December 12, 2010

Honestly – Real Reviews of Real People

Before you go out to dinner, you check Yelp for restaurant reviews. Before you hire a plumber, you do a quick search on Angie’s List. And before you buy a new car, you visit Consumer Reports for all the facts and data. Now an app called Honestly is bringing the concept of user reviews to real-world business professionals. People who use Honestly can check out new bosses, business partners, and work associates to find out how others feel about their dealings in the past.

Because users on Honestly are reviewing actual people, the application is careful to vet reviewers beforehand. One way of doing this is to require users to log in with Facebook, which lends an air of authenticity, ensures that the user is at least 21 years old, and decreases the chances that an individual will sign on anonymously to post defamatory information. Once you’ve been vetted, it’s time to start contributing reviews. To encourage users to respond honestly, the application obscures the identity of reviewers and provides a host of tools that let people rate reviews in a number of ways. Reviews are meant to focus on the individual’s professional presence only, rather than his personal life, and any libelous statements will be removed from the site.

To manage your own reputation, create your own Honestly profile and invite trusted colleagues to submit their own reviews. You’ll receive notices when additional information has been put up, and you can even add resume details and past business experience to bolster your position as a leader in the field. Whether your goal is to increase your presence in the industry, control and manage your reputation, or warn future secretaries to watch out for your past boss, Honestly is a useful tool for anyone working in a professional field.

Practical Uses:

  • Manage your reputation as a professional businessperson
  • Find out when past employees are badmouthing you online
  • Anonymously review an associate you once worked with
  • Warn people not to work for a former boss who doesn’t pay his bills on time

Insider Tips:

  • People who login with brand new Facebook accounts may be booted from the site
  • Reviews that diverge from business topics may be deleted
  • Users can tag their own name and start adding information to their profile
  • Reviewer identities will always be obscured and protected by Honestly

What we liked:

  • People looking for jobs finally have a way to research their potential bosses
  • Honestly gives professionals a way to manage their own reputation
  • The application vets reviewers by requiring them to sign in through Facebook
  • Reviews that seem unfair or harsh can be tagged and reported to Honestly’s reps

What we didn’t like:

  • The concept of reviewing people, as opposed to businesses or products, is still controversial
  • At the current time, there aren’t enough submitted reviews for Honestly to prove very useful to most job seekers, although that will change as more reviews are added to the site


Company Info:

  • Launched: March 2010
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: San Mateo, California
  • Founded by: Jason Heidema, Peter Kazanjy, Danis Dayanov
  • Web site:


  • Free

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