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Job Search Sites Overview – Monster Facing Stiff Competition

Posted on Wednesday, Apr 13th 2011

Monster’s recently released monthly job index for March showed an 8.8% increase over the year and 5.4% over the previous month. The index saw growth in 14 of the 20 industries and in 17 of the 23 occupations it tracks. This growth was driven by demand for workers in the healthcare support, mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sectors. Monster’s index for Europe grew 24% in February driven by growth in industrial production related sectors. The Index for India grew 21% over the year, attributed to 45% growth in the retail sector.

Monster’s Financials
Monster.com (NYSE:MWW) saw Q4 revenues increase 21% over the year to $258 million but missed the market’s expectations of $262.5 million. Career revenues increased 26% over the year to $226 million while advertising revenues fell 4% over the year to $32 million. EPS of $0.06 was in line with the market’s expectations.

For the full year, revenues grew to $914 million from $905 million a year ago. For the year, EPS grew to $0.27 from $0.16 last year.

For the current year, Monster projects revenues of $1.19 billion–$1.24 billion with EPS of $0.36–$0.48. The Street projected revenues of $1.11 billion with EPS of $0.45.

Monster Expands Its Reach
Monster has been expanding its reach across multiple platforms. Recently, it released an Android app to provide more comprehensive search options to users. It also developed a Chrome extension for the Google Chrome browser that automatically checks and displays jobs posted on Monster based on the URL visited when a user is browsing using Google Chrome.

Earlier last year, Monster acquired HotJobs for $225 million. Recently, it migrated related products and services from HotJobs to its own platform and is now able to provide access to 46 million customers. Its network has more than 25,000 new resumes added every day and runs jobs in more than 1,000 daily and weekly papers in 50 states in the country.

Monster’s Geographic Expansion
As part of its international growth, Monster tied up with Yahoo! in Latin America. As part of the agreement, Yahoo! will display Monster’s job listings on the former’s websites in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. Monster will be able to expand reach to more than 55 million Internet users in Central and South America. Last year, Monster signed a similar multiyear deal with Yahoo! for the U.S. and Canada.

The stock is trading at $16.94 with a market capitalization of $2.2 billion. It touched a 52-week high of $25.90 earlier this year.

CareerBuilder’s Financials
CareerBuilder is among the leading job sites in the country. Jointly owned by Gannett, Tribune, McClatchy, and Microsoft, the company has operations in the U.S., Europe, Canada, and Asia and a database of more than 1 million jobs and 40 million resumes. comScore estimates the website to have been visited by 25.1 million visitors in January of this year. CareerBuilder does not disclose financials but revealed earlier that revenues for North America increased 3% over the year in 2010 to $556 million.

CareerBuilder’s New Products
To maintain its lead, the company recently launched newer products in the market. Talent Network, released earlier this year, is a customized search engine that helps employers maintain a pipeline of active and passive candidates by posting personalized alerts to these candidates, informing them of available job opportunities in the organization. To capture the benefits of social networking, it released Work@, a referral application that lets users share their organization’s job openings among their Facebook connections. The app identifies potential candidates suited for the opening within the user’s Facebook network. Further, it released a compensation portal that gives organizations access to reliable compensation data to manage compensation budgets and employee expectations.

Indeed.com’s Business Model
Indeed.com is a privately held job aggregator founded in 2004 by Paul Forster and Rony Kahan with funding from The New York Times, Allen & Company, and Union Square Ventures. The company claims to process 1 billion job searches a month and has access to more than 40 million unique visitors in more 50 countries in 24 languages. According to comScore, within the U.S., Indeed had 13.2 million visitors access its career resources site in January of this year.

As an aggregator, Indeed republishes jobs from multiple websites, including CareerBuilder and Monster. While not strictly competing with these job boards, Indeed manages to get more traffic due to its greater amount of content. Indeed earns revenues through its pay-per-click model. It charges a fee from employers for paid searches to their jobs and from job boards that pay for the traffic Indeed delivers to these boards.

Indeed Improves Search Quality
Indeed gets high traffic by providing better search quality to job seekers and developing tools to identify and remove poor quality sites. Additionally, within good sites, Indeed’s tools also allow the company to remove duplicate listings and individual spam postings.

SimplyHired’s Business Model
Like Indeed, SimplyHired is a private job aggregator that publishes jobs listed by job boards and other organizations. The company was founded in 2004 and has received funding of $22.3 million. The vertical search engine powers jobs on more than 10,000 network partner sites, including LinkedIn, Businessweek, and CNNMoney, to name a few. It boasts of having the lowest cost-per-hire rates in the industry.

The company addresses both small and large businesses. It provides simple job posting tools for smaller organizations, which can post jobs on its network at no costs. Premium placement of jobs is also possible through a pay-per-click model. For larger organizations, SimplyHired also offers to run a full service campaign that provides job postings and analytical tools and also works on a pay-per-click model.

SimplyHired’s total revenues are not disclosed. However, in 2009, the company had reported profits for four consecutive quarters. In 2007, when it raised $13.5 million funding from NewsCorp, it was valued at $40 million. Google too was rumored to be considering acquiring it in that year.

SimplyHired’s Geographic Expansion
Like its peers, SimplyHired is expanding its reach across the globe and recently launched a localized search site for Sweden. The Swedish site will help the company to grow within Europe and is its 23rd country of operations. Earlier last year, Simply Hired began operations in Russia, South Africa, Argentina, South Korea, and Austria.

Naukri’s Financials
Meanwhile, in India, Naukri’s parent company, Infoedge, saw revenues grow 27% over the year to Rs 75 crores (~$16.8 million) with margins rising to 22.7% compared with 18.6% a year ago. Infoedge’s recruitment vertical contributed 83% of its revenues and increased 24% over the year.

During the quarter, the number of resumes in Naukri increased to 24 million. A total of 10,400 resumes are added and 70,000 modified daily. In the quarter, the number of paid customers increased to 21,100 compared with 18,400 a year ago. However, Naukri’s market share fell from 60% a quarter ago to 55% this quarter.

Naukri’s Growth Plan
Last quarter, Naukri released a mobile WAP site and a mobile app for BlackBerry devices, and it is looking at other devices as well. Further, it is evaluating social platforms, including LinkedIn and Facebook, to help recruiters hire people. It maintain that LinkedIn will not eat into its market share as LinkedIn operates in the passive job search segment.

Naukri’s stock is trading at Rs 715 (~$16). It touched a 52-week high of Rs 1,243 (~$27.88) in September of last year.

The Job Search Industry in the U.S.
Back in the U.S., Monster is facing stiffer competition from other private players, primarily CareerBuilder, Indeed, and SimplyHired. In 2009, comScore published a comparative study of the job search portals. According to the report, in June 2009, more than 193.8 million U.S. residents visited career resource sites. CareerBuilder led the viewership with more than 21.7 million visitors, followed by HotJobs’s 17.8 million visitors. Monster was third with 14.4 million unique visitors. But the situation has changed significantly since then.

A more recent comScore report released earlier this year saw significant growth in the number of Americans who visited both career services and development sites and job search sites. According to the report, more than 80.2 million people visited career services and development sites.

The job search subcategory grew 24% over the month and ranked third among the top gaining categories for January. A total of 27.2 million Americans visited a job search site during the month. Indeed.com was the leader among job search engines, growing 20% over the month to 11.6 million visitors. CareerBuilder.com’s job search numbers increased 27% over the month to 10.9 million visitors, followed by Monster’s 10 million visitors, representing growth of 35% over the month. HotJobs’s job search segment increased 25% over the month to 5 million visitors, and SimplyHired was just behind with 29% over the month to 4.9 million visitors.

Within the career resources subcategory, however, Monster was the leader with 13% growth to 25.5 million visitors in January, followed by CareerBuilder’s with 29% growth and 25.1 million visitors. Indeed had 13.2 million visitors recorded (up 20%) and SimplyHired, Inc. 5.6 million (up 28%).

So, things aren’t getting easier for Monster. Another recent survey by Davis Advertising saw significant declines in Google’s search rankings for CareerBuilder, Monster, and craigslist. The Davis graph below shows the number of times a job search site appeared at the top of Google’s organic search results. Indeed was the leader with a 40.16% share. It remains to be seen how Monster will be able to successfully compete to reclaim its lead.

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