.Jobs Council Seeks Info Now, Public Comment Later

More info. And a public comment period. That’s what the .jobs council appointed by SHRM decided it needed during a conference call today.

The group that’s to recommend whether to allow a .jobs address to be issued  in most any name, said it needs more information on how Internet addresses are managed, as well as how the .jobs names themselves are issued.

The nine member group, officially named the Policy Development Process Council, said a comment period would be “forthcoming.” But it first wanted details on the policies surrounding the issuance of Internet domains and specifically on the business practices of Employ Media, the company that issues .jobs addresses.

“The Council has asked for more information pertaining to Employ Media’s business practices and information on broader policies governing the management of Internet domains,” said Gary Rubin, manager of the council and SHRM’s chief publishing, e-media, and business development office.

In an email, he said the council “is fully engaged in deliberations pertaining to Employ Media’s proposed changes, and is taking their responsibilities to the community very seriously.” Rubin’s email statement added that, “SHRM’s research team will compile this information on behalf of the Council, to be reported in a meeting that will be scheduled within the next several weeks.”

Employ Media is asking for a change to its agreement with the group that governs Internet names. In 2005, the for-profit firm, with SHRM as its partner, won the right to issue Internet addresses with a .jobs extension. There was a catch: Only company names could be used. Companies requesting a name had to either subscribe to the SHRM code of ethics, be HRCI certified, or have an HR professional on staff.

The point of requesting that a .jobs extension be created in the first place was to provide a benefit to employers and job seekers alike. Chief among them was to make it easy for job seekers to find the career site of a specific company. Other benefits were to simplify addressing for use in job postings and employer branding, and to reduce job posting fraud.

However, without a consumer marketing campaign, job seekers didn’t know to look for .jobs addresses. At the same time, only about 15,000 of the names were actually sold, and companies that bought them simply used them to redirect users back to wherever the career site already was.

A year ago, Employ Media’s CEO Tom Embrescia told me he was thinking of opening up the sale of .jobs to allow geographic, industry, and occupational names. He suggested that job seekers might even want to buy one for their professional use.

DirectEmployers Association and its executive, Bill Warren, pursued Employ Media and last fall began launching job boards on geographic and occupationally named addresses. The plan, as Warren and DirectEmployers explained, was to launch thousands of these job boards.

Eventually,  the naming authority — ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) — got involved. I don’t know just what the nature of the contact was, but by mid-February, the DirectEmployers job boards were taken off line and Employ Media submitted a proposed modification to its agreement with ICANN.

The  Society for Human Resource Management was asked (by ICANN) to convene a Council to review the proposal. After a false start, including the appointment of Warren as manager of the SHRM council, it was reconstituted and the new group held its first meeting last week. More background is available here.

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