*update – if you are just reading this post, please read the comments, where HiddenMarket.Net responds *

Supposedly most jobs are filled without ever being advertised through an "insider network". I seriously doubt that it is anywhere near the level most people think. As a hiring manager my problem was always in finding high quality candidates – regardless of my network. Most good employees came from outside the network…

That being said, this site (which I signed up for) just doesn’t seem to even be real at this point. None of the profile information could be changed, many of the links were broken, etc.

And there are so many ads all over that I suspect it is just an advertising site. I may be wrong – but I didn’t see anything on the site that would convince me otherwise.

Until they clear the clutter, or at least get things working, I would caution you to stay away. If this site is real, then they aren’t ready for prime-time. And if they aren’t real, I just burned a single-use email address on them.


Link to HiddenMarket.Net


  1. Hi again, Rob.

    I think we’ve squashed the validation/activation bug.  It was indeed as you had suspected. 

    We’ve also removed the My Profile link from the navbar entirely – since you can click your name at the top to view your profile anyway, it seemed to be a bit redundant.  Definite improvement there.

    You are right in that we are a startup, and that embodies more than you can imagine.  We are not a typical Web2 startup in the valley – we’re in Atlanta, and that poses certain challenges in and of itself. We realize that our current design is not as trendy-looking as other sites, but this will come in time.

    Thanks for your feedback!


  2. While I haven’t totally checked this out yet, it appears some of the initial problems I had with this site were caused by the fact that I visited the site in Firefox, and validated via IE7.

    When I got the verification email, the link opened in my default browser (IE7, final).  The Firefox instance of the browser, even after a page refresh and after logging out and back in, didn’t reflect the fact that I was a "validated user".  So I was missing some features, and some links didn’t appear to do anything (probably because I wasn’t validated as far as the session was concerned).

    I think there is a problem with the site because Firefox should have been in a validated session after I validated vie the email link and IE7.  Something is wonkers in this procedure, but I’m not sure what yet.  It could be something as simple as the update not being applied to the database in a "reasonable" amount of time.

    But as of now, I can see the voting mechanism, and interact with it – and it’s cool, and it’s an important component for a site like this.

    The issue with profiles information is simply a design mistake – there is a "My Profile" link that appears NOT to be designed for me to change my profile information.  I guess it’s there just for me to view my existing profile?

    I can change that information by going through My Account – why I can’t do it through the My Profile link seems to just be a (poor – IMHO) design decision.

    So, here’s my adjusted early experience wit this site:

    It’s immature, but heck, it’s a startup.  They definitely spent more time on their core functionality of  getting job data than they did in usability or user friendliness.

    They need to look at the validation issues, and I am sure they will.

    They need to either get rid of the My Profile link, or let me manage my profile with it.

    The design is overly cluttered (again, an opinion) – and that probably led to some of the confusion I had in using the site.  There is a LOT of information on the pages!

    Now that I’ve gotten past these issues, I’ll actually look at the service they offer in more depth tomorrow.


  3. Rob – so sorry that you’ve subscribed to my blog!  I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.

    I completely agree with you – no need to apologize. Nothing to apologize about!

    If we aren’t presenting our site in an ideal manner, or if there are problems, then clearly we need to get better in those areas.  I appreciate your candor and your ability to work with us on this.

    Okay, I’m off to bed now.  I’m under the weather today, and my Nyquil buzz is about to kick in … ugh.


  4. Scott – I think most of my issues have to do with the verification email system you use – even after verifying my email address things seemed "wonky" until I completely closed my browser and relaunched and then went to the site.  I think it might be a caching issue (on the client end and/or the server end).  It seemed my session never changed after I confirmed the email. 

    I’ll play with it more tomorrow by creating some dummy accounts – I assume I can completely delete any account I have (I hope so – this is an important aspect of what I think is "fair use" to users).

    Thanks for the link to the blog – I’ve subscribed.

    I’m also close to apologizing for a premature review of your site — but I won’t do that because I think first impressions are important to capture – and they are important for you to hear.

    Had I known what your blog was, or had there been a "contact us now" link (preferably via IM/Skype), I probably would have used those first.  But the truth is, you need to hear about user experiences, and you are probably better served in the long run by me blogging about it than if I would have just "gone away".


  5. Hi again, Rob.

    Not sure why the profile editing wouldn’t be working for you. Same for the rating tools.  You should just be able to click the up/down arrows at the bottom of each intel posting to apply your rating.  Drop me an email with some more info on your environment and we’ll take a peek.

    Privacy policy is forthcoming … it has, unfortunately like so many things, fallen off our plate. Ah, the joys of a startup.  It really needs to get up there, though.  Thanks for bringing that up.

    And yes, sadly enough, I do maintain a blog, which has gotten me in more trouble than I know what to do with 🙂



  6. And I found a Terms of Service Policy, but no Privacy Policy, which I think is important (and should be a document that describes what YOU do to protect your customers, NOT what they must do to use your site). 

    You may or not think this stuff is important, but honestly, it is.  It’s important enough that I get requests often to assist companies with privacy policies, or to interpret them for end users.  It’ll become even more important as you grow.  People want to know what your responsibility is to them, and to their personal information – and only you can tell them that.


  7. Scott – also, if you have a blog, please put the link prominantly on your welcome page.  If not, I really suggest you start one.


  8. Scott – you found my post quickly :)! 

    I’m glad to hear you are real – and I’ll be happy to work with you as you sort out some of the bugs.  And afterwards I’ll certainly update this post or add a new one.

    You didn’t respond to my point about the profile section – is any of that supposed to work?  None of it appeared to work for me.

    Also, I saw that their is a mechanism to vote up/down any specific Intel, but I couldn’t tell how to do it.  Either I am extraordinarily stupid, or you haven’t made the mechanism available to a user at my level, or you’ve just made it harder to find than it should be.  I like the idea of this feature – so I can vote down those "Work at home and make $10,000 a week part time" ads.

    I’ll play with the site some more tomorrow , and write down some specific issues and contact you via email.


  9. Hi there, Rob.  Sorry to hear you had a negative experience.

    I’m not sure what links you found that were broken – but I can’t seem to find them.  Feel free to email me with specifics – I’m happy to take a look.

    We are definitely real … 🙂

    As far as the size of the actual hidden market for jobs goes, it really is irrelevant.  Our goal is the same whether that figure is 70% or 2%.  We want to create a platform for the exchange of business intelligence among users (be it informal job leads, sales leads, etc.)