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Monster Cheese Steak

(July 27, 2006) Monster (MNST) made a major announcement. They have moved into the national newspaper job board business. What had been a sleepy well manicured suburb of the Recruiting Industry is taking on some real life.

Web site Monster and Philadelphia Media Holdings LLC, the new owner of the Philadelphia Inqurier, Daily News and Philly.com, announced a strategic alliance on Tuesday to provide online and offline recruitment services to employers and job seekers in the Philadelphia area. A co-branded job search and recruitment Web site will become available on Aug. 14 as a result of the alliance. Monster's résumé database attracts more than 40,000 new résumés daily. (from the press release)

In the recent past, we've seen Yahoo! Hot Jobs expand its offerings in interesting new directions, interesting fumbling around as some of CareerBuilder's equity may become available, and, general heat on newspaper ownership following the Knight-Ridder deal. Years of circulation declines and middling financials are finally starting to shake the structure that is the newspapers. Some might say that Craig shook the tree. It looks like new media companies are picking up the fruit.

This all happens within 120 days from Tony Lee's migration from his newspaper home into quiet but influential Adicio. Did Tony know something?

Still speculation aside, the ground is actually moving.

Remember, it wasn't all that long ago that Monster and the newspapers were engaged in a multiple round saber rattling exercise.

One way of thinking about this is that while CareerBuilder is forced to attend to internal political issues, the rest of the players, hungry for growth, are moving in. It's going to be hard for the team at CareerBuilder to maneuver while ownership is being debated. Continued investment and expenditure changes will be hard to muster with current levels of uncertainty.

Way back, there was a newspaper job board called CareerPath. It was the standard unwieldy committee structure used by the newspapers when turf wars need placeholder settlements. Managed as a way to keep the various newspaper owners from pillaging each other's markets, CareerPath wandered aimlessly sucking up resources from the newspaper trust funds. It died a merciful and well-deserved death with the creation of CareerBuilder.

Much to their credit, the team at Career Builder converted their legacy into a viable offering. We haven't heard the profitability word just yet. Nonetheless, CareerBuilder operates like a real business and has had a major hand in the evolution of the industry. Unfortunately, the ownership structure (a group of competing newspaper companies) has always kept CareerBuilder from reaching its full potential. Old school decision makers on a committee is something that no one wants to have.

The rumblings in all of the top job boards means that something interesting is starting to happen. There's room for new players and new methods. The next year will help us see who's an innovator and who's a dinosaur.

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John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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