Glassdoor Makes Company Culture Transparent

Of course you'd love to know what that Google engineer makes. But the idea behind Glassdoor, a startup which launched in public beta on Wednesday at 12:01 AM EDT, is more than just that. In addition, the site wants you to review your company, and let people know just what you really think about your CEO, your workplace atmosphere, its politics - and your salary. Anonymously, and free, of course.

Founded by veterans of Microsoft and Expedia (Rich Barton, the CEO of real estate site Zillow, is non-executive chairman) Glassdoor has a fairly simple goal: Make salary and workplace-quality information (the kind of stuff you'd love to have when you're interviewing for a new job) as public as possible.

It's an ambitious plan. The solution: The service is free, but in order to get information users have to provide information. If a user wants to find out how much, say, a midlevel engineer at Microsoft makes, he or she has to provide information about his or her current job and company. It's anonymous, and Glassdoor screens information that seems bogus or plain-old axe-grinding. (It will be interesting to see how that labor-intensive work scales with new users. That and maintaining the quality of salary and company information are the biggest questions that will have to be answered in the not-too-distant future for Glassdoor.)

Interesting how Yang's approval rating sits a mediocre 58% (above, this morning).  Note that Ballmer (Microsoft) has a non-stellar, but higher, 68% rating.  There are 4 "sneak peek" companies you can look at prior to signing up: Microsoft, Yahoo!, Google and Cisco, if you to try it out before rating your own company.