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Jobs boards slam plan to open up .jobs

Kevin Murphy, July 9, 2010, 17:39:31 (UTC), Domain Registries

Providers of online jobs boards have started to complain to ICANN about plans by registry manager Employ Media to liberalize the .jobs sponsored top-level domain.

It’s rare that an ICANN public comment period attracts a decent amount of comment from outside the usual suspects, but this controversial proposal seems to be heading that way.

Employ Media wants to amend its registry contract to remove the restriction that limits .jobs registrations to the corporate name of employers, a key component of its original commitments.

This has naturally enough stirred debate in the HR community, which now appears to have divided itself into two camps – employers for the changes and jobs boards strongly against.

Several HR professionals with large companies including IBM, BT and Intercontinental Hotels have already filed brief messages with ICANN in support of the .jobs proposal.

Now, the counterargument is being made by a few operators of employer-independent jobs boards, including CollegeRecruiter.com and SalesGravy.com.

The Employ Media proposal would allow it to fulfil its deal with the DirectEmployers Association, which plans to lease thousands of geographic and industry domains.

The DEA plan would essentially be a single jobs site with thousands of domains acting as entry points to vertical listings. Want a job in Chicago? Type in chicago.jobs.

Importantly – and this may explain why HR folk like it – the site would be ad-supported and free for employers to list their openings.

Naturally, existing listings sites see this as an unacceptable competitive threat.

Steve Rothberg, CEO of CollegeRecruiter.com, said in his comment that Employ Media “went out of its way” to avoid getting feedback from existing jobs sites.

The results of an Employ Media survey submitted as part of its application to ICANN make that point pretty clearly.

Todd Goldstein, founder of AccountingJobsToday.com, observed in his comment that the proposal would dilute Employ Media’s original commitment to be “a place for employers” and accused the registry of trying to “route around” its promises to ICANN.

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Comments (10)

  1. Thank you, Kevin, for bringing the proposed expansion of the .jobs charter to the attention of your readers. Your article was fair but one point should be corrected: this is most definitely NOT a battle between employers and job boards.

    Despite what the DirectEmployers Association and Employ Media marketing alliance would like some to believe, the vast majority of employers have never even heard of .jobs let alone the charter under which they currently exist let alone the proposed expansion of that charter that would allow Employ Media to move from serving its community (employers) into other communities (job boards, staffing companies, third party recruiters, career services, etc.).

    There’s no doubt that job board owners such as myself have taken a leading role in the fight against the expanded charter but that’s mostly because we’re more aware of the issue than the other communities. Have a close look at http://forum.icann.org/lists/jobs-phased-allocation/ to see the organizations which have filed objections to the proposed expansion. A sizeable minority are employers, college career service offices, and even job seekers.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Thanks Steven.

      I’ve been reading the ICANN comments as they’ve been rolling in. There are a few exceptions, but it seems that so far it’s mainly the jobs boards that are, understandably, opposing this plan. I’m not sure I’d call it a “sizable” minority, but the comment period’s not over yet.

      Good luck!

  2. Ted Daywalt says:

    Kevin,

    Good article. However, to characterize the issued as falling into two camps as described – employers versus job boards – is not totally correct. Many employers are just as upset as the job boards because they see the investments in their recruiting efforts being diluted.

    In reality, this is an issue between .jobs/EmployMedia versus HR/Job Boards/Recruiters, etc.

    One has got to ask what would happen if every other TLD decided to violate their ICANN charter in the same way .jobs is attempting to do? There were be mass chaos and ICANN would lose its moral authority to control the use of TLDs.

    As .jobs/Employ Media have tried to usurp the obligations as defined by its charter, it should be stopped.

    There are many, many reasons why this is wrong, and if anyone wants to discuss, they can contact me at my information below.

    Best regards,

    Ted Daywalt
    President

    VetJobs
    P. O. Box 71445
    Marietta, GA 30007-1445
    o 877.838.5627 (877-Vet-Jobs)
    o 770-993-5117 X222
    f 770-993-2875
    tdaywalt@vetjobs.com

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Thanks for the comment Ted.

      I agree: above and beyond what this means for .jobs, there’s a precedent that could be set here that applicants for new TLDs will certainly be following with interest.

  3. Viper says:

    Competition is a healthy thing. You either adapt to new realities, or you go away.

    As an old-school, cold-calling headhunter, I was told I’d be obsolete back in 1999; well, I’m still here, and billing three times as much in fees as I did ten years ago.

    Good luck, job boards – it looks as though the gravy train may be ending for you. My firm is hiring, but only if you can cold call. LOL!

  4. […] the HR industry, the .jobs debate has been just as loud as the .xxx controversy was in the porn business. Some companies think the […]

  5. […] CEO Steven Rothberg was one of the leading opponents of the .jobs liberalization […]

  6. CEO says:

    There’s no doubt that job board owners such as myself have taken a leading role in the fight against the expanded charter but that’s mostly because we’re more aware of the issue than the other communities.”

    That’s because you stand to lose money, you aren’t doing it as a community service so stop the spin. You want to keep making money but Employ Media wants to make money for themselves.

  7. […] those who considered .travel an exclusive club, so I doubt there’ll be the same kind of outcry that .jobs recently […]

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