Giving Away Your Job Board Business One Click at a Time

In the beginning, job aggregators (called job search engine at that time) were either sued for stealing content ( vs. Cadremploi in 2001) or bought out to avoid their potential disruptive effect on the market of well-established players (Monster buying FlipDog in 2001 after it ranked #5 in less than a year).  A while later, job boards started to enjoy free traffic from job aggregators without even asking. 

Despite the common feeling among job board owners that they might be contributing to creating a new breed of competitors, very few turned down this free traffic boost. There is no “Free Lunch,” however. Once addicted to that traffic, aggregators started charging job boards. The volume of jobs scraped directly from employers has increased significantly in the meantime so job board offers were no longer as vital for aggregators as they had been at first. 

Now that aggregators list just about every open position on the planet, it is no longer possible for a job board to rely solely on its paid postings to maintain a sufficient inventory of jobs to hold its audience. Monster’s recent move to the aggregation practice is a good illustration of that.

For smaller job boards, the easy way to solve the problem is to take the kindly provided job feeds from the aggregators’ publishing program and eventually get some revenue out of it. That easy and convenient solution, bringing both content and revenue, is a deceptive solution.

It sells your job board’s effectiveness for pennies to aggregators. It does not look harmful at first because it is transparent to candidates so you don’t feel you are sending your remaining candidates to aggregators (this has been done previously by allowing aggregators to republish your ads). It does, however, transfer the credit for all the good applications you generate to the aggregators for either nothing (organic jobs) or pennies (sponsored jobs). Customers will always follow candidates, and you are showing them you are no longer the source of the best applications. 

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