Yahoo and maybe even Wal-Mart’s new free-classifieds experiment might turn out to be the savior of newspapers’ increasingly enfeebled help-wanted advertising, turbo-charging their reach and aggregating so many eyeballs as to make papers indispensable again.
It’s just that a lot of New Media experts don’t think so. As young as the Web is, the business model of getting richer by gathering an ever-bigger audience is already dying of old age, say industry mavens like Ken Doctor and Alan Mutter. Instead, they argue the future is job-specific, narrowly targeted recruitment sites ? a future that’s already arrived at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
In designing its many job sites, the R-J didn’t listen to advice from other newspapers, but attended conferences for people who actually do the hiring ? HR executives. “What they are telling us is, they don’t want these massive job sites,” says Chelle Bize, the paper’s recruitment advertising manager.
Bize and Recruitment Supervisor Shane Kelly scoured the paper’s 45 career classifications, and picked the 20 they believed could capture the most ad share in a crowded market with competition from Craigslist. Using database technology from Adicio, they created standalone sites for specific careers, such as LVCasinoJobs.com and LVEntertainmentJobs. com. “They look totally different from main [R-J jobs] site,” Bize says. “And we wanted them to reflect the colors and designs in the industry. So there is no pink in the construction site.”
The sites, launched last October, almost immediately exceeded revenue projections by about 40%, earning about $40,000 a month. They paid for themselves in the first month, Bize adds.
But the virtual freefall in Las Vegas’ housing and construction economy since the beginning of the year has hampered faster growth. “We’re No. 1 in foreclosures, and that’s affected the construction and casino categories,” Bize says, noting that construction alone is down 50% in ad count. “It’s been a tough six months” that would be tougher, she adds, without the career-specific sites.