Indeed changed its mind – Job Board Doctor

Indeed changed its mindIndeed changed its mind. First it said that its U.S. clients had to convert to the CPA model. Now it says that actually, they can still use CPC (although it has a new name, of course – ‘branding’!). So what gives?

This entire episode has been like an iceberg – we could only see the tip of the problem via complaints online and various unhappy clients venting on LinkedIn. But the problems for Indeed must have been much more substantial; it’s not everyday that a multi-national, multi-billion dollar company reverses itself in such a public fashion. It’s a fact that companies just don’t like to admit that they’ve screwed up!

Well, first of all, props to Indeed for being willing to admit that in fact there was a problem, and then to follow that with a reversal of their edict. Some job boards, both past and present, would have trudged onward, unwilling to own up to their mistake, until they were drowning in red ink. In an interview with the AIM Group, Raj Mukherjee, Indeed SVP and GM of Employer, said that the company made some “missteps” when it rolled out PPA, including a glitch he called “spend overrun.” In other words, Indeed made it very easy for its customers to spend lots of money. Now they’ve instituted a $1000 cap on spending per job – when the customer reaches that level, it’s shut off. Mukherjee even said that Indeed is rethinking the infamous 72-hour time limit on accepting an application (also known as the ‘you forgot it, you bought it’ rule). Uh huh.

But besides the fact that Indeed changed its mind, what else was going on in this entertaining mess? I think – and I know this is not an original thought, as many others have also speculated in this direction – that Indeed is paying the price for ‘volume over quality‘. The world’s largest job board focused for many years on streamlining the job application process – ‘one-click apply’ and so on. What did that do? It made application rates go through the roof. But in terms of the quality of individual applications? Well, many customers said it drove quality down. In short: lots of applications, variable quality.

So what, you say. Indeed has always been about volume. The biggest. The most. ‘We’re number one!’. But…I suspect enough of its customers were either complaining – or leaving – to make Indeed reconsider their focus on volume. Money talks, right? Perhaps instead of ‘volume over quality’, they needed to move to ‘quality over volume’ – or at least ‘volume with at least slightly higher quality‘. And thus, CPA.

So, Indeed changed its mind. Will it change its mind again? For that answer, tune into their quarterly reports – if the charts are pointing up, full steam ahead! But if the charts are pointing down, well…we might just see another pivot.

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