ICANN Makes it Clear that .JOBS Domain Names May Not be Used to Operate Independent Job Boards, Including the "Dot Jobs Universe"
Employ Media LLC and DirectEmployers Association, Inc. Directed to Cease Operating in Violation of the .JOBS Charter
HUNT VALLEY, Md. and STAMFORD, Conn., Feb. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The .JOBS Charter Compliance Coalition (the "Coalition") today applauds the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN") for delivering a strongly worded breach notice to Employ Media regarding its improper expansion of the .JOBS Top-Level Domain ("TLD"). The breach notice details how Employ Media, along with its alliance partner DirectEmployers Association and its sponsoring organization The Society for Human Resource Management ("SHRM"), failed to operate and manage the .JOBS TLD in a manner that was compliant with the .JOBS Charter. The breach notice is posted on ICANN's website at http://www.icann.org/en/correspondence/jeffrey-to-johnson-fassett-27feb11-en.pdf.
One of the most significant Charter violations identified by ICANN is the operation of the so-called "Dot Jobs Universe," a series of "integrated employment domains" that has been the subject of many "too-good-to-be-true" promises over the past several months by Employ Media and DirectEmployers Association. The Dot Jobs Universe was created when Employ Media and DirectEmployers Association teamed up to seize approximately forty thousand domain names ending in the .jobs suffix. This surreptitious transaction between the alliance partners temporarily gave DirectEmployers Association the ability to erroneously claim to "own and operate" the .JOBS TLD. ICANN stated in the notice, however, that the operation of the Dot Jobs Universe is "inconsistent with the purpose stated in the .JOBS Charter and stated to the ICANN community" and "serve[s] the interests of [DirectEmployers Association], as well as Employ Media and SHRM rather than the interests of the human resource management professionals." ICANN called on Employ Media to take immediate actions to implement policies that would effectively terminate the operation of the Dot Jobs Universe. In sum, through its breach notice, ICANN has correctly and definitively concluded that the .JOBS Charter does not permit .JOBS domain names to be used to operate independent job boards.
In addition, ICANN admonished SHRM and Employ Media for failing to establish meaningful registration restrictions regarding which types of persons or entities could register second-level domain names within the .JOBS TLD. ICANN determined in the notice that Employ Media and SHRM were "exploiting" the Charter language "at the detriment of some participants of the human resources community" and "the loose restrictions established by Employ Media and SHRM appear to exclusively serve the financial interests of Employ Media and SHRM." SHRM's actions appear to contradict its contractual obligation as the sponsor of the .JOBS TLD, which is to act independently and in the best interests of the international human resource management community.
ICANN's breach notice to Employ Media is the product of an extensive review process by ICANN's Contractual Compliance Department. In December, the ICANN Board directed ICANN staff to closely monitor Employ Media's compliance with the .JOBS Charter, and ICANN's breach notice reflects the overwhelming public evidence of material violations of the .JOBS Charter by Employ Media, its alliance partner, DirectEmployers Association and its sponsoring organization, SHRM. ICANN has given Employ Media thirty (30) calendar days to cease its non-compliant use of the .JOBS TLD. If Employ Media fails to cure its breach within the allotted time period, ICANN may terminate the .JOBS Registry Agreement it entered into with Employ Media.
Peter Weddle, Executive Director of the International Association of Employment Web Sites, stated, "While Employ Media and DirectEmployers Association have created many false expectations about the Dot Jobs Universe, ICANN's strong stance is a victory for the Internet community, as well as for employers and job seekers. First, the Dot Jobs Universe was not an innovation but rather an unprecedented attempt by a registry operator to misappropriate an entire TLD for itself and its alliance partner in blatant disregard of ICANN's rules. Fair and honest competition is welcome in the online recruitment industry, but a TLD operator must be held to the commitments it makes to the Internet community, and upon which ICANN's approval rests. This principle is particularly important as ICANN prepares to expand the domain name space by hundreds of new TLDs. Second, Employ Media and DirectEmployers Association can no longer infringe the trademark rights of third parties by thoughtlessly launching numerous .JOBS sites with names that are confusingly similar to those of long established enterprises, many of them small businesses. Finally, the lofty promises of completely free and fully vetted job postings were simply not economically viable and could never have been fulfilled, ultimately resulting in frustration for both employers and job seekers."
John Bell, Chairman of the Coalition, stated, "The Coalition welcomes ICANN's enforcement action and commends ICANN's Legal Department and Contractual Compliance Department for conducting its review of the non-compliant actions by Employ Media, DirectEmployers Association and SHRM. The Coalition has stated for months that the facts in the matter would lead to this inevitable result. ICANN obviously reviewed all of the relevant facts and arrived at the correct conclusion. We are confident that ICANN will follow through on this demonstration of its commitment to enforce its rules and take all necessary and appropriate actions to terminate the non-compliant Dot Jobs Universe as soon as possible."
About the .JOBS Charter Compliance Coalition
The .JOBS Charter Compliance Coalition was formed in May 2010 to address concerns that Employ Media LLC's planned Phased Allocation Program would violate the terms of the .JOBS Charter. The members of the Coalition include: 1) AHA Solutions (American Hospital Association); 2) the American Society of Association Executives; 3) the American Society of Civil Engineers; 4) the American Staffing Association; 5) Boxwood Technology, Inc.; 6) CareerBuilder, LLC; 7) the International Association of Employment Web Sites; 8) twenty-three individual members of the International Association of Employment Web Sites, including CollegeRecruiter.com, Dice, HigherEdJobs, Indeed, JobG8, Jobing, VetJobs, and WorkinSports.com; 9) Monster Worldwide, Inc.; 10) the Newspaper Association of America; and 11) Shaker Recruitment Advertising & Communications.
SOURCE .JOBS Charter Compliance Coalition