TalentHook’s New Strip Club Business

gentlemensnightlifeWith the recruiting industry stuck deep in the recession rut, it’s no surprise that companies are looking to diversify.

The RightThing, an RPO, acquired AIRS, a technology and training firm, in 2008. About the same time, CareerBuilder launched Personified, a recruitment consulting and outsourcing business. Two months ago, recruitment technology vendor Taleo acquired Worldwide Compensation, a comp management technology and services provider.

The oddest diversification, though, has to be TalentHook’s launch of a directory of, ahem, gentlemen’s clubs and their entertainers. The company that provides resume search software to hundreds of employers now lets you search for what less euphemistically are called strip clubs.

Gentlemen’sNightLife.com claims that it has “information on over 2,400 clubs and their performers.” I did not test that claim, at least not thoroughly, though I found that the performer list was limited to only a handful of cities right now, including Las Vegas, TalentHook’s headquarters.

I did find a number of fields you won’t find in TalentHook Sphere, a resume sourcing tool that searches out resumes from the public web and pay boards. On TalentHook Sphere you find fields for experience, salary, and education, among others. On GentlemensNightLife you search for breast size, butt, and body, among others.

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It looks to be a membership site, since there is a signup page and a member login. So the searches I was able to do might be limited as a preview.

I emailed Phil Gonzalez, owner of both GentlemensNightLife and TalentHook, but he didn’t get back to me.

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.


16 Comments on “TalentHook’s New Strip Club Business

  1. Frankly, I am not surprised that you have not heard back from Phil he is not one for returning calls on any topic. I like the TalentHook product but find they lack service quality. While I realize the economy is creating environments for radical choices, you can select a path of a higher prudence. Given this tough economic climate does not mean your business decisions should spiral downwards. I would give great pause to considering TalentHook as a service provider in the future due to this new business venture. When I consider the time and effort we all typically place on our employment branding strategy, we take the selection of business partner affiliations carefully. I would not want guilt by association to mar our branding strategy.

    Thank you for the information.

  2. Hmmm. This is surprising and amusing. Considering the general reputation of recruiters, it does make sense that the mentioned organization would seek to diversify into an area held in somewhat greater esteem and respect. Will we soon see a directory of “talenthookers”?

    kh keithsrj@sbcglobal.net

  3. This is an intersting find and quite amusing; it would take a brave person in HR to fund such a politically incorrect enterprise.

    I wonder if GNL is OFCCP compliant?

  4. A number of comments on this article were of a suspicious nature, and were created from new accounts that appear to have been created for no other reason then to add fuel to the fire.

    We do our best to only allow comments from real people on ERE.net, and it appears that several here have ulterior motives. For that reason, we are only allowing comments on this post from people who have had accounts with ERE for more than 24 hours, and not freshly created ones.

  5. In response to David Manaster new accounts should actually be good news. An well written and thought provoking article is increasing membership, people who are not in the industry would not be familar with this site. I did not find any of the comments to be “suspicous in nature.” What fuel to the fire? The article was informative and thoughtfully written. Freedom of speech and expression of thought should be your stance and the backbone of this site.

  6. @Julia – Freedom of speech is something we take very seriously at ERE, and we’ve gone to bat for our members many times to preserve it. In this case, I don’t have a problem with people speaking their mind, but I think it is unfair for competitors to be posting under fake accounts, and requiring that an account be active for 24 hours seemed like a reasonable compromise to me.

    @Hanna @glenn – There are facts here, and the fact is that on November 18, 2009, the domain GentlemensNightLife.com was registered to Talenthook. Philip Gonzalez was both the administrative and technical contact, and used a talenthook.com email address. After this article was published, the contact info on the domain was changed, but we have the screenshots to prove that it was so.

    Talenthook should feel free to explain these facts as they see fit, and we will certainly allow them to do so in the comments here.

  7. Methinks this is a tempest in a teacup. TalentHook is a vendor partner to SmartSearch and a great product used by a lot of our clients.

    If the owner of TalentHook seeks to diversify his business interests, how exactly does that diminish the value of the TalentHook product?

    If there’s any wrong-doing here, the mistake is one of branding. Mr. Gonazles might have avoided this discussion if he’d discretely set-up another company or domain to avoid blowback about an adult-oriented “recruiting” business that many might find offensive or exploitative. Need I remind everyone that the internet is full of x-rated stuff like this (and much worse)?

    Dig deep enough, and many US Corporations and employers have shady or questionable business interests, and truly criminal behavior such as cheating investors & emloyees (can you spell Enron?), misleading consumers (like the drug recalls), employing child-labor overseas, and rapacious environmental destruction. Boycott them if you wish (you might want to start with oil because it comes from countries where women are abused, exploited and enslaved by their “owners” who are their own fathers, brothers & husbands).

    I appreciate that many women & people in the ERE community may indeed be appalled by this kind of business, but as long as it’s legal and involves consenting adults – it’s none of my business and has exactly ZERO effect on my product’s relationship to TalentHook or its relationship with their customers.

  8. I agreed to help guide a few friends who were looking to get out of the real estate industry, and create a website venture.- Thinking I would be the best one to answer any technical questions during their start-up, when they selected a name, they gave my information as their administrative and tech support contact – not realizing what ramifications their oversight might bring.

    Although I don’t endorse or encourage people to play in this vertical market, I’m always here to help a friend. Their product is now deployed and operating using their own resources. It’s not affiliated with TalentHook.com – nor was it ever. I alerted my friends to this issue with domain ownership and they immediately resolved it – hence the contact, support change online.

    But I’m afraid that’s the end of the “big controversy.” Gentlemen’s Night Life is not under the TalentHook corporate umbrella. I wish I could make this story more interesting than misplaced website registration and ownership, for all your readers…but I’m afraid the truth isn’t nearly as interesting as this post is trying to be. Although John stated he sent me an email 24 hours before posting – I never received it. All of this could have been reasonably resolved within a 15 minute conversation, but I guess dirt gets the clicks. 😉

    Thanks to everyone for their overwhelming emails and calls showing support. It’s because of you and my concern for my TalentHook team that I’m even taking the time to respond to this wild accusation. Although the facts are misleading, I feel the article was well written given the limited information that John had (referring to no actual conversation with me) and on the surface it would appear to be accurate. Like any business owner, ERE needs to defend their integrity, while trying to gain traffic. I would like to thank ERE for monitoring the 24 hour rule. Seems like when there is blood in the water – the sharks come out to play. Ironically the owners of the site wanted me to thank ERE as well, as the last 24 hours their site traffic has tripled! Imagine that.

    I take the TalentHook brand and our team’s efforts very seriously, but this is soo far out there; I actually thought it was quite entertaining to say the least. I never thought I would be in the tabloids.

    The Talenthook product and brand is still performing well, and with over 3000 clients, we’re quite stable and optimizing to continue providing our clients a best in class product. The last 3 months have been the best 3 months of 09, so it looks like the market is finally turning – good news for all of us.

    So – now everyone back to work. 😉 For more enjoyable reading, the National Enquire is sold at any food market near you.

    Wishing everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday,


  9. @Phil –

    There are no wild accusations here – there is nothing wrong with being involved in legal businesses. I hope that both are successful.

    To address a couple of your points:

    1.) I have a copy of the initial email that John sent to you on November 17th at 4:15 PM Eastern time (25 hours before we ran this story), as does Cheryl Hardy, Talenthook’s Marketing Director.

    2.) Your comments seem carefully crafted to imply that you are not involved with Gentlemen’s Night Life LLC, but not only was the domain name registered with your name, you are also a company Officer.

    Edited 11/23/09 9:55 PM – I see that the Officers for Gentlemen’s Night Life LLC have now been changed so that Phil’s name no longer appears. I have the screen shot of the version that appeared earlier this afternoon.

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