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Show HN: I built a website for sharing salary info (fellowage.io)
186 points by waterlink 34 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 167 comments

Four obvious questions:

1. How is this different to Glassdoor?

2. How do you get enough data points to be useful?

3. How do you account for selection bias?

4., (and here's the big one) how do you account for the mistruths of self-reported income?

The last one is the big problem with all self-reported income summaries. One thing I've learned over the year is that people lie, even anonymously. I'm not even sure why. Do they really believe it? Are they posting it to make themselves feel good? I really don't know. But I do know that I don't believe your salary claim until I see a W2.

As for selection bias, this is a big one too. Take a company like Google. At level 7+ data point get pretty thin. This is partially because there aren't that many but the real problem is that these people really have no motivation to share. So you don't really see the big outliers.

Lastly, most of these aren't clear on what number they are report and what users should report. Is it base salary? What about bonus? What about RSUs/options?

As anyone who has worked in big tech knows, base salary number are almost completely useless. Salary band is defined by level (pretty tightly, in my experience). More than 50% of your total compensation will come from bonus and stock and stock in particular has massive variance.

Does question #1 really need to be asked? Glassdoor has lost its impartiality through solicitation of corporate money and influence, and imo can no longer be trusted. The scene is ripe for competition now.

We had a Glassdoor sales guy contact HR after a negative review to sell us a paid option to "improve" our profile. My trust in them since then is below zero.

To be clear, I don’t really trust Glassdoor that much either, but I think more details are warranted here. If you can alter the reviews by hiding them or changing the ranking algorithm, that’s basically fraud. On the other hand, if only paid company accounts can get access to additional analytics / reporting, have the ability to respond inline to reviews, add additional info to the company profile, etc, then that’s less problematic.

So which one Glassdoor is then? Do they allow companies to hide/improve reviews for premium pay?

Or is it just additional features of the platform without altering the review data?

Ah the Yelp business model.

I, like you, used to flippantly accuse Yelp of extortion. It’s always easy to believe the worst. Then someone here on HN provided several helpful articles that gave me pause and helped me update my point of view.

Yelp themselves have addressed this with a dedicated page: https://www.yelp.com/extortion

Maybe I’ve been duped. I’d be curious if your comment is based on different research, or personal experience.

I have a few friends who own restaurants. Yelp extortion is real. i've seen it myself. Yelp denying it is obvious, who'd admit to it?

They do not "manipulate" ratings, sure... They just take a looong time to "Review" positive reviews, and not too long to "Review" negative reviews you get. And, of course, only reviews they have "reviewed can be shown and count towards your average score...

All these claims are publicly testable using web archives to build stats about review approval speed. Did you verify these claims?

>All these claims are publicly testable using web archives

I'm confused about how you think this would work.

1. Yelp doesn't report on its approval speed.

2. To get an accurate report on this, you would have to have several accounts posting positive and negative reviews on the same pages. Yelp doesn't allow this and would ban the accounts.

3. Yelp explicitly disallows scraping their site (i.e. having a bot archive the pages). Doing so would be thwarted by their anti-bot measures. It's also against their TOS.[0]

Do you have web archives that can be used to build these stats?

[0]: https://www.yelp-support.com/article/Can-I-copy-or-scrape-da...

For starters, i don’t even have to give you any hints because if you’re claiming somebody’s doing extortion you better have some good evidence.

1. You don’t need that to demonstrate statistically significant difference between paying and non-paying customers

2. You don’t need to make any accounts, only read existing and incoming data

3. Yes, you shouldn’t break TOS but you also shouldn’t be throwing around unsubstantiated accusations of extortion

I have seen reviews left by customers with my own eyes. Literally watched them type them and send them. I then watched how long they took to appear.

I have no need to convince you or anyone else. But I am convinced. I trust my eyes a lot more than I trust yelp.

And did you compare that to how long it takes to approve reviews to other businesses? Paying and nonpaying?

Right now you don’t even have proper N=1.

That page would be much more convincing, if it listed out what had Yelp done for local businesses in exchange for money. In modern corporate PR, most of the useful information is in what is not said.

There are endlesss stories of yelp extortion from so so mamy independent sources. That yelp needs a top level page to address this is proof enough. There is zero amount of corporate speak from Yelp that would change my mind.

What’s your evidence?

Extortion as a service.

Wow, I didn't realize they operated like yelp. Are they hiding reviews or removing them outright?

A former company I worked at easily and quickly was able to have Glassdoor remove a post from a disgruntled former employee that revealed some private information about the company (sales numbers or something).

Good old extortion

This is a disgusting business model. If any of my products (that are in similar domain) succeeds, I’ll never turn to this model!

Also, I hate ads too.

For this business domain, that leaves a business model where "power users" of the product can get more features, or more access, or more detailed data for a premium fee.

Are there even more alternatives? What do you think?

I lie anonymously because I want to put the average up so we all get paid more :)

This seems particularly ineffective when compared to more direct options like having a good BATNA and improving your negotiation skills.


Why does this need to be an acronym? Seems like a convoluted way to say one should know their second best option when negotiating, but that seems like an obvious thing even a 5 year old knows.


No, it's untrue. Not that white men get paid more--that's true--but that it's an option. I can choose to improve my negotiation skills and my BATNA, so those are options. If you aren't already a white man, being a white man is not an option for you. We're talking about what our effective options are and that's just not one of them.

(Regardless of whether gender transitions count as a choosing to become a man, I don't think it would do much to boost income in our current society.)

> white men get paid more

The link seems to suggest that white men get paid more than black men… what about asian men? They seem to be doing pretty well.

Discussing voting/flagging is a violation of the site guidelines, which is itself enough of a reason to flag this.

But it's an irrelevant and juvenile point anyway, because it's not something you can change. Negotiation tactics, BATNA, etc are all things you can influence. Your race or how the hiring manager perceives it are not.

Are you saying that that is something that an individual cannot personally change, or something that is impossible to change as a general rule?

No one here is getting offended by words on a website. If it gets flagged, it's because it's a veiled attempt to derail the original discussion completely.

I quite like that idea!

1. Shows you separate entries (pseudo-anonymized) instead of showing statistical numbers like averages and spreads.

2. By requiring users to share their wage information at signup. The idea is that to see salaries of others you need to share yours first. It’s possible to delete wage entry later, but also that makes the user lose access to others, until they either: add wage entry again or upgrade to paid account plan.

3. Yes, I agree that certain folks will have no motivation to share, because they don’t care to know what others ("below" their level) earn. What could be interesting for them is what others of the same or similar level earn. So maybe something like peer-to-peer sharing may be interesting to these folk.

4. We’re going to implement an algorithm that will try to detect "suspicious" data entries, and devise some a more advanced validation mechanism. Such entries will be hidden from other users in the meantime.

So there are two fields: core wage (this is what you get no matter what), and other benefits estimate (here you just bundle everything else, and for non-deterministic stuff, make your best estimate, of what it’s worth).

"More than 50% come from bonus or stock, or others" is actually not quite true in every culture or country. For what I’ve seen here in Germany and in few other countries, 90% or even more is the base salary.

> By requiring users to share their wage information at signup

This seems like a bad idea. Aren't you concerned this will lower the quality and accuracy of submissions? I know when some website forces me to put in details I don't think it needs I put in garbage.

Also you're asking people to submit data when they have no idea what data you already have. Are they first to submit?

This reminds me of Auto generated pages with no content or no answer yet that's not clear from a Google SERP. You get the "helpful" message like "be the first to post X". I actually wish Google would downrank questions with no answers and empty wiki pages.

It smacks of clickbait is what I'm getting at. If you measure it you'll probably find your bounce rate is really high.

Yes, we don’t have too much data yet. All the data is crowdsourced.

I validate the information (current job title, company name and location) via user’s LinkedIn profile manually.

I don’t validate the "numbers", but I plan to implement an algorithm that’ll mark "suspicious" entries, and will hide them or delete them from the system. Additionally, owners of such records will be prompted to update them when they log in into the system next time.

> 1. How is this different to Glassdoor?

Glassdoor under-reports salaries because unhappy people are overrepresented there. Unhappy people are likely to be underpaid compared to their happy peers. Anything that helps us gather data relevant to negotiations and eliminate the salary-sharing stigma is a good step forward.

> people lie, even anonymously

People lie about taboos. If salary sharing becomes commonplace, they might feel compelled to tell the truth.

> One thing I've learned over the year is that people lie, even anonymously.

How do you know?

If you base 50% of your salary on options you are getting screwed because I have been given options every job and literally haven't gotten 1 cent because of the exercise window and investors getting preferred stocks. At this point I just say give me the cash.

Options in a startup are one thing (and most likely will be worth $0). Options in a big tech company are something else entirely. Granted big tech companies these days pretty much all do RSUs but Google, for example, did options up until 2008 or so.

So this is what I'm talking about when I say that non-salary compensation can easily eclipse your salary at a big tech company.

I think the OP is referring to "big tech" as in mostly public companies.

Glassdoor = Yelp for HR.

Small nit: self employed people likely won't have a W-2. They would have other ways to prove income though such as their 1040.

This seems at best orthogonal to the real point.

As lots of commenters mentioned, this is a nice try, but human (and corporate) nature dooms it.

The only way to make this kind of thing work, is to legislate salary transparency.

That may seem to disincentivize individual excellence (by removing the rewards), but I'd say that it's OK to pay Bob more than Joe, as long as you are willing to justify that increase in wages. As a manager, I had to fight like hell to get promotions and increases for my team, so I always had this information handy.

The other way to incentivize excellence and effort is through bonuses, but these could easily become opaque, thus, continuing the issue.

In academia, salaries tend to be [relatively] low, so perks become the currency.

Human nature dictates that we always want to be "better than" our peers (thus making them "not-peers"). We always seem to find ways to do end-runs around the system.

I'm fairly glad to be out of the corporate rat-race. I'm doing my own thing, making less than I ever have, and loving every minute of it.

Legislating salary transparency would be quite awesome actually. And as others have pointed out, in some countries you can call tax office and ask how much another person has earned in the last year.

And I do believe that every company needs to get very transparent on how they decide the salary, when they pay someone differently. There should be a well-designed set of rules and processes to follow. This way, people who want to earn more, know exactly what to do and in which direction should they grow and develop. Also, if they think that this direction doesn’t align with their personal goals, they can make a better decision about joining another company, where interests will align better.

> Legislating salary transparency would be quite awesome actually.

I've heard they do this in one or more Scandinavian countries. Essentially, you can go online and see what your coworkers and neighbors earn.

I have a feeling that's why salaries in these countries, especially when you include state defined insurance and pension plans, are so normalized. It's probably also why more innovation tends to take place in the US (subjectively).

For many of us in the US, I think this would actually be a net negative, myself included. There is so much division in this country, eventually employers will simply be forced to dish out nearly identical salaries for everyone in order to avoid lawsuits and government penalties, even when talent and performance is radically different between employees.

For example, Employee X has a BS in CS from a great engineering school which took a lot of effort to obtain. He was hacking away at code on his own as a teenager and is passionate about tech, and is often working on open source projects on weekends and evenings.

Another employee comes in - she got a watered-down "Information Systems" degree from some mediocre pay-to-play online school, and her previous knowledge of technology is her IPhone and Facebook. She pays her tutition fees, does the minimum to graduate, and now has her BS, too.

She discovers the talented guy make 50% more than her, even though he's the guy leading the development projects, ensuring standards are met, cleaning up the garbage produced by other junior coders, etc. We all know that many teams form this dynamic, especially in typical contracting and enterprise shops.

Well of course she'll complain. They both have similar 'credentials' on paper, both work 40 hours, both are in their 30s. Management won't care that one dev is worth 5x the other, they want to avoid lawsuits and government penalties. So his salary is lowered, hers is raised. Because he knows he won't get paid what he's worth anywhere else since it's the same everywhere, he just stop performing at work, the whole project suffers.

And yes, this has happened in my work place several times in the last few years as salaries have become more transparent and there are more complaints from groups who feel that they're being discriminated against, regardless of their performance and experience.

You are correct, which is why I think a bonus system would work better.

The problem with bonuses, is that they are very easy to abuse, and many corporations have incredibly rigid bonus systems that actually make it difficult to reward individual excellence.

I was just talking with a friend of mine a couple of days ago. He's a Director at a manufacturing plant, and is awesome.

He spent the last year, working 7 days a week, ten hours a day, to implement some new processes. The company is being put out to bid for sale, and his efforts doubled the price.

His efforts alone.

Doubled the price of the company.

He got a tiny raise, and all Directors get the same bonus, based on sales numbers (which weren't so good). Also, all Directors get the same percentage of equity.

I suspect that he may be seeing who else could use his talents...

Working that hard for someone else is stupid. Unless you hold the reins, I wouldn't expect management to suddenly have their hearts grow 10 times larger at the expense of their own compensation.

I agree with this. No matter how much I love the company, their mission, or people I work with, it’s not healthy to work 7 days a week and 10h a day for the company that you are not an owner of. Boundaries between job and life are flexible, but not as much.

I’d rather spend 10h a day 7 days a week pouring efforts into my own assets, or towards my vision, and not for someone else’s assets or vision, especially if I have no say and stake in the high level decisions (like sale of the company).

This says alot about your biases...

I would have assumed that the person learning on their own, working on open source projects, and hacking away on stuff since they were a kid went to the mediocre school. They just need the paper to open the gates.

The person who went to the "top-tier" school is more likely to be working the system and generally turning in garbage at work. Their parents have a buddy on the board, or the department is run by a frat/sorority acquaintance, or they just get extra consideration because "top-tier" school resume.

An yes, I've seen this at many places over the years... Guess who the first whiner is?

So against my better judgment I signed up and shared information. Now that you have my data, not only is my account is in a "pending" status, but I can't log in because I get an (obviously incorrect) error that the user doesn't exist.

Pretty godawful experience from the start, since the only reason I added my information was to see if there was anything relevant since I do not live or work in a tech hub (quite the opposite).

Edit: And it seems like you need to search for companies in order to see them. Browsing companies to see if I recognize any in my area would be a good feature.

The user account does not exist yet for pending registrations. It gets created only when registration is accepted.

Also, if rejected registration is not updated with correct info in 1 week, it gets automatically deleted. This data does not become part of the information that other users can see.

> Browsing companies to see if I recognize any in my area would be a good feature.

You are not the first asking for that today. I’ll implement this feature for the next release.

> the only reason I added my information was to see if there was anything relevant

That also screams like a missing feature for me. I could allow people to browse companies (by location) and show masked data until they sign up and share their own entry.

1. I have implemented the company browsing feature

2. I have made it available without signup/login (partially—you’ll see companies/locations and how many entries they have each, and be able to navigate to these company pages, but from there to see numbers, you’d need to signup/login).

How is this different from the database of salaries that other services such as Glassdoor already offer?

As far as I know, Glassdoor shows only averages and statistical distributions and doesn’t show separate salary entries. It doesn’t satisfy the questions and fears that I have set out to solve.

e.g., “Who should I look up to in my company to earn more?” or “How up-to-date are specific salary entries?”

My product doesn’t answer the first question just yet, but it will in the future via a peer-to-peer sharing feature that I’m planning in the next version.

Can you enforce a threshold of entries for a certain role after which you start displaying the salary? And then only display it as a range with information about the quartiles?

Otherwise it‘s not so anonymous. Sometimes the combination of role and Salary is enough to point to a single employee. That’s precisely the reason why you only get statistical information at the other sites.

Yes, this is a pseudo-anonymization. Someone with enough information can always say: “Oh, I believe this is your salary entry.”

On the other hand, it’s not provable (I don’t save the exact number, and I separate the account and wage entry securely so that the user and only user can realize that connection: https://dev.to/foundsiders/how-have-i-ensured-the-privacy-an...).

If I apply replace entries with statistical ranges, then the product would become a clone of other products for this (like Glasdoor, LinkedIn Salary, etc.). And it won’t solve the problems I set out to solve with it anymore.

# The problem:

I have always felt certain anxiety when thinking about my salary and only guessing what my colleagues might be earning. This issue is especially problematic in cultures and countries in which talking about wage numbers is an unspoken taboo among the employees.

Quite often, the questions like “Should I ask for a raise?, or am I already earning maximum that my employer can handle?” “Am I earning too much for the work that I do?, or am I underpaid?” “Who should I look up to and learn what they are doing to get a higher salary?” have plagued my mind.

# Existing solutions:

Of course, there are services where you can look at salary levels or statistical distributions of wages. The problem with them is that they don’t give you specific (albeit anonymized) numbers of what individuals earn, and they don’t satisfy nagging feelings of fear and anxiety that I have mentioned above. Also, it’s hard to tell whether the numbers are up-to-date or not.

# The solution:

I designed this product to be privacy-first so that many more users feel comfortable sharing their wage information and keeping it up-to-date. It allows users to see all salary entries in their current company, search for other companies in preparation for negotiations. Here is the full list of features:

- I verify the data with LinkedIn profiles

- I nudge users to update their info twice a year

- I keep information quality high

- You keep your data anonymous

- You can see your and other companies data

- You can subscribe for updates for particular job titles/companies

# Plans for the next version:

I plan to allow users to share their non-anonymized information in an encrypted peer-to-peer fashion with each other if they want to. This answers the question like, “Oh, somebody earns twice as much as me… And has the same job title… Who is that?”

Tell me what you think about it! Is there something missing from your perspective?

> I verify the data with LinkedIn profiles

Lost me right there. Good luck with that. LinkedIn is notoriously a garbage dump of spam, recruiters and fake profiles. That’s on top of the fact that most people (myself included) don’t have a LinkedIn profile to begin with in order to curb spam.

What do you think would be an alternative tool to verify that people enter real job titles, company names and location?

Check out what levels.fyi is doing. They do specific numbers broken down by comp type for all different kinds of job levels.

While this sounds quite good on paper, I have a few questions:

- What kind of data are you storing about a user? You mention verification with LinkedIn but what happens if your database is compromised 6 months later and all data is accessed by a malicious 3rd party?

- When checking salaries, I prefer to search a job title and look at the average salary of a country, city, region or a company. Do you provide these features?

- I looked at the demo application and only thing I see is a table with some entries. Unfortunately, this is not very user friendly.

     - I would want to see the average salary of a position

     - Count of salary entries of a position

     - Variance for the salary of a position (min, max, average, median)
- The way to success is to have a lot of salary entries in your database. As a newly established service owner, how do you plan to keep users with your service and providing updates rather than using glassdoor etc. competitors?

- How do you plan to monetize this service?

Please do not see my comments as offensive, I mean to ask honest questions and give criticism.

These are all great questions! Thank you for asking!

- For the data question, you can find all the information on our privacy policy in details (https://www.fellowage.io/privacy): what is stored, how it’s processed and for what reason, lawful basis, etc. Please read this about how I disassociate account information (and protect it) from raw pseudo-anonymized wage entries (that are already "public"—available to all users of the system via search): https://dev.to/foundsiders/how-have-i-ensured-the-privacy-an...

- I don’t provide these features right now. Currently, product solves slightly different problem, and I think it’s possible to expand its feature set to cover for search by job title/location, or company. You can already search by company/location though. (It’s a search bar at the top of the webapp’s UI).

- These are all features that show you statistical distributions, and while they are useful, there are plenty of tools that solve for that problem already. I set out to solve slightly different problem: “Who should I look up to in my company to earn more?” or “How up-to-date are specific salary entries?”

- I plan to notify my users to update their entries every half a year. Also, there are features that allow users to set up alerts for certain companies/locations/job-titles when there are new entries, or updates. These alerts are aggregated in a weekly report (if it’s not empty, of course).

- The current plan for monetization: there are two types of accounts: free and paid. Free account can view their own company/location without limitations, and for viewing of other companies/locations there are 3 monthly free views, that can be substantially and permanently boosted with referrals (similar to what Dropbox did with their referrals). Paid account has no limitations, of course.

Please tell me what you think about these replies! :)

>>I have always felt certain anxiety when thinking about my salary and only guessing what my colleagues might be earning.<<

I can tell you that anxiety of not knowing is better than the anger/disappointment/a whole host of other destructive emotions after you do know. Companies don't want to deal with this. It can easily get ugly.

In my case, my boss'boss actually had the balls to tell me that he will not be terrorized by me suggesting there are greener pastures out there. Looking back it was a big mistake. Should have waited for an offer and then use this information.

Moral of the story. Be careful what you wish for.

>I plan to allow users to share their non-anonymized information in an encrypted peer-to-peer fashion with each other if they want to. This answers the question like, “Oh, somebody earns twice as much as me… And has the same job title… Who is that?”

Couldn't you find a bunch of people who are in that job title in your org? I'm sure with some detective work you could connect the dots on individuals you care to track down, depending on the size of the company.

I have always felt certain anxiety when thinking about my salary and only guessing what my colleagues might be earning.

As another option, talk to a recruiter.

Or talk to your colleagues. We talk about salary, bonus, raises etc.

I have trouble registering to your website. More specifically I opted for linkedin based registration but the process stops with a message that the password is weak although I use a couple of special characters, numbers and text in both lower and capital characters

Please use a stronger password.

In fact, the requirements are quite relaxed already. I wanted to make it even more strict, but my partner insisted on relaxing them.

The age of simple passwords are long gone, as they are really easy to crack with enough budget.

Have you considered a password manager that can generate random unique and strong passwords for each website (and store them securely) for you?

Passwords are a terrible form of authentication anyway -- if it's something that actually matters, use some form of 2-factor auth.

Requiring a long password on a site where the impact of a breach is minimal is not a good policy, you're just going to get people who can't ever login.

Unfortunately, as there is no way to vet submitted information on these kinds of platforms, their use is pretty limited. Some employer can just go about submitting false salary data in order to appear more appealing.

This works the other way around too, someone who was not hired, some ex-employee with some gripe against their previous employer, a misbehaving competitor... Just about anyone can go about submitting false reviews about your company in order to damage your employer-brand.

I've heard of places where HR requires you to write a (probably) glowing Glassdoor review during onboarding. Or severance which is conditioned on not writing a negative review.

Goodhart's Law at work.

Easy enough: Write the glowing review, then contact Glassdoor and report your company. I'm fairly sure Glassdoor would then remove all the reviews.

No, they'd offer the company to remove the negative review for a fee.

Write a good review, receive your severance and then change it to a negative review.

In some countries the law specifically mentions that such terms of severance agreement is not valid and cannot be enforced.

Someone posted a similar comment on the work-life balance post.

I don't see how this works at all except at the bottom level.

If I read that your salary is X, and interview, I expect that the negotiation revolves roughly around X.

If you offer me 0.7*X I'm going to walk and I expect anyone qualified would.

I think what GP means is that the employer gives X to current employees, but makes false posts on this website, that claims there are employees that make 0.7X. Then when you interview with the employer, they offer you X, and you think you are being offered 30% more than your future co-workers, so you happily take the job.

(minor niggle) x is about 42% more than 0.7x, not 30% more.

I verify manually that person’s data (job title, company name, and location) matches what they have on their LinkedIn profile as a current role.

If you plan to go global don´t repeat glassdoor mistake (or is it on purpose?). In countries where inflation rate is big (like 30-50% a year) salary info that is not tied to the date the worker was perceiving it, its mostly useless. Same happens with average salary reports, etc.

I’m keeping and showing how old the entry is. Additionally, I plan to notify users to update their information every half a year, since their last update. If they don’t update in one year, I plan to hide, or remove their information automatically.

>Even a website operator, with direct access to the database, can’t see who is the owner of your salary entry.

I'm curious about this given you can update/delete your salary entry - does there not have to be a unique identifier between the account and the entry?

Read more on how I’ve done it here: https://dev.to/foundsiders/how-have-i-ensured-the-privacy-an...

SPOILER: asymmetric encryption with private/public keys.

I never understood the kind of culture where salaries are secret. How good is that? In academia you know exactly how much everybody earns (it's determined by your tenure status) and nobody makes a fuss about it.

I've also found that the "taboo" against discussing salaries is a very weak taboo. If you make the first move, and talk about your salary, many people will relax and reciprocate.

It's only a taboo to the extent that other people are vaguely worried that it might be. :-)

I’ll talk about salary pretty openly to former coworkers and friends who are either in my same salary range or who I know make more.

It only helps employees to keep salaries opaque.

On the other hand, nothing good ever comes out of sharing salaries with current coworkers. If you make more they are going to be upset.

Turns out you answered your own question in the sentence after you asked it.

You don't ever want your pay tied to seniority. You want it based on the value you can deliver. That way, you with your 10 years of experience and proven ability to ship good products get to make twice as much as Senior Dev John with 10 years experience maintaining the internal CRUD app.

And then you have a company that wants to keep salaries secret, so they don't have to keep hiring a new person to maintain their internal CRUD app every every 6 months.

I’m pretty sure that there are enough people who would be content with such a simple job of maintaining CRUD app. They get less salary, yes, but also they’ll have much less stress, and can focus their energy on other things.

I guess public salaries would incentivate John to work harder and keep up with his colleagues!

"Privacy-focused", but you need to log in with your Linkedin credentials -- what could go wrong?

Thanks, but no thanks.

Hold on.

You don’t provide LinkedIn credentials in any way to me or to my website. You use it to authorize with LinkedIn (similar way, you can authorize with Facebook, Github, Google, Twitter, and other OAuth platforms).

The only thing that my website can read (and for very limited amount of time):

- Your email address, - First name and last name, - Unique LinkedIn ID, - LinkedIn profile photo URL.

That is it. There is no write permission for anything. This authentication token doesn’t allow anyone to log in into your LinkedIn account.

This type of technology is called an Authentication Provider, and is used to authenticate you on my website (not on LinkedIn).

Here you can read exactly how I process the data mentioned above: https://www.fellowage.io/privacy#linkedin-profile-data

"Keep your data anonymous"

Even though I personally understand why you are going with Linkedin, you cannot claim that data is anonymous if you require Linkedin account to authenticate. Privacy has nothing to do the with the technical implementation. You are just explaining oAuth but the point is that you already who I am since you require Linkedin. So it is not anonymous. Not for YOU at least.

It’s not anonymous in a sense that I’m going to see your linkedin profile. I could have found your profile on my own if I wanted to (that’s what LinkedIn is for in the first place).

What’s important is that I’m not going to see the numbers you entered.

Also, since I’m verifying every registration (in half-automated/half-manual way), and it takes about 20 seconds to do the verification, I cannot possibly remember who I’ve seen and what profiles do they have. (simply because I’m human).

Additionally, what is important is for what purposes you allow me to process your data. And the only purpose for this LinkedIn data is to verify your company name, job title, and location. Once that is done, the data gets removed or disassociated from your account, which means that it can no longer be meaningfully processed (anonymized), and since I don’t have your permission to do any other types of processing—I won’t.

EDIT: So what is anonymous are the salary numbers—and that is what I’m talking about on the landing page.

Nope - it’s a matter of trust, and asking for credentials, or even a login, breaches that until the site is credible.

I appreciate the focus on security with your multi-layered password feature, but I just clicked out of your tab because none of my passwords are 'secure' enough for you.

No, I don't want to use a password manager.

I can't even sign up with a password manager. Says the password is great (even has special chars) but then get an error saying it doesn't.

There was a problem with some special characters (they were not included in validation), and password manager would generate a password that is pretty good, but doesn’t have special characters I’ve initially chosen.

Now, I’m including most special characters, so it should work.

PS: Also, the pre-flight validation now includes special character check too, so you can see the validity real-time instead of after you submit. (This check was not originally included on the client-side, only on the server).


There are some real concerns over the security on this site.. Even in the sandboxes heroku one.

IMO this is not production ready.

Could you please write these concerns to my email alex [at] fellowage [dot] io?

I’ve used best industry practices for such web apps, and I’m curious what do you think these concerns are!

Doesn't work with Adblock enabled. Adblock by default block shitty cookie popups and without clicking accept i can't log in (and there is no info about mandatory cookie accepting thing).

This is actually quite strange because I coded the cookie banner myself, so I’m confused as to why Adblock would block that.

Works for me with ublock origin. FWIW, although I also detest cookie popups (particularly this one, which looks wholly unnecessary), this one is less shitty than most. The customisation page actually looks pretty useful.

Thank you!

I also detest these popups and "usual" customization pages.

If you think I can improve it even more, please tell me! :)

I like this idea and hope it gains ground. A thing to think about is to work with ranges, in terms of showing a person how much other people earn. I can imagine the system exposing someone at the same level in a relatively small department that they shared such kind of info on your website (if user A simply says but user B earn so much) so any way to "obfuscate" the data would protect everyone.

I agree with other comments that Glassdoor sucks, but levels.fyi has done a great job so far. Not sure what this does above and beyond that.

The main issue I have with these sites is that they are relatively pointless. The really only are able to cover low and mid level position salaries. Those salaries are not generally very elastic anyway and you can get pretty close to the the salary info from public stats anyway. This makes the site pretty much useless for those jobs.

If you are the Director of AI/Machine learning (or CFO or whatever) at some company there are probably only you or you and one other person that ever had that job. By providing the salary you are outing yourself anyway and risking some sort of action against you. Anyone looking to move into these good jobs has no use for the site either.

This is the real problem glassdoor had/has and why it will eventually disappear or become nothing but ads or headhunter style site.

HR won't care at my employer. There is no negotating a salary, there is no asking for a raise. There is a base amount that everyone gets, period, when they hire in and then your annual merit increase (the years we get one) is 0-3% and rarely does anyone even get close to 3%.

All you have to do is ask someone how long they've been here, take the lowest number of the salary range for their position then multiply that by 1.02 or 1.03% for each year they've been here and you've got a pretty good idea of what they make.

Each step up the ladder is a set % too so even if someone gets a higher position (when one rarely opens up, usually when someone quits) you still know about what they are making.

And my parent company employs what, like half a million people... nearly all of which have similar pay brackets.

One issue with static data is that it’ll rise and fall. Salaries today may be different in the future. You would have to continually receive data to have the latest up to date changes.

Many variables affects the data; age, location, experience, availability, opportunity etc. therefore your data starts to look more like a range, rather than just a number.

In the past, for the same role, company a will only pay this much, whereas company b is willing to negotiate; this is changing.

The problem has already been partially solved. Two companies comes to mind; one stands out by far imo.

I surely hope this (or anything similar) catches on, but it's seriously hard to get something like this going.

All the best and thanks for making this.

Btw, demo redirects to a heroku app domain, is this intended?

Yes, the demo doesn’t have a separate domain setup. Is there a particular issue you see with this? Please tell me if so!

This is terrible for distributed companies where putting in my location is a great way to find me.

Also, it doesn't seem to accept EUR as a currency.

About distributed companies, do you think an option to enter "Distributed Company" in the location is a good solution for this problem? Then, what happens if company pays vastly differently depending on the country/city?

About currency: It works, when you type the currency, you need to select the entry from the auto-complete. I’m thinking about making it select the currency automatically if only one option matches.

Sure it will, the site is so flaky you can just pass through whatever you like from the FE.

IE: Client side : `$('#currency').value = "EUR";`

It does, you have to click the 'X' on the right side of the currency field before you can change. Don't ask me why.

Nothing on this page is clickable for me, it seems like the "cookie banner" is invisible and taking up the entire page.

Are you using some type of adblocker that blocks cookie banners?

I have coded my own cookie banner and didn’t use any of the existing tools out there. That’s why I’m surprised if something is blocking it, but there was already another comment about the same as well.

This is to be honest, weird thing for adblocker to do—to block legitimate cookie banner.

And yes, website is not going to work until the required cookie is accepted (my backend rejects requests when they don’t specify that the necessary cookie consent was given).

Well, I use pi-hole and uBlock Origin. But uBlock doesn't block anything so it must be the pi-hole for some reason?

Do you use some third party script or something?

No third-party scripts are used except for Live-Chat. And even that one is only loaded when you click on the Live-Chat button.

Maybe pi-hole doesn’t like "cookie-banner" class/id of the cookie banner component?

EDIT: there are some default landen.co scripts (for landing page only), but they are fairly standard and shouldn’t be invasive for some extensions to block them…

I like the idea. From the demo I could not tell but what measures exist to prevent actors from falsifying information?

Why do I need to connect with linked and log in again? Also why are the password rules so absurd? Inb4 [dumb-password-rules](https://github.com/dumb-password-rules/dumb-password-rules)

LinkedIn is used only to verify your information (current job title, company name and location).

Then the password requirements are strong because it is used for encryption of your critical private data in the system. The same reason is why you need to login with your account ID (email) and password.

I would strongly suggest to add the option of sharing the salary without sharing the company name. Especially in the early adoption phase: People are probably the first one of their company to share their salary. If their position is somewhat unique, it will effectively not be anonymous.

There are companies that collect and sale employee information such as "the work number" they provide verification of employment as well as salary. Has anybody taken this kind of data set to answer these questions rather then surveying for bias mis reported data?

> Sign up with LinkedIn

I deleted my LinkedIn account years ago and never looked back. They're shady as all hell.

I think this should be more "local". I.e. usually I want to know my direct coworkers salary, not necessarily some nation- or corporationwide statistic.

Maybe an app where you scan some QR code, that somebody randomly puts in your break room or so...

This idea is quite interesting.

What do you think should this QR code lead to?

Salary information of one particular person (that put the QR code in the room)? Or salaries of group of people who work there?

I thought it would "invite" you to a group of shared salaries, where you can add your own, and see statistics about the others.

I'd love to see a place where people could post the cost of benefits that their employers offer them. In my experience this can vary widely and make a huge difference in the compensation package.

Hi there. Your page asked to accept cookies twice on Firefox Dev edition.

It’s probably because of different domains (main production web app, and demo web app)?

The site is pretty broken. I tried "USD", "$", etc. and nothing works "Currency Required!" error. and there is no dropdown like claimed on the other comment.

the only way to achieve reliability would come from comparing the actual salaries of a set of big enough companies with what their employees have actually volunteered to share and more importantly which ones. Only then you would be able to actually measure how all the human factors are affecting the outcome and then perhaps generalize it to real world. so the issue needs a scientific research, not another zuckerberg.

Isn't this the same thing Glassdoor does?

Maybe. So what? There are many Ubers, AirBnBs, Googles, etc. Diversity and competition is very valuable for consumers. It keeps innovation moving forward, so I really don’t see your point here.

It is ironic, how on a post about a website that encourages competition at the employer level for providing fair wages, people are complaining that they don't need competition at the meta-level (salary-sharing websites level).

It shows as a series of images for me under macOS Safari. Nothing responds to clicks, as in, nothing is clickable.

Have you dismissed the cookie dialog at the bottom of the page?

In Sweden you can just call the tax office anonymously and ask how much John Doe earned last year.

I tried to contribute but CHF is not accepted, it claims xurrency should be filled.

> Hi there . I use cookies to make this website work (i.e., signup and login). Only essential cookies are being used, without which the application won’t work. No ads, no tracking, no pixels, no 3rd-parties involved ...

Per GDRP, you are not required to consent if you only use essential cookies.

> Strictly necessary cookies — These cookies are essential for you to browse the website and use its features, such as accessing secure areas of the site. Cookies that allow web shops to hold your items in your cart while you are shopping online are an example of strictly necessary cookies. These cookies will generally be first-party session cookies. While it is not required to obtain consent for these cookies, what they do and why they are necessary should be explained to the user. https://gdpr.eu/cookies/

Nice that you explain (GDPR site recommends that), however preventing interaction with site (and generating confisuion as we see in commenets) is overkill IMO.

Awesome, thank you. I’m going to take that into account.

On the other hand, I wanted to be super-transparent with my users.

Because, I still see a lot of websites out there having "necessary" cookies, and website works without accepting the popup, and users unknowingly accept "by default" a lot of third-party tracking cookies, which makes me sad :(

meta: people who want to know salaries of their peers and demand equality have a bit a wrong view on companies.

Companies are anything but not about equality, playing fair or being nice to employees. Paying your staff different salaries is crucial and key to run a stable organization. Most won't get why different salaries on the same level create a stable organization, it's complex and would need an extensive/scientific article.

An organization's owner's goal is not to make the individual one happy but rather keeping the entire org on a good track. This involves keeping salaries inequal. Maybe some of you have an educated guess on why inequality creates downright stability.

Looks very much like glassdoor to me. Good work though.

There's far too many LARPers online for me to take any self reported salary info seriously.

levels.fyi is still legit

1) Jokes about child pornography are Not. Funny. Ever. Remove that if you wish to be taken seriously.

2) Every day I read about another database with x million user accounts ending up on the open web. What could possibly go wrong here?

I dont belive the OP put that into the job title, but I saw that too, there are a lot of injection issues here.

Hence the concern over the security of it overall.

Any type of joke can be funny Please do not police what jokes I can enjoy

I'm not policing anything. If we've dumbed down to the point where opinions have to be prefaced with the tautological "it's my opinion that..." that's probably something that 90% of posters here should be informed of.

As to your personal freedom to make light of an industry that commercialises the destruction of young lives, I have no interest in that discussion so I refrain from commenting.

I don’t understand what you are talking about in "1)".

Where are such jokes? How even is that topic here?

I’m confused.

> Jokes about child pornography

Where was that?

That’s what I’d like to know.


This in turn suggests unpleasant things about yourself. Is that an accident?

It suggests that I hate self-righteous people who present their own views as universal facts about what absolutely can and cannot be done. I think this is how the space of everyone's freedom is steadily retreating, and I'm sick of it.

On the other hand, your comment suggests that you are someone who tries to win a discussion by clumsily insulting his opponent.

I apologize. Obvious sarcasm blew right over my head and I need to hurry up and stop pretending. I feel like my effective IQ right now is between 90 and 100 at best. The supposed reasons for that are all wrapped up in Facebook drama (minus Facebook) and totally off-topic.

I think that we do partly agree on a thing. The way so many are-- as I like to put it-- running massive marketing campaigns to define and redefine "acceptable" and "unacceptable" is pretty horrible. We probably don't agree on which definitions should stick or fall away, but that's off topic, too.

"Is that an accident" was not entirely meant to be the accusing rhetorical question that it seems like now. It's also, what's your angle? And you answered that.

P.S. (hating people with stupid views) < (hating their stupid views)

> everyone's freedom is steadily retreating

Thats a bit of a stretch.. Common decency about CP is pretty much universal. But if that triggers you. Too bad.

Discussions don't have opponents or winners.

Jokes about anything can be funny. Depends on the joke.

Depends on the person (and their sense of humor<->horror).

"This allows me to keep the quality of the data in FelloWage high."

never heard such bullshit before lmao

Possibly I’m wrong somewhere here, but that is a “bullshit” I honestly believe in.

I struggle to understand the motivation behind publicly sharing one's own salary, especially with one's own coworkers. It seems to be primarily a movement of low achievers trying to cripple the progress of high achievers, or falsely lay claim to the same rewards as them.

It seems to be a rather meak attempt at collective bargaining without the resolve to collectively organize, and I don't see it working out well for anyone involved.

'primarily a movement of low achievers trying to cripple the progress of high achievers, or falsely lay claim to the same rewards as them.'

People have different negotiating skills and different level of information about job market.

Knowing how much other people get paid for the same job can be an incentive to renegotiate one's salary or change an employer. Removing part of information asymmetry allows to sell your work for the money closer to its real market price.

There are too many variables involved to determine a real market price for those in tech product engineering in any meaningful way.

And yet that doesn't change anything.

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