Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Help-wanted and mobile: new media looks old now

Once upon a time there was a great job board called Headhunter. It allowed users to post resumes and to actually look at the resumes of other users for free -- something that would be unthinkable now (and probably just as well). And back in the early days of the web explosion, it was Monster.com and its first Super Bowl ads that announced the arrival of a new day in media.

But now the web firms that has been credited with destroying the classified sections of so many newspapers are themselves falling behind in this age of mobile and tablet media.
Classified advertising is near and dear to me. In order to stay in L.A. after getting my "J" degree in Michigan I was hired in the phone room of the local Hearst paper. Later I was moved to outside sales and eventually became a CAM. Classified used to pay the bills, and the willingness of newspapers to throw it all away is one of the reasons I left the newspaper business for McGraw-Hill and magazines.

Now, the shoe is on the other foot. Take Careerbuilder, Gannett,, Tribune Company, McClatchy and Microsoft owned job board. It's iPhone app is being blasted insider iTunes because the app is considered buggy and the geolocation search simply does not work -- frankly, it's useless.

Worse, once the user syncs with their online account their resumes are pulled into the app -- and duplicated, and duplicated, and duplicated. I ended up with 28 resumes in total.

Not surprisingly, CareerBuilder does not have an iPad app, but that is not stopping independent developers from stepping into the void. Job Updates for iPad, released today, is a typical third party app that tries to take advantage of the poor performance of old media companies (including new media companies acting like old media companies). Its 99 cent app is a simple RSS reader app that pulls in jobs from other sources.

Monster.com also has an iPhone app and it, too, is getting hammered by users in iTunes with more than 70 percent of reviewers giving the app only one star.

The New York Times Company has released real estate apps for both its NY and Boston papers, a good start. But most newspapers have been concentrating on "content", meaning editorial, when they should be concentrating on "content", which to this ex-CAM also means classified advertising.

(I shouldn't forget to mention that Cars.com has an iPhone app, but an iPad app would seem like a natural since the iPad's display would be great for used car photos. Also, I see nothing from the auto trader magazines inside iTunes -- something that I find shocking, though I may be missing an app hiding in the iTunes App Store.)