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Cheezhead.com Sold To Jobing; Site May Close

Sep 9, 2009
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

CheezheadThe usually irreverent, frequently controversial, and always surprising recruiting blog Cheezhead.com has ended its four-year run.

The site and two companion recruitment businesses — search engine optimizer HRSEO and search engine marketer HirePPC — were bought by Jobing.com, a job board operator based in Phoneix. Jobing CEO Aaron Matos made the announcement at the International Association of Employment Web Sites conference today in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Speaking with me from Florida earlier, Matos and the head cheeze himself, Joel Cheesman, said the site wouldn’t be shut down, at least not immediately, but it would cease to offer new content.

“If there was an interesting story on Tuesday, Joel won’t be commenting on it Thursday,” Matos told me. “We have to change the editorial direction of the site.”

Joel Cheesman
Joel Cheesman

Cheesman concurred, pointing out that the voice Cheezhead.com had as an independent, third party blog, couldn’t continue once it became part of Jobing. “It’s part of the industry (now) I’ve been commenting on.” “I can’t,” he added at another point, “continue to opine on the industry.”

Matos said his interest was in adding Cheesman to his company’s executive team and not so much in continuing the blog. “The main value,” he said, “is in Joel’s experience.” In particular, Matos said, was Cheesman’s skill in building a community and his understanding of search engine marketing.

“Joel comes to us with an incredibly valuable perspective.”

Thus Cheesman’s new role as a senior vice president at Jobing will be to help build a client and recruiter community and grow participation by job seekers. Matos also said Cheesman may also write a blog, though that’s in the future. And, both men agreed, if it happens, it would be entirely different than the strongly opinionated views Cheesman has expressed on his blog.

His always entertaining commentary can generate dozens of reader comments, especially when he writes about the foibles of the better known job boards. An entry from last year titled “confessions of a former careerbuilder sales guy” generated 27 comments, including one as recently as last month. Another one, also from last year, about a Monster email sales pitch entitled “monstirs sells english are reely good” got 64 comments.

To the extent that any part of Cheezhead.com survives, Matos said it will have “a different voice. Different content that we share with our customers.” What the site’s exact future will be depends on discussions with clients and customers that have yet to take place.

If he’s at all nostalgic about the demise of Cheezhead.com, Cheesman kept it to himself during our conversation. “I’ve always embraced change,” he said. “I’m evolving.” He did write a personal note to his readers in which he details the genesis of Cheezhead and says, “Evolution is inevitable and I’ve always embraced change and opportunity.”

I asked him about the irony of joining an industry that he has regularly skewered, and periodically suggested was in decline.

“My job as a publisher is to provoke thought, discussion,” he said, acknolwedging his sharp criticism of the job board industry. “My goal at Jobing,” he said by contrast, is to help it to change; “To evolve.”

Does that mean Jobing, which like so many other job boards has suffered through layoffs, has a future?

“Yes,” said Cheesman, “A bright future. Yes, absolutely.”

Cheesman, who now lives in Cleveland, Ohio, will moved to Jobing’s corporate headquarters in Phoenix once his baby girl Stella is born, which should be this month. His staff, including two writers and a director at HirePPC, are being offered positions with Jobing.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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