The important point here is that all it took was one person to create a public Web site to provide the typically powerless entrepreneurs with a means to provide feedback to the typically all-powerful VCs. Also consider that this site took off like a rocket by word of mouth because of worthwhile content. If it was only garbage, no one would have noticed.
There are plenty of nasty comments about VCs that do not come across as professional, such as labeling someone as a sleazy used car salesman. Comments like these should be taken with a grain of salt because the underlying vitriol is apparent and in these cases no worthwhile feedback can be ascertained.
Well, how hard would it be for someone to create RevengeOfTheITWorkers? (No, the domain is not yet registered as of June 16, 2008.) Sure, some disgruntled IT worker could create this anonymously, but imagine if someone with some street-cred in boss slamming, like the creator of Dilbert, created this site.
Would the site creator bear any liability for falsehoods posted? In our land of free speech, that is doubtful and it certainly hasnt stopped TheFundeds site. (You can read about the sites mission from the founder -- who is no longer anonymous -- here in Wired.)
Another example of where workplace opinions are made public is Vault. This site offers feedback on companies (not managers per se) for anyone to see. Just search for a company under the message board tab and youll find a public forum about that company. For archived messages you have to subscribe, but newly posted information is free. Jimmy could have posted something about me here and I wouldnt have known about it, unless I was tipped off.
In digging into the rules of the Vaults message board, I found this statement. Material targeting individuals in a negative or derogatory fashion are prohibited, unless such individuals are high-ranking officials of a company or have otherwise been covered in the media.
Luckily I wasnt a high ranking anybody back then, so Jimmy likely couldnt have slammed me there. Phew!
I did some Google searches and couldnt find any sites like this for providing public feedback specifically on managers. It doesnt mean they arent out there, however they just might be low on the search totem pole.
If you have an employee who is not happy with you, Id suggest you keep your eyes open online. And if you are that unhappy gal or fellow perhaps I have just spelled out a golden opportunity for you to make some money from Web advertisements on a site along these lines.
Make sure you include a nice disclaimer like this one from the Vault. The opinions expressed on Vault.com Message Boards reflect the opinions of the participants and not of Vault.com.
Or make sure you hire a good lawyer just in case.