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Will All Recruitment Be Free In Future? - Articles Surfing

Joel Cheeseman has a blog on online recruitment - http://cheesman.typepad.com/ - and has recently written an e-book called " Battling Free" - http://www.hrseo.com/battlingfree/ - on his contention that sites such as Craigslist - http://www.craigslist.org/ - and search engines like Google Jobs - https://www.google.com/jobs/ - and Yahoo! Hot Jobs - http://hotjobs.yahoo.com/ - are "spearheading an ongoing and relentless commoditization of information that's quickly pulling the value of a job sites and possibly recruitment agencies into a position where it's possible that no one will be willing to pay" for job advertising, agencies etc. (Actually he says that it might also apply to just about any 'brokered' service or product - estate agency, insurance, cars etc.)

Basically he says that "if you currently run a job site, or some other organization whose livelihood hinges on charging a fee" then your livelihood and your business could be at risk. He doesn't say there is nothing that you can do about it. The question, of course, is: "is he right?"

Well anyone who thinks it can't happen should remember Freeserve, and then what about Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page - or Linux, PHP and other 'Open Source' softwares that seem to be having a pretty good time of it?

OK, so maybe it won't all go that way but what about television - isn't that free? Has that not been so ever since it started?

Makes you think?

As Professor Michael Rappa (Professor of Technology Management at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina) reminds us "models can be more intricately woven. Broadcasting is a good example. Radio and later television programming has been broadcasted over the airwaves free to anyone with a receiver for much of the past century. The broadcaster is part of a complex network of distributors, content creators, advertisers (and their agencies), and listeners or viewers. Who makes money and how much is not always clear at the outset. The bottom line depends on many competing factors." http://digitalenterprise.org/models/models.html ]

He's right of course and in reality there really is "no such thing as a free lunch" - the crucial thing is to know how to make money out of providing something that is apparently free.

Look at Google - free search, but they seem to be making a lot from the advertising!

Every business model has to make money somehow, that's how business works. But the internet is a very interesting place. Look at Innovantage - http://www.innovantage.co.uk/ - who are going to launch a vertical jobs search engine in 2006 that will, according to Matthew Dewstowe, a director, ."provide the largest database of vacancies, contact information and biographies harvested direct from company, academic and government websites in the UK. We already have over 120,000 jobs in our database that we update every 48 hours".

The information is free and organizations want it publicised so that they can fill the jobs they are advertising - Innovantage plans to help recruiters and jobs boards by allowing them access to the database they have created.

So will anyone pay to recruit staff in future? Yes, of course. But will they continue to use the current business model? .... only time will tell, but one thing we all know: change is inevitable.

Submitted by:

Richard D S Hill

Richard Hill is a Director of E-CRM Solutions, that specialises in CRM, direct and internet marketing [http://www.e-crm.co.uk] for SMEs. He is non-executive Chairman of Innovantage [http://www.innovantage.co.uk] a business intelligence company and a non-executive director of Innovecom [http://www.innovecom.com] a computer networking company.



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