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NastyClient.com is the opposite of Yelp and Angie’s List

NastyClient.com was launched by a business professional who saw the need for a review database of clients, turning the Yelp model on its head.

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NastyClient.com launches to counteract consumer reviews

As Yelp and Angie’s List have gone mainstream with the majority of consumers becoming aware that they can publicly sing a business’ praises or tear them a new one, but one professional has launched NastyClient.com, a Yelp for businesses to share insight into, you guessed it, nasty clients, turning the Yelp model on its head.

Business owners and professionals have reacted differently to consumer reviews going mainstream, some suing for false reviews damaging their business, others mock negative reviews, but as a whole, the business community is sometimes unfairly mistreated as many reviewers only take to the internet when displeased, regardless of any facts.

As more consumers join the review game, airing their opinions, startups have sprouted up to handle consumer complaints, ranging from Publik Demand which tends to consumer complaints publicly as a means to pressure large companies to get involved, while Mifft helps consumers to privately resolve issues with companies of any size.

NastyClient.com founder, Matt Stachel explains to Philly.com that membership to the site is only $15.99 per year, and he was inspired of course, by a nasty client who wanted some trees removed after he had planted them, which would void the warranty for the work. When some of the trees died, the property owner threatened to report him to RipOffReport.com and the Better Business Bureau. Stachel replaced the trees at his own cost, but responded by launching NastyClient.com so he too would have a place to air grievances, likely knowing that he wasn’t alone as a professional who has consumer review sites as a constant threat.

The founder rewrites any complaints that include opinions, sticking to the facts only and encourages contractors to share their reports with clients they review, and if disputes are settled, he’ll amend the reports and remove them from the site, but not right away. “If we took it off immediately, a client might just do the same thing to the next contractor.”

Pros and cons of NastyClient.com

Small businesses definitely need some form of empowerment that consumers do, because the one-gal caterer knows that if one person thinks her cake was not sweet enough, or she didn’t smile brightly enough during delivery, those details can be twisted into an opinion on a consumer review site that makes her sound like an evil monster who can’t cook. Where is she to go when a nightmare client is simply abusive? She can’t exactly search a person on Yelp and review them from a client perspective, it’s just not realistic. So that is the positive of the site – a form of relief, a place that could be somewhat cathartic.

The cons, unfortunately, outweigh the positives, as the business model has some major flaws that will hold it back. First, unless completely saturating the small business community (which is nearly impossible), most businesses won’t know to go search first, so it will mostly be professionals that come across it and think “oh, I have some crappy clients, let me get this off of my chest for revenge.” That’s a bad start.

But let’s say I’m wrong, and saturation is possible, and user behavior will actually be productive. Even then, when the site owner edits any comments, he takes responsibility for them, even if he is being a good guy and stripping out opinion. Just as on your blog, you cannot edit comments without becoming responsible for them (especially for potentially altering their meaning), Stachel may be stepping into something deeper than the roots of the trees he is actually an expert on.

But let’s also say that I’m wrong about that and that his lawyer’s green light keeps him safe. Stachel obviously has good intentions and is on a one-man crusade to right the world’s wrongs, and he should be commended for that, he really should. But the NastyClient.com site is bad. That’s as politely as I can phrase it. Take a look at NastyClient.com alongside Yelp.com:

nastyclient.com vs. yelp

Do you know what to do when you go to Yelp? Yep. Right at the top, you can search, and there are even suggested searches. What about on NastyClient.com? There’s a hard to read “Join Now” button with a 1993-era splash of paint at the top right of the page, but the rest of the page is just a lot of words in heavy font, wasting valuable real estate. At the “Join Now” page, there is no pitch, no explanation, just a “Why do I have to pay for this?” link, which right off the bat, any marketing professional will cringe at. There’s no sample review or demonstration of value, no call to action other than to just do it.

So maybe I’m wrong about that too, and web design doesn’t matter, I mean Craigslist sucks, but is still highly trafficked, and maybe I’m wrong that marketing copy matters. I will move on to my last reason that the company has problems. The tone is aggressive. It is all about revenge, being able to post anonymously, and even goes so far as to plaster the following ad on the sidebar of the site on some pages:

nastyclient.com

The takeaway

With some real web development behind it, a marketing expert who knows marketing as well as NastyClient.com’s founder knows landscaping, and some structural changes that make it easy to search and post could make NastyClient.com a legitimate value for businesses.

As it exists now, NastyClient.com stands in its own way of success, but we are fascinated by the idea of turning Yelp on its head and creating a community for businesses that can factually state events from their point of view, unfiltered, and not for reasons of revenge, but to give something back to the community in the form of sharing people that have ripped them off.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. JoeLoomer

    January 16, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Completely agree with your assessment, Lani. This site isn’t going anywhere without some serious help from a seasoned web designer.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

    • Lani Rosales

      January 16, 2013 at 12:33 pm

      Yeah, I don’t think it will take much, to be honest. The idea is FABULOUS, just needs sexier presentation, which I think would help it expand exponentially. The price point isn’t bad, it matches the value. Regardless, I hope the company does really well, because it looks very handy!

  2. Russell Hatfield Jr.

    January 17, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Interesting idea. There are certainly at least two sides to every story and it does make for a richer and more useful resource, I think, to present both sides, together. At Zillow we have over 250,000 published reviews of Real Estate professionals. And for each and every one of them we allow the professional(Reviewee) the opportunity to respond to the review directly: it gets published for all to see right next to the review. I think consumers(myself included) understand that mistakes happen, folks screw-up, intentionally and not, and that there is certainly a subjective component to any assessment of a customer experience. And because they appreciate this, they love to hear both sides. We have ample evidence that shows that consumers weigh very heavily how a professional(business) responds to a review: whether they do at all, what they say, what they don’t say, and how they say it. It really does matter. Thanks, Lani!

  3. Nick Braak

    January 21, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    An enthusiastic effort by someone who believes he is addressing an unfilled need. Perhaps he is correct. Or perhaps it is unfilled because offering such a platform for the purpose of “blacklisting” and charging for it, is a deep dark tarpit filled with the bleached bones of CDA Section 230 noobs and their lawyers.

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How to survive when you’re in between jobs (shame free)

(CAREER) It’s already stressful enough to find a job, but covering costs in between jobs can be scary, and downright traumatic. Let’s talk about your options – you HAVE options and there’s no shame in getting some wins right now. You deserve them!

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No matter how much we plan, life happens. People quit jobs, they get fired and everything in between. No matter what takes place in the grey areas of unemployment, there’s always the question of “what do I do now?”

It’s hard not to have a job. Like, really hard. People tie their identity to their work ethic, to how much they get done, how much they make. There are a lot of people in the world that shudder at the mere mention of retirement because they value their daily routine of getting up to pull on their work boots so much.

So, what are you supposed to do if you’re in between jobs?

You’ve got options. The sky isn’t officially falling. Right now, it’s a pretty manageable time to be unemployed. While yes, there is unemployment that you can collect, who wants to deal with that? There’s constant checking in, making sure no one is gaming the system, on top of it’s a fraction of what most people make. It’s a useful safety net to ensure that you’re able to eat and pay essential utilities, but collecting unemployment and not looking for a job shouldn’t be how you’re spending time.

There’s doing the temp agency thing, but that’s a total crapshoot. No one ever knows where they’ll end up. If you’re cool with rolling the dice and taking what you can get in terms of making money, then it works. If you don’t want to potentially be doing the worst work possible, then throwing your name into a temp worker pool might not be for you. Some jobs need sets of hands to haul boxes or help set up for an event, on the other hand, a temp agency might have you scrubbing a dead person’s house.

It really depends on what you’re willing and, more importantly, not willing to do. If you’re a little squeamish about making a buck cleaning up the dearly departed Aunt Abigail’s pee-scented cat mansion, proceed with caution.

Around cities like Austin and Houston, Rudy’s BBQ pays well above minimum wage if you can learn the art of exact meat cutting. Hardware stores need people to haul lumber, and help stock shelves. There are plenty of retail spaces that need people, and there’s always the service industry. Many people have waited tables and tended bar during a transitional period. Plus, the social landscape is different every night.

And there’s a lot of opportunities to make good money, depending on where you work. If you’re good with people and love chatting, the service industry might be for you. If you’re a little more buttoned-up and aren’t big on small talk with strangers, maybe not.

Impact your wallet immediately.

Probably the easiest way to make an impact while trying to figure out your next move is to utilize the gig economy. Applying, interviewing, silently sobbing in coffee shops, all of those things take a lot of time. The gig economy offers flexibility, which is enormous. There’s no shame in delivering food or picking up people who need a ride.
It’s money coming in and there’s always a demand. Right now, the gig economy is generating billions – with a B for companies. The workers are a massive slice of that pie.

I work at Adia, where we’ve found that most of our workers aren’t the pink haired folks’ social media would like us to believe, but instead, it’s a lot of people who are looking for extra cash or stuck between a job and needing to make sure the light bill is paid. Like Lyft, Uber, or Favor, we’ve made sure that our jobs are flexible, that people can live their lives, and keep hustling, no matter what their career demands. (We help people in every industry find gigs from the service industry, distro centers, and even worked a Rolling Stones show. There’s a lot to choose from.)

If you’re an immigrant who’s new to an area, the gig economy is even better – it’s a feet first way to make a splash into a local economy. There are a lot of people moving to cities like Austin and Houston, and because of that boom, some of those people aren’t native English speakers. Working short term gigs from driving to stocking shelves or cleaning hotel rooms allows for new residents of the country to get a feel for the speed of the city, but also develop core English competency, which will serve them in the long run.

Another perk of the gig economy while in between a job is the benefits. Let’s just be honest: Cobra sucks. No one in their right minds would ever want to willingly sign up for a program that can financially ruin you, only to have government-mandated health insurance you’re (hopefully) not using. And on top of that, if you use Cobra, it’s pretty terrible coverage. Adia offers insurance if a worker hits their minimum hours worked a week.

Plus, some companies (like us) offer a W-2 if a worker doesn’t want to deal with the hoops of 1099. A 1099 makes sense for some workers thanks to write off, but that’s only for certain contexts. We put people on a W2 so there’s no hoops of the 1099 – which, if you’ve been paying attention to what Uber and Lyft are fighting in courts across the country, is a way better arrangement.

So far, for workers, it’s been a choice between enjoying the flexibility of a 1099, or the employee benefits of W2 status, but we’re letting you have your cake and eat it too. Flexibility and benefits are no longer mutually exclusive – well, at least with us, it’s not.

That’s why having taxes taken out can be a big help when April comes around. No one wants to owe when they’re already working toward full employment. Cutting a check to the government hurts, especially when every dollar counts.

Some workers are embracing Amazon Flex, while others find luck in flipping goods from garage sales. (Gary Vee has a whole video of him flipping $40 of garage sale stuff and turning it into $430.) But, those both come with their challenges. If you want to flip old records or kid’s toys on eBay, you’re going to have to get up at the crack of dawn to beat the crowds.

For real, you can score some wins right now

Despite our political woes, the job market is healthy for both skilled and unskilled labor. In our home city of Austin, we’re sitting at a 3% unemployment rate across the board – in most cases, we’ve got more jobs than people. The Wall Street Journal has cited Austin as the number one job market, and Houston is also ranked high. There’s opportunity everywhere in Texas.

If you find yourself in a position of stocking shelves at Target, there’s nothing wrong with that. You’re putting food on the table. If you’re lucky enough to work for HEB, they pay well, and they’ll put you through college. What matters is utilizing the time and energy to land a gig that makes you happy, but also finding one that moves your career upward. If you’re trying to land that dream graphic design job, but need the time to work on your craft, that’s cool – sign up with us. We’d love to help you level up.

Just remember, whatever you do, there’s no shame in survival.

The numbers are on your side. You’ll find that dream gig. It might take a little longer than you’d like, but you’re not alone. While the process can seem miserable when there’s a constant stream of NO hitting the inbox, there are most definitely companies out there who want you to win. We’re one of them.

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5 ways employers can avoid age discrimination when hiring

(BUSINESS) Sometimes intentional, sometimes not, age discrimination is costing businesses big these days – make sure you’re hiring fairly and not taking unnecessary risks.

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The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 makes it illegal to discriminate against employees aged 40 and up. Federal law applies to employers with 20 or more employees.

In Texas, for example, it’s illegal for private employers with 15 or more employees to discriminate based on age. A Federal Court has ruled that age discrimination is only illegal against employees, but AARP has asked the Supreme Court to weigh in.

The EEOC received over 16,000 age discrimination complaints in 2018, which is lower than previous years, but it’s not something your business wants to deal with. Age discrimination just cost one Texas employer more than $85K for casting off an older worker. Avoid costly claims and fines by making sure that your workplace is discrimination-free.

1. Watch how you describe jobs.

Identifying a position for a “young” tech-savvy college student could be misconstrued as age discrimination. Avoid using terminology that makes indicates that a person must be younger to fit into your culture. Rather than try to find the right words to fit the person you’re looking for, describe the job itself.

2. What information do you really need on a job application?

It’s not illegal to ask a person’s age or when they graduated high school, but it is illegal to use that information in determining whether you’d hire them or not. Asking for that information could be used as evidence that age influenced a hiring decision. Choose questions carefully on your company’s job application. Talk to a good recruiting specialist or lawyer to help you stay out of trouble.

3. Watch what you say during interviews.

Collecting information about someone’s age during an interview could also get you into hot water. Don’t bring up children or grandchildren. It seems innocuous enough, but if the person makes a complaint to the EEOC, it could come up again.

Make sure interviewers know what types of questions could be inappropriate. Have a structured interview guide that provides consistency across applicants, regardless of age. It is also a good idea to keep good records about how decisions were made.

4. Be aware of diversity and implicit biases in the hiring process.

There’s plenty of research that demonstrates implicit bias in hiring. Implicit bias describes the attitudes we have toward others that we’re not really conscious about. This could include stereotypes about retirement or that an older person might be uncomfortable working for a younger manager. Implicit bias is what makes you choose someone based on a similarity to yourself, rather on their skills. Look around your office and see if you have a diverse workplace.

5. Avoiding age discrimination isn’t about quotas.

To fight age discrimination, you can’t just focus on how many people you employ of a certain age group. You have to really look at the overall culture of your organization. Telling hiring managers to hire someone over the age of 65 doesn’t change attitudes.

Educate your managers about age discrimination. Encourage your team to interact with people of all ages, whether through volunteerism, classes at the local college or book clubs. Eliminate biases that cause age discrimination by widening your social circles. Seniors bring a lot of experience and soft skills to the workplace that can benefit your business.

Bottom line: Don’t discount someone based on age.

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Mystery: Who is Henry Hawksberry, ghost author of ‘Is WeWork a Fraud?’

(BUSINESS NEWS) WeWork has been a hot mess lately, and the public got involved after a list of egregious infractions was published on Medium, but the author is a ghost and no one has noticed. Who the hell is Henry Hawksberry!?

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Who exactly is Henry Hawksberry? Are you ready for a good conspiracy theory? Oh good, me too – put on your tinfoil hat and buckle up, because it’s about that time!

Yesterday, in our real estate section, I broke down how the wild WeWork IPO withdrawal could impact the residential real estate industry. Part of that breakdown was referencing the WeWork drama involving made-up accounting practices, tax ducking, wild spending from deep pockets, shady business dealings, and a fleecing of historic proportions.

By now, we all know a lot of what happened, thanks to Henry Hawksberry who penned the viral “Is WeWork a Fraud?” scathing blog post illustrating point-by-point the “ponzi scheme.”

But something bugged me.

Who IS Henry Hawksberry? I started digging and no one has picked up on the fact that it’s a ghost. A shadow. A phantom. A specter. Yet this one blog post has been republished dozens of times, and referenced thousands of times.

Let’s dig into these breadcrumbs:

1. Henry Hawksberry’s original Medium post (which is what everyone linked to, retweeted, and republished) has been deleted. By Henry Hawksberry.

2. But not just the story, the entire Medium account that posted the one blog post has been deleted. No one seems to have noticed, given that it has been republished so widely.

So, I went to the Wayback Machine, and there is only one instance of that account ever being captured – on September 20th, there was one blog post, a profile picture of someone skiing, they followed one person (which is not clickable, so that doesn’t yield any clues) and were followed by 70 (no surprise there since his post was already viral by the 20th).

3. You are prompted to set up a Medium account with a Google or Facebook account, so we dug for both looking for “Henry Hawksberry,” yielding zero results. Same with LinkedIn. And Reddit.

And, although his name is mentioned on Twitter endlessly, every single instance (yes, I read every. single. tweet.) is in reference to this one blog post. There is no account under the name “Henry Hawksberry.”

4. But Twitter is where it gets slightly interesting. There are three tweets that noticed this person is a ghost.

One British fella took issue with Herny calling WeWork out for lack of transparency, but is non-transparent, one guy posits that it’s a pen name, and an Irish fella questions his identity but immediately moves on.

The very first perked ear was from Peter Yang:

Note that this tweet has two retweets and 7 likes. In case anyone unlikes it, here is a screenshot of all Likes:

Note that one of the likes is from @ProfGalloway himself. More on that soon…

“Motorman” has a quick conversation asking who Henry is, but mainly to point out that Henry criticizes WeWork’s refusal to be transparent while ironically, Henry is doing the same. But the topic dies quickly and no one else gets involved.

Here we go – finally someone saying the very thing that I’ve been digging into. But the conversation dies and no one else on the planet ever picks it back up. Bizarre.

5. So I emailed Professor Galloway, who in the first tweet above, was referenced as the potential ghost. He liked the tweet but didn’t comment or retweet. Scott Galloway did write a blog post that same day, entitled “WeWTF, Part Deux,” referencing Henry Hawksberry as a “pen name, I think.”

Last night, I emailed his NYU Stern address: “I *have* to know – are YOU Henry Hawksberry? Is it a pen name? I saw someone ask (potentially in jest) if you were Henry, and no one responded or noticed, but you were one of the 7 ‘Likes.’ Is it you? If not, any theories?”

He responded, minutes later, “Who is Henry Hawksberry?” and nothing more.

I wrote back, “LOL okay… He penned the original “Is WeWork a Fraud?” (republished here) and you referenced him in your “WeWTF” blog post…” and he went silent.

This is still of interest, so keep this point fresh in your mind, I’ll circle back to it.

6. An entrepreneur in Zurich calls Henry out on Medium for being potential fake news, asking who Henry is, and it has 33 “claps” which are similar to “Likes” on Facebook, but zero comments. It went nowhere.

7. Oddly enough, RealClearMarkets has a blank profile page. The site is a product of RealClearPolitics, which is an actual trusted publication, so that’s a strange question mark. They have not responded to our request for comment.

8. Google has indexed 0 incidents of the name “Henry Hawksberry” aside from this one story and references to it – I reviewed every single instance of his name as indexed by Google. Dead end.

9. No comments by “Henry Hawksberry” were found anywhere at all which is usually the giveaway. Even when using a pen name, people will accidentally say something in a forum under that name years ago, but not this ghost.

10. I had hoped that perhaps I could piece together the relevance of his name – maybe it’s a nod to a famous historical figure in tech or business that would unlock this person’s true identity or goals, but I didn’t get anywhere with that either.

Hawksberry is a place in Australia, maybe a body of water in Brooklyn, but other than that, it’s a mystery.

So who is Henry Hawksberry?

Reading this, you’ll imagine that it’s Professor Galloway, and there’s a fine possibility of this, given the immediate silence.

However, my instinct is that the person who penned the blog post in question is close to WeWork, likely a former employee. Not a receptionist or event coordinator or someone at that level, but someone with real insider knowledge, likely at a Director level. Higher than that, and there would probably be too much at risk with stock options.

The author is also extremely well informed and had a firm grasp on the historical context of the timeline, and the writer’s diction level indicates they’re likely well educated.

A tech insider opined to me privately that it could be someone that has had full access to everything at WeWork, like a sysadmin who is acting like some sort of whistleblower.

That could be possible, but it seems more likely to me that it’s someone who removed their original blog post (without anyone noticing), knowing that it could potentially be used to identify them by leadership at WeWork, which would again, put them probably below VP status, and probably not currently with the company.

I’ve been obsessed with the WeWork melodrama, and I’ve had plenty of private conversations about it. But this Henry Hawksberry is the part that has really gotten under my skin. I’ve tested my gut against others that I trust, and we all agree that this is a real head scratcher.

It could be Gwyneth Paltrow for all we know (if you read the original blog post, you’d get the relevance of this jab).

Perhaps the fact that this person left no breadcrumbs IS a clue in and of itself.

Feel free to share any insights in the comments – maybe you have the key to solving this mystery??

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