I know a thing or two about managing an online job board.
Back in 2002, I launched the Corporate Flight Attendant Community, a career resource site where business flight attendants could stop by, read articles, post to the forum and find work. At its peak it was the leading site of its kind, basically owning its niche year in and year out. In 2007 I sold the site to concentrate on other work including launching several new job sites.
Auto Trends Job Board Has Been Activated
Just this past week I revamped the jobs section on one of my automotive sites, by launching the Auto Trends Job Board. I’m only listing a few jobs from the start, but each position is available and companies are hiring, some for other jobs too.
But, just like every other job board I’ve managed I don’t charge visitors a fee. Not so much that I want to give everything away for free, but for the simple reason that most any job you come across online is posted somewhere else and usually at no charge.
The Origin Of My Job Boards
In 2004, I launched the Aviation Employment Board, a site that I initially had running on EZBoard, hence its name. EZBoard, if you recall the system, was faulty, quirky and prone to crash. In fact, one weekend several years ago the system was hacked, taking months for it to be brought back up online. You got it – the owners of what was once one of the most popular online communities didn’t regularly back everything up, exposing their business model and everyone’s communities to hackers.
The interesting thing about what I affectionately called the AEB is that it went up against several larger paid employment sites. Business aviation is notorious for charging fees for every service – heck, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) which represents people who own or manage private jets, hits members each year with a whopping $415 dues charge. This cost has to be borne by the lowliest worker including the struggling per diem flight attendant.
So, to do my part to level the playing field I decided to run the site and open it up to everyone – man ‘o man, were some people in business aviation angry with me!
May I Share A Secret With You?
Here is my little secret: every job site manager sourced most of the same information. When the occasional job didn’t find its way to my inbox, I was able to glean jobs by simply cutting and pasting a line or two from the free access preview page of the paid job sites into Google and finding where the full job summary was posted elsewhere for free. To get new members (I’ll call them victims) the paid sites would post just enough information about the opportunity to nonmembers, a move that they hoped would entice people to join.
That hook often worked, but it was a morsel that didn’t need to be taken. At least from the paid sites. Oh, by the way, I never joined those sites to copy and paste their information. That would have been illegal as well as unethical – entirely unnecessary too!
Of course, I managed my sites without the benefit of membership fees. Instead, I relied on Google advertising in the form of AdWords ad placement. As an AdSense publisher I was able to strategically place ads around my site, which encouraged people to click on them, resulting in a fee deposited into my AdSense account.
Google Paid Me Regularly, Sometimes Well
Each month I would receive a check from Google for all of those collective clicks which paid for my expenses and gave me something to live on. Not enough money to completely sustain me, but usually enough to cover several bills. While managing my job boards, I always kept my freelance work going (resume writing, website building, articles, etc.) and, when things got tight, I sold off the site.
Don’t think for a moment that I think everything in life should be free nor am I knocking anyone’s right to charge people for a service. However, in the case of aviation job sites – most jobs sites at that – the same information you are seeking can be found elsewhere and usually at no cost to you.
Of course, I want you to visit my automotive job board to see what I’m featuring there. Whether you visit an ad or not is up to you, but job information is posted for free. It isn’t a perfect business model, but it is something that works well for me.