The new beta site Unvarnished is causing quite the stir. It describes itself as “an online resource for building, managing, and researching professional reputation, using community-contributed, professional reviews.” What that means is anyone can anonymously critique how you handle yourself professionally — your skill, productivity, relationships, and integrity. The site claims it will foster candid but fair reviews that “maintain a helpful, business-focused approach” by allowing Unvarnished users to rate each other’s critiques, so each person has a “Reviewer Authority score.” Individuals can create their own profile or claim one that has already been built for them by someone who has reviewed them; either way, they cannot delete reviews — they only have the opportunity to respond to them.
What do you think the chances are of people using this site the way it was intended — to check out professional contacts and potential hires — as opposed to as a means for trashing professional competitors and personal enemies? Will you play, or will you not engage? As a professional blogger who’s read her fair show of anonymous comments, I plan to stay away. And yet, I know how hard it’ll be not to peek. Great. Now I’m already hating Unvarnished for making me feel like I’ll have to.