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Small Is Big

(January 21,  2005) - With all of the recent focus on local recruiting, we're amused about the wave of pricing structure. Since local or niche recruiting is more targeted and focused, we'd expect higher pricing. Instead, many players are approaching it as a subset of national service which is, therefore, cheaper.

It's reasonable to look at the recent pricing and promotion moves by Yahoo and Monster as market-share purchasing. Small, local newspapers should be on the lookout. It's been a long time (back when there were often two newspapers in a market) since market share wars erupted. If they hope to hang on to their franchises, they need to be defending their turf. Outside of the exemplary performances by the New York Times, Boston Globe and Washington Post, there is little hope showing.

In the long haul, the employment market is a mosaic of local markets.

Targeting and delivery of local "eyeballs" is what the end game is all about. And, as you should expect, the more precise the targeting, the more valuable. In other words, employment advertising reach is like refining processes; the smaller the end result, the higher the price. Promotional reductions extract money from the competition.

In general, the newspapers who "get it" understand that the game is not inherently technical. Although there are interesting feature set differences between job-board suppliers, on close look at Craig's list should be sufficient. It's not about usability or fancy implementations, it's about content and sales. (It is interesting to note that CL is the only competitor with RSS). The newspapers that remain in business will do so by courting and understanding their readers while understanding and selling to their advertising customers.

It's funny. There are few positions as inherently defensible as the local newspaper markets.

John Sumser

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