Rarely has a company chosen a name so opposed to their values.
Does Facebook allow third party sites to use images for any use (I'm assuming the pic was from Facebook)? How is this (using a pic of your wife and claiming she's a member) not outright deception?
And the despicable way they handle signups speaks for itself. I would never have gotten as far as he did because I know that anyone who does that is scamming me. There's no other reason to do it. If people actually liked the service, they wouldn't need to twist your arm to get you to sign up.
Is there anyone out there that has built an app that grows primarily through (ab)use of social network virality like Honestly? Are you seeing any interesting behavioural changes over time as the population gets tired (or conversely, accepting) of this model?
That we're still putting so much attention into an email like that all these years later suggests that we're never really going to learn or become fatigued. We'll just accept it as "part of life".
I think they had their greatest moment when Joseph Smarr negotiated the OpenID+OAuth hybrid protocol with Google. Google subsequently poached him. They don't seem to have any other aces up their sleeves to survive.
There's 'make the world a better place' successful, there's 'make something people want' successful, but there's also 'make some cash for yourself and your investors' successful. Sometimes invite spam can get you that last type of successful, which is why we'll keep seeing it.
The worst thing is this kind of crap is very effective. Look at Zynga, they've built a billion dollar company out of it.
How long until viral blindess spreads to the people who play Farmville? Not long. It's a typical conditioned response; when there are enough false positives to tip your average joe off to the fact that broadcasting to your networks does not produce the desired result, then people will start ignoring hooks like these.
Sounds like a market where people could start making pickaxes now.
On another note, wouldn't a site like this have a significant problem where the only people with enough motivation to make a post on a website like this would be someone who has a chip on their shoulder? The same problem exists with the doctor and teacher review websites.
An actual example that was in one of my textbooks: A car company claimed that its new model was three times quieter. The company's competitors objected, saying they didn't find it that superior to their offerings. The company clarified for the FTC that the car was three times quieter on the inside than the outside. The FTC agreed that this was accurate.
As for why you should care about it being quieter from the outside: because noisy cars are extremely irritating to pedestrians and everyone else who isn't in a car (in the same way that people playing ridiculously loud music while driving in a car is irritating).
"...than what?" is always my first question.
(FYI classmates used to send out emails exactly like this, except for the facebook integration. "Sandy has been looking for you on classmates.com". Except there was no Sandy in my graduating class. I think they quit a few years back.)
I've worked at this company. Not honestly.com but I've worked at the type. The people at the company who read news.yc have no product decision power. The company is quite obviously run by the marketing division.
Also, while this practice is indeed deceptive it's also fairly benign and common. It is however just the gateway. When a company starts doing this they're just going to slide further and further downhill.
First comes the backlash like this blog post and then the effectiveness of the spam starts dropping because you've hit a good % of the population you'll be able to dupe. The rest will start reporting you as spam and your email delivery rate is going to plummet.
Next comes the desperation to keep up the growth numbers. Things are going to get much spammier and much more "marketing black hat" soon for honestly.com if their CEO doesn't have strong opinions against it and reigns in marketing. They'll likely end up like classmates.com and any other number of spammy social sites that didn't and won't ever go anywhere.
"You must not incentivize users to use (or gate content behind the use of) Facebook social channels, or imply that an incentive is directly tied to the use of our channels."
It would be nice if FB took action.
The entire world of Facebook/iPhone apps is basically this these days. Be sure to rate this app with 5 stars/Like/etc. for your freeeeee in-game coinage!
Can you name an iPhone app that asks the user to rate it for a reward like this?
You know they've clicked through to your entry in the store. Users don't know they'll still get their coinage if they then don't rate the thing after clicking.
I signed up when it was Unvarnished and just starting out, and have never gotten one bit of value from it.
Not the best asterisk I've ever seen, given the complete lack of trust I have with this company.
Honestly.com is disgusting.
I feel like if someone pulls this off, it'll be a society changing event. I hope defamation laws would stop it before then, though.
And I'm not saying that to be a troll. They are so dishonest and spam-y, and from what I gather, offer very little redeeming value. I don't trust Honestly at all.
An early stage investor has very little authority over what a startup does. At best, they may have some advisory influence with the founders, if the founders care about having a good relationship with the investor. But usually, that's about it.
Anyway, thank you to tmz for pointing out http://wiki.darkpatterns.org/Bait_and_Switch - I think more people should be aware of what types of apps and websites are just trying to get access to their contacts and info. Even savvy users can occasionally get duped.
No info? No demonstrated value? 86d.
"With great power comes great responsibility."
- Uncle Ben