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Insight: .JOBS and New TLD's - Are You Paying Attention?

Jothan Frakes

A lot of the people are planning to attend the .nxt conference next month ask me to point out the benefits of new Top-Level Domains (TLDs), and today gave me a fantastic opportunity…

If you are thinking of applying for a new TLD and haven't been paying attention to the latest happening with .JOBS, maybe you should be.

Though .JOBS has been a bit of a quiet TLD, they've been a favorite of mine because of the specific focus of the extension. The string is very specific and focused, and difficult to mistake for something other than being employment-related if one types the extension.

For a brief history, the registry operator of .JOBS is Employ Media LLC. Until recently they limited registrations to only company names. .JOBS has been a pretty sleepy TLD going about its business, gaining an occasional press-release worthy fortune-500 anchor tenant (examples: www.att.JOBS and www.geico.JOBS ).

As far as the overall hygiene of the .JOBS TLD, it is fantastic. There's not been a single UDRP filing in .JOBS TLD since its inception or in the now 6 years of operation (launched 2005).

Enough about the history, though, let me talk about how this relates to the new TLDs and their bright promise and utility.

Last summer Employ Media filed for and was granted by ICANN a new registry service to allocate by RFP non-company names described as "generic names comprised of industry, occupation, and geographic identifiers".

I wanted to do some research on the RFP process, and spoke briefly with Ray Fassett who is the executive VP of operations at Employ Media (the registry) about the RFP process.

I was able to extract that there are in fact 4-5 more parties that had their RFP approved that have similar go-to-market strategies, and those winning proposals were selected from a larger number that proposals during the RFP window. The RFP URL was http://Rfp.JOBS

The first to market of six of those RFP winners was the Direct Employers Association, and the others are launching theirs soon.

According to this 1/18/2011 press release, from Direct Employers, over 500 of the largest companies in the world are now "pooling their resources" to bring this TLD to market in a big way. A complete list of the companies can be found here at this link: Direct Employers Association Member Directory.

I haven't done a major comprehensive review of the list of the companies, but it is an impressive roster. Many of the brands who are fighting the new TLD process tooth and nail like Marriott Hotels and Time Warner are participating in this initiative.

At a quick glance I found AT&T, Marriott, Time Warner, and Verizon as companies who are vocal opponents of the new TLD process that are participating in DirectEmployers.

Sure, many of the brands have their top lawyer fighting the new TLD process while their CEO and Marketing Departments are calling ICANN asking for one immediately. Corporate department 'silo' disconnect is not a new thing to people who have spent any time in the workforce.

Rather than focus on the bifrontem and hyperbole presented by the fear based reaction of some brands about the new TLDs, I'd like to focus on the positive aspect of the thundering herd of companies supporting the .JOBS initiative, and how it relates to new TLDs, and how the more enlightened people in their HR Departments are focusing on the benefits.

I think having a roster of large global companies and brands fasten their wagon to the concept of how to leverage domain names is remarkable in and of itself, but the specific non-'dotcom' approach — using a new TLD for the initiative — is what really caught my attention.

The other thing that caught my attention was how these portals are implemented. I think that there is a fairly competent execution in place, and the whole portal really reveals a lot of the promise of new TLDs that can be leveraged.

I think that universe.JOBS is something that we could well see included as a tab in many of the Private Placement Memorandums (PPM) that are floating around out there by potential applicants hoping to raise capital for their concepts now that dates seem to be close.

The plan calls for Employ Media to allocate tens of thousands of industry, occupation, and geographic names to function on the Internet as a single, unified platform for companies to list their jobs — at no charge. The press release states that DirectEmployers Association is the organization that submitted this proposal during Employ Media's RFP period.

If you are an advocate for new gTLD's like I am, isn't 500 of the biggest companies announcing their collective might to bring a TLD to market (other than a .com) just what the new gTLD doctor ordered?

According to the press release, the driving force for them to do this is "to take matters into their own hands" to reduce the cost of listing their jobs on the Internet. Put simply, the collective determination by numerous Fortune 500 companies is that the potential for economic benefit outweighs the cost.

It has the opportunity to be a disruptive technology and bring massive benefit and utility to the many masses of people who are unemployed or underemployed in the current economy.

A number of generic sites like www.engineering.JOBS, www.technology.JOBS, www.chicago.JOBS, www.healthcare.JOBS, www.boston.JOBS, www.insurance.JOBS are beginning to function with a consistent look and feel each displaying relevant job listings from the large companies that are behind it (what is being called the ".JOBS universe").

The obvious impact for .JOBS is building the footprint on the Internet it has been lacking. For companies, this could evolve as a category killer when job seekers use Google and other search engines to begin their search for jobs.

But here's what we know today: For those questioning why new gTLD's are needed, a significant group of companies have offered their response.

By Jothan Frakes, Domain Name Industry Consultant
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Interesting, but... Tim Ruiz  –  Jan 19, 2011 6:00 AM PDT

Definately food for thought Jothan. I'm still not completely convinced. What some of the existing gTLDs are doing and many of the claims/intentions I here from the new gTLD applicants all feels and sounds to me like the .com boom of the late 90s all over again. There were a lot of interesting ideas that generated a lot of volume, just not much actual profit. We all kmow how that ended. I still suspect that ultimately the actual sucesses will be few and the real winners will be lawyers.

Future vs. Present, though... Jothan Frakes  –  Jan 19, 2011 10:54 AM PDT

@Tim
You are probably right, I think the future will give us the perspective on this.

Meanwhile, in the present, it is refreshing to see brands taking a pragmatic step towards seeing new TLDs as a means to benefit themselves and the global internet community by engaging with these portals. (as opposed to outright fear-based reactions)

Dot-com boom days Kieren McCarthy  –  Jan 19, 2011 12:20 PM PDT

I certainly think there is a lot of unknowns at the moment (something that I just have to point out will only be alleviated by people talking about ideas and plans at, hmmm, a two-day conference).

But I followed the dot-com boom closely as a journalist and I don't get the same feeling at all. The dot-com boom saw the market flooded with investor money and people thinking up crazy ideas in order to tap into that. The thinking was: anyone in the world can reach my website, so all I have to do is get people to know what the website is and we can't fail to make money.

If anything, I think the coming gTLD revolution is slightly too far the other way: people with great ideas are having to deal with skeptical investors.

A lot of the dot-com boom lessons are clearly in evidence - people now *assume* that it will be hard to 1) get people to your site, 2) even harder to get them to come back more than once and 3) even harder still to get any money out of them.

Anyway, don't take it from me. Take it from the experts.

We have two sessions next month dealing with this exact issue:

1. How to differentiate yourself: http://dot-nxt.com/agenda/thu/marketing-differentiate, and

2. Getting investors, winning customers: http://dot-nxt.com/agenda/thu/marketing-investor-customers

RE: Dot-com boom days Tim Ruiz  –  Jan 19, 2011 3:04 PM PDT

Points well taken Kieren. This is one time when I won't mind being wrong, and hope I am. Looking forward to the conference next month.

What do hiring companies think? Chad Sowash  –  Jan 20, 2011 6:01 AM PDT

Great article Jothan.

No matter how good an idea seems to be adoption is the key. See what some big brands had to say about .jobs and why they will adopt.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c96_-5TxU24

That's one of many videos you can find on Youtube or just visit employers http://employers.universe.jobs/resources/#testimonials

Shrewd! Christopher Parente  –  Jan 24, 2011 6:58 PM PDT

Thanks for the post Jothan. Agreed this sounds like a great deal for .jobs.

If I'm reading this post correctly, they figured out through the application to ICANN and this RFP process how to get DirectEmployers (and maybe others) to offset the cost of marketing their existing gTLD in a brand new way. Nice story in the Wash Post Friday too.

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