Glassdoor.com is a brilliant site. And they are blowing years of solid brand value with a short-lived spamtastic Facebook stunt and a hit-your-head-against-the-wall social integration. Years of goodwill are being flushed down the drain for the sake of "sharing" and "connecting".
I first learned about Glassdoor a few years back. The value proposition was simple, valuable and brilliant: rate your current and past employer on a broad array of topics to register and see the employee ratings and pay scales at other prospective employers. This is every HR department's dream and nightmare. Hundreds if not thousands of employees sharing their salary ranges, rating the corporate culture, their faith in the business leadership, etc.
I Glassdoored prospective employers and had others ask me about reviews of places I had worked that they found on Glassdoor. I met with HR departments across a number of large organizations to showcase the value of transparent bottom-up communications as seen through the eyes of their employees. I fielded off-the-wall questions like "Why can't we create fake accounts and seed positive reviews?" to "There is no way other businesses pay at that level, people must be inflating their salaries by 40%." and "Can we really believe something we read on the internet?". Glassdoor had the power to showcase culture as a core driver of overall total business success from recruiting and interviewing through salaries, management practices and talent retention.
It has been about a year since I was last on Glassdoor.com. Then suddenly I started getting app notifications from Facebook. Suddenly Glassdoor was starting to feel like so many other spammy Facebook apps. Ironically, much of Glassdoor's value stemmed from their diametric opposition to Facebook-like user transparency. Why on earth would I want to connect with Glassdoor, a platform I valued for my lack of identifiable information, with Facebook a network built around my entire life?!
Glassdoor's Facebook numbers may have spiked, but their reputation has nosedived. As the go-to "social" guy in the neighborhood, I have heard dozens of complaints about this "spam" app. And no less than the web powerhouse Conduit posted a scathing review of their recent Facebook efforts on their blog.
A while back I was talking to a lawyer about pharma and social media. He advised his client that they could try out a new social media tactic, but shouldn't tell anyone about it because too much attention could draw regulatory criticism. The whole point of mass-social marketing is to build relationships that scale into massive awareness. This advice made no sense.
Social value needs to fit into the context of the user-value. Failure to recognize this will dilute both the social, and the traditional value offerings of the brand. Failure to follow accepted codes of social conducting (over-zealous inviting and sharing) will also ruin a relationship users have with the brand. Glassdoor looks to be doing both.
I don't know what went wrong at Glassdoor. I don't know that led them to develop an app that over-saturated our feeds. As a user, the very idea of a Facebook/Glassdoor integration makes little sense to me. It's a damn shame to see a strong brand built on a brilliant platform fall from grace due to a desire to be social.
Sometimes it's ok to just be yourself. Especially as a brand. Even if it means not being on Facebook.