Arbita Quits Job Posting Business

Financially troubled Arbita has closed its job posting service and transferred its remaining clients to Broadbean, one of the leading vendors in the field.

News first broke yesterday when Arbita’s CEO Don Ramer sent emails to customers notifying them of the decision to shut down the OnePost job distribution service. Broadbean, meanwhile, issued its own announcement saying it would take over the balance of uncompleted customer contracts.

“We are excited at the opportunity to work with Arbita’s client base and will, first and foremost, provide a high-quality, stable platform that meets their global posting needs,” Broadbean’s CEO and founder Kelly Robinson said in the company’s announcement.

John Sumser, who wrote about the situation on his HRexaminer site yesterday, quoted Ramer as telling customers that Arbita has been unable to solve the many technical problems with its job posting delivery system. “Accordingly,” Ramer says, “I have decided to close the Arbita posting platform and assist clients in migration to a more robust posting platform.”

Broadbean, a UK company with an office in Newport Beach, California, isn’t acquiring Arbita or any of its assets, according to the post. Robinson says, “The responsibility we take from Arbita is the tech and time they owe to their current clients.”

“Please know that while Arbita’s business has failed and their doors have closed, with their technical operations ceasing, Broadbean is here to assist clients by offering to fulfill the service obligation owed to OnePost clients.”

A company spokesperson said Broadbean did not pay Arbita for the right to service the customers. The number of customers was not disclosed.

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In November, after a contentious parting with Shally Steckerl who was Arbita’s executive vice president and leader of its sourcing group, Ramer closed the unit and laid off three employees. At the time, Ramer said Arbita has been “financially stressed and challenged since Q1 2010.”

Steckerl — and other former Arbita employees — say the company delayed paychecks or, in some cases, failed to pay employees at all. Steckerl said he’s owed thousands in company expenses that were charged to his Arbita credit card, but for which he’s personally responsible.

With the closing of its job posting service and the layoff of the two employees who remained there, it’s not clear that anything remains of Arbita. However, in an email, Ramer said, “There has been no announcement of the company closing.”

Regarding the financial issues, Ramer said, “Measures have been taken and processes are in place to assure that all of Arbita’s obligations to employees are responsibly discharged.”

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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7 Comments on “Arbita Quits Job Posting Business

  1. Hmmm. Going back to the 10/2010 closing of the sourcing operations (with Shally and the three others) makes me wonder:
    How much high-dollar ($40+/name) sourcing work is actually needed/wanted?

    Keith

  2. Thanks for this post – at least it was balanced. I saw the Sumser article yesterday and was disgusted by the blatant protective cover offered to one of his long time cronies. Don Ramer is nothing short of a scam artist and a fraud, taking money from his clients and his staff and using it for personal gain. This is not by accident – it is a recurring “business model” that he has continually employed. He did it with RecruitUSA, and he did it again with Arbita. Case in point: just recently he took a lavish vacation to New Zealand, even though he had no paid employees in months and owed hundreds of thousands of dollars to job boards. In Don’s world, this is business as usual. In the real world we call it embezzlement. For Sumser to lament the passing of an “icon”, rather than call him out as a fraud, leaves one to seriously question Mr. Sumser’s journalistic integrity.

    Sumser also lauds Broadbean as a “White Knight” for taking over Arbita’s clients. Give me a break! It may be good business given their weakness in North America, but there is nothing altruistic about Broadbean’s actions. They needed some business in the States, and Arbita was cheap and easy pickings. Kelly Robinson’s statements about “serving the greater good” made me laugh out loud. Cmon Kelly, seriously?

  3. Mike that’s some strong sauce you are ladling.

    Embezzlement is a crime. Running a business poorly is not a crime, which would include continuing to pay yourself a salary whilst not paying your bills.

    Furthermore, doing well by doing good has a long tradition-it’s a meme responsible for much benefit to people over the years. Is Kelly Robinson Mother Theresa? Not by a long shot (according to the late Christopher Hitchens, nobody could scam like that lady), but does he honestly think he might be helping some people out of a jam? No doubt about it.

    Is the jam a serious one? Not likely. Is it good for Broadbean to step-in and take over this business? Time will tell, but it hardly seems a path to golden rewards.

    Broadbean is a solid partner of ours who has shown nothing but excellent service and ethics, so just trashing this move and the rather mundane fact of their use of public relations patois seems excessive.

    As to Sumser; he is a futurist and Kool-Aid drinker, but defending your friends (even if they may be royal screw-ups) is not a simple black and white calculation. Sumser get a lot of stuff right (his take on SAP/SuccessFactors seemed the sharpest by far if you ask me) and a lot of stuff wrong- but anyone who reads his stuff knows that.

    Does Don Ramer have character problems? Maybe he does- I wouldn’t know, but maybe you do know. Either way, tarring Sumser and Kelly Robinson for their roles in this little affair leaves a bad taste- maybe you should season it down a bit….

  4. Mike –

    The term “white knight” in an M&A context does not imply altruism. It’s a commonly used phrase that is used to refer to a friendly acquirer that “rescues” a company from an undesired alternative.

  5. Mike,

    I pondered whether or not I should reply to your post for a while, but in the end, I have decided should. Anyone who knows me will be acutely aware of my passion for the recruitment business. I made my first placement in June, 1989 and spent the next 12 or so years hiring people for companies: this, embarrassingly, was rewarded with a life-time achievement award for services to our industry in 2008. Feel free to question my integrity or motivations, better still – take a moment to check out my background, and/or speak to anyone who knows me, and your question would be answered clearly.

    Anyway, allow me to answer a couple of your points:

    1. We have simply offered to bail out customers who have spent their budget on a service that is about to cease. It’s a financial commitment on our part, but it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that we do a great job, or so say 1,800-company client base. We are confident that former OnePost clients will choose to stay with a secure company like Broadbean, which is a subsidiary of DMGT, a 2.5 billion dollar company, as opposed to a smaller privately-owned business where they may be exposed to a similar risk. Bluntly, it’s the right thing to do and yes, there is a potential upside for our business, show me any other business person that would not do the same if they possessed the means, budget, and the industry integrity to do so.

    2. Like it or not, I like Don Ramer, he has been a key figure in our industry for a long time, and although I won’t debate recent events because it’s not fair, that’s for Don, but I certainly won’t jump on the bandwagon to kick someone just because circumstances have put him in a tough position. Let’s face facts here, we all know people who have suffered in this current economy and filed bankruptcy, closed a business, or even lost a job over the last few years, don’t we?

    3. As for the comment made about Broadbean’s weak position in North America, that’s also a point of contention. I moved to the states in March 2009 and I didn’t know a single person. Broadbean now has 28 US employees, most of who are based in our Newport Beach office, and yes, I did make a great choice of location. I am so proud of my team and the effort they have put into building our business, but I am most proud of the fact that in these tough times, we have created those 28 jobs: 23 of those people where unemployed or recent veterans. They now have stable jobs at an exciting company that has grown 200% in the last year! So please, feel free to keep questioning our motivations, and while you are spending your time trying to incite people, I am going to spend mine on creating jobs and hiring people…

    Kelly Robinson
    CEO & Founder of Broadbean,
    And, if I may pinch a line from Doug Berg, also a “Recruitment Geek”

  6. Kelly,

    I saw this pop up a few days ago in my Google Reader and have been meaning to chime in. We generally take the high road and do not comment on articles like this, but in this instance I felt obligated. The first comment was so inflammatory that I was really bothered by it. Although Don Ramer and Arbita have been a long time competitor of ours, it is always sad to see a competitor fall in this way. I’m with you – I like Don. He is genuinely a very nice guy who struggled to adapt to the market. I sincerely hope that he is able to gracefully pick up the pieces and move on with his life. I wish him well.

    Regarding Broadbean’s move to honor the existing contracts of Arbita, I have just one word – touche! We too are trying to help their clients move to a more stable environment, but I give you credit for taking it one step further. Credit where credit is due!

    Being part of a privately held company, I do object to being characterized as risky. Founded in 1994, eQuest is the longest tenured player in the space, and we deliver millions of jobs for thousands of companies worldwide. Stability comes from good management and good business decisions – being part of a large company has never been a measure of stability (as evidenced by the carcasses of many a former industry leviathan…Enron anyone?). That’s not to imply that Broadbean is unstable…I have no interest in tearing apart your financials, which I am sure are solid. Just take care not to paint the privately-held company with such a broad brush (Broad bean?).

    Kelly, you are a good competitor, and I look forward to sharing a beer in the near future!

    Mike Pauletich
    EVP, Global Alliances & Customer Success
    eQuest

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