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Glassdoor acquires Fishbowl, a semi-anonymous social network and job board, to measure up against LinkedIn – TechCrunch


As LinkedIn calls on creators to bring a more human and less polished element to its networking platform for professionals, a company that has built a reputation for publishing principally the messier, more human impressions of working life made an acquisition that could help it compete better with LinkedIn.

Glassdoor, the platform that allows people to post anonymous and candid reviews about the organizations they work for, has acquired Fishbowl, an app that gives users an anonymous option to also provide candid reviews to employees, as well as join interest-based conversation groups to chat. work and job search. Glassdoor, which has 55 million users, is already integrating Fishbowl content into its main platform, although Fishbowl, with its 1 million users, will also continue to operate as a stand-alone application for now.

Glassdoor CEO Christian Sutherland-Wong said he sees Fishbowl as the logical evolution of how Glassdoor is already used. Likewise, since people are already looking for feedback from potential employers, it makes sense to bring recruiting and reviews closer together.

“We have always been focused on transparency in the workplace,” he said in an interview. “We expect job seekers in the future to use Glassdoor reviews and also look to existing professionals in their fields for answers from each other. Fishbowl has been very successful during the Covid-19 pandemic, tripling its user base in the past year.

The acquisition is technically done by Recruit Holdings, the Japanese jobs and tech giant that acquired Glassdoor for $ 1.2 billion in 2018, and the companies are not disclosing any financial terms. San Francisco-based Fishbowl – founded in 2016 by Matt Sunbulli and Loren Appin – had raised less than $ 8 million, according to PitchBook data, from a pretty impressive set of investors, including Binary Capital, GGV, Lerer. Hippeau Ventures and Scott Belsky.

Microsoft-owned LinkedIn surpasses Glassdoor in size. It now has over 774 million users, making it by far the largest social media platform targeting professionals and their work-related content. But for many, even some of those who use it, the platform leaves something to be desired.

LinkedIn is a trusted reference for creating a profile of yourself, for the public, for those in your professional life, or for recruiters, to find. But what LinkedIn is largely missing are normal people who talk honestly about work. Reading about the often self-congratulatory professional developments of others, or seeing motivational words about the professional development of already very successful personalities, or browsing developments relating to your industry that have probably already been seen elsewhere is no cup of tea. from everyone. It is harmless. Sometimes people just do want to tea to spill.

This is where something like Glassdoor comes in: the format that allows comments to be made anonymous turns it into something anti-LinkedIn. It’s caustic, perhaps bitter at times, to talk about the workplace, balanced with positive words that seem to be periodically suspected of being sown by companies themselves. Motivation, inspiration and aspiration are generally not part of the Glassdoor lexicon; honest, enlightening and perhaps sobering.

Fishbowl will be used to augment that and give Glassdoor another set of tools now to see how it could grow its platform beyond workplace reviews. The idea is to target people who come to Glassdoor to read what people think about a company, or to add their own comments: they can now also engage in conversations with others; and if they come to complain about their employer, they can now also look for a new one!

In the meantime, it seems that the shift to more authenticity is also the result of the change we have seen in the world of work.

Covid-19-imposed office closures and social distancing have meant many professionals have been working from home for most of the past year and a half (and many continue to do so). It has changed the way we “come to work”, with many of our traditional divisions between professional and non-professional personas and time management fading away. This has had an inevitable impact on how we see ourselves at work and what we seek to get out of this engagement. And it has also led many people to feel isolated and need more ways to connect with their coworkers.

The acquisition of Glassdoor, he said, was in part to meet this demand. Harris poll commissioned by Glassdoor found 48% of employees felt isolated from their colleagues during the COVID-19 pandemic; 42% of employees felt their careers ended due to lack of in-person connection; and 45% of employees expect to work remotely full-time or hybrid in the future – all areas that Glassdoor says can be addressed with better tools (like Fishbowl) for people to communicate.

Of course, it will remain to be seen if Glassdoor can convert its visitors to using the new tools powered by Fishbowl, but if there really is a user population looking for a new kind of LinkedIn – there certainly is. enough who like to complain about it – so maybe this cold is a version of it.


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