Cheezhead.com Sold To Jobing; Site May Close

CheezheadThe usually irreverent, frequently controversial, and always surprising recruiting blog Cheezhead.com has ended its four-year run.

The site and two companion recruitment businesses — search engine optimizer HRSEO and search engine marketer HirePPC — were bought by Jobing.com, a job board operator based in Phoneix. Jobing CEO Aaron Matos made the announcement at the International Association of Employment Web Sites conference today in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Speaking with me from Florida earlier, Matos and the head cheeze himself, Joel Cheesman, said the site wouldn’t be shut down, at least not immediately, but it would cease to offer new content.

“If there was an interesting story on Tuesday, Joel won’t be commenting on it Thursday,” Matos told me. “We have to change the editorial direction of the site.”

Joel Cheesman
Joel Cheesman

Cheesman concurred, pointing out that the voice Cheezhead.com had as an independent, third party blog, couldn’t continue once it became part of Jobing. “It’s part of the industry (now) I’ve been commenting on.” “I can’t,” he added at another point, “continue to opine on the industry.”

Matos said his interest was in adding Cheesman to his company’s executive team and not so much in continuing the blog. “The main value,” he said, “is in Joel’s experience.” In particular, Matos said, was Cheesman’s skill in building a community and his understanding of search engine marketing.

“Joel comes to us with an incredibly valuable perspective.”

Thus Cheesman’s new role as a senior vice president at Jobing will be to help build a client and recruiter community and grow participation by job seekers. Matos also said Cheesman may also write a blog, though that’s in the future. And, both men agreed, if it happens, it would be entirely different than the strongly opinionated views Cheesman has expressed on his blog.

His always entertaining commentary can generate dozens of reader comments, especially when he writes about the foibles of the better known job boards. An entry from last year titled “confessions of a former careerbuilder sales guy” generated 27 comments, including one as recently as last month. Another one, also from last year, about a Monster email sales pitch entitled “monstirs sells english are reely good” got 64 comments.

To the extent that any part of Cheezhead.com survives, Matos said it will have “a different voice. Different content that we share with our customers.” What the site’s exact future will be depends on discussions with clients and customers that have yet to take place.

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If he’s at all nostalgic about the demise of Cheezhead.com, Cheesman kept it to himself during our conversation. “I’ve always embraced change,” he said. “I’m evolving.” He did write a personal note to his readers in which he details the genesis of Cheezhead and says, “Evolution is inevitable and I’ve always embraced change and opportunity.”

I asked him about the irony of joining an industry that he has regularly skewered, and periodically suggested was in decline.

“My job as a publisher is to provoke thought, discussion,” he said, acknolwedging his sharp criticism of the job board industry. “My goal at Jobing,” he said by contrast, is to help it to change; “To evolve.”

Does that mean Jobing, which like so many other job boards has suffered through layoffs, has a future?

“Yes,” said Cheesman, “A bright future. Yes, absolutely.”

Cheesman, who now lives in Cleveland, Ohio, will moved to Jobing’s corporate headquarters in Phoenix once his baby girl Stella is born, which should be this month. His staff, including two writers and a director at HirePPC, are being offered positions with Jobing.

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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15 Comments on “Cheezhead.com Sold To Jobing; Site May Close

  1. Who Cut the Cheese, a deal
    Evolove is right
    This marks another navigational twist as the industry migrates from the web to the cloud
    All the Best, Altho Arizona’s got nothing on Cleveland!

    Joseph P Murphy
    Shaker Consulting Group
    Developers of the Virtual Job Tryout

  2. Hey Joel, they won’t allow turtlenecks in AZ; you’ll have to go linen.

    All the best; see you live one of these days.

    Steve Levy

  3. Crap. Where will I go to wax sarcastic about Monster?

    Good on you Joel, I’ve enjoyed your blog for many years. Good luck in the new gig.

    Sorry that brettfavre and AP will be destroying your Browns this weekend.

  4. What a day indeed! Its a day of revelation for all who are or have been in the recruitment advertising industry. For a number of years there has been a number of questions regarding Cheezheads reporting techniques and why, time after time, he failed to mention anything about Jobing.com and any potential issues that may be going on. It was very clear that he was more than comfortable to beat up on the other players specifically CareerBuilder and Monster while ignoring the requests to talk about Jobing.com and the issues they were facing. For Joel to not only join a company that has lost its focus, but to uproot his family as well, he must have been given the best sales pitch of all time or the pressure of having to disclose his income from his bloging to the FCC caught up to him (http://www.workforce.com/section/10/feature/26/65/33/) . Or perhaps he was just given a boat load of money and a promise from Aaron himself. If Joel had any credibility as a blogger for the recruitment industry prior, I think it is now history. What was once a decent site to visit for industry news turned into the web based rag publication for people to go to for kicks. Warning to the two Cheezhead employees, DO NOT COME TO PHOENIX. I warn you for one simple reason. I have seen far to many times with other acquisitions promise upon promise offered and then the relocation takes place and the “executive team” takes control. Please believe this person, DO NOT COME TO PHOENIX, it will be a big regret that will take you years to recover from. Ask some of the other people who came to Jobing fired up to make a difference within the company only to be devastated after they open their eyes and the “cool-aid” has dried up!

    TO Joel also. No one before you who has been in similar position has lasted more then 24 months. ALL are gone and left with nothing as Aaron Matos ruins the very business model or technology you worked so hard to create. Simply put Aaron does not and can not play well with others. Enjoy the ride until reality sets in, after that, we look forward to the reinvention of your blog.

    TO the remaining employees at Jobing.com and any market that is still around, run while you can. Reach out to all of your current clients and ask them for a job. The time is running out and you may be the next bottom line causality like so many others before you! I am sure most of you are keeping your heads down and putting on a smile just to put on a good front, but you have been warned!

    TO Aaron Matos; how can you with good conscious make this decision? As if putting your name on an area wasn’t bad enough, you just showed your cards and told the world that you have been paying for Joel’s silence this whole time. With so many VP’s you must be feeling the pressure from the investors for some type of return on their investment.

    Clarification to you who read this; I may sound like a disgruntled ex-employee and I may be a bit. I gave my life to that company just to have them tell me that due to the economy we are needing to make changes (despite the book of business I and may others had). I was one of the people who drank the cool-aid for a long time just to watch great person after great person leave due to frustration with management or asked to leave for a number of other reason. I, over time have learned that being let go was one of the best things to happen to me. There isn’t a day that I do not miss what I did, but slowly over time the external mission of making a difference in the community we serve was growing old due to the true internal mission, CLOSE BUSINESS at any cost. Best of luck to you Jobing.com, a once great company now filled ego filled VP’s who “earned” there positions!

  5. I forgot to add one additional remark:

    Let me guess, another re-org is on the horizon? You built a company that was all about people, what happened to that. You updated you twitter account on labor day of all days to say, ” Thinking about work, capitalism, & the end of summer (here is the part that gets me), Help someone unemployed today or this week to find work-make a difference. How poetic of you. Always the giver, kind of like your open door policy. (note to future employees, DO NOT QUESTION AARON, HE REALLY DOES NOT CARE WHAT YOU THINK, JUST MAKE YOUR DIALS). I have a question, how many VP’s do you have now, one for every 3 front liners?

  6. No new news here if you are a follower of Cheezwiz! Jobing bought Joel years ago and they are just took now coming out of the closet. Joel absolutely would never comment on any of Jobings woes! Jobing experienced all the same issues Monster and CB did over the years yet Joel chose not to comment. Layoffs, disgruntle & departing staff, wasteful spending, poor acquisitions, incompetent management, and on an on. Joel has been a consultant for Jobing for a couple of years now. Then Jobing kicked him down a booth last year at SHRM. You can look back over old Cheezhead blogs about Jobing and the real story is being told by those commenting, not Joel. http://www.cheezhead.com/2009/05/26/hashjobs-twitter/#comments

    Even now, as they celebrate their union they are not allowing negative comments to go live on the Cheezhead site. Trust me I know I posted one yesterday that should have been like 3 or 4 on the list. Now, there are 29 comments and they are all Congrats & Applause. Where is mine? Well, thank you ERE. Its nice to know that there are still unbiased sites where one can voice an opinion without being censored. This censorship by the new owners of Cheezwiz is an example of the lies, deceit, denial, and propaganda they have peddled for years. Hey Joel make sure you show your personal Laptop to Aaron when you start so he knows which one is yours. He may mistake it for company property and smash when you go to walk out in 18 months. (Oh yeah, true story) Good Luck!

  7. Follow up to my previous post:

    First let me explain myself. I am an ex-jobing.com employee who had true passion for the company and the vision. I am one of the people who was blessed to have been given the opportunity to attain my MBA at the expense of Jobing.com and with Aaron’s vision. For that I am forever thankful! The remarks made, I will have to admit, were rough in nature. Having been laid off, I will say this; I gave my heart and soul almost everyday. My way of life from a professional identify as well as financial were turned upside down and I let this announcement get the better of me. After receiving a call this evening, I learned that perhaps the best approach would have been to go to Aaron Matos himself with my concerns and decided not to for one reason or another. I opted to use this forum to express my frustration with the news that we all heard about. This was not the best thing to do to a company that I still, to this day care about. Throughout life we are learning lessons. I will add this to that list. I would like to clarify a few things. To the current Jobing.com “front liners”, you drive the business on a daily basis. You are making your dials and doing all that you can to grow your business despite the current economic conditions, keep it up because God willing, things will turn around sooner rather than later. To Aaron, posting something like this while you are at the ERE conference was unfair. You were put in a position that I couldn’t even begin to imagine. With Jobing being a young company, I do understand you are doing what you feel is best. That doesn’t mean I have to agree to it. In the future, I hope to be able to explain this to you further in a neutral setting.

    Let me reiterate, I was laid off, I was thankful (at the time), and still miss what I did and the business I was able to grow and the Team that I was able to be a part. Is the Jobing system perfect, no and neither is any business model that I am aware of. I wish each and everyone of you who read this and those of you associated with Jobing in any capacity the best, my approach was unprofessional and not needed.

    I any of you feel that you need further clarification, please feel free to send an email. I will reply when time allows it.

  8. Maureen,
    Here is an update for you. I don’t believe Aaron has had much time to focus on his new purchase. He’s been left to clean up his mess after his recent epic email to the entire company. Turns out there are some very unhappy campers at Jobing. Gee I can’t imagine why! Well, the response to his email/offer was overwhelming and he’s been left looking like the fool (again) with 11 tenured employee’s all having jumped ship. You can find the email under comments made by Brock Landers. Enjoy! http://www.workforce.com/archive/feature/26/71/27/index.php

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