip those groups which an unscrupulous company would swarm with fake advice.
1)Fake reviews are an actual hard problem to solve. Good reviews can really make or break your company so the incentive to game the systems is quite high.
Positive reviews for your own company, negative reviews for your competitor, or cunningly, clearly fake positive reviews for competitors to get them in trouble with the review site.
2)Incentives lead these review-centric companies to some bad outcomes (or at least the lack of trust by consumers). Interestingly, companies with better revenue models outside of the reviews may end up building the most trust among consumers.
I would think Google is very well positioned here. Both because they don't need to get the $$ from scammy tactics and because their user data can help them find fake reviews much more easily. Did user XXX use Google Maps to get directions to the location? Did user XXX get an emailed receipt from that company?
No, free reviews are a hard problem to solve. But it's been done before.
The reason there are famous restaurant and movie reviewers is because they are professionals paid enough by their publications to keep them honest.
The problem is that SV wants content, but doesn't want to pay for it. Spending money doesn't "scale." So the bubble solicits reviews from random people with no vetting. Garbage in, garbage out. "Crowdsourced" is just another word for "amateur."
I've thought it's always been easy to spot the fake reviews that are five stars and clearly only use up the minimum characters for the pros and cons. I just assumed they came from real employees compelled by HR to help pump up the overall rating, rather than review farms and wherever astroturfing comes from.
They took down my negative review of a business, asking me to change it despite it being factually correct (I was reporting fraudulent bait-and-switch tactics used by a German air travel site), while they left a bunch of clearly suspect 5-star reviews, thus skewing the overall score of what was clearly a fraud of a service.
The best part: the link that takes you from the vendor's Trustpilot page to their service is a referral link.
The whole 'independent' review service concept is inherently flawed for at least two reasons: a disproportionate number of bad reviews (people will more likely go to such a service to vent their frustration about, rather then to lavish praise on a vendor), and a dependency on advertisement revenue, often coming from the very subjects of the reviews that you are featuring.
I am not offering an opinion on this. I am just noting what Glassdoor itself has to say about this.
There are enough ways to put the thumb on the scale that you can honestly say that you don't have a delete bad review button, yet money can still strongly influence how positive or negative an org looks on a review site.
The followup here, strongly suggests other un-related people have been called, even cold-called, and offered by people puporting to be glassdoor, to wipe the problem.
I agree you aren't offering an opinion and I value that. I would also value some commentary to my note: What do people think, about what people said on reddit, and said here, regarding this, and what glassdoor said in September 2019?
I know what I think: I do not believe this policy is well enforced, and I believe the posters who say they were invited to pay to clear their record. You notice they do not have "report breach here" links on that FAQ item. They do disclaim it has legal force.
It may of course be unscrupulous non C* staff, or it may be intermediaries mis-representing their role, e.g. SEO leeches.
The two big mobile app stores have been flooded with spam reviews for over 5 years now unchecked. For those that know how to spot fake reviews, it's easy to tell which apps are not legit. For most consumers though, they just believe what they see.
But that only leaves us an uncorrupted signal if, given a review you have deemed authentic, it actually has a good chance of being so. Do you know that that's the case? How?
I'm not sure it's true in your case, but statements like this are often made when people don't realize they're (implicitly) marking their predictions against those same predictions.
Care to automate your insight and create a meta Glassdoor?
Could you elaborate? How?
Companies are made to make money and if you are not a paying customer, you're the merchandise. And since these days most consumers don't expect to pay for online services, it's no wonder these services are not serving the interests of consumers.
That said, based on the recent posts on HN and many other resources, more and more people are awaking to the fact that letting a bunch of monopolies decide who's voice should be heard is not a great idea. We might see a rise of some great decentralized alternatives in the near future.
Regularly in meetings the head of HR (which they called "People") would encourage us to go leave 5 star reviews on Glass door to help with recruiting efforts. It was really spun as a way to help the company.
The problem though is that this company had some problems, things I would normally expect to see on glassdoor. Because of the way they encouraged it, glassdoor was flooded with 5 star reviews that made it impossible to find any negative ones.
I no longer even check Glass door.
I researched this a lot because I noticed companies I had intimate knowledge of had any sub-4 star review disappear. I detailed the practices in another comment elsewhere;
Are there any legal issues to this?