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No Limit on Whose Jobs Go on .Jobs, Says SHRM

by Nov 17, 2010, 6:36 pm ET

The Society for Human Resource Management has essentially repudiated one of the fundamental reasons it and its partner, Employ Media, sought to create a .jobs domain.

In a memo responding to a series of questions from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, SHRM said there is no requirement that only company jobs be posted on a site with a .jobs address.

While that may be technically correct, it is counter to the purposes SHRM and Employ Media detailed in their 2004 application for requesting ICANN create the domain. Then, the two entities argued that a .jobs address would benefit employers by offering an easy way for job seekers to find corporate career sites and would make it easy for companies to market those sites.

Employ Media itself, the wholesaler and manager of .jobs addresses, tells potential applicants that the Internet domain is to be used “for your recruitment ads.” Its registration agreement specifically says:

“…you may not:

1. Use your .jobs domain to post third-party information, such as job listings for other companies. This means that you can not have a job board at your .jobs domain which contains listings for jobs outside of your Company.”

Noted recruitment consultant Gerry Crispin, a principal in CareerXroads, was a strong supporter of the creation of the .jobs address when it was first proposed. He saw it as a way to reduce job scams and help job seekers find their way to the legitimate jobs of the companies in which they had an interest.

This morning, after learning about SHRM’s response to ICANN’s questions, Crispin said, “That’s not what they sold and what I bought.” Dot jobs, he said, was intended to provide “a safe haven for job seekers where they wouldn’t get scammed. The spirit of that intent is not being maintained by SHRM.”

Even though there is no contractual content requirement evident in the .Jobs Charter, SHRM was given the opportunity by ICANN to address the spirit and purpose behind the creation of .jobs.

“What are SHRM’s expectations for content on domain names registered in the .JOBS sTLD?” ICANN asked.

“It is SHRM’s expectation that any content at domains registered in the .JOBs TLD serves the needs of the international human resource management community,” was the response.

Who, exactly, submitted the responses on behalf of SHRM isn’t clear. The memo posted by ICANN was sent to Gary Rubin, SHRM’s Chief Publishing, E-Media, and Business Development Officer, and to SHRM’s General Counsel, Henry Hart. It appears the original memo was returned to ICANN with the answers, but without any indication of authorship.

(Lately, SHRM has seen some of its members challenging its openness and transparency. A group calling itself SHRM Members for Transparency appears poised to take on the organization’s leadership. See the details here on TLNT.com.)

The question and answers are part of the material ICANN’s Board Governance Committee is gathering before making a recommendation on reconsidering an Aug. 5 decision to expand what words can be used in conjunction with a .jobs address.

After a lengthy process dating back more than a year, the ICANN board voted to allow Employ Media to sell addresses containing occupational names, geographic names, and others. Under the original approval, only company names could be used with a .jobs extension. SHRM, as the policy overseer contracted by Employ Media, approved the expansion early in June. (Background on the saga can be found here.)

Two weeks after the ICANN vote, a group of job boards, recruitment firms, technology providers, and others petitioned for reconsideration, claiming the board had been inadequately backgrounded by ICANN staff, and that staff failed to fairly and thoroughly investigate the expansion request.

The last few weeks has seen a series of questions sent to SHRM and Employ Media. Those to Employ Media included many that were of the  “what did you know and when did you know it” variety. A few simply asked the .jobs registrar if it intended to violate the .jobs Charter or the agreement it has with ICANN.

As might be expected, the response to the latter questions is no.

The five-page Employ Media answers — and the posting on Oct. 28 of the formal minutes of the board’s Aug. 5th meeting — prompted a 20-page response by the coalition. Besides challenging several of the ICANN staff’s comments as recorded in the minutes, the coalition also offered a question-by-question refutation and analysis of the Employ Media answers. At one point, the coalition says: “The statements made by Employ Media in its answer strain credulity and are internally inconsistent.”

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.

  • http://www.comerecommended.com Heather Huhman

    It seems that, like a lot of good ideas that are presented today, we have allowed too many people to get involved in deciding how to implement the .jobs domain expansion. Everyone has something to contribute and everyone has a different opinion. In the end, so many well-meaning contributions have effectively negated any good that was intended.

    What started as the pure and simple aim to do the right thing for job seekers and employers has been contorted and convoluted by all the well-meaning contributors to the .jobs domain expansion.

    And do we really need to create a new job board? They do not seem to be working out so well now. Perhaps the original intent of this initiative was really to give back some measure of control to the employers and job seekers, and to promote trust and transparency in the recruitment process. Unfortunately, that’s not what the project achieves today.

  • Jim Johnston

    It can seem so easy to just take the value out of the big boards, but the fact that it has not been replicated to a large level and no other resource puts more people to work then the 2 big boards. They have more labor data, job seeker data then all other resources and the estimates of total profiles of working americans are over 80 million. That is more then 70% of the US workforce. Their power to learn faster and more indepth makes then here to stay.

    The .jobs domain was doomed from the beginning and the value of this domain was not and could compete compete on search. This is a prime example why we still say “Hr earning a seat at the table for the past 12 years” Some get it and some dont.

    If the job boards are not working then would someone tell the job seekers. As the traffic numbers and searches do not seem to be decreasing. Example: All of google gets around 300 million searches and Monster and Careerbuilder get over 400Million searches each month. In most cases, recuiting people go to where the candidates are but since the boards are in business for long term success and charge for services we run for the hills to continue to get for free. The large boards have evolved and have more targeting demographics and intelligence then any other resource or consultant has at their finger tips.

    If the boards are not working out so well now then why will they beat out the 15% estimates in recruitmetn advertising in 2011? They are expected to incrase by 25 -30% versus the 15% industry average. This is consistent for the past 10 years.

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