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.
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.
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|
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%|
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”:
Apache Software Foundation
Aster Data Systems
Bessemer Venture Partners
Cooley Godward Kronish
Federated Media Publishing
First Round Capital
Gunderson Dettmer LLP
Hitachi Data Systems
New Enterprise Associates
Palo Alto Research Center
Pivotal Labs Inc.
Six Apart Ltd.
SoundBite Communications Inc.