The DirectEmployers Association has gone on the offensive in the continuing battle over the .jobs liberalization, accusing its detractors of conducting an “astroturf” campaign.
Bill Warren, founder and executive director of the DEA, has filed comments to ICANN here.
He accuses the International Association of Employment Web Sites of conducting “nothing less than a smear campaign using modern day technology such as e-mail, blogs, and twitter”.
He’s referring to the scores of letters and emails that have arrived at ICANN over the last week, criticizing .jobs registry Employ Media’s proposal to drop the rule that only company names are allowed in the .jobs namespace.
Jobs sites, in particular, are pissed that Employ Media plans to hand over tens of thousands of premium generic .jobs domains to the DEA to use as gateways to a massive new jobs board, rather than open them up for general registration.
If you currently run a jobs site at NewYorkJobs.com or NursingJobs.com, for example, you would be unable to register NewYork.jobs or Nursing.jobs.
The DEA would likely own both of these domains, along with thousands of others, a situation described by one commenter as a “big giant SEO scam“.
Warren’s letter generally avoids discussing the merits of this plan, instead focusing on attacking its critics’ tactics.
the overwhelming majority of opposing comments – and we’ve reviewed each – clearly indicate no review of the substantial body of work that comprises the RSEP [Registry Services Evaluation Process] submission by Employ Media
It’s true that the majority of the letters include at least some form text created by Steven Rothberg of CollegeRecruiter.com, one of the key individuals behind the IAEWS campaign.
The letters are generally less spammy than similar letter-writing campaigns conducted during the recent .xxx controversy, however, with many writers attempting to add their own two cents.
(Speaking of .xxx, Warren claims that IAEWS has hired the same lawyer who represented .xxx registry ICM. I’m guessing he means Becky Burr of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, but I’m waiting for confirmation of that)
Warren believes that the Society of Human Resource Management, the sponsor and policy-maker for the .jobs domain, “managed a policy development process to arrive at a bottom up, consensus recommendation in the interests of the specific community .jobs exists to serve”.
According to ERE.net, the HR news site that has been doing a far better job of reporting this story than me, this SHRM policy council has been pretty much asleep at the wheel, and may even have been captured. Warren himself apparently used to chair it.
Personally, as somebody with no horse in this race, I merely find it distasteful that Warren is complaining so vehemently about jobs boards having their say in the ICANN process, when the SHRM process deliberately excluded their opinions from its outreach.
The SHRM survey (pdf) filed in support of the .jobs proposal specifically says: “Consultants were also not included in this universe, so that companies specializing in providing job search engines/job boards could not distort the responses from practicing HR professionals.”
The Employ Media proposal to change its contract has already passed an ICANN competition review, so I’m not sure there are any documented ways it can be killed off under the RSEP, although the board will still have to vote on it.