Telonu (Tell-on-you, get it?) is a new website that invites you to “Rave, Rant, and Rate” about your school and business in the hopes of helping inform prospective applicants as well as providing co-workers a place to gossip anonymously. The startup is by no means the first to offer users a place to detail the inner workings of their current occupation (in fact, many companies have entire sites dedicated to describing how badly they suck, and we wrote about a similar site called JobVent last year). But unlike some of these alternatives, Telonu has a fairly attractive and professional interface that could help attract comments beyond the typical “my boss is a moron” drivel that prevent other sites from becoming valuable resources.
The site’s layout is reminiscent of Yelp, offering a summary of each company at the top of its profile followed by a listing of brief reviews from workers on the inside. When users sign up they are asked for their full names, but are guaranteed that these will never actually appear on the site (I’d be wary about entering it regardless, as it seems this information could be easily handed over to litigious companies by court order). Whenever users write a post about their company or co-worker, they can choose between displaying their names as ‘Anonymous’ or their site nickname, presumably so that they can make the really nasty messages totally untraceable.
Of course, with total anonymity comes questionable accuracy. Members of rival companies can easily litter profiles with poor reviews, so readers need to be wary of overly negative remarks (each review can be rated and commented on, so the obvious plants will hopefully sink to the bottom). Beyond standard reviews, the site also offers a section for ‘watercooler’ chit-chat as well as stock advice, which seems like an open invitation to offer insider trading tips given the ‘insidery’ nature of the site. But given the fact that there’s no way to actually verify if a tipster works at a company, even legitimate tips will probably get lost in the shuffle.
Beyond its interface there really isn’t much seperating Telonu from dozens of other competitors, including GlassDoor and the aforementioned JobVent. That said, none of these has really risen to become a well-known leader (as Yelp has with restaurant and entertainment reviews), so Telonu may still have a shot.