Rate My Co-Worker? “Unvarnished” Needs Some Polishing

April 14th, 2010 |

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Soaking in the world and spitting it out, one blog post at a time. Consider me the Clark Kent of web stories without the cool glasses, the fancy suit and, well, the muscles.

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It recently came to my attention that a new site, “Unvarnished,” allows you to rate your boss or coworkers. At first inspection, it was clear that this is a totally unoriginal idea. We have websites like RateMyProfessor and RateMDs that help us in choosing which professor is going to give the least amount of work and which doctor isn’t going to pull a Kevorkian. This new site however seems to be an epic fail for the following reasons:

The Name: Unvarnished? I know people try to be clever and think of cool names like Google or Twitter, but Unvarnished is trying a little too hard. Unvarnished sounds more like a type of wood you can buy at Home Depot than an actual website.

The Concept: The website allows you to have anonymity so you can protect yourself while trashing your co-workers. This is probably the dumbest thing in the world and human resources is going to have a field day with this. And – get this – if your co-worker trashes you, there’s no way for you to remove their review. Just imagine the riffs in an organization that can form from one bad review; you could potentially make that person hate everyone at the office.

The Flaws: So if my co-worker Paul ate MY pudding cup with MY name on it and I went to Unvarnished and trashed him, how anonymous is it? Of course he’s going to know I’m the one that was pissed off about losing that precious pudding cup. Next, if you have a job, there’s a good chance you’re somewhat of an adult which means you don’t have time to come home and trash talk your co-workers on a computer. If you have something to say, surely we can be mature about it and talk in person. That’s why the next time Paul steps to my pudding cup, I will be waiting for him in the parking lot.

Co-founder Peter Kazanjy claims to have solved the problem of people who might abuse the system.  Unvarnished wants you to:

  • Use their own Facebook profile to post
  • In case of a defamatory post, provide your name and personal information
  • Be over 21

Thanks for trying Mr. Kazanjy, that was useless. The reason for bringing Facebook into the fray is so I can post on Paul’s wall “This bastard stole my pudding cup” and make him out to be the bad guy. Kazanjy seems to have solved this potential problem by allowing the other person to defend themselves (in this case, Paul would probably say “I was really hungry”). And if that still doesn’t help, Paul can ask his own friends to back him up so people don’t think he’s a total jerk. Also I don’t understand the under 21 rule. Isn’t that ageism? I’m sure there are some people under 21 who can hold their own at a company and who are quite mature. I mean, they trust 21-year-olds to vote. That’s got to count for something.

The BIG Problem: We live in a day and age where social media can both separate and bring us together. We can interact with millions of people at a time on these sites but we also forget that we can interact in real life. This site just proves that we’re forgetting how to communicate with others and how we let our fingers do more of the talking than our own rhetoric. Unvarnished just seems like a good idea that was poorly executed. Instead of this approach, how about a site that shows how great people are rather than calling them out on the dire things they may have done. Yea, Paul probably ate my pudding cup but the next day he apologized and brought me a 4-pack. Too bad I can’t change my original review of Paul, because the world now thinks he’s pudding kleptomaniac.

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8
Sunil Ramsamooj
  • Anonymous

    If you think unvarnished is interesting and the idea of writing about people anonymously is a winner, you've got to check out http://www.dirtyphonebook.com

    • http://twitter.com/laurenthedark Lauren Cannon

      That is absolutely creepy!

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  • http://www.mijatovic.com/ Milan

    So why not just use LinkedIn? It sounds like much of Unvarnished's business model is a subset of what LinkedIn already does. The main difference is that Unvarnished seems much sketchier.

  • http://twitter.com/Linuswastaken Sunil Ramsamooj

    dirtyphonebook….way too creepy. Milan, Linkedin is a lot more professional, more like an online resume & rolodex combined, this site is a lot less professional. The basis of it is to write negative comments about your co-workers, so instead of finding out where your co-workers went to college and what jobs they held (like at Linkedin), Unvarnished tells you how annoying they are behind their backs.

  • http://twitter.com/Linuswastaken Sunil Ramsamooj

    dirtyphonebook….way too creepy. Milan, Linkedin is a lot more professional, more like an online resume & rolodex combined, this site is a lot less professional. The basis of it is to write negative comments about your co-workers, so instead of finding out where your co-workers went to college and what jobs they held (like at Linkedin), Unvarnished tells you how annoying they are behind their backs.

  • http://www.localtraders.com/ Chris Holl

    I think this site seems a little to harsh in the way it could be abused to potentially tarnish someones reputation whether or not it is justified. Because of the nature of the web it can never be moderated with any context and therefore seems to me more like a tool for malice!

    • http://www.timingbeltreplacement.co.uk/ timingbeltreplacement.co.uk

      Totally agree with you!