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Hope for Human Resources with .Jobs Domain

For the very first time in the short history of the domain industry, Corporate Human Resources Departments have an opportunity to highlight their strengths and the vision of their company through the .jobs domain name. The .jobs registry expects the .jobs domain to “offer an exact destination for job seekers (i.e., companyname.jobs), and provides the HR function a consistent method to communicate and promote HR (including jobs) information.” For potential job seekers, the companyname.jobs domain clearly tells them how to get to a company’s career page, rather than to search the main corporate web page for the careers site.

The .jobs domain is sponsored by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), the largest and best-organized membership organization for HR functions in the US. SHRM is well known for its tough professional certification exams (PHR and SPHR) and for its thriving nation-wide chapters. Yesterday, at the annual SHRM Conference in San Diego, the .jobs domain was formally unveiled to the public, and offered exclusively through ICANN authorized registrars.

As a HR professional myself, I have conversed with many HR professionals who are often frustrated by the inability to provide an exact destination (i.e., a “jobs” page) that restricts the ability to communicate and otherwise effectively carry out the organizational strategy HR is charged with in our communication to the labor market.

Problems With Current Career Site Navigation

Human Resources professionals in companies have one major goal—to increase the visibility of their employer in the employment marketplace, and ensure that the company is viewed as an attractive place to work. Before the World Wide Web, this used to be accomplished primarily by a combination of newspaper and magazine advertisements that extolled the virtues of the company, and local and/or national awards (“50 Best Places to Work in America”, etc).

Since the Web became commonplace in 1994, HR professionals’ tasks have become easier in some ways, and frustratingly inefficient in others. Some common problems:

  • Easy Information Propagation, Difficult Site Navigation: It is now far easier for HR managers to provide detailed information about the company, the job, and even provide links to other independent sources that show how well they are doing. Let’s look at Sony, for example: Sony’s global HQ website is at http://www.sony.net. If you click on the “Site Contents” link and then click on the “Jobs” section—a new browser window will automatically open up and launch a new site—SonyGlobalCareers.net—aimed at new graduates and university students. Sony Global Careers is an informative website—and by reading it, you can see that it’s primarily run by the HR function in the company and used for recruitment of freshmen and interns. The site even includes the ability for candidates to setup their own blog to showcase their talents to global recruiting divisions. SonyGlobalCareers.net is an informative website—but if you were to have begun at www.Sony.com, which most web users normally do, and then navigated to the “Corporate Information” link, then clicked on the “Job Postings” section—you will reach a completely different web page - the Sony USA web page. Now, Sony attracts candidates in Europe by the SonyCareers.com site. Issues with consistent branding, making sure the company’s culture and values shine through - and able to easily advertise the site(s) become problems very quickly. For example, the web site link to the USA Careers page - http://www.sony.com/SCA/job.shtml - is a clunky way to advertise what should be great jobs at a fabled company. This is not an isolated instance—most career pages have to “hunted down” from the main corporate web sites.
  • Web-only Recruiting and Qualification, No Outsourceability: Many HR professionals now use the Web as their primary method of recruitment. The careers web site has to be easily reachable, and requires branding that is separate from the global marketing efforts for the company through its main corporate web site. In most Global 2000 companies, a separate advertising and promotion budget is set aside for the recruitment function. Before the Web, this money was spent on corporate sponsorships and regular media ads, but now money is also spent on the promotion of the Career web site(s), including placing Google ads. However, since career sites are integrated with the main corporate site, HR departments often have very little freedom in either the frequency or the look and feel of their sections. This often means that HR functions cannot outsource that component of the site—they have to wait for the main site to be updated—or for the MIS/Technical department to get to it.
  • Googling replacing direct type-ins: In the past few years, Internet users have resorted to the convenience of Google to get to the sites they want—no more attempts to guess the name of the site they want to go to. For HR managers, this is a two-edged sword—on the one hand, the exact address of their web site is no longer as important; on the other hand, there’s no guarantee that the top Google result is actually going to the right corporate job site! From a Search Engine Optimization point of view, having “companyname.jobs” will outrank the same content on a random domain name combination in how high the site ranks on search engines.

The advent of the .jobs domain will change the character of these problems. Some of my friends in HR are apprehensive about .jobs—not because they are afraid of it, but because they don’t know what to do with it! Others are delighted because they intend to use it to stake out the HR identity in a bolder way than they can today.

I hope for a healthy response and a dynamic new top level domain that is actually useful and used worldwide. Once the name gets rolling, I’ll fill you in on how the pickup in the marketplace is.

By Uma Murali, President & CEO

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Thanos  –  Jun 20, 2005 9:37 PM

Sorry, but the advent of the .jobs domain will (most likely) do nothing for those problems - it will (most likely) just cause additional confusion and like all other new TLDs.

You make a giant leap in your article that everyone will use theircompany.jobs for the purposes you describe.  If there was value to this, surely everyone could have agreed to use jobs.theircompany.com (or other TLD or TLDs of their choice) - an option which has been available to them using existing DNS features for a long time.

The Famous Brett Watson  –  Jun 21, 2005 4:22 AM

I agree with Thanos on all points. Further, I note, with a cynical lack of surprise, that the sponsoring organisation has chapters all over the nation. That’s “The Nation”. You know, *The* nation. Nevermind.

Registration in .jobs requires supporting documentation. One wonders how (or whether) the registry plans to recognise supporting documentation that originates from outside The Nation. Unless they are going to put *far* more effort into it than I think they are, the service will either wind up excluding organisations from outside The Nation, or wind up being incompetent with regards to verifying certification from outside The Nation. The latter possibility has phishers of the world drooling in anticipation of the new air of credibility this might lend to their job scams.

I feel the need to take a fatalist attitude to the TLD situation. ICANN’s policy is becoming clear from the trends: the world will be sliced into a very large number of quite arbitrary categories. Not just organisational categories, like “com”, “org”, “net”, “gov”, and so on, but *industrial* categories (“travel”, “pro”, “jobs” (HR)) and *conceptual* categories (“info”, “xxx”). This will reinforce the shared thinking that the TLD is *meant* to perform this task, encouraging unsophisticated end users to expect it, and thereby creating demand for more registrations, and more TLDs to make up for the missing categories, and so on.

It’s an approach, sure. I think it mostly promotes a culture of largely superfluous middle-men—the registries and registrars. As Thanos said, once you have “company.com”, you are your own registrar when it comes to “jobs.company.com”. But we can’t encourage this, can we? It would hurt the registry business.

Karl Auerbach  –  Jun 21, 2005 4:45 PM

100% of the benefits you claim for .jobs could have been obtained years ago simply through a subdomain of of one of the existing top level comains - where you say “companyname.jobs” it could have been “companyname.jobs.existing-tld”.

Or, as others have mentioned, promoting a simple convention, such as “jobs.companyname.existing-tld” would have been equally efficacious. 

In other words, a .jobs top level domain is not necessary.  It’s just a nice bauble and makes nice marketing copy.

And you say that HR people don’t know what to do with .jobs.  Wouldn’t it have made sense to have tried out the idea in a subdomain?

It’s not that this idea isn’t worth a try - the internet should accomodate everybody’s endevour and idea.  In other words, everbody ought to have an equal chance to suceed or fail.  The issue here is that your idea is one of only about 12 ideas that ICANN has allowed over the term of ICANN’s existance while many times that number have tried, only to have ICANN take their money and implicitly reject them.  And legions of others haven’t even tried because it is obvious that ICANN is an organization more adept at slamming doors than on opening them.

The fact that ICANN is rapidly turning the domain name system into nothing but yet another industrial taxinomy is indicative of how ICANN is ossifying the internet into a non-innovative reflection of things past.

Daniel R. Tobias  –  Jun 21, 2005 10:45 PM

I agree with everyone else who has commented here. While I’d like to see the silly “everything should be dot-com” mentality broken up, and adding and using new TLDs helps this, I see no sense to the use of companyname.jobs where jobs.companyname.com would be more logical; seen this way, .jobs is just a scheme to benefit the registry and registrars, at the expense of companies that feel compelled to register their name in this TLD.

Uma Murali  –  Jun 21, 2005 11:52 PM

The fact is that companies are _already_ using separate web sites and domain names to advertise and use just their career web sites. 

Very few companies use the more geeky “jobs.companyname.com” model.

Lots of people don’t pay attention to the subdomain. “jobs.companyname.com” invariably is typed as “www.jobs.companyname.com” and goes nowhere.  Many still go to Yahoo Mail by by typing in www.yahoo.com and clicking on the mail link rather than typing in mail.yahoo.com.

While using subdomains has technical and logical merit, the hope I (and others in the HR area) have is that HR people have a chance to brand their company’s careers section, and take better control over the sites.  In fact, many companies use the www.companyname.com/jobs as the default way to communicate, even though they could have used the subdomain.

Companies & individuals don’t buy a .com name because it’s “commercial” - they buy it because it’s the expected default.  There’s a real possibility that .jobs could become the expected default for HR/jobs sites.

These new domains (and domains in general) are no longer about technical use or technical/logical ways of use.  It’s much more about branding and convenience, and you can do that more effectively with companyname.jobs than jobs.companyname.com.

Uma Murali, PHR

Daniel R. Tobias  –  Jun 22, 2005 1:21 AM

It’s perfectly possible to configure subdomains so they work identically with the extra “www.” prepended to them… mine do.

If companies are bound and determined to use Stupid Unnecessary Domain Names [tm] in the dot-com domain, like FooCorpJobs.com when they already have their main site at FooCorp.com, then it’ll probably be just as hard to talk them into going instead into an unfamiliar new TLD like .jobs as it would be to get them to use a logical subdomain… maybe harder, if it’s explained to them that .jobs domains cost over $100 per year, while subdomains can be created for free.  Furthermore, .jobs domains have the problem of getting your desired name before somebody else does, and dealing with the issues of cybersquatting and other conflicts (which are likely to happen regardless of any restrictive policies the registry attempts to enforce… see what’s going on now with .pro), while subdomains can be created at will once you own the base domain.

A lot of what passes for debate regarding domain names is dominated by people and companies with vested interests in particular positions, like registrars and registries who want to promote registering lots of unnecessary domains; speculators and hoarders who want a shortage of available names so they can hawk the ones they already own; cybersquatters and typosquatters who want new opportunities to grab names likely to be mistyped; lawyers who want conflicts to develop so they get business; and more.  Unfortunately, few of these vested interests have anything to gain by people and companies making logical use of subdomains in the domains they already have rather than registering new ones, whether in existing or new TLDs.

Thanos  –  Jun 22, 2005 3:45 AM

Uma: The point is that the majority of the benefit comes from companies agreeing to or somehow standardizing where to find HR related material. 

Whether this is jobs.company or company.jobs is largely immaterial.  However, as Daniel explained the .jobs TLD presents a ton of headaches, that are easily avoided with the jobs.company solution.

Uma Murali  –  Jun 22, 2005 4:29 AM

Thanos: I agree with you that a big benefit comes from standardization. The subdomain solution has been around for such a long time, but companies are not using it.

Daniel: I already acknowledged it is possible to configure it technically. What a shame that more companies don’t actually do it!

The sum of the counterpoints is we only need one tld - after all, every current tld can be presented as subdomains.  The cat was out of the bag a long time ago, and the Internet is no longer being used for technical/logical reasons, more for marketing/communication reasons.

As I wrote, .jobs presents the hope that HR departments that want to differentiate and market their company can do so by using their companyname.jobs.

The Famous Brett Watson  –  Jun 22, 2005 6:02 AM

Here’s a consideration. You can’t prevent a phisher or other malicious party from registering “companyname.jobs”, even if you already have “companyname.com”. You *can* prevent them from creating “jobs.companyname.com” under the same conditions. I don’t suppose the original poster’s friends in HR have been taking that into consideration with regards to “staking out the HR identity”.

Thomas Kühne  –  Jul 2, 2005 7:45 AM

Looking back at new TLDs like .AERO, .COOP, .MUSEUM and .NAME shows that content is one important aspect for the success of a TLD.

Now dont get me wrong, but almost all new TLDs are virtually void of any content

Rob Larkins  –  May 16, 2006 4:28 PM

There’s another important point noone else mentioned. Different organizations can have the same SLD (second level domain) with different TLDs. This is intentional, as it increases the variety of domains that that can be registered and keeps groups/individuals from crowding others out of the the domain name game. Allowing more overlap of SLDs is a top reason for allowing more TLDs in the first place. If everyone was going to register every TLD variant of every SLD we might as well give up on having multiple TLDs at all… or we could get rid of the TLD concept entirely and resolve domains with with the SLD directly (e.g. instead of http://www.example.com we’d just have http://www.example, or without the subdomain http://example).

    Now think about what happens when you create a SLD on the .jobs TLD that’s used by multiple individuals/organizations. An infamous example comes to mind: imagine if you were an intern looking for your first job on http://www.whitehouse.jobs; who’s listing the jobs here- whitehouse.gov or whitehouse.com? Maybe it wouldn’t have made much of a difference back when Clinton was president, but now that Bush is in office you’d have to know!

    As a rule, I don’t think any new TLDs should be created with the assumption that the people registering the TLD will be linked to an already established SLD. Subdomains of the original SLD are better used for this purpose.

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