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Published: Thursday, 7/28/2011

Web site lets workers rant, employers read

MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE

MINNEAPOLIS -- Terrible managers. Incompetent colleagues who get raises. Layoffs. Those complaints are usually whispered in conversations at the office, but now, St. Paul, Minn., entrepreneur Ryan Masanz hopes to profit by putting them online.

His Web site, OfficeLeaks.com, lets employees post anonymous comments on their employers. He lets companies monitor the comments for a fee but vows to never reveal employees' identities. The Web site has raised legal concerns, but Mr. Masanz said Office Leaks will give employers an uncensored view of their business.

"I think great companies want to know honestly what employees think," he said.

Office Leaks was inspired by his mother. She found out her firm was laying off workers in the weeks ahead but wasn't in a position to tell a colleague who was planning to buy a home.

Office Leaks hopes to ease that situation. Users enter their email address to set up an anonymous account and choose a cartoon character to represent themselves on their company group. The address is later verified.

The site went up in April and so far has registered 468 users at 262 companies.

Some of the posts are public, but others are locked, at the user's choice, allowing only the company's employees to see them. Some users' gripes might have been whispered at any water cooler, while others seem like insider rants.

Mr. Masanz makes money by letting companies sponsor their group for $99 a month. A sponsorship allows employers to monitor postings in their group and respond to comments. A company can take down five posts a week but is advised to do so only if they violate Office Leaks' rules, Mr. Masanz said.



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