How many job boards is too many?

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It’s true: anyone and his or her dog can have their own job board. Actually, the dog could probably run the board, thanks to Job*a*matic (well, maybe not my dog – she sleeps too much).

How many job boards is too many? Peter Weddle says we have 100,000 or so worldwide. I suspect only a small percentage of these makes money.  If it seems like there’s been an sharp increase in the last few years, well, there has been, thanks to more, better, and cheaper job board software; free web-based ‘board in a box’ solutions from aggregators; and a search for new sources of revenue from successful blog and content sites.

Yet at some point common sense would dictate that there will be too many job boards fighting for too few customers (and, in fact, the recession has resulted in some industry contraction). The Darwinian question is, when?

Job boards are created to make money – and if they don’t, at some point the owners will ditch them. The profusion of Job*a*matic sites is a result of low cost and ease of launch – but they are in essence affiliate programs. I suspect few (if any) of these sites that become truly successful will remain affiliates – they’ll go out and do what the rest of us do: buy or build their own site software. Why? Because they end up competing with larger, more sophisticated sites and have no choice. The remainder will either disappear or shuffle along, making a bit of money but offering little competition to established boards.

Then there are the sites who take advantage of the new generation of lower-cost job board software. Their success depends on 2 key things: ability to serve their market, and capitalization. If they falter at either, they’re probably out of business sooner rather than later.

Finally, there are those entrants who are successful in capturing some market share. Their paths are similar to those in other industries: grow or die. Some will expand via expansion, others through acquisition. But the proliferation of sites puts significant pressure on the single-focus niche site  – a pressure that wasn’t there even a few years ago (and don’t forget about the ‘free’ sites!).

So, how many is too many? I say (with apologies to Alfred P. Neuman), why worry? Focus on making your board effective for employers and job seekers. Grow. And let the market shake itself out.

Now, if I could only get my dog to wake up….

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. gregg dourgarian

    hey Doc
    Agree with your conclusion “why worry”.

    We package a job board with every staffing customer we get – not to make money in the tradition Monster sense but simply because its a paradigm people relate to, making it easier for their clients and candidates to relate to.

    gregg dourgarian
    tempworks software

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