Vendors not making money?

Like you, I’m doing my best to wrap my head around this whole economic, bailout, end of days thingy. I’m especially hoping to gain some clarity in regards to what it means to the employment space.


Obviously, companies not hiring means a lot of vendors not making money. The best many players can hope for is holding steady while watching for falling rocks. Having been a victim in the last downturn, I know how ugly it can get. As one industry leader recently put it to me in private, “Our industry is f***ed!”

That said, I somehow doubt itzbig will be an isolated incident. With one eye on the rearview mirror and one on the road ahead, here’s my take on possible winners and losers over the next 12 mos.

Losers

1. Jobster – OK, lets start with the obvious choice. Former CEO Jason Goldberg once mocked Monster for being an online version of Nascar due to its excessive use of advertising. Ironically, it’s Jobster who’s going overboard with desperation on the advertising these days. They’ve even succumbed to letting one-time competitor Indeed backfill their own job content. Add the fact that the company has incredible weight on its shoulders in the form of big investment dollars and survival becomes that much more difficult. They’re likely sleepless in Seattle praying for a buyout.

2. Monster – Their U.S.-business being in the tank is no secret. But as international markets start to feel the ripple effects of America’s downturn, bad times globally may start to multiply for Trumpasaurus too. They’re putting a lot of buzz around January’s new-and-improved relaunch, but it may be too little, too late with companies already jumping to alternatives with better ROI.

3. Video Resume Services – The number of smart people touting video is undeniable. Unfortunately, the voices claiming the video resume is dead are equally convincing. An economic downturn is not a good thing for anyone hoping to make money on the creation, hosting and promotion of video. It’s an advertising “extra” that’s likely to be passed by employers and the perception of legal issues, real or not, is still very difficult to overcome.

4. The eHarmonies – Anecdotal evidence – not to mention the shutdown at itzbig – points to challenging times for these experimental services. And when employers batten down the hatches of recruiting dollars, they stay with tried and true methods instead of straying outside of their comfort zones. There’s no romance without finance and this is one break-up that’s looking likely in bad times.

Winners

1. LinkedIn – Is anyone hotter? The professional networking site is a money-making machine, adored by all recruiters. No doubt they’re bound to come out of the downturn stronger than ever with even more profiles thanks to increased demand (a.k.a., job seekers). They’ve also seemed to have fought off any threat Facebook might have posed. If they ever decide to optimize their job board for Google, they’ll be really dangerous. Next trick: Make DirectAds as recognized as AdWords.

2. Craigslist – We all bowed down to Craig after the last downturn. They survived as a beacon of hope in Silicon Valley while most of the rest of the city’s Web company’s burned. This downturn will be no different. Only this time, their brand will be stronger, farther reaching and more profitable as even more cities foot the bill for job postings.

3. Vertical Search Engines – Unlike the counterpart in Seattle, these simpletons used Google as a model of success instead of Facebook, took a relatively small amount of capital, and are coming out on the side of profitability. The number of niche job sites that count on them for significant traffic is undeniable at. That incoming cash flow will decrease, but not to a critical low, and overseas markets should pay off.

And those same niche sites are going to continue to pay The Piper because PPC advertising on major search engines goes up and up each month. With their job seeker traffic continuing to creep up on the big boys, the verticals only have to convince employers to jump on the heroin drip in to really make it big.

Yes, there are more we could go into. It’ll be an interesting 12 months. Should be lots to report. But for now, this’ll do. Hey, we like to keep it short. You probably have to get back to updating your resume anyway, right?