The Beef With Trusted Herd (Part 1)

It is no secret that I have beef with Trusted Herd. 🤷🏾‍♀️

It is something that I have been QUITE vocal about to the point of directly challenging the founder, Brian A. Fox, publicly on the various feature rollouts. He always deletes my comments after a certain point….so it should come as no surprise that after launching the general events industry survey that TH completely deleted my account and blocked me from all their Facebook job posting groups (as well as a number of brand ambassador “advocacy” pages).

The message was clear: critiquing TH would not be tolerated in any way, shape, or form. And if you DARED to do so, then you would be blacklisted from their job site. They have no interest in the opinions of the ACTUAL herd, regardless of whether you are the brand ambassador looking for an event through an agency or an agency looking for a brand ambassador for an event. 

I could not, and still cannot, get over the irony.

Trusted Herd started as a platform for live event BAs to be able to leave reviews about the agencies and activations that they were working for in an effort to call out bad actors and scammers that had plagued the events industry. In the beginning, Fox paid BAs to leave reviews on agencies in order to strengthen the platform. The idea took off and blew up quickly, as it should have: Trusted Herd struck a chord with BAs because it gave them a voice that was able to put agencies in check in a way that had not been done before. The eventual roll out of being able to rate BAs and recommend friends for events was also exciting: this wasn't just the opportunity to shine a light on rockstars in the industry, but also shine a light on bad actor BAs that were problematic or, at extreme worst, dangerous. No system is perfect but the initial TH business layout was extremely promising as an industry check for ALL working events.

And I was a MASSIVE supporter of the platform.

At one point in time, I was on the banner of the website (though, I was never informed by TH about the use of the photo and they never asked my permission to use my image on the site). Once the company started doing event job posting on behalf of agencies, I would send anyone interested in working events to TH so they could have peace of mind that the gigs they were getting were vetted and real by a community of event workers helping each other out. TH gave BAs the ability to quickly check to see if an agency was worth working with and calling out some of the common scams, especially those related to payment. 

When the event job posting feature launched on TH, it was very clear that they were trying to address and correct the commonly known issues with the largest event job posting app at the time: PopBookings. 

Having been hired through PopBookings several times, I was well acquainted with the glitchy check in/out, agency rates being weird numbers (supposedly due to PopBookings taking out a portion from the paid rate), and having to come up with a way to keep track of which agency I booked through the app so I could remember where I was supposed to be paid (while PopBookings does a great job of breaking it down in their app, taxes meant needing to know which specific agency via the app hired you to match W2). Trusted Herd seemed to be trying to approach job posting through a much more laissez faire method than PopBookings where the agencies would not be tied directly to the platform in order to have access to TH's worker database. Likewise, workers would be able to see how an agency ranked as they were applying for gigs, making the often extremely necessary background research on an agency much more efficient.

This is a move that was once again championed by the live events industry: TH seemed to really be taking the workers needs into consideration and gearing their business model to address common issues in the industry. The idea of being able to centralize and streamline the hiring process for independent contractors has been a longstanding dream in this industry (this is actually the basis behind PopBookings and probably the app that currently comes the closest to reaching that ideal despite TH’s efforts). TH seemed to be on a wonderful trajectory until one small thing threw the entire industry upside down overnight: COVID-19.

Regardless of your position or how long you had been working in the live events industry, there was a very real and justified fear of what would happen next. We all woke up to an email canceling a gig due to shelter in place orders for COVID-19. And 2020 just kept coming with the hits one after another that even entertaining the idea of live events became laughable to an extent.

Trusted Herd now faced an unprecedented problem of epic proportions: their ENTIRE business model revolves around live events. So now what do they do?

Read the next installment of the series: The Beef With Trusted Herd (Part 2).

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