Indeed changed its mind — Job Board Doctor

Indeed changed its mindIndeed changed its . 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 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 have been much more sub­stan­tial; it’s not every­day that a mul­ti-nation­al, mul­ti-bil­lion 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 , 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 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 ‘. 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 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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