Web site offers inside look at big companies

/ Source: The Associated Press

Ever wonder whether you'd be better off working some place else?

A new Web site called Glassdoor.com is trying to make it easier to find out by compiling free snapshots of the current salaries paid by hundreds of major employers, along with reviews anonymously written by current and past workers.

"We think it's super important that people are able to find a job where they can go home happy at the end of the day," said Robert Hohman, Glassdoor's co-founder and chief executive.

The Sausalito-based startup's other founders include Rich Barton, CEO of online home appraisal site Zillow.com.

By providing free access to sensitive salary information and sometimes blunt reviews of companies, Glassdoor is bound to upset some employers, predicted Jupiter Research analyst Barry Parr.

"I like the idea, but there is absolutely no question that some CEO is going to see something negative on the site and hit the roof," Parr said. "It just makes me wonder who long it will take before they get sued."

A Glassdoor feature that allows workers to rate their CEOs could be particularly provocative.

In Glassdoor's test phase based on a small sampling of opinions, Microsoft Corp. workers seemed to have a higher opinion of their CEO, Steve Ballmer, than Yahoo Inc. workers had of their CEO, Jerry Yang, who spurned a $47.5 billion takeover offer from Ballmer last month.

Hohman is trying to convince employers that Glassdoor is a great tool for gathering worker feedback. With 12 employees, the startup plans to screen all reviews to identify remarks that seem fabricated or libelous.

Glassdoor has an incentive not to alienate corporate America because it hopes to make money from advertising.

To start, Glassdoor is allowing all visitors to look at the salary information and reviews of four high-tech heavyweights — Microsoft Corp., Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc.

To get the skinny on other companies, visitors must be willing to reveal their salaries and feelings about their employers.

About 3,300 people provided information on about 250 companies during Glassdoor's testing phase.