Toby Dayton is a very smart guy. He did something that I really wish I had thought of, but I don’t have the Google brain he does… Toby has done us all a favor and boiled down TheLadders’ reputation to its essence. And it’s so simple I wanna cry because I never thought of it.

google-search-the-ladders-2Toby Googled and watched as Google applied its “intelligent auto-complete” feature while he was typing… I’m gonna borrow one of Toby’s graphics that shows the results:

Try it yourself. Then go to Toby’s blog and read the rest of his insights. He uses this technique to look at the reputation of another notorious “jobs” site, with similar results.

Some might view this as a cute little trick, chuckle and forget about it. But this is profound. Google’s auto-complete tells you what people are looking for online — that’s how auto-complete works. It reflects public sentiment.

When people search for, what they’re also searching for is information about scams, complaints and rip offs.

My compliments to Toby for posting these meta-facts. Don’t miss his article, Great Insight on Job Boards From Google.


  1. I was thinking about this post you had written this morning:
    I thought that this post was perfectly done biting satire and make the point perfectly.

    And this post makes the point perfectly too.

  2. and this is important???? How???
    You can type in anything and get the same results. try it. It doesn’t mean it is a bad company. It may mean that one person out of a million hated Ladders and posted one bad review. So Google posts it and integrates it into its search engine. I’ve seen search products from a comment a reader made in the NY Times or even worse Fox News. You are going to believe that? a post from someone who uses a screen name or is just stating an opinion?

    People have been using this ploy for years now to downgrade a company or person for some slight insult OR will post dozens of great things to make a company look great,

    The Internet is ruining the intelligence of people!

  3. BTW, Nick this is hardly profound!

  4. If you do a web search, you will find multiple complaints about TheLadders on other sites.
    Only guess what? I came home to today to an email from them saying they would actually refund my money!

  5. Helen e: You are misinformed. Google uses technology to track what millions of its users are searching for, and THOSE are the terms it then “auto-sugggests.”

    So that means a LOT of people are looking for:

    The scam
    The complaints
    The ripoff report

    Wonder why?


  6. Got an email today saying they ‘saw my resume’ and providing link to:

    That site has nothing except a statement:

    “Higher Careers has partnered with The Ladders.” and one link to —- guess who?


  7. At one time, the Google algorithm clearly weighted provocative, controversial, and negative content more heavily than more mundane content. This means the dramatic content would show ahead of the non-dramatic content in search results. I’m not sure if Google still does this, but if so, you would have to take the algorithm’s bias into consideration when evaluating whether a company is truly a scam or ripoff.

  8. I must admit that I was skeptical about using the Ladders to rewrite my resume; however, they worked with me on several re-drafts and I now have a one page resume that highlights my career over the past 20 years. In addition, I’ve received calls from Headhunters that found my resume on the Ladders. It’s been a great experience and well worth the investment.

  9. This is garbage.

    Lots of people are searching for a thing makes that thing a popular search – nothing else.

    This tells me that lots of people are considering using The Ladders but don’t want to poorly spend their money on something designed to make money from the uninformed buyer.

    Another thing. The Ladders does not guarantee employment if someone buys their service. They do NOT advertise How can that be a scam? Sounds like mass buyer’s remorse.

  10. I never realised The Ladders had such a bad reputation.

  11. The web site really sucks and is a ripoff, and from reading some of these comments it sounds like employees of theladders are very defensive.