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What’s up with this .jobs stuff – and should I care?

In 2005, the top level extension (TLD) known as ‘.jobs’ was born. A company called Employ Media was assigned to manage the registration and marketing of the new domain, and SHRM signed on as the TLD’s sponsor.

Why did SHRM decide that the .jobs extension was worth sponsoring? They believed that a TLD specifically focused on careers would help its members do a better and more cost effective job of recruiting new people. So if you worked for Coke, all Coke jobs would be located at…www.coke.jobs. Easy, simple, and cheap were the selling points that SHRM and Employ Media used to promote the new TLD.

Unfortunately, by 2009—4 years later—only 15,000 companies had purchased a .jobs extension. So Employ Media partnered with DirectEmployers (the folks behind JobCentral) and came up with a plan to have ‘millions’ of .jobs sites focused on job categories and geographic locations. For example, there could be an Atlanta.jobs or an Accounting.jobs.

This plan was released with great fanfare in October 2009 and again in January 2010. There was one small problem, however—the charter for .jobs did not allow creation of any site that was not tied to a specific employer. In other words, sites such as Atlanta.jobs or Accounting.jobs were not allowed. The attempts by SHRM, Employ Media, and DirectEmployers to get around this restriction aroused the general HR population, the job board community, and ICANN, which is responsible for TLDs overall. At present, there is no resolution.

So what does this mean for the average employer or recruiter? In reality, not much. The advantages of a .jobs domain for most companies appears to be minimal; in fact, many have decided to redirect their .jobs traffic to their traditional .com career site. If category and location sites are approved for .jobs, there may be some SEO advantages to having jobs on these sites—but probably no more than having the same jobs on a high quality niche job site. In short, .jobs may be a solution in search of a problem.

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