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RE: Dot Jobs

  • To: "'John Sumser'" <john@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <jobs-phased-allocation@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: RE: Dot Jobs
  • From: "Ted Daywalt" <TDaywalt@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 15 Jul 2010 14:59:56 -0400



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From: johnrsumser@xxxxxxxxx [mailto:johnrsumser@xxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of John
Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2010 2:45 PM
To: jobs-phased-allocation@xxxxxxxxx
Cc: Peter Weddle; Steven Rothberg; Ted Daywalt; Ted Elliott
Subject: Dot Jobs


My current assessment of the dot jobs conundrum follows. The idea of a
single technical platform supporting a TLD is something beyond naming. 


Dot Jobs

Years ago, when dot jobs was introduced as a Top Level internet domain
(.jobs), I had a hard time taking the idea seriously. HR is no more separate
from the operation than marketing or sales. You don't and won't see
proposals for a dot sales, dot marketing, dot engineering or dot operations
as Top Level Domains. Why? Because it's a nonsense idea.

In those earlier days, I was repeatedly approached for support of the
concept. I laughed and got on to the pressing things in my business and
family life. I have, for those exact same reasons, stayed out of the current
conversation about Direct Employers, SHRM and ICANN.

If you haven't followed the story, here's a synopsis. The dot jobs
initiative, shepherded by SHRM and a firm known as Employ Media, more or
less failed. After five years, 15,000 domain names had been issued.
Basically, no one used dot jobs for much of anything.

In stepped Direct Employers, about a year ago. Direct Employers is a weird
sort of anti-job board coalition of large US Employers who operate as a job
board cooperative. Founded by Bill Warren (who famously sold his non-profit
company, the Online Career Center, to monster for a fraction of its value),
Direct Employers is a quasi job board that offers membership rather than
subscriptions or job postings. The company delivers a variety of services
from job scraping to job post distribution to its 'members'.

Direct Employers proposes to upstage the existing market for jobs (job
boards and other services) by creating a 'single platform for jobs' in the
dot jobs domain. Essentially, this means that any of a kajillion domains
(like stupid.jobs, boring.jobs, callcenter.jobs,
eastlansingwastemanagement.jobs and so on) will point into a single
technical platform, a huge data base of jobs scraped and maintained by
Direct Employers.

It's a great big giant SEO scam whose success is dependent on the
capabilities of the Direct Employers' marketing and sales teams. In other
words, from a 'should you take this seriously' perspective, you probably
shouldn't. More likely than not, this is a tempest in a tea pot. There is
nothing about the history of Direct Employers that suggests they'd actually
be able to turn the dot jobs domain into something damaging. If they were
that effective, they'd be a lot bigger.

For sure, the moment that Direct Employers gets their hands on the domain,
there will be more confusion in the job market. Job hunters, who might have
to flip between company job boards and the company web page will have
diminished capabilities to find a job. Job boards and other job distribution
channels will be forced to spend more money on advertising and traffic
development (which might be good for the HRExaminer). The job market is
already confusing and the move won't help anything.

Today, my phone has been ringing off the hook with calls from people who
want me to weigh in on the question. I've listened closely to the various
concerns and questions raised by the folks who called. I've decided that the
issue is more than a little thing.

The question isn't whether or not Direct Employers will make a mess of
things, after all. There are more important and fundamental questions at

When the dot jobs Top Level Domain (TLD) was authorized, ICANN made it clear
that the domain was for the use of individual employers using individual
employer names (like Boeing.jobs, HRExmainer.jobs and so on). The TLD could
only be used by an employer to publicize its jobs on their domain. In that
agreement, Employ Media could sell domains under SHRM's watchful eye.

The new proposal subverts the original idea in order to create an SEO
behemoth and creates a charter for a monopoly. The Direct Employers notion
of a TLD that is a single database would be unlike any of the other TLDs. A
TLD is supposed to be agnostic about the platforms that run using its names.
TLDs are for naming, not operations.

Additionally, SHRM has been demonstrating some pretty bad behavior recently.
In this case, it abandons its users and customers again with little in the
way of public comment or oversight. SHRM's support of the Direct Employers
juggernaut is evidence that they are out of tough with technical reality.
More and more, it's starting to look like the problem with HR is SHRM.

I have been an independent analyst of the online employment industry since
its inception in 1994. I have authored nearly one hundred reports on the
subject for public and private consumption. I understand the detailed
technical issues associated with this case.

I want to offer my support for Gerry Crispin's position, as outlined in his
letter to ICANN. As he says,

""I strongly oppose Employ Media's history of dissembling, lack of
transparency and willingness to enter into backroom deals and, am even more
strongly concerned with SHRM's inability to choose to act as a trusted
referee...due to misinformation, lack of interest etc. etc. it goes without
saying that the community of legitimate job boards feels threatened by the
proposed expansion of the .jobs top level domain."

Further, I note that this is the wrong time, economically, to disrupt the
job hunting process. Adding friction to job discovery, as this initiative
obviously will, couldn't be more ill timed. The last thing that global job
hunters need today is more confusion in the online employment marketplace.

John Sumser

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