IBN: Defining Excellence in Electronic Recruiting


Electronic Recruiting

Our Rate Card

Please Click On Our Sponsors

Please Click On Our Sponsors

Recruiting News for the Human Resource Professional

Please Click On Our Sponsors

Please Click On Our Sponsors

Please Click On Our Sponsors

Please Click On Our Sponsors




Click On Our Sponsors

Click On Our Sponsors







Find out more
About IBN

Got a news tip?
Jean Collins

Our Rate Card



Trends Reports



(Over 60)

Company Job Listings
(Over 4000)


It is better
to not be on
the web than
to be on and
not know why

John Sumser

is more
it seems.
John Gall

It's better to
do a few things
really well than
than to do
a lot of things
If you can't
make the necessary
commitments of
time and energy
to your
scale back
your plan.
John Sumser


Click On Our Sponsors
The Electronic Recruiting News is a Free Daily Newsletter For Recruiters, HR Managers, Advertising Agencies and Clasified Advertising Operations

Home | ERN | Bugler | The Blogs | Blogroll | Advertise | Archives | Careers

Mud Slinging
(July 05, 2001) We always thought that the eventual decline and fall of Vault.com was related to its internal decision to censor its comment board. If you didn't follow the original episode, here's the rough story:

Vault.com provides an interesting outlet for watercooler talk about a variety of companies. Clearly demarcated as "opinion", the service provides "bulletin boards" that prospective employees can use to learn about a potential employer. Past and current employees vent their opinions.

Of course, all of the material is negative. People with the time and energy to post on the Vault boards are, almost by definition, going to have a negative viewpoint and motivation. We've maintained, periodically, that this is the new recruiting environment. Recruiting, in the internet era, must be done with a full awareness of the fact that negative information is readily available.

While many employers balked at the notion, we encouraged advertising on the service. We did, that is, until Vault censored the bulletin board that appeared simultaneously with its own layoffs.

If you're going to dish it out, you have to be able to take it.

The web creates a publishing environment in which cowards can hide behind anonymity, grudges can become enterprises and folks who have been terminated with cause can grind their axes in public. It's like going down the rabbit hole with Alice when compared to the "good old days".

Since any modestly intelligent 10 year old can create a web page with tools supplied on the web (or by simply saving a word document as an html file), the explosion of negativity has just begun. Bathroom humor, the hallmark of the underemployed, substitutes for intelligent thought as adolescent publishing proliferates. One thing is clear. You can't control all of it.

So, what is a sensible policy for monitoring the waves of information about your company?

Monitor and sue when appropriate.

It's too bad that the web seems to be the 21st Century Full Employment Act for Lawyers. But, there's a non-subtle line between critique and defamation. For instance, links pointing to your corporate website that defame the company are clearly not covered by "freedom of speech". Clearly expressed opinion or parody, when clearly owned by an identifiable individual are protected. Defacing a trademark or logo, misrepresentation of fact, or downright assault by a competitor designed to impede business are clearly actionable. With no labor shortage in the lawyer category, we expect that you'll have little problem defining the line between assault and the new information environment.

Implicit in this scenario is the notion that someone in the Recruiting Department needs to be abreast of the criticisms of the company on bulletin boards, stock messaging systems, and so on. Each item has to be evaluated in terms of its legal impact and then acted on in one way or another.

Malicious anonymous posters have a lot of room to hide. Fortunately, the combination of credit card tracing, IP addressing and ICANN dispute resolution rules make it somewhat easy to shut down outright harassment. A phone call and letter from a lawyer work for most circumstances.

The discomfort associated with an outright public assault on your company is becoming a common one. For the most part, the efforts of juvenile comedians can be dismissed with little attention. The trick is understanding the intent of more malicious public damage. When members of your ecosystem conspire to defame your business, the legal department should be the first resort, not the last. In the case of juvenile delinquents, the best medicine is catching them in the act and make certain that their parents and associates are aware of the damage they are doing.

Somewhat more problematic are the groups of sophisticated technical players who, for reasons of personal or looming business failure, want to lash out. More effective at hiding their traces, and familiar with the terrain, the hide their cowardice behind layers of tools that help them maintain their anonymity. Although we understand the frustration that produces these childish outbursts, it's clear that these anonymous harassers misunderstand the importance of accountability in free speech. The very best thing to do in these cases is notify the proper authorities and let them do their jobs.

Maintaining a sense of humor in the face of public harassment is not an easy task. Noise or not, business must go on. A singularly important component, when addressing this sort of vandalism is the trust you have for your audience or potential employees. Anyone moved by the musings of a demonstrated coward will select themselves out of your process.

Vault's error, to tie things back together was not the censorship of the bulletin board. Rather, it was their refusal to develop a process that allowed customers to do the same. This is a serious business world in which the basic principle, monitor and sue when appropriate is time honored.

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

Visit Our Sponsors Below
1.5 Million Candidates for $0. You Do the Math

Sendouts.com introduces Sendouts Candidate Bank

  • Subscribe to Sendouts Pro and get free access to our Candidate Bank
  • Over 1.5 million active and passive candidate profiles
  • Qualifies and ranks candidates based on your needs
  • Automatically alerts you with matching candidates
  • 100% Web-based
  • Nominal fee ONLY upon successful placement

    Get the upper hand on your candidate search and we'll put technology in your palm. Register to win a FREE Palm™ VIIx Handheld when you visit

    © 2013 interbiznet.
    All Rights Reserved.

    Materials written
    by John Sumser
    © TwoColorHat.
    All Rights Reserved.

  • interbiznet's
    Electronic Recruiting News


  • 2003 Trends Whitepaper

  • interbiznet Bookclub

  • interbiznet Listings

  • interbiznet Trends

         - Bugler
           Daily Industry News

         - ERNIE
           ERN in Email

         ANNUAL REPORTS:      

  • Electronic Recruiting
         Index (ERI)

         - 2002 ERI
         - 2001 ERI
         - 2000 ERI
         - 1999 ERI
         - 1997 ERI
         - 1996 ERI
         - Report Pricing


  • Integrated Employment
          Branding Presentation
  • 2003 Trends Whitepaper
  • interbiznet Listings
  • interbiznet Trends
  • interbiznet Bookclub
  • Top 100 E-Recruiters
  • Presentations
         - Recruiting Then/Now
  • Recruiter's Toolkit
  • Seminar In A Box
  • ERN Archives
  • 1st Steps In The Hunt


  • Our Rate Card
  • Demographics

    Recently Archived Articles

  • Targeting Your Audience
  • Hot Monster
  • Job Ad Marketing
  • 21st Century Ad Agency
  • Shortage
  • History
  • Navel Gazing
  • Survey Sez
  • Regional Offerings
  • Lame
  • Gerry McGovern
  • What do You Do?
  • Content Adjacency
  • DeathWatch
  • Branding Roadmaps


    Stocks We Watch:
    Public Companies
    in Electronic Recruiting


         © 2013 interbiznet.
         All Rights Reserved.

         Materials written
         by John Sumser
         © TwoColorHat.
         All Rights Reserved.