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Startup Comparison – GlassDoor Beats Telonu and JobVent

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Reviewer Amy Z and Collette F recently offered up their critiques of three websites offering user generated reviews of workplaces/employers – Telonu, JobVent and GlassDoor.  We thought we’d offer a summary of their reviews and critical commentary below.  (note:  Links to their full reviews which have significantly more content are embedded below).

Both Collette and Amy give Telonu ( a one-star rating.  In her review of the company entitled, “Telonu is the most mixed mixed up of the review sites”, Collette offers critiques into the usability citing

The site is so busy that it can seem overwhelming. Searching for a company and reading the reviews is easy enough, but when it comes to making a profile and adding friends, I think it gets a little crazy. Even compared to other company review sites, it seems a little messy.

Amy’s review of Telonu entitled “Juicy Campus + Employment Site = One Really Bad Idea” offers up critical commentary of the site’s layout, but she goes into 4 main issues with Telonu’s business model as summarized below:

  1. Anonymity reducing legitimacy of reviews
  2. There is no stickiness at such sites
  3. The advertising revenue model
  4. Market conditions

Excerpts from her review include:

Telonu’s tagline leads me to believe they want to be some sort of Juicy Campus ( for adults. Unlike JobVent and Glassdoor, Telonu lets you rate and review not just the employer but people at your firm. So you can rate your boss or make comments about your colleague who drinks too much at company happy hours and says inappropriate things or presumably, you could just spread rumors about people. It appears that Telonu doesn’t have designs on becoming a real destination for job seekers but some sort of cheap knockoff where immature people can rant and rave. There are probably some legal problems that could emerge from this, but I hope that Telonu spent some money to ensure their legal terms of service are tightly formulated. Perhaps that is where the money for the website design went?

When discussing the business model problem #2 around stickiness, she writes:

There is no ‘stickiness’ at such sites – When you are unhappy in your job or looking for a job, you may come to the site to read or write reviews, but once you are out of that predicament, why would you come back? What kind of relationships can these sites really build with users? It seems like any relationship would be pretty thin as there is nothing that would bring the same users back.

To read Amy’s entire review of Telonu, click here.

Amy and Collette both also reviewed JobVent ( which faired marginally better with Amy who gave it 2-stars.  It still only garnered a single star from Collette.

In her review of JobVent entitled, JobVent Not My Top Choice for Company Reviews, Collette offers the following concerns about using the site:

I didn’t find anything on the site that made users verify their employment, so reviews could have come from anyone. They also didn’t make users specify their job title, so I didn’t know if the review I was reading was based on a job I would be qualified for or have in the future.

As mentioned, Amy gives JobVent 2 stars, an improvement over her Telonu rating, but her optimism for this company is not high as evidenced by her review entitled, “JobVent: Slightly Less Terrible than Telonu“.

She does cite 4 reasons for why JobVent is better than Telonu but ultimately cites the same basic business model problems as those she cited for Telonu.  She also details 3 JobVent specific problems including:

  1. Job title and salary info not evident
  2. Lower-end jobs focus
  3. Branding

On point # 2, Amy offers up:

Many of the reviews I read were from people working in call centers or as sales reps in retail outlets. This is a bit of an assumption since job title information wasn’t available, but it seemed to be the case. While I don’t think having these types of hourly jobs on the site is a bad thing, having your higher-level jobs would also be good so that the site is a destination for job-seekers of all types. Plus, I don’t know how valuable the call-center worker demographic would be to an advertiser

Rounding out the list of services that let you rate employers is Glassdoor ( which fared the best based on feedback from Collette and Amy.

One of Collette’s primary concerns with JobVent is considered by GlassDoor as she details in her 3 star rating and review entitled, “GlassDoor Keeps You in the Know“:

To make sure postings are really from employees, GlassDoor requires users to verify that they are actually employed and certify their account via email before their posts are approved. If any suspicious reviews are completed, GlassDoor has the ability to remove the post from the system.

Amy gives GlassDoor 4 stars in her review entitled “GlassDoor – Can’t See Biz Model but Solid Management“.  She sites several things she likes including:

  • Their “give to get” model
  • The site’s layout
  • Structure of listings making search easier
  • Quality of the content

Her discussion of the business model cites many of the same concerns she had with Telonu and JobVent.  In discussing their advertising revenue model, she cites:

Jeremiah Jamison talks about Glassdoor’s advertising revenue conondrum on his blog and he actually highlights an interesting paradox of having great content in that engaging content makes people less likely to click on ads. It is an interesting idea and given Glassdoor’s fairly good content, is it something that might hurt their advertising model?

She also offers up some ideas on how GlassDoor can make money, namely:

  1. Selling packaged data & sentiment information to employers (HR groups)
  2. Packaging reviews into primers on particular employers/industries
  3. Starting their own job postings site

To read Amy’s entire review of GlassDoor, click here.

What do you think about Collette and Amy’s reviews of Telonu, JobVent and GlassDoor and the services and overall viability of these startups?  Join the conversation and share your viewpoint on which of these companies will win the employer rating space.  You can write a review of the companies or offer your comments on the existing reviews.

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