SalaryScout: Simple, Social Salary Comparison

logoSalaryScout is a just launched salary comparison site that does many of the things that previously profiled site PayScale does but incorporates more of the social features typical of new developments on the web. It has a nice lightweight feel to it. Almost everyone wants to know if they should be making more money or feeling proud about how much they make relative to other people in similar lines of work. There’s definitely a demand for this kind of service, but most sites are too onerous to use and provide little value until users pay a subscription fee. I like SalaryScout because it’s simple.

Users on SalaryScout submit a relatively small number of anonymous details about their jobs, including job description, spot in a workplace hierarchy, benefits and other information. In exchange for contributing information about your job and compensation, you’re able to access detailed information about other peoples’ jobs.

Users are able to rate other peoples’ profiles, flag profiles as bogus, leave comments and subscribe to an RSS feed for searches. The support for RSS is the one thing that saves SalaryScout from being worthless before it gains a large userbase – a common pitfall for social software. Even if there are not a lot of (or any) search results now for jobs that fit my interests, I can subscribe to all future entries in SalaryScout that do fit my criteria. If none ever do, then no harm done, but there is nearly no obstacle at all to easily monitoring the site in the future.

Other salary comparison sites try to offer various forms of added value but end up with poor navigation and a frustrating user experience. SalaryScout is simple and much easier on the eyes than some of the sites we’ve been pitched by who are doing salary comparison.

There are any number of ways that this could be monetized – advertising and aggregate data sales being the most obvious. If site creator Ben Thomas maintains the service as a side project there’s no reason why he couldn’t make a small amount of money while doing his regular job (whatever that it – all the data here is anonymous.) I like the way the site has been developed and though without heavy promotion, full scale business practices and corresponding site bloat – a little site like this is unlikely to ever offer a whole lot of information – it’s nice to use casually. I’ve subscribed to an RSS feed for writing jobs and will be interested to see what if anything other people submit. Who knows? Perhaps SalaryScout could become the Craigslist of salary comparison sites – though the hippies that drove Craigslist in its infancy are unlikely to be interested in comparing salaries, you never know.

These simple parts of what’s called Web 2.0 – user comments, user ratings, flag as inappropriate, RSS feeds – they’ve all evolved for a reason and as is evidenced by SalaryScout you can put them all together with a good visual design and have a solid web site.

On a related note, readers here may also be interested in the newly launched personal finance site Wesabe.