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.Jobs Sites Go Offline

Where have all the .JOBS job boards gone? Gone to enhancements and improvements every one.

DirectEmployers took down its job boards a few weeks ago, while it makes changes to the platform.

universe dot-jobsBill Warren, executive director of DirectEmployers Association, blogged about the changes his team is making to the platform listing four specific areas — social media integration, accessibility, job posting — tagged for improvement. These are in response to feedback DirectEmployers has received since the first sites launched last October.  A fifth reason he cited was “Building out tens of thousands of additional domains.”

In a conversation this morning (Pacific time), Warren told me the original expectation that January would be the official debut was a little too ambitious. As late as meetings January 28 and 29, Warren was still predicting the imminent launch of 25,000 .jobs domains.

But refinements arising out of discussions at those two meetings, attended by a handful of recruiting leaders, including Peter Weddle and Gerry Crispin, postponed the launch.

“It’s quite a project, as you can imagine, ” Warren told me.

Over the weekend the Associated Press wrote a story about the project, which it described as a competitive challenge to traditional job boards such as Monster and CareerBuilder.

The story says the first of what may be 30,000 regional job boards will appear this month. Later in the year, occupation-specific job sites will launch.

Some of these were part of the initial beta launch and have been taken down. They’ll be back online “once we have everything the way we want it,” Warren told me.

Typically, beta sites aren’t taken offline. Enhancements and new features are developed and pushed out to the live site when ready. Taking down a beta site after it begins to attract attention is generally bad for traffic.

However, Warren told me that with the search engines beginning to direct job seekers to the sites, DirectEmployers feared they would not “feel the full power” of what the sites are expected to be. So taking them offline was preferable.

The Associated Press story, incidentally, quotes a Monster spokesman saying the company’s investments in new search technology and its acquisition of HotJobs makes it “one of the most cost-effective sources of hiring for recruiters today.”

The story also quotes Josh Akers, VP of sales for RecruitingBlogs.com, declaring the .jobs project, “the most significant play that I’ve seen … since the invention of the online job board.”

I should note that Akers worked for Warren for almost five years as a regional vice president of DirectEmployers. That relationship helps put in perspective the glowing — and, in my opinion, overheated — description.

If you’ve been following the saga of the .jobs top level domain, you know that it was originally described as a way for companies to help job seekers find postings on the corporate site.Though it has became much easier in the last several years to find the jobs of a specific company, that wasn’t always the case.

Early supporters of the creation of the TLD (which is what the better known .com, .net, .edu, .org, and so on are technically called) also saw the domain as a way to reduce job fraud, spam, and misdirection. The Society for Human Resource Management signed on early to the application by Employ Media (which is partnering with DirectEmployers) to create the domain and became the policy overseer. Before a company could be awarded a .jobs address, it had to promise to support SHRM’s code of ethics.

However, the .jobs address never really caught; only about 15,000 addresses with that domain have been issued since approval was granted in 2005 to being using the domain. For more details, here’s a list of ERE stories on the subject.

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