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(August 01, 2005) We've spent some interesting time with the folks at SimplyHired. Firm believers in themselves, the team continues to pour resources, time and energy into a business model we still can't figure out. SimplyHired, as you know, is a 'vertical search engine'. That means that it is doing what FlipDog (or CareerCast) used to do: scraping jobs from various sources and publishing them in a massive database. Frankly, SimplyHired looks like an industry R&D center.

The latest goody from this collection of industry brainiacs is a contest and blog called SimplyFired.

The idea is simple: share your best story about getting fired on their blog and win a cruise with the CEO and the casts of all of the Apprentice programs.

(Maybe we should write them about the time the staff picked up our desk and belongings and moved them out of the office.)

Obviously, they believe that the publicity from getting fried will rub off on getting hired.

Here's how they tell the story:

Amidst the sea of corporate layoffs announced recently, Simply Hired, the world's largest search engine for jobs, today launched SimplyFired.com, a website for fired and laid off workers to share and submit their stories. Joining to help launch the site is Mark Jen, the infamous blogger who made headlines after being fired by Google for his blogging earlier this year. Jen, who now works for Plaxo, will be featured on the site along with his account of getting fired. He will also serve as a judge for a "Simply Fired Contest" to uncover the most captivating and compelling stories about people who have lost their job.

"After I experienced a very public firing, many people reached out to me with their stories about losing their job," said Jen. "Most of us are embarrassed about being let go, but it happens all the time—often in very interesting ways. And once you start that conversation, everyone wants to listen in and share their stories. SimplyFired.com is a great way to help start this dialogue online."

Grand Prize "Loser" to Win Big

The Simply Fired Contest will challenge site visitors to submit their funniest, saddest, most outrageous stories about getting fired or laid off. The judging panel includes Guy Kawasaki from Garage Technology Ventures, Chris Pirillo from Lockergnome, and Phil Kaplan from AdBrite and founder of F**ked Company, among others. The judges will select a Grand Prize "Loser" who will win a trip for two on "The Apprentice" Legend Cruise with other cast members fired by Donald Trump on the award-winning reality TV show.

The winner and a guest will be flown to New York City, where Donald Trump will keynote a bon voyage party to kickoff the week-long Caribbean cruise on September 26, 2005. Onboard the cruise, guests will also be competing in a series of career contests hosted by the former fired Apprentices. For more contest details please visit: http://www.SimplyFired.com.

"With all the layoffs in the headlines these days, we're hoping to offer a small bit of light-hearted comic relief, as well as provide a forum for people who have been fired or laid off to tell their stories," said Gautam Godhwani, founder and CEO of Simply Hired. "Of course when they're ready to look for their next job, Simply Hired will be there to help."

John Sumser

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