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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

You've built a monster, please don't feed it

This is my open letter to Ted Gilvar - CMO of Monster.

Dear Ted, you've made it about 18 months in a big role and continue to have an even bigger challenge ahead of you. Unemployment is high, which means a couple of things. You have a lot of potential users who need your service. But, there are fewer opportunities for those people to find on your site. So what do you do when there are too many customers looking for too few products? You need to make it the best damn experience those people have ever had.

You've already built a monster, please don't feed it anymore.

As someone who has frequently utilized Monster and many other job search boards, we hate them. For the most part, job boards are just a necessary evil that we endure. Painfully gnashing our teeth and cringing as we type every letter of the URL. To be fair, Monster is infinitely better than CareerBuilder, and I do prefer it over HotJobs. But no one is getting excited to use your site.

We don't need any more advertising. We don't need clever promotions. We don't need banner ads, search ads, a social media presence, or interface updates. We don't need a logo redesign, website refresh, or anything like that. We need a brand we can trust.

Why does a marketing executive of over 10 years get search results for a "home health nurse," "finance & accounting manager," or "administrative assistant," all of which could be disastrous. But even worse, there are somewhere around 2,000 ways to say "door-to-door commission salesperson who will never earn $1" and you have them all wonderfully camouflaged as legitimate job listings that we have to sift through to find something that may even be remotely relevant to us.

I understand that you don't create the jobs, and there is a natural urge to not turn down money from advertisers. But a bit of quality control and categorization to help users find relevant jobs would make you the uncontested number one job site and make your brand the one and only household name anyone would ever think about using when they need a job. It is time to improve your product. It's called brand management. Make a product that people won't stop talking about. If every user was able to upload their resume, fill in a profile, and see nothing but relevant opportunities, hiring managers and candidates alike would love you forever.

You've got $250 million to spend. Certainly it would take a lot less than that to make it happen, and you'd never need to advertise again. It is time to improve the product in a big way. It's not as if we don't know what Monster is, we just don't want to use it.

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