We need to talk, G2 Crowd. Because this is not okay.
As a co-founder and the Director of Accounts & Customer Experience at Honey, I work endlessly to build great relationships with our users. I often joke that my job is to make every Honey user my best friend, but most days it’s not a joke at all. I love the companies I work with. They are the reason Honey exists.
Our service model is a major part of why companies come to Honey. Our platform is a powerful workplace tool — meeting our customers’ intranet, internal comms, and employee engagement needs — and my Customer Success team is equally powerful. We are hands-on consultants, strategists, and more often than not, sounding boards for our customers. We are more than a just a vendor, we are a trusted partner.
G2 Crowd, today you single handedly shattered that trust.
This morning, without ever speaking with me or my team, you took it upon yourself to email many of my users. I don’t know exactly how many, but my guess is a lot. This is the email you sent:
Hi <Honey Customer Name>,
I’m an Outreach Specialist for G2 Crowd, a peer review site for business software. I noticed you work at <Honey Customer>, which uses Honey. I was hoping you could review Honey.
As a thank you, I can send you a link to get a $15 Amazon gift card. Link to write a review: <URL>. Anyone with the link qualifies, so feel free to forward it to colleagues.
If you don’t use Honey, it would be beneficial to our research to know a marketing or sales tool you do use at <Honey Customer>. You could just email me back with a tool you use.
I know you sent this email to many of my users because it was forwarded to me by a handful of my closest company contacts. All of whom were confused, concerned, and angry that their employees’ inboxes were being spammed. Here’s a real note from one of my largest customers:
Is this legit/something I am allowed to do? This looks a little sketch to me. Alison, is this an email on Honey’s end? Does <G2 Crowd Employee> work for Honey?
So you see the issue here, G2 Crowd? Is it clear how potentially damaging this business tactic is to the companies you’re promoting with your self described “real business reviews”?
It should be, because just after I received this email from my customer, I immediately sent this to your Outreach team:
I’m Alison — one of Honey’s co-founders. I received the email conversation below from one of my customers this morning. Suffice it to say, I’m not happy that your team has been reaching out and essentially bribing my users to write reviews about us. Especially when it’s not at all clear that you don’t work for my team, that we don’t have a partnership in place, and that your outreach is completely independent of us.
My team and I work exceedingly hard to build trustworthy relationships with our users, and asking for reviews in return for monetary compensation is absolutely not something we’d ever do. It undermines our brand, our hard work, and our users’ trust. What’s more, your email also makes it appear that we’ve been sharing (or worse, selling) our user data with third parties, which is strictly against our licensing terms and not something we would ever, ever do. Legally, this is enormously scary.
I have to ask that G2 please not reach out to any of my customers in this nature again. It’s a sly tactic that makes my customers uneasy and makes me, frankly, very angry.
Many, many thanks in advance,
But that didn’t seem to stop you, G2 Crowd, because a few hours later you were still emailing my customers. I know this because that’s when I received yet another forward from a Honey customer that I love dearly and have worked with for years:
Hi Alison! Our agency received the below email. Do you know anything about this? Did Honey provide all of our email addresses to a third party vendor? I’m getting a lot of inquiries, so any information you can provide would be very helpful.
Clearly, your team was meticulously collecting a list of Honey customers from our testimonial logos, case studies, and feature pieces from our website and blog — and then doing an enormous amount of email discovery to spam each and every one of their employees.
Let me make this crystal clear, G2 Crowd. It is not acceptable for you to email my customers, imply we have a working relationship, and then bribe them for product reviews for your own benefit. It’s irresponsible, inappropriate, and frankly, pretty gross.
It’s important for me to say that my anger is NOT because we fear bad reviews about Honey. We hear tough, critical feedback all the time. In fact, we welcome it. It’s how my team learns and our product evolves. We always care about what our users think, be it positive or negative — and they know this because I’ve taught my team to build genuine, honest relationships with our customers.
My anger IS because of how thoughtlessly you put everything we’ve worked for on the line. You have put my hard-earned customer relationships at risk. You have willingly marred the Honey brand. You have left my users feeling nervous, annoyed, and confused. And worst of all, you have made my customers second guess their trust in me, my team, and our company.
My co-founders and I talk all the time about how closely we hold our startup community, especially here in New York.
This community has gifted us with mentors, advisors, and confidants. This community recognizes opportunities for growth together. This community makes warm introductions, forges partnerships, and helps one another succeed. I cannot imagine a world where I’d put another startup at risk like you did to Honey today.
G2 Crowd, if what you’re after is support from this community, I suggest you follow suit and focus on building relationships instead of buying them. One of your competitors does it brilliantly.
And to my amazing Honey users —
If you received an email from G2 Crowd today, I cannot apologize enough. I’m embarrassed and frustrated — and I wish there was a way I could magically prevent that email from ever being sent.
I want to make it 100% clear that we do not have a partnership of any kind with the team at G2 Crowd and we did not encourage, approve, or give them permission to email you. Please rest assured we have not shared any Honey user data — names, email addresses, etc — with any outside parties, including G2 Crowd.
If you have any questions or concerns, you know how to reach me: firstname.lastname@example.org.