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Monster Partners With MSNBC In Traffic Deal

Apr 10, 2008
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Monster (profile; site) has signed a deal with MSNBC to power its career channel, including the popular Todayshow.com site.

Announced this morning and already implemented on the MSNBC site, the deal puts the Monster brand and its jobs listings in front of the 35 million unique visitors to the popular news and entertainment site.

Monster wouldn’t say how much it will pay MSNBC, but five years ago CareerBuilder (profile; site) committed up to $150 million over five years to power Microsoft’s MSN family of sites, including MSNBC. The site is a joint venture between Microsoft and NBC Universal News. Almost at the same time, CareerBuilder closed a similar, four year deal with AOL for $115 million.

In both cases CareerBuilder outmaneuvered Monster, which previously powered the career channels for both companies. The traffic from MSN and AOL catapulted CareerBuilder well ahead of Monster and into first place among all career sites. So successful has that deal – and others since – been for CareerBuilder that Hitwise, an Internet measurment company, reported in February the job site had 12.96 percent of the jobseeker market share compared to Monster’s 4.32 percent. (HotJobs (profile; site) was second to CareerBuilder with 11.18 percent.)

Thus the new deal with MSNBC may be a sign of the more aggressive marketing posture promised by Monster’s CEO Sal Iannuzzi. He told financial analysts in a conference call last year that the company would be investing in marketing, as well as in technology enhancements.

What is especially interesting about this deal is that Microsoft is a part owner of CareerBuilder. It bought a 4 percent share last year from partners Gannett, Tribune and McClathcy for an undisclosed price that might have been in the range of $60 million, based on a $1.55 billion valuation set in the course of a public realignment among the newspaper partners.

At the same time it was buying into the partnership, Microsoft concluded an extension and broadening of its multi-year traffic agreement with CareerBuilder. The deal with a price tag of up to $443 million (depending on the amount and quality of traffic) extended the agreement to power MSN’s US sites until 2013. Of the total, up to $110 million was committed to broaden the arrangement to include Microsoft’s European sites, which had been powered by Monster.

In May 2007, when the traffic deals and CareerBuilder equity stake were being announced, ComScore MediaMetrix statistics showed that MSN sites collectively accounted for 25 percent of CareerBuilder’s traffic. AOL provided about another 20 percent.

We couldn’t tell from the data how much traffic MSNBC accounted for, but it’s clearly a gain for Monster. The press release announcing the deal included a quote from Joan Blackwood, Monster’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, saying:

Joining forces with msnbc.com builds upon our business strategy of expanding the points of distribution for our market-leading career management resources through strategic alliances. By aligning with brands such as msnbc.com, were able to provide employers with an even greater audience of active and passive job seekers.”

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