San Francisco (AFP) - A WageSpot smartphone application released in the United States on Tuesday dove into a historically taboo topic -- how much people get paid.
The app lets people anonymously report their incomes and then go on to see how much others are making.
WageSpot lets people check out earnings by types of jobs, experience, gender, location or other criteria.
In a way similar to how Zillow maps property values in neighborhoods, WageSpot displays maps showing what people earn and where, a demonstration showed.
"It seems that we are really afraid to talk about compensation no matter how much we make and how much we should be earning," WageSpot co-founder Raphael Morozov told AFP.
"We think if the information is out there we are really going to make an impact on the world."
While the Internet has put much information within easy reach of those with online access, salary data has remained hidden behind reporting complexity and cultural stigma, WageSpot founders reasoned.
"People will share an office for a decade and have no idea what the person at the next desk makes, even though they do basically the same job," Morozov said.
WageSpot applications are free to download and people can try them for a while before being asked to register by entering their job title, salary and location.
WageSpot lets registered users enter more details if they wish, safeguarding anonymity along the way.
Information supplied by those who register is added to a database already containing publicly available salary information about government workers, corporate executives, and professional athletes.
WageSpot does not allow searches by names, but a demonstration showed that queries can be narrowed.
For example, a search for "shooting guard" in the Los Angeles area turned up Kobe Bryant of the Lakers basketball team and gave his salary for the year as $25 million.
A subsequent WageSpot search for chief executives in Manhattan turned up an elite roster of high-paid company bosses.
WageSpot als wants users to share how happy they are with their jobs so the app can create maps of corporate campuses showing whether people love where they work.
Revenue is expected to come from recruiters interested in talent that they can woo.
"We think this is going to be a game-changer for the recruiting industry," Morozov said.
Los Angeles-based WageSpot on Tuesday also launched a KickStarter campaign to raise $10,000 to pay for a year's worth of access to Google mapping technology to power location features at the service.