ICANN Board To Consider .Jobs Expansion; Staff Reports on Public Comments

UPDATE: The ICANN board meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. PT today and may take upwards of three hours.  Actions taken by the board are typically posted 48 hours after the meeting, which may mean no news about the .jobs expansion until Monday. A preliminary report on the meeting is posted within seven days and minutes become available only after the board approves them at a subsequent meeting.

In advance of tomorrow’s today’s scheduled discussion of the expansion of the .jobs addressing program, the staff of the Internet addressing authority has posted a summary of the contentious public discussion.

The report, posted Monday, quantifies the comments received by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, and outlines the pros and cons of the arguments.

The three-page report takes no specific position, but does observe that many of the comments and letters opposing the expansion of .jobs to permit the use of occupational, geographic, and other names were the result of letter-writing campaigns.

“Many of the submissions were drafted with identical, or form language serving as the majority of or as the entire submission,” the staff report observes.

The substantive arguments against the expansion are summarized as coming largely from the job board industry and its trade association, the International Association of Employment Web Sites. ICANN staff notes the primary IAEWS objection is “the proposal modifies the sponsored community for the .JOBS sTLD.”

In simple terms, it means that the proposal by Employ Media — and supported by SHRM — will permit the launching of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of job boards. And job board operators were not part of the original community for which the .jobs domain was created.

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Other objections cited in the staff report are the lack of transparency in the process by which the expansion plan was proposed and reviewed and that the expansion is a material change (not just a broadening) to the underlying agreement between ICANN and Employ Media.

Although the report doesn’t provide any arguments why the expansion should be approved, it does offer direct rebuttals from Employ Media’s position paper submitted on July 15.

Regarding the community issue, staff quotes Employ Media: “The definition and scope of the .JOBS community is not changed in any way by the RSEP request -– it is neither being broadened or restricted, and remains unchanged since the inception of .JOBS.”

The ICANN board agenda lists the expansion proposal as one of several items for the non-public, telephone conference. If a decision is made, it will be announced following the meeting. I asked an ICANN spokeswoman when and how exactly, but haven’t heard.

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 “ICANN Board To Consider .Jobs Expansion; Staff Reports on Public Comments

  1. John/ERE Community, why should the average corporate in house recruiter care about the outcome of this? I’m slow in catching up to this issue–I’m having trouble seeing why new domains with a .jobs is so threatening to an industry? Thanks for the news and hopefully future comments.

  2. Robert:

    This is what we included in our letter to ICANN regarding the impact of the proposed change for employers:

    Expanding the .jobs domain to non-company names is clearly harmful to employers. The sTLD was conceived as a way for job seekers to navigate directly and easily to employers’ jobs. The proposed expansion is an abuse of the sTLD’s purpose and is contrary to the intent behind its creation. It will cause confusion among job seekers and dilute the value of the .jobs brand to employers. Furthermore, the proliferation of .jobs-based sites resulting from the proposed change is likely to lead to penalization of valid company sites using the sTLD by major search engines like Google and Bing, which will reduce the amount of valuable candidate traffic to employers using the sTLD.

  3. I find it interesting again that this issue is being cast as one of IAEWS/Job Boards versus EmployMedia/DEA. While admittedly many of the postings were from job boards, if one reads through the posted comments, there were also comments from veteran service organizations (like the VFW, VMW, VVA, etc), corporations, individuals and search engines, notably Google. This issue is all encompassing when it comes to who is involved.

    In answer to Robert Dromgoole as to why be concerned, I offer the following which were points in the VetJobs letter to ICANN:

    -This move by Employ Media will make employers susceptible to price gouging. While employers would theoretically be able to post their jobs for free on .jobs sites, the volume of such postings would virtually require that they purchase featured listings or other premium services, which only Employ Media would be authorized to sell.

    -This move by Employ Media would undermine the investment employers have made in their corporate career sites. Millions of employers now rely on their own corporate career sites to connect with job seekers. Many have invested heavily in optimizing those sites for search engines. Indeed, in an era of constrained resources, relying on search engine results is now a primary method of attracting job seekers. By pouring tens of thousands of new .jobs sites into the market, Employ Media will diminish if not destroy the effectiveness of that outreach effort.

    -This move by Employ Media will create a monopolistic pricing situation for Employ Media in the marketplace for featured job postings and other premium services on .jobs sites

    -This move by Employ Media will flood the Internet with .jobs sub-domains that undermine the value of the licenses purchased in good faith by employers under the current terms of the .jobs charter; and

    -This move by Employ Media will clog search engine results and thereby pervert the efforts of employers to raise the search engine ranking of their own corporate career sites and make it more difficult for candidates to find jobs.

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