Expanding Our Community, Step by Step

Come on in, but wipe your feet...

As part of a gradual roll out strategy, emphasizing trusted community members, Unvarnished is now allowing members of 200+ companies in the technology eco-system access to the site, without requiring an invite. We’re really excited to welcome them to the community!

How does this work? We’re using Facebook “work network” membership to validate company membership for new users (membership in “work networks” is validated by Facebook using a corporate email address — this is akin to how we validate “humanness” via Facebook Connect, and a benefit of using a third-party identity validator.).

The companies chosen are a subset of those that already had the largest presence on the site–primarily Silicon Valley technology companies and their service providers (law firms, venture capital firms, etc.).  A full list is provided at bottom.

Choose your salt mine...

Why now? Since launch in early April, the Unvarnished team has been extremely focused on fostering the proper community norms on the site (some of our thinking on community norms on our blog here) , and making sure that the site was achieving its goals of providing a venue for productive and honest conversation about professional performance.  Many of the safeguards we implement to support these goals are talked about on our blog here: http://blog.getunvarnished.com/category/safety/ Not least of which was the requirement that all users on the site had to be invited by an existing user, by having that existing user “request a review” from them.

So far, so good: Over the past months since we launched, we’ve been extremely impressed with how the community has evolved.

We’ve been impressed by the professional, honest, and nuanced reviews being contributed by the community of reviewers, the way in which profile owners have engaged in the conversation by actively responding to reviews, and reaching out to their own networks for reviews, and the way that the reader community has actively engaged with reviews, actively voting on them to help properly recognize great reviewing behavior on the site.
Mainly, we’ve been very happy to see people behaving on the site as you would expect community-minded web citizens to act: in a professional, respectable fashion, creating lots of value for the community by sharing their honest opinions about other professionals.

What gives us confidence that the community is healthy?

Anecdotally: As noted in our “trust and safety” blog series, we engage in “company moderation”, by which we review all the reviews that come on the site. And the reviews that come onto the site are very high quality.  Honest, articulate, nuanced, and most importantly, professional.

We even like to point to the profile of Pete, one of our co-founders, to demonstrate that even as someone who potentially has many folks with their ire pointed at him, reviews of him are still professional and balanced.

200 reviews strong

Statistically: Right now, the statistics on our reviews point to a healthy community, too.  Contrary to what many predicted, our review distribution is actually heavily positive.

Star Rating Distribution

Star Rating Proportion of total
5-star 60%
4-star 30%
3-star 5%
2-star 3%
1-star 2%

Text Review Distribution

Also, we’ve seen a very healthy participation in terms of reviewers who have written thoughtful text reviews.  We do allow reviewers to only leave star-ratings if they choose–some reviewers feel more comfortable with that, and it allows reviewers to quickly review people they may want to add more text to later–but even in the face of that, 40% of reviews on the site do have text in addition to star-ratings, while 75% of the reviews on the site have some sort of detailed rating (e.g. a “skill” or “productivity” or “relationships” score, in addition to a star rating).

Review Type Proportion of total
At least star-rating 100%
Star + Detailed Ratings (Skill, Productivity, etc.) 75%
Star + Text 40%
Star-only 28%

Top Performers

The reviewing community has been so prevalent and engaged, that we’ve been able to start publishing “top performers” pages of the highest reviewed profiles on the site in various disciplines, like entrepreneurs, product managers, marketers, and even investors.

As a result of these various healthy indicators, we feel that this is a good time to loosen admission requirements (previously, the only way to get on the site was to have an existing user request that you review them) to allow the larger technology community access to the site, to share their own opinions, read what their colleagues have been saying about each other, and to engage in the conversation themselves.

We welcome them to the site, and look forward to this next stage of growing a trusted, professional community.

List of approved “work networks”

Below is the list of Facebook “work networks” that can now join the site without needing an invite.

For people who are members of these companies but not yet members of the work network on Facebook, you can join that here by verifying your corporate email address.

For people who are not members of any of these networks, they can be invited by an existing user requesting a review from them.

List of invited Facebook “work networks”:

4INFO
Accel Partners
AdBrite
AdMob
Adobe
Amazon
Apache Software Foundation
Apple
Asana
Aster Data Systems
Autodesk
Automattic
Avaya
Battery
Bazaarvoice
BEA Systems
Bebo
Benchmark Capital
Bessemer Venture Partners
BitTorrent Inc.
Bix
Bloom Energy
Blurb Inc.
Box.net
boxee
Brocade Communications
Buddy Media
CafePress
Canaan Partners
CareerBuilder.com
Causes
Cisco Systems
Citrix Systems
Cloudera
Compete
Connected Ventures
Cooley Godward Kronish
CoolIris
CrowdFlower
DailyCandy
Dell
Digg
Dogster
Doostang
DoubleClick
Drop.io
EA
eBay
eGain Communications
eHarmony
Elevation Partners
EMC
Etsy
Facebook
FanSnap
Fast Company
Federated Media Publishing
First Round Capital
Fleishman-Hillard
Flickr
Flock
Frog Design
Gawker Media
Genentech
GigaOm
Google
Gratis Internet
Greylock Partners
Gunderson Dettmer LLP
Hewlett-Packard
Hi5
Hitachi Data Systems
Homestead Technologies
HotOrNot
Hotwire
HubSpot
IBM
IDEO
iLike
imeem
IMVU
Intel
Intuit
IronPort
Kiva
Kosmix
Lala
Last.fm
LaunchSquad
LeapFrog Enterprises
Like.com
Linden Lab
LinkedIn
LiveOps
Loopt
Mahalo.com
Marvell
Mashable
Match.com
McAfee
Meebo
Meetro
Meetup
Metacafe
Metaweb
Microsoft
Mint Software
Monster.com
Move
Mozes Inc.
Mozilla
MySpace
NAVTEQ
NetApp
Netflix
NetRatings
Netvibes
New Enterprise Associates
Ning
O’Reilly Media
oDesk
Omidyar Network
Oodle
Openwave
Opera Software
Opsware Inc.
Oracle
OutCast Communications
Overstock
Palantir Technologies
Palm
Palo Alto Research Center
Pandora
Paychex
PayPal
PBwiki
Pelago
Pivotal Labs Inc.
Pixar
Plaxo
Playdom
Playfish
Polaris Ventures
Powerset
Prosper
Quantcast
QuinStreet
Quora
Rambus
Rapleaf
Raptr
Rearden Commerce
Red Hat
Redfin
richrelevance
Riverbed
RockYou
salesforce.com inc.
Samasource
SAP
SAS Institute
Scribd
Seesmic
Serena Software
SHIFT Communications
Sidestep
Siemens
SimpleGeo
Simply Hired
Six Apart Ltd.
Skype
Slide Inc.
Sling Media
SocialCash
SoundBite Communications Inc.
Sparkpr
SRI International
StubHub.com
SuccessFactors
Sugar Inc.
SugarCRM
Sun Microsystems
Symantec
Taleo
Tapulous
Techcrunch
Technorati
Tellme Inc.
Tibco Software
TiVo
TokBox
TrialPay
Trulia
Twitter
Ubisoft Entertainment
Ustream.TV
ValueClick
VeriSign
VMware Inc.
WebEx Communications
Weblogs Inc.
WebMD
Wikia
Xobni
Yahoo!
Yelp
Yodle
YouTube
Zazzle
Zillow
Zong
Zynga

4 Responses to Expanding Our Community, Step by Step

  1. [...] morning, Unvarnished announced that they will grant employees of roughly 200 tech/tech-related companies access to the site. [...]

  2. [...] morning, Unvarnished announced that they will grant employees of roughly 200 tech/tech-related companies access to the site. [...]

  3. [...] morning, Unvarnished announced that they will grant employees of roughly 200 tech/tech-related companies access to the site. [...]

  4. Fiberglass says:

    Thank you so much for sharing.Please keep writing.

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