NEWS

WorkExp.Com Goes Offline - The Whisper Board for Bad News

March 07, 2009
Aaman Lamba

People have an innate need to share information about things that are important to them in their every day lives. There is also an insatiable curiosity about one's jobs, friends, and family. This explains, in part, why the most heavily trafficked stories online are often the kind that deal with sensational topics. While Dr. Vijay Mallya might be the flavor du jour, a more persistent trend these days is the state of the economy, and more specifically, jobs. Job losses are rising globally, engendering a rising sense of uncertainty.

The need to know, in part, if one's job was relatively safe, is typically fulfilled by asking around. As the saying goes, "If your neighbor loses his job, it's a recession. If you lose your job, it's a depression." The Internet helps drive the dissemination of the state of affairs, and one website, WorkExp, found itself dealing with a surge in traffic from nervous Indians. The site was originally set up with the objective of sharing work experiences, equally positive and negative, but as with the bear market, trafficking in bad news soon overwhelmed the slim sliver of good news. Everything from layoffs to bad managers became grist for the mill, and the site became a must-check site. It even found itself being blocked in various company networks, understandably so, from the perspective of the HR departments as nothing was spared by the anonymous commenters/posters. It became a safety valve, in part, for the stressed employee, serving to reinforce, negatively, his feelings about his company. The Alexa Rank, a poor enough measure as it might be, indicates an occasional surge of attention, such as when the Satyam fiasco broke out.

As leading HR blogger, Gautam Ghosh, put it when he encountered the site:

Today I came across WorkExp , which is primarily a blog consisting of submitted posts by Indian techies about their organizations.

So as a HR person are you ready for the flipside and downside of this kind of transparency. Yes, it'll be messy and not easy to deal with. But this is going to be the new pub where people will share stories, only difference being it will be archived and search-able for posterity.


Unfortunately, this transparency or the 'pub culture' appears to have been contrary to the owner's expectations. They took all content offline, promising a redesign, and declaring they were disappointed with the negativity that had violated the site's founding principles. They posted the following:
This site was started with a view of helping people learn and share experiences, but sadly in its current state it has been reduced to a board where only stones are thrown. Except for one from CTS & one from Bharthi Airtel, NOONE shared their positive experiences :( Which was indeed very sad for the editorial team back here! We are re-designing this site and will be back soon!

But Guys! As much as it is your right to complain and share your bad experience it is also your responsibility in a way to tell what good your company has done for you!

We are over for now! But not out yet!

The retirement of the site will no doubt lead to the disappointment of many vicarious thrill-seekers, but the stance of the editors is to be commended, as they put principles before traffic. Even so, they could have gone with the flow, and become the Yelp.com for the job-hungry. Perhaps a clone will spring up soon enough, one that will satisfy the need to crib about your manager, your company, your work experiences.

Aaman Lamba is the Publisher of Desicritics.org, a Blogcritics network site. He also blogs, more infrequently nowadays, at Audit Trails Of Self
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WorkExp.Com Goes Offline - The Whisper Board for Bad News

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Author: Aaman Lamba

 

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#1
vikranth
March 7, 2009
01:13 PM

You may not know this, but workexp had lot of run-in issues with some managements of IT companies..The frank comments by contributors at the site also made it unpopular among lot of managements..What came as a topping in the cake was a legal notice sent by Hexaware to the site owners, which could have well decided the logic you just mentioned..webtraffic may not be just worth it..

Anyways many like me will miss some true inside stories.

#2
Vikranth
March 7, 2009
01:26 PM


Bhagwant Bhargawe ,Head Legal and Company Secretary of Hexaware sent them a notice. A copy of which is below..check google cache/the other website

http://72.14.235.132/search?q=cache:Dn_WECOrFf4J:www.workexp.com/2008/12/17/hexaware-firing-senior-people%3Freferer%3Dsphere_search+workexp+BHAGWANT+HEXAWARE&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=2

http://www.netzwerkit.de/Members/johnhenry/news20081220-001

#3
Aaman
URL
March 7, 2009
01:30 PM

Thanks for those updates, it's unfortunate that companies are afraid of some transparency and yet claim they walk the talk around governance

#4
Ruvy
URL
March 7, 2009
11:37 PM

Bad news is bad for "business", Aaman. And it doesn't matter what business you're talking about. "Businessmen" fear bad news like brides fear the plague.

And in a world where bad news is most of the news, well, work experience for many (if not most) will be bad news.

Hopefully, someone with some brains can set up a "yelp.com" - and hopefully, it will not be limited to techies or scared of the first nasty HR department that pops up with a lawyer's letter.

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