Rich Barton, founder of the hugely popular discount travel site expedia.com and Chairman and CEO of the ingenious real estate site www.zillow.com, has a new venture. Known as www.glassdoor.com, it is designed as a forum for employees to critique their job, their company, and their company president publicly on the Internet. And for good measure, they are also encouraged to post their salaries and bonuses for others to see. All this data is assembled into a populist dossier that is heralded as "an inside look at companies from those who know them best."
Because of the cache of its founder, and what appears to be substantial financial backing, www.glassdoor.com has exploded onto the scene. But the concept is not new. Virtually everything contained in glassdoor is available elsewhere on the web (e.g., jobvent.com, pissedconsumer.com, salary.com, salaryexpert.com, payscale.com, monster.com).
Compared to the multitude of quality sites that post validated facts and vetted analysis from contributors willing to be named, (such as www.hoovers.com, www.morningstar.com, and www.dnb.com), glassdoor feels more like Jerry Springer than Tavis Smiley. But, sad to say, Jerry has his viewership, and so will this site.
For those who consider the primary purpose of the Internet as giving voice to the the voiceless, glassdoor will likely be heralded as meting out well-deserved come-uppance to the titans of industry. The site actively and unashamedly courts that familiar, disenfranchised Internet demographic that is eager to vent its spleen with impunity and anonymity. The creators of glassdoor, in their efforts to legitimize such activities, lure contributors with promises of "good karma" and assertions that they are "helping the community grow."
The Salary Sage wonders, in particular, how the salary and bonus data offered for free on the Internet by glassdoor and other sites impacts the lives of compensation professionals? And which sites can be relied upon by employees to provide dependable, useful information? More on this tomorrow.