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

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.

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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.”

John Zappe is the editor of TLNT.com and a contributing editor of ERE.net. John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.

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