Update: You may have heard that the news on this story is that THERE IS NO NEWS – the NY Times reporter apparently got the story wrong. Steven Rothberg wrote in to EXCELER8ion about the erroneous story and summed it up this way. “It would have been really big news had it been true. But again the NY Times has let us down. The reporter apparently didn’t understand the deal.” “From my read, it appears that JobCentral a/k/a DirectEmployers was simply announcing that it was now making its postings accessible to users of Indeed, SimplyHired, and GoogleBase. If so, yawn! We’ve been doing that for a long time as have many other premium job boards.”
Begin original story…
Gerry Crispin over at The CareerXroads Annex broke the news to the blogosphere today that according to an article in the New York Times, JobCentral.com; Indeed; SimplyHired; and Google Base are joining forces, aggregating all their jobs and launching what they are calling “a national labor exchange” on JobCentral.com.
I have to admit, the first thing that struck me is the irony that this announcement had its debut in a newspaper. So far, I can’t find any online sites that are talking about this (other than NYTimes.com of course, AND it is the #4 most emailed article on their site).
The first issue I see is branding. I mean no disrespect, they may have a great site, but when you are in the leagues of brands like Monster, CareerBuilder and Yahoo! – you have to ask, “JobCentral dot who?” While this conglomerate will obviously be a worthy competitor to the big boards, why did they choose this brand as the umbrella? Why not use “Google” and gain immediate mass-recognition? Yahoo! is probably the most well-known brand on the web, but they are #3 in the big board race for traffic. Why? I attribute this to the effects of promotion. Job seekers KNOW to go to Monster and CareerBuilder to search jobs. Yahoo! is number three as their HotJobs offering is not as well known. Similarly, while the launch of Google Base caused a stir within the recruitment community a few months ago, there wasn’t as much of a stir among job seekers. As compared to the big boards, masses of job seekers aren’t using the aggregators like SimplyHired or Indeed frequently either. This shift is going to take larger promotional efforts. Look at how much marketing and promotion among the general job seeker audience it took to draw job seekers away from the newspaper.
These young brands are just starting to garner the attention of job seekers – and they are doing it through promotion on Google, not with Super Bowl ads. Robert Wilson over at Job Search Engine Guide just wrote that SimplyHired surpassed Indeed in traffic perhaps due to what he called a ‘Googleboost’. According to Robert,
“SimplyHired is boosting exposure to their site by sponsoring a link on Google putting them above the fold on the first page of results when searching for “Jobs”.”
I am most interested in seeing what the fallout is for CareerBuilder. CareerBuilder has given Google its feed of jobs to help bolster Google Base (and of course to get itself more traffic). But you would think that Google would be in some breach of contract by including CareerBuilder jobs on JobCentral.com. In his post, Gerry Crispin noted,
“Google may have to revise its “Do No Evil” mantra – at least from the point of view of the job boards that have been feeding it 100s of thousands of openings. They might rightfully feel screwed over.”
What about pricing? Unlike the rest of the siblings in this new Brady Bunch – JobCentral.com CHARGES for posting jobs ($25 per job or $12,500/year). Will this model change? It would have to – why would a company pay to post when they could just get their jobs up via aggregation? What model will they then adopt to make money?
To me – the piece that is still missing in all of this is the recognition that it is job seekers that matter. Where job seekers go – companies will follow. We all have heard the criticism that finding a job on the big boards by sifting through postings or posting a resume – is less than ideal. But the JobCentral.com conglomerate is claiming that they will have 4.5 million jobs. That’s a lot of sifting. What is the differentiator – major aggregation? Yahoo! HotJobs! already did this earlier in the year by utilized its Yahoo! search engine to “aggregate” jobs from across the web to supplement their paid listings.
Google is after all Google, so I will give them the benefit of the doubt and have high hopes as to the direction that JobCentral.com will be taken. But the bottom line is – we can offer cheaper or more “organic” ways for companies to “recruit online” but unless the job seekers follow and use the site; unless the site is able to provide a candidate experience that is different from what is currently out there; and unless JobCentral.com REALLY become a central repository for ALL jobs online, then the all that really has been done for the job seekers – is to give them big board number four to visit.