Not all User Generated Content (UGC) is Valuable – Exhibit A: Mixtent.com
If you have more than a few connections on LinkedIn, then you’ve surely been exposed to the most asinine website dedicated to UGC since CompanyNameSucks.com: mixtent.com. (You’ll have to learn why CompanyNameSucks.com is asinine all on your own, I’m going to use the rest of this blog to tell you why I think you should opt out of mixtent.com – and opt out quickly.)
I’m not the first to write it, but the Internet really is just one big bathroom wall. Often it’s just a place where anyone can express any opinion at any time with little or no recourse. The difference, as I see it, is the Internet is filled with small-minded billionaire wannabes who will gladly stomp on your privacy and dignity while they construct a new enormous bathroom wall and then encourage others to step up with their Sharpies and write whatever the hell they want without any regard to the veracity or value of their opinions.
This, my friend, is the essence of most sites 100% driven by user generated content. The rub for those of us who just want to live our lives in honest and ethical fashions is that without users generating content (any content) these sites will not be able to be flipped for the billions the founders expect. We, you see, get included in this content whether we deserve or even want to be included.
I doubt there has ever been a more ridiculous, misguided or pointless effort allegedly directed at professionals and cloaked in some misstated mission about helping sort the wheat from the chaff when it comes to which person is better at what skillset. This site is nothing more than a HotOrNot.com for professionals, only this one ranks you without your permission.
The primary problems with mixtent, as I see them, are two-fold: 1) You are ranked as hot or not on a multitude of skillsets by those in your LinkedIn network – whether you want to be or not, and regardless of whether or not this particular contact has seen you demonstrate this particular skill; and 2) Like all ranking, rating and review sites, this one can be gamed. In fact, mixtent (in my opinion) seems to be actively participating in and encouraging the gaming by helping you send messages to everyone in your network that you’ve just ranked them… now will they please go and rank you.
Here is one such auto-generated message: “My Entrepreneurship percentile is 89%. Help me increase it and find out where you rank…” This is followed by a link to join mixtent so you can start ranking others.
The ranking process is really a joke because you are presented with two of your LinkedIn contacts (who may not have opted in to mixtent, but have certainly not opted out) and you are asked which of these two is better at __________. The tendency for most human beings is to give the nod to the person they like or know the best, not necessarily the person most deserving of the honor.
This means a well-liked dufus is likely to rank higher on most skills than a hard-charging doer. (My guess is that most hardened, yet accomplished women executives will be butchered on sites like this, as they generally had to step on one or two toes on their way through the glass ceiling.)
Okay, How Do I Opt Out of mixtent.com?
The greatest part about all of this nonsense is that you cannot opt out of mixtent.com without first granting them access to your LinkedIn profile. That’s right, you have to first let them suck all of the personal and other information from your LinkedIn profile before you can tell them you don’t want to play their shitty little game.
That, my friends, is ballsy. Of course, once you’ve opted in, you can (as of this writing) fairly easily opt out by clicking on the tiny “opt-out” link at the very bottom of the homepage.
Interested in mixtent.com’s About Us page?
I thought it would be fun to read between the lines of mixtent.com’s About Us page (the bold text in parentheses is mine):
Our goal is to help you connect with the most talented people. We want to help you hire, get hired and find talent to do amazing things. (We just don’t think you’ll be able to do that by using this website.)
Mixtent is building a professional reputation graph on top of the main social and professional networks. We believe we can become a driving force in making online recruitment and talent management materially more efficient. (Or, at the very least, we can help companies find unqualified people who have the most friends or don’t rock any boats… ever.)
Mixtent is built on the core notion that collective intelligence gathered through engaging experience can provide the right data to solve the hardest problems online. (That is, are they hot or not?)
Our mission is to reduce structural unemployment driving down asymmetries of information and increasing liquidity on the labor market. (What the fuck?)
We are looking for crazy talented engineers. Take a look at our jobs page (Why do they need to have anyone apply? Don’t they already know who the crazy talented engineers are by just looking at the ratings on their own website?)
We are located in Redwood City, CA. (Okay, finally something I can believe here.)
How about the geniuses behind this monstrosity?
Here are the links to the LinkedIn profiles of two guys listed as Founders at mixtent.com (in case you are a crazy talented engineer in Redwood City looking for work):
Oh, and if they’re already in your network and haven’t opted out of mixtent just yet, be sure to rank them appropriately.
May 18, 2011 @ 10:26 PM
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Mixtent is such a load of crap, I can’t wait to opt out.