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Robert MacMillan's Random Access

Imminent Domain

By Robert MacMillan
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 19, 2005; 10:20 AM

Millions of people use the Internet each day to find jobs. Those who have tried it know that it can be a frustrating experience. How do you know if you posted your resume at all the right sites? Is it enough to just use Monster.com? What about Careerbuilder.com? What about your local newspaper's Web site? What about professional societies' Web sites? Wouldn't it be nice if there were a centralized resource?

The people who run the Internet address system think so. The nonprofit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) earlier this month approved a new .jobs domain. In theory, employers could create Web sites such as www.donaldtrump.jobs or www.washingtonpost.jobs.

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The idea is to eliminate confusion in the online job hunting arena. The Society for Human Resource Management, which sponsored the domain, said that it found little consistency in how businesses post job openings on their Web sites. As the Wall Street Journal reported, "Many employers post openings somewhere on their own Web sites. But the vacancies can be hard to find, forcing job seekers to scour a home page for a link that might take several clicks to lead to a jobs section. The new suffix could eliminate that hassle."

Employers could create a new site ending in ".jobs." For instance, Dell Inc.'s jobs site could be www.dell.jobs, Walt Disney Co.'s could be www.disney.jobs.

Tom Embrescia, chairman of the company that hopes to manage the .jobs domain, Cleveland-based Employ Media LLC, told the Journal that it will start taking applications for sites in June. He said that the sites probably will cost less than $100 per name.

Initial employer response seems enthusiastic, the paper said. Gerry Crispin of CareerXroads, a recruitment firm in Kendall Park, N.J., told the paper that he thinks employers and job seekers will begin to flock to the domain after it goes live in June. Sprint Corp.'s manager of "sourcing strategies," Scott Biggerstaff (A name that suits the job, don't you think?) said that his company is considering getting a .jobs Web site to hire new talent.

Call me old-fashioned, but I think that .jobs might find itself on the breadline in a few years. The three reasons why? They're called .com, .net and .org.

Ask anyone you meet on the street what you're talking about when you say "dot-com," and they'll tell you it has something to do with the Internet. In negligibly fewer cases, they'll respond the same way when you ask about .org and even .gov, .edu, .us and .mil. Even the domains from some other countries are easily recognizable -- .fr, .de, .au and .jp don't take too much effort to figure out.

This is because those domains have been around practically forever. When the Internet was introduced into the public consciousness, it came with .com, .net and .org all wrapped up in a bow. We didn't need to know what they meant. We just knew that when you went to a Web site, you had to type that in. Many of us who first went online in college see .edu in the same light.

The numbers back up their popularity. As my colleague David McGuire reported, there are almost 35 million addresses registered to .com. Germany's .de and Britain's .uk follow in second and third place, and .net clocks in at No. 4.

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