As a journalist, I know there are two sides to every story.
So when I wrote about a webinar hosted by the .Jobs Charter Compliance Coalition back in June, where I learned about the alleged megalomaniacal threat .Jobs put to job boards and the staffing industry, it left me with questions, one in particular: How exactly are they a threat to the staffing industry?
I won’t bore you by going over the details of the webinar; for background information, you can read the original article here.
When I saw I’d gotten a comment on the story from Bill Warren, executive director of DirectEmployers Association (they hold the license for the .Jobs domain), I jumped on it.
I asked Warren if the .Jobs Charter Compliance Coalition’s accusation that the website’s expansion to the TLD Universe.jobs is a threat had any merit.
Warren’s first response was, “We just get so tired of hearing that panic.”
Warren told me that though he hadn’t attended the webinar in question, he’d heard there was quite a bit of misinformation put out by the coalition.
He said the coalition’s president and webinar speaker, Pete Weddle, has been around long enough to have a better sense of how the industry works.
“He certainly knows better than to say this is going to affect the staffing industry in any way,” he said. “[It’s] designed to strike fear into someone.”
The Internet is always evolving, and not to be concerned about the bottom line would, of course, be a mistake.
“We understand why job boards are concerned,” Warren told me.
A fear of success is legitimate, Warren said, but to use it in this manner is unfair. The staffing industry and .Jobs serve two different functions.
“It’s the natural progression of Internet-level recruiting,” he said, adding that if he were running a job board, he’d be more concerned about social media takeovers.
He speculates that Weddle’s goal is to get more money for the legal fees the coalition owes, to sell his own job directory and pad his own organization.
It always comes down to the almighty dollar.
Warren said DirectEmployers are not directly involved with the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) breach of contract notice.
“We don’t anticipate that we’ll be affected by it,” he said, adding that he doubted anything major would come out of it.
The organization that IS directly involved with it – Employ Media, which operates .Jobs – is confused by the matter.
I spoke with .Jobs founder Ray Fassett, who told me ICANN’s notice of the breach of contract went against what its board previously approved.
“It definitely surprised us,” Fassett told me.
There was no doubt in his mind that the .Jobs Charter Compliance Coalition pressured ICANN into filing the breach notice.
I had suspected financial gain was at play, though it hadn’t been mentioned in the webinar I attended. I asked Fassett if there were any grounds to my suspicions.
He referred me to the International Association of Employment Web Sites (of which Weddle is director), where it appeared obvious that this was exactly what the opponents were doing.
On the front page of the IAEWS site, it reads, “To facilitate the expense of retaining the attorney, the IAEWS Board of Governors is asking the Association’s Members to contribute to an IAEWS Industry Defense Fund. We are asking each Member to contribute $1,000 (US) or whatever they feel they can afford toward this critically important effort.”
As for the “threat”? Fassett called it “fear-mongering” from natural competitors.
He told me he can show evidence that .Jobs welcomes the staffing industry. Many around the world actively use the domain, such as www.abacus.jobs (Ireland), or www.fsi.jobs (Dubai), to name just a few.
“These folks in particular, from the staffing industry, are not seeing .Jobs as a threat – obviously they’re using it,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s a threat to the staffing industry at all. Show me the harm. That’s not realistic.”
“[Those in the staffing industry] serve an important role to employers. The only group that is opposing this is the coalition.”
If there’s some evidence or data, Fassett said, that’s one thing.
“But to create fear where it doesn’t exist, that’s irresponsible,” he added. “But that’s my opinion.”
The thing Fassett finds most peculiar is that ICANN has not specifically said what Employ Media is in breach of.
The only thing the notice alludes to is that ICANN seeks an amendment to .Jobs’ charter, because it doesn’t have “meaningful registration policies.”
Fassett said that the charter specifically says “ the .Jobs TLD is established to serve the needs of the international HR management community.”
ICANN has asked for an extension to reply to a request for arbitration by Employ Media, which should be out by July 22. Fassett said Employ Media had no objection to ICANN’s extension request.