Disclosure: FreshBooks Bounty

Well, if you’ve been following Toronto Tech Jobs for a while, you’ll know that I posted a job for an Agile Web Development Manager for FreshBooks and a reader applied and got the job.  As a result of that, FreshBooks offered me the bounty they had publicized for referrals.

I took some time to think about it.  Does accepting a bounty for a job I posted bias me, affect the way I deal with postings from that company or compromise my credibility?  Would it affect my ability to select job opportunities to post?  Would readers care?

In this particular case, does the bounty affect my opinion of FreshBooks?  Possibly, although I think the fact that FreshBooks offered me a bounty (that I didn’t demand, request, nor was motivated by) is probably more pleasing than the financial value (although certainly the latter has its moments).  I take this as a further sign that they’re a pretty interesting employer, that they’re interested in making good on their own choices even if it has some cost to them.  Even if it’s just enlightened self-interest, there are lots of companies that don’t seem to be able to muster that.

I also need to consider that what I’m offering here is as much opinion as it is anything else, and anyone who believe their opinions are free from bias is probably just fooling themselves.  That said, I’m wary of stepping onto the proverbial slippery slope.  So far there don’t seem to be an avalanche of potential employers beating down my door with offers of secret kickbacks for luring in unsuspecting developers, but it’s hard to know what the future holds.

I’ve decided for the time being that I’m okay with something that encourages me to put more effort into Toronto Technology Jobs.  Something that helps to offset the cost to my spare time.  I’m not always sure where Toronto Tech Jobs is likely to go, but finding ways to make it pay for itself (and the effort that goes into it) is something I’ll have to face sooner or later.  Accepting a bounty for a job that I’ve already posted and that someone has filled based on reading that posting seems fairly innocuous for now.

So — opinions?  I’m happy to hear feedback on this subject one way or the other, it’ll help to inform my decisions should this arise in the future.


7 Responses to Disclosure: FreshBooks Bounty

  1. bryanf says:

    Seems fine to me, though it’d be good to disclose if you post a job again for a company that’s paid a bounty.

  2. tim says:

    The nice thing about *not* taking money from anyone is that it keeps things much simpler.

    I think, in this case, taking money from FreshBooks *and* disclosing it to us is good. You should be compensated for your hard work, and everyone knows FreshBooks is a small, entrepreneurial and ethical (they’re the good guys) company to work for. No Problem.

    Now that you’ve disclosed you’ve taken money for your ‘service’ (which this blog has now become) – others will probably approach you. Maybe it will be a smart headhunter, who will offer you a cut of his placements, maybe it will be another ethical startup or company, maybe it will be a company like Fiver/Riptown….

    Maybe you will disclose these deals, and maybe you will detail your disclosure policy, and make some kind of statement detailing your ethical position on what kind of business you do.

    Maybe people will read through all of that and come to some conclusion. Then while reading an individual blog post, maybe they will be able to decide if they are getting an objective opinion or not.

    Or maybe they won’t.

  3. Geoffrey Wiseman says:

    I’ve been down and out with a bad cold, so no chance to respond. Makes sense, bryanf to disclose again at the point of any future postings for the same company – means that y’all don’t have to keep the details in your heads.

    I agree, tim, that it’s simpler to stay completely free of this kind of bias. That said, I guess I’m interested in exploring ways to make this a more serious venture without compromising the service — the value that this brings, so I think I need to get my toes wet and figure out what works.

    That said, the value is more important to me than the exploration of options, so if the latter damages the former, then I’ll cut it loose. I will say that I’m pleased by the level of this discussion, though.

  4. chipuitorul says:

    just take the money 🙂
    I think you helped both sides impartially.
    What about RSS for your blog entries? it is easier to read it from google reader.

  5. Geoffrey Wiseman says:

    You don’t see RSS? FF seems to autodetect the RSS on the blog for me. Try this URL:

  6. chipuitorul says:

    thank you for te RSS link, it is working

  7. […] the interests of full disclosure, I received a bounty from FreshBooks for a previous posting.  Although that doesn’t directly motivate subsequent postings or this […]

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