Expanding Its Reach

By: Steve Outing, the online employment classified ad service founded by 6 of the largest U.S. newspapers, is about to expand. Coming on board later this month or in February will be the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, joining founding members the Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, San Jose Mercury News and Washington Post.

The service, a cooperative venture between the newspaper companies that own those newspapers, is the beginning of what is envisioned to be a nationwide employment service on the World Wide Web. Over time, most of the newspapers owned by the newspaper chains that comprise Careerpath -- Knight-Ridder, the Tribune Co., Times-Mirror, the New York Times Co. and the Washington Post Co. -- will place their employment ads on Careerpath, according to Kathy Yates, director of new business development for the New Ventures Group of Knight-Ridder Newspapers and K-R's representative on the committee that is running Careerpath. The committee just recently began recruiting newspapers not owned by the partner chains to take part.

The goal of the service, says Yates, is to have online employment listings available from newspapers in every major metro area in the U.S., plus a significant number of smaller-city papers. Features will include -- beyond the obvious searchable liner ads -- agent services (where a job seeker can be automatically notified when a job listing is published that fits her profile); a resume matching service; hot-links to employers' Web sites; response capability (allowing job seekers to respond to an ad from within the service); and a wide range of content (advice guides and career-oriented articles from the member newspapers).

The participating publishers are probably not making much money from the venture yet. Yates explains that it is up to each publisher to decide how to generate revenue from their participation in Careerpath. The most common approach taken has been an across-the-board increase in classified employment ad rates, with the resulting revenue used to support the introduction of classifieds online -- both on the local Web site and as part of Careerpath.

The ultimate value of Careerpath, Yates says, will be in making the employment marketplace more efficient, so that placing a help-wanted ad in a newspaper will be a better value for the advertiser, who might pay more for the ad in return for the added value of inclusion on a nationwide (U.S.) employment database.

Details of the revenue structure to be used by Careerpath are not yet in place, but it's possible that employment seekers as well as advertisers could be expected to pay for some services.

Oddly, is not yet a legal entity but rather a cooperative project among the partners -- although the paperwork to formally create the corporation is in the works. The Web site itself was designed by Interactive8, a Web design firm in New York, and the technology behind the site was contracted out to the Integrated Systems Solutions Corp. (ISSC) of IBM.

Careerpath's newspaper owners are all part of New Century Network, but Yates says it's not been decided if the technology Careerpath is creating will become the classified ad application that will be officially sanctioned by NCN. NCN is to be a cooperative venture between many U.S. member newspapers that will share content via systems being developed by NCN.

E-coupons success story

Amy Rabinovitz of the Houston Chronicle wrote in to comment on a column back in December about electronic-coupon applications for online newspaper services:

"I initiated the Coupon section (for Houston Chronicle Interactive) even before launch -- tested it with a couple of advertisers and found it to be a no-brainer. Few problems. Little work. As a matter of fact, the biggest problem is that because they are so inexpensive the sales reps don't think about selling them.

"We've also found (no surprise here) that the value of the coupon has a lot to do with its redemption rate. The more real the savings, the better the redemption."

Best Online Newspaper Services Competition

Please don't forget to nominate your own company or another for Editor & Publisher/The Kelsey Group's 1996 Best Online Newspaper Services Competition. The nomination form is on the Web at Deadline for nominations is January 24, 1996. Winners will be announced at the Interactive Newspapers conference in San Francisco on February 24, 1996.

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