Coalition Asks Internet Board to Reconsider Its .Jobs Vote

A group calling itself the .JOBS Charter Compliance Coalition is asking the Internet addressing authority to reconsider its decision to allow the use of almost any name in conjunction with a .jobs extension.

Composed of several high-profile organizations and companies, the Coalition claims the .jobs expansion and the plan for allocating the new names violates the charter from the Internet Association for Assigned Names and Numbers, which spells out some of the terms for issuing a .jobs address.

The charter gives Employ Media, the domain registrar, the right to issue addresses, and gives the Society for Human Resource Management policy authority. It also sets the conditions for issuing addresses with a .jobs extension.

The Coalition says Employ Media’s plan, detailed in its RFP instructions,  to allow third parties to use .jobs addresses for purposes that might including running a job board is inconsistent with the charter and exceeds the approval it won from SHRM in June.

It also argues its members and their businesses — and others globally — will be hurt by the expansion because there are no procedures or rules to protect them against “abusive and infringing registrations.” And because they had no “voice in the policies that will govern their registrations in .JOBS.”

In a brief comment from Ray Fassett, EVP, Employ Media said it was aware of the reconsideration request, adding, “We believe the ICANN Board made the correct decision, and we trust ICANN’s Accountability and Review processes.”

Among the members of the coalition are the world’s two largest job boards — Monster and CareerBuilder — as well as the job board trade group, International Association of Employment Web Sites. The Newspaper Association of America, representing most daily newspapers in the U.S., the American Hospital Association, the American Staffing Association, and Shaker Recruitment Advertising and Communications are also among the listed coalition members.

The 25-page filing says these organizations and others like them were disenfranchised by the process followed by Employ Media and SHRM in considering the changes to the .jobs registration program:

“Members of the Coalition and the businesses they represent will be directly and adversely affected by the fact that, as non-members of the .JOBS Sponsored Community (HR professionals), they must bear the costs of, but will have no meaningful voice in the development of, .JOBS policies and procedure.”

While the filing raises a number of fairly technical issues regarding the protection of tradenames and marks, it also challenges the way ICANN and its staff handled the program changes.

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It calls the staff summary of the 274 letters and emails received during ICANN’s public comment period “clearly rushed. It failed to adequately account for either the breadth or depth of comments and boils down complex argument to a form that loses most if not all of its meaning.”

An analysis of the comments and the subsequent staff report by British journalist and Internet domain blogger Kieren McCarthy is pointedly critical of the handling of the comments. “Important questions raised during the comment period were overlooked,” he writes, adding, “Board approval of the proposal was at best premature.”

The ICANN board voted 11-1 with two abstentions on Aug. 5th to approve the Employ Media Phased Allocation Plan. The vote came two months after SHRM’s advisory council endorsed the plan and three weeks after the close of the public comment period.

McCarthy also questions whether Employ Media and SHRM allowed for “meaningful input.” “According to a number of respondents (and external voices) the process used by the dot-jobs sponsoring organization to consider the proposal was purposefully skewed in order to achieve the desired result,” McCarthy writes. Whether or not true, it should have been investigated, he says.

SHRM did not respond to an email regarding McCarthy’s report.

There is no indication when ICANN’s Board Governance committee will decide on the reconsideration request.

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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4 Comments on “Coalition Asks Internet Board to Reconsider Its .Jobs Vote

  1. John,

    It looks like the .JOBS Charter Compliance Coalition is the same group that called themselves the IAEWS Task Force which was also led by John Boxwood. I am sure you have confirmed this with Peter Weddle as part of researching your story.

  2. One of the amusing — well, not so amusing — facets of this debate is the claim by Direct Employers Association and Employ Media that they’re not planning to create a million job boards. Well, maybe they’ll add a million domains such as NewYork.jobs, engineer.jobs, and diversity.jobs and each will have different content targeted to its target market but that’s not a million job boards. Huh?

    In my mind and I think most of those who aren’t either hoping to become rich off of this or have been drinking the “post jobs for free”pitch, this is a perfect example of something walking like a duck and talking like a duck. Folks, it is a duck. See http://blog.collegerecruiter.com/blog/2010/09/01/bill-warren-of-direct-employers-association-responds-to-outrage-over-jobs/

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