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Scraped Jobs

(March 18, 2005) - Generally speaking, we like The Ladders best of all. Increasingly, new shops are opening up their doors with repurposed content from other job boards. The Ladders, to its credit, has a business model, revenue and happy customers.

At The Ladders, subscribers pay a fee to get an edited package of jobs in their emailbox. Employers are never charged a fee for inclusion. Rather, the staff earns audience loyalty by pruning the job data to a relevant few (that's a relative few). Employers take the time and energy to post jobs based on the assumption that a paying audience is a more refined audience.

(All in all, this sounds like an intelligent add-on revenue stream for Monster, Hot-Jobs or the like. With millions of jobs in routine circulation, even very active Job Hunters get overwhelmed. A pay per view service for very passive hunters sounds like a winner to us.)

In the grand tradition of FlipDog, new job scraping companies are cropping up at record pace. Two early entrants are indeed.com and simplyhired.com. Born in a post-VC climate, it's very interesting that these companies don't seem to have business models or customers. Perhaps the thinking is that a wise person at Google will see the potential and buy in early.

That's an interesting notion; demo the world to sell a single customer.

Unfortunately, all of the job-scraping businesses we've ever seen have evolved straight to never-never land. Career-Cast, which began its existence as a job scraping service has now found its home as an enterprise service provider for the newspaper industry. Job scraping no longer ends up in their massive national database but is positioned as a small service to customers.

That's the way that it is. Job scraping is a component service, not an end all, be all. Most job boards can arrange to have your jobs scraped into their databases. Some companies offer a single distribution service (they scrape your jobs into a variety of job boards).

Here's a great hands-on tutorial for the underlying technology.

So, why are companies opening their doors to repeat the lessons of the past? Clustering of search results, an innovation introduced by Northern Light in the mid 1990s is one possibility (creating automated Ladders?). Data services for blogs (like indeed's jobroll) is certainly one possibility. The folks at SimplyHired seem to think they are going to ease the job hunt (a familiar refrain from a low revenue song).

In general, the new firms seem to be the creations of technical geniuses who have no experience in the industry. We're pretty sure that the game goes to business models and industry knowledge and not to technology.

John Sumser

Take a quick look at Industry News, read the Bugler.

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Materials written by John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
Mill Valley, CA 94941
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