The Soap Opera at Dice’s Parent Company Continues With Lawsuit, Job Board Sale

Amid a collapsing stock price and the search for a new CEO, DHI Group Inc. (DHX), the company that operates tech job board Dice and other niche job sites, continues to be in the news. This time, the drama centers around a lawsuit with an old nemesis and the sale of one of its job boards.

Let’s start with the lawsuit.

Readers may remember the case of newly-jailed David Kent, founder of Rigzone and Oilpro, but if not, here’s a quick refresher: Kent sold Rigzone to DHI in 2010 for an estimated $50 million dollars. A year later, Kent was gone and founded Oilpro, which got its name added to the naughty list when 700,000 records were stolen from DHI. The wrongdoing was detected when Kent tried to sell Oilpro to DHI.

Click here for more information on this bizarre story.

Anyway, news hit mid November that Oilpro was suing DHI, “alleging that Dice Open Web, under the direction of DHI Group’s executive team, illegally scraped and mined data from rival sites,” in addition to Oilpro. Yes, the company built with stolen data from DHI is suing DHI for “stealing” data. You can cut the hypocrisy with a knife.

According to the lawsuit, DHI Group ran afoul of federal law, including the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, when the tech company “knowingly and intentionally circumvented … Oilpro security measures to use automated means to access the Oilpro Website and improperly download data, member profiles, and other information from the Oilpro Website. This conduct is explicitly barred by the Oilpro Terms and Conditions.

The lawsuit against DHI Group covers 11 allegations, including claims that DHI Group tried to profit off its ill-gained goods without obtaining permission from Oilpro.com, or the Oilpro Members whose privacy was compromised. Yes, most of Oilpro’s members were stolen from DHI Group in the first place. Try to keep up.

Justifiably, DHI Group attempted to have the suit dismissed, but a judge denied the company’s request. A news release from Oilpro claims the “case will likely have lasting privacy implications for online job seekers and consumers as the lawsuit makes its way to trial.” Hmm, sounds a bit like hiQ vs. LinkedIn.

The lawsuit tries to tie DHI’s slumping stock price to the case, saying, “Despite the Russell 2000’s near record highs, DHI Group’s stock continues to plunge amid these charges, sinking approximately 70 percent since January.” And if you’re really interested in this series of events, Kent is also saying DHI helped cause the demise of Oilpro by spreading falsehoods online.

Moving along to something much less scandalous, DHI announced the sale of Health eCareers to to Everyday Health Professional, a subsidiary of j2 Global, for approximately $15 million in cash. Everyday Health says it attracts a large and engaged audience of over 40 million consumers and over 730,000 practicing physicians in the U.S. The site currently has no job search component.

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The transaction closed Monday, and DHI said it will use the proceeds to reduce the balance on its revolving credit facility and support strategic initiatives. Aside from core holdings like Dice and ClearanceJobs, DHI is busy trying to sell off much of its portfolio of sites, which includes Health eCareers, a site the company added in 2013 as part of its OnTargetJobs acquisition for $50 million.

“This is a great fit for Health eCareers, joining one of the leading providers of digital health marketing and communications solutions targeted to healthcare professionals,” said DHI Group President and CEO Michael Durney. “While already successful, Health eCareers will no doubt thrive by being under the same roof as Everyday Health Professional.”

HealtheCareers is located in Centennial, Colorado, and employs around 50 people. Market intelligence solution SimilarWeb says the site has over 400,000 monthly visitors. The company claims 6,000 customers and 2.6 million registered health professionals.

Joel Cheesman

Joel Cheesman has over 20 years experience in the online recruitment space. He worked for both international and local job boards in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. In 2005, Cheesman founded HRSEO, a search engine marketing company for HR, as well as launching an award-winning industry blog called Cheezhead. He has been featured in Fast Company and US News and World Report. He sold his company in 2009 to Jobing.com. He was employed by EmployeeScreenIQ, a background check company. He is the founder of Ratedly, an app that monitors anonymous employee reviews. He is married and the father of three children. He lives in Indianapolis.