Category Archives: Students

SaysUs – an idea that should not die

Anyone familiar with the web knows to check if a web site is still “alive” by looking at the date of the last post.  saysus.net has had little activity recently because it has not yet gained sufficient momentum to get to the next step.

I want to review the history of South Bay Mental Health and jobvent.com which provided the inspiration for SaysUs.

In 2010 I was working at a local high school as a psychotherapist. I saw kids who asked to see me, whose parents asked that I see them, or whose school staff asked that I see them.

In my experience, school seemed to be the perfect place for most kids to receive therapy. They were usually glad to get out of class, and my private office seem to provide a good environment for conversation, which sometimes led to meaningful change.

I saw kids for a wide range of reasons. While some relationships did not work out, most did and I had a full schedule.  Other therapists came into the school for the same reason.

Some of them worked for a company called South Bay Mental Health. I was aware that working conditions at South Bay were not great. One day a South Bay therapist asked me if I had seen the website jobvent.com. She encouraged me to go to the site and look up South Bay.

When I did so, I saw that many South Bay therapists had gone on to jobvent, given it low ratings, and expressed in reviews just how bad things were. I was happy to see that jobvent existed and that people could use it to anonymously reveal the truth of their situation, including the ways that clients were affected.

Here is a link to some of the reviews that I found on jobvent. http://saysus.net/southbay/

I had been a union activist in a previous career, and I found jobvent fascinating. A little while later I went back to jobvent to see if there were more reviews from South Bay and to read reviews from employees of other companies. To my surprise, instead of getting to the jobvent site, I was redirected to a site called jobitorial.com.

Jobitorial looked a lot like jobvent, but the more I explored, the more I saw major differences. For one thing, the average rating for South Bay had gone way up. I saw that some of the reviews that were there previously, had now disappeared. There was no acknowledgment or explanation on the site for why this had happened.

I also saw that new reviews and ratings could no longer be entered into the site. Again there was no explanation. The site continued to dish up ads and I realized that it was probably under new management. It had been turned into a ghost site, still capable of generating ad revenue, but hollowed out and no longer functional.

The average rating for every company, not just South Bay, had gone up and the reviews that had been there related to low ratings, had disappeared. My programming background allowed me to understand what had been done. The new owners had programmed the site to eliminate every rating below a certain number, including each review associated with each low rating. The proof was when I saw negative reviews with high rating scores that were still there.

Really, a major fraud had been committed by the new owners.  A naive user looking for ratings and reviews of their company or prospective employer, might find that company on jobitorial, with a system that purported to represent employee opinion, but which actually represented only management opinion.

Here are links to pages from Yahoo and Blogspot in which users react to what happened to jobvent.  from Blogspot: http://saysus.net/jobvent/    Yahoo: http://saysus.net/complaint-sites/jobvent-what/

Later, I discovered that it was Glassdoor that bought jobvent, renamed it to Jobitorial, and eviscerated the most important content.  Since GlassDoor does not reveal its business decisions, we can only speculate as to why they would do what they did.

We can notice that over time, glassdoor has made critical ratings and reviews less accessible. Whenever I have looked up South Bay on glassdoor, I have started receiving ads for jobs at South Bay.  Glassdoor makes money by identifying companies that people show interest in, and then promoting those companies to those people, independent of how bad ratings and reviews show those companies to be.

Wikipedia claims that “as of April 2015, 8 million reviews for 400,000 companies were submitted to Glassdoor, which has raised $42.2 million of outside funding.  I have never seen a claim on GlassDoor that they are trying to improve management practices in the many companies that are rated and reviewed on their site. I can also guess that content on sites like jobvent makes related content on glassdoor less attractive. It is a well established business practice to destroy competition. Thus we have what was an effective and transparent site, jobvent, obliterated to support GlassDoor’s profit making goals.

This history of jobvent, South Bay, and GlassDoor, illustrate the need SaysUs. We need a website that cannot be corrupted, that users can trust, and that can be used to do more than just reputational organizing. In the case of South Bay, which does not seem to have changed its poor practices in the five years that I have tracked it, either a union or legislation is needed. SaysUs can be created to facilitate both.