Unvarnished: The Evil Side of Social Media?

Unvarnished LogoRemember that time when you had a very vocal disagreement with someone at work, or with a client, and you hoped it would go away and time would heal any rifts or at least neutralize them? Well that might not happen if people were to abuse a site like Unvarnished. Did something not so professional that peeved someone? Messed up a big project? All that information might just appear on Unvarnished, courtesy of some “anonymous” posting.

The concept behind Unvarnished seems pretty simple which, according to the info on the homepage, is to be “an online resource for building, managing, and researching professional reptutation.” According to Marshall Kirkpatrick at RWW, you can anonymously post reviews of someone’s professional performance. What’s worse, some of the bad mouthing comes from “trusted reviewers”. That sounds pretty scary for some people’s professional careers. Marshall also pondered if Unvarnished creator Pete Kazanjy is an evil genius. Well I know for a fact that other people thought of this idea years ago but realized what a nightmare and legal headache this would be. Sounds more like Kazanjy is simply ballsy enough to go forward with an idea that others might fear to tread in.

The fact is, we’re human, we’re flawed. We all have bad days, where stress piles on stress. Things happen; adults get over it and move on. Forgiveness is a key element in the process. At first glance, Unvarnished seems a platform to encourage the opposite. However, as Marshall details in his article, there are a few measures in place to reduce the chances of negative reviews happening. Firstly, you have to sign up via Facebook Connect, then enter an email address just to get on the waiting list (the site is in beta). Then to be accepted, you have to be invited to review a Facebook friend before you can get an Unvarnished account. Your Facebook account also has to have a certain level of activity, to avoid fake accounts. So there’s still opportunities for Unvarnished users to do some social good through social media, instead of damaging reputations.

What are your thoughts on Unvarnished? Would use a site like this? Would you care if someone posted unflattering reviews of you?